Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – Music to Your Kitty-Cat’s Ears

We sometimes use music to cover up sounds that we believe might upset or frighten our cats—firecrackers on the fourth of July, for example or construction going on in the home. But does your cat actually enjoy listening to music? Does the beat or the rhythm resonate with Bootsie and Fluffy?

Experts say that cats don’t generally care for the music we listen to. Did you know that there is music composed just for cats? It’s called cat-friendly music and evidently it’s composed with the same frequency range as is natural to cats—sounds common to them such as purring. So if your goal is to calm your cat or give her a treat, don’t make her listen to your music. Make sure it is species-specific music.

You’ll find a sample of it to try out on your cat here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/cats-dont-like-human-music-play-instead/ and here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/355308040/music-for-cats-0

 

 

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Newsday Tuesday – Newsletters for Cat People

Occasionally I share resources here in case you want additional information, clarity on a cat issue, answers to a feline health problem, tips for changing annoying cat behavior, ideas for entertaining your cat, stories about cats, and so much more. Every week I find new material I think you’d enjoy. Did you know someone has composed music specific to cats? We’re going to talk about that in a future blog.

Today, I want to tell you about newsletters you might want to subscribe to in order to better understand your cat.

There’s the Mewsletter, which is primarily about cat health. Highly recommended as it features health care and veterinary tips: http://mewsletter.com

This Week In Cats promises everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cats. http://thisweekin.cat

http://www.catfaeries.com/newsletter.html focuses on good behavior and robust health for the modern housecat.

http://www.tuftscatnip.com/ Is a long-standing, respected newsletter on health and behavior news from veterinarians

Adventure Cats is a unique newsletter featuring cats who accompany their owners on adventures such as, travel, camping, climbing, kayaking. And you can send your cat story to be published in their newsletter, as well. http://www.adventurecats.org/newsletter

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Mindful Monday – What’s in a Cat’s Name?

Lily practicing her alphabet

How do you name your cats? Do you keep the name an older cat comes with or do you change it? Do you have a favorite name you’ve saved for the next pet you rescue? Maybe it takes you days to finally discover a name that will fit your new kitten or cat.

My mother had quite a difficult time naming her cat. This part ragdoll kitten (who looks nothing like a ragdoll) was hand delivered to her from my brother’s family in Idaho and she finally decided to name the grey-and-white kitten Shady. She couldn’t remember the name, however—kept calling him Smokey (which was the name of the cat she’d just lost). So Shady’s name became Smokey by default, you might say.

When my daughter brought Lily to us, we struggled for about 24-hours to come up with a

Lily sneaking a treat

name that would suit her. After watching the way this tiny kitten moved, played, interacted with us, approached the other cats, and so forth, I noticed how delicate she was, sweet, soft—she had the softest fur… I thought she should have a fragile name, and Lily was one of the sweetest daintiest, softest names I could come up with.

Sophie is a tortie and it didn’t take long for us to give her a name that we thought defined her rather old-fashioned coloring and style.

Years ago, when we decided to keep a robust little boy kitten—one of 3 we found in our woodpile one summer day—we knew his name should match his demeanor. He was playful, sturdy, confident, funny…I struggled over his name for several days. When I attended a high school graduation, I listened carefully to the names of the graduating students as they were called out and knew as soon as I heard it that this kitten would be known as Max.

When a head-strong, long-haired calico came into our life via the Humane Society one summer, she came with the name, Katy. We already had a cat named Katy, so we set out to change this young cat’s name. We threw out a lot of names in her direction and none of them would stick. Finally, we noticed that this cat always joined us when we went into the kitchen, that’s when we realized her name was Dinah. Remember the song…“Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah…?”

But probably the most unusual naming process I’ve been involved in was when my girls were small and we adopted a kitten from the animal shelter. My three daughters and I could not agree on a name. Finally, I suggested we let the kitten name herself. So we wrote our favorite names on pieces of paper and tossed them on the floor, hoping the kitten would grab one of them and that would be her name.

The kitten, however, didn’t pay any attention to the wads of paper when we tossed them. So we dipped each of them in gravy and tossed them again. This time, she rushed toward the wads, picked one up and ate it. Oops! Now she had a name, but we didn’t know what it was. So the third time we tossed the paper balls, we were quick to grab the one that attracted her and discovered that her name would be PomPom. Yup—the youngest daughter’s choice.

What are your most unusual cat-naming stories? Do you have trouble naming your pets? Did you know there are several sites listing names for babies as well as pets? I use them, actually, to come up with names for some of my characters in the Klepto Cat Mysteries.

 

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Frivolous Friday – Party With Your Cat

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Have you ever thrown a party for your cat? Last Friday we talked about sharing happy hour with your cat and I introduced the concept of wine bottled just for your cat. Well, it’s actually a mixture of catnip or fish oil. Today we’re discussing parties created especially for a cat—a birthday party, a kitten shower, a wedding?

Yes, I said kitten shower. Here’s a site with some ideas for a grand welcome for your newly adopted kitten. https://www.petfinder.com/cats/bringing-a-cat-home/kitten-adoption-throw-kitten-shower

And if you want to include your cat in your wedding plans, here are some tips: http://www.petful.com/behaviors/include-cat-in-wedding/

And here’s how to plan an amazing cat wedding (for you or for your cat)

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https://www.buzzfeed.com/catsparella/planning-your-dream-cat-wedding-1ruv

We had a birthday party for Lily’s first birthday and invited all the neighborhood kids who had enjoyed visiting Lily during her first year. She loves children and they were attracted to her, so it seemed natural to involve the children in her first birthday.

And I’m not the only crazy cat lady in the neighborhood. Our next-door-neighbor honored their beautiful Abyssinian on her seventeenth birthday and invited kids and adults alike.

If you wonder how what goes into giving a cat party, here’s a link that shows you how to throw the best cat party (or pawty) ever:

http://cattime.com/cat-facts/health/9679-life-hacks-for-cats-how-to-throw-a-cat-party

There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest for parties for cats as well as cat-themed parties. https://www.pinterest.com/explore/cat-themed-parties Here, you’ll find a variety of desserts in the shape of cats, kitty-cat decorations, games (such as pin the tail on the cat and cat bingo) and tons more.

 

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Thoughts for Thursday – How to Determine Your Cat’s Heritage

Katie

DNA testing for ancestry information is all the rage these days. We want to know what exotic race we’re from, who we’re related to, what our beginnings might be. Have you ever wondered about your cat’s genetic background? Well they now have DNA tests for cats.

Here’s basically how it works. At https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/cat/ancestry/faq.php or site http://www.catdnatest.org they test for 170 DNA markers. Once the race of origin is determined, the cat’s genetic profile will then be compared to the profiles of breed cats that have developed from the same race.

You might find it interesting to know that the major cat breeds were developed from only 4 cat races: specifically, from the Arabian Sea (Sokoke), the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkish Angora and Turkish Van), cats of South Asia (Ocicat, Birman, Burmese, Havana Brown, Korat, Russian Blue, Siamese, Singapura, and Australia Mist) and cats from Western Europe (Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Bengal, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Cornish Rex, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Siberian, Sphynx). Where does your cat fit in?

If I were to guess at our cat, Lily’s heritage, I’d say she’s part dog. Well, what cat brings you your slippers and curls up at your feet in the evening? Seriously, I wonder if her heritage might date back to the Angora from the Eastern Mediterranean or maybe the Maine coon because she has very soft medium-length dilute tabby fur and the sort of green eyes I’ve seen on some Maine coon cats. Or she could originate from Western Europe and have Norwegian Forest Cat heritage.

The coloring of our shorthair tortie, Sophie, is thought to date back to Celtic times and a

Sophie

male tortoiseshell cat (yes there is such an animal) is surrounded by all kinds of folklore in various parts of the world. Learn more about the Tortie here: http://cats.animal-world.com/Color-Pattern-Cats/TortoiseShellCat.php

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Wild (and Sometimes Crazy) Wednesday – On Your Cat’s Terms

If you’ve had cats in your life for any length of time, you probably know that everything’s on their terms. They get petted when they want, fed when they want to eat, curl up in your lap when they want, go outside when they want. If a cat doesn’t get his way, he makes your life miserable.

He’ll yowl, claw your favorite piece of furniture, chew on your new houseplant, knock over the vase of freshly-picked flowers, hide from you and cause you to panic when you can’t find him, trip you in the middle of the night when you’re on your way to get a sip of water, eat from your plate when you turn your back for a minute, chew the bow on a package you just wrapped, shed all over your new black slacks and/or any number of naughty behavior.

However, behaviorists tell us that cats do not understand or perpetuate acts of revenge.

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They don’t play payback. What we perceive as naughtiness or vengeance is simply a cat doing what cats do. There’s no malice or tit-for-tat intended—at least that’s what they say.

We know that cats are closer to their origins (the big cats) than dogs are to theirs. Are you going to trust that your precious little kitty-cat won’t revert back to their beginnings and commit a heinous act in your home? No, it’s best that we appease the cat. Give him what he wants when he wants it. Otherwise he can make your life at least uncomfortable and maybe worse. Those who you with cats already know that’s one reason why we spoil are cats. Right? And we love doing it.

And then there are cats who pay us back for treating them so well by saving our life. (Or do they do this for their own benefit, thinking that if she isn’t here anymore, who’s going to feed me?)

Today, I’d like to honor a cat hero named Grace. She was the saving grace for a family in Wisconsin when she alerted them to carbon monoxide fumes that were seeping into their bedroom. The couple were already experiencing the effects of the gas—they were disoriented, sick, feeling a lot of pain, but Grace’s persistent attempt to get their attention finally prompted them to call 911. All is well in that home thanks to Grace and the family has installed several new carbon monoxide alert systems. Good thinking.

Last month in Canada, a cat on sentry duty in his home at night noticed flames roaring in one of the rooms. He clawed his way into the owner’s bedroom and bit her on the arm. Now some might say he wanted her to get up and save him. Who knows—but everyone in the home that night got out safely thanks to the unnamed cat

Here’s a fun site listing other cat heroes. http://www.kittens-lair.net/history-and-famous-cats/cat-heros.html

What heroic cat acts have you witnessed? How do you spoil your cat?

 

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Newsday Tuesday – Protect Your Cat’s Health the Smart Way

Did you know that cats can suffer from diabetes, asthma, arthritis, acne, the cat flu, and even false pregnancies? They can get gallstones, glaucoma, gum disease, cushings disease, and even high blood pressure and cirrhosis of the liver. And a cat an have epileptic seizures.

These are all very good reason why you need to keep a close eye on your cat and report any physical changes or suspicious behavior to your veterinarian. This would include lethargy (in a typically energetic cat), lumps, rashes, tender spots, limping, bad breath, and any other changes you notice in your cat. If she’s sneezing a lot, she could have a foxtail in her nose, for example, especially as spring brings spring flowers and weeds.

When I had a horse, I learned how important it is to spend time with the animal. I thought this was mainly so you could bond with your horse—I mean, you are a team when you’re working together in competition or on the trail. When you handle a horse (or a cat) more often, they become more trusting; you learn about the animal’s idiosyncrasies and she learns about yours. And by my handling her more often, she becomes more gentle.

But another reason why you should interact regularly with your pet (horse, dog, cat, hamster, bird) is so that you can keep an eye on her health. The more you handle your animal, the more in tune you are about her personality as well as her health.

Groom your cat, pet her, examine her body. Look into her eyes, ears, and even her mouth. Feel for mats and internal masses. Notice if she winces when you touch certain areas, licks a spot over and over, is not eating, or is drinking more water than usual, for example. And when you detect something new, or even if it is something you’ve noticed for a long time and it isn’t quite normal, it’s time to take her to the vet.

Cats are living longer than ever before in history and one of the reasons why is better veterinary care. But our cats rely on us to get that care when it’s needed—in time to help the cat through any health issues that might arise.

Now, go pet your cat!

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Mindful Monday – Cats Eye Color Rule

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Before we get into our topic for the day, I’d LOVE to share excerpts from an email I received yesterday from a fan.

I just finished reading eight of the Klepto Cat Mysteries—now I’ve read them all. As I read from the earlier to the later, I noticed more depth. The characters become real to some extent. I can’t have a cat due to severe allergies so this is a great way to “have a cat.” At any rate, what I especially found interesting is the way you make it so that each story can stand alone and you don’t repeat explanations of who or what from prior ones by cutting and pasting the same paragraphs, which is something many authors do.  You make the explanations only the amount needed and fresh each time. Plus, you have a knack of ending a story without really ending it. You make one anxious to find out how unfinished parts of the story turn out. It was really hard to put down each story and I read way into the night more than once.  Really nice job!  You’re very talented…

Order either the Kindle and/or the print version of Book 22, “A Christmas to Purr About” here:

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Purr-About-Klepto-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XH4YR4P/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489750436&sr=8-1&keywords=klepto+cat+mystery

About your cat’s eye color. You may have noticed that kittens all come with dark blue eyes. But when they reach three months or so, their permanent eye color becomes apparent. It may be a shade of blue, gold (copper) or green. Pointed cats (those with light body and dark face, legs and tail) always have blue eyes. White cats are sometimes prone to have eyes of a different color—one is always blue and the other could be copper or green. The odd-eye phenomenon has also been seen in torties, although it’s rare.

When you see a cat with extreme color eyes—almost turquoise, for example, or brilliant gold or green, the color has usually been bred into the cat.

What unusual cat-eye color have you seen in your experience with cats?

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Frivolous Friday – Happy Hour With Your Cat

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It’s St. Patrick’s day. Many people—Iris or not—use this as an excuse to attend happy hour someplace and maybe drink green beer. Would you believe that some devout cat people even choose a wine bar where they can celebrate happy hour with their cat? Can you imagine sipping wine with your cat and even buying your feline friends a round?

Well, hold onto your chardonnay, folks. Cat lovers in Denver and in Fort Meyer, Florida have developed tiny bottles of wine for cats. There’s no alcohol involved, of course, unless you consider catnip a mind-altering substance. That’s right, they’re bottling mixtures of water, catnip and, in some cases, fish oil for cats and offering them at cat pubs and cafes and even selling them in stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Looking for the purrfect gift for a real cat fanatic, why not buy a bottle or a case of CATbernet or pinot meow. And tuck in a gift card for your friend to enjoy a drinky-poo with his pet at Cat Town Café in Denver.

With the advent of flea control products and kitty litter, introduced in the early 1900s, cats

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have been moved from the barn to inside the house. We’ve become more and more obsessed with and mesmerized by our cats to the point that we’re spoiling them rotten. Some of us even want to experience many facets of life with our pets—I mean think about it, you see dogs on leashes everywhere. In order to legitimize taking dogs into places where they’re typically not welcome, we put vests on them that say “therapy dog.” We take them to dog-friendly restaurants. And we spend millions per year on our pets.

With the Internet showing us how darn cute cats can be, more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon and buying designer cats and also, thankfully, rescuing those who need help. And even more cat products are being developed.

What is the most unusual cat item or pet product you’ve bought your cat? I buy tiny stuffed toys for Lily when we travel—a moose from Alaska, a lion when we visited the exotic cat rescue shelter, a turtle from the aquarium we took the grandkids to, and so forth. I bring home cat grass for them to munch on from time to time. But a bottle of PURRgundy or MEWosling? I doubt that will be on my cat-shopping list anytime soon. What about you? In case you’re interested, here’s a link: https://www.petwinery.com

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Thoughts for Thursday – Neighborhood Cats

I think just about every neighborhood has a collection of outdoor cats. Don’t you enjoy seeing them doing their cat-like things—going about their days in cat-fashion? I rather miss having my own indoor-outdoor cat. Our current cats stay safe inside all the time. We used to have a cat who insisted on having outside-time. Dinah would have it no other way and since she was in charge, we had to comply. She was always inside overnight, though. Sometimes we’d be summoned to let her out at night, but we’d always wait for her to come back in. She’d even go out for a potty-break when it was raining—very quickly, I might add.

My Himalayan, Katy, yearned to go outside as she got older. I was doing a lot of gardening then, and she wanted to be out there with me. So I started allowing her out while I was in the yard. She would always dart back into the house with me when I motioned for her to do so. Those are good memories.

Now I simply enjoy the neighborhood cats when I’m in the yard and I watch them from the windows chasing butterflies, following ladybugs, checking out snails, rolling in the dirt in a sunny spot, etc.

Not all cats are neighborhood-friendly, though. We had one terrorist cat living next door for about five years. Thankfully, his people moved and took him with them. Rocket, an ornery yellow tiger-striped cat, would attack our indoor cats through the windows, sometimes ripping claw holes in our screens. He killed birds. So I had to quit feeding birds for a good while. And he was not friendly to people, either. He’d pretend to be sweet, then he’d claw the heck out of your arm or hand or leg. One neighbor didn’t have screens on her windows and when she’d open them to let in fresh air, Rocket would sometimes sneak in and eat food left out or, worse, attack her older Abyssinian, Ruby. The cat was a psycho terrorist, I tell you! When you love cats, it’s hard to dislike one, but Rocket made it easy.

I think that Cats lend a warm, charming element to a neighborhood. When I’m out walking and I see a cat on a roof, through a window, on a porch, or playing on a lawn, for example, I can’t help but smile. Maybe some of the photos I’ve taken of neighborhood cats will make you smile, too.

 

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