So Ron settled in so quickly at home and soon was making great friends with the Maine Coon’s Tutti, Foxy, Rocky and Graeme and Monty the Nebelung. It really has been one of the easiest kitten introductions I have ever had and that is down to just what a laid back breed the American Curl is and…
Walking the cat – Harness a Curious Cat for a Lively Stroll
Cats live longer these days, due to improved food, regular veterinary care and indoor living, but there’s another aspect of health to consider. To thrive, cats need mental and physical stimulation, which outdoor adventures naturally deliver.
Leash walking’s a great way for cats to get fresh air, exercise and explore, says Utica, New York, Veterinarian Debra M. Eldredge, author of Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook. Kitty’s senses are activated in such expanded horizons. For trips outside the yard, Eldredge advises, “Choose your places and times; you don’t want to mingle with joggers and skateboarders.”
Cats have definite preferences. “Jagger walks around the block with my husband, Rob,” says Anna Easteden, an actress in Los Angeles. Jagger has no problems with dogs he meets, but not all cats are so tolerant. “Star walks only in the yard, companioned by Fuzzy and Boots.” All four are microchipped in case of an escape. Carrie Aulenbacher, of Erie, Pennsylvania, author of The Early Bird Café, first got her cat Daisy used to a harness indoors before venturing outside. “Now he runs to the door and meows to go out,” she says. Daisy’s been hiking for 10 years.
Good to Know Tips
The Best Friends Animal Society, in Kanab, Utah, averages 625 cats in residence and Society Manager Michelle Warfle supports an enriched environment. “We teach as many cats as possible to leash walk,” she says. Her tips include: Don’t progress too quickly, keep walks fun and use a harness, not the collar. Warfle’s own cat, Earl, hikes about two miles before tiring. A backpack-like pet carrier lets a feline take a break.
Adapt the walk’s length or location to a pet’s age and physical limitations, such as arthritis. “Jabez always loved to walk on Ventura’s wet sandy beaches,” says Californian Kac Young, a naturopath with a Ph.D. in natural health. “His second choice was a trip to Home Depot to ride in the cart.” Now 18, Jabez doesn’t travel as often. Routinely check kitty’s neck, tail, stomach and inner thighs to pick off fleas and ticks after an outing before they become a bigger problem. (For an infestation of fleas, comb the cat with natural dishwashing detergent and water to drown them and rinse kitty afterward.) Pet-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to rub into her fur and bedding.
Consider yard plants like mint, lemongrass, sage and lavender to repel bugs. Multiple studies suggest catnip, which kitty can roll in, may be an even more effective mosquito repellant than the toxic DEET (mosquitoes spread heartworm). Cat companions agree that when kitty explores a blade of grass or pounces on a blowing leaf, it presents a delightful opportunity to be in the moment. A change of pace benefits those on both ends of the leash.
Cat Walk Savvy
• Cats need to get used to an idea before embracing it. Proceed slowly.
• A collar is for ID tags, not walking—a cat can wiggle out of a collar. A harness, properly fitted at the pet supply store, is best. Designate a comfortable, padded, wider harness solely for walking, not to restrain the cat in the car (a crate is safer).
• Let a cat see and smell the harness before putting it on. Small treats help. Don’t let the cat bat it like a toy. Put the harness on for short spans each day until he’s used to it—cats tend to fall over, “paralyzed”, when it’s first introduced.
• After the harness has been worn comfortably, add the leash and let him drag it around in an enclosed outdoor space. Never use a flexi-lead/retractable leash. A six-foot bungee (stretchy) or woven leash allows space to explore without getting tangled in a bush or beyond reach.
• Leash walk around the house without pulling, yanking or dragging—just do some pet-paced walking.
• Don’t force the next step, because the outdoors can be a big, scary place; most cats need to observe first before exploring.
• Use lots of praise and treats.
1. Talk to your cat as much as you can. Encourage her to come to you, and regularly pet her and brush her. Bonding is very important, cat massage, baths and generally being on good terms is important.
2. Pick a special dry snack that she likes. It must be different to her regular dry food and only used for this (don’t give it to her at any other time until she’s mastered this). Make certain it is nutritious. I suggest a dry, crunchy snack that is also good for the teeth.
3. Pick a special word, such as “snack” or “treat.” It must be a word she will associate only with the special snack. This is creating an “anchor” (a trigger).
4. Use your special word during her next snack time. In her presence, place one piece of the food in her empty dish and say the special word.
5. Say the word again (and be sure to say it in the same way as before) after she eats the first piece. Place another piece of the food in her dish and say the special word again.
6. Walk away. If she is giving you “I am really starving” cries, say your word again and give her one more piece. Then walk out of the room.
7. Repeat the procedure after about 4 minutes. Cats learn very quickly when they are motivated and have a strong bond with you.
8. Follow this procedure for the next several days.
9. Once your cat is coming every time you say the special word, start only giving the food treat every so often and instead give lots of attention (whatever she likes such as a pet) for a few minutes. Then let her go and repeat the process a few minutes later.
10. If you’ve done the above right, and you’ve done the bonding exercises in the training manual, your cat should now be associating affection from you with the special word. Now you can use the word and she should come AND each time she sees or hears you nearby she will be more affectionate because she’s reminded of all the affection you’ve given her in the past.
Don’t forget, it is to be a small snack, not a small bowl of dry food. Otherwise, your kitty might gain unwanted weight. Be patient and follow the above exactly otherwise you will confuse your cat. Use the special word daily, not only when you want to find the cat for a trip to the vet or when it is bath time. On those occasions, give her the snack and try to allow a few minutes before following through on your hidden motive. Another little secret is that if you can whistle, most cats will respond. Usually, a very loud high-pitched whistle (as if to say, “Here, boy”), repeated over and over until the cat comes to you is very effective. Eventually, your cat will come after only 1 or 2 whistles. However, again this is based on a strong bond being in place.
It’s important to note that the bond is most important because then your cat will WANT to come to you whenever you give it the chance. This is why some people find that if I want her to come to them, or sit on their lap, all they have to is pat their leg with their hand, and tell her to come, and she hops up on their lap or come to them. A way to do this is to show her the brush. (Assuming your cat loves to be brushed) because when you show it to her, she’ll run over to you. If your cats are outside and you can’t find them, if you shake their “dry food” jar and they may well come running right away. To make this more powerful, every time you feed your cat make the same “shake” noise in front of them or when they can hear, just before you feed them.
How does the above work?
Well basically what you are doing is conditioning your cat to associate two things. (The special word with the treat for example). When this happens a few times, your cat learns that when the trigger happens, the other thing should happen. (For example, “when I hear the special word and I come, I get a treat”). This means from then on you can say the special word and the cat will come running because it thinks it will get a treat. Once your cat ALWAYS does the desired behavior, (in this case comes when you say the special word), you can change the special word for their name, if you know how. I’ll tell you more about that in a future newsletter.
The health of domestic cats is a well studied area in veterinary medicine. Topics include infection and genetic diseases, diet, nutrition and non-therapeutic surgical procedures such as neutering and declawing.
An infectious disease is caused by the presence of organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites either animalian or protozoan. Most of these diseases can spread from cat to cat via airborne pathogens or through direct or indirect contact, while others require a vector such as a tick or mosquito. Certain infectious diseases are a concern from a public health standpoint because they are zoonoses (transmittable to humans). Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a genetic relative of HIV.
Viral diseases in cats can be serious, especially in catteries and kennels. Timely vaccination can reduce the risk and severity of an infection. The most commonly recommended viruses to vaccinate cats against are: Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) is an upper respiratory infection of cats caused by feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1). Feline calicivirus (FCV), the other common viral cause of respiratory infection in cats. Feline panleukopenia (FPV) more commonly known as feline distemper. Rabies, a fatal disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mammal. In the United States, cats make up 4.6% of reported cases of rabies infected animals. Other viruses cats may be exposed to include: Chlamydophila felis, Feline leukemia virus (FeLV), a retrovirus not a cancer. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a lentivirus, and also not a cancer. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a fatal, incurable disease caused by Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus (FIPV), which is a mutation of Feline Enteric Coronavirus (FECV/FeCoV) and (H5N1).
Genetic diseases: Domestic cats are affected by over 250 naturally occurring hereditary disorders, many of which are similar to those in humans, such as diabetes, hemophilia and Tay–Sachs disease. For example, Abyssinian cat’s pedigree contains a genetic mutation that causes retinitis pigmentosa, which also affects humans. Cat skin disorders are among the most common health problems in cats. Skin disorders in cats have many causes, and many of the common skin disorders that afflict people have a counterpart in cats. The condition of a cat’s skin and coat can also be an important indicator of its general health. Skin disorders of cats vary from acute, self-limiting problems to chronic or long-lasting problems requiring life-time treatment.
However, don’t let your pet go another day without getting the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to maintain their health and well-being. When you add Pet Bounce Multivitamin to their diet right now, you’ll be adding a supplement fortified with the ingredients they need plus Resveratrol for that added boost. Pet Bounce is a complete multivitamin formulated especially for your cat and dog. Whether they’re big or small, canine or feline, they will benefit from this advanced formula created specifically to support their health and well-being. In addition to its substantial amount of nutrients, Pet Bounce is also fortified with Resveratrol, a powerful anti-oxidant chosen for its ability to improve the health of your pet and increase their vitality. All this is contained in a chewable wafer in a flavor your pet will love.
Cats can live longer than many people think… 18 to 20 years is common.
Here’s how to keep your cat purring into advanced old age.
1. Take your cat to the veterinarian at least once a year for a complete physical exam, and follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding preventive health-care measures. Preventing disease and maintaining optimum health are the first steps toward a long, healthy life.
2. Spay or neuter your cat as soon as possible. Having kittens, especially repeated litters, is stressful and will contribute to premature aging.
3. Keep your cat inside at all times to reduce the risk of accidents, injuries from fights or disease. (Some research suggests inside cats live twice as long as outdoor cats!)
4. Feed your cat high-quality food designed to meet the specific nutritional requirements during all stages of his life.
5. Prevent obesity at all costs by controlling your cat’s diet and engaging him in play activities.
6. Talk to your veterinarian about adding vitamin and mineral supplements, antioxidants and extra fiber to your cat’s diet.
7. Have your cat’s teeth cleaned professionally. Good dental health will add years to his life.
8. Groom your cat daily, checking for abnormalities, and seek medical help promptly when you discover anything suspicious
9. Make sure no harmful chemicals such as pesticides or household cleaners find their way onto your cat’s fur, since cats groom themselves with their tongues constantly. Even small amounts of harmful chemicals on their bodies can have adverse effects if consumed over many years.
10. Protect your cat from environmental dangers such as household cleaners and secondhand smoke.
11. Help your cat avoid the stress of harassment from other animals by providing a quiet place for undisturbed catnaps.
12. Provide your older cat with a heat source such as a heating pad set on low, since cats more than 12 years old require extra heat. You’ll notice a difference in his attitude and activity level.
13. Give your cat daily full-body massages and lots of love. Despite their aloof demeanor, cats thrive on affection.
14. Protect your cat from dangerous plants such as cactus and poinsettia.
Find a veterinarian with a special interest in aging who keeps abreast of advancements in this rapidly developing area of pet care. Be sure to call your veterinarian before giving your cat any product not specifically approved for cats. Some products, such as acetaminophen, commonly consumed safely by people or dogs, are poisonous to cats.
Here’s a quick way to treat your cat…Instead of a heating pad, fold up your down comforter on the end of the bed. Your aging cat will sink into its own warm cocoon for all its naps. Remeber cats are like people… when they feel loved and happy their health is affected. So be sure to give your cat as much attention as you can.