“Happy Cats are Healthy Cats”

Lynn Baer, DVM, Cat Specialist, shares her top tips for cat owners to ensure well adjusted, happy cats.  Lynn says, “happy cats are healthy cats and happy cats make owners happier and healthier, too”.

  Tip #1) Recognize the fact that indoor only cats have no choices of their own in life

They are completely reliant on what we offer them.  We choose their litter box size, shape, location and litter substrate. We choose where they are fed, what they are fed out of, and what foods they are offered.  We choose their toys, their beds, their bowls, and everything within their lives.  Cats have few choices of their own.   They would be happier given more choices of their own and once owners understand that and begin to expand their options, cats would remain healthier and happier. 

Tip #2) Bring the outdoors in 

Cats are held captive within four walls for their entire lives.  Open the blinds, open the windows, grow grass, bring leaves and branches in for them to smell. Again for owners to be more aware of the fact that their cats have never walked on grass or soil, experienced changes in temperature, smelled different smells, or had the ability to walk around the block to explore new surroundings.  Owners should evaluate every opportunity to enhance their indoors cat’s lives by bringing new things into the home.  Build catios, window units or other alternative opportunities for cats to experience the outdoors.  At a minimum place window seats around the house (off the ground), build vertical spaces for them to climb, train them to walk on leashes, erect cat proof fences, etc.

 Tip #3) Play, play, play and more play

Indoor cats are bored, depressed and inactive.  Owners don’t generally play with their cats daily.  Cats need exercise, mental stimulation and fun.  Having a basket of toys for cats is not enough.  Owners should actively engage with their pets by using wand toys, laser lights, throwing blankets over furniture to create tents, rotating toys daily.  Adding silvervine, catnip, and valerian to their arsenal of toys will give cats new experiences.  Using foraging toys for food rewards, making cats hunt for some of their food all help to stimulate their body and mind.

Tip #4) Lots of scratch posts – both vertical and horizontal for cats to scratch on. 

I am completely opposed to declawing (having never performed one in my entire career).   Scratching is a form of communication and also gives cats the ability to stretch their muscles.  It is important they have great areas and substrates to scratch on.  It makes them happy.

 Tip #5)  Seek out cat only veterinarians

Don’t allow a veterinarian who declaws to treat your cat.  Take your cat to a vet at least once a year for a good physical exam and blood work.  Cats are notorious for hiding pain and illness and if an owner thinks their cat is sick, they are likely very sick.  Pay attention to any changes (no matter how small) and seek veterinary care immediately.  Age is not a disease and many owners ignore signs of illness as due to advanced aging.  That is not in a cat’s best interest.  Owners need to advocate on behalf of their pets and insure good medical care.  Seek second opinions.  Good veterinarians encourage owners to do so and are never offended by it. 

 Tip #6) Cats need wet food more than dry

Wet food is lower in calories and higher in protein and moisture.  It is extremely important to feed cats at least 5-6 times daily.  Don’t feed one brand or diet only.  Variety is the spice of life and cats are used to eating birds, squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, bugs, etc.  One diet or one brand is not normal.  Either is feeding once or twice a day.

 Source:  The Purrington Post

Editors Note:  Find many of the toys, scratchers, outdoor enclosures and cat furniture mentioned in this article right here.

Undercover Mouse is the Cat’s Meow

Dogtime.com has issued another review of one of MyThreeCats.com’s cat  toys, the Undercover Mouse!  Undercover Mouse has become one of our most popular toy offerings because it plays right into your cat’s hunting instincts. 

Read about this 5 star review right here:

http://dogtime.com/undercover-mouse-from-my-three-cats-co-dot-.html

Gotcha!

Make Sure Your Cat Knows About Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Mimi, Supermom, but now a happy housecat.
Mimi, Supermom, but now a happy housecat.

Feline breast cancer is the third most common cancer among cats after lymphoma and skin cancer. In a 2005 study done at the University of Pennsylvania, “cats spayed prior to 6 months had a 91% reduction…those spayed prior to one year had an 86% reduction in the risk of mammary carcinoma development compared with intact cats.” While breast cancer in cats is more common than in humans, it is far less common than it is in dogs, but cats have the highest malignancy rate and the lowest survival rate of all three. That myth that “it’s good to let a cat have a litter of kittens” has no basis in fact, and can be a death sentence since spaying your cat before she even goes into heat the first time is the best way to avoid breast cancer, not to mention reducing the risks of injury and disease a cat faces while out carousing…not to mention a cat in heat is really annoying to have around. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, spay your little girl!

Cats Do Get “Spring Fever”…

Kelly and the sparrow converse.
Kelly and the sparrow converse.

Most veterinarians will tell you that springtime is a dangerous time for cats as people open their windows for some fresh air, thinking their cat will be sensible and not jump several stories to the ground…unfortunately, they do. Cats’ depth perception is not considered to be too keen as their best visual acuity is in focusing on prey, one item in a jumbled landscape, so the distance from windowsill or deck railing to the ground isn’t really clear for kitty, especially with a now full of intoxicating spring air. Also, even the most sensible cat will be tempted by a bird flying by, or a leaf or any moving object out the window. Before you open your window make sure the screen is tightly in place, and don’t assume that your cat can’t figure out how to push it out of the way, or that it can’t get out of a window that’s “just open a crack”. Sometimes you have to think for kitty. For an interesting video about cats and falls from windows and high places, and to see an explanation of just how a cat turns itself so it lands on its feet—most of the time—view this video on the National Geographic website (it begins with and advertisement, just be patient): http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/animals/mammals-animals/cats/cats_domestic_ninelives.html

The Daily Cat: Playing Kitty Airplane

peaches-with-canA healthy cat will eat what you give her, a kitty who is a little under the weather may need some persuasion; we won’t be talking about those manipulative and overly dramatic “finicky” kitties here. We’re considering cats who are recovering from illness or injury or who are elderly, and for whom even eating is a little bit of a burden. She may seem hungry, even show up for mealtime, but take a sniff or even attempt to eat and walk away. Often illness, surgery, trauma or age reduce a cat’s appetite through weakness, stomach upset, loss of smell or loss of taste, and a cat in a slightly weakened condition may need some inspiration for the taste buds. First, wake her up at least 15 minutes before you want to feed her—a sleepy kitty in a weakened condition isn’t ready to eat as soon as she wakes up, so pet her and give her attention for a while until she seems entirely alert. Always use fresh food, usually canned, so its smell is the strongest, and you don’t need to resort to fish-based foods, often liver-based food is more appealing. Then tease her with the food—play “kitty airplane” the same way you would with a recalcitrant child, show her the can and her dish, open the can and let kitty sniff the food then put it aside, making a big show of getting her dish ready, putting the food in the dish, allowing her to smell it all the while, then finally present it. This little play helps to get her digestive system started and her body gives her the signal to eat, plus, she’s wondering what they heck you’re up to, and curiosity is a big stimulant for a cat. If she’s still reluctant, pick up a little in a spoon and offer it for her to lick off; a little at a time is sometimes just enough. Don’t leave her food out, but put it back in the can and keep it, offering it again a little later. It may mean wasting a few cans, but open a new can with every session. She’ll appreciate your efforts.