Melanie: October 2008 Archives

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Full_moon_halloween_cat.jpg

Whether you believe in superstitions or not, it's a fact that black cats are associated with Halloween, witches and all things evil. It does make a certain kind of sense, cats are nocturnal and their eyes shine in the dark, making them a perfect animal to fear and tell stories about during this day full of spirits and sprites, and devilish doings.

The tradition of cats and Halloween dates back over 2000 years to the ancient Celts. These ancient peoples lit bonfires to signal the end of summer and to help send those who died the previous year into the after life, usually with a sacrifice of a cat to the Sun God. They dressed in costumes to trick the spirits so they wouldn't bother the living.

A few hundred years later when Christians replaced earlier rituals. People who continued to participate in pagan traditions were hunted as witches along with nocturnal and misunderstood animals, like cats. During this time, cats were the main target because early Christians believed that witches could shape change into cats. Especially black cats. So cats, along with their owners were killed en masse. Halloween_cat.jpg

But this witch and cat hunt backfired, with the deaths of so many cats, carriers of the black plague - rats mostly - began to multiply leaving the human population to suffer and die in huge numbers. In the UK, people began to recognize that cats had been saving them from the plague so cats became revered and a symbol of good luck.

Unfortunately, in North America the opposite is true. Witches were hunted and their cats were killed also. Throughout the years cats continued to be a symbol of witchcraft and superstitions started to grow around cats, making them a permanent part of Halloween. pictures_cats_jackolantern.jpg

Because of all of this history and superstition, black cats are considered bad luck and shelters all over the world have such a hard time adopting out black cats. Superstitions still haunt Black Cats.

Even to this day, cats remain one of the most popular symbols for Halloween. During this time of year, many cats go missing and have ended up being used in satanic rituals or fatal pranks. If you are a cat owner, it is always best to keep your cat indoors around halloween, a few days before and a few days after to keep them safe from the wandering trick or treaters and from strangers who might want to use a cat in some torturous way.

So now that we know that cats were a part of Halloween for centuries, I wish you all, humans and Kitties, Have a Happy Halloween!

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Pictures_cats_servel_pumkin.jpgWith all the yummy sugary treats around this time of year, it's easy to want to share with your kitty, especially if he has a bit of a sweet tooth! But please, for your cat's safety, no chocolate or candies or anything that comes in a wrapper.

1. No Chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to cats so it is extremely dangerous to give them any even in small amounts. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. Taken in large quantities, chocolate can kill your cat.

It contains caffeine, cardiac stimulants and its a diuretic, all of which can seriously harm your cat and the problem is that the symptoms don't show up right away, so by the time your cat starts having seizures, its too late.

If you think your cat has eaten some chocolate, take him to the vet right away and if you can, bring the chocolate and wrapper with you so your vet can see how much and what kind of chocolate it was.

2. No Candies. Cats may want to lick a sweet hard candy or chew on some gummies, but don't let him! The artificial sweetener xylitol can cause stomach upset, problems breathing even coma and possibly death if taken in large quantities. And sugar can cause Kitty to be hyperactive and irritable. Pictures_cats_pumkins.jpg

The artificial sweetener xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol, and cats can't metabolize alcohol so they usually end up with a sudden drop in blood sugar and slip into a coma.

If you think your cat has had something with an artificial sweetener in it, get him to the vet immediately with the candy and the wrapper, if possible.

3. No Candy Wrappers. Those shiny packages are very tempting as they flash in the light. Cats will surely want to play with them, but don't let them. Cats are attracted to the shiny, crunchy foil and plastic wrappers, but if swallowed, your cat can be in grave danger. INtestinal blockage can be fatal if not treated immediately.

If you think your cat has swallowed something like this, don't wait around for him to poop it out, call your vet now, this is not something you can take care of by your self. Your cat might have to have surgery to remove the item. So think twice about letting him play with candy wrappers. Pictures_cats_pumkin.jpg

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picture_cats_mimi_.jpgI told you about Mimi before. She is the 12 year old girl who started her very own website to feed kibble to hungry cats. It started out for dogs and soon expanded to include cats too. So now her organization feeds 1,200 - 1,500 cats and dogs every day.

How does a 12 year old feed all those cats? a cat trivia game on her website! She posts a new question every day, people answer the question and right or wrong, her corporate sponsors donate cat food to animal shelters across the US.

It's easy, all you have to do is go to the Free Kibble Kat Website and answer the trivia question. That's it! The only catch is that you have to do it every day to make it effective. But Mimi has thought of everything, just sign up for her email reminder and you get a non-spammy email in your inbox reminding you to feed the cats, and while you are there, you might as well feed the dogs too. I'm much better at answering the cat trivia than the dog trivia obviously, but I like to play for both species.

Today there is a special promotion, answer the question and you can double the amount of food your click gives these cats Click now!

And while you are the FreeKibbleKat website, check out Mimi's interview on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Ellen donated $20,000 of her pet food to Mimi.

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This cat is hilarious! I almost can't believe it's real. This cat, named Remix is singing and talking while he drinks some milk. He dips his paws in and licks the milk off his paws and says, "nom, nom, nom" the whole time - and its a pretty cute cat too! But don't try this at home folks, milk can be dangerous for cats.

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Cat_ID_Halloween.jpgIt's not too late to get your cat's ID ready for Halloween night! Protect your cat from becoming a stray cat, or worse. Get him microchipped, or have an easy to read collar and tags in case he sneaks out Halloween night.

You know how it is, little kids are coming to your door and there comes a time, when you get so many kids, you won't be able to close the door for a while, and that is the moment when Kitty decides to take a stroll in the neighborhood.

It couldn't be a worse night to be out, strangers in weird clothes, thinking they are invincible or maybe getting a little too into their character scare away your cat, or do things I can't mention here

The next thing you know, your cat is lost, and you don't know how long he's been gone. This is one time when the cat probably won't come back, unless he has proper ID.

In addition to making sure his ID is up to date, put him in a comfortable room with the door securely closed during peak Halloween Trick Or Treater time. He'll hate it. You'll hate it. But just think, instead of pounding the pavement calling his name with tears streaking down your face, you'll be able to give him lots of love and attention to make up for his confinement.

Keep your cat safe with proper ID and safely tucked indoors on Halloween night.

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Pictures_Cat_first_aid.jpgWhen cats are injured or sick, sometimes people think cats can get better on their own. And cats are very stoic, they rarely show that they are in pain or suffering, which makes it even more difficult to know when to take your cat to the vet. Here are some circumstances that are warning signs of major health issues that only a vet can diagnose properly. So always take your cat to see a vet, even if it has to be an emergency clinic in the middle of the night, if he has any of these symptoms:

1. If your cat has been hit by a car, even if there are no outward signs of injury. My cousin had a kitten who was hit by a car at night, his leg and spine were broken but he walked home! My cousin saw that he was very close to the car that hit him but didn't know the cat was hurt until the next morning, when he was showing signs of shock. When he took him to the vet, he had to put him down.

2. If your cat has been in a cat fight, again, even if there is no sign of injury. There could be subtle injuries that if left untreated could cost you your cat's life. I had a cat, her name was Chloe, she got into a fight, and her tail was bitten. I didn't know to take her in to the vet right away and the bite got infected. She almost lost her tail because of my negligence.

3. If your cat has suffered from trauma of any sort like a fall from someplace high, as a passenger in a car, hit by something, kicked, or abused in anyway. (see my post Driving Miss Kitty for tips on how to keep your cat safe in the car) Internal injuries and shock can have a devastating effect on your cat.stray_cats.jpg

4. If your cat is in shock, even if you don't think anything happened to him, take him to the vet if he shows signs of shock. Watch for weak or rapid pulse, gums start out red or pink then turn grey, dazed or lethargic, shallow breathing, nervousness, difficulty standing, pupils dilating at different rates, or your cat being cold or shivering.

5. If your cat is dehydrated. How can you tell if your cat is dehydrated? pull on the skin on his back, if it kind of stays up in the shape when you pulled it, your cat is dehydrated and needs an immediate IV of fluids. Your cats skin should be elastic and return to its normal shape after it's pulled.

6. If your cat might have ingested something toxic like antifreeze, human medications, or anything that cats aren't supposed to eat, things that may be find for you could be deadly to your cat.

7. If your cat loses consciousness, even for a second or two, is a sign of some sort of brain trauma.

8. If your cat is bleeding and you can't stop it, even when you apply pressure and bandage it.

9. If your cat has bloody urine or diarrhea with blood. Not good, internal injuries, get him to the vet now.

Pictures_of_cats_grooming.jpg10. Obviously, if your cat is having trouble breathing take him in, or if he isn't breathing, start breathing for him by administering CPR and get him to the vet immediately.

If your cat has any of these signs, stay calm and talk to him in a calm voice, wrap him gently in a large towel or blanket and place him in his carrier and get him to the vet immediately.

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I've blogged before about how to brush a cat's teeth, but I'm pretty sure I never recommended using an electric toothbrush! This video is an excellent example of why not!

Gigi the kitten is fiercely attacking the toothbrush. His teeth don't get much brushing but his paws are getting well brushed. Watch Gigi's face throughout the video, you can see his face curious and fierce, then the brush stops and he wonders what he did to break it, then he gets mad and attacks it again.

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It's no doubt that cats are fascinated with running water - here is a video of several smart cats who've figured out how to flush the toilet. So if your water bill is unusually high, you might want to investigate what you cat is doing all day while you are at work!

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Choosing a name for your cat is a very personal thing. The name reflects your interests and the cat’s temperament. It is also something that you have to love because your cat will be with you for up to two decades! There are millions of names out there to choose from. To make your choice a little easier, consider this:Pictures_cats_picking_names.jpg

• Your cat’s personality – you might want a name that suits the cat’s temperament. If Kitty is very alert and playful, a name that reflects that, like Sparkles or Chili might work.

• The name should be easy for you to say - making it easy to say when you are calling him for dinner might be something to consider – imagine having to call his name while walking up and down the streets of your neighborhood!

• If you have more than one cat, you might consider finding names that go together. One suggestion is Alexander and Ivan, or Nike and Adidas.

• Your personality – keep your personality in mind too, your cat’s name reflects on you too, so select a name that reflects who you are as well. If you are an avid reader, naming a cat after a character of your all time favorite book is a great idea. I personally think this is an important point. Neo was named after the main character in the Matrix trilogy.

• How others will react to your cat. Some names cause people to shy away from your cat while others allow people to feel comfortable with your cat. Consider Sparta vs Cuddles. See what I mean, a cat named Sparta might make people fearful of your cat before they even meet him.

pictures_cats_names.jpgHere are some cat name websites to visit for ideas.

All Pet Names only has a few hundred, but the meanings of the names are listed too.

Cat Names Ideas has thousands of names alphabetized but no meanings.

Cat Names has the longest list of cat names I've seen, with some meanings - it includes names from other languages.

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Cat_pictures_not_impressed.jpgToday was a very cold day and Neo was not impressed. He wanted to go outside, and I let him out but he didn't want to stay too long. The weather was cold, windy and damp today so Neo was in a bad mood. He went out and came in about three times. One time he stood at the door, I got his harness and leash on, but when I opened the door, he sniffed at the air and then looked up at me and started meowing.

Poor guy, this going outside thing is not working for him today. So I figured instead of shoving him out the door and making him play in the cold, I thought I would really try to make things better for him. After all, Neo is rarely in a bad mood and I thought he must be so disappointed by the weather. He really isn't an outdoor cat so he should start getting used to being indoors again, it's a long cold winter when it gets here.

picture_of_black_cat_peek_a_boo.jpgSo I played with him. He likes to play, but I am not that great at playing - usually, I start to play then lose interest when i start thinking about all the things I have to do. But today, I took out some toys he hasn't played with in a while. He especially likes long strings that you wiggle around. It's fun to watch his eyes dilate while he plays. He still has a very cute kitten appearance that gets magnified when he is chasing after a string. So we played that for about ten minutes, he could have gone longer but...like I said, I lose interest.

So then I brushed him, he needed it, by the way, he had loose fur and bits of dried leaves and stuff in his fur. He loves to be groomed, he tells me where he wants to be combed by lifting that body part toward me. usually he likes his back-end done - remember I was telling you about the spanking? Well he loves his little bum combed too. And he offered his head and neck to me to comb. Now this I get into - I can comb him forever, he loves it too, but he stops after 15 minutes - and today that's exactly how long until he was finished. pictures_of_cats_blow_drying.jpg

Then I gave him some treats and he followed me back to my desk, and he took a nap under the lamp.

Which brings me to the point of what to do to keep your indoor cat happy and amused.

Since cats in the wild spend a lot of time hunting, many experts suggest putting their food in different spots in the house and make your cat "hunt for it" - a good idea in theory, except Neo doesn't eat hard food because of all the diseases that are caused by dry cat food and I am not crazy about the idea of putting soft food all over the house for him. I have, however, tried this with his treats. It seems to work, but the motivation isn't the same as it is when you hide their food.

Another better idea is what I was talking about above, make some time for quality play and grooming time, everyday. He doesn't need hunting lessons, he's just looking for attention and something to do to fill up some time between naps. He'll get the attention he needs, and look good too if you do some play time and grooming time every day. why_do_cats_eat_grass-.jpg

And lastly, open a window so your cat can hear the outdoors and smell the outdoors. Make sure there is a place for him to perch beside it so he can enjoy the view. Put some cat grass beside the window too. This even works for Neo, who is just itching to get outside. Sometimes letting him smell the outdoors and nibble on some grass is all he really wants.

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pictures_cats_kittens.jpgThe proverbial crazy cat lady is always in the news. You can do a search and find hundreds of articles and stories about women and cats. Cats have traditionally been owned by women, but that trend is changing. Fast.

Even though throughout the ages, men have had cats, men like George Bernard Shaw, Ernest Hemingway, Marlon Brando, and the list goes on, men are seeing the benefits to cat ownership.

flood_victems_rescuedd_cats.jpgAccording to an article in the New York Times called Sorry, Fido, It's Just a Guy Thing, more and more men are adopting cats. The article even goes on to say that, "A man with a cat is secure with himself. He's sharing his space with a predator."

And many women agree. A man with a cat is sexy. A man with a cat is someone most women would be very happy to meet. Men with cats are prepared to work at a relationship. You see, anyone who owns a cat knows that unlike dogs, cats just don't give it up for anyone. Cats like it when their humans take initiative to try to get to know them. So in my opinion, a guy with a cat has had relationship experience!

But if you are a cat-less man, reading this, but you are not quite convinced that a cat is the way to go, think of these benefits:

Pictures_of_cat_groomed_and_posing.jpg1. If you travel a lot with work, you can leave a cat alone for a few days with someone looking in on her.

2. Cats are loving but then go about their own business, leaving you to take care of yours.

3. Most women love cats. So unless your new girlfriend is allergic or totally heartless, your cat can actually enhance your relationship with her.

4. The amount of love you can get from a little ten pound cat can only be experienced to believe!

So all you men out there, enjoy your kitty and know that there are lots of other men out there who love their cats too! You can read about some of them at Men and Cats.

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. 

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Blending cats in to one household is a bit challenging if you don't know what you're doing. Cats need a proper introduction to their new territory and their new housemates. It's in your best interest to take a few moments to watch this vide of what to do when you introduce a new cat to your household.

How to choose a cat and pointers for blending cats into one household are a good place to start if you are thinking about getting another cat.

You'll find this video interview with Dr Katherine Miller of the ASPCA helpful with tips for your new kitty.

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. 

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian friends! I hope your weekend was safe and happy.

Picture_Cats_thanksgiving.jpgThe weather was beautiful and the fall leaves are brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Neo spent most of the day outside, in the sun watching birds and chipmunks. Then he came in had two servings of turkey dinner and now he is sleeping soundly with a big round belly up in the air!

Here is a recipe for homemade turkey cat food in honor of thanksgiving. I left out the spinach because Neo ate a lot of grass today while he was outside. Ok, for this recipe you'll need:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked

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2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 pound raw turkey giblets chopped fine

1/4 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped spinach

Combine water and rice and bring to a boil, cook according to package directions. Just before the rice is done, stir in oil, giblets, carrot and spinach. Cover and cook for 10 - 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then serve. You can store unused portions in an airtight container for two days in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer.

Delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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. 

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This video is pretty funny. It has some classic cat video clips in it and then some new ones, that I haven't seen before. The only part of this video that I don't like is the video of the cat in the cage, who is clearly upset and we're laughing at him. I just feel bad for cats when they are in distress and people make a joke out of it. YOu'll know what I mean when you get to about 2:45. Other than that, enjoy!

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As a follow up to my post yesterday about getting your cat into a Halloween costume, check out this video that shows several cat in costume. Maybe you'll be inspired.

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. 

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If you haven't already done so, it's time to think about how to dress your cat for Halloween! As you can see in these pictures, Neo is going to be wearing a green sequined bow-tie and if I can get him into a little vest and matching hat the look will be complete! My little furry Gentleman Caller - you know what I mean, from the 1940's, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams....No? ok, well he's cute in his tie anyway!

Neo is a real sport about dress up time. He'll do anything if I pet him and talk nicely to him and give him treats. Training him to tolerate a harness paid off for Halloween too! If your cat is used to a collar or harness, or it your cat is just really easy-going, you can probably get away with putting him in a costume.

But there are a few things you should and shouldn't do to make the evening fun for your cat too. Besides we don't want to anger kitty, he knows where you sleep. No, he won't hurt you, but he might start displaying some unwanted behavior if you upset him - think kitty pee on your pillow, stuff like that. Ok so here goes:

1. No dresses. Their hind legs get caught in them and it trips them and they fall. While this can be very funny for you, it's not fun for kitty.

2. Leave the ears out - cats rely on their ears so covering them will only irritate your cat and he'll spend the whole time trying to get the hat off of his head.

3. Hats and head pieces work best on kitties who wear collars, they are used to something being around their necks so securing the hat to their head is usually no problem.

4. Don't let kitty outside while in costume. This is bad for several reasons, it's a distraction so he could be fussing with his costume while a car is speeding up the street. Not good.

5. And just so we're clear, a cat outside on Halloween night is a recipe for disaster, there are too many idiots out looking for a laugh and they can do some pretty extreme things to your cat. In costume or out of costume, keep your cat in that night and save his life.

You can browse cat costumes at Annie's Costumes and at KittyCity. And view some pictures of cats in costume from 2007. My favorite is the pissed off pink fluffy bunny cat costume but I think it's been photoshopped!

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chipmunk_neo_cat.jpg


You know how I've been telling you about my problem with Neo wanting to get outside all the time.  I've been looking for a cat fence that would keep him in my yard, but until I figure out what I want to do, I've been letting him out on a leash and harness.  


So tell me, how can a cat go hunting with a harness and leash on?  I don't know but Neo has figured it out! He was outside for about an hour just wandering around and I noticed he was sitting very still watching the neighbor's back step.  When I went out to check on him, he ran and pounced and the next thing I know there is a chipmunk in his mouth!  I was shocked.


Neo was born in feral cat colony and I know his mom took him out for hunting lessons, I just didn't think he would have remembered what she showed him.  I guess somethings are hard to forget and he demonstrated that with his catch today.


He was so proud of that catch, he strutted toward the back door with this chipmunk dangling from his mouth.  It was as if he was saying, "This is the best day ever!" 


It looked like he wanted to take it inside the house but I didn't let him. I wasn't excited about the idea of a chipmunk loose in the house. So he stayed outside and started to play a cat and mouse game with it.  You know letting it go then running after it and catching it. 


I honestly didn't know what to do next.  Should I catch Neo and let the chipmunk go or should I let him play with it for a while?  The chipmunk looked like he wasn't hurt, he still had speed and agility.  I was torn, I felt bad for the chipmunk, but I also wanted Neo to enjoy his catch for awhile.  


So I let him play with it for a few minutes.  I took him off his leash and ran in to get the camera.  He let it go and chased after it again a few times and I got these two pictures you see here.  It was hard to get a good shot because he was moving so fast - usually Neo is a slow mover, but not today.  


He chased the chipmunk in the tall, wet grass for a few more minutes and I could see that the chipmunk was getting tired.  He still didn't appear to be hurt, just wet and tired.  So I picked up Neo and took him inside.  The chipmunk when to his home in the trees in my backyard.  


Neo came in and was very excited, meowing and pacing and I praised him for his hunting skills and he loved the attention.  He started to clean himself and then had a long nap.  Actually, he didn't get up for at least 6 hours.  He came in at around 2:00 PM and he didn't get up from his nap until around 8:30PM.  


Poor tired Neo - he had a big day.  I bet Neo had some good dreams.   


I wonder how long the chipmunk slept? 

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I don't know about you, but I love to watch wild cats playing like kittens. It's fascinating to see these huge animals, weighting in at 400 pounds batting around a ball, or in this case a pumpkin, like it was a fuzzy cat toy.

This video is one of my favorite Halloween/Pumpkin Videos. These tigers, lions and I think it's a bearcat are having a great time playing with the pumpkins. Cameron the lion and Zabu the white tiger are so protective of their pumpkins, like they would be after a kill. Very much like domestic cats will do with a new toy. Very cute.

Cameron and Zabu came to Bg Cat Rescue together so they live in the same compound and they are very attached. They were in a horrible little zoo in New England that kept them together in hopes that they would breed. That never happened and since they've been at Big Cat Rescue, Cameron has had a vasectomy. They will live together for the rest of their lives at Big Cat Rescue.

You have to watch this video through to the end, one lioness named Sarabi, was perhaps expecting something a little sweeter... Maybe a pumpkin pie, not just a pumpkin - watch her face at about 4:43 after she tastes it. Sarabi has very human-like facial expressions.

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Yesterday, I told you about Neo who loves to eat pumpkin in True Halloween Cats are Crazy for Pumpkin. Well, it seems that Neo is very much like his distant cousins, the Cougar. Here's a video of pumpkin day at Big Cat Rescue, a non for profit rescue organization for wild cats. These cougars are having a great time "Smashing Pumpkins"

Enjoy.

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cat-pumpkin.jpgIn the spirit of Halloween fun, give your cat pumpkin for a treat. I was amazed to find out that pumpkin is actually good for your cat – it tastes sweet and cats love it.

Last year, we were given a pumpkin just before Halloween and I brought it into the house and used it as a decoration until it got a little too soft… and started to smell…and leaked on the carpet… but that’s a story for another day!

Anyway, Neo loved this pumpkin – He smelled it, sat on top of it, rubbed up against it, he even licked it. I just thought it was because it smelled like the outdoors, or because it was something new to sit on. But I was wrong.

He actually wanted to eat it! Today, I was carving a pumpkin to put outside for the trick-or-treaters that will be stopping by. Neo jumped on my shoulders and started rubbing his face against my ears. So I gave him a tiny bit just to get him out of my way - and to my amazement, he ate a whole teaspoonful!

images-6.jpgSo I did a little research and it’s true, Cats love Pumpkin but here’s a word of caution… feed your cat up to two teaspoons of unsweetened canned pumpkin or freshly grated pumpkin, no more. It’s too high in fiber and it will give him gas – which is not pleasant for your cat (or for you for that matter!) But if your cat is constipated or has a bloody stool, a little pumpkin can clear up his constipation quickly. * Always ask your vet about any changes in your cat's diet.

And as for that carved pumpkin on your front step… the one that has been sitting out there for a couple days or more…. it has become a breeding ground for bacteria, parasites and …..ooooh too many things that can make your cat sick. So leave it outside and dispose of it where your cat can’t get to it.

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