My cats make me laugh all the time. Whether it’s Ruby’s funny growl when she has “caught” a toy, or whether it’s Allegra’s enthusiastic “brrpp” when she sees something that excites her, I can’t help but laugh at their adorable cuteness. Watching a playful cat is far more entertaining to me than watching a comedy show on television. But do cats have a sense of humor? Do they intentionally make us laugh? Do they, perhaps, even play pranks on their humans?
Science is slowly coming around to acknowledging that animals have emotions – something that none of us who share our lives with cats need to be convinced of. So it’s probably not a big leap to assume that they also have a sense of humor.
There’s no doubt in my mind that cats know how to amuse themselves. Continue Reading
When it comes to cats and vacuum cleaners, there seems to be no grey zone: cats either hate them, of, if a slew of videos on YouTube is to be believed, love them. I’ve never had a cat who loved the vacuum cleaner, and with the exception of Allegra, all my cats have always been afraid of “The Monster,” as we call it at our house.
It’s not surprising that most cats dislike vacuums. They’re loud – even to us. Imagine what they sound like to far more sensitive cat ears. They move at the cat’s level, and seem to be able to go anywhere. They eat everything in their path. What’s not to be afraid of?
Feebee was terrified of the vacuum cleaner and would hide under the bed until I was done. Amber’s hiding place was the shower stall in the downstairs bathroom. Buckley was neutral about the vacuum cleaner when she was my office cat at the animal hospital and would watch it go by while sitting on my desk.
If you could do one simple thing that would improve your cat’s health for the rest of her life, wouldn’t you want to do it? Well, there is. Stop feeding dry food.
Dry food is the equivalent of junk food for cats
Dry cat food, even the high-priced premium and veterinary brands, is the equivalent of junk food for cats. It’s really not all that different from feeding sugared cereals to kids. Cats are obligate carnivores: this means they need meat not just to survive, but to thrive. They cannot get enough nutritional support from plant-based proteins such as grains and vegetables, because, unlike humans and dogs, they lack the specific enzyme that processes plant-based proteins metabolically. They need few or no carbohydrates in their diet. Feeding foods high in carbohydrates can lead to any number of degenerative diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.Continue Reading
When I look at cat care guides, I typically review them to see if they are something I would recommend to other cat owners. I’ve spent almost three decades either caring for cats, working with cats, or writing about cats. I spend a good part of each day educating myself about the lastest in cat health and cat care. I love to learn about cats, and I learn something new every day – but I don’t expect to learn much I haven’t read or heard about before from a basic cat care book.
I frequently get questions from readers who are looking to add a new cat to their family. How do I find a cat that will be a good match for my cat? Should I get a cat who’s the same age as my resident cat, or should I get a kitten? Male or female? Will the resident cat accept the newcomer?
Whether it’s a companion for a single cat, or whether another cat in the household has passed away and left a void, adding a new family member is a big decision.
I wish I could give you definitive answers to all of these questions, but the reality is that while you can do some homework, ultimately, each cat’s unique history and personality will determine the outcome.
Ideally, we’d all like our cats to be best buddies who play together, groom each other, and snuggle together. Some cats will bond like that, others will get along but may not ever become close friends, and some cats are confirmed only cats who will never accept a companion. Continue Reading
The recent Diamond Pet Food recall has left many pet parents wondering whether it’s safe to continue to feed commercial pet food. This particular recall was surprising topet owners who did not realize that Diamond manufacturers a large variety of different brands. As of this writing, 11 brands are involved in the recall, due to possible salmonella contamination.
Sadly, recalls have become a fact of life, and they happen in all kinds of industries, not just for pet food. While recalls may not be completely unavoidable, this one is unsettling because it covers so many brands – and because it’s not always transparent who actually makes the brand you’re feeding your cats. In most cases, pet guardians also have no way of knowing where the ingredients in a particular brand come from. Multiple brands share the same supplier, as we saw in the horrific 2007 pet food recall, which caused the death of thousands of pets who had eaten food contaminated by melamine, which was traced back to a Chinese supplier.
Nobody wants to think about the unthinkable: something happens to us, and our cat won’t be taken care of. As responsible cat parents, we owe it to our cats to think ahead and make arrangments for our cats care in case of an emergency or death.
I am currently going through the process of updating my will, which includes a pet trust. A pet trust allows you to control how your cat will be cared for in the event of your death. You can name a guardian for your cat so she won’t end up at a shelter, and leave money for her care. Laws for pet trusts vary from state to state. As of 2012, 46 states have enacted pet trust laws. Be sure to consult with an attorney in your state once you’ve finalized arrangements.Continue Reading
While cancer in cats is not as common as it in dogs, it is still one of the leading causes of death in older cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States along. And because cats are masters at masking illness, it is often harder to detect.
Cancer used to be a death sentence for cats, but recent advances in feline cancer research have made treatment possible in many cases. Just like with human cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment. Depending on the type of cancer, treatment options may include sugery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
How and whether to treat cancer can be a big decision for cat parents, and factors such as the cat’s age, general health status, temperament all come into play. So do finances: cancer therapies can be expensive.
Sometimes, the right answer may be no treatment, and keeping the cat comfortable with good quality of life for as long as possible may be an appropriate choice.Continue Reading
You know how much I love stories of life changing cats. When Conscious Cat reader Chantell from Johannesburg, South Africa, told me about her tortie Pixie, I just had to share her story.
Chantell rescued Pixie a little over a year ago, when guests at the game reserve resort she worked at told her that they found a kitten. Chantell went to investigate and discovered the tortoiseshell kitten, who looked to be about three weeks old, all alone in a hole between rocks. The little kitten was terrified and hissed at Chantell. A huge thunderstorm had just come through, and water had already started to rise in the hole. Chantell knew that the kitten would drown if she left her there. She managed to get the frightened little thing out of the hole and took her home with her.
She got up several times throughout the night to bottle feed the kitten, and took her to work the next day so she could keep feeding her on a regular schedule. Continue Reading
I often write about the uniqueness of felines. Your kitty is not only very different from dogs – she stands apart from most other species.
Her physiology is distinctive. Her nutritional requirements are unique among mammals. Even the way her body is constructed – her incredible physical flexibility – is distinct from most other creatures.
Another thing that is very unusual about our kitty companions is their tendency to develop a weird disorder called feline hyperesthesia. This is a medical term for what is more commonly referred to as “rippling skin syndrome,” “rolling skin syndrome,” or “twitchy cat syndrome.” Other technical names for the condition include neuritis and atypical neurodermatitis.
Signs of Feline Hyperesthesia
The word hyperesthesia means “abnormally increased sensitivity of the skin.” It’s a condition in which the skin on a cat’s back ripples from the shoulders all the way to the tail. Continue Reading
Note: This article covers a 2013 recall affecting cat and dog food bags dated December 2012 through January 2013. For an updated list of current recalls, please check the FDA website.
In April 2013, Diamond Pet Food began recalling certain lots of various dog food brands due to possible salmonella contamination. The recall was then expanded to include two products for cats sold at Costco:
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula (Best Before December 9, 2012 through January 31, 2013)
To determine if their pet food is recalled, consumers should check the production codes on the back of bagsContinue Reading