One of My Favorite Videos!

I wanted to share this video with you that I found on YouTube. It’s one of my favorites and always makes me smile. Hope you enjoy it!

Routines: Your Cat Needs Them!

If it’s one thing I’ve noticed about my cats is that they get very irritated when their routine is messed up. They have the most amazing internal clocks…they know exactly what time it is! The times I’ve had to change when I feed them, when we go to bed, when we play, when they get their special attention time…well, you get the idea…they get very fussy.

I have to admit to be somewhat cat-like myself when it comes to my routines. I like things to flow smoothly and find it comforting to have a routine. For all of you more adventurous, free-spirited beings (who I sometimes envy!) this probably sounds boring and it is, to some degree! But for cats in particular, a routine is essential to their well being. They truly are creatures of habit.

My cat Chloe

Chloe, looking irritated, because getting her picture taken is not part of the morning routine!

This can have a positive side effect though. I have realized that some of the things I do as a routine are great “training” aides. It hit me the other morning when I got up and started making my bed. Chloe, who always sleeps with me, was curled up on her pillow, and when I started making the bed, she got up and went to the chair, as she always does, that’s in my room. After making the bed, I always go over and give her a kiss on the top of the head. When that happens, she jumps down and goes to the kitchen to wait for me to get the food ready.

I have noticed this more and more lately, that these routines are signals of sorts. All of my cats know what I’m going to do by what I’m doing. They know what’s coming next and are ready for it. They like everything to be the same and on time. When something unexpected changes these routines, they are thrown and become perturbed.

Sometimes when people make a move or other major change in their lives, they will say that their cat is acting strange. It can go as far as the cat not eating, hiding, suddenly biting, or vomiting. They become worried and, after a check-up at the vets that says their physically ok, they get really worried. Most of the time it’s due to the change in their life as well. They aren’t taking the cat’s emotional response into consideration. The cat’s behavior usually goes back to normal once they adjust to that new situation.

The best thing for your cat is to keep things on schedule and as normal as possible. We can’t always do this, of course, but remember when there is a new change, your cat will react too. So be sure to give extra attention and try to make them as secure as possible until things settle down. Routine is so important to their emotional well-being.

 

When Kitty Bites!

Cats love to play with each other by biting and kicking each other. While this doesn’t bother them, when it’s aimed toward us, it is painful. I read somewhere that we should take this as a compliment, because they are treating us as one of them, accepting us completely. While this is a nice thought, it hurts!

The one thing you hear the most is, “I’m petting my cat and suddenly he bites me!” I always ask the if the cats tail was twitching back and forth. They either have no idea or say yes. That is your cats way of saying “enough!”  He may still want to stay curled up in your lap but he doesn’t want to be petted anymore. So pay attention to the tail…when its flicking back and forth, stop petting or whatever it is you’re doing. When you ignore his subtle sign, he will tell you more clearly!

I have had many arguments with others about what I’m about to say, but I have seen that all of my cats that came to me already declawed were huge biters. It makes perfect sense, to me at least, that when you remove one of their main defenses, they will turn to others…biting. I am not in favor of declawing at all, but if you do have a declawed cat, you can expect more biting.

cat biting

Photo by kniemla a Flickr

One thing not to do is let them bite when they are kittens. It is so tempting to let them play bite…it’s so cute and they are so happy, but it will let them think it’s ok as they get older and those teeth get bigger. Gentle scolding is the best way to discourage this. You may have to do this many, many times over, but eventually they should get the idea. Another thing to do is when they bite your hand, replace it with a toy and let them bite on that.

One of my cats, Chloe,  has recently started jumping across the bed and biting my arm. Where on earth she picked this up (she’s 14 and just started this about 6 months ago) I have no idea! What I finally found that worked with Chloe is to blow into her face when she bites. I also tell her no in a firm voice. Sometimes she will attempt another bite and I blow again…she usually gets huffy and strolls off to pout. It sees to be working as she is doing it less and less.

Anyone have any other methods they use? I’d love for you to share them…leave a comment below!

 

Cat Acne: A Natural Solution

The first time one of my cats got acne, it scared me to death. I had never seen it before and it was covering his entire chin! It looked like his chin had turned black overnight. I rushed him to my vet and was so relieved to find out what it was. He gave me some expensive ointment and I went home, my heart returning to it’s normal beat.

I used the ointment for the prescribed time and it didn’t help. The vet then gave me another type of expensive cream. That didn’t help much either. I have always been interested in natural remedies for my cats and myself, but had never used any. I was still a little afraid of them, not knowing if they were safe or not. Looking in one of my books (see the book below) on the subject, I found out about Calendula.

Calendula is a pot marigold. I was desperate and everything I read about it said it was extremely safe. I figured I was only going to apply this externally and on his chin, not an area he could likely lick! I bought some and mixed it with water. I cleaned his chin thoroughly with it, removing all the black stuff. I then wiped his chin several times that day with it. The next day his chin was completely cleared up. I continued to clean his chin with it for several days, but it never returned. It was quite amazing!

In case you live where they don’t have natural product stores, here’s just one of the Calendula tinctures they sell at Amazon. Just click here to get the details and order.

The next time your kitty gets acne, try it. I have to say, since I’m not a vet or anyone with any medical training, that you should ask your vet about it first. I have used it extensively with my cats and never had any problems. You might want to print out something about it to take to your vet to read, because a lot of them are not familiar with natural remedies. Click here for an excellent article about Calendula in general.

Speaking of home remedies and natural remedies, I wanted to share one of my favorite books on the subject with you. One of the things I like about this particular book is it is written by doctors and is full of practical, easy advice.

 Click book for all the details!

How Annie Was Really Andy, But Stayed Annie!

annie

Annie checking out what's happening outside!

When a friend of mine moved to my town, she had a cat named Andy. He’s very friendly, playful and was used to being around other cats. Feeling he needed a playmate and friend, she wanted to adopt another cat. No problem. The vet I’ve been using for twenty years always has kitties for adoption. So we went into the clinic and found Annie. We loved her at first sight and thought it was a sign…Andy and Annie…how cute!

This was five years ago and she has been to the vet every year for her check-up and shots. Well, a funny thing happened at her last check-up. She wet on the exam table and my vet looked shocked and said, “I think Annie is an Andy.”  After a quick check, it was confirmed that she was indeed a he. He was not aware that we had adopted her (the clinic is very large) and was quite embarrassed when we told him where she came from.  Honestly, he is a great vet, just never had a reason to check for that. He jokingly told me I’d never let him live this one down!

We debated whether to change his name. He couldn’t be Andy, since there was already an Andy. We finally decided to leave things the same. He knows his name as Annie and doesn’t care what he’s called. It was a strange experience to try to now see her…ummm him…as a he. I still think of him as a her and it doesn’t help that he’s a small cat, because he looks more like a she than a he. Very confusing, but kind of funny at the same time. But the great thing about our furry little babies is that they don’t care about such trivial stuff. Annie doesn’t care what you call him, as long as you call him for dinner!

 

CatToys: the Good and the Bad

I am constantly amazed at what some of the companies that produce cat toys put out there. I have seen so many toys that would present a clear danger for your kitty it makes my head spin! They have small parts that would come off easily and could be swallowed, sections made of wire that would not be good for their mouths, things that could poke them in the eye…the list goes on and on.

cat playing with toy

Photo by Mr. Thomas at Flickr

One thing I am very cautious of is strings of any kind. My cats have a lot of those “pole toys” (the ones that have a long string or cord with the toy dangling from the end) and they love them. I just make sure I put them away after playing with them. If the cat chews the string off, which they frequently try to do, and eats it (yes, they will do this!) it can get tangled around the intestines and now you have a serious problem. It can potentially kill them if it’s not corrected right away. So, please, watch any kind of strings.

Watch out also for anything sharp. My brother had a toy for his cats that had a twisted wire thing sticking out of it. The minute I saw it, I could picture the cat getting his head caught in that spiral of wire. I may be overly cautious, but as my mom always told me, “better safe than sorry.” I also was concerned that if part of the wire broke off, then you have a very sharp end that would be dangerous.

To be honest, most of my cats enjoy the same kind of toys. The little mice, either with fur or made from material, are one of their favorites. They also like balls they can swat around. I have wasted so much money on toys that I’ve brought home, all excited for them to see, and they give me that look. I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. It’s quite clear what they are telling you. “What one earth is that silly thing and why would I want play with it?” They then saunter off practically shaking their head as if to add, “mom is losing it!”

I also wanted to warn you about those scratching boards that have the emery element in them. They are much like human emery boards and file away the nails as they scratch. I bought one and it turned out that one of my cats was rubbing his face against it and ended up with cuts on his mouth. So use these with caution and watch how your cat is reacting to it.

Should you get catnip filled or scented toys or not? Again, it depends on how your cat reacts to catnip. Most of mine do fine, but I have had cats that got very aggressive after playing with catnip. If they respond like this, I would not advise catnip toys, so again, just watch how they behave. Another danger is feathers. While cats love them, they also love to eat them and that’s not good! You can use them if you supervise while their playing with them and put them away when playtime is over.

Buy safe toys and have a good time playing! Look for toys that are soft and don’t have a lot of things attached, like plastic eyes or pieces that would easily fall off or be chewed off. I know some of them are so cute you’re tempted to get them anyway, but believe me, they are only cute to us…your cat doesn’t see them the same way we do! They don’t care about  how cute or glittery they are, they only care that their easy and fun to play with.

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