Cats: The Wiggle and Pounce

So, we’ve all seen it from our cats: the wind up wiggle before jumping or springing up onto something. Some cats do a small wiggle and others, like my guy, wiggle for so long that the pounce is often anti-climatic. There are countless videos of cats wiggling and some have been made in to a meme.

The question is: Why do they wiggle?

Well, it’s not just little house kitties who wiggle. Big cats like tigers and leopards also have the pre-wiggle pounce. It seems to be, as we can guess, in preparation to a successful pounce and for big cats who hunt, that can mean catching their prey. So, we all kind of guess that, right?

But, the wiggle helps line up the back legs. It also can help a cat assess how strong or level the ground is underneath them for the jump. The wiggle helps cats balance and also prepares their legs muscles for the big push. It’s kind of how we may take a few small practice swings with a bat or golf club.

The wiggling may be innate and possibly also learned. If you’ve had several cats in your life, you may notice some of them wiggle more than others. I have two cats. One hardly wiggles, he just jumps and pounces and sometimes doesn’t get his toy. The other one wiggles and wiggles and wiggles and jumps farther and lands harder on his toy. I have no idea how long my wiggle cat was with his litter before he was up for adoption. My less wiggly cat I found at 5 weeks old, so maybe he wasn’t taught how long to wind up before pouncing? Who knows.

Some veterinarians believe this movement also is a way for cats to shake out their muscles the way an athlete does before a game. It’s a “warm up” and may just be the cat version of flexing and runs in tandem with dopamine flowing that flows during hunting or playing.

Do you have a video of your cat wiggling? Share it with us!

The Sphynx Cat: Bald And Beautiful

In the mid 1960s a kitten was born that had no hair. This was a mutation that was totally unexpected and started the breed known as the Sphynx. Hairless cats had been born before and documented dating as far back as the 1800s but it wasn’t till the last 50 years that people strived to create and reproduce this rare cat.

Sphynx cats have hair but it’s thin, fine, and creates a suede feel. Their skin is visible and you can see the wrinkles and true body that a cat has by looking at a Sphynx. Some Sphynx cats have short, tightly packed fur around their muzzle, tail, and feet. Their skin has pigmentation that can vary from cat to cat and their fur may also reflect the pigmentation.

What kind of personality do Sphynx cats have?

Sphynx cats are social cats. They are curious, playful, and enjoy being the center of attention. They are very bonded to their human companions and will try to get your attention by either doing something silly, sticking their face in your face, or doing something clumsy. Those who love the breed believe the Sphynx may do some antics on purpose as a way to say, “look at me!”

These cats seem to get along well with other cats and dogs and may snuggle up to their fellow four-legged siblings or you. Be prepared to find the cat under the covers with you at night as they do get chilly and will want to be right next to you. They may even want their own pillow to try to nudge you off yours!

Health-wise these cats have not shown any dominating issue. They are hearty and have a good bone and muscle structure. They do require extra care and attention since they do not possess fur like many of their feline friends. There are some lines of the breed that may have heart problems, but a good breeder will have tested the adult cats and tell you. The Sphynx do not shed but they do get oily. These cats need baths or wipe downs on a regular basis to prevent them from becoming too dirty and greasy. No one wants a “cat print” left on their couch from where an oily Sphynx was sitting. Their ears also need to be cleaned frequently as well.

Because they have virtually no fur, these cats should be indoor only to protect them from the elements. They can also be prone to sunburn do to lack of fur that can deflect the rays. This doesn’t just apply to letting the cat outside but also if they dose in the sunshine coming in through the windows.

Myths about the Sphynx:

Many people believe that because this cat lacks fur that it is hypoallergenic. This is not true. It is not the fur that people have allergic reactions to but rather the dander and oils that a cat’s body exudes. If you are allergic to cats, you may find that this cat is easier to tolerate as long as you are vigilant about keeping the oils and dander to a minimum.

If you’ve thought about getting a rare breed like the Sphynx, there are several organizations that you can contact and learn more about their adoption process. Having one of these funky felines will amuse you and may inspire you to take up knitting and make sweaters and booties for your bald buddy!

Image from Sphynxilicous

6 Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

Sometimes we can’t take our pets with us. So what do you do?

You can board your pet at your local vet or find a daycare that does boarding. You could also find a neighbor or a friend who may be able to stop by and feed your cat or bird. If your pet has a special need, it might be best to look for a pet sitter who is experienced with dispensing medications or behavioral problems.

Here are 6 tips to finding a good pet sitter:

Ask your vet – any pet sitter who is working hard and is building a reputation will have reached out to others in the pet industry and local community. Your vet may have clients and others who use a pet sitter or knows of one that comes highly recommended. A pet sitter who has established a good rapport with a vet can be a sitter than knows the importance of pet care and takes the job seriously.

Ask your friends – anyone can look good on a flyer, advertisement, or website. If you aren’t sure about a pet sitter, ask your fellow pet owners who they have used or liked. Even the locals at your dog park may have a good recommendation.

Questions – once you’ve found a pet sitter, ask for references and ask some questions such as is s/he insured, bonded, and what training, if any, has s/he completed? Will the sitter make notes about your pet and update you while you’re away? Is the sitter associated with a vet who can provide emergency care? Does s/he have a contract? A google search too may bring up reviews of the sitter on various websites like care.com or yelp.

Read the contract carefully – the pet sitter will have complete access to your house and belongings, take care to ensure that all the discussed care and other jobs (taking in mail, watering plants) are listed in the contract. Review the amount of time your pet will be the pet sitter, how long the walks will be, play time, and other services.

Test run – a few days before you go away, ask the pet sitter to come by and meet your dog, cat, hamster, fish. See if your pets are ok with the new comer and how they all get along. Take the dog out for a walk with the pet sitter. See if the cat comes over for a pat on the head. Use your instinct and see if you feel at ease with your pets in their care.

Emergency plan – if your pet becomes ill or injured what is plan have you agreed upon with the pet sitter? Some pet sitters have a plan set up such as calling the client before taking the pet to the emergency vet. Others have resources that are readily available. Ask if the pet sitter knows CPR or knows of the local 24 hour emergency animal hospital.

What other tips do you have?

Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

My cat is pretty good about using his scratching post but lately he’s taken a liking to the mesh weave of my office chair. It’s fairly new so the last thing I need is my chair to become nothing but a string of threads. I’ve yelled “No!” sharply and clapped my hands to startle him and so far that’s been working but he’s determined and I’m not always home. If your cat also has taken a liking to scratching things s/he shouldn’t, try the three D’s.

The Three D’s: Deter, Displace, and Dull

  1. Deter – use double sided tape which can be picked up at any hardware store. Pet stores also sell a less sticky version with names like “sticky paws.” Place the tape on objects that your cat is scratching. Cats tend to hate the feeling of their feet getting “stuck.” Also, if you have a water gun, a small squirt may also deter your cat. However, use a small pistol not the super soaker.
  2. Displace – if your cat doesn’t have a scratching post or maybe it’s worn out – buy a new one. If the location doesn’t seem to appeal to your cat, move it. Provide different types to see which your cat prefers. Some cats love the carpeted type while other prefer cardboard. Also, if your cat prefers scratching wood furniture, consider buying a cat post made of cedar or pine. Place on catnip on the posts to entice your cat too.
  3. Dull – trim your cat’s nail as part of a regular grooming routine. Keep treats handy as most cats squirm and don’t like this. It can take time to get your cat used to nail trimming so go slow and don’t be discouraged if you only get to trim one claw or one paw at a time. Reward your cat for being a good sport with treats. Another idea is to try the soft claw nail caps that glue on to the nails and typically last about month. These take the edge off the scratching and prevent cuts and gashes into furniture and you.

What else do you do? Let us know!

Bathing A Cat Or What Not To Do On A Sunday Afternoon

Cats tend to take care of themselves when it comes to staying clean but sometimes they need a bath. They may have rolled in something gross or maybe you need to bathe them to help with your allergies. Sometimes your cat may smell like a port-a-potty on a hot day… don’t think about why… they just do now and then.

So you’ve prepped your bathroom with a towel, pet shampoo, and a way to rinse all the shampoo off, so now what happens?

Tips to bathe a cat

  1. Get in the tub – Cats are quick, nimble, and can shred a shower curtain in under .03 seconds. What to do? You are stronger than the cat. Hold him still as best you can, fill the tub with a few inches of water to slow down the skating around he’ll do trying to escape, and if you have a sliding glass door close all openings except where you are kneeling. If your cat has moves of a jungle cat, you may want to consider getting into the tub with him and closing the glass shower doors completely. Sit on the ledge and begin wetting your cat down. Be careful of the face and ears. You don’t want to get water in their eyes, ears, or nose.
  2. Protection – Cats have claws and won’t hesitate to use them. Your advantage here would be to wear long sleeves or kevlar. The best outfit is a hockey mask, soccer goalie gloves, chainmail, canvas jeans, and work boots.
  3. The element of surprise – Use your ninja skills and surprise your cat. Pick up your cat like it’s just another day and pet him. Get him to be a little happy and carry him towards the bathroom. Your cat won’t care that you look like you’re dressed for halloween. They have little to no interest in your fashion sense. Once you get to the bathroom, close the door, and yell “AH-HA!” with an air of triumph.
  4. Speed – It’s essential to getting your cat washed, dried, and clean. In a single motion, wet your cat down, shampoo, and rinse! Having a few inches of water in the tub will not only slow your cat down but will also wet his feet, legs, belly, tail, and give you a few seconds to get his back wet. The head is last and often the hardest. You may want to avoid the head until you’re a black belt in cat baths. Shampoo him up quickly and begin rinsing by turning on the shower or faucet and quickly moving the water over his body. This may be the wildest and scariest 3 min of your life.
  5. Slippery Critters – Cats do not have handles or grips on their bodies. A wet cat is slippery. Do not expect to hold him for more than a few seconds at a time. This is when the glass doors of the shower come in handy. He may run around but he can’t get out. Rinse like crazy and then get ready for the final step – drying.
  6. Drying and Crying – Drain the tub. Ignore the screams and wailings of your cat. Once all the water is drained you will notice your cat will have calmed down a little. Drying is going to be simple compared to the previous steps. This is because the cat has now attached himself to your leg and your pants are absorbing all the water. Reach for the towel, wrap it around your cat, and carefully step out of the tub. If he squirms let him sit on the floor as you dry his fur and get most of the water off his tail, legs, and belly. Now you’ll have a clean, freaked, soggy cat walking around the house for a few hours. Be aware, chances are he’ll be sitting on your bed in a few minutes leaving a wet spot of loose cat fur on your blanket but he’s clean! Isn’t that the point?

Image from OhYeahTotally

5 Cat Adoption Tips

Like any decision, adopting a new cat is a choice that needs to be thought out and everyone in your house should agree to the idea of bringing a new cat home. There are a number of things that you need to consider such as your needs, time you can dedicate to a cat, money, and small annoyances that could arise such as paw prints on your table, scratch marks on a piece of furniture, fur on everything, and cleaning the litter box. Cats also live quite a long time, so even adopting an older cat can still mean a decade of life together.

Here are 5 tips for choosing the right cat for you

1: Research – before taking home a new cat, spend time with him/her. Do some homework to the estimates of vet bills that it could cost, behavior cats have, and how your house can be cat-proofed to cut down on dangers. When you do make a trip to the shelter, read the bios each cat has and ask questions. Get to know each cat. You may need to make several trips to the local shelter before finding a new forever friend.

2: Personality matters – playful cats are great but some may play too rough and if you have small children, it could mean some scratches and wild times. A lap cat is great to hug and pet at night and that may mean seeing if the cats you are interested in are comfortable being held and pet for a few minutes. Some cats become over stimulated and nip after being pet for a few minutes. Adult cats tend to be more calm than kittens and many of them have lived in homes already so they may not explore and be as curious as a kitten, meaning, you may not come home to find your cat dangling from the top of the curtains or tangled up in the box spring of your bed because s/he thought it would be fun to tear a hole and go exploring.

3: Choose a cat that matches your lifestyle – kittens are awesome and goofy but they do require some training and may not know where the litter box is, may not know that climbing your table’s legs is bad, and may chew on plants. Adult cats tend to be a bit calmer but some are also still very curious and silly. Find a cat that seems to be on your level. If you’re looking for a calmer cat, consider older ones. If you have time to train and discipline, check out the younger ones. If you’re thinking 2 cats would be good, look at siblings to cut down on the “getting to know each other” period.

4: Ask questions – some cats have come to the shelter or rescue group with conditions that require some extra TLC. Ask about the health history of the cat. Make sure you know of any medical conditions that are pre-existing. Also, ask if the cat has had any problems with illness or required any medical care while in the shelter. Many cats tend to get colds in the shelters but some may have ongoing problems like diabetes, thyroid issues, or other problems.

5: Bring your new cat to the vet – upon getting your new furry friend, schedule an appointment with a vet for a checkup. The vet will make an assessment of the health, advise you on any vaccines that may be needed, and what food may best benefit your new friend.

Have you adopted a cat recently? Tell us what it’s been like to have a new family member!

Image from VetProfessionals.com

Is Your Cat Peeing On The Bed?

In October I got a new kitten. It was unexpected. He was found in the backyard and his litter mates and mother were gone. I took him home, took him to the vet, and slowly introduced him to my older cat. As the weeks went on I let him explore the apartment room by room. One night I decided to let him sleep in the bedroom. The kitten peed on the bed. He peed on the bed about three times. I did a lot of laundry… a lot.

Anxiety

Once my kitten grew a little more, became more confident about his surroundings, and got used to things he stopped peeing on the bed. From what the vet and I talked about it seemed he was experiencing anxiety. This is not uncommon. Cats tend to pee in other places other than their litterbox to signal something in the house is upsetting them. If your cat is peeing outside the box and on your bed, or on your clothes, or anywhere, identify what could be the new stressor.

Checklist

Here’s a checklist of potential stressors that may help you identify what it is that your cat is upset about.

  • Is the litterbox clean?
  • Did you change litter?
  • Does the litter box need to be cleaned more often?
  • Is the litter box big enough? Is it accessible?

  • Is it a covered litterbox?
  • Is it in a quiet place?
  • Did your hours away from home change recently?
  • Did you move to a new place?
  • Are you not giving your cat the same amount of attention that you used to?
  • Did someone new start coming over? Staying over?
  • Do you have a new roommate?

Also, try making play time and treats something you do on the bed, in the bedroom, so that your cat associates the bedroom with a place where s/he eats. Cats tend to not want to urinate where they eat. Take it slow, be patient, and it’ll work itself out. If you suspect it might be a health issue, a trip to the vet is in order.

Image from https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BrslabJCYAADMs9.jpg

Cats of Instagram

Is your instagram account getting a little boring? Tired of seeing all your friends’ pics of their feet at the beach or their pics of food? And then the celebrities we follow… lots of selfies going on there… goodness.

Well, maybe it’s time to add some new accounts to your list of following. And who’s better than cats?

4 Cats of Instagram Accounts to Follow


pudgethecat
Pudge is definitely pudgy. She’s a female cat who has a better mustache than most hipsters and enjoys rolling around on the bed and naps.
Follow Pudgethecat

Hamilton, The Hipster Cat
Ok, I love this guy. He’s got style, makes great faces, and his mustache is something the barista at my fav coffee shop aspires to have… He advocates adopting from shelters as he is a rescue cat himself.
Follow Hamilton

Snoopybabe
I’ve seen this cat pop up in some memes and now know the account. This exotic shorthair has the cutest “confused” face ever. What is even more fun is her owner sometimes dresses her up in little outfits. This cat makes me laugh.
Follow Snoopybabe

princessmonstertruck
This cat was rescued and lives in NYC. She’s named “monster” because of her damaged jaw and the slightly off fangs that are permanently jutting out. Some of her most recent photos show her with her summer buzz cut… poor cat.
Follow Princess Monstertruck

Any other cats of instagram that you follow? Let us know!

Cleaning the Litter Box: How Often Is Best?

Your indoor cat has been kicking litter out of the box and onto the floor for a few days and now has finally gone to the bathroom on the floor right next to the litter box. What gives? Your cat isn’t showing signs of illness and has been playing, purring, and doing the usual cat things he does. Before you get scared and call the vet thinking it might be a medical condition, check the litter box. When is the last time you scooped it?

Some cats, like people, are more bothered by unsanitary conditions than others. Some cats can go for days in a row without getting upset while others will protest after a day of an unclean litter box. Think of how long you can go without cleaning your house or the bathroom, I bet it’s different than some of your friends.

Litter boxes need to be cleaned on a regular basis and if you have more than one cat, it is something that needs to on your list of regular chores. What’s a good schedule?

For one cat, depending on the finicky level, scooping everyday should be fine. It’s even better if you scoop soon after your cat has done his business in the box. There are some self-cleaning litter boxes that you can buy to make this job easier on you. They have sensors and will rake the litter. The thing is, if you cat is standing too still or is nearby when the litter box begins cleaning, it can scare him. If you have a house with multiple cats, then hopefully you’ve also invested in multiple boxes, and clean them everyday.

In addition to scooping the box on a regular basis don’t forget to clean it out. Washing it with hot soapy water will keep odors and debris from building up. On average, wash plastic litter boxes once a month and replace them after about a year. The scratches made from cat claws against the plastic can create small crevices where debris and smells can get stuck.

If your cat still seems to be showing problems then you may want to talk to your vet and to figure out if it’s a medical problem, behavioral, or just a reaction to new stimulus.

Image from Moderndaypets.com

9 Ways Your Cat Shows Love

Cats have that reputation for being aloof, for not being able to express companionship like a dog, and for not being as responsive as dogs. But, despite these old stereotypes, many people know that cats cuddle, purr, and do show affection for their owners. It’s just not in the same way as dogs.

Next time your “dog loving” friends tell you cats aren’t as affectionate, tell them these 9 ways that cats show love.

  1. Forehead touch – Also known as head bunting, this movement is the head butt to your chin, your leg, or hand. It’s how a cat shows affection and contentment.
  2. Cheek rubbing – Yes, it’s a way for cats to “own” something but it’s saved for objects in the house and you. Which means, you’re his and he’s pretty happy about that!
  3. Tail twitch – This one isn’t always obvious because cats often walk with their tails up but if it twitches a little when s/he approaches you, that means “Hooray! I like you!!”
  4. The Cat Stare – Cats don’t make direct eye contact with strangers. They save it for those they trust and love. A cat that stares are you and then slowly blinks is a sign of affection. Blink back.
  5. Purring – It can be for different reasons but if you are around a cat long enough you can learn the different types of purrs. A deep, full body rumbling purr when s/he’s sitting on your lap or settling down to sleep in bed with you is your cat’s way of saying, “I’m happy, I love you.”
  6. Kneading – It’s a behavior that’s left over from kitten days and it’s a sign of affection. Many behaviorists has said that cats kneading you is a comfort action and means that the cat loves you, feels safe, and is showing affection.
  7. Licking You – Not many cats lick people unless maybe they are offered a treat and then lick the hand. But some cats will groom and sometimes chew their owner’s hair. Yes, it’s kind of gross and it’s not fun to wake up to a cat licking your temples but it means you are special.
  8. Bring You Gifts – Dead birds, dead mice, or a toy are all signs that your cat respects and loves you. It’s a sign of trust and friendship. Your cat is sharing her prey prize with you.
  9. The High-Pitched Trill – Cats have many vocalizations ranging from a tiny mew to a full on howl. Listen for th chirping or trilling noise your cat may do when s/he sees you. It is a sign of affection. If you trill back, which kind of sounds like a “hmm” your cat might perk up and insist on sitting on your lap.

Image from Newswatchreport.com