Did you know that a cat can rotate his ears 180 degrees?
Cat’s also use their ears for balance.
Did you know that a cat can rotate his ears 180 degrees?
Cat’s also use their ears for balance.
I’ve heard people say that cats have nine lives. I’m here to tell you about the two of mine. While totally different, they were both equally filled with love and excitement. Of course, both of my moms quickly learned who was the boss.
Let me start from the beginning. It was on a warm spring day in May that I took my first breath in this world, and found that I had three siblings. We found ourselves in front of my first mom’s house. We all met Momma Kym, who took us into her big house. Mom then put us in a small portable room, which she called a cooler. It had a soft pad on the floor, which was warm and kept us nice and cozy. The room was a little cramped for the four of us but it would do. Soon Momma Kym moved two of my siblings out of the cooler, which left room for my other sister and I to expand and be much more comfortable.
Because the room was portable, Momma Kym took us everywhere she went. She fed us every three hours and took care of our every need. This went on for days. We came to think of the cooler as our own little paradise. Mom never tired of fulfilling our demands. She was my first servant and as such, Momma Kym was excellent. She served with such tenderness, love and loyalty; I knew I had chosen well.
One day Mom took us from our sanctuary. Our world now enlarged a hundred-fold and was quite scary at first. We were put in with other kittens and they were huge and some were even bullies. I quickly acquired an attitude of self-importance. This was easy to do. Why, I already had Momma Kym and the rest of the humans around wrapped around my little paw. Soon the others came to fear, respect, and yes, even idolize me. Life was indeed good!
This adoration went on for two years, growing stronger everyday. No one could resist my charm. Everybody who came into my life loved me, especially Momma Kym. She often showed her devotion by picking me up and kissing me all over while telling me that I was her baby. Imagine me a baby! Humph!! This degraded me beyond belief, especially in front of the others, so I would turn my head and push her away. But, I’ll tell you a secret…I really did love it.
My favorite sport was hunting. I especially liked to hunt gophers. I don’t know, there was something about the chase. It was thrilling beyond compare. My comrades said that I was the best hunter, with the exception of one time, when the gopher actually had the audacity to bite me before I had the chance to hunt him down. Talk about embarrassment. I came home to Momma Kym with my tail between my legs. Off to the vet we went. They fixed me up, good as new. Soon, I was out searching for more excitement.
One day, while I was out chasing gophers, I wandered off too far. When I realized that my prey had escaped my grasp, I noticed that I was in a field across the street from home. I sauntered back toward the road and heard a car coming. Well, I wasn’t afraid of a car. After all, I could run faster than any of the other cats. I can surely outrun a car. I took a running start. Faster and faster I went. Catching a glimpse of the car speeding toward me, I picked up the pace, almost making it to the other side before the car got to me. Almost. I felt the pain in my hind leg and I realized the huge mechanical monster had hit me. I could not make it home, so I limped to safety under a tree where Kym found me. We made another trip to the vet.
Then one day, a lady came into the office. She called my name and I cuddled up on her lap, purring happily. I heard Mom call her Denise. Mom then asked me if I would like to go home with her. Well, this lady seemed nice enough and knew how to scratch behind my ears. I liked that. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.
So began my second life. Now this life was different then my first. Momma Denise didn’t let me out to hunt. There were too many mechanical monsters. Instead, she bought me toy mice to pounce on and balls to chase. This was almost as fun as the real thing. I learned to love my new life as much as I did my old. I was the only cat in the house, which made me king with no competition. Momma Denise gave me as much love and attention as Momma Kym. In my first life, I was the “Big Cheese”, idolized and adored by all of the other cats, mascot of the office and the love of Momma Kym’s life.
Whereas with Momma Denise, I wormed my way into her heart with my silly antics the very first day. She also picked me up and made over me just like Momma Kym used to do, but boys weren’t around to make fun of me, so it was okay.
Every morning I woke Momma Denise up by softly mewing as I jumped on the bed. I would lay on her head and knead her hair. If that didn’t wake her, I would add a nibble on her earlobe. If she wasn’t awake by then, I would go to Plan B, pouncing on her feet usually did the trick. I would act as if they were gophers and get some hunting practice. By the time I was through, Momma Denise was awake and laughing. Then I could expect breakfast.
I loved it when Mom went away for a long time because she would always bring some new toy home to me. Once, after being away for one whole day, she brought three balls and a new mouse to play with. These were all very nice, but my favorite toy was the paper bag that she dropped on the floor especially for me. I loved to explore it, climbing into it and hiding from Mom. Then I would spring out at her feet as she walked by the bag. She laughed and I would rub up against her, showing her that I really loved her.
Momma Denise often called me her muse. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that I inspire her. You see, she is a writer. Mom works all hours on her stories. While she sits pounding away at the keyboard, I would sit in the windowsill, watching her. Every time she hits a hard spot, Mom would stop, lean back and stare at me. Then came the time to do my job. I would jump from my throne and into her lap so that she could pet me. Then she would get going again, telling me that I had inspired her, once again.
In both of my lives, I was lucky. While other cats had people who owned them, I had moms whom served me, and served me well. It’s a cat’s world after all.
Whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds by Angie Bailey, gets four paws and a tail up from Cat’s Pleasures. This book, published by Running Press, is the feline answer to the online classifieds, Craigslist. In it, you can find everything from the Wallinator, who rents himself out as part-time pet in exchange for ham, to an ad for an Advanced Yoga Class for cats. Some of the ads include used toilet paper rolls given away for free, and ads asking for help from cats who have certain hobbies, such as swatting puzzle pieces around the room. Peppered through “Whiskerslist”, are ads from Mittens McMullen, Attorney at Law. He advertises for all kinds of cases, such as disturbance of the peace and invasion of privacy. His slogan is “Extending My Claws…So You Don’t Have To”. Besides ads of all kinds, “Whiskerslist” offers forums where cats can voice their opinions on all subjects related to cats. Of course, the book would not be complete without personal ads, which include cats that are looking for special relationships.
Ms. Bailey is the award-winning writer of the “Catladyland” blog. This blog won the 2011 Pettie Award for the Funniest Pet Blog/Blogger. On Angie’s blog, among other deliriously funny things, you can find Cat Truths, which I am sure, are inspired by Phoebe, Cosmo and Saffy (her smart cats). This writer’s first-hand experience on cat behavior comes shining through in both, “Whiskerslist” and “Catladyland.
I found “Whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds” wildly funny from the first page to the last; and I would not hesitate to suggest this 205-page book of hilarious ads to anyone, especially cat lovers. Next time that you are on your computer, search for whiskerslist.com, if you dare. Don’t be surprised to see an ad with your cat’s picture on it looking for anything from a friend with which to lie in the sun, to a new human with which to replace you.
To get your own “Whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds”, just click on the link .
For more fun, visit Phoebe, Cosmo and Saffy on http://www.catladyland.net/
This poem was written in memory of my first cat, muse, and best friend, Monkeyface.
My Best Friend
Each morning, when I awake,
my best friend is beside me;
his eyes are wide with love,
and my heart soars again.
As I go through my day,
expectations all around me,
my friend is always near,
to soothe my troubled mind.
When nighttime descends upon us,
and the world is through with me,
at last I can meditate,
and give loving thanks for him.
My friend is very special,
a truly amazing soul,
he’s very soft and gentle,
for he’s my cat, after all!
We have recently came across a term that we thought might be interesting to research. Whisker stress is a real thing and there is a lot of information on it out there. When you first hear “whisker stress”, you may not be aware there really is such a thing. You may ask yourself, “how can a whisker be stressed”. To understand what it is, we need to learn about a cat’s whiskers.
We all know that the long hair that sticks out around a cat’s muzzle are called whiskers. Maybe some may even realizes the the hair above their eyes, or the eyebrows, are whiskers, as well, but did you know that cats have whiskers on the wrists of their forearms? These “hairs” can be up to three times as thick as their fur. They are very sensitive because they are located in areas that are full of blood and nerves.
The most important “job” that the whiskers around a cat’s muzzle is navigation. This is because their whiskers allow them to measure air currents and therefore the cat can “feel” objects that are in their path. Their whiskers, from tip to tip, are about the same width as the cat’s whole body. Have you ever noticed that the whiskers on a bigger cat, like the Maine Coon, are much longer than a smaller cat, like a Siamese? This is to make sure that a cat can fit in a place without getting “stuck”. In these ways, whiskers are essential for navigating. That’s why, some mother cats will chew off the whiskers off of her young kittens. She doesn’t want them to wander off, but to stay close by her. Of course, they will grow back in.
Whiskers also can tell you what your cat is feeling. If they are back against his face, the cat is angry. When they are slightly forward and the tips are pointing down, they are relaxed, happy, “kickin’ back”, as they say. If you notice that his whiskers are tense and pointing forward, he is showing his aggression. This happens mostly when he is hunting.
If the cat senses some sort of danger, the whiskers above his eyes will go into action and tell him to close his eyes, there is danger ahead. In other words, they act as a second set of eyes.
The whiskers on the forearm are used in climbing trees and hunting prey.
Whisker stress is brought on when the nerves in the whiskers are over-stimulated by touch. It is most obvious when the cat eats. If he picks his food out of his dish, one piece at a time, drops it on the floor, and then eats from there, most likely he is suffering from whisker stress, brought on by a dish that is too deep, and his whisker can’t clear its edges. Another way that a cat deals with this problem is to stick his paw in the dish and scoop up a “pawful” of kibble and eat it from the floor. If your cat takes one bite of food, walks away, then a few minutes later comes back again, most likely this is a sign of whisker stress. If he paces in front of his dish, he is telling you that he is not comfortable eating or drinking from that dish. The answer to this problem is, of course, to simply buy a wider dish. Not all cats are bothered by whisker stress.
My Misha has super sensitive whiskers and therefore requires a flatter food dish. Since the water is shared by both cats and Misha has whisker stress, I need to keep the bowl full to the very brim. However, my other cat BoBo, doesn’t suffer from it, so he will eat or drink from any dish.
We cannot express how important it is not to cut or damage the whiskers of a cat in any way. They are nature’s way for a cat to defend themselves, to navigate around, especially at night, and to distinguish if he can or cannot clear a space.
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