Neo: March 2009 Archives

I get so many people emailing me about cats peeing outside their litter boxes. Even Neo does it and I thought he had a urinary tract infection, I've tried different types of litter, cleaning his litter box every day and putting his litter box in quiet areas. Everything they experts have suggested.

Cat_Litter_Box.jpgThe only thing he seems to like, is to go outside - so I let him out as often as I can, but that doesn't always work. But there is hope for all of us with the problem of cats urinating outside the litter box.

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According to Dr. Tony Buffington at Ohio State University, a litter box should be 1.5 x longer than your cat - that's 1 and a half cats!

Neo is about 20 inches long so an ideal cat litter box for him would 1.5 x 20 which equals 30 inches. The ideal litter box for Neo would be at least 30 inches long! When I measured him, I didn't include his tail because cats usually lift their tails out of the way when they use the litter box. Besides, Neo has a freakishly long tail!

30 inches is way longer than a standard litter box, so what can you do? A suggestion is to get one of those clear plastic storage containers. I'm going to find one this weekend and let Neo try it out. I'll let you know how it works.

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pictures_cats_love.jpgDoubters will say that a cat only shows affection when he's hungry or wants something and that a cat is not truly capable of love. Those people obviously have never felt the love of a cat. I have to admit that food does play a part in it, but it does with people too - you know, the old adage "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"

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So by feeding and caring properly for your cat you are actually laying the groundwork for love. But how do you know if your cat actually loves you?

Well there have been clinical studies done about how a person's heart rate lowers when they pet their cats and that can lead to a longer, healthier life. And the same studies have been conducted on cats. It turns out that their heart rate lowers when you show affection toward them, which is a sign of bonding, and love. According to these studies, the presence or touch of their human reduces stress.

Just think about when your cat is under stress, what does he do? He may run and hide, until the stress time is over, but then he usually appreciates your love and cuddles after the fact. Some cats run to their owners for safety during the stress time. Like Neo presses himself into me so hard, he'll push me off balance.

And I can remember a story Wendell told me about Maddy- she got tangled up in some netting and she was struggling and meowing - clearly under stress because she couldn't get out. But as soon as she heard Wendell's voice, she stopped struggling and let him gently untangle her.

Now that we know cats can bond with humans and feel love. What signs can you look for in your cat to know if he loves you?

pictures_cats_love_2.jpg1. Contributing to the household - you may not see it that way, but when your cat catches something, a mouse, a bird or even a toy and brings it to you and drops it at your feet, that's a sign of love. He wants to contribute and show that he can provide for you too.

2. Following you around - your cat may act casual about it, you know saunter into the room after you've already been there, or casually look away when you glance back at him. But clearly, your cat is interested in you and wants to be where you are.

3. Getting depressed when you leave - you may not see this, but if someone else is at home when you go, they might see it. Your cat may meow for you, or just go find a quiet spot and sleep until you return. If you have a predictable routine or make a distinct sound when you come home, your cat will be excited to see you. Again he may act casual about it, but trust me, he's excited to see you.

4. Sending you Cat Kisses - when your cat stares at you and then squints or closes his eyes. That is a huge sign of affection - in the cat world, that is the signal to other cats that this cat is not a threat. Your cat is completely vulnerable to you at that time. Send cat kisses back to him.

5. Overt signs of affection - rubbing his head on you, and walking by and tapping you with his tail - nothing a cat does is by accident, so if your cat rubs against you or touches you with his tail, it's love!

6. Lying on his back - exposing the tummy is sure sign that your cat trusts you - if a cat did this in the wild, he'd be lunch. But don't think your cat wants a belly rub - most cats don't want their tummy's rubbed, they might like a gentle stoke from chest to belly, but you have to know your cat and what he wants before you touch an exposed belly.

Just because cats can't kiss you, and hug you and hold your hand doesn't mean they don't love you - if you open up your heart and eyes and really see what your cat is doing, you'll understand that he loves you, he really loves you.

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