Posted in Health

Bond with your cat (really!)

There is a general misconception that cats are aloof and don’t need humans; they are completely independant. Well, it depends, on the cat.

It depends greatly on personality of the cat, but also their history. How were they treated in the past; were they loved or mistreated, were they ever outside on their own or ferrel?

Even if you’re cat is somewhat aloof I believe you can bond at some level but remember that it always has to be on the cat’s terms. If you can show that you are trustworthy they can grow and change.

Play

This is probably the easiest and and if you’re cat is a bit fearful, you can do it at a bit of a distance. First you need to find out you’re cat’s favorite type of play.

  1. Try getting their hunting instincts going with a feather or tastle on a string or try dragging a rope or string across the floor and see if he/she chases it.
  2. A paperbag can make a great inexpensive toy. Cats love to hunker down inside, when they do try poking or scratching the outside and watch them attack!
    You can also play this game if your cat likes to get on the bed while you’re making it. Cover him or her with the fitted sheet or top sheet and gently run you’re fingers over the covers on top of the cat. Just be really careful if you’re cat has front claws, they can get a bit over enthusastic.
  3. Try playing fetch. Yes they can actually play fetch. Try tossing a milk ring and see if they bring it back, if they do make sure to reinforce it with praise and a treat, you might have just discovered a new game!
  4. See what else you’re cat is game for. You never know, when just interacting with your cat, you may just discover a brand new game that just you two know.
    With our Snickerdoodle it was the “eagle” game, and Momo loved table hockey. Theses are not your typical cat games, they were unique to the cat.

Just remember cat’s are sprinters not long distance runnner when it comes to playtime.

Lap Time

Not all cats are lap cats, but if you’re cat is it is a great way to bond. Our Snickers was not a lap cat at all when he was in his previous home. After coming to our home, he discoverd how nice laps can be, and now he follows me around the house when I get home from work screaming at me to ‘sit down already!’
Not all cats but many actually crave physical contact, so lap time is a great way for your cat to get what it wants while you get some time to bond.

Grooming

Brushing your cat is a great way to bond, it also can reduce the amount of cat hair that is left everwhere!
With our cats I found that depending on the length of the fur can determine the type of brush that they prefer. We have a brush with metal teeth that Snicker loves. He has mid-length fur and it’s pretty thick, Momo never really liked the metal brush, he was a short hair and his fur was a bit finer. Experiment a bit to find out what kind of brush you’re cat likes, when you find it, believe me they’ll let you know!

If you’re really fortunate you’re cat might groom you back. Snickers (I believe) is the only cat we’ve had that has done this. He will headbutt me in the morning to wake me up so we can have a little mommy/son time, and if he’s in the mood he will sometimes lick my face. It is so sweet, and he’s really gentle about it. Just don’t let them like too much in one place, Snikers actually gave me a bit of an abrasion burn on my ear once. If you can, see if you can get him/her to move on to another spot or it may just be time to end the session.

Bonding is possible with your cat, but it takes time and effort to make it happen.

Posted in Health

Cats and hot weather

The hottest months of summer are here and it is blazing hot in may parts of the country it is always a good time for a reminder about taking extra care for our furrbabies

AIR CIRCULATION

Especially if you don’t have central air, set up a fan on the floor so kitty can lay in front of it if he or she gets too warm.

WATER

Brown Tabby Kitten on Bowl

This is the MOST important thing you can do for your furbaby. They can quickly get dehydrated and are unable to just go to the faucet for a drink, so make sure you have fresh water out for your kitty. If you can, when the hot weather it is good to have a couple of bowls out so if one runs low there is another choice, but don’t go crazy and put one in every room or you’re more than likely to drive yourself crazy trying to keep them all filled! You can also pop an ice cube or two in and it will keep the water cool for a time; and if you’re cat is like mine it could be a bit of entertainment as kitty gives the ice cube a poke with a paw only to find out it’s a bit cold and quite wet!

SHADE

This shouldn’t be a problem if you kitty has a run of the house like mine. But if he/she is sequestered during the day while you’re gone, justs keep in mind the sun moves so make sure that there is somewhere they can escape the direct sunlight and have a place to cool down.

BRUSH

A well-groomed coat will help to keep your cat cool. If your cat has long fur, a professional clipping can their suffering during summer.  Talk to your veterinarian about whether giving your cat a clip could help. Another option is to have only the tummy clipped.

DAMP

Damp down a washcloth or paper towel and stroking your cat with it can also help. Most cats don’t mind a little bit of moisture on their fur. One of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming, which is nothing more than wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.

There you have it, ways to beat the heat, for your furbaby anyway.

What other ways do you like to help your furbaby beat the heat?
Comment below (please be kind)

Posted in Health

Can you leave your pet home alone?

I just read a response on a comment feed that annoyed me to be very honest.

The response was something like “We left our cat home alone for a week with one visit from a neighbor and he was fine.

Why do people think that because cats are independant to the point they can become an afterthought in your plans? Now I am not suggesting that you take your kitty with you (although many hotels are now pet friendly these days!) but when you plan that vacation don’t make last minute plans for furrbaby, but accomdate them as you would your child that you are not taking along.

Food and Water

Related image

Yes, your cat needs food and water that is obvious, that is a BASIC need. Do you know who much food your furbaby goes through? Don’t take a chance that he or she will run out before you return.

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Companionship


People believe cats are allof. You know your kitty, is he or she? Or does he or she, like my cat, follow you all over the house until I finally settle somewhere, just so they have the opportunity to connect with you…
Remember that they don’t know when you will be back. They don’t have the capacitity to understand that it will be a short while, or a long while before you return or if you’ll ever be back. This can lead to feelings of abandonment if you are not careful. Has your kitty ever ‘punished’ you after you’ve been gone for a while only to ‘forgive’ you after a peroid.
There is an easier way to avoid this, which is to make sure your kitty gets all the love and attention he or she needs while you are gone.

Litter

Cats are fisidious about their box, some more so than others. Imagine having to use the toilet that has not been flushed for several days. Besides the fact that they will step in it, it won’t smell too nice either!
If your cat is very picky about their box, he or she could go to the bathroom in other places in the house in retaliation. This can then lead to the cat using the same place as a bathroom spot. So don’t risk it, make sure you have someone who is willing to keep your cat’s box clean.

Boarding

I feel I would feel remiss if I didn’t talk about boarding your furrbaby.
“Oh I could never board by baby because…..” [fill in the blank here]
You know I felt that way too but when we decided to replace all the flooring in our condo, and our usual cat sitter wasn’t available, the only other real option was to board him.
It was actually much easier than I expected, the hard part was cutting the motherly apron-strings. He did great! We decided to board at a vet office that we had previously used with one of our cats. They explained that they pumped a pheromone in to the room to make sure their boarders are nice and calm and to make the experience as pleasant as possible. The also have kennel staff that come in after close to feed, scoop litter and play with the boarders. Our kitty came through with flying colors, much to the relief of his mom and it was very reasonably priced too!

So next time you plan that vacation, don’t leave out your furbaby in your plans. Make sure their needs are accomodated too. Whether it’s at home with a cat sitter, or with a boarder, I promise you’re kitty will be much happier while you are gone, and will welcome you back with a loving purr when your return instead of a snub.

Let me know what you think (Please keep it kind)
Would you consider boarding? Have you boarded a furbaby before? How did it go?
How does your kitty do when you go away? Is there a ‘punishment’ period when you return?

Posted in Health

Kitty Smorgasbord

What do you do when your cat looks at your plants like all night buffet at the local Golden Corral?

It is both frustrating and dangerous. Even if your feline doesn’t go for the dangerous ones who wants a plant that looks like this??

Here are 5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Stop Eating Your Houseplants

  1. Place your plants strategically.
  2. Make your plants stink (to your cat ) …
  3. Choose plants your cat hates.
  4. Choose plants that ‘safe’.
  5. Use a mechanical method.

PLACE YOUR PLANTS STRATEGICALLY

The quickest/easiest way it to place the plant up where the cat can’t access it. This can be a bit tricky since cats can really jump, or you may not have a good place that is out of cat reach. We have a philodendron that is up on top of the kitchen cabinets. It is less accessable but they still can get up there via the refrigerator. The other problem with this is it tends to get neglected as far as watering goes since you have to climb up to get to it. (Good thing philodendrons are drought resistant). You can place it on the top of the cabinet, or bookcase or hanging it up works well.

MAKE YOUR PLANTS STINK (TO YOUR CAT)

Cats don’t like the taste or smell of citrus. Mix together water with lemon, lime or orange juice, and spritz this on the leaves of your plants. Just the smell is often enough to keep your cat away. You can also mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and spray directly on the leaves of your plant. If he/she does decide to take a nibble, one taste of citrus should prevent further plant snacking, and the mixture won’t hurt your plants!

CHOOSE PLANTS THAT YOUR CAT HATES

Choose plants that your cat would think twice about chewing on after the first chomp! Miniture roses, cactus and other thorny plants would fall under this category. Two other plants that tend not to be very agreable are rosemary, which grows very well inside and has a nice smell, but not to most cats, and the thick, rough leaf texture and aroma of Geraniums is also not very appealing.

CHOOSE PLANTS THAT ARE ‘SAFE’

First, be aware of that some plants can be fatal. The majority of plants may cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested by cats but not death.

True lilies including Tiger, Easter and Day lilies are highly toxic! Even small ingestions of parts (petals/leaves, the pollen, or water from the vase) can result in severe, acute kidney failure.

Luckily there are some plants that will not harm your cat if chewed on. This a partial list of cat-safe” plants:

  • African Violet
  • Baby’s Tears
  • Bromeliads
  • Blue Ehervia (chicks and hens)
  • Burro’s tail
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Parlour Palm
  • Phalaenopsis (moth) orchar
  • Spider plant
  • Wandering Jew

You can also buy “cat grass” for them to chew on as a sacrifical offering. My only problem with cat grass is I can never keep it alive. I think must need A LOT of water.

MECHANICAL OPTIONS

If all else really fails you can go to devices that sends out a spray of harmless air along with a slight noise; it makes the experience of going for your plants quite unpleasant. My husband went straight for this option and order a Ssscat from Petsafe. It has an infared eye that trips when it detects heat. Our cat Snickers tried it once and we have not seen him up near our plants since. (It pretty much scared the begeebers out of him).

I actually think it has gone off on my husband and myself more than it has on the cats. We forget and reach in to tend to the plants and it scares the crap out of us everytime. Snickers on the other hand learned the first time and that was that. (Who is the smart one here??)

A FINAL THOUGHT

If your cat’s plant-eating seems to be getting more and more out of hand, you may want to talk to your vet. In a some cases, cats eat plants (or soil!) because their diet is lacking some essential nutrient. The behavior can also be a symptom of gastrointestinal issues, so it’s best to have your cat evaluated thoroughly just to be sure.

Posted in Health

The dreaded “C” word

There it is, finally an answer to the burning question.

For MONTHS our regular vet has been telling us our Siamese’s wheezing was just allegries, and I foolishly believed him. Finally one day when Momo could hardly breathe I had enough and called a specialty hospital 45 mins away from home that is able to do emergency medicine and has an oncology department. I made an appointment and brought him in. After a physical exam and an MRI we had our answer CANCER in his left nostral.

Then comes the next question; how hard do we fight? We have no children so our cats are our substitue children. They are spoiled rotten and we go to great lengths to make sure they are healthy, happy and get (at least most) of what they want. But chemo is expensive; $500 a pop expensive and my guess is we waited too long to be able to actually get it in to remission.

We are in the middle of this journey, we are chasing health for him. When he has his chemo he feels good, he’s a royal brat and back to the old Momo we know and love. But when the cancer comes roaring back in a couple of weeks he is miserable and we HATE seeing him like that. My husband is ready to stop chemo, it’s getting too expensive and I agree but maybe there is another answer? At least until we are aren’t getting 2 weeks between treatments anymore.

So what have we learned from this journey?

  1. Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, if whatever it is feels like it’s going on too long get a second opinion, it doesn’t hurt it can only confirm what you are being told.
  2. Try to balance quality of life with cost. This is a tough one since if you’re like me he’s not going down with out a mama bear fight. Only you know what you’re finances look like and what the quality of life will be.
  3. You need to find the balance that is right for you. You are the only ones that can determine that.
  4. Don’t let it wreck your relationship. Finances are one of the number one reasons for partner fights, and newsflash your pet (unfortunately) will likely not out live you even if they do live to a ripe old age. You will have that partner for much longer. Find a way to get on the same page, make a compromise, whatever you need to do.
  5. Plan for the future. This is a difficult one for us since we are dealing with cancer the likely hood is that we will have to use euthanasia to end his suffering eventually but, you can think about how you want your cat’s final days to be. Do you want to take them to a favorite place. When the time comes do you want the lights low and low music (if allowed). I think there is power in the planning where if you set things they way you want, or way you think you’re kitty would want, it takes some of the power out of the uncertainty.
  6. Finally after they cross the rainbow bridge where do you want their final resting place? Do you want to bury them in a favorite garden or choose cremation and keep the ashes?
    The choice is yours

How do you remember remember your furbabies that have crossed the rainbow bridge?
Comment below (please be kind)