It’s been a while since I posted and I am trying to get this blogging thing onto a weekly schedule.
I am very excited about the pending holidays and all of the yummy people food that seems to come out of the woodwork. Turkey, ham, duck, salmon and such, however, I do need to warn you, my feline fans to take it easy on the festive fare. I for one love the aromas of all that roasting deliciousness as it fills my nostrils and wakes me out of my periodic naps, and even though I will scream the house down until I get a tasty morsel, I do know that it is bad for me and so want to impart the friendly warnings to you. And not to mention, who wants to wear baggy sweats through the new year because of all the weight you gain? :-(
Some human foods are too fatty and spicy and have seasonings and oils that are not made to be ingested by kitty’s.
This type of food can cause us to gain weight, and may result in obesity which can lead to more problems which can mean more frequent visits to the vet, which you know we don’t like!
My mum does sometimes give me a small bit of the turkey liver and giblets (raw) for a treat around the holidays. :-) So take it easy with the begging this season.
It has been said many times over my long life that I am such a friendly and sociable guy. In fact, the ladies at the vet actually call me a “real gentleman”..Purr! I just have a way with the ladies,.
But then I know of other felines who are just downright skittish and nervous ninnies. My mum has a friend who supposedly has two cats, but no one has ever seen cat #2, as he always goes into hiding! So what gives with this broad range of pussy personalities? It is not because the humans are less than loving, but the humans do get exasperated as they just don’t know what to do to socialize their friends.
Well let me give you the skinny on the skittish:
Our wild ancestors, called Felis silvestris lybica came from the Near East and Africa, sometime between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. We domesticated on our own, unlike dogs and goats that were bred for hunting and herding, and up until 200 years ago, we had never been caged or captive bred. That means natural selection, not artificial selection, and led to the personality traits seen in domestic cats today. The Victorians changed all that when they started breeding us.
So, we cats really are the masters in the human-feline relationship.
Did you know that most house cats come from feral cats that made it past the first six months of life, and that there is no genetic difference them?
So, what makes a cat socialized is his early experience with humans. Cats handled by humans between 3 weeks and 7 weeks of age tend to be friendly and social. But if they make it past 7 weeks old without any human touch, they’ll be the skittish kitties that hide under the bed when guests come over.
Daddy Rules: Some recent research found that the tomcat has a strong influence on the personality of the kitty it sired. In this research, the friendliest cats at 1-year-old, were those handled by humans as youngsters and sired by the friendly tomcats. The least friendly were those that came from aloof tomcats and were left to their own devices.
Mamma’s Boy: Whereas other research has found a friendly mother tends to rear friendly kittens. But because mums raise their young, it’s not clear whether the mums are passing on their social ways through genetics or through imitation. After all, kittens could be learning to be bold or scaredy-cats by watching their mum interact with humans. But I am not sure about this as my sister and I came from the same mum and dad and we were both tended to by humans at the same age, but she was skittish, and I never have been! She was always frail in health though and perhaps that made her “shy”? She was cross eyed too, so perhaps she always saw two humans ready to ambush her?
My Persian cousins are apparently more aloof, (sorry guys, put if the collar fits), and Siamese are a dog-like breed and Maine Coons are friendly but not lap cats. At least, that’s what the cat fancier humans think.
Apparently Siamese cats are rated as more affectionate, playful, curious, friendly to strangers and chatty than non-pedigreed cats. Persians are rated as friendlier and more affectionate to the human, but also fussier about food and cleanliness than the average mutt cat. Being Himalayan mix, I would have to agree with this. I am very vocal and cuddly, but then I do have a lot of important things to say, and I’m a lover. I also do not care for a smelly or soiled litter box, and I do have discerning tastes at meal times. So sue me.
Even though they look like a gangster’s cat, the hairless sphinx cat may be the most affectionate — probably because they are naked and need more human snuggling to keep warm? Geez, put some fur on already. Exhibitionists! Supposedly, the least friendly cats are the mixed breeds, known as domestic shorthairs.
Then again, purebred cats may be friendlier on average because they spend more time with their mothers being socialized than those picked up on the street after weeks of hard knocks.
We are notoriously independent animals, and most of us that were reared on our own tend to thrive in single-cat households. Introducing a second pet can be stressful and problematic in later life. But if cats have been reared with other kittens from birth — such as siblings — they are often playmates for life. As I have mentioned earlier, my sister died at a young age, and after a brief, and traumatic interlude with a new house mate, I became a single cat, and I would like to keep it that way. (Are you reading this mum?)
So, what personality typew are you?
Thank Goodness that silly holiday, Halloween is almost over! However, being that the official day for human lunacy was a weekday, (Thursday), there will no doubt be a continuance of the shameful shenanigans throughout the weekend!!!
I was hopeful that when my mum fled the house in a fiend-ful rush last evening, that I could get in some serious napping, and as I finished off a nice meal, and kneaded my favorite throw into submission, I set out to close my eyes and dream of blind mice wandering aimlessly in to my open mouth, when I was rudely shaken out of my reverie. Someone, something, was knocking loudly at the front door. I was startled and jumped up onto all of my toes, fur straight out and tail in the air. Who could this possibly be? I heard what sounded like small humans giggling and then the sound of a constipated werewolf and surmised that it was “trick or treaters”, (whatever that means?) I have heard it talked of, but don’t really understand why you would send small humans out into a dark night wearing sheets over their heads, and asking complete strangers for food??? Now I get it that when one is hungry, one will meow rather loudly in order to get fed, but must you wear bedding to do this? And scary costumes? If you want to be scared, come up to the utility room where I keep my litter box. That should scare you. No costume required!
So I do what any cat would do in that situation, and I crawled under the bed, which is where I stayed until my mum came home, at some unearthly hour I might add. I’m not her keeper, I’m just saying….
She looked pretty bedraggled and had several different colors in her hair, which looked as though it had been dragged through a bush backwards. Poor thing. I wondered if she had been accosted by those small screaming humans outside, so I waited for her to shower the glitter and gunk off and did my best to comfort her with loud purring until she fell asleep on my tail!
So be safe out there my friends, and DO NOT open the door.
Last night my mum had a friend over for dinner, and while they were having an adult beverage, I thought I’d crack out my kitty crack (aka catnip), so that I could get a buzz right along with them!
It was the dried variety and organic, although I did have several plants of it growing on the balcony, and much prefer it, but my mum had it in a very hot spot, and the Florida sun burned it all up! Grrrr. Maybe in the spring she’ll replace it? The fresh stuff is good for rubbing on, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. But I’ll take it any way I can get it. The effects are wild and range from drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, and leaping about to excessive purring! Myself, I get frisky and silly and then I ‘crash’
I’ve known street cats in the hood to use too much at one time, and they can get aggressive, which typically makes them hiss, growl, scratch, or bite a human hand that might be holding it! It’s good for generally between five and fifteen minutes, but then the old nose gets tired, so approximately two hours after an exposure, we can appreciate another dose. And some of you have no sensitivity at all. Not all cats are affected by catnip. Apparently it is hereditary, so I can thank my birth mum and dad! Only about half to two thirds of cats are affected by this amazing ‘weed’! Too bad, you are missing out man!
Studies have not yet proven whether wild cats like lions and tigers feel the benefits of this wonder drug, but I am thinking they do. Have you ever watched Animal Planet and seen those lion dudes hanging in the trees? Those guys are tripping man.:-)
People often wonder if it’s safe for their felines to ‘use’, and I say, “hell yes!” I also hear them say, “Is it addictive, and is it worth having your house trashed due to the ensuing ‘stoner’ tearing up of the house antics?” And again I say “Yes!” So before you humans out there think you are enabling a ‘junkie’, and that we are being harmed in some way, STOP!” Cat nip, or Nepeta cataria is actually completely harmless, and is a naturally grown member of the mint family.
We have a special genetic disposition to this plant, which can change our mood and behavior, causing us to become anywhere from highly active to completely mellow, and some cats are not affected at all. The lucky ones of us who do respond to catnip may sniff it, roll in it, and eat it, and when it is placed inside a toy or bed, makes playing even more fun.
For indoor cats, especially, catnip can be a very healthy addition to our lives. By ingesting catnip (up to one tablespoon per day), we get a bit of the greens we need to stay healthy that outdoor cats consume on their prowls. Also, it can also give us a bit more exercise to help keep us fit!
But keep a few things to keep in mind when purchasing catnip. Don’t buy the first dime bag you are offered in the alley. Look for catnip that only has leaves and flowers as part of its makeup. We like the buds man, but don’t take a baggie with stems as these do not give any effect, and some suppliers even put fillers in their packages to bulk up their product. So choose your dealers wisely.
Also, it should be certified and pesticide free. We don’t want to be ingesting unknown chemicals along with our healthy dose of ‘nip.
So Dude, have a fantabulous, psychedelic, euphoric day man.
There’s a chill in the air these days now that fall, or autumn as my English mum calls it, is here. I am now an indoor cat, although I used to have free reign of the ‘hood’ when I was a younger man, and only when my mum was home. I think she would worry about me being stolen because I am so handsome!
I now reside in a townhouse and I have a balcony that I can step onto and check out the she cats, and to keep down the lizard population! So, the days of basking on the table out there are slowly diminishing, and I have to let my mum know what she needs to do to prepare for my comfort. It’s all about me you know.
Even though we cats have fur (except those freaky looking Sphinx guys), both indoor and outdoor varieties can get cold, so what’s to do? Obviously my long haircut (I used to be a hippie) keeps me warmer than those of you with the city slicker ‘do’, but I still feel it, especially now I am a ‘mature’ man. (My mum says ‘senior’ which I hate. Hissssssss.)
If you are an outdoorsy guy or gal who doesn’t like to be inside for too long, it’s important that your humans make adjustments around the house for when the temperatures get below zero, especially below -10. They can create access for you to get into the garage, and create a warm place with blankets. It’s important for you to have shelter during those cold days.
I have heard some outdoor cat friends of mine say that their humans gave them a small dog house with blankets in it! Now to me that’s a bit insulting, but as long as it is fumigated and cleared of slimy bones, I guess it’s better than nothing? But blankets in shelters for outside cats is not the best thing, as material wicks moisture. Instead, try hay. Plastic boxes do fine too, and with an extra cardboard box inside you add extra insulation.
Grooming in the winter is another important consideration. I actually love to be groomed all year long, but winter is very important because some cats grow a really thick winter coat, so you have to make sure it doesn’t get matted. Wet and matted hair can cause diseases of the skin, not to mention look real ‘nappy’, and who wants to be a ‘nappy cat’?
Winter air can be really drying. It makes your skin itchy and dry and that can happen even if you have never been outside before. My mum rubs a lotion on her self that has coconut or something in it, but that stuff is not for me. Rather, try B-complex vitamins which have fatty acids in them which will help to keep the skin from drying out.
You guys who live outdoors for most of the time will burn up a lot more calories during the winter to stay warm. I prefer to conserve my calories for important things like chasing catnip mice and playing in clean laundry, so you might want to get some more calories, as you need those extra calories to grow a thicker coat and for energy.
Felines in frost prone places can get ice balls between their toes! Seriously! You can get your human to melt this quickly with a hair dryer on the lowest setting that they hold about six inches (15 centimeters) away from the foot and keep moving until the ice is melted. Personally, I would not be able to stand that. I even hate it when my mum blows on my fur, and I will swat her when she does, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so if your toes are frozen together like little fish fingers, let ‘em do it. While they’re working on the toes get them to check for any signs of scrapes or cuts on the paw pads. If so, they can apply a bit of first aid ointment containing an antiseptic to prevent infection. To keep your pads soft, you can try hand lotion with aloe vera (but try not to lick it off!).But, it is not only outdoor cats that need to stay warm but indoor cats as well. You might ask your humans to keep warm spots available during the day for you. For example heating pads, an extra blanket or fleece/thermo-blankets. Or they can use their own body temperature to keep you warm. I sleep with my mum in the big basket (she calls it her bed), and if it gets really nippy and she doesn’t put the furnace on, I actually creep under the blanket and snuggle with her. I think they call that ‘spooning’?
If you have been outside for too long you can get frostbite. This is a nasty condition that damages skin and other tissue due to freezing. The symptoms are: flushing, swelling and itching of the affected area. If you think you have frostbite, get someone to rub you gently with a blanket or their hands to raise the temperature of the frozen parts. But be careful, because when they do too much rubbing, they will only cause more damage. So it’s important to have them contact your vet as soon as possible.
You can also get hypothermia (or low body temperature)–a condition in which the temperature of the body drops below the required temperature. (The normal temperature of a cat ranges from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 to 39.2 degrees Celcius)). The symptoms are: shallow breathing, a weak pulse and/or shivering muscles. With hypothermia it’s very important to get warmed up and to contact your vet as soon as possible.
There have been some tragic accidents when outdoor cats have climbed into the warm engine compartment of a car, and fallen asleep. Some human starts the car, and kitty becomes a hood ornament! Not cool! So, it might be a good idea to either NOT go there, to leave a sign on the windshield saying you are there, or to let humans know that it would be a good habit to start checking under the hood, bang on it or honk the horn before starting the engine?
So, hopefully my mum will read this blog, and realize that it is not necessary, nor acceptable, to dress me up in some stupid snowman sweater!
As Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d share one of my outfits; “Little Devil”!