Stress Stopper

How to Help Your Cat Cope with Fireworks

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The 4th of July is probably a cat’s least favorite holiday. I know it is at our house. Even Ruby, who was not afraid of thunderstorms, became unsettled when fireworks started going off in our neighborhood. Allegra used to be terrified during fireworks. Thankfully, the last few years, she’s handled the noise better. What makes dealing with fireworks so challenging is that the noise usually begins a few days before the holiday, extending the stress for cats beyond just one single day.Continue Reading

Emergency Preparedness for Your Cats: Lessons Learned

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Tornadoes are a rarity in my part of the United States, but occasionally, we get some pretty wild weather. This past Saturday, a strong cold front was coming our way. Ever since the freak derecho storm that moved through here in June and left us without power for 48 hours, I’ve learned to pay attention when the sky gets dark. I also know to give Allegra Storm Soother and Stress Stopper at the first signs of any storminess. She’s come a long way, but she’s still a bit afraid of storms and prefers to ride them out in her safe space: behind the shower curtain in our downstairs bathroom.

After giving her the remedies, I checked the Washington Post Capital Weathergang Twitter feed, the most reliable weather source in this area, for updates on the coming storm. I certainly didn’t expect to see a tornado warning, with my immediate area directly in its path, and the words “TAKE COVER IN INTERIOR ROOM NOW!” Let me note that the Post rarely uses caps in its Twitter feed, so I knew they meant business.

Allegra was already in the downstairs bathroom, which is probably the safest room in our home. Continue Reading

Keep Your Cat Safe During Home Improvement Projects

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If there was a feline equivalent to the human Holmes and Rahe stress scale, which ranks 43 stressful events that can contribute to illness, I’d guess that home improvement projects are at the top of the feline list of stressors. Not only are cats creatures of habit, and any change to their home environment, even something as minor as moving a piece of furniture, can cause stress. Home improvement projects come with noise, upheaval, potentially harmful tools and chemicals, representing just about everything a cat does not want to deal with.

If you’re planning  home improvement or remodeling projects, there are things you can do to minimize stress on your cats.

Designate a safe room

This should be a quiet room, as far away from the construction noise as you can get. Put beds, food, water, toys, and cat trees and scratchers in the room. You may want to get your cats used to staying in this room a few days before construction begins so they associate it with something pleasant. Leave a radio or tv on in the room, this may act as white noise and block out some of the construction sounds.Continue Reading

Allegra and Ruby like it hot

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Their mom, not so much. Actually, I do like hot weather and don’t mind temps in the 90’s – but not when those 90’s are inside my house.

We were affected by the massive power outage that hit the Mid Atlantic after a severe storm known as a “derecho,” a term I don’t ever want to see in a weather report again, came through here this past Friday night. But why don’t I let the girls tell you what happened.

Allegra: Friday night, we were all snuggled up in bed with Mom, and I had just started to drift off to sleep when out of nowhere, this rush of wind hit the side of the house. It felt like the whole house was shaking!

Ruby: Wha? What’s happening? I was sleeping!

Allegra: I jumped off the bed and ran to my safe place.

Ruby: Mom? Why are you getting up? We just went to bed!Continue Reading

Allegra’s World: overcoming fears

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Hi everyone, it’s Allegra! Today, I get to brag a little. I wasn’t going to even write about this, but Mom is so proud of me, and she said if I should share with all of you how brave I was last week.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while probably remember that I used to be very scared of bad weather. I know lots of kitties are afraid of thunder, but my fears went beyond that. I even felt afraid when it rained a lot. The way that rain sounds against the roof and windows – oh, it was just so scary!

Thankfully, I have a good, safe place for riding out storms. There’s a small bathroom in our basement. It has no windows, so it’s nice and dark in there. There’s a shower stall with a curtain, and that’s where I hide: in the far corner, behind the curtain. It’s cozy and quiet there.Continue Reading

Ruby’s Reflections: Fireworks and Vacuum Cleaners

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It’s about time that I get to write on here again. Just because I’m little doesn’t mean I don’t have lots to say!

You’ll be happy to hear that I’ve refined my wake up tactics. I’m quite pleased with myself! In addition to bouncing all over the bed, I’ve now added chasing my tail to my repertoire. I dance and whirl around like a feline dervish (I have no idea what a dervish is, but it sounds cool), but I can never catch it! It’s a little frustrating, but quite entertaining! And evidently, it adds to Mom’s morning pleasure, because her groans get even louder than when I just jump up and down on top of her. Sometimes, she even participates in the game by giving me a gentle kick from under the covers. I love that! It makes me slide off the bed, and I jump right back on, and for good measure, I bite Mom’s toes through the covers! Wee!!! Sometimes, I get distracted because Allegra wants to get in on the game and starts to chase me out of the bedroom, so Mom gets a few extra minutes of sleep. Suck up! I think she just does it to earn brownie points with Mom.

We had some excitement the other night. All of a sudden, there were all these weird noises coming from outside. It didn’t sound like thunder, I already know what that sounds like, and unlike Allegra, who’s afraid of storms, that doesn’t bother me at all. But this was different – kind of a popping noise, followed by some swishy sounds, and then it sounded like sssssssss, weeeeee, ppppoooowww! I had to go see what that was! I ran to all the windows and looked out, but couldn’t see anything.  Mom said it’s called fireworks, and that it was coming from some neighboring yards.  Allegra, of course, was afraid of the noises and hidden away in her safe spot behind the downstairs shower curtain. Mom gave her her magic water (Ingrid’s note: Spirit Essences Stress Stopper has worked really well for Allegra’s fears of storms and loud noises), but she still wouldn’t come out.

I’m not afraid of anything! I’m a brave kitten! Bring it on! What? What did you say, Mom? Oh. Alright. There is one thing I’m afraid of, and that’s the monster Mom brings out once a week. She says it’s called a vacuum cleaner, but that’s far too kind a word for something that roars and eats small things that are on the floor. I mean, what if it eats me? I’m small! Oddly, Allegra isn’t afraid of the monster at all, she just sits a few feet away and watches Mom push it all through the house. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because she’s bigger than me, and the monster can’t eat her. Thankfully, I found a place where the monster can’t get me: right on the very top of our big cat tree in the living room. I can keep an eye on things from up there, and keep a safe distance. So far, the monster hasn’t figured out how to climb.

And just so you can see what I have to put up with, here’s a video of me taking a leisurely bath (aren’t I just too cute!). And then – well, you’ll have to watch to see what happened!