Make your Cats happy with these Tips

Jordan Walker never believed that black cats are unlucky. He considers all cats as gifts and writes about them at Coops And Cages and in blogs like this one. In this article, he will be telling you how to keep your cat happy.

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Your pet cat feeling more than a bit blue than normal lately? Maybe it wants to go out and play too like what most stray cats would normally do. But what can you do? The outdoors is not considered a safe place for cats. Cars alone pose a threat to them. Are there other ways by which you can bring the sunshine back to its eyes without sacrificing its safety? Here are more than a dozen ways to get this done.

Ways You Can Make Your Cat Happy

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  1. Take it outside for a walk. Outside where the cars are? Well, letting it get a whiff of fresh air does not necessarily mean that you have to let it out on its own. Being cooped up can be boring even for small pets like cats. Get a leash and train your cat to use it. Once it’s already accustomed to it, you two can walk outdoors but make sure that you are doing it where it does not become an easy target for dogs.
  2. Fake being in the outdoors. Seeing the outdoors is like being in it. If it’s not possible to take your cat outdoors on a daily basis, you can set up a space in your home where it can see it and at the same time, feel the air outside. A screened space should more than be able to keep your cat in touch with what’s happening outside.
  3. Buy a scratching post. Your cat’s nails aren’t there for display. They like to use these to scratch on something. Furthermore, this activity allows them to stretch their spines. As for you, your couch would be thanking you later. Notice the favourite position of your cat when it starts to scratch. From this, you can tell right away if you need to buy an upright scratching post, or go for a scratching bed instead.
  4. Let it exercise its hunting abilities. Cats are natural born hunters. Let it help you catch some mice inside the house instead to keeping it locked always inside the room. Have no mice inside your home? Why not hide some treats everywhere and let your cat find it in on its own?
  5. Give in to its couch potato side. Dogs aren’t the only ones who love to watch TV. Jim Davis had it right spot on in letting Garfield play a cat who loves to stay on the couch and watch some movie. Why not let your cat have this royal treatment too sometimes and let it watch a movie or two?  And while you are at it, maybe you can choose one where cats are the main actors.
  6. Play the fishing pole game. A pet cat would certainly want to play like a small kid too. Maybe that is why they love to catch mice in the first place. Instead of the mice, get a ball or toy mouse and attach it to a fishing pole. It will try to catch it to entertain itself. Doing this will also keep you entertained with its funny antics.
  7. Let it play with moving toys. Aside from the fishing pole, provide your cat with interactive toys when you don’t have the time to play with it. This way, it will play by itself stalking, jumping, pouncing on the toy, even when you are not around, enabling it to keep its happy mood. You can buy these online.
  8. Notice signs of health conditions. How do you feel when you are sick? Can you laugh? The same thing happens to your cat. It’s simply impossible to smile if something hurts. If you notice any sign of health problem such as upset stomach or allergy, take it to the vet for needed treatment.
  9. Have a cat tree inside the house. If you have more than one cat at home, these can fight over their territories. A cat tree will offer the benefit of giving each cat its own personal space, allowing them to be close together but not beside each other. This will also give them the added benefit of feeling secure because they are given a better view of their environment.
  10. Feed a healthy diet. Food will give your cat its energy. You may be able to get away with feeding your pooch with grains, but not with a cat. They need more protein than dogs. Feeding it with a lot of carbohydrates can lead to obesity. A heavy cat that can’t move or breathe properly is not a happy cat.
  11. Clean the litter box regularly. You think you’re the only one who doesn’t want to use a stinking bathroom? Your cat has that habit too with its litter box. It may be an animal, but it’s an animal with taste that doesn’t like to use a dirty litter box.
  12. Have some grass indoors. Cats like to eat grass when it feels that its stomach or intestines do not feel right. Theoretical claims say that doing this helps a cat relieve itself of stuck wastes such as inedible matter or hair in its digestive system. This too could be making them feel a whole lot better because of the folic acid found in grass.
  13. Stick to routines. Routines are important since these can make your cat feel more secure. Older cats especially are very particular about the smallest changes that happen in their environment. When their foods change or you move into a new house, these can possibly cause stress in cats.
  14. Have some quality time together. It’s your pet. It will want to spend some time with you. Some cats would want to receive a belly rub. Others are just happy to sit beside you. Your cat will let you know whether scratching it behind the ears or rubbing its backside is making it happy by making that famous purring sound.

Conclusion

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If your cat lacks energy, stopped playing altogether, oversleeps, loses its appetite, scratches too much, is clingy, or being too vocal or quiet, these could be signs that your pet is feeling sad. Don’t let it fall into depression. Use the tactics above and let it rediscover how being happy feels like.

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages

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5 Tips for Adopting a Shelter Cat

5 Tips for Adopting a Shelter Cat

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance company for dogs and cats.

Adopting a cat or kitten should never be a spur-of-the moment decision. This is especially true when adopting a shelter kitten or cat, whose medical and social history is often unknown.

Here are five tips for people who are considering adopting a shelter cat or kitten:

  1. Consider a Cat’s Basic Needs

Determine whether you can devote enough time to a cat or kitten’s needs for food and water, grooming, affection, litter box maintenance and play. It is also important to determine whether you are financially able to provide what a cat will need in terms of food, litter, grooming supplies and veterinary care.

Cats tend to be less expensive pets than dogs, on average, but cats can become costly if they develop serious medical problems. Consider purchasing pet health insurance while your cat or kitten is healthy, before any major health issues occur.

  1. Consult a Veterinarian

Once you’ve considered these questions, you may want to consult your veterinarian for help with selecting the right cat or kitten for your home and lifestyle. A veterinarian can help you decide if a kitten or a cat is more appropriate. Veterinarians can also explain details such as grooming requirements for long-haired versus short-haired cats.

  1. Weigh Cat Versus Kitten

So, a kitten or a cat? Kittens are usually very energetic and tend to get into mischief if left to their own devices. They tend to be litter box trained, but they can certainly get underfoot. If you have no other cats, or if your other cat is elderly, I usually recommend adopting two kittens so they can play together.

If you have very young children, I would recommend older kittens, rather than a 6- to 8-week-old. If you are a senior, or if you aren’t home much, consider adopting an adult cat. Adopting a mature cat allows you to know your new pet’s size, demeanor, coat length and texture. Adult cats may sleep up to 20 hours a day, and they are likely to be fine with less of your time and attention.

There is always a possibility that an adult cat is in the shelter due to a medical or behavioral problem. If you have dogs or other cats, a kitten may be more adaptable than an adult. Short-haired cats require much less grooming than most long-haired breeds, but long-haired cats actually shed less than those with short hair.

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  1. Choose Carefully

You’re at the shelter. Now what? Most shelters have websites so you can do some research before you arrive. Unless you have significant time to spend and the proper training, you may want to avoid the cat or kitten cowering in the back of the cage or corner of the room. If a kitten or cat hasn’t been well socialized and you haven’t had training to work with this, you may find that a trusting relationship with your new kitty can be hard to build.

You should also pay attention to any evidence of physical illness, such as discharge from the eyes or nose, sneezing or coughing, patches of missing fur, poor physical condition or the third eyelids showing with white membranes in the inner corners of the eyes. These felines can still make great pets, but please be aware that there may be immediate veterinary costs.

Ask if there are any medical records and if there is any information from a previous owner. You are taking a chance when you adopt a kitten or cat from a shelter, but it feels amazing when you change a kitty’s life for the better by giving him or her a “forever” home. Most shelter cats will become excellent, loving companions if you give them the time they need to adapt to their new home.

  1. Schedule a Check-Up

Visit a veterinarian as soon as you adopt your new friend, preferably on your way home. This is especially important if you already have pets at home. If you have to delay that first veterinary visit, make sure you keep your new kitty separate from other pets until he or she can be checked for parasites and infectious disease.

Why do cats purr? Is a purring cat really a happy cat?

Is a purring cat really a happy cat?

Unlike our domestic moggies, adult cats that live in the wild rarely purr at all. In fact, it is only kittens that purr to their mothers. Amazingly, through the process of domestication and human contact, cats retain this infantile trait to call to their owners – us. Cats, it seems, have a kind of language that they use exclusively with us and it turns out that there is actually more than one type of purr.

Every morning Dr Karen McComb from the University of Sussex was being rudely awakened by her cat Pepo and wondered why the purring she could hear was so difficult to ignore. This led Karen and her team to ask a group of volunteers to rate different purrs based on how urgent and pleasant they perceived them to be.

Unlike the purr that cats produce when curled up on your lap, the team discovered a distinct purr that incorporates a shrill frequency, similar to that of a baby’s cry. This embedded frequency in the ‘solicitation purr’ is produced when cats are seeking attention or food. Through evolution, we have developed a ‘sensory bias’ to higher pitched ‘baby-crying’ sounds and cats seem to have exploited this.

When the team played the recordings back to human volunteers, even those people with no experience of cats found the soliciting purrs more urgent and less pleasant. The scientists were also able to remove the cry acoustically and show that the purr lost its urgency.

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More about this can be found on the following links (also the picture source):

Additionally some cats also purr when they are hurt and sick. Scientists are yet to determine if this is because the cat is trying to sooth himself/ herself or to alert their human companions to the situation and to be gentle with them.

How Valerian works on Felines and it’s benefit in Toys

Hi everyone,

Today we want to take a closer look at toys that are filled with Valerian of which we’ve used many on our own two cats.

Many cat guardians always wonder why cats get so excited over Valerian toys and of course the next natural question is whether it is good or harmful to play with these pungent toys!

Many online articles offer different views of the valerian root (valeriana officinalis) and the effect of it on our cats. Essentially the bottom line is that these toys are safe but just like catnip toys that can induce ecstatic play behaviour should only be used under supervision.

So how does valerian impact your feline companions?

Most cats will cuddle up with the Valerian filled toys, lick them and play passionately with them! You can often see how they rub themselves all over the toys! Some will roll around on the floor and others will chase, kick or chew on the toy.

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How does it work?

The Valerian root contains Actinidine which is also known as a cat attract pheromone that is found in Valerian, Catnip and a few other plants! Cats and other Felines (Yes even the big ones!) are attracted to this pheromone.

How long does it work?

This depends a bit on each individual cat and varies from 5 – 20 minutes. Once this phase has passed the cat will enter the so called refractory phase for at least 30 – 120 minutes during which time it won’t react to the fragrant material contained in Valerian toys.

How was it discovered?

Valerian was discovered as a stimulant for cats long before we started using it for our house tigers. Wild Felines have been captivated by so called “cat herbs” for centuries and scientists have been using Valerian as a lure to study small and large felines in the wild!

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What are the benefits?

While the cat is attracted by the Valerian it can help them to relax during stressful situations such as shows, firework season and other events that are not part of their general routine. Most cats either get ecstatic and power themselves out or calm down and relax while “enjoying a timeout” with their Valerian toy. Best of all from our personal experience at shows we find that this beneficial effect remains even long after you’ve taken the toys away.

Valerian also often gets used in sprays and air diffuser to induce a calming effects on cats and other animals which is different to the impact of catnip. It leaves most cats calm and relaxed after use of the toys hence why there is a lasting effect!

Have you had problems in multi cat households?

We’ve successfully used Valerian toys in the best example of multi cat households – cat cafes where the Valerian toys have actually helped to calm down tension and help the cat caretakers with introducing new cats to each other. The thing to bear in mind though is that you want to provide sufficient toys as many cats are not good at sharing – not even while under the effect of Valerian.

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Especially when you’ve got a very dominant cat they may decide to defend their new found prize! We would generally recommend to have at least one toy per cat handy so in case that they get territoriality you’ve got additional toys on hand!

But what about the smell?

Valerian has a very pungent smell so that does mean that toys filled with Valerian have a strong unique fragrance! 🙂 And really… your cat wants you to get these so what is there not to like if your cat overlord demands it?!?

On a more serious note remember you shouldn’t leave this toy out all day anyway so in a way it’s good as it will remind you to put them away once your cat is finished with them.

We would of course recommend that you leave these out to dry for a while after playtime though! Ideally somewhere the cat can’t get to! If you ever tried a Valerian toy you’ll know what we mean about the need for letting them dry… 😉

Where can I get these toys?

We are working hard on educating pet shops in the UK to stock Valerian toys from us and if your local shop hasn’t got them yet do get in touch with us to see if we can help convince them to stock it. Alternatively you can find both Valerian and Catnip toys made by us on the Katzenworld online shop who is one of our partners in the UK.

Thanks,

Marc

The Festive Feline Factor

How to Reduce Stress in Cats
and Keep Them Safe at Christmas

Christmas can be a difficult time for cats. It comes with lots of hustle and bustle, unfamiliar visitors, new and potentially hazardous objects, new scents and sometimes a highly charged atmosphere!

All of these can contribute to increased levels of stress for our family feline members, but there are things we can do to help keep them safe and give them as relaxing a time as we hope to have ourselves!

Routine
Cats are creatures of habit and it’s important to try and maintain their daily routine. This includes sticking to normal feeding times and scheduled play-times as well as ensuring that their usual sleeping areas and hiding places are available to them.

Plugin Diffusers
It would be a good idea to have a Pet Remedy or Feliway® Diffuser placed in the room most used by your cat to help reduce any anxiety he may experience.

Hiding Places & High Places
Make sure he has plenty of hiding places where he can go for a bit of peace and quiet if it all gets a bit too much for him. On these occasions it’s best to leave him undisturbed; hiding is a positive coping strategy. Giving him access to high paces such as on shelving, tops of wardrobes or on a tall, modular cat activity frame will also help increase his sense of security.

Food Treats
We might give ourselves carte blanche to overindulge at Christmas but we should try to avoid the temptation to allow our cats to do the same! Any treats should ideally be cat treats as opposed to human food, and Christmas chocolate is a definite no-no! It contains Theobromine which, if eaten in sufficient quantities can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle spasms and seizures in cats.

Play
Not only is play a great way of keeping your cat exercised during winter, it’s also an excellent stress-buster, so if your cat has a playful streak, interactive toys such as fishing-rod toys, pieces of string and ping pong balls that allow him to run and chase are all a good idea.  Instead of throwing away the cardboard boxes that we accumulate at this time of year, keep one or two back for your cat’s personal use! Throwing some fresh catnip or catnip toys inside and rotating the toys daily will help to keep him interested. As well as serving as a play item, boxes also make very good hiding places.

Heat!
We all know that our cats are heat-seeking missiles, always heading for the warmest place they can lay their paws on, especially during the winter months, so why not treat your cat to a heated bed this Christmas? They are available as low voltage electric heat pads or even electric pet beds complete with internal thermostats. Not only do they promote relaxation but they can also help to ease aches and pains, muscular tension and are great for elderly cats that don’t have as much fat on their bones to keep them warm.

Introducing Your Cat to New Resources
If you do buy something new for your cat this Christmas such as a scratching post or bed, put it in an appropriate place and then walk away! He won’t be impressed by any ‘hard sell’ tactics!

Decorations
If ingested by a curious cat the following are amongst a plethora of festive decorations that can cause serious health problems: Poinsettias, tinsel, baubles, electrical decorations, fake snow, sellotape, wired wrapping ribbon.  Candles should also be kept out of paws reach to avoid burnt noses and tails.

Going Away?
If you’re planning to go away for Christmas it’s a good idea to make your cat care arrangements as early as possible as catteries and cat-sitters tend to get booked up well ahead of time.  As territorial creatures, many cats prefer to stay at home and you might therefore arrange for a family member, friend, or neighbour to pop in daily to provide food, play, a change of litter and to generally check that all is well. If the visitor is unknown to the cat, ask them to come over before you go away so you have the opportunity to see how your cat responds to them. If your cat is particularly sensitive and cautious with strangers then it might be placing him in a cattery where he can associate any feelings of stress with the cattery, rather than with his home.

Take a Deep Breath…
Try and keep yourselves cool and collected. Your calm vibes will definitely help your cat!

Clare Hemington DipCAPBT is an accredited Cat Behaviourist offering veterinary referred behaviour consultations in owners’ homes as well as consultations by telephone and Skype. You can find out more information on your cat’s behaviour at her web site: www.catbehaviour.net