Feline Lifestyle

Sleeping with Cats

cats-sleeping-bed-cute

I couldn’t imagine not sleeping withy my cats. Every cat I’ve ever had has slept on the bed with me. In fact, the few nights one of them didn’t, it was usually because something was wrong.

Feebee used to sleep in the crook of my arm, with his head on my shoulder. When I was still married, he used to sleep in between me and my former husband. In hindsight, perhaps that was not a sleeping arrangment conducive to marital bliss? Well, let’s just say picking the cat over the ex-husband was a good decision on all levels.

Amber slept curled up in my arms most nights. When Buckley joined us, she started out sleeping at the foot of the bed, but inevitably, at some point during the night, she would make her way up to where Amber and I were sleeping and wedge herself in the small space left between the headboard of the bed and the arm that was curled around Amber. This occasionally made for a rather uncomfortable sleeping position for me, but the joy of having the two cats softly snoring next to me was worth the discomfort, and I often waited until my arm fell asleep before I changed position.Continue Reading

Allegra Gets Advice from Jackson Galaxy

cat-tower-toy-cute

When I first adopted Allegra in April of 2010, she came to me with some behavioral challenges, namely, play and petting aggression. Most of her play aggression was directed at me and demonstrated mostly by Allegra attacking my ankles every chance she got. The petting aggression manifested in a typical pattern of low tolerance for extended petting sessions.

These issues intensified after Amber passed away. I found myself with a single, high-energy only kitten (Allegra was seven months old at the time) while grieving the loss of my 12-year-old soul cat. I knew that one fairly simple fix would have been getting Allegra a playmate closer to her in age and temperament, but I wasn’t ready to even think about a new cat at that time. So I had to step up and work with Allegra and be her substitute playmate.

I consulted with Marilyn Krieger, the cat behaviorist who has a regular column in CatFancy magazine. Marilyn advised me on how to enrich Allegra’s environment and increase vertical space. She also introduced me to the concept of play therapy. I learned a lot from that consult, and began working with Allegra. Continue Reading

Jackson Galaxy returns to Animal Planet with Season 2 of My Cat From Hell

animal-planet-my-cat-from-hell

Jackson Galaxy knows cats like noone else. He has been called anything from a cat whisperer to a cat shrink to a cat trainer. He actually prefers to be called a “cat listener.” He doesn’t like the term cat whisperer, because, he says “it connotates exclusivity. It says I can do something you can’t.” His goal is to make everyone believe that they can do what he does. According to Jackson, what it really comes down to is a case of “slowing your head down long enough to listen to cats.”

Starting Saturday,  January 7, Jackson returns with a second season of the immensely popular Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell. If you missed Season 1, you can watch highlights on Animal Planet’s website, or you can download the entire season from iTunes.

my-cat-from-hell-season-1

I caught up with Jackson for this exclusive interview for The Conscious Cat earlier this week, and believe me, getting on Jackson’s schedule these days is no easy feat.Continue Reading

Cat safe cleaning tips

cat-washing-tongue

Cats are self-cleaning, as Allegra demonstrates in this photo. Unfortunately, our houses aren’t, so we have to use cleaning products to get the job done. Many commercial cleaning products are not safe to use around cats.  The chemicals in these products can be extremely toxic, and even deadly. Cats are especially susceptible since they groom themselves by licking and as a result ingest anything that comes in contact with their feet or fur.

Thankfully, there are many options for cat-safe, chemical-free and green cleaning products available. I particularly like the Method and Seventh Generation lines of products.

Some of my favorite cleaners, and also the safest and least expensive, are baking soda and white distilled vinegar.  Some suggestions for use are:Continue Reading

Mood music for cats

soothing-music-for-cats

Playing soft music has been shown to reduce stress in humans and animals alike. Some feline behaviorists say that playing relaxing music can keep cats calm and even stop them from fighting with other cats in the same household. A recent study at Colorado State University is looking at how classical music can help make a veterinary visit less stressful and thus lead to better veterinary care for cats.

I recently came across a cd made especially for cats. Mood Music For Cats (And Cat Lovers) –  A Ball of Twine… Your Cat’s First CD is a collection of soothing tunes blending piano, harp and strings, with title tracks such as Tuna Sonata, Vet Visit Blues, and Catatonia.

The music is truly beautiful. Continue Reading

Foster a lonely cat for the holidays

foster-a-lonely-pet-for-the-holidays

Our cats will spend the holidays surrounded by those who love them, in a warm home, with full tummies and plenty of toys. That’s quite a contrast to how shelter cats will spend their holidays. For them, they’re not going to be any different from any other day spent waiting for that one human who will rescue them and give them a forever home.

Since everyone deserves a home for the holidays, Petfinder.com is launching its annual Foster A Lonely Pet For The Holidays program for the third year in a row. The program’s goal is to  empty out animal shelters from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day.

“Many people do not realize just how important fostering is among the animal welfare community,” said Betsy Banks Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com.Continue Reading

Cats in Japan still need your help

cat-fukushima-evacuation-zone

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March, animal rescue groups from around the world came together to help the animals displaced by the massive disaster. One of the groups which was instrumental in coordinating rescue efforts on the ground in the early days was Japan Cat Network. Nine months later, their volunteers are still working in the affected areas.

The current situation

When the area around the Fukushima nuclear reactor was evacuated, many animals were left behind. Susan Roberts, the founder of Japan Cat Network, says it’s difficult to estimate the number of animals in the evacuated areas. People tend to quote the number of registered dogs in the area (6000 dogs in the 20km evacuation zone alone, and evacuations continue beyond this radius), and there is no requirement to register cats, so there is no telling how many cats were left to fend for themselves.Continue Reading

Help bring some joy to shelter animals this holiday season

Santa Paws Drive

Shelter animals are often overlooked during the busy holiday season. The Santa Paws Drive wants to change that. The drive is dedicated to helping shelter animals have a happy holiday season. With your help, Santa Paws wants to make sure they get the love, attention and gifts that our pets are so fortunate to get, at the holidays, and every day.

Now in its third year, Santa Paws Drive is the first “virtual toy drive” for pets. You can donate either cash or gifts, and the Santa Paws elves will divide up the goodies and money and send them off to six shelters across the world. This year’s goal ist to raise $900 plus collect lots of toys and treats for each shelter.Continue Reading

Holiday gift ideas for cats and their humans

Deborah Julian christmas card

It’s Black Friday, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll stay far far away from stores today. Online shopping has made holiday shopping easier and, as far as I’m concerned, more fun. If I have a choice between crowded stores, and sitting in front of my computer with a cat in my lap and a cup of hot chocolate by my side, I’ll take option B any day!

The holidays will be here before you know it, and unless you’re one of those super organized people, you’re probably still shopping for gifts.

Here are some ideas for the cats and cat lovers on your gift list. By buying these products, you’ll not only get some really wonderful gifts, you’ll also support small businesses, most of them run out of the owners’  homes.Continue Reading

Pledge to help senior cats

senior cats make great pets

Earlier today, we featured some beautiful senior cats who are looking for their forever homes. But even if you can’t adopt right now, you can still help senior cats, and it’s as easy as telling someone about how wonderful they are.

In honor of Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, Petfinder has teamed up with Bissell and is asking everyone to pledge to tell one person about why senior pets are great. By pledging, you’re also automatically entered to win a Bissell Lift-Off® Deep Cleaning System for yourself and one for the Petfinder shelter or rescue group of your choice . Click here to pledge to help senior cats (and dogs, too).Continue Reading

November is Adopt-a-Senior-Cat month

Stephanie Baltimore Humane Society

Older cats tend to stay in shelters the longest and are least likely to get adopted, but they deserve forever homes as much as any other cat. Today, I would like to introduce you to some of these senior citizens who have not given up hope. Perhaps your home will be the home where they can find permanent happiness.

The gorgeous girl above is 12-year-old Stephanie. She was brought to the Baltimore Humane Society because her owner’s health was failing, and he could no longer take care of her. She admits that she is not much of a lap cat as she likes to be free to roam around. She can be a little stubborn at times since she likes to have things her way, but at her age, that’s just a part of her personality! Continue Reading