Allegra

Does Your Cat Get The “Zoomies?”

cat-zoomies

I actually found a definition for the word “zoomies” in Urban Dictionary, and even though the definition was for dogs, it’s exactly what I’m talking about: “when your dog runs around the house like crazy jumping on the couch, running up and down the stairs, and all over the house. It usually ends with them falling to the floor, panting like crazy and taking a nap.”

At our house, Ruby is the Queen of the Zoomies. Several times a day, she races through the house, up and down the cat tree, and up and along the back of the sofa. Her zoomies loop seems to be almost exactly the same every day. Continue Reading

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Allegra and Ruby love their Cat Buddies

Cat_Buddy_Lola_Spirit_Essences

Our friends at Spirit Essences surprised Allegra and Ruby with two Cat Buddies last week! They turned out to be a big hit with both girls, and we would expect no less from any toy recommended by Cat Daddy Jackson Galaxy.

Ruby immediately began wrestling with Cat Buddy Lola, pictured above. I keep finding Lola in different places throughout the house, even though I haven’t seen Ruby actually drag Lola around. Each Cat Buddy is handmade exclusively for Jackson Galaxy in Honolulu, Hawaii. The toys are filled with cotton batting and certified organic cat nip leaves and buds for long-lasting potency, and they’re nice and durable.

Mini_Krinkle_Cat_Buddy_Spirit_Essences

Allegra fell in love with her Mini Krinkle Cat Buddy, which is so new,Continue Reading

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The Cat’s Trapeze

the cat's trapeze

When Kate Benjamin of Moderncat asked me whether I would like a Cat’s Trapeze for Allegra and Ruby, I was excited. I had visions of my two kittens flying through the air in an act rivaling anything Cirque du Soleil could put together.

Okay, no. It’s not that kind of trapeze. The Cat’s Trapeze is a unique product designed to provide active cats with an alternative to climbing the curtains and furniture. The sturdy cotton fabric withstands heavy use and the soft cushions provide a perfect place to nap.Continue Reading

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Keeping your single cat happy

kitten-play-ball

Allegra was never supposed to be an only cat.  When I adopted the then 7-month-old kitten last April, the plan was for Amber, who was 12 at the time, to show her the ropes, and for the two of them to become playmates and best friends.

Less than five weeks after Allegra’s arrival, Amber passed away after a sudden, brief illness. I was devastated, and in addition to coping with my grief, which took up almost all the energy I had, I now had a sweet, but rambunctious, slightly juvenile delinquent kitten on my hands.

I knew if I wanted Allegra to be happy, and address some of her behavioral challenges at the same time (she chewed on everything from picture frames to books to the edges of my bedroom dresser, and she was slightly play aggressive), I needed to keep her entertained.  Ideally, I should have gotten her a companion of similar temperament, but I wasn’t emotionally ready for that yet (and I’m still not quite ready).  So it was up to me to keep her active, stimulated and challenged.

All my cats always have been, and always will be, indoor cats.  I thought my home was kitty paradise already.  There are lots of windows with views of trees, birds and squirrels.  There are window perches in two bedrooms for the cats’ viewing pleasure and for naps in the sun.  There are cat toys everywhere.

But it was kitty paradise for older cats, not for a young, energetic kitten.  So I worked on what behaviorists call environmental enrichment.  I created hiding spaces for Allegra.  Cardboard boxes work just fine, as do grocery bags with the handles cut off.  Cat igloos and crinkly tunnels are fun, too.  I bought extra scratching posts.  I added vertical space.  There are numerous ways to do this:  cat trees, cat condos, shelves or window perches.  I got puzzle toys for her; they’re a great way to keep a young cat entertained.  I set up treasure hunts to keep her busy, hiding treats throughout the house and letting her find them.

All of this environmental enrichment was designed to keep Allegra entertained when I couldn’t play with her, but it was never meant to be a substitute for regular playtime.  I use a lot of interactive, fishing pole type toys to play with her.  These toys are designed to imitate prey behavior and they help wake the hunting instinct in cats.  Tossing balls or other small toys for her sends her racing through the house.  I haven’t managed to teach her to retrieve, although cats can learn how to do this.  I have a laser pointer toy, but rarely use it.  Even though Allegra goes nuts chasing after the red dot, it’s a very unsatisfactory way to play for her.  Cats’ play mimics hunting behavior, and it’s no fun for them if they can never catch their prey.

With young cats like Allegra, burning off excess energy is important.  We established regular play sessions of 10-15 minute each, at least twice a day, sometimes more frequently.  Playing before meals, or just before bedtime, works best.  Once we had these regular play sessions in place, a lot of Allegra’s behavior issues disappeared because she was no longer bored.

Eventually we’ll add another cat to our family.  For now, Allegra is very happy to be the only cat in her environmentally enriched home.

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