Month: February 2014

Review: The Cat in the Window And Other Stories of the Cats We Love

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If you enjoy cat stories, this book is for you. The Cat in the Window, edited by Callie Smith Grant, features an uplifting collection of stories about cats in all their multifaceted glory.

From the cat who lives in a fourth-grade classroom and becomes a teacher himself to the cat who offered comfort in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the stories in this book will warm your heart. There are cats who mend hearts, and cats who save lives. Some of the cats in the book are pampered indoor cats, others are strays who brave blizzards to find a home. All of them will touch you in some way.Continue Reading

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How to Help Nervous Cats

nervous_cat

While most cats are initially wary of unfamiliar noises, people or events, they eventually adapt as they get used to the stimulus. Nervous cats remain anxious. A nervous cat is in a constant state of anxiety. This level of stress can lead to physical illness, especially lower urinary tract disease. Helping your cat overcome her nervousness will not only make her more confident and comfortable, it will also improve her health. Unfortunately, working with nervous cats can be challenging, as cats may express anxiety through aggression.

What makes a cat nervous?

A cat’s personality is shaped by genetics, environment and early life experience. Some cats are naturally more fearful than others. The cat’s genetic make up predisposes her to be cautious. This can be seen especially in feral cats.

Lack of early socialization also contributes to fearfulness in cats. Kittens who have been frequently handled by humans tend to be more confident as they grow up. Kittens who haven’t been socialized before the age of 8 weeks may take longer to acclimate to living with humans, and they may remain fearful.

If the cat had a frightening experience in the past, it will try to avoid it from happening again.

How to help nervous cats

Helping a nervous cat gain confidence requires patience and persistence on the guardian’s part. While it is tempting to reassure the cat when she’s nervous, this merely reinforces the timid behavior. Use positive rewards for calm behavior instead.

Remain calm, and don’t make the cat the focus of the household. Cats are sensitive to the energy in a home, and the tension created by cat guardians tip toeing around the house and speaking in hushed voices so as not to scare the cat will only increase the cat’s anxiety levels. Extracting the cat out of hiding places only serves to increase the cat’s anxiety.

Interactive play can be a great way to bring timid cats out of their shell. Structured play time, 10-15 minutes twice a day, using fishing pole type toys, are a great way to build confidence for the cat and to enhance the bond between cat and human.

Use food treats to create positive associations for the nervous cat. Treats can encourage your cat to explore new areas of the home, or to spend time in the same space with you. Offering treats directly from your hand may increase the bond between you and your cat. Be careful when using treats so you don’t inadvertently reward timid behavior.

Natural remedies to help nervous cats

Synthetic pheromone plug ins such as the Feliway Comfort Zone can help create a sense of safety and familiarity in the home. Natural remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Spirit Essences Stress Stopper can also help.

Enlist the help of a feline behaviorist

In extreme cases, you may want to enlist the help of a feline behaviorist. A behaviorist can evaluate your unique situation and provide strategies to help your cat become less nervous.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

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Art Inspired by Cats: Meet French Artist Raphael Vavasseur

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Raphaël Vavasseur’s unique cat paintings captured my attention on Facebook, and I wanted to learn more about this talented artist, and where his inspiration for these stunningly gorgeous paintings comes from. I’m delighted to introduce you to Raphaël and his art today. Raphaël Vavasseur spent the first 25 years of his life in Paris, France, where he also went to graphic design and art school. He eventually interrupted his studies and focused on creating and becoming self-taught in both computer graphics and painting. Feeling a need for nature and more space, he moved to the countryside of Normandy. The tranquility and fresh air of this bucolic region of France promote his creativity. Continue Reading

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Do Your Cats Talk, and Do You Talk Back?

do_cats_talk

One of the primary ways cats communicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. And most cat’s vocal expressions go far beyond just “meow.”

Even though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. Continue Reading

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Review and Giveaway: Paw Prints at Owl Cottage by Denis O’Connor

Paw_Prints_at_Owl_Cottage_review

Paw Prints at Owl Cottage brings the reader back to the beautiful setting of a remote country cottage in Northumberland in England, home to the author, his wife, and their cats. This sequel to Paw Prints in the Moonlight is a heartwarming story about the power of cats, and the way they change lives.

From the publisher:

When Denis and his wife Catherine return to Owl Cottage, their former home, only to find it in a dilapidated state, they decide to restore this charming house. But the memory of Denis’s beloved cat, Toby Jug, still lingers on. Continue Reading

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Do Cats Respond To or Watch TV? The Surprising Answer…

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Many pet guardians leave the TV or radio on when they’re not home. They hope that the background sound will prevent pets from feeling lonely, and provide some stimulation at the same time. Leaving the TV on can be beneficial if it’s used in the right way, but it can also be detrimental. Whether or not to leave the TV on really depends on your cats and your lifestyle.

Many pet guardians leave Animal Planet on for their pets under the assumption that it may make their pets feel as if they had company. I believe that for most cats, this may cause more stress than benefit. Continue Reading

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Cat Allergy Study is Seeking Participants for New Allergy Treatment

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With record cold temperatures hitting North America this winter, many people and their pets are stuck indoors for long periods of time. For the millions of Americans allergic to their cats, this can lead to intensified symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and runny or blocked nose.

Doctors are seeking eligible volunteers for a major clinical research study evaluating an investigational cat allergy medicine to determine whether it can help reduce symptoms for a sustained period with a relatively short course of treatment. The CATALYST study is a Phase 3 clinical research studyContinue Reading

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Cat Scratch Disease: Should You Be Worried?

cat-scratch-fever

Last updated January 19, 2018

When you hear the words cat scratch disease, your first thought is probably the popular Ted Nugent song Cat Scratch Fever from 1977. However, cat scratch fever, more commonly known as cat scratch disease, is a very real condition.

Cat scratch disease is a fairly rare self- limiting infectious disease. Approximately 22,000 cases are reported in the United States each year.

What is cat scratch disease?

Cat scratch disease is an infection caused by the Bartonella henselae bacteria. It is transmitted if a cat who is carrying the bacteria bites or scratches a person.

How do cats become carriers?

Cats get the Bartonella bacteria from fleas. Most infected cats do not show any signs of illness. The bacteria is only transmitted from cat to cat if fleas are present. Kittens are more likely to be infected than adult cats.

Symptoms of cat scratch disease

You may notice a small red bump, in addition to the wound, in the area where your cat bit or scratched you. If you have been infected, you may experience a mild fever, loss of appetite, a sore throat, headaches, and a general feeling of malaise. Symptoms may not appear right away, and may last for several weeks. They can vary from mild to severe.

Treatment of cat scratch disease

Most cases of cat scratch fever won’t require medical treatment. In the rare severe case, antibiotic and/or antimicrobial therapy may shorten recovery time.

How to prevent cat scratch disease

  • Be diligent about flea control. To avoid side effects from chemical flea treatments, explore natural options.
  • Avoid rough play with cats that may lead to scratching and biting.
  • Don’t let cats lick any open wounds you may have.
  • Strengthen your own immune system and that of your cat. A strong immune system makes you cat less susceptible to fleas.
  • Do not declaw your cat. Declawing is an inhumane and painful procedure, and it won’t stop your cat from being a carrier of cat scratch disease.

What to do if you are scratched

Always wash any wounds immediately with warm, soapy water. Seek medical attention of the wound if you notice redness, swelling or discharge.

Cat scratch fever might sound scary, but with a low risk factor and usually subtle symptoms, most people won’t even know they have been infected. This rare disease is certainly no reason to avoid the company of cats.

This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

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Review: Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette

Murder_with_Ganache_review

Cats, Key West and mouth-watering food: I can’t think of a better way to escape the winter doldrums. Murder with Ganache, the fourth in Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic mystery series, is not technically a cat mystery, but there are enough cats in the book to keep cat lovers happy.

From the publisher:

Hayley Snow, the food critic for Key Zest magazine, has her plate heaped high with restaurant reviews, doughnut and sticky bun tastings, and an article on the Hemingway cats. But this week she’s also in charge of her best friend’s wedding. And then someone adds a side of murder…Continue Reading

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Cat Therapy Transforms Autistic Child’s Life

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Much has been written about how pets can help autistic children, but most of the accounts are about dogs and horses. Today, I’d like to share a very special story about how a Maine Coon kitten helped an autistic little girl.

Guest post by Arabella Carter-Johnson

Looking at a photograph of my 4-year-old daughter Iris, you wouldn’t think that she was any different than any other 4-year-old little girl. And yet, she is. Iris is autistic. She is not speaking yet and has great trouble with interacting with others, but expresses herself through movement and art. Since her diagnosis in 2012, with the help of many experts, we were able to learn about how we could help our daughter. Iris changed dramatically in just a short space of time. Continue Reading

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Benefits and Risks of Microchipping Your Cat

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Cats need some form of identification, regardless of whether they’re indoor or indoor/outdoor cats. Even indoor cats can slip out the door and get lots, and wearing identification, whether it’s a collar and tag, or a microchip, can increase the chances of a lost cat being returned to its home.

A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. The chip has a unique identifier which can be read by a scanner.Continue Reading

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