How to Handle Your Cat’s Holiday Stresses

This is the time of year when people are hustling and bustling, and celebrating the holidays with friends and family. There’s all the shopping for presents, going to parties and unexpected guests dropping by that keeps us busy. Sometimes, too busy to take notice of how all of these changes are affecting your cats. 

Most people celebrate by putting up a Christmas tree and decorating their house. All of these shiny decorations and ornaments on a tree full of lights are beautiful to look at, but they can pose a danger to your cat.

Most cats are drawn to things that sparkle, strings or ribbons and let’s not forget the wires from the lights on the tree. You need to make the holidays safe for your cat by thinking about what tempts them. If it is harmful to them, leave it out when decorating.  If you take these precautions when decking out your tree, and keep in mind what you cats like to get into and keep them out of his reach, your cat will remain safe and you won’t have the stress of watching them every minute. 

Which brings me around to feline stress. Did you know that cats can feel your stress? Of course, if you think about it, they sense when you’re upset, sick or in a happy mood, so why wouldn’t they feel your stress? So when your life is scattered all topsy turvy, chances are theirs is, too. Like us, they have ways of showing that they are stressed out. The two most obvious ways are eating or urinating irregularly. Feline stress can lead to illnesses, so beware of strange behaviors and contact your vet as soon as you notice them.

When guests come around, let them know that the cat needs to set the rules. If he wants attention, he will come to them. When he has had enough, let him go his own way. This should be how you handle any visitation anytime of the year, but the cat will be even more sensitive to over-attentive guests due to the changes that the holidays bring. 

Just the other day, a friend came over to visit and began to pet my cat. Mimi, who is the sweetest cat in the world, was loving it but all of the sudden she turned and hissed at my friend. This is not the norm for her, but she may have been a bit stressed from having someone that she doesn’t see everyday make over her. My friend wasn’t holding her against her will. Mimi was free to walk away at any point, but she didn’t know what to do with the attention, so she did what cats do … she hissed.

Provide a safe place away from all of the noise. This gives the cat a place to retreat to. Trust me … he’ll be better off in his own little space away from the attention that he doesn’t want. He’ll come out if and when he feels comfortable with all the goings-on.

Holidays are all about love, so spread it over your cat. I almost never give my cats treats, but around this time of the year, I put a few healthy ones in with their food. They don’t know that they’re the boring, healthy ones; they just know that they have been given something different. I also give them lots of new cat toys. This takes care of two issues: it makes them feel special (which we all know they are), and it draws their attention to the right toys instead of playing with that ornament the Aunt Mable gave you.  Take the time to cuddle with them. It will not only be good for the cat, but it will sooth your holiday stress as well. 

Finally, keep the normal routine. When it’s time to eat, feed them, regardless of your friends in the other room. Take a few minutes each day to play with them.

Make this holiday safe and stress free for both you and your cat.

Our thanks to:

Catster

Conscious Cat

The World’s Best Cat Litter

 

The Counterfeiter-Catching Cat #1

 

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The Counterfeirter Catching Cat by Alannah Rogers is the first book of the Beatrice Young Cozy Mystery Series. It takes place in the small town of Ashbrook, population 2000, where everybody knows everyone’s business, even their deepest, darkest secrets.

Beatrice is a divorced 40+ year-old with two cats, Hamish, a Maine Coon who has the nose of a detective, and Lucky, a sweet, black shorthair. Bee loves a good mystery and is reported to be married to her cats.

Bee is the owner of The Cozy Cat Cafe where she first learns of the counterfeiting ring. She, along with Hamish and Lucky, jumps into the action. The threesome start their slouthing and help the sheriff uncover, not only a counterfeiting ring, but a disappearance which turns into a murder. The town’s grapevine lights up like wildfire. Who is behind the counterfeiting? Who killed Jordan White?

Alannah Rogers kept my attention with her amatuer detecting and Hamish’s antics. The reason I only gave her 4 out of 5 stars is that I didn’t get to know Lucky as well as Hamish. I hope to learn more about Lucky in the next book.

What You Need to Know About Your Cat and Christmas Trees

I posted this last year at this time and I feel that it is an important lesson, so I am posting it again.

I was astonished to learn the statistics regarding Christmas trees.  According to National Christmas Tree Association,  there are approximately 350 million Christmas trees planted by farmers in the U.S. alone.  Of those 350 million, 25-30 million are sold.  These numbers pale compared to people who buy artificial trees, which amounts to 80% of those who decorate Christmas trees.

You may be wondering what Christmas trees have to do with your cat.

The obvious answer is that if your cat is prone to climbing, or as I like to put it, be a “tree baby” (pun intended), there is a chance for injury.  There are other reasons, too.

  1. The sap from the tree is toxic to your cat.  The sap can be found not only on the tree and needles themselves, but the water that the tree stands in.  
  2. Along with pine poisoning, comes the threat of the pesticides and fertilizers used in growing the tree, and chemicals that are used to enhance the look of it.  These can cause kidney and/or  liver failure, muscle weakness, labored breathing and digestive issues.  
  3. There is another danger with the needles of the tree.  These needles could easily become lodged in the cat’s throat, or rip her intestines, etc. 
  4. Then, you have the ornamentation of the tree.  Tinsel and those shiny bulbs look like cat toys and are a huge temptation for the cat.  If she chews on the tinsel, chances are that she will swallow it and it may wrap itself around the cat’s intestines.  Some of the ornaments used on the tree are made from breakable material and can cause damage to the cat’s paws if stepped on and, of course, cut internal organs if swallowed.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the sap poisoning, artificial trees have the same dangers as do their live counterparts.

Solution: Raise your tree off the ground and out of reach of your little ones.  You may think that it takes away from the beauty of the season, but better that than spending hundreds of dollars towards vet bills.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

National Christmas Tree Association

Boston CBS Local

Pets on Mom.ME

How to Fill your Cat’s Stocking for $20 or Less

I don’t know about you, but my cats are my family, and as such they deserve nice gifts for the joy they give me all year round.   Now, I could go all out and spend too much money for things that they have no interest in, or I can use my imagination and a $20 bill.

First, I will start off my saying that, like children, if you put all of the new toys out to play with on Christmas morning,  chances are they will become get bored with them by Christmas night.  My advice is to hold back, only giving them a few toys at one time, until they get bored with them.  Then, pick them up and replace them with some of the new toys that you have in reserve.  That way, it’s Christmas all over again.

Some of the toys you can pick up in the local pet shop.  However, they usually jack the prices sky high to cover their overhead.  That being the case, the only time that I go into the pet shop is to look, not buy.

Your next option is the Internet.  Now, there are a lot of places out there that charge just as much as the pet shop does, but if you scour the pet outlets on the Net, chances are you will find deals.  Two stores that I shop at are Amazon, and Chewy .

Here are just a few toys that are on the cheaper side and your cat is sure to love them just as much, if not more, than the expensive play things.

You can find anything at all at Amazon.  

 

These are great. My cats will sneak up on them, pounce and run around, holding the mouse by its tail.

Hartz Just For Cats Frenzy Toys

 

 

 

These are great for cats that love their catnip.  They are refillable so your cat will have hours of fun.

Feather Mouse

 

 

 

 

 

Every cat loves their feather wand.  I can’t wait to try this!

 

Cat Toy Variety Pack with Feather Wand

 

 

Chewy is also a great place for cats.  Here are just a few of their toys.

 

These are going to be in Mimi’s stocking for sure!

Colorful Springs Cat Toy

 

 

 

 

 

This little mouse squeaks at your cat.

Play-N-Squeak MouseHunter

 

 

 

I haven’t tried this one yet, but the reviews are out and 95% of the cats that tried it absolutely flipped over it.

Cat Dancers

 

As you can see, cat toys don’t have to break you this Christmas.  These are just a few of the best loved toys.  There are so much more out there to try.

Then there are toys that you can make with a little imagition and a lot of love. I suggest that you watch your cat play. Do they like to stalk, pounce and jump high in the air, like my Mimi? Or are they lazy cats who only grab the toy from where they lay and chew on it, like my BoBo?

For cats like Mimi, a ping pong ball works great to help get their energy out. Bounce it and see them go for it. The higher you bounce the ball the higher they will jump. Another good one is a lazor pointer. Now you can get them from any pet store, but why not use your flashlight on your cell phone (assuming you have a cell). A substitute for a ball is a cork. I keep several on hand just in case she gets too rambunctus and it goes under the stove or refrigerator. I had both of the appliances replaced last year and was slightly embarrassed when the installer found all of the corks that had gotten away from the cat.

BoBo is a bit different. He’s older and has always been a lazy hunter. For these types of felines, you need to be resourceful. You may be able to entice them with a feather attached to a stick, straw or anything that is tubular in shape. Bo even goes after the lazor, but only if you point it right in front of him. Just as long as he doesn’t have to get up, he’ll play.

Help your cat have a merry Catmas!

Until next time, let’s play!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are You Thankful For?

Like the rest of America, Harry the Wonder Cat is counting his blessings today:

  1. Food
  2. Food
  3. Food

Who says cats are single-minded?

Happy Thanksgiving,

Harry and the Gang