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April 2014
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16 Apr

Demanding Attention

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Some cats can be extremely irritating in their demands and seem to change their minds or want one thing after another, one minute asking to be let out and the next demanding to be let in again.  While it may simply be that the cat hasn’t learned to enjoy outdoor life, usually such behavior occurs because the cat discovers that by calling out its owner, the owner will quickly appear and offer the comfort of his or her physical presence or better, will provide actual contact and petting.  From the cat’s point of view, having its owner around is better than being alone and either resolves the conflict of whether or not to go out or offers instant reassurance if it feels worried.  Night time is when a cat is likely to feel most vulnerable, but once you have been trained to get up at the sound of its calls, there is no further need for it to worry!  If you are understandably unwilling to endure the noise, it is vital that the cat’s calling no longer meets with success in order for you to ‘untrain’ it.  Endure it if you can (have a stiff nightcap before retiring and with any luck you may even sleep through it).  Alternatively you could let the cat sleep in the bedroom with you, of course, but then it will probably demand that you stay awake all night or at least get up early to serve its breakfast.

Some vets do  not recommend this, but we give our cats a little less than 1 cup of Blue Buffalo Indoor cat food every day.  They graze when they need to, and the breakfast issue is resolved because there is some left over for breakfast.  There is usually some left when it is time to refill their bowls.

**A telescoping pet ramp may be necessary for your handicapped kitty to be able to get from the floor to the couch or the top of the couch, or even the windowsill.  A regular pet ramp would do, but if you want something that alters from one size to another, the telescoping pet ramp is the way to go.

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15 Apr

Cat Calling

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Owners often get very worried when their female kitten starts to make loud distressed sounding noises and to behave in a restless manner, eating less and urinating more.  She may crouch in front of other cats with her tail pulled over to one side and with her rear end raised up, at the same time treading with her front paws and ‘crooning’.  Facially, she may look angry or fearful, with ears back and pupils dilated.  She will also lick the area under her tail frequently.  These loud monotone vocal sounds are termed ‘calling’ and are a sign that the cat has reached sexual maturity and is trying to attract local toms to mate with her.  It can happen from as early as three months of age or as late as up to eighteen months, and so may cat some owners off guard who do intend to spay their kitten but have not yet got around to it.

Although veterinarians prefer to spay a female before or after their season, they will spay during the time your cat is in heat. This may be your best option if she is calling quite frequently.  Oriental breeds are the worst offenders for calling.

**Cats love cat scratchers, or sisal cat scratch.  It allows them to sharpen their claws and it removes the dead sheaths.

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14 Apr

Cats and Babies – Part 4

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Remember, too, another and equally important safety matter:  small furry cat toys and cat furniture that may topple over (the scratching post, for example) can be very dangerous to the udordinated crawler, so it would be wise to keep them out of the way while the baby is down on the floor.  Cat toys could be a delight to a little crawler as they put everything into their mouths.  They may get a taste of catnip, which should be harmless. But kitty may not like the slobber left behind on his favorite play toy!

As the baby grows up and starts to toddle, his behavior becomes more coordinated and predictable for the cat, which may then respond to the child much more as if he were an adult.  Also many ofo the ground level dangers such as the litter pan, lose interest as the child finds objects on the higher plane of head-height to investigate.  The cat may need to find even higher escape zones, but by the time the child can reach the cat on the window sill he should be well versed in the dos and don’ts of reacting with the cat and be more responsive to mom’s instructions if the cat looks threatened.  At this stage, the child could even help mom with feeding time by placing the cat’s food bowl on the ground.  This child may become the next generation of cat lovers!

**A scat mat will keep your cat away from and off of anything you want.

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13 Apr

Cats and Babies – Part 3

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

So don’t panic; let the cat get used to the new arrival – most cope very well.  Often cats are indifferent to a young baby after the initial curiosity value has worn off.  Problems are far more likely to crop up when the baby starts to crawl.  Suddenly all the cat’s traditional bolt-holes under the sideboard or on the chair under the dining table, and its resting place in the sun by the hall window, are subject to periodic gurgling invasions.  Many will learn to retreat to higher and therefore safer spots, perhaps on the window sill or atop a cabinet, but it is more important to make sure that the cat has somewhere to use as a childproof refuge in every room,  and especially that there is a warm, covered bed well out of reach of the rapidly developing grasp of the young child.  At this stage in the child’s development it is essential that parents guide the child’s hand and encourage him or her to touch the cat and stroke it gently.  Short frequent socialization will start to teach the crawling child the methods of communication he or she can use confidently with the cat and will also make the cat aware of the child’s right to approach under supervision and with increasing competence at doing so.

Hygiene is always important and particularly at this age, crawling babies with inquiring fingers may discover the delights of the cat’s litter box.  It may be worth installing a cat-flap door into the bathroom or utility room where the litter box is kept.  This way the door can remain closed and the cat can still access the litter box with no possible access by the little one.  Remember to keep the cat regularly wormed and the baby’s hands frequently washed.

**A Petsafe In Ground Fence allows your cat go go outside, but remain only in the confines of your yard.  Kitty can’t get lost!

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12 Apr

Cats and Babies – Part 2

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Ensure that the baby and cat learn of each other from the earliest days.  Controlled, supervised introductions should be carried out, with the cat held safely and allowed to smell the new arrival and all things that come with it.  Dirty diapers, piles of clean diapers, the bassinet, the crib, the baby wipes, the toys – all are changes within the cat’s home too, and it must be allowed to explore them and come to realize that neither the baby nor the baby items pose any threat to security.

Next, parents should ensure that a new baby poses no competitive threat to the cat.  Most cats won’t be bothered, as often they only get attention on demand, and they rebuke our advances at other times.  Of course, cat and baby should always be fed separately, as a cat excited at the prospect of dinner, be it its own or the baby’s – food is food, after all – is a less controllable and potentially more hazardous creature, quite apart from the hygiene aspects.  If all sounds a bit dog-like,  well, it is!

**There is a Petsafe Electronic Pet Door available that lets only your cat in and out of the pet door!

 

 

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11 Apr

Cats and Babies – Part 1

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

The first thing you probably think of when you think of cats and babies is the old wives tale “cats sleep on babies’ faces and suffocate them”.  This thought is so strong that many parents-t0o-be get rid of a cherished vcat prior to the arrival of a baby, and others never fulfill the desire to have a cat because of the perceived risk, to their young children.  What a pity that is when so many other parents with young babies gain so much from including a cat as part of the family.  Of course, it may happen from time to time that a cat, on discovering this new warm place with blankets, does curl up in the crib next to the baby, but the risk of harm is reduced to nil if parents follow the simple rule which applies equally for cats and dogs:  never leave any child unattended with a free-ranging pet, or where a pet may gain access to the child, such as through an open window or cat flap.  The cat means no harm and simply wants to cuddle with its new family member.

This rule applies to the newborn baby, the crawler and the exploratory toddler, up to the point of 6 to 8 years old, where a child understands when and how the family pet can be approached and handled or kindly sent away.  Initially the rule is followed in order to guard the safety of the helpless child, but later the innocent pet’s safety also needs to be guaranteed.

**A Petsafe cat door is a wonderful way to allow kitty access to closed door access only to litter boxes and outside.

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Treatment of fighting cats is by no means easy or quick, but good progress can be made with controlled introductions using cages to house first one cat and then the other.  First the aggressor is caged while the victim is allowed to walk around freely and grow used to the muted presence of the cat he has come to fear.  Sharing space together again is a vital first step.  Once the victim is settled, the roles are reversed.  Any attempt by the aggressor to attack the caged victim obviously fails because of the protection of the cage.  What yo are aiming to do is to break the cycle of aggression and introduce reward for sharing space3 peacefully.  The cats re-learn tolerance, and make calmer approaches to their caged former friend and sniff through the bars.  This process can be further assisted by the owner brushing and grooming both protagonists with a solution of catnip, which helps to rebuild shared scents and makes them more attractive to each other (though catnip affects some cats and not others).

The next step is to get the cats even closer by dividing their daily food ration into many short meals which are offered only when the cats are together, though one is fed in the cage, the other alongside.  The cats can meet out of the cage only under supervision and control, perhaps on harnesses and leads, but it will always be some time before they can be allowed free access to each other and, even then, only under careful supervision by the owner for many weeks.  Meetings are set on a very short but frequent basis as it is the cats’ greeting behavior that must be established first, so prolonged contact should not occur until later.  Restoring previous good relations in such cases will probably take far longer than when a new cat is introduced to the home of a long established resident, irrespective if character type.  If this fails, re-homing one or other of the former friends, never to see each other again, may be better and kinder for all concerned.

**Sisal cat scratch or a sisal rope scratcher promotes shedding of the dead outer layer (sheath) of their claws. Scratching can be instinctual, a communicator to mark territory or demonstrate dominance in front of other cats. Scratching is also habitual. When cats scratch objects, they leave behind not only a physical mark but also an odor or scent to claim what is theirs.

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1 Apr

Aggression Between Cats

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Sometimes relations between two cats can break down for no apparent reason.  If the cats were previously very friendly, then there will obviously be a better chance of repairing the damage than if they only ever tolerated each other.  Unlike pack-oriented dogs, cats don’t need to be part of a group- there is nothing to gain from cooperation.  So, if cats decide not to get along, it can be hard to persuade them otherwise.  Try to bring the cats together by feeding them more frequently but with smaller meals and serve the food in separate bowls brought progressively closer to each other.  Food can act as a useful distraction in getting them to share each other’s space, though following this suggested routine does require time and care.

In a household where cats are tolerant of each other, the main problem that may arise comes at the introduction of a new individual or when a young cat reaches adolescence and becomes more socially competitive.  Success then depends on the basic character type of the cat and its experiences as a social animal in a group of cats, as well as on relative sexual and dominance status.  One example concerned a 5 year old, by then spayed, mother Sealpoint Siamese cat and her three-and-a-half-year-old neutered son.  They had never fought and had always played, slept and fed together in harmony … until the man of the house accidentally stepped on the female’s tail.  She naturally yelled in pain but then fiercely attacked her son.  He was severely frightened, of course, but although the owners separated them and gave them a few hours to cool off, the female continued to attack the male on sight at every attempt to get them back together over the next few days.  Here, a single traumatic incident had triggered a complete breakdown in all social relations.

**Scat mats are great when you want to train your pet to stay away from or off of certain areas, without harming your precious feline.  Scat Mats train your cat or kitten to stay away from certain areas, and after they have caught on, can be put away for future use.

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31 Mar

Aggression

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Just what is aggression?  It isn’t only expressed in a predatory form when an animal hunts and kills to survive, it can occur in social situations, in territorial and other conflicts over resources and in self-defense, to name a few.  Aggression can be described as a hostile, physically damaging attack.

Aggression Towards People

Aggression towards people is not common, but most of us have experienced what the Americans term the ‘petting and biting’ syndrome.  It occurs in many cats, in some after very short periods of handling, and in others after long periods of affectionate stroking when the cat suddenly attacks the hand that is caressing it.  The theory is that when it is accepting handling the cat is behaving as a kitten would with its mother:  it relaxes, enjoying the protection and attention.  Then it seems that the adult cat, the independent, self-determining predator, takes over, and it suddenly feels vulnerable in the confined position.  The cat then lashes out with a display of defensive aggression, biting and sometimes kicking, before (usually) jumping off the owner’s lap, trotting a short distance away to establish a safe flight distance, and grooming itself to relax and calm down from its state of confusion.

To come to grips with this undesirable behavior, it is best to try to predict when this state of confusion is likely to arise, and only to engage in frequent, but short, periods of contact with the cat so it never quite reaches this point.  The periods of stroking can be increased gradually.  During this period, it is essential not to touch the cat in sensitive areas such as on the abdomen, or around the hind legs, and in some cases it’s wise to restrict the handling to stroking the back and the head.

**A Petsafe inground fence is also known as the Petsafe Undergound Pet Fence.  This Electronic Cat Fence Kit includes everything you need to contain one cat in a yard up to 1/3 to 1/2 Acre. With additional wire and flags and cat fence collars, the PetSafe Electronic Cat Fence can enclose yards up to 20 acres in size and contain an unlimited number of cats.

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30 Mar

Tips for Training Your Cat

Author: Tammy Wolfe 0 comments

Be consistent, have patience and go slowly.  The cat should never be allowed to fail.

  • Reward consistently and quickly.
  • Don’t feed ad lib if you want to use food as a reward – it will not be seen as such.  If the cat has a favorite treat, use that only when training, but don’t reward with food that makes him so excited that he cannot concentrate on what you are asking him to do.
  • Only reward if the cat does what is being asked, or at least part of it, if you are breaking down the training into smaller steps.  The reward must be associated with the action and so must be given immediately after it is performed.
  • Never punish,.  It frightens the cat and slows up the learning process.
  • Aversion techniques, or “acts of God”, such as a fine spray of water or a pile of empty cans that will topple over, can be used to put the cat off  jumping on to surfaces where you don’t want it to go.
  • Always be loving and reassuring and never make threatening gestures.
  • Start while your kitten is young, when it is easily aroused by everything you do and interested in joining in.

**The Petsafe electronic pet door is actually called the Petsafe Magnetic Cat Flap Door.  This cat flap door prevents entry by any other critter besides your precious Fluffy by way of a magnetic cat collar.  If you have more than one cat, extra collars can be purchased for under $10.00.

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