Emergency Cat Situations

Having a cat means a lot of purrs, meows, and head butts but it can also mean being prepared for unfortunate and sometimes unforeseeable accidents. When traveling or just at home, your cat may find him/herself in some sticky situations and it’ll be up to you to give comfort, safety, and ease any pain until you get to a vet. If you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to get your cat to the vet immediately but if you are traveling, finding the emergency vet can be tricky and may be in another town or miles away. Until you can get there, there are some things you can do.

Emergency Situations and What to do

Skunk! – It happens. Your cat strolls outside into the yard and comes face to face with a skunk. The skunk freaks and sprays your cat. What do you do? First, make sure your cat has not been bitten or injured as skunks can carry rabies. Yes, your cat will smell horrible and you’ll be slightly grossed out to pick her up and bring her inside but you’ll have to or at least bring her into the garage.

Your cat will need a bath. You’ll need help and old clothes that you don’t care about. Get some dishwashing soap,like Dawn, tomato juice, towels, cat safe shampoo, and a tub or basin for washing your cat. Fill the tub with three to four inches of water, put your cat into the water, wet her down, soap her up with the dishwashing soap to break up the oils from the skunk spray, rinse with clean water (you may need two basins – one with clean water, one with the cat in it), pour tomato juice onto the cat and massage it in for about 5 to 10 minutes, rinse, and then shampoo with the cat shampoo, let that sit for another 5 minutes, rinse. Once your cat is completely rinsed, lift her out and wrap her in towels and place her in a warm dry place. Some of the smell may not be completely gone and her eyes might be irritated. Hopefully you’ve also been able to get in touch with the local vet and can bring her there shortly afterwards to make sure she’s ok.

Broken Bone – Before you get your cat to the vet, control its bleeding and confine its movement before you get to the hospital. Approach your cat slowly as s/he may be freaked and scared. If the fracture is closed, place the cat in a carrier to confine movement and get to the emergency vet as soon as possible. If the fracture or broken limb also has an open wound, rinse the wound with clean water. Don’t use any antiseptics or peroxide to clean the wounds. Wrap the leg with a clean cloth or sterile bandage to control bleeding. Then place your cat into a carrier and head to vet.

Choking – First, open your cats mouth by pressing either side of the jaw, and look to see if the object is there. Don’t tilt your cat’s head back. If you see something obvious, use tweezers to get it out but you’ll need help. Be careful since your cat may freak and try to bite you. Also, you might accidentally push the object further down. If your cat is choking on food (my cat has been known to do this) hold your cat upside down and press on its chest with both hands and pat on the back. A vet visit is, of course, needed afterwards to make sure your cat’s throat is ok and there’s no lacerations.

Electric Shock – Cats and kittens will sometimes chew on electric cords. It’s not common but it does happen. In this situation, do not touch your cat, but unplug the cord and if your cat is breathing, pick her up and bring to her a vet asap. If there are burn marks around the lips you can treat them with a little hydrogen peroxide but that’s it. Make sure to unplug the cord before touching your cat or you could get chocked too. If your cat isn’t breathing, perform CPR and get your cat to the nearest emergency vet as soon as you can.

Heatstroke – Cats who suffer heatstroke need treatment as soon as possible. Get your cat into a cool bath and apply a ice pack to your cat’s head that will help bring the temperature back down. Once you’ve gotten in touch with your vet, take the cat and place her into a carrier with the ice pack placed under her head and a towel that is soaked in cool water under her body.

Image from Simplycatbreeds.org

4 Tips For Petting Your Cat

It may sound simple and you might be thinking, “what? I know how to pet a cat.” Cats and dogs alike interpret our actions differently than we do. For example, have you ever been tying your shoes and your cat tries to catch the laces? Or have you ever swung your arm up and away from your dog when carrying food which then excited her to jump up? In both instances, these were “playtime” signals to your pet. To us, it was either trying to leave the house or trying to get your food safely to the table. Cats and dogs see the world differently than we do and notice details that we overlook such as light dancing on the surface of a glass or bowl of water which may make a cat or dog paw at the water and leave us wondering “what are you doing?”

Here’s 4 tips on how to pet your cat

  1. Let your cat sniff your hand. Extend a few fingers or your whole hand near its nose. Don’t put your hand too close as this could be seen as a threat and your cat may react by nipping, pulling away, or jumping back. Think of how your cat sees the world. A hand coming at their face too quickly or monopolizing their whole field of vision can be scary. If your cat shows no interest, then wait till another time. However, if your cat rubs its chin or cheek against your hand, that is the sign that it wouldn’t mind some attention.
  2. Begin petting your cat from behind the ears or around the side of the head. Use your fingers instead of your whole palm. Using your whole hand may make the cat feel like you are about to grab it by its scruff. Some cats like to be scratched behind their ears and under their chin but watch for the signs that this may be unwelcome. A tail flick, ears moving back, or a head recoiling are all signals that they are not enjoying being touched. If that is the case, try lighter pressure and follow the direction of the fur in small strokes. This simulates a mom cat licking her kittens and is often a safe bet when petting a friend’s cat, new cat, or even your cat.
  3. Next step is to pet down the length of your cat’s back. Run your hand smoothly and slowly along the back and apply a little pressure till you get to the tail, then start again from the back of the neck. Keep petting from the head to the tail and don’t move to try and pet the sides of the cat. Some cats will flip out and grab you with their paws and might bite. This is a definite “STOP THAT!” message from your feline to you. Many cats also are not fond of being patted, so avoid doing that. Some cats also become overstimulated and may try to grab your hand after a few strokes. If this happens, freeze. Do not pull your hand back or fight back as this can trigger your cat to bite down. Making a loud noise with your other hand like slapping a table may startle the cat to let go. However, if you stay still, a cat will often relax its grip and let go. Their prime motive is to stop whatever it is that is causing them discomfort and when they see your hand no longer moving or making any attempt to pet them, they will let go.
  4. Unless your cat really likes it, don’t pet the belly. Cats that are relaxed sometimes will roll on their side or their back. This isn’t always an invitation to pet their belly like a dog. For some cats, touching their belly might mean play time and they may want to swat your hand and wrestle. For others, it’s a vulnerable spot and touching it can incite aggression. If your cat doesn’t mind its belly being pet, pet in the direction of the fur and watch for signs that it’s becoming uncomfortable such as legs curling in, tail twitches, and maybe even the “death stare.” If your cat relaxes they may begin to close their eyes or blink slowly and purr. They may even fall asleep and reach a paw out to touch you. Some cats, including one of mine, may even stick their tongue out. Keep in mind that cats can vary and some cats prefer to just be held. Find what works and don’t be discouraged.
  5. Do you have more tips? Share them with us!

    Image from Twitrcovers.com

Cat Adoption Checklist

Thinking of adopting a new cat? Make sure you have your butt covered from start to finish!

Before Adopting

  1. Do your current pets like cats?
  2. Does your current residence provide a good environment for a cat?
  3. How will your social life or work obligations change to care for a cat?
  4. Anyone in your house have allergies?
  5. Do you have the time, patience, and finances to care for a new cat?
  6. What type of energy level would work in your house?

Cat Costs

  1. Can you afford a few hundred bucks for adoption fees, vet visits?
  2. Food – the higher quality food, the higher the cost
  3. Collars and id tags
  4. Kitty litter
  5. Grooming supplies
  6. Regular vet visits
  7. Toys and scratching posts
  8. Carrier

Time – Are you around enough to:

  1. Feed and water daily – for kittens you may need to feed several small meals
  2. Give at least 30 min to an hour of attention to your cat a day
  3. Brush and groom regularly
  4. Engage in play everyday

Items

  1. Food and water bowls
  2. Food
  3. Litter box and scooper
  4. Litter
  5. Collar and ID Tag
  6. Cat Carrier
  7. Nail clippers
  8. Brush or comb
  9. Variety of toys
  10. First-aid supplies
  11. Enzymatic cleaner

Image from Scotsman.com

When Your Cat Doesn’t Like Being Pet

I had a cat that didn’t like being pet. She tolerated it but sometimes would walk away or turn around and smack me with her paws. She preferred to be picked up and carried around. If I just picked her up and stood there or sat down she would jump out of my arms and stare at me. I had to walk. She liked to travel through the apartment. Petting, scratching under the chin, hugging, and cuddling were not options with her. It was not bad, just different.

Recently, a study from the Journal of Physiology and Behavior has found that cats who are reluctant to petting might actually experience stress when owners touch them. Part of the study focused on whether or not cats’ reactions to petting had anything to do with them living with other cats, and it seems it does. Cats who have not spent time with other cats when they were younger were more likely to not welcome petting as a sign of affection than those who did live with other cats or still live with another cat(s).

Does this mean that cats can live in colonies? Possibly. Does it also give some insight about keeping litter mates together till they are older? Possibly.

When I worked at an animal shelter, the custom was to keep kittens with their mothers and siblings till they were 7 to 9 weeks old. It helped them socialize with each other, made sure they were weaned properly, and learned tips and tricks from their mom. It also reduced their stress of living in a shelter since they had siblings to play with and snuggle with when napping. So, maybe cats who have been solitary from an early age and not well-socialized with people will prefer to live with us, like the comforts of a warm bed, water, and food but not care too much for physical touch. They may just like the company.

One of the best things to do when living with cats is observe their likes and dislikes, see what they prefer and give them their space. One cat I had loved to look out the window, another loved to drink water straight from the tap, and my cats now don’t care for red meat but love turkey. Treat them like the individuals they are and they will be less stressed and you will be too.

Whatever you do – don’t do this

Image from LoveMeow.com

Cats Adopt Human Habits


This article in Discovery News is a few months old but made me sit back and think about the habits I have that my cats also seem to have. I can validate that one of my cats has a habit of walking into the litter box when I’m in the bathroom, regardless if I’m brushing my teeth or putting away towels. The article discusses some new research into how cats adjust and live with us, sometimes taking on our routines.

In a study with two groups, cats that were primarily indoor reflected the awake and sleep patterns of their owners, ate when their owners did, and seemed to alter their own natural nocturnal cycle to their owner’s cycle instead. The other group, a group that had cats that were indoor/outdoor showed that the cats had a bit more autonomy. This matches the behavior of cats that are a little more independent and as the article noted, matched the behaviors of semi-dependent cats with more of a feral way.

The article goes onto speculate about the personality traits of cats and how they may match their owners in terms of shyness, trust, calmness, and timidity. Overall, a quick and fascinating read for anyone who has cats and wonders why or how they just “know” it’s time to get up, time to “make coffee,” and react to friends and family who visit.

To read the article, visit the Discovery News page.

Image from petfinder.com

4 Comic Book Superhero Pets

Did you know that some of our most famous comic book heroes had pets? There was a point in time when the universe of DC and Marvel had some strange story lines and some alternate “what ifs” for our costumed heroes. Sometimes heroes battled in space, sometimes they quit their jobs and went on a “walkabout.” And sometimes they had a pet that helped them protect us from the evil guys. Who wouldn’t love a pet with superpowers or a sidekick that is loyal to the end? Even our superheroes know how great it is to own a pet!

4 Superhero Pets


Gleek – If you watched the cartoon, Superfriends, from the late 1980s you may remember Gleek, a strange blue space monkey who lived with the Wonder Twins. He was more of a comic relief type of character but when duty called, he could use his tail to pick up the heaviest things you could imagine: cars, big metal tanks, people, and help fight crime with his Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna.

Krypto – I don’t remember Krypto but I know the name. He was Suprboy’s dog from the 50s comics. Krypto was sent in a rocket into space and drifted for years before landing on earth and being reunited with Superboy. Because of the Earth’s gravity and sun, he was powerful like Superboy and was intelligent. He helped Superboy save us from evil guys and his alter ego was “Skip” the family dog.

Lockheed – he is Kitty Pryde’s dragon. Yup, a dragon and a member of the X-Men and Excalibur. He has saved the day a few times with his fire breath. He can understand human speech and is able to speak but doesn’t often talk. He can fly, has sharp claws, and is very bonded to Kitty, in fact they can communicate telepathically.

Streaky – This cat became a super cat when Supergirl tossed a piece of Kryptonite out a window and her cat came across it. After being exposed to the radiation, Streaky became a super cat! He had super vision, super speed, and super strength. He also was intelligent, perhaps smarter than the average human. Streaky lives with Lana Lang now and has had a few appearances on the cartoon, “Batman: The Animated Series.”

10 Tips for Boarding Your Cat

There are times when you need to board your cat. Your cat won’t understand what is going on but will definitely react to the change in environment and be confused. In order to lower the stress and panic that your cat may have while being boarded it’s important to find a place that’s quiet, allows your cat to have its own space, and clean. Boarding a cat at your veterinarian may be fine if your cat is laid back. However, if your cat is like my cat, boarding at a vet is out of the question. I can see it now; my cat would sit in the corner of the cage, hiding his head under a blanket or the litter box and mew the saddest sounding mew ever to be heard. Whenever my cats have had to go the vet separately, the one who stayed home hisses and runs away from the one coming back from the vet. I think the smells of the hospital are seared into their brains as “OH NO! THAT PLACE!”

What can you do to find a good facility that will care for your cat and isn’t as scary as a vet hospital?

Here are a few tips to finding a good place for your cat to stay while you’re away

  1. Start searching for a place early. Don’t leave this as a last minute to-do. Ask some friends who also have cats or your vet.
  2. Take time to contact the recommended facilities and go check them out. A good facility will let you see the layout, where cats are kept, and let you know of their policies.
    Questions to ask:

    • Cost
    • Vaccination policies
    • What do they do if your cat becomes ill or injured?
    • Are they accredited with the Pet Care Services Association
  3. Are the cats in a separate area away from the dogs? If not, you may want to look for a cats-only facility if your cat does not like other animals.
  4. What is the daily routine at the facility? Feeding, cleaning, playing, and monitoring of the cats is important.
  5. Check to see if you can bring the food bowls, a blanket, and some toys.
  6. Can you bring the type of litter that your cat is used to using? Some cats are extremely finicky and may not use the litter box if the litter is different.
  7. If your cat needs medication make sure the staff is trained and able to do dispense it and make sure your cat gets the correct dosage.
  8. Check to see if you are allowed to bring the food your cat is used to eating. Ask how they handle cats that are so upset, they may not eat.
  9. Make sure the place smells and looks clean and is free of parasites.
  10. Look around to see if their business license is somewhere on the walls, if not, ask to see it.

When you pick up your cat check the fur for any scratches or bugs. Also, be prepared for your cat to slink around the house and re-explore, s/he may even want to hide for a night. Do not try to over baby your cat their first night back home, let your cat adjust and relax on its own. By the next day, your cat should be back to its old routines and happy to be home.

Image from White Angel Animal Hospital

12 Great Gift Ideas for Cats

The holidays are the ideal time to splurge a little on loved ones – and for those of us whose households include cats, that means finding gifts for them, too. We all know how finicky cats can be, so picking the perfect toy or treat may not be easy – but with this selection of gift ideas for cats you’re sure to find one that’ll suit your feline friend.

>> And don’t miss these excellent gifts for people who love to travel with their pets!

Fantastic Gifts for Cats


Peek-a-Prize Pet Toy Box

This is a great toy for cats. Hide toys, catnip, anything in there and watch your fuzzy friend jab and smack through the holes as he tries to fish them out. 
>> Buy it on Amazon

Cat Dancer
My cats have this toy and they LOVE IT! It’s a simple cardboard rolled up piece on the end of a wire that’s similar to a hanger. It swings, waves, and simulates the way a fly moves around. It’s a great deal of fun for your cats and easy to engage your cat for a good 15 min of play.
>>Buy it on Cat Dancer

Petmate Crazy Circle Interactive Cat Toy
Fun interactive toy with a ball enclosed in the plastic ring. Openings on the side allow your cat to paw the ball around.
>>Buy it on Amazon

PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge
This is a 2 in 1 toy, a scratcher and a lounger. Your cat can tear at the cardboard and then take a nap without moving an inch.
>>Buy it on Amazon

Peek-A-Prize Balls
These balls are great to use with the Peek-A-Prize Pet Toy Box or alone to roll around the house. Your cats will chase and bat them around the house.
>>Buy it on Amazon

Mylar Balls Cat Toys, 4-Pack
I’ve been buying these toys for the 16 years that I’ve had my two cats. They love them. Light and easy to bat around the house and yet made of mylar so they make a crinkly noise that keeps the cats stimulated.
>>Buy it on Amazon

KONG Beaver Refillable Catnip Toy
Refillable plush toy that will last for years. Pop some catnip inside and watch your cat go nuts.
>>Buy it on Amazon

Foam Soccer Cat Balls
Light weight and silent when being tossed around the house, these are great and last for a while. They are also bouncy so you can also throw off the wall and watch your cat jump to try and catch them!
>>Buy it on Amazon

Multi-Level Cat Climber
Don’t have too much room in your apartment but your cat keeps jumping on your furniture? Then check out this multi-level climber that hangs off the back of a door. It’s stable, has sisal posts for scratching, and fits on most doors.
>>Buy it on Amazon

KONG Swizzle Bird Cat Toy
I have one of these for my guys and it’s a great toy for when you are too tired to move but your cats are ready to play. It’s like “fishing” in your living room. Your cats will chase and try to hold and bite onto the end and if your cat is like mine, pull the rod right out of your hand and run away with it!
>>Buy it on Amazon

Lounge-shaped Cardboard Scratcher
This cardboard scratcher is designed to allow cats to stretch and flex as they scratch as well as nap if they want to afterwards. It’s a fun tiger print on the sides. Scratchers are great toys for maintaining claws, exercise, and training devices to help cats learn to scratch appropriate toys and not your furniture.
>>Buy it on Amazon

Angry Birds Birds Gone Crazy
Did those pigs and birds drive you crazy? Well, let your cat get revenge for you as he bats them all around the house. These plastic balls are designed to look just like the characters from that addictive game. Perfect for indoor play and they don’t mock you.
>>Buy it on Amazon

What treats or toys are you getting your cat this holiday season?

How to Turn an Outdoor Cat into an Indoor Cat

As summer comes to a close and the nights become cooler, you may begin taking out the air conditioners, pulling out the blankets, and putting away the summer clothing. Your cat, however, may not want to come inside but it’s important to protect her/him from the chilly weather. Or you may have decided it’s time to no longer let your indoor/outdoor cat go out anymore due to age or traffic.

Not sure if you’ve noticed but cats are drawn to warm spots and will lay in the sun for hours or sleep next to the heater. To the point where it seems dangerous. My cats one time singed their whiskers sleeping too close to the radiator. When it’s too hot, it’s good to keep all the pets inside with fresh water. When it’s getting chilly, it’s also important to make sure the pets are inside and comfortable. If your cat is being stubborn (if?!) and doesn’t want to come inside or stay inside, here’s a few things that can make the house just as fun as the yard and streets.

Make Indoors As Fun As Outdoors:

  1. Window perches – will allow your little lion to look outside and something to jump up on instead of the counters
  2. Scratching posts – allow your cat to mark, sharpen his nails, and something to climb even if it’s not as high or exciting as a tree.
  3. Food and Water – your cat may be grateful to not have to hunt around for something to eat or drink. Fresh water and good high quality food will make your cat happy and calm.
  4. Cat-friendly plants and toys – catnip and wheat grass can give your cat something to chew on and the toys help with exercise and mental stimulation.
  5. Litter box – granted it is not a toy or food, a litter box is important and your cat will take to it fairly easily. Just keep it clean and in a place that’s easily accessible.

Providing alternatives to climbing trees, chasing birds, and digging around in garbage may make your cat happier and more relaxed. Your cat might not want to go out or try to bolt out the door if it seems the “good life” is laying on the couch, training you to feed him, and having a bed to sleep on when you’re not there.

It’s safer for cats to be inside for so many reasons and cold weather is just one of many. It doesn’t take much work to make sure your cat is happy indoors, just a few toys, something to scratch, and a comfy place to sleep which is probably going to be your bed.

Image from PetProductGuru

Caught on Video: 5 Wacky Cats

If you are someone who keeps up with the latest internet memes, then you probably know who Grumpy Cat is and have seen that cute, scowly cat’s face with funny captions under it. The most famous being “No.” With the day to day hustle we all do, bills to pay, jobs that we sometimes don’t want to go to, and everyday stressors, pets can really be a blessing. Sometimes they also contribute to the stress but mostly they are just being themselves and indulging in their unique attributes.

Today is one of those days where I wanted to just stay home, lounge, and drink coffee but I had to go to work and get things done in the morning. At least now I get to take a break. I’ve spent the last few minutes watching videos on YouTube of cats that have very unique, quirky personality traits and silly habits. Does your cat have some uniqiue or bizarre trick? These guys stand out to me.

Here Are 5 Videos of Cats Being…Themselves

Winston is not a normal cat. He chews on things like chopsticks, plastic lids, and loves sushi. He also is very attached to his bananas and is not keen when his owner takes one. As his owner put it, every meow is like Winston saying, “Hey! Drop it!”

This chubby tabby really has a thing for sliding around on the floor. There are several videos of this cat sliding out from under a couch, laying and pulling himself across a floor, but this one of him sliding into the soda cartons and then wearing it like a corset is my favorite.

I’ve given cats baths. Some fought tooth and nail to get out, others liked being shampooed up but hated the rinse. I’ve never met a cat that wanted to soak and relax like this one.

This black and white cat knows how to walk a kitty. Do you?

And finally, this cat knows how to get around the house without exhaustion. My cats run from the vacuum and anything that moves like this. They would never ride a Roomba.

Do your cats have any unique personality traits like these guys? Walk on their front paws? Stand up and beg like a dog? Share your videos with us!

Image from CatsThatLookLikeRonSwanson