Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cat Trees and Other Important Toys For Your Feline

This article is intended to detail the importance of keeping your cat healthy by giving them exercise through fun activities. You can also keep your cat keen with wits and eyesight through some of these tools and activities as well. So, this article is about all kinds of objects and structures such as cat trees, an array of toys, and other things.

Owning a cat is sometimes a good deal of work. A lot more work than many realize, I'm afraid. In the world of household pets, you are unlikely to find an animal as independent and freethinking as a housecat. This is why it is so difficult sometimes to earn their love and trust completely, and cats are well known to make you work for it.

But how do you earn the affection and adoration from your cat? Seems like a crazy concept, considering dogs almost instantly take a liking to everyone they meet. Dogs form bonds with those who pet and feed them. It might seem ridiculous, but cats really enjoy gifts that they know is just for them. So we should delve a little deeper into some of the best gifts for your deserving feline.

Toys for felines are rarely close to the same as other domesticated pets. Dogs, for example, will have an array of squeaky toys and knotted ropes and so on. This is to ensure that when it is time for play, the human is getting involved as well. Cats, on the other hand would prefer you to purchase the toy, leave it somewhere that they can get to it, and go on about your business elsewhere. You are not required for a cat to have fun.

So what is your cat going to love if you were to purchase it? You might be surprised, but I have found that many, many cats love cat trees. These handy little toys can be rather complex if you are willing to pay for it. It can also just be a glorified scratch post, which was what I believe to be the original concept. Since then, though, these impressive toys have offered so much more for your cat's entertainment.

Now typical trees are two to three different platforms, all boasting interesting toys and areas for the cat to hang out. If nothing else, an enclosure when he/she would like to get some undisturbed resting accomplished. Additionally, the tree would also feature at least one scratch post (but often more than one).

Then you might think: what else could I get for my cat? The trouble with this question, is that there isn't one direct answer. In fact, there are a ton of different answers. This is in part due to the truth that all cats are different. What might be fun and exciting for one, could bore the tail off of another. You just have to go through a process of trial and error and figure it out for yourself and for your cat. When you learn what type of toys your cat likes, buying should become a snap.

The only thing that I have seen work with many cats (even at once), are cat trees. Whether simplistic or elaborate, they are irresistible to felines, because cats love to climb and pat and scratch. This is the perfect environment to allow them to do all of the things they love.

Guest Post by Carol Navagato
If you have a cuddly feline, then the
cat scratching tree is something they would enjoy. Every cat needs to have something to dig their claws in. It is best they use cat tree furniture and not your furniture.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can Cats BE Normal?

When I saw this headline about cats in the New York Times, Is Your Cat Normal? I had to LAUGH. I even laughed out loud. Then I went and read the post. It made some good points. I did not know about wool eating cats.

However, there are so many cats in this neighborhood it is really easy to see there are a lot of individual differences in cat behavior. Some things are common ground.

They all sniff a lot. Some mew and some meow and the part Siamese ones howl. Their purrs are different. And even though there are no worms in them, 2 of them never seem to have enough to eat. Only one has a reason for that. She is still a nursing momma cat.

We have not seen her kittens yet so when they surface they will surely be feral and wild. That is too bad. She hid under the shed out of reach when they were being born and half the cats in the neighborhood sat on the patio watching the shed. A few hours later the brave cats tried to sneak into the space that was way way way too small for them. The next morning the momma cat and kitten or kittens had moved to a different location.

Two of these cats LOVE water. We call it "puddle patrol" after it rains. One will go to each and every puddle in the driveway and on the patio and swat at it, swish a paw in it and then drink from it. No matter how much we put into a fresh water bowl, they all prefer to drink from the rain water collector basin. I must empty that every few days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in it.

So, it is hard for me to tell what is normal in a cat. They are such independent creatures. Some are lap cats and some don't want to be touched much at all. But they all keep themselves clean unless they are sick. So I guess that is a good sign of normal behavior.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Finally My List of Cat Breeds

Even my closest friend had a "fit" reading about the alley cat. In the list of breeds they have a more sophisticated yet homogenized name "moggie".

So, this is an alphabetical list of many cat breeds. Since there are SO SO many pages online with fantastic photos and profiles of these breeds I am only listing the names.

American Bobtail
American Curl
American Ringtail
American Shorthair
often these are viewed in a mixed breed form and are very common as Household Pets or Moggies
American Wirehair
Australian Mist
British Shorthair
British Longhair
California Spangled
Cornish Rex
Devon Rex
Dwarf Cats
Don Sphynx or DonSkoy is hairless
Egyptian Mau
Exotic Shorthair
Havana Brown
Household Pet(Moggie)
sometimes called Alley Cat!! See American Shorthair above. All of my cats have been moggies.
Japanese Bobtail
Kurilian Bobtail
Maine Coon I love these huge furry cats!
Minskin is a hairless breed
Norwegian Forest
Ojos Azules
Oriental Shorthair
Persian (Modern) One of my neighbors has 3 Persian cats, all indoor cats.
Persian (Trad) Peterbald
Russian Blue
Scottish Fold
Selkirk Rex
Siamese (Modern)
Siamese (Trad-Thai)
Snowshoe Somali
Sphynx is a hairless breed
Turkish Angora
Turkish Van
Ukrainian Levkoy is hairless
Ussuri is one of the hairless breeds

The site I enjoyed the most with profiles and photos, aside from Wikipedia is
Pictures of Cats. Have fun.

Cat Breeds - Feral and Domestic

For thousands of years cats did just fine with managing their own breeding! At the beginning of their domestication they were primarily used for hunting and for killing rodents of all sorts. Essentially to keep rats, mice, shrews, voles, etc. from eating the grains that early farmers and settlers had stored away. And they did that well then and still do.

A farmer friend of mine does nothing to care for his barn cats except make sure they have their shots to prevent various diseases like rabies and feline leukemia. They breed prolifically and are managed by local predators, like hawks, owls and coyotes.
Their population keeps his barns totally free from rats and other rodent invasions and their population is relatively stable because he does not interfere with natural predation. But those are “working cats”, he does not view them as pets.

For the purpose of having domesticated cats as pets, people began breeding and selecting particular traits to suit their preferences. As mentioned in an earlier post the precise number of breeds varies with different cat registries and ranges from 40 -70 distinct breeds of cats. Even within those breeds there are variations with the length and color of their fur.

Some Japanese cat breeds can be traced as far back as 1000 years or more, like the Japanese Bobtail. During Medieval Japan, they were very well known. Today it is hard to find them anywhere.

In North America the most common breeds include the Persian cat, long haired cat and the alley cat. Siamese cats are another common cat breed. They are exceptionally curious and can be temperamental. The precious Persian cats are quite popular and they become gentle and loving companions. But be careful, they can be very expensive, too.

Who decides what cat is an alley cat? They are the most common in North America. Even though they are different breeds and there are thousands of them, many people simply call them alley cats. They can become very good pets. Many of these cats are homeless and simply continue to breed independently.

How do you recognize their breed? Look at them. Do not depend on the color, it is not always reliable. Body type and shape combined with their type of fur and eyes are all a part of the cat breed identification process. I always used to identify Siamese cats by their distinctive posture and coloring with black ears and tail. Recently I learned that they are often all black, or nearly so. One black kitten that is part Siamese is exceptionally playful and flexible in our neighborhood.

Millions of people around the world own cats. Consider your lifestyle before you get a pet, particularly a cat. Some will be much better pets if they are living with another cat. If you are away from home often that will be distressing for a cat who prefers less change in its surroundings.

Caring For Your Cat

Did you know that cats are some of the best loved pets you are able to own? There are many breeds to choose from, the most popular are the Siamese and the Persian. Most cats are domesticated, though some are considered feral because they have escaped into the wild and continued to reproduce without domestication. Maybe as far back as 8,000 years ago, cats became domesticated as pets. Like any other pet it will cost money and some knowledge to properly care for it.

Among these costs will be food, litter, scratching post, some toys, a carrier and dishes for food and water plus a bed or bedding of some kind. But what people often forget is the need for vet expenses. You will also need to plan ahead for vet expenses. At a very minimum your cat will need annual shots and an annual exam at the veterinary hospital. You ought to also get an ID collar too, just in case your cat ever gets lost.

Feeding your pet will depend on his age. Older cats require two small meals or one main meal each day. However kittens need to eat more often. Their tummies are too small to handle much at a time. I have observed kittens at about 5 weeks of age eating just about every three hours(around the clock). Between 3- 6 months old they still need to be fed about 3 times daily.

While you will soon learn that cats love canned or wet cat food, if it has been out of the can for more than half an hour it should be discarded. A lot of people simply leave it on their dish figuring the cat will eventually eat it when it gets hungry enough. That is not a really healthy choice for your cat. In addition, the wet food does not have the same dental hygiene benefits that dry cat food does.

Don't overlook the cost. Wet cat food, whether it is in pouches or cans is likely to be more expensive and that will add up quickly, especially if you are tossing some of it out each time you feed your cat. If it is at all possible you want to train your cat to avoid what I call "people" food. It is appealing to be able to pass on the unfinished leftovers so you feel like you have less waste but it is not really a healthy choice for your cat. This will also discourage your cat from rummaging through the garbage while it is outdoors and unsupervised.

Many people leave a fresh supply of dry cat food available for their cats. It is also essential to leave an adequate supply of fresh water too. Whenever you get dry foods, you think in terms of the health advantages and avoid the generic foods as much as possible. Often lower cost foods do not contain the proper nutrients for your cat.

If you have a kitten, you give it specifically kitten food and remember to clean the dish every time it is used. This is also true for the water bowl. Keep it clean and fresh.

You are surely aware that most cats and kittens like cow's milk. But it can cause diarrhea, so minimize your use of it in their diet. Consider it a treat if you want to but frequent doses are not healthy for your cat. This is also true for treats. Keep them as occasional treats and they will be appreciated. But too many treats begin to be expected and can lead to obesity and poor health in your pet.

One reason many people like cats is how clean they are. They do a good job of keeping themselves clean. So you won't need to bathe them very often. On the other hand, it is good to brush your cat's fur on a daily basis. At least once a day will reduce hairballs and help your cat keep clean. If there is a question of fleas or other insects, you will notice them during your grooming sessions and then you can take appropriate action. If your cat is entirely indoors, that is very good. But remember to clean the litter box daily and wash it out once a week. Cats prefer clean litter boxes. Just think for a moment, cats have a better sense of smell than you do, so it you can smell it, imagine how the cat feels about it.

A well cared for cat can be an excellent pet providing you with years of entertainment, and companionship. By taking the cat to the vet regularly you are helping keep your cat healthy. By preventing illness you will learn what is "normal" for your cat and take better care of your feline pet for a long time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Insurance for Cat Health Care Or Not?

Every responsible cat owner should give due consideration to health insurance for their family pet. Ask yourself some questions to guide yourself to a good choice of a policy for you and your cat.

Which is better for you? A discount plan or a comprehensive insurance plan?

Does your vet accept pet insurance? From Your Insurance Company? Some vets only accept specific policies. Do you like your vet better than you like your insurance policy?

Some expenses and procedures cannot be handled at the local clinic. Will your insurance cover added expense for University or specialty clinics?

Unless you are planning to breed your pet, you ought to neuter it as soon as possible. There are some differing opinions on this but your cat and the neighborhood peace of mind will benefit from a spayed or neutered animal in the area. Be sure to check whether your insurance covers the cost of neutering. You might as well get your annual exam and shots for rabies, etc. at the same time. They cannot give rabies shots to pregnant cats.

What about deductible costs with your cat's insurance plan? Can you afford it? How much will you need to pay each month for your cat's health insurance? A higher deductible amount will reduce your monthly premiums.

Can you pay for medicine or prescriptions if your cat is injured or sick? Does your insurance cover this expense? Some companies offer a co-pay for your cat's prescriptions to keep you overall fee lower.

Will your cat's health insurance cover the cost of visiting the vet's office? Sometimes that can be as much as $65 just for the evaluation of what the cat needs for proper care. The best time to think about the various types of pet health-care insurance is before you get your cat. If you did not decide then, think about it now before your cat gets sick or injured. Statistics show us that it is in the early years that most cats will be injured or become ill. One exception to this is ailments that accompany aging. So if you plan ahead, you can be prepared to make a better decision about your cat's health care insurance or not.