“Lost our old black cat since Tuesday. Last seen on our front porch.”
Whenever I see these lost cat posters stuck on our mail box I feel sad for the owners and their cats. But this one stopped me in my tracks. I knew the cat in this poster. Cachou is a regular visitor to our backyard, but strange, I had not seen him in weeks.
Water is the essence of life on earth. 71 Percent of the earth’s surface is water, 50-65% of the average human body is made up of water. But did you know that the body water content of your cat is as high as 70-80%? Our pets need 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight for optimal health, cell and organ function, but most domestics cats are nowhere near that quota. Why is this the case?
Our four-pawed fluffy house hunters are descended from the African wild cat (Felis Sylvestris Lybica) living in and around the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. They have evolved to derive most of their water requirements from the prey they consume and have adapted to conserve water efficiently; resting in shaded bushes during the heat of the day, hunting in the early evening or morning and drinking water when available. Our domestic cats have kept many of these traits despite living in an environment far removed from the wild. For this reason, we have to offer up some inviting hydration “watering hole” solutions to prevent dehydration, which can lead to many serious complications and illnesses.
When your cat goes around giving everyone in his path a powder puff for no reason, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s aggressive. There’s one in every multicat household and through no fault of his own, he’s labeled the “bully cat.” When we add more cats to an already established group, it causes a shift in the cat hierarchy. The shift may be as obvious as a stare down and a brawl with fur flying or it may be very subtle, such as blocking the pathway to a litter box. The resident high ranking cat may or may not relinquish his title as top cat … at first, or maybe never.
Mr. Jack, watch your back!
But that doesn’t stop the cat with ambitions to keep trying by asserting his dominance to the rest of the clan through undesirable behaviors. This could include anything from relentlessly ambushing and chasing a timid, docile cat, guarding litter boxes, taking ownership of toys, games, sun puddles and refusing to time share.
Have you ever felt like you needed to break free from your comfort zone and push yourself to the next level? Do you remember how accomplished you felt when you finally achieved that goal? Comfort zones are hard to break through; after all, that is why they’re called comfort zones. Why explore or push the boundaries when everything around you is ‘just so’?
But today I think Sly Pie had an epiphany which prompted him to break out of his comfort zone. It’s well documented in other posts that he is a bona fide ground or bush dweller. Everything about him says,
“I like to be grounded, I feel safe in my small horizontal world. I don’t need to survey my territory and display my dominance. There’s a myriad of wonderful and exciting creepy crawlies that emerge from the earth’s belly, such as earthworms after a thunderstorm. There is no better place to be than way down here.”
His build is stocky with a short tail, not built for jumping and climbing. He is nimble and quick with his paws and will display his efficient mousing skills by only engaging in ground games with a mouse toy. Forget about the Da Bird. He never explores the bridge, or the high ramps indoors or in the catio. One could say that Sly Pie has his paws firmly on the ground. He was the only cat who knew what to do with a real live mouse when the other cats were flabbergasted in uncertainty.
The aftermath of Canada day, July 1st brings with it, a different reality for cats and dogs. No, it’s not the fireworks, or revelry of celebrations. It’s the sad situation of cats and dogs being left behind when their owners move house.
In the province of Quebec, where housing leases expire on the same day every year, this just means a mass exodus of people moving on the same day. Consequently, there is a larger number of abandoned pets due to new rental leases not allowing pets. A few of the Chirpies are “July 1 cats” as I call them and last year we shared brofurs Ollie and Baggy’s story about being abandoned in an apartment. Our local veterinary hospital is overrun every year with mostly cats that were left behind like unwanted goods, either found in an apartment or let out to roam the streets. But after July 1 there is a significant spike in the number of cats and dogs who are abandoned in Quebec. Speaking to my vet recently, there might be a flicker of hope. Generally, there is a greater awareness of the problem and more responsible owners. They are seeing a reduction in abandoned cats over the years but still, a lot has to be done in terms of educating prospective pet owners about responsible pet ownership and promoting the idea that your cat is not just an “until cat” but a “forever part of the family cat.”
Providing the right number of litter boxes per cat is one of the key factors in preventing inappropriate elimination or spraying behaviors before they start. Litter box aversion is one of the top reasons cats are surrendered to shelters.
There’s a long line for every situation in life; the line at the grocery check-out, the line at the boarding gate and that inevitably long line in the women’s restroom when intermission is about to end. Don’t you hate that? But there’s a restroom of a different kind in your multi-cat household, the litter box, where waiting in line should never be the norm. It’s a well-known fact that the key to a happy and confident cat is providing ample space for each cat to own, more so when they’re co-existing with fellow feline housemates. And even more so when it comes to their toileting habits. When one of your cats start spraying ‘cat-fiti’ on your walls or doors or gifting you with puddles on your hardwood floor, take that as more than a hint that you need to make some litter box adjustments. Having too few litter boxes for multiple cats is like playing musical chairs; except in this instance, the eliminated cat becomes the eliminator, or rather, the inappropriate eliminator! Yes, that viscous yellow liquid under the chair in the kitchen is not your toddler’s spilled orange juice! (horror of horrors)
There are various factors that may cause a cat to avoid the litter box such as location, size, type (covered vs. uncovered), type of litter substrate, how often it gets scooped and cleaned, stress and the number of boxes. Read More
A sweet peck on the cheeks, a nose to nose greeting, perhaps a game of chase a bit later. One of them is twice the size of the other but in recent months, Charlie and Sarabi have formed a friendship that is quite odd, yet endearing to watch.
At 20 pounds, with a large set head, cheeks and jaw line that resembles an unneutered Tom’s, this large lad could easily rule the Chirpy roost. Instead, Charlie is a huge cuddle bug and chief biscuit maker, always bowing his head in submission to the Chief Social Facilitator, Mr. Jack, asking for head boops and grooms. His physique bears testimony to the much-touted phrase “he’s not fat, he’s just big-boned, because, well, he truly is big boned!
The cats are sleeping, the house is quiet. Oh, I forgot, it’s noon and it’s sleepy kitty time, that explains the absence of paws over my keyboard. Either that or perhaps the Chirpies are sleeping off the effects of the impromptu catnip pawty that happened upon my return from the BlogPaws conference in Myrtle Beach yesterday. As soon as I unzipped my suitcase, cats came rushing from all corners to investigate.
Mr. Jack, (CCSF) Chief Chirpy Social Facilitator, was the first to grab hold of the catnip banana and catnip ball still in the packaging. This catnip candy was the bee’s knees and all the cats got into something or other, seemingly forgiving me for leaving them for a few days.
“If this is what you bring home Lady Cat, then you have our approval to attend in the future!”
There is nothing like reading a good bit of nonsense verse to take you away from the swirling vortex of insanity in which our busy lives have us entrapped! Just like watching a YouTube cat video or a funny cat meme gives you the chuckles, a funny limerick always lightens the mood. Today is National Limerick Day which honors the birthday of English artist, author, poet and illustrator, Edward Lear, born in 1812. Limericks were popularized in his “Book of Nonsense” in 1846 and in it, “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” stands out as one of the more memorable verses from my childhood. Why would a carnivore and a bird want to marry and sail away in a pea green boat? Were they eloping? Were they just free-spirited bohemians who defied society’s conventions? The ambiguity and quirkiness of these poems make it all the more silly and has prompted me to write a few of my own. The protagonist for my limericks is none other than our resident class clown, Mr. Jack. Why him? Because if he were sitting in that pea green boat, they would never have “sailed away for a year and a day”. No, he would have blown the five-pound note on catnip and partied all night long with his friends.
“What did those last grains of rice do to you?”
To this day I hear my mother’s voice in my head, chastising us for leaving the last few morsels of food on our plates. She used to make frozen food parcels for the homeless from good leftovers. The parcels were even personalized for those whom she knew had dogs and would be labeled, “for Terrance and McGuyver (his dog)”. This duo was one of our regulars and they used to sit on the curb enjoying whatever it was, that was once a family meal. In our home, food and water wastage were a big no-no.
As a teenager, I used to roll my eyes and think what a nuisance they are, these vagabonds, who kept coming back like a colony of stray cats. Grumbling under my breath, I would be ordered to make them peanut butter sandwiches when there were no leftovers to give. How selfish was I, who thought that only my little bubble was all that mattered?
He goes by many names, each suited to his build and demeanor. In the early days, he was Ninhsy, Fat Boy Slim, then just Slim. His confidence earned him the nicknames ‘Lion King’ and ‘Puma Boy’ for his gorgeous silver ‘eyeliner’. These days he is Earl Grey. The latter, not just because of coat coloring, but because if he could, he would be sipping tea, reading the Catnip Times through thick-rimmed spectacles. And he would even call it that.
But today is his 16th Birthday and the cat with many names wears his crown with pride.
I came to know about BlogPaws in early 2016 through their Social Learning Community and I have met so many like-minded pet people that “just get it”. We have virtually met and made friends with pet bloggers from around the world. From the most wonderfully wacky, incredibly cute, to the zaniest and adventurous, haughtily snarky, and just plain hilarious; we have crossed paths and paws, and befriended many. To know that we are not alone in this fun pet blogging journey and that there is a supportive platform from which to learn, to grow and to collaborate, makes it all worthwhile.
I lay here, unable to move, barely able to stretch my legs for fear of waking a sleeping pile of purring fur at my legs. My neck feels contorted, head shoved off the pillow, and then I open my eyes staring nose to nose at my oldest cat, me graciously accepting a raspy tongue for a second or two. Well wasn’t that a good night’s sleep?!
Our cats are always hogging our space, wanting to be with us, everywhere. Like many cat people, we practice an open door policy for the bathroom. There’s one cat asleep on the mat next to the shower, there’s another looking curiously from his ‘basin bed.’ I have accepted that cat hair, like invisible floating snowflakes, will always mysteriously land on my mascara wand when applying makeup. This is the complete cat package, one that we would never give up for the world.
I felt very privileged to have met and mingled with some of the feral cats from TUFCAT, a TNR group based at University of Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. The university is home to many feral colonies for the past 20 years and thanks to the work of TUFCAT staff and volunteers, these kitties have not just been surviving, but thriving. This is ten year old Chong, senior resident of the Eduardo dos Santos residence on the university campus. Doesn't he have gorgeous whiskers? He warmed up to me for a little photo shoot. 😻😻 #whiskerswednesday #catsofinstagram #tufcat #tnr #feralcat #seniorcat #capetown #uwccats #universitycat #smartcat #beautifulcat #tuxedocat #handsomecat #catlover #southafrica #ilovecapetown
Most cat owners know all too well the daily struggle of making a bed with cats lurking about. There you are removing the bedding, shaking out the sheets and cats come from all corners of the house to make a mad dash for the bed to pounce and ‘tent’ under flying sheets. Cats have a built-in radar for hearing the rustle of sheets and bedding no matter where they are in the house.
“Someone’s making the bed, let’s go pawticipate!”
The more you shake out the sheet, the more excited your cat becomes, thinking this game is most definitively ten times better than that silly wriggly new toy you had bought last week. On a cat’s list of things to do, only ‘boxing’ or sitting in a box, tops ‘helping the human make bed’, which comes in at a close second.
“He’s gone blind” I texted my husband, just a week after invasive dental surgery on our 15-year-old CKD cat, Earl Grey.
“That can’t be possible, I saw him climbing on the bridge this morning.”
I observed every step he took, watched every movement closely. Yes, our cat has become blind, overnight. Our beloved Earl Grey is struggling to find his way around the house. He is trying to desperately rediscover every corner, sniffing every inch of surface, treading lightly with each hesitant paw. His slow movement is not just weakness from the surgery or muscle atrophy from his kidney disease. His eyes are dilated black saucers, trying desperately to catch any light, just any at all. His head sways in the general direction of my voice as I try to soothe him with calming words.
At this moment I try to recall if this was a sudden onset or was he like this when he returned home after spending two nights at the vets after his surgery. Were his pupils this dilated and vacant? I can’t recall through my utter devastation. But how was he able to climb up to the bridge?
Our vet confirmed he has high blood pressure and this, coupled with the four-hour long surgery to remove ten teeth and the myriad of drugs administered to keep him alive during his surgery, were all contributing factors to his loss of sight. Having kidney disease did not help his situation either.
In every situation, there is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit for him, a very dark tunnel. We know his mouth is pain-free now as he is wolfing down his food. A huge relief!
My mum asked, “but how will he get by?”
We’re in week three of Happy Cat Month, created by the Catalyst Council to promote cats wellbeing and this week we focus on the Happy Safe Cat. There are many ways in which you can keep us kitties safe but we would like to talk about cat safe plants. Yes, we’re obligate carnivores but there’s not a cat in town that doesn’t like to graze on greens. It’s also officially the start of Autumn and we’re excited because the humans have begun setting up our watering hole/salad bar for winter. Essentially, this is when they bring the outdoors, indoors for the duration of the winter, during which time our catio is a blanket of white. The kitty salad bar is an area in the house where we like to lounge, groom, drink, share sun puddles and snack on our greens. There are many plants that appear on the toxic list and it seems that there are no safe alternatives for us cats. Cat grass and catnip are the most popular snacks on the menu, but I’m here to tell you that you can broaden your tastes, and that there are indeed many other safe varieties of plants that us Chirpy Cats have tried and tested. Of course, our plant-eating habit comes with leaving a few recycled remnants of regurgitation on the carpet, but fret not humans. Cleaning it all up is a very small price to pay for the precious purr therapy we provide to soothe your stressful living. By creating these little kitty garden watering holes around the house, you’re stepping up your cat environment enrichment game. Below, our big lady cat explains further on greening up our living spaces and tips on keeping us out of your plants. (as if!)
All cats want to go up! The catio highway, or better known as the “super highway” if you’re a Jackson Galaxy fan of ‘catification’ is the perfect platform for surveying territory and owning space. Here, best friends George and Mr Jack are enjoying the peace and tranquility of their super highway in the catio at sunset after dinner. Seeing George assert his presence confidently by scratching and climbing is a wonderful site. Because it wasn’t always so…
In every multi-cat household, there is that one cat that unwittingly performs a very important task – sharing and maintaining the communal scent of the whole group through grooming. In our household of ten cats, this cat is none other than Mr. Jack, the groomer of all cats. Cat behaviorists call this the ‘social facilitator’ cat. One could compare this cat to that nice kid in high school who reaches out to the less popular kid and befriends him. He’s confident enough not to care about reputation but believes that everyone counts. For Mr Jack, it doesn’t matter if you’re not in his circle, he doesn’t discriminate and will happily go around grooming the others, mixing all the scents so that everyone smells the same. This is a vital ingredient in the success of maintaining harmony in a multi-cat household. Scent is everything for a cat. Whether Mr. Jack knows this or not, when there is a grooming session in motion, the tension between the cats automatically decreases.