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by Nomi Berger

The nose knows! And so it is with cats who rely on their noses to more fully comprehend the world around them. They detect smells as well as sense pheromones (chemicals produced and released by other cats) through their olfactory systems. For indoor cats in particular, understanding and appreciating the importance of their highly developed sense of smell can greatly enrich their environment, which, in turn, makes them happier cats.
 
Catnip has long been considered the “go to” plant of choice of household cats, attracted as they are to its odor – more than its taste -- to both improve their welfare and make their lives more “interesting.” They typically respond to catnip by sniffing, licking and biting it, shaking or rubbing their heads, chins or cheeks against it, rolling over in it, drooling, and even kicking at the fabric enclosing it with their hind feet. This so-called “catnip response” has often been described by those witnessing it as euphoric.
 
And yet, catnip isn’t the only plant favored by felines. Some are also attracted to silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle and Valerian root – all available in various forms. This is fortunate because one in three domestic cats do NOT respond to catnip. Some even appear to be genetically incapable of “sensing” it, and although the allure of catnip has been well documented, one recent study involving 100 cats investigated their responses to catnip and these three less familiar plants.
 
Of the 100 cats studied, 94 percent showed a “catnip response” to at least one of the four plants. Seventy-nine percent responded to silver vine, 68 percent responded to catnip, 53 percent responded to Tatarian honeysuckle, and 47 percent responded to Valerian root. Even more interesting was the fact that 24 percent of the cats responded to all four plants.
 
And so, despite the popular reputation of catnip, more cats – at least in this study – gave a resounding “paws up” to silver vine instead. This response held true for female and male cats, friendly and shy cats, and cats of all ages, although the response to catnip was milder among older cats. In fact, the older cats’ response to silver vine was far more intense than their response to catnip.
 
If your kitty has recently been turning up her nose and turning tail at the sight and the scent of catnip, consider substituting one of the other materials in its place, starting with silver vine. The most effective way to determine which scent truly tickles her feline fancy is by simply “asking” her. How?
 
After first checking with your vet as to the safety of silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle and Valerian root, begin by placing a stick of silver vine inside a closed sock, leave it out where she can easily find it, supervise her closely, and monitor her response carefully. (This is especially important if yours is a multiple-cat household).
 
Be aware of the fact that this new scent has the potential to make your cat more excited and excitable for a more extended period of time. If she seems to be enjoying it, give her plenty of room and don’t try petting, stroking or playing with her until she seems sated, happily tired and perfectly relaxed. Eureka! Success! You’ve struck kitty gold.
 
Since a cat’s interest in even the most satisfying of scents fades over time, remove any samples she’s played with as soon as you sense her growing bored, and offer them again to her at a later date. But if the bloom is already off the so-called rose, there are those two remaining scents in your cat-contenting arsenal – Tatarian honeysuckle and Valerian root.
 
Then there’s another scenario altogether. Your cat may be totally unaffected – or worse – repelled by the scent of the silver vine, in which case, it should be removed quickly, and a day or two allowed to pass before moving on to the Tatarian honeysuckle in the hope of achieving a better result. If not, try once more, this time with the Valerian root. But if the result is the same, and the “scent” sampling only stresses her out, stop the sampling process immediately.
 
For reasons yet unknown, some cats simply aren’t interested in scents – no matter the source. If yours is one of those finicky felines, fret not, there are many other avenues to explore until she finally finds one that sets her purr-o-meter humming.
 
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by Nomi Berger
 
Held on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this inspired and inspirational global movement both celebrates philanthropy worldwide and jumpstarts the joyous season of GIVING.
 
November 27th marks the 7th anniversary of #GivingTuesday’s inception, and you, our supporters, can honor its intent to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness by making a tax-deductible donation to TCMR.
 
Your contribution, whatever the amount, will allow us to continue providing for the kittens and cats currently in our care, allow us to be adequately prepared for any unforeseen emergencies, and allow us to accept even more needy kitties in the year ahead.
 
In support of #GivingTuesday, Facebook is partnering with PayPal to match up to $7 million in those donations made through Facebook beginning at 7 AM CT and continuing UNTIL THE FUNDS RUN OUT.
 
To have the chance of seeing YOUR donation doubled, please donate as early as paws-ible by clicking the Donate button on our Facebook page (directly below the cover photo).
 
With our extremely high vet bills, unforeseen emergencies, and the costs of the medications we administer, many of them on an ongoing basis, we spent close to $10,000 on medical care alone in 2017. And by the end of 2018, our expenses will be even higher!
 
Because the life of each kitty is purr-ecious to us, no obstacle is too great, no price to steep as we work to ensure each one has the best outcome possible – good health and a loving adoptive home.

Consider little Jake Sully. At a mere 4 weeks, he survived a savage attack by a group of dogs, while two of his littermates perished. His injuries were severe enough to cause temporary paralysis, but with steroids and various medications, physical therapy and good old fashioned TLC, he made, what we considered a miraculous recovery in an astoundingly brief time, and was soon adopted into the most wonderful home.


 While most of those we rescue DO live out our dream for them, others do not. Thankfully, however, our happy tails far surpass our sad ones. And where others may give up on the chronically sick, the physically and the neurologically impaired, we never do. They remain in our care always if necessary, as special needs and sanctuary cats, nurtured, protected, and above all, loved.
Consider Ariel, who is blind and has epilepsy, and requires two medications daily to help control her seizures. Consider Aurora, who is FIV positive and requires two injections every six weeks to help control chronic infections and inflammation in her mouth. Consider Codi, who is FIV positive and has heart disease, and requires two medications daily as well as prescription food. Consider Joey, who is FeLV positive and requires medication twice daily to help prevent the development of crystals in his urine.

Consider the ones we have yet to meet and the “tails” still to be told.
 
Then please consider helping us raise $6,000 to ease our already strained finances so that we may be better equipped to face the challenges ahead.
 
Donations can also be made through the Donate button at www.thecatsmeowrescue.org or directly through PayPal at PayPal.Me/tcmr
 
On behalf of the kittens and cats -- past, present and future -- WE THANK YOU!
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by Nomi Berger
 
Does your cat play constantly and contentedly with toilet paper? Does she unroll it sheet by sheet from its cardboard tube, bat it around, drag it from room to room and quite literally “paper” your home in streamers?
 
If so, any attention you give her for playing with toilet paper as though it were a toy --whether negative or positive – will, in all likelihood encourage her to continue. Why, then does a cat play with toilet paper in the first place? She may be acting on her instinct to hunt, imitating your own actions in the bathroom or simply trying to keep herself occupied. Regardless of her motivation, the solution is both prevention and redirection – shifting her focus away from the toilet paper towards more acceptable, alternative behaviors.
 
Simply shutting the door when you’re not around makes the bathroom(s) off-limits to your cat. A toilet paper holder that completely covers the roll can be a useful alternative if it’s difficult to keep the bathroom door(s) closed all the time.
 
Provide more creative outlets for your cat’s energy and reward her when she chooses them. Because of their instinctual desire to hunt, cats enjoy playing with interactive toys that can be “ripped” and “pulled apart” -- mimicking the movements they make when killing and devouring their prey in the wild. Food puzzles are an excellent option. There is a wide range of kitty food puzzles designed to provide them with the hunting experience they crave. Movable puzzles whose contents are dislodged or removed by your cat’s paws are particularly effective.
 
Begin with easy-to-access food puzzles, and as your cat learns how to make them work, increase the degree of difficulty. To make them even more enticing and exciting, fill them with kibble or treats.
 
To encourage her exploratory behavior, hide the food puzzles, some of her most highly prized toys and tiny boxes of cat grass throughout your home, targeting those areas she’s especially fond of such as perches and climbing structures. Rotate them from time to time to keep her “hunts” interesting and to keep her on her paws.
 
When you’re not at home, keep her entertained – and hopefully away from attacking the toilet paper – by purchasing and using toys with remote-control options, motion-sensor toys, timed toys and/or hanging toys designed for being batted about.
 
Provided your cat doesn’t EAT paper, consider offering her a designated alternative that she can claw up and bed down in, such as a cardboard box filled with shredded or crumpled up paper or newspaper. And always ensure that a scratching post or two is placed in easily accessible areas.
 
Whenever your cat plays with the right toys or engages in the appropriate activities, reward and reinforce her paws-itive behavior with treats, petting and praise. If, however, you catch her “red pawed” in the act of toying with the toilet paper, calmly redirect her attention, and clean up the “crime scene” once she’s safely out of sight. Punishing her may not only reinforce this unwanted behavior but cause increased tension in your relationship.
 
Last but most importantly, if your cat IS eating the toilet paper, speak to your vet or seek help from a certified animal behaviorist.
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by Nomi Berger
 
While plastic bowls are cheap, their cost to your cat can be high!
 
Dangerous as food and water bowls, plastics scratch and the bowls’ porous surfaces trap bacteria that thrive on leftover food and saliva. Even after the bowls are cleaned, they may still be contaminated, since washing only cleans their smooth surfaces and doesn’t remove any of the bacteria lurking inside even the smallest of scratches.
 
Plastic both contains and emits a synthetic hormone called Bisphenal A or BPA. A proven endocrine disrupter, BPA impairs brain and neurological function and causes, among other things, chromosomal and reproductive system disorders, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular damage and cancer.
 
To make plastic more flexible and resilient, it contains Phthalates, so-called “plasticizers.” Phthalates are known to cause cancer in humans and are listed among the ten most toxic chemicals harmful to our bodies.
 
Plastic may also contain certain levels of lead. And, last but not least, and most benign by comparison: plastic may irritate your cat’s chin and cause feline acne.
 
And so, despite being labeled “BPA free” and certified as food safe by the FDA, bowls made of plastic may still contain Phthalates or lead. The solution for caring cat owners is as simple as simply avoiding plastic altogether.
 
Most experts consider the safest alternatives to be glass, stainless steel and some ceramics. Glass is non-porous and non-toxic (it consists of silica, calcium oxide and sodium carbonate – all of them non-toxic), it doesn’t react with acids or other liquids, is dishwasher safe and is very stable. But avoid glass bowls made in Mexico and many other foreign countries with lower regulations and manufacturing standards than the U.S.
 
Stainless steel is lightweight, unbreakable and long lasting. Sanitary and germ-resistant because bacteria can’t enter its hard, non-porous surface, it doesn’t scratch easily, stain or rust despite constant use, doesn’t react with liquids or foods, is easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.
 
If considering ceramic bowls, make certain they’re of the highest quality (never buy cheap ceramic bowls made in China), dishwasher safe and have a lead-free, food-grade glaze. To ensure your cat’s safety, they, along with glass bowls, should be quickly discarded if they develop chips or cracks.
 
Whatever choice you, as a conscientious cat owner, make, be certain to wash your cat’s bowls thoroughly after each use with soap and water and dry them well to kill any lingering germs. Put wet food bowls in the dishwasher at least three to four times a week to sterilize them or, even better, daily. Cats don’t like eating or drinking from dirty bowls, and being as highly sensitive to smell as they are, may express their displeasure by refusing to eat or drink anything at all.
 
But then, who could blame them?
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