What Benefits Do Cats Bring To Us?

2nd Day

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” ~ Charles Dickens

 

Some may think, “We don’t own cats, they own us”, while others think, “Cats are just animals, for goodness sake! ” Those that think the latter, have never been owned by a cat. True, cats are animals, BUT a cat’s nature is such that he will be owned by no one…least of all you! So, I like to think of the relationship I have with my cats as being guardian and cat, not necessarily in that order. I take care of my cats, but as they are not possessions,  they do NOT owe me anything. As long as I remember this fact, we’ll live in harmony. That being said, I will tell you the benefits that my cats bring to me.
For the past 20 years, there have been at least two cats in my household. Why two, you may ask? Some cats are needy and tend to get bossy about your attention.  They want to be the only one in your life.  In other words, the world revolves around them. If I am writing, there is a 99% chance that the cat will try to get my attention, usually by standing on my keyboard. Every time Monkeyface, who was my first cat, felt a little neglected, he would get into the toilet paper, as a form of protest. Then, when I finally came out of my office, toilet paper would be strewn from one end of the house to the other and Monkey would be looking innocently up at me. It was not fun cleaning up, and the expense was got outrageous, but I loved him anyway.

That’s when Tiffany Marie came onto the scene. The two cats had fun together. They would chase each other through the house, playing with their toys (usually fighting over who owns them). Because Monkeyface was a 25 pound furball who didn’t like confrontation, Tiff, a 10 pound Siamese, usually won. Sometimes Tiff, (my ‘living on the edge cat’), would instigate an antic for which she knew, in the end, Monkey would take the blame.   I swear, on these occasions, I saw her sit back, snickering, like a bad little kid. So, I had my hands full most of the time, but at least they stayed off of my keyboard.

The most important benefit, to me, was the companionship that my cats bring the me. When I would kick back at night, listening to some soft music,  they would sit quietly, just being content to lay next to me and purr away the day’s cares.  Whenever I was ill, they would take turns laying beside me and purr. (Everyone who knows anything about cats, know that their purr can heal.)  Other times, when I was upset, they would know just what to do. Tiff would come to me and touch her nose to mine, while Monkey just sat there and purred.  On the other hand, there were nights when I would be watching a mystery on the television, and invariably at the part when the killer was stalking the girl (who was wearing 7″ high heels and trying to run in them) through a darkened house, my cats would chase each other through the room like a flash and scare me to death; but it was all good.  I love them and I know that they love me.  But I digress.
It’s is thought by some in the medical field that people can often benefit from being a companion to either a cat or a dog in a host of ways. Below are just a few:

  1. Pets can help to lower a person’s cholesterol
  2. Reduce stress, therefore decrease blood pressure
  3. They can even predict seizures and episodes of hypoglycemia
  4. They have extraordinary powers to help a person’s emotional well being.  Just petting a cat and hearing it purr, has a calming effect on both you and your cat.

Why, I have even heard of one cat saving his guardians life when he detected a carbon dioxide leak in the house.  He woke his person and insisted that she get out of the house by banging himself against the glass door.  In the end, both cat and guardian were safe, and it was all on account of “Super Cat”.

I sure know that my life has been enriched by the love my cats. The benefits are countless. They make me laugh, they give me solace when I’m feeling blue, and most important of all, they are there when I need a friend. It is for these reasons, that I couldn’t live without my cats. Everyone knows that, as long as you have the companionship and love of a cat, the rest will come easy. 

If you are thinking of adopting a pet, don’t think that a dog is the only choice; look into having a cat. Choose wisely; when adopting that special pet, make sure they fit your lifestyle. I will touch on adopting a pet later.

Thanks to : Doctors Forster and Smith

 

How to Talk to Your Cat

keekee 

This beautiful kitten is KeeKee and she will be helping to make her lucky guardian happy.  As you can see, she is kickin’ back and adoring the photographer. Enough of that.  Here we go for the tips:

  1. The first thing to know is the cat’s “Love Language”.  This isn’t very hard.  Anyone can do it.  Ready for this: it is what they call “The Slow Blink”. Get down to your cats level and blink very slowly.  Do it again…and again, until he returns that seductive blink.
  2.  Body Language:  we all have body language; you know, like when a person leans towards the speaker, it means that whoever is talking has the full attention of the listener, whereas leaning back with their arms crossed in front of them generally means that the listener is turned off by the speaker or he might not agree with what he is hearing. Well, believe it or not, your cat speaks with his own special language. He says volumes with the position of his tail. The cat’s greets you by hold his tail high in the air.
  3. When your cat’s tail is held high and the is tip curled, he is telling you that he wants to come to you, but he’s a bit unsure. A slight twitch at the tip of that tail means he’s starting to get over-stimulated. Backoff.  When you discipline your cat and he twitches his whole tail once as he walks away, that’s his way of talking back.  When your cat’s tail in twitching fast and furiously, watch out! You’ve got a mad cat on your hands.
  4.  The way that cats greet other cats is by bumping noses.  You can replicate this by, again, crouching down to his level, curling your index finger and slowly reach out and gently touch his nose.
  5. Happy times, i.e. dinnertime, playtime, etc., call for happy voice.  Use your high-pitched, sing-song voice.
  6. . One thing I do when my cat, who is a 25 lb. bruiser, sits on me, is to say, in a stern voice, “Ow”, and he gets off of me.  Now granted, this may not work the first time you try it, but don’t give up.

Cats are smart animals and they catch on fast, as long as you speak their language.

Our thanks got out to Catster

Whisker Stress in Your Cat

We 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.

We all know that the long hairs that stick out around a cat’s muzzle are called whiskers. Maybe some may even realize 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.

Signs of Whisker Stress

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 and 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.

We thank:

Trendy Pet

The Nest

How Stuff Works

Web MD

Cat World

Pets Weekly

Pam Johnson-Bennet

Monkeyface, the Story of a Cat or a King

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Monkeyface

As you may be aware, my first cat was a Maine Coon named Monkeyface. He was my muse, confidant and closest friend. About ten years ago, I wrote this story of his life as he might have told it.

It wasn’t until years later that I decided to write a book called Harry the Wonder Cat. Of course, nothing would do but to have the main feline character based on my wonderful Monkeyface. Now, the book has become a series and Monkeyface still has the starring role.

 

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. My three siblings and I 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 My sister and I had a lot more room to stretch out comfortably .

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 embarrassing. 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 in time. 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 Momma 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 than my first. Momma Denise didn’t let me out to hunt. There were too many cars around my new home. 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 the boys weren’t around to make fun of me, so it was okay.

Every morning I woke Momma Denise up by softly trilling (a Maine Coon’s way of meowing) 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.

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