Posts Tagged 'cat care'

Introducing…Cats in the House

My usual distractions seem to be MIA (read – my procrastination techniques) so I thought it would be a good time to introduce to you, my roomies and tell you a little bit about them. I did promise to do that a while back. I’m writing a short e-book about our travels halfway across Canada where you will get to know them better. I’m pretty sure it will be a freebie.

The oldest is Cfer. She was actually Uncle Andrew’s cat, but for reasons I won’t get into here, she ended up coming to live with us. She is a Siamese cross. Her markings are mostly tabby, but she has dark blue eyes. When people come to visit, Cfer is always the favourite. She never has met a stranger and loves equally, anyone who is kind to her. p.s.  yesterday, Cfer got out of the house somehow, and the dogs had her cornered under the deck. Mum didn’t realize and assumed it was the feral cat hanging around here. When she went out later, she recognized Cfer’s meow under there. It had been raining so Cfer came in a muddy mess!

Cfer in the sun

 

 

Gus is the gal who came to live with Mum when I did. Gus and I are just a week apart in age. Gus is a big boned gal, with lots of grey fur. She has bright, yellow eyes – an oddity in this household. She has a very sweet, high voice and sounds like a very tiny kitten when she vocalizes. Not that she often does, but every now and then she goes on a tear. She loves it when the Pen lazer comes out. It’s really the only exercise she gets!

Gus in the sun

 

 

Gretchen – the baby – came to live with us quite a while after the three of us had settled into our cat routine. Did she ever shake things up! She is like a little kid and always will be, I suspect. She is a Siamese cross too, with seal points (for those who don’t know, the points are ears, nose, tail and toes and Seal refers to ‘almost black’.) She is a ‘cross’ because her points aren’t perfect; she has white on her toes. Actually she kind of wears mitts. She is a polydactyl, so she has extra toes on both her front and hind feet. Her front feet look like she is wearing baseball mitts and her hind feet look like snowshoes. Her attitude matches her somewhat goofy appearance. She is in every way, the baby of the family. She prances around with her tail straight up and the tip waving back and forth. Happy personified. When she wants some motherly love, she demands it, either seizing Mum at whatever she is doing and curling up by her neck and nuzzling whatever is in reach or by literally  climbing up her legs like a toddler, with her arms up as if saying ‘pick me up, Mummy!’ Gretch was abandoned way too young, but she is pretty well adjusted after-all. Mum calls her mostly, Kitten or Baby.

Gretchen as a kitten 

 

 

Gretchen and Gus were given their names by Mums human kids. Andrew named Gus for reasons we haven’t figured out, and Heather named Gretchen for reasons we won’t mention. Mum named me for Andrew because he and I both have an ‘attitude’. Cfer was given her name because they  couldn’t think of one. She became Cfer – as in C for Cat. She responds to it when she wants to so I guess that worked.

And finally, here is a picture of me as I haven’t figured out to get me on here otherwise…

Handsome Andy

 

 

 

P.S. Watch for the next post. It’s kind of a funny story from the E-book Mum and I are writing…

Cat Spraying – We’ve Weathered the Storm…

Last post, we talked about inappropriate inside behaviour, ie. marking. In cat parley that means backing up to a vertical service and peeing a few short bursts to ‘claim’ the area. It is very typical behaviour but obviously for inside cats, not a desirable trait. Andy and I had several serious chats about this.

I also went online and checked out a few forums. I highly recommend www.thecatsite.com . Their forum has a lot of information and tips. I also have referred before to www.calgaryhumanesociety.com as they have a number of very informative articles.

But back to our experience….Andy has never done this before except once when he was very young. I suddenly remembered that incident in the thick of wanting to smack him silly. (I didn’t, of course, but I had a lot of terse questions for him.) As I watched the behaviour escalate, I remembered him leaping up onto the loveseat a few years ago, and doing a double take at a dish towel I had left over the back of it, when the phone rang. Evidently he resented the intrusion and backed his hiney to it and gave it a spritz, while I was on the phone, right in front of me! I mention this as it is apparently a normal response and not really a cause for worry.

Fast forward to recent weeks. We had a skunk in the yard, and all the dogs found it and got sprayed. It is Spring, and as this is a rural area, there are feral cats about and males are likely marking their territory and females of course are in heat. A squirrel has found its way into the attic and is making proprietary noises. And – darnit! it’s Spring!

Now if you visit the websites I’ve mentioned you will find references to tin foil on areas where the brat is spraying (great idea), double sided tape, cat pheromone spray, odour eliminators (plain old vinegar works well in this regard too, btw) and spraying with a water sprayer when you catch them in the act. The course of action in all cases, is to first find where the spraying is occurring (this can be accomplished, in the dark, with the aid of a black-light), applying an odour eliminator and then a pheromone spray. If these measures don’t work, tin foil as a temporary measure can work very well. If taped up on the favoured spots, the sound of the spray, and the back-spray is off-putting. 

One thing that is not mentioned much, but in our case was critical, is that cats do get a little stir crazy! Especially, obviously, inside cats which of course mine are. So! I opened up the basement door. Ordinarily the cats are not allowed down there. This seems to have alleviated the problem. Now Andy has some new territory to explore and his frustration level has gone down. He still scratches at the french door, wanting out into the ‘Big Yonder’ but he is much more relaxed. Pure frustration will lead a cat to spraying behaviour. It’s not that he wants to be bad – he just sometimes doesn’t know what else to do.

Some cats are fine amusing themselves and others require a lot of stimulation. Mine are a mixed herd, so this year, I will have a run built. The cats will access it through an inside window with a pet door built in. It will be very high at the house end and be like a lean-to. It will have chicken wire all around, including underground, with the grass and sod laid over the ground portion. There will be a door for me to go in and out, from the outside, so I can change litter boxes. And it will have all manner of climbing and hanging toys.

I cannot risk them going about free. Too many predatory animals and birds. But I think they will benefit from some sun and air, and perhaps I will never have to gape in outrage as my ‘angel Andy’ pees on my couch again.

SPRING! – and a young man’s fancy….

Shhhh!…it’s Barb here, and I’m writing this on the sly. Andy is captivated elsewhere. I’ve had the screen door open that leads onto the deck so the cats can watch and listen to the birds. Andy is mesmerised by the goings on out there.

The reason for this post, is the reason that many cats are surrendered to animal shelters all over North America. I want to help prevent some of this with this post.

Andy is displaying some very bad behaviour. I have caught him a few times trying, and in a couple of cases succeeding, to mark his territory. This is very unusual as he was duely neutered when he was six months old and has never exhibited this behaviour. As I know this is a huge issue for cat caregivers, and particularly for new cat folks, I thought I would try and shed a little sunlight on this issue.

Male cats, and sometimes females, want to mark their territory for various reasons. Males, of course, want to claim any females within their chosen territory, and females, if un-altered, want to let the guys know where to find them. Males and females both, will want to ward off any encroachment on their food sources too. In the wild that would be X number of fieldmice and other prey in a particular territory. In the feral cat world, food and exemplary procreation opportunties are the watchwords.

So what does this have to do with four housebound felines? All of whom are spayed or neutered?

Well as it happens, male cats when they are neutered don’t neccessarily ‘forget’ their natural instincts. Andy, from time to time, will exhibit very male behaviour and grab Gretchen by the neck and make very definite male, mating sounds. She then exhibits very un-female behaviour and trys to beat the crap out of him and they go to their corners for a while.

So what is going on?

Well it’s complicated depending on where you live. My theories are based on observation only and I offer them here, with an emphasis on where I live. I hope that you will offer here your own theories and observations…

In our case here there are a few possibilities. Andy lives with three female cats, all of whom have been spayed. I suspect though that at certain times of the year, they have a hormonal ‘surge’ and he may be reacting to that. Spring Fever? Well maybe. We have all been housebound for many months. There is that but also, we live in a rural area, so there are feral cats wandering around. I suspect maybe one or two may recognise that there are female cats in this house and are marking their own territory, to which Andy is responding. The other possibility is simply an exess of cats! I noticed when I ran an animal shelter, that when we were most crowded with cats, there was more territorial behaviour. This would speak to the ‘Cabin Fever’ kind of thing that I think may be happening here.

What do do?…My favourite choice is a spray bottle of water. Most cats hate to be sprayed with water. If your cat is being a dork, spray him in his mid spritz – with a spritz of water. If he has a favourite spot, clean it with vinegar and water. This will neutralize the scent and he will forget to mark there. Understand too, that this is likely a sporadic thing and your Lothario will soon become his usual, charming self.

Note to Rural cat caregivers…New Info – The outside dogs encountered a skunk. That may be a factor in Andy’s actions too…Can’t go anywhere outside without encountering that odour. Yikes!!

For further information on this behaviour I encourage you to consult www.calgaryhumane.ca There are many excellent articles there on many cat behaviours.

Don’t tell Andy about this post…shhhh

Revved Again!

We’re kinda sorta revved again. Mum feels crappy – flu – so I decided to let her have this spot. I am such a great guy!BTW – we have had issues with this blog and paragraph spacing. All problems, we blame on the server….lolAnyway, if you see no line spacing or paragraph spacing, try to think you are reading a James Joyce piece, and go with with the flow. We do see the proper spacing as we type….Anyway, here is Mum.Barb here: not altogether – together. I’m suffering the Flu. But I had such an inspiring day! I just wanted to share some of my stuff. (Not the Flu, of course)I finalized all the rest of my travel arrangements today, for Dr. Joe Vitale’s www. attractwealthseminar.com to be held the first weekend in May. And I found out that one of my very good Second Life friends (who shares a birthday with me, and guess when….of course – the weekend of the seminar!) is thinking about attending too. I’m so excited. And another good friend from Unseminar 4 may be in the area too. Some of these online and long distance friends have become the most important and special people of my life. I love them all so much!In between times, I somehow got fired up again about Andy’s book on Newbie Cat Care. It’s almost done. Look for it. There is nothing like it anywhere on the internet. It is so cool! 

Welcome, Welcome, WELCOME!

My very first blog post!

You will have gathered that I am a cat. I am a red-head too – that is, a flame point Siamese. There is a theory amongst my (Human) Mum’s in-law’s that anyone named Andrew or a derivation thereof and has red hair, is bound to be trouble. That may be true, but I will let others be the judge of that.

My plan here is to offer advice, anecdotes, stories and a place for you, feline or human, or any other species for that matter, to visit and exchange ideas. I have a short e-book ready for editing, that I will be offering as a freebie here. I am hoping too, that you will share your stories with me for possible future publication.

Soon you will meet the folks I share my home with, where the feline residents rule. In the meantime, though, I wish you all the best in 2008, and look forward to your comments and ideas.