February 2009 Archives

For some reason when I look at this picture, I'm reminded of the song Ebony and Ivory by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Now if anyone can explain to me how something like this happens in real life, I'd love to hear it. I mean it's not every day you see a moose and a cat smelling each other.


pictures_cats_crouching.jpgThere is increasing evidence accepted by holistic and traditional veterinarians that turning to a raw food diet for cat and kittens reduces the likelihood of many of today's common cat health problems. Its no secret that our cats are obese, have bladder problems or develop kidney disease or diabetes. Its looking like the same rules that apply to humans apply to cats - high carbohydrate, low protein diets and poor exercise habits lead to disease. The good news is that the number one step holistic vets recommend is that you switch your pet to a raw food diet for cat program.

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Here's a short list of disorders that are fed by a low protein, high carbohydrate diet:

1. Dental disease

2. Bladder stones and Feline Urinary Tract Infection

3. Obesity

4. Diabetes

5. Kidney disease

6. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome

Read the hot topics in Cat Fancy and Catwatch and you'll find at least two articles, if not more, reporting on the increase in cat sicknesses like feline urinary tract infection, diabetes and the rest. What do most of our house cats have in common? What they eat.

Now for the full the scoop on a raw food diet for cat and kitten...

Pictures_of_cats_fearless_mouse.jpgCats are dependent on a meat protein diet. Since World War II we've been fooled into believing that the commercially prepared dry or canned cat foods are the greatest invention since cat litter. These cat food products did not exist prior to the 1940's. They were developed during this wartime economic period because it was cheaper to feed our pets corn than it was to keep them on a raw diet for cat, kitten or dog. As a nation, we started moving towards a more urbanized lifestyle and we lost touch with our meat sources in our backyard. For the past few decades we've been loading up our grocery carts with Mighty Bad For Dog and Kitty food.

Cats and kittens require meat products. They can not convert vegetable proteins into the nutritionally equivalent minerals and amino acids that meat provides them. When was the last time you noticed your cat hanging from a corn stalk chomping through a cob of corn? Try this...

Let your cat wander through a corn field and I be he returns with a rabbit, mouse or bird - meat stuff - no corn. That's the natural approach.

A simple holistic cat health care solution.

You can make this change to a raw food diet for cat successful. Yes, it will require more work on your part. You will need to find a source of fresh rabbit, chicken or beef - those are in order of preference. Rabbit has the most nutritional benefit to your cat.

Don't go overboard when you start your raw food diet for cat program. Keep the quantities you purchase minimal so that you aren't freezing a load of meat. Freezing causes meat to breakdown and loose nutritional value. When you do freeze your raw rabbit, chicken or beef, package it in chunks. Don't slice all the meat up before you freeze it. Slice it as you prep for a new batch.

To further arm your cat from problems associated with illnesses like feline urinary tract infection and bladder stones or diseases like diabetes, you may opt to give your cat a little boost. Help your cat rid himself of bad toxins and impurities that years of commercial cat food poured into him. Add a homeopathic remedy that is proven to help pets purge toxins.

Don't shy away from including natural remedies in your raw food diet for cat or kitten diet. Long before anyone knew anything about diabetes, cancer or urinary tract infections our ancestors used herbs and nature to treat themselves and their animals. The Romans revered cats because cats kept the snakes and rodents under control - hmm, a natural raw food diet for cat and kittens way back then..

Article by Kate Rieger of Pet Natural Remedies.

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pictures_cats.jpgWe're all feeling the crunch, times are tight everywhere and unfortunately, pets are the ones who end up paying the price. Sometimes with tighter budgets, comes making choices about your cat's care that you never want to make. But if you've made a commitment to a cat, honor that commitment in the best way possible, by finding alternatives to abandoning your cat. YOur cat has come to love and rely on you and the sadness it feels when you abandon it is very real. So take some advice on how to save a little money while taking care of your cat.

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The best suggestion I can make to help you save money in the long run, is to keep your cat healthy. The two best ways to do that are to take your cat in for regular checkups and to keep your cats in shape.

The vet visit will make you incur expenses, but early treatment of almost all cat illnesses, results in less expensive and faster treatments. Seriously, if a disease or illness is caught early, it may only cost you the price of some medication, but if a disease is allowed to worsen, medications, hospital visits and special doctors add up quickly. Not to mention the fact that you might have to put your cat down if it gets really bad.

Keeping your cat in good shape is much easier to do, even if you are working double shifts or a second job to make ends meet. Dangle a string, toss a crumbled up piece of paper, or wiggle your toes under a blanket are all inexpensive ways to get you and your cat moving. You both need exercise, make it a game, you'll both be healthier for it.

Another idea is to prepare a few of your cat's meals or treats at home. If you are preparing chicken for yourself, make some without salt for your cat. There are lots of fancy recipes out there that contain flour, veggies, milk and other things that your cat really doesn't need, but if you want to cook up a batch of kitty cookies, be my guest.

cat_food_bowl.jpgMy guess is that the mashed up sardines will drive your cat wild before you even get the cookies in the oven, so why bother? Just give him a sardine - the whole thing. If you can get them with the heads on even better, then your cat is getting all the nutrients he needs. Supplement with a little cod liver oil, some good quality but not expensive cat food and you could save a lot of money.

I speak from experience. I buy Neo Medi-cal, an excellent cat food fortified with vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids all preserved naturally with vitamin E. Sounds really healthy and it is, he has the shiniest coat around, but all those healthy ingredients come with a healthy price tag.

So, I check in with the fishmonger at my grocery store and pick up small, whole smelts, sardines and other small fish he has on hand and ask him to grind them up really fine, head and all. I get this little package of fishy goo that Neo just loves! I freeze it into proportions - he can eat about 3 tablespoons at a time and a little goes a long way. I've managed to shave $50.00 off my cat food bill every month just by sharing my chicken and fish with him, and feeding him this raw ground up fishy goo.

I still buy the super enriched, Medi-cal, but he appreciates the variety and I think he is healthier for it, eating raw fish and meat is natural to a cat. So little by little I am hoping to make the transition to raw food with him. But for now, I am taking it slowly because he can't handle too much fishy goo and I do not like wiping up a fishy goo mess!

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pictures_cats_kitten_cute.jpgThis article appears at Little Big Cat, By Jackson Galaxy

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The scenario plays out with cat guardians everywhere: the cat is always getting into something, like jumping onto counters, climbing up screen doors or drapes…and the list goes on. It seems like everyone these days is armed with a handy squirt bottle or squirt gun; sometimes, as I've seen in clients' homes, in every room of the house. Somewhere along the line, this punishing tool has become as prevalent and acceptable as just saying a loud "NO!" In response, we've had many queries, both on line and in consultations, about the efficacy of this method.

I believe that the squirt bottle is NOT an effective way of changing a cat's behavior. When I say this, often I'm met with quizzical or defensive looks. The guardian might say, "But, I've seen it work. I squirt, and Tigger jumps off the counter. Nowadays, he just has to see the bottle in my hands, and he runs away." Yes, exactly my point. Tigger is responding, but is it for the right reasons? No.

What is the cat actually learning in this scenario? Is he learning that the counter is a bad place to be be? No. What Tigger is learning is that, first, the counter is a bad place to be when you are present and holding the squirt bottle, and second, he is learning to be afraid of you. The bottle appears to him as an extension of your arm, and it is you, not the bottle, that is getting him wet.

Pictures_cats_scratching_furniture.jpgDoes he get anxious and run when he sees the bottle sitting neutral on the end table? No. He only reacts when he sees you holding it and pointing it in his direction. In my opinion, this doesn't make for a trusting relationship. In fact, it can cause more behavior problems, fears and phobias that you hadn't considered. Depending on your cat's background, this may be a bigger Pandora's box than with other cats. Specifically, I believe the risk of developing secondary behavior problems is greater in rescued cats, since they may have been subject to unknown abuses, so that something as "mild" as the squirt gun can trigger response to latent trauma.

In a perfect world, we could shape the behavior of cats in terms of all undesired behaviors with 100% positively reinforced training. That is to say, with reward, the cat will want to repeat the desired action. That works in many cases, if not most. In my experience, unfortunately, it's not a guarantee. I do occasionally recommend the use of negative reinforcers, but in limited circumstances, and with some very important facts in mind:

1. Punishment must occur within three seconds (maximum) of the action occurring or else it will have absolutely no effect.

2. Punishment must also happen around the clock, meaning every single time the behavior occurs – whether you are home or not, asleep or not, paying attention or not.

3. The punishment must be consistent in its effect so that the possibility for abuse is nullified.

4. Punishment in itself is not the answer. There must be a positive alternative for the cat, or else a sense of frustration will develop, and the behavior one seeks to eradicate will be redirected elsewhere in the living environment.

Bengal_kitty_clones.jpgLet's address some of these points in more detail. The upshot of numbers 1-3 is that interactive punishment, or punishment involving person to cat, cannot work. There's no way that the cat's guardian can always grab that water bottle within three seconds, or with the same amount of intensity. Most importantly, there's no way you can follow your cat around 24/7. For anyone who tells me that they've solved the problem with the water gun, I tell them that they may have solved it while they're home, but they are seriously underestimating their cat's intelligence.

The cat knows that when the guardian is gone, the negative reinforcer is also gone. That's why, in these cases, the only thing that will work is remote punishment, or punishment that employs a device that is always present. Take, for instance, the Tattle Tale Alarm. It is a small, battery-operated device that you place on the counter. It is motion sensitive, and when activated, lets out a sound that will scare the cat off the counter. It then resets itself. There are many other such devices that use heat and motion detectors, for example, like Scraminal, which can prevent a cat from entering an entire room if you want. These high-end devices can all be found at Drs. Foster and Smith.

On the do-it-yourself side, you can even use double-sided sticky tape, or an upside-down vinyl carpet runner. You can use anything that will consistently send the message that "this is not a friendly place to be!" At the same time, I am strongly opposed to anything that shocks or otherwise causes strong bodily discomfort. For instance, I object to The Scat Mat because it produces an electric shock that can seriously frighten and hurt a cat.

Point #4 is equally important. Putting up a Tattle Tale, or any other remote punisher and thinking, "job well done!" is a big mistake. I've visited clients, frustrated by the climbing antics of their cats, who put tape on their drapes, Snappy Trainers (harmless mousetraps fitted with large paddles to make a noise) on the mantles and counters, but then new problems crop up. The cats start attacking ankles out of play aggression, for instance, or fight with one another. The whole time, the message was loud and clear; "Give me something acceptable to climb on!" So, spend the money. Cat furniture, condos, scratching posts and such, as many as possible, will give your cats a place to climb and scratch where you can praise them for doing what is, after all, natural to them. This way, for every "NO!" there's a "YES" associated with it. Also, consider employing flower essence therapy during the time of frustrating re-learning. Spirit Essences' "Feline Training" is ideal for this purpose.

cutest-sleeping-kitties9.jpgIn the end, the most important reason I can give for tossing that squirt bottle is to protect the bond between you and your feline companion. Let a strip of tape do the dirty work. The points outlined above make it a hard case for us to continue to fill roles as disciplinarians when, in the long run, we know it will not bear fruit. We are fallible; we have emotions and can overstep that line from discipline to abuse, all of us. At the very least, with every shot of water, we are eroding trust. There's no reason to let it get to that point.

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pictures_cats_eating.jpgA while ago, I posted Can you feed cats too much milk? and the answer was yes, any amount of milk is too much milk. Milk is a treat and should be fed that way. Cats aren't actually able to digest the mild properly and often milk is the cause of obesity and even diarrhea or vomiting (even if it doesn't happen every time). But what if you've been feeding your cat milk everyday and your cat has come to rely on it, even acts like he's addicted to it?

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There are two schools of thought on ridding your cat of his addiction. The first is weening him off of it slowly. There are two ways you can do that. One way is gradually give him less and less milk. So if you normally give him 1/4 cup of milk everyday, give him 1/4cup less 1 tablespoon for 4 - 7 days, then 1/4 cup less 2 tablespoons for the next 4-7 days, until he is only getting 1 tablespoon every day. Then 1 tablespoon every second day, then gradually no milk at all.

Another way of weening your cat off of milk, and I like this idea a little better, is to slightly dilute the milk at first then gradually reduce the amount. So if you give your cat 1/4 cup of milk everyday, first put in a tablespoon of water then fill up the measuring cup with milk so the milk is diluted by one tablespoon for the first 4-7 days, then increase that to 2 tablespoons of water for the next 4-7 days then three and so on and so forth until his is drinking mostly water. But there will come a time when your cat won't be interested in the milk any more, because it is too diluted. So use this to your advantage and stop giving him anything but water.

The other school of thought is to redirect your cat's addiction to something you both can live with. So let's say he's been drinking milk everyday, give him less milk and supplement it with cat treats. Kind of like the idea presented above about weening your cat off gradually. You can ween him off and give him treats or catnip to take his mind off the milk. Eventually, you can feed him only treats instead of milk.

With any option you choose, it's important to remember that your cat is getting a significant amount of calories from the milk. well.. significant to a cat, and those calories have to be replaced. Finding some good quality treats that help clean teeth or that off some benefits like omega 3 fatty acids would be an ideal way to replace the calories lost from the milk. Another option is to try feeding your cat cod liver oil, an excellent source of nutrients and calories for Kitty.

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Pictures_wild_cats_sad_lion.jpgI've found that most people who love domestic cats also love wild cats. So I wanted to tell you about the Lion Guardians Blog. It's run by Antony Kasanga, Assistant Director or the Lion Guardians program and he writes about the events of the lions in the area of Kenya he protects.

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Lion Guardians was started in 2006 in response to the slaughter of over 150 lions since 2001. The Lion Guardians, teach people about the lions and to monitor the movements of the lions. They are trying to equip each lion with a GPS tracking unit so they can map out where the lions go.

I've always wanted to get up close to a wild cat, cheetahs in particular but I know that will never happen, and probably shouldn't ever happen because wild cats are unpredictable.

Just like our little "wild" cats that live with us who are are unpredictable at times. You know what I mean, those sudden outbursts of energy that has your cat racing around the house and jumping on furniture, defying gravity. Wild cats are exactly the same except hundreds of pounds heavier and a thousand times stronger. I certainly wouldn't want to be around when a 400 lb lion gets a burst of energy like that!

But it is painful for me to think that people are out there who kill these beautiful, intelligent and compassionate animals for sport, religion or medicine. In some cases people have encroached on the wild cat's territory so much that suddenly there are wild cats in people's backyards. Forced out of their territory, these cats get caught in a maze of people, houses, gunfire and in some cases spears. Imagine what that must be like, one day you are hanging out with your pride and then next minute you're being shot at, simply because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Thanks to people like Antony, whoare helping to preserve these precious wild forms of our in house lovey dovey domestic cats. So check out the Lion Guardian Blog to find out what is going on with African Lions in Kenya.

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sock_presidential_cat.jpgIt's a sad day in the cat world folks. Diagnosed with cancer late last year, Sock wasn't much longer for this world. Socks will probably be most remembered for his cool relations with Buddy the white house dog. Socks was a tuxedo cat that loved sitting in the sun and taking it easy. He was 18 years old. You can read the complete AP story here.

I don't think I've ever seen a cat that concentrates this much on eating. It's almost like he's in a trance...

I_can_has_treats_please.jpgCats are really intelligent, I've always known that. But what I find amazing is the fact that is that Neo shows his intelligence in so many ways, and one way is that between naps and eating, he keeps a pretty tight schedule.

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I don't always feed Neo at the same time everyday and I am not big on keeping a daily schedule and routine except for the fact that I am usually up in the morning by around 7:00 am, other than that, I'm pretty flexible and so Neo has to be flexible too.

So in spite of the fact that I am not careful to keep him on a schedule, he still has one and he lets me know what time it is by his actions.

desk_napping3.jpgIn the morning he usually just accepts his breakfast whenever I get it out to him usually before 8:00 and then he goes about his day, looking out windows, asking to go outside, stretching of the sofa, visiting me in my office to nap under the light on my desk. And following me around, to the kitchen for a snack, to the basement for a workout, to the bathroom... you get the idea.

But everyday at 4:00, he comes to tell me he's ready for supper. No matter where I am or what I am doing, he comes to me and usually throws himself at my feet and looks up at me with his lovey-dovey "you're the best, Melanie" look in his eyes. I pick him up and we share a cuddle, he gets on my shoulder and starts marking my ears and then I go get him his supper.

Neo_shoulder.jpgAnd every night, without fail, he comes to tell me it's bed time. At 9:30 he says, "meow-wow" which I think is his way of saying my name and then he looks up at me lovingly until I pick him up. I usually carry him up to my bed and lie down with him on my chest. He kneads my neck and purrs, and marks my chin and ears by rubbing his face against me. After about 5 minutes of this, he find a soft place on the bed and goes to sleep.

He'll get up at around 11:00 and starts looking around for a snack so I put out a bit more food for him. I do this so doesn't wake me up too early in the morning. After he eats and looks around a bit, he comes back to bed and sleeps with me for the rest of the night. I know he's there, because sometimes he comes over for a cuddle, or if I wake up, I'll pet him before drifting off to sleep again.

pictures_cats_neo_Melanie.jpgIn the morning, I usually wake up before he does. Sometimes, he doesn't get out of bed until he hears me open a can of food and put out his food dish. Then he comes running down and has his breakfast and starts his day.

I have to say it is kind of nice to have someone come to tell me to get to bed, maybe one of these days, I'll actually go to sleep when he tells me to!

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Some of these are repeats but there are some new ones thrown into this video as well. For me, the best one was the cat chasing a full grown bear away! LOL!

It's always stressful for your cat when you change his routine. Cats are creatures of habit, they like to nap in the same spots, they like to sniff things and be in total control of their environment. So what can you do to make a trip to the vet safe and as stress free as possible for you and for your cat?

purple_pillow3.jpgUse a cat carrier. As any good cat owner has discovered, cats like small secure spaces, especially when there is something unusual or frightening happening. I imagine that for most spoiled and well cared for cats, there is nothing more frightening than going for a ride on a bus or in a car. A cat carrier will offer that security better than your arms. Besides, if your cat gets really scared, you'll be scratched to shreds if you're not careful!

Getting your cat into the cat carrier might be the most frightening thing for both you and your cat, more than the vet visit. So I want to share with you some ideas for getting your cat into the carrier without any bloodshed.

1. Keep the carrier hidden until just before you have to put the cat into it. I like to hide it in the laundry room with the door closed so Neo doesn't see it. If he sees it or smells it, I won't be able to get him out from under the bed and we'll miss his appointment.

2. Get the carrier ready a few days (if you can) or hours before you have to leave so there is no last minute rustling around with your cat when he's already freaked out. Put a soft towel at the bottom of the carrier for his comfort and to absorb urine or vomit - you never know how your cat will react to being in the carrier, even if he's used to it. And wipe it down so it's not dusty or smelly from the last time you used it.

3. Make the appointment at a time when you won't be rushed to get there, if you can, but if your cat senses you are stressed or rushed, he will be even more worried about what is happening too. So try to remain calm even if you aren't.

4. What do you do about the extra legs your cat grows when you try to shove him in the carrier? You know what I mean, he's got all four paws pressed against the door of the carrier and you get his paws in one by one, but your cat pulls them out of the carrier just as fast and resists your every effort to get him in there. Or your cat seems to grow more fangs and claws and you just can't get him in.

This is why I like to keep the carrier hidden. I can pick Neo up and he thinks we are just cuddling, then I walk toward the carrier and hold his arms and legs and put him into the carrier backwards, and close the door quickly. He's never happy with me, but I talk sweetly to him and tell him what a good boy he is and use his name and...well, at least he's in the carrier and we can get going.

Sharp_dressed_cat.jpgIf this method doesn't work for you, you can try wrapping your cat in a towel and set him in the carrier, towel and all before shutting the door - you'll buy yourself a few seconds to close the door because the cat is going to need some time to get unwrapped. Don't wrap the towel around his head and don't wrap him too tightly or you'll be opening the door to unwrap him and risking an escape.

Some people leave the carrier out all the time so the cat doesn't get scared when he sees it. I have to keep it stored because I just don't have room for a carrier laying around (although I do have room for a cat to be laying around all the time...hmmm maybe I'll try this, I'll find a place to keep it out all the time)

Once he's in the carrier, keep talking nicely to him and hopefully he won't be howling too loudly when you step on the bus with a bunch of strangers! Or if you are driving, make sure you put the seat belt through the handle of the carrier like I blogged about before in Driving Miss Kitty: Restrain your cat for safety while you drive.

I don't know where I saw this ad - I really wish I could remember, if any of you have seen this, please tell me where I got it from. But apparently it was an actual ad that a woman ran.


I thought it was very funny, but a little sad too - the poor kitten was not wanted, luckily the kitten was still young and would find a home.

But if you have a cat that you can't keep for whatever reason, it's never a good idea to give the cat away for free, especially if you are giving them away to strangers. We never like to think about giving away our precious feline friends, and if you do have to give them away, many of us would want to give the cat away for free so as not to be a burden to the person taking the cat.

But something to consider is that when something is given for free, there is less value placed on it, even if it is a living being. There are many cases where kittens were given away and the owner thought she was doing a favor to the kittens and their new owners, but the new owners did hold the kitten's life in high regard. So the kitten was abused or neglected or worse.

Even charging a small amount is better than nothing at all - people who are up to no good or just wanting to 'try out' having a cat are less likely to buy a cat. Also if they are willing to pay for the cat, then they are more likely to take care of the cat.

What to charge? More than $25.00 is best. It's a good number anything lower than that may attract the wrong kind of person to your kitty.

Just like the title says, the rat in the video follows the cat around like he's a rock star...

This amazing cat would give Spider Man a run for his money. Check it out..

Wikipedia describes aggression this way:

"In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause pain or harm."

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Picture-4.jpgSo, right away we can eliminate the term 'aggression' when we encounter a cat that shows a ferocious hiss if we come to close. Obviously, one of us is not a cat. But, what does it mean when we are quietly petting our cat and she suddenly turns, grabs the hand that pets her and sinks her teeth into it? Surely, that's a form of aggression; even if we aren't members of the same species. Getting away from definitions and such, what we really want to know is why does a cat show what is definitely a behavior that says "get away and don't touch me!!", or what many term as cat aggression.

First of all it is helpful to not confuse cat aggression with the kind of aggression that's found in people. People are complex entities that are driven by many things, such as emotions, belief systems, family ties, the "seven deadly sins", the boss's moods or the NFL on Sundays. People are able to pass their aggressive nature around like the common cold infecting those around them, especially when inspired by a call to action for a certain cause (think half-time in the locker room). We can even turn it on and off, if and when we want to. That same Wikipedia definition goes on to state that some psychologists draw a direct relationship between low IQ and aggressive behavior; those towards the higher end of the IQ spectrum are more likely to be termed as assertive. But, our purpose here is not to split hairs between aggressive and assertive human personalities.

In animals the aggressive side of their personality is usually linked to certain and specific situations. Here it is helpful to note the difference between cat aggression and the predatory nature of cats. Certainly, when cats demonstrate the stalking, chasing, capturing and killing of prey they are showing a very distinctive quality of aggression. This type of aggression is called goal oriented aggression. Cats hunt in order to provide food for themselves, and in some cases, their kittens. Even when your cat brings home a field mouse and presents it to you, she is acting out a eons old instinct, although she may not know what to do with her catch. Cats will hunt, quite often for their entire life, while at the same time they are well fed and cared for by their owner. Maybe this is just cats showing they can be assertive, too.

Most all other forms of cat aggression are known as defensive aggression. These kinds of cat aggression characteristics can be directly attributed to three aspects of the nature of cats:

The Territorial Nature of Cats

The Maternal Instincts of Cats

The Degree of Socialization of Kittens

Cats mark (define) their territory with scent marks that tell all others that this is her land. She will defend that territory against all other cats. Notice I say 'all other cats'. She will confront and chase away all uninvited cats vigorously. Other animals, including people, she may or may not confront, depending on whether she feels threatened. Predators may get a free pass as she lowers her head, with eyes dilated, and becomes as unobtrusive as possible. But other cats will get a very unwelcome confrontation and generally will respect what she is telling them, including avoiding her territory in the future. Or at least, if they have to, they'll cross her territory very cautiously (isn't it amazing how swift a cat can be, yet when called for they can move in the slo-motion that TV sports analysts would admire?).

The only invited guests she'll entertain are any males that respond to her caterwauling when she comes into heat. "Invited" guests may be a little misleading. Complete strangers can show up and the result is a ritual to determine who the best mate is will ensue. This will include fighting and growling in single elimination scraps until a victor is determined. Even then a female cat might mate with the second or third place finisher in addition to the winner. It's all so very uncivilized and unladylike. But, when she's mated all those boys had better watch out. They'll all be chased off so that she can bear her kittens in well deserved peace and solitude.

After the kittens are born, there is even more reason to demonstrate her territorial cat aggression. Not only does she have to protect her territory and the food it supplies, but she has to offer protection to her young brood. Cats have very strong maternal instincts and she will face the fiercest threat to her kittens head-on. And, if the predatory threat is too strong for her, she will distract it into chasing her so she can lead it away from the kittens den.

Kitten+Fight.jpgCat aggression is also linked to the experiences cats had when they were a kitten. Everything your cat knows, she learned when she was a kitten. When kittens have positive experiences while they are young, the more likely they will accept those encounters when they are grown. If kittens have a bad encounter with unfriendly people or other pets, or their kitten-hood is over-protective and they don't have the opportunity to have a lot of experiences, they can grow into shy, withdrawn adult cats. This socialization of kittens is the process of allowing them a well-rounded introduction to the things that make up her world. Cats are smart enough to know what poses a danger and what is not a threat. A kitten who was introduced to a friendly dog will grow up not being threatened by dogs in general. But, she will know when a dog isn't being friendly, she shouldn't stick around to find out why.

This kind of cat aggression is based in fear. Cats are most comfortable in familiar surroundings and familiar faces. Those things and images she has not been positively socialized with will cause her to be reclusive and even afraid of. That's why kitten socialization is so important. One can see why feral cats especially will show aggressive growling and hissing towards anyone or thing outside of their colony brethren. Probably though, one won't get close enough to cause such a reaction unless she perceives imminent danger.

When it comes to 'biting the hand that pets you', a different kind of cat aggression needs to be defined. Let's call it personal space aggression. In addition to the the territory your cat calls her own, there is an area that surrounds her physical body she considers her personal space. Just like people, she will only allow certain individuals to intrude into that personal space. Further, this space can expand or collapse depending on her mood. Kinda like people. As her provider, she will allow you closer than others. If strangers were allowed to handle her when she was a kitten, she will be friendly to them as an adult. The puppy she grew up with will enjoy the same liberties. Few others will be allowed that same degree of closeness. Even then it comes with a set of unwritten rules. Generally speaking, she will be the one to determine if and when anyone is allowed into her personal space. Including the puppy she grew up with.

pictures_cats_big_ears.jpgIf she's quietly lying on your lap and you're gently stroking her, there are a few things that can cause her to want you to stop. You may be irritating a sore spot with your petting. She may be aroused sexually and really not be interested at that particular moment. Or she just may grow tired of being stroked. In any case, she'll show signs of irritation when she's finished with the session and you should take note of them. Her ears will lie back against her head, her eyes will dilate and she will stare at the source of her irritation, namely your hand. That's when it's time to stop and go get a treat, just to stay on her good side.

All these forms of cat aggression: goal oriented, defensive or personal space, can cross over each other and blend into the creature you know as your cat. Broken down they help with the understanding of why a cat shows aggressive behavior, but they all work together in the real world and define a part of a cat's personality. One thing to remember is for you to not take cat aggression personally. Cat aggression is closely linked to a specific reaction to a cat's interpretation of a negative element in her environment. I imagine that if she were in the locker room at half-time, she would be hiding in the corner wondering 'what the heck is wrong with those guys?'.

Article by Robert Gallegos. Robert Gallegos is a life long lover of cats. He is dedicated to sharing his understanding of the cat experience, reducing the epidemic feral cat situation, and helping cat lovers to provide the best care for their cats.

Visit Robert J Gallegos' website, Cat Lover Gifts World, a web site dedicated to proper cat care with quality cat lover gifts based on an understanding of cat behavior, instincts and the unique requirements for healthy cats as pets. Cats are the newest of animals to be domesticated and still have one paw in the wild. It's a major reason why they're so mysterious and resistant to human expectations.

Click here for our past posts, our archives have hundreds of helpful cat information posts for cat lovers.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you're a cat person that likes cat related information, cat care advice and news.

Pictures_of_cat_groomed_and_posing.jpgDon't forget about lonely kitties waiting for a home at the shelter this valentine's day. There are lots of ways that you can help out your local shelter and brighten the lives of sad and abandoned cats.

Just before Christmas, I told you about ways to Help Animals for Under $10.00. But now that the winter is dragging on, and shelters are overrun with abandoned animals due to the recession, the least anyone can do is help them out a bit. So instead of getting the really expensive chocolates for your sweetie, get a smaller box and put the rest of the money toward some new safe toys, or grooming tools or scratching posts or anything that your local shelter might need.

It's hard when money is tight, to think about everyone and everything that needs your help. You get stretched every way and every dollar has to go so much further, but this is such an easy way to help out, and it doesn't have to cost much.

Make it a Happy Valentine's Day for all the lonely kitties in your community.

picture_of_black_cat_lounging.jpegShow your Valentine how much you love them by choosing a cat inspired e-card from Cat Channel.

Just choose a card and fill in the information, basically, your name, your email address, your Valentine's email address and a message. You can choose to opt in to receive Cat Channel's newsletter if you want.

Happy Valentine's Day!

OK, this is something different. I was perusing YouTube and I found this video of a cat that sprayed their owner. I've got a neighbour that had this happen to him as well. Although I haven't confirmed it, my neighbor claimed that this is the ultimate sign of effection between cat and human. Apparently this is a way of the cat saying "you are mine."

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I did a quick search on the subject and I came across an answer that that I've seen before on Yahoo Answers. Answer number 3 says the following:

"...My cat did the same thing to me. It's a cats way of saying that "You belong to me" or "This Object belongs to me". It's a cat's way of marking his territory and telling other cats to back off. Hehe, not only has my male cat sprayed Me...3 times... but he also sprayed one of the female cats...THAT HE BROUGHT HOME. Cats are strange, but funny at times,..."

I love my cat but I'm not sure how I would react to Maddy spraying me. I think I know my cat pretty well but I can totally see her doing this to me when I least expect it.

As a professional cat groomer in South Carolina, Danielle German thought it would be a great idea to use the excess cat hair from her cat grooming appointments to make hand bags out of cat fur. The idea has caught on according to the video and people have ordered the bags from as far away as Canada. The video shows how she spins the fur from the cats into material that can be used to make a ladies hand bag. To be honest, they look pretty kewl.

So if you want to keep a piece of your tabby around forever, this isn't a bad option. Not to mention the fact that you will have a bag that matches your cat!

We've blogged about this kind woman before. I was amazed to find a video of her on YouTube yesterday so I thought I'd share it with you. Nina Kostovo lives in Siberia, Russia and has what appears to be a relatively small apartment there. What's amazing about this woman is that she lives with over 130 cats and all of them are strays. I'm not vet but judging from the video, the cats seem to be in amazing condition. Having over a 100 cats in a small apartment can't be the best of circumstances but it sure beats them dying in the cold. Right? I love the coloured chairs that some of the cats sit on during the day. Really cute.

Flippy is from Melbourne Australia and is a cat lover whose website has been online since 1998. Flippy has cats, love cats and collects information and stories about cats. Visit Flippy's Cat Page for cat fun like this story below.

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allerica_pictures_of_cats.jpgI have a weird sense of humor - I find things funny, but it has to be absolutely hilarious with no cruelty, obscenity or anything else I might find distasteful. There was something about this story that made me laugh out loud! The Lord works in mysterious ways! Read on, I hope you find it funny too - thanks to Flippy.

A Pastor had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc. The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove away so that the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. He didall this, checking his progress in the car frequently, then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved a little further forward... the rope broke.

The tree went "boing!" and the kitten instantly sailed through the air - out of sight. The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. Nobody had seen a stray kitten.

So, he prayed, "Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping," and went on about his business.

A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. Now this woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, "Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?"

She replied, "You won't believe this," and told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, "Well, if God gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it." She told the pastor, "I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws spread out, and landed right in front of her."

Thanks Flippy, for sharing this one with us. Join Flippy's Mailing List to get all the stories emailed to you.

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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, more commonly known as FIV, is what is known as a retrovirus. When retroviruses invade a host, they replicate inside the host by using an enzyme called "reverse transcriptase". The process is to use its own RNA as a template to create new DNA within cells of the host. In this way they evade the host body's natural immune defense mechanisms while they make new copies of themselves. The virus then attacks the host's immune response cells (antibodies) causing a reaction in the host's body, in this case your cat, to produce elevated levels of antibodies. It becomes virtually a war waged within your cat's body. With increasing destruction of antibodies, the host's body then becomes vulnerable to other diseases and infections that it normally would find easy to fend off. The FIV virus and the HIV virus which causes AIDS in humans work in very similar ways.

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Pictures_Cat_first_aid.jpgHow is FIV Transmitted?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is fragile. It can be inactivated or destroyed with ultraviolet light, exposure to high temperatures, drying of the liquid medium it's transmitted in, or when subjected to detergents. Since these things can also be harmful to your cat, this weakness can be only exploited when the virus is outside of her during the transmission stage of the virus from one cat to another. Basically, this means that keeping your cat's environment clean can help reduce transmission of the disease.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is most commonly transmitted through bodily fluids, i.e. saliva or blood. Male cats are more susceptible to FIV than females since they tend to fight more often. The first line of defense against this disease is to neuter your cat to reduce the instincts for territorial or sexually aggressive behavior. Limiting your cat's contact with stray or feral cats will also reduce the incidence of FIV infection. If your kitty comes home with fresh wounds, clean them immediately. It may not be sure prevention, but any and all efforts can only be helpful to prevent the infection of your favorite kitty.

The transmission of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus from a mother cat to her kittens is very rare. If it does occur, it'll usually happen when the mother is infected during lactation or gestation. Generally speaking, Queens infected before pregnancy do not have infected kittens. And, good mothers don't leave bite wounds on their kittens.

One other thing about retroviruses... they are species specific. FIV occurs only in cats (including the big wild cats, i.e. lions, snow leopards, etc.), just like HIV only occurs in humans; though it is a derivative of a primate virus occurring in chimpanzees. Which leads me to think that we shouldn't be surprised if the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus should mutate and invade species which share genetic, physiological, environmental and/or other similarities with cats.

FIV Has 3 Stages of Development

pictures_feral_cats.jpg* The first stage of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus infection is called the "acute" stage and is characterized by fevers, susceptibilities to skin & intestinal infections, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms usually occur 4-6 weeks after infection. At this time there may be elevated levels of your cat's antibodies present.

* The second stage is called the "latent", more formally the subclinical stage, and there're no signs of the disease. This stage may last for years, but during this period the immune system is slowly being destroyed.

* The third stage is the final, AIDS-like stage when the immunodeficiency becomes severe. It occurs most commonly in cats 5-12 years of age. In this clinical stage the cat's immune system isn't operating properly and she is prone to infections that under normal circumstances her body would easily ward off. But since her immune system cannot keep these infections under control, they multiply rapidly causing disease. Infections such as these are called "opportunistic infections".

Clinical Symptoms of FIV

Infected cats will show non-specific symptoms such as fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. In addition symptoms of FIV and FeLV (Feline Leukemia) are very similar. Additionally, other signs of the infection can occur:

* Oral Infections such as gingivitis, mouth pain and refusing to eat.

* Eye Diseases, redness, discharges, cloudiness or even glaucoma.

* Gastrointestinal signs such as chronic diarrhea, bacterial or parasitic infestation.

* Upper Respiratory Disease with sneezing & nasal discharge, breathing difficulties or coughing.

* Skin & Ear Infections which are chronic. Ear mites, ringworm, mange, itching and hair loss.

* Neurologic Diseases which can cause changes in behavior, loss of house-training habits, and dementia.

* Anemia

* When the immune system is depressed lymphoma and leukemia are always a dangerous possibility.

The above symptoms are not the final test for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus since they can indicate the presence of any number of infections and diseases. If your kitty displays any of these signs she should be taken to your veterinarian and given specific tests based on the doctors analysis of her condition. Most chemistry tests show cats with FIV to be normal. But, these tests might indicate anemia and decreased numbers of white blood cells in ill cats. Also, a protein called globulin may be elevated in FIV infected cats.

Testing For FIV

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus infection is diagnosed with tests which detect a cat's antibody production against FIV. Remember, antibodies are usually present 3-6 weeks after infection. But, it takes 8-12 weeks for detectable levels of antibodies to appear. Keep in mind the scuffle that Beauregard got into with that strange Tom... which, by the way, you never saw again. Therefore, testing should be performed 8-12 weeks after the suspected infection occurs. If the infection occurrence timeline is unknown, kitty should be tested once, then again in 8-12 weeks. Tests can prove problematic since the occurrences of false and false positive tests is quite common. It usually takes a series of tests to reach a sure and accurate conclusion.

FIV Treatment

At this time there is no cure for FIV. If your cat is infected with the disease, she should be kept indoors to prevent secondary infections and to keep her from infecting other cats. Your veterinarian will use aggressive treatments of any infections she acquires as a result of her lowered immune system. Antibiotics for secondary infections, a good diet with adequate fluids will help your cat enjoy a quality filled life, and in the case of FIV, a sometimes long life. Remember, FIV can remain dormant for years.

Article by Robert Gallegos who is a life long lover of cats. He is dedicated to sharing his understanding of the cat experience, reducing the epidemic feral cat situation, and helping cat lovers to provide the best care for their cats.

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Pictures_of-Kittens_cats.jpgThis is one of the best articles I've read about feral cats. Robert Gallegos is a life long lover of cats. He is dedicated to sharing his understanding of the cat experience, reducing the epidemic feral cat situation, and helping cat lovers to provide the best care for their cats.

Please consider subscribing to my feed. If you love cats, you'll enjoy the posts we place online every day.  Thanks for visiting!

Ever Wondered What It's Like to Be Lost in a Mean World?

That's a scary thought. Dark, lonely nights shivering with the chill of an impending winter; finding warmth in any nook that can be found. Not a friendly face in sight if she was born feral. Food is scarce and looking for more is really tiring, but she continues searching anyway... anyway she can, or else she'll starve. She might find a group of like-minded souls and together they form a kind of "self-preservation" society. Staying together to stay alive even in spite of the diseases that can (and often do) spread through the colony. But then, they're not her kind and only remind her of what it is she has really lost. Home, family, comfort and peace of mind. That's what it's like to live the life of a feral cat.

pictures_feral_cats.jpgSo, just what is a feral cat? Well, they are domestic cats that, for whatever reason, have found themselves homeless. Or, they are the children of domestic cats. They are not "wild cats" which are animals that have never been domesticated. How a domestic cat finds herself homeless is a matter of speculation. She may have run away from abuse or neglect. Many belong to unwanted litters and have been abandoned to fend for themselves by people who haven't the heart to take them to an animal shelter, fearing they'll only be euthanized. But then, some just get lost and no one's to blame for that. And, who knows. Cats may very well have to take some of the blame themselves for coming off so darned self-sufficient, aloof, and independent. It leads people to mistakenly think that a 'domestic cat in the wild can quite easily take care of herself, thank you'.

Of course that's not true. The normal domestic cat's life span averages somewhere around 14 or 15 years compared to a feral life expectancy of 2 years. If she's born feral she'll be lucky to make it out of kitten-hood. The mortality rate for feral litters is 50%. Those that make it to adulthood are, if they are female, always pregnant and the males are always in a fight for mating privileges. That's not much of a life in my book. And since so many feral cats find themselves in an urban environment, the search for food is very challenging (a lot of dumpster diving). Nope, not a pretty life.

If you come across a feral cat, can she be re-domesticated? Good question. If she has the memory of a home and the domestic life, there is good reason to believe she can accept a new home offered to her. Feral kittens caught by the time they are 4-6 weeks old can usually be quite easily tamed. Older kittens may be domesticated, but with greater difficulty. Fully grown feral cats are usually impossible to tame, let alone allow you to get close enough to pet them. In all cases it's persistence on the part of a human care-giver that greatly determines the success of a feral cat being re-domesticated.

Feral cats will form into colonies where they seek safety in numbers and share nursing responsibilities. Un-spayed females can have up to (3) litters a year. It's that prolific breeding rate that is the biggest problem. Some estimates project there are 60 million feral cats in the U.S. Coupled with another 60 million cats in homes, that averages out to about (1) cat for every (2+) people in this country alone. That's a lot of cats!

pictures_of_stray_cats_lost.jpgSome want to blame feral cats for the decimation of bird populations, and play on our fears that these homeless are spreading health hazards (though most of the health hazards come from living in the colonies themselves). But, the most compelling argument for declining bird populations could be from the loss of habitat and window strikes do to people moving into areas that not long before had been natural wilderness or farmland. I haven't seen many gangs of feral cats scourging the countryside like Vandals preying on rare birds or other habitat species.

What do you do if you discover a feral cat or even a colony? TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) programs have sprung up all over the country. These programs consist of rounding up the colony and taking them to a pre-arranged clinic where they are neutered or spayed, given medical check-ups and released back to where they were captured. Then care givers provide them with food and shelter until the colony disappears from natural reasons. Mainly, because there are no more litters being born. There are those who propose "search and destroy" missions to rid the problem... but, we're not Neanderthals here, so I won't go there. Find a program by asking your veterinarian, calling the animal shelter in your town, or look in the phone book for local humane societies. Usually traps can be loaned for the purpose of capturing feral cats and clinic dates can be arranged for their neutering and spaying.

It's believed that around 3500 B.C. Egyptians began to domesticate the wildcats of Africa. Since then cats have been companions to humans and have been populated around the world wherever people have taken them. Their initial "wild" instincts for survival only remain in rudimentary form. Hence, if a modern day "house" cat becomes feral, she is just as influenced by her millenniums of domestication as she is by the natural instincts of the wild environment she left so long ago. If you have ever owned a cat that failed to come home... the sting of that loss can be felt right in your soul. As for your cat, who's to say she doesn't feel that pain, too.

All animals have the ability to show hurt, joy, sadness and even loss. Maybe they can't articulate feelings into words or cohesive thought... but, they still can feel emotions. A feral cat is a lost cat who wants to come home. She may not know how to to that, but, the instinct to bind with human companionship keeps her near to us; whether she is hiding in alleyways, or in a farmer's barn. Likewise, our appreciation and desire for her companionship drives us to want to help her escape that mean and fearful situation.

pictures_feral_cat.jpgThe modern advancements of our technological world tend to insulate people, causing them to believe we have a distant "otherness" from the natural world. But, denying that we are in-separate and well ensconced in nature is done so at peril to our own existence. Applying our nobler nature to resolving the feral cat condition will only raise our consciousness to a higher level and manifest the realization that what happens to one of us as creatures of the earth, happens ultimately to us all. We need to bring our lost kitten friends back into the fold of our compassion and our homes... where they belong.

Visit Robert J Gallegos' website, Cat Lover Gifts World, a web site dedicated to proper cat care with quality cat lover gifts based on an understanding of cat behavior, instincts and the unique requirements for healthy cats as pets. Cats are the newest of animals to be domesticated and still have one paw in the wild. It's a major reason why they're so mysterious and resistant to human expectations.

Click here for our past posts, our archives have hundreds of helpful cat information posts for cat lovers.  Please subscribe to our RSS feed if you're a cat person that likes cat related information, cat care advice and news.

Cat litter boxes that we supply for our precious pets are a very convenient item to make available when you happen to have a cat that has been trained to use a box for his 'business'. However, in making your final selection in the choice of a box that will offer the most advantages for your particular needs, there are a few things that you might want to take into consideration before purchasing this useful item for your lovable fur ball.

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_pictures_cats_clean_ears.jpgIn the society that we live in today and with the constant advancements that are being made in high tech technology it can seem as if we have an almost endless selection to choose from in the unique varieties and styles that are available to choose from. Each selection of cat litter boxes of course offering its own set of unique conveniences for us to take advantage of. Take the plain and simple plastic square shaped boxes for example that a large number of pet owners use today. Yes, even this popular variety offers some enjoyed benefits that numerous individuals have found to be very useful.

These styles are not bulky in the shape and various sizes that are available in, they are small compared to several of the other choices, they can be found at very reasonable money saving prices, and they can almost be hidden away and placed out of sight in any room of your home that you wish to place them in. This choice is one that is also very easy to clean when this necessary task has to be performed. Believe it or not, there are also cat litter boxes that offer a self-cleaning feature that is a style becoming quite popular in the selection of pet items that are available on the market today. There are also choices that have a covering that goes over the entire top of the box that works great for keeping it well hidden and covered. It does not matter which of the handy styles that you may like the best, or the choices that your fluffy friend finds to be the most comfortable to use, you can be sure to find a design that will work quite well for your pet's individual needs.

In browsing through the variety of cat litter boxes available, you can carefully consider the styles and the options that you are looking to find. Comparing the items offered on several websites can be useful in helping to make the right choice for your pets.

Article by Angie Atkins. For more information about cat litter, visit the Cat Litter Website.

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Children and cats' companionship is not only possible but also preferable. A cat can play a role of an aid for a child who has already learnt to walk. The child can take care of the pet, feeding it, brushing and generally looking after. This is way children learn to understand animals. If you have a female cat your children can acquire knowledge about intimate animal's life, and how to take care of just born kittens. In this case the breed of the pet doesn't play any role.

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7710.jpgWho can take care of a pet?

If your children want to have a cat home and you have a plan to purchase this animal to please them do not do it if you dislike cats. One of you has to take the responsibly to take care of the pet and show the children how to treat it kindly. You cannot burden your children completely and make them take care of the animal they wanted. Children can forget about feeding the cat or they might get tired of their new responsibly. This change of attitudes toward the pet will change the animal's well-being. Also never give your friends' children a cat as a present if you are not sure their parents are not totally for it as well. There can be some certain circumstances and reasons which do not allow your friends' children to have a cat and you may not know about them.

How to treat your cat?

It is very important to rule out bad treatment, this usually happens because many people simply do not know how to treat cats. You should not squeeze the cat or uninterruptedly caress it. It is necessary to explain to the children that they have to act towards cats as they want people to act towards them. If the children deal harshly with such helpless animals it will also learn to treat them in the same fashion.

Little babies and cats

Children who can't walk yet may have some problems with cats. Babies like to stroke cats very much, and the cats are also fond of it to. It is very amusing but the adults must not leave the baby alone with a kitten or a cat because little babies tend to grab and pull things so unexpectedly. It might make a cat or kitten ready to attack causing aggression and possible pain.

Children who are between 3 and 6 years old should have a firm footing and be comfortable before giving them a cat. Otherwise they might drop the animal, especially if the kitten scratches or bites.

cat-napped_pictures_of_cats.jpgHygiene and diseases

A cat can be a cause of different diseases and it might be dangerous for children who are in a contact with animals and do not take simple precautions. Many children still have a habit to take different objects and fingers into the mouth. One of the most dangerous diseases is toxoplasmosis. Thus it is very important to keep an eye at them and do not allow the children and the pet to access each other meals. Do not allow the cat to lick your baby's face. The child must wash his or her hands after playing with the cat and the child must not place the hands into his or her mouth while playing. Be careful outside and do not allow your baby to play in the sand where cats possibly can use it as a toilet.

Teach your children to respect and treat kindly any creature and when its time to go into the world they will become much kinder and more humane.

Article by Travis Olague of Terzovia Maine Coon Cats and Kittens

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We've had videos before of talking cats but I don't think I've seen a cat that talks as much as this cat. My cat Maddy is probably the most talkative cat out there but this cat makes Maddy look like a mute. I think the owner is holding a ball of cat nip over her head...

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