It’s all about Me-owww! Techniques Cats Use To Win Our Attention

It’s 11:00PM.  You’re up against a deadline to finish a report for work.   You’ve just belted down a strong cup of coffee and you’re on the home stretch.   One more section to go and you’re done!  Hmmm, you think to yourself, the cats have been amazingly quiet.

Just as you touch your keypad, something distracts you out of the corner of your eye.  You glance over your shoulder.  There they are – both of them – perched atop your side desk, staring at you.  Their stare isn’t just any casual gaze.  Their eyes are large, round, intense and compelling, their stare unwavering.  You know what they want – your undivided attention!

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What is it about cats that drive you to stop whatever you’re doing, and attend to their every whim?

Cats are intelligent creatures.   Once they figure you out (which doesn’t take very long), you’re putty in their little paws.  They know exactly what to do and they do it.  If you make the fatal mistake of catering to them the first time, they will repeat the process again and again, and you’re hooked.

Here are just a few of the many techniques employed by the cats in my household (or, should I say, theirs).

  • The Stare Down. It works every time.  It elicits a response something like, “Hey cutie, what is it?  What do you want?”  Bingo!
  • The Wait. They wait patiently in the kitchen until they see a human approach.  From that point forward, it’s a steady litany of me-owwws, some extremely lengthy and desperate.  They don’t let up until you put the food bowls down, with their dinner just the way they like it.  Success!
  • The Hit and Run. You’re reading a magazine on the couch, your collection of magazines neatly stacked in front of you on the coffee table.  Out of the blue streaks a wild cat, leaping onto the stack, scattering them halfway across the room.   You slap down the magazine and get up to fix the mess.  The me-owwws start, with longing looks towards the kitchen. Mission accomplished!
  • The Toy Closet Vigil. My cats know where I stash their wand and laser toys.  If I am within an ear shot of “the” closet, they assemble like soldiers in front of it.  If I start to walk past them, they begin lightly scratching on the closet door, elevating to full, obnoxious scratching, however long it takes.  Fifteen minutes later, after a decent play session, they nonchalantly saunter away while I’m still waving the toy, collapse on the floor, and casually survey the room as if to say, “You can put that thing away now…I’ll let you know when I’m ready to play again.”
  • The Heart Stopper. This works something like the Hit and Run, only you’re lucky to survive.  In the middle of the night, you’re experiencing a deep REM sleep.   Your feline 757 lands with a thundering thud on the bed, skipping to the end of the runway, heading directly into your face.   Not only do you wake up with heart palpitations, you wake up to a set of wild, black pupils staring into yours.   After convincing yourself it’s not a nightmare, you desperately try to fall back asleep.  That’s when they repeat.  You get up.  They me-owww, you follow them, tripping down the stairs into the kitchen.  This is a win-win (for the cat, not for the two of you)!

If you haven’t yet experienced any of the above, it’s probably because you have cats that have employed other techniques that have proven successful, or else you’ve just adopted a cat today who hasn’t yet figured you out.  Don’t worry – he’ll have you “trained” by the end of the week, and you won’t even know it!

How to be the best cat owner you can be

 

Guest Blogger:  Jessica Brody –http://www.ourbestfriends.pet.  Jessica enjoys writing about cats and dogs.  See her blog for additional photos and posts).

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A cat is a great pet who can be just as loving a companion as a dog. It’s important to know, however, that cats are not dogs. They react differently to situations, learn and “train” differently, and require differing approaches to care. Here are some tips for being a great cat owner.

Know how to properly feed your cat

 Cats are carnivores, plain and simple. You can’t feed your cat a vegan diet and expect it to stay healthy.

“Money saved by buying cheap cat food will be spent hundreds of times over on veterinary care. Cats are obligate carnivores and need a good source of meat protein. They do not need large amounts of grain fillers, especially corn, which is a cheap source of protein used by many cat food manufacturer,” notes The Spruce.com.

Check your cat’s stool. If it appears too dry, you might want to switch to a wet food diet for a while or at least alternate between wet and dry food throughout the week.

And remember – don’t feed your cat milk, despite what all of the cartoons say. It can be harmful to them in many cases.

Make sure your cat gets enough exercise

It’s a myth that cats don’t need exercise. Sure, they don’t need as much as a dog – but cats that don’t exercise can develop a bevy of health problems, including heart disease and obesity.

… How do you ensure that your cat is getting enough exercise? The best way is to simply play with them for 15-30 minutes. If you have a fenced-in backyard, let them run around for a while. Make use of laser pointers. Your cat really will chase them for a long time. If your cat is suffering from obesity…talk to your vet about this more extreme exercise plan.

Give them a place to scratch

Cats will scratch. Like death and taxes, it’s a certainty of life. Make sure your cat has plenty of scratching posts to utilize. Never ever consider declawing a cat, even if they live indoors 100% of the time. It’s inhumane.

 Ensure pet family cohesiveness

One of the biggest challenges cat owners face is making sure the cat gets along with the other household pets – usually a dog. It’s important to remember that dogs and cats socialize in different ways, so “training” your cat the same way you trained your dog is not likely to have an effect on their behavior.

What you need to do is be mindful of the energy of the animals in your household. “It’s your responsibility to keep the family balanced by keeping the dog at the highest level of calm-submissive behavior, allowing the cats to become calm-assertive in front of him,” notes famed trainer Cesar Millan.

If your cats are showing aggression toward each other, it’s a different story with a different set of solutions. First, you should never let cats work through their issues with fighting. It just doesn’t work like that for them.

“Never let the cats ‘fight it out.’ Cats don’t resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands or spray from a water gun,” says the ASPCA.

Once you separate your cats just leave them alone. Don’t try to soothe them the way you might try to calm a dog. You can also try to separate your cats’ resources – food, water, and toys.

Do your research on proper cat care. There are a lot of myths out there about cats, and some of them can be harmful.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

(Editor’s Note:  The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by guest bloggers on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of MyThreeCats.com or its staff.)

 

Do you have a harmonious multiple cat household?

Black and white cats appear to be kissing.

Current statistics on U.S. cat-owning households (there are about 90 million today) show that nearly one half (49%) of these households own more than one cat. (source:  Armandhammer.com)  Those multiple cat households must have somehow figured out how to achieve feline harmony in their homes.

Basically, the way to a peaceful feline home is to make sure that there are enough resources and space for your cats.   If your cats know they have options on where they can eat, sleep, play, and use the litter box, all the better.    If all of your cats have only one option, that’s an ideal setting for territorial disputes and added stress among them.  We have a few pointers on how to create and maintain harmony in your cat household.

The initial introduction of cats to each other should be gradual and stress free.  If possible, keep the new cat in a separate living quarters in your home, with their food, litter box and toys.  Your “incumbent cats” will know about the new cat, but not have the stress of direct contact.  After a couple of days, gradually allow your “incumbent” cats to approach the new cat, keeping their contacts short and sweet.  After a few more days, you will have achieved a successful introduction.

Our strongest recommendation:  invest in vertical play spaces.   Cat trees, shelves and window perches are ideal solutions for giving your cats privacy in an off-the-ground location.  Cats like height, so it’s an ideal solution.

Your cats needs outlets for exercising and scratching.  Leave plenty of scratching devices around your home.  Whether they are horizontal, vertical or slanted pads, they will protect your furniture as well as your sanity!

Allow each of your cats a separate food bowl .  If you have common water bowls, have several in different areas.  A water fountain designed for multiple cats is a great way of managing this, just make sure to keep the fountain and the water it holds clean and fresh.

Keep as many litter boxes in your home as the number of cats.  One of the worst problems can arise when cats have the use the same box.    Territorial issues may arise, causing them to “spray” the litter box, which signals to the other cats to stay away.    No one needs to have cats depositing in undesignated areas of the house.  Once that “out of box” behavior starts, it’s hard to stop it.

Finally, monitor your cats’ interactions.  It’s better to observe body language and catch an early warning signal so that you can diffuse any tension and avoid an out-an-out battle.   One great technique for diffusing attention is to pull out a wand toy that immediately draws their attention away from one another and on the moving object (the toy on the wand).

Congratulations on your multiple cat household.  May you and they live harmoniously over all of their nine lives!

Why hire a cat sitter for a short week end absence?

 

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Companion cats rely on their humans for food, water and the occasional treat. Other than needing food and water, cats seem to prefer an independent life. So why not just set out a three-day supply of it when you leave the house for a long weekend?

Two keys reasons.   First, your cats need companionship, whether it’s yours or whether it’s someone with whom you entrust their care.  Keep their stress levels down by providing them with the attentiveness of a caregiver.  A qualified cat sitter will ensure that your cats have adequate food, water and supervision.  Second, your cat sitter will contact the veterinarian if your cats become ill or injured.

If your cats need special attention or medication, it’s all the more important to make sure your cat sitter visits your home at least once or twice a day.   Administering meds should be as consistent a routine as possible, for the cat’s well being.  A cat’s health can deteriorate quickly (you may have experienced firsthand with your cat) and the right care may save your cat’s life.

According to professional sources, it takes about 30 minutes for a professional cat sitter to care for one cat per visit. During the visit, the sitter will feed and water your cats and change the litter box. A cat sitter also will play with your cats, so be sure to leave plenty of toys — including a few new ones to keep your cats entertained.

If you hire a less experienced person, such as a neighbor or friend, make sure you choose someone reliable who will be able to come by at least once a day for at least 30 minutes.   For cats who don’t need special medical attention, a capable friend is a satisfactory option.

Be sure to ask any cat sitter about their previous cat care experiences.   Keep in mind professionals are typically insured, which provides additional peace of mind.  Professionals should provide you with at least two references and you should follow up with them.  You should also ask them what would they would do if your cat becomes ill or if there is an emergency.

Leave out a full set of care instructions for your cat sitter, including the location and frequency of feeding, litter box cleaning,  locations of toys, treats, and grooming tools.   A complete set of instructions should be provided for medications and where those are kept.  Provide your phone numbers for emergencies and the number of your vet’s office and emergency vet’s office (if different).  Professional sitters should come out to your home ahead of time to meet your cat(s), become familiar with where their things are located and ask questions.

Hire a qualified cat sitter and give yourself and your cats the gift of peace of mind when you need to go away.