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by Nomi Berger
 
Fur-get kitties’ funny quirks! Pussycat parents may unwittingly be rubbing their own feline friends the wrong way. How? Consider the following:
 
Taking them on car rides: As opposed to their canine counterparts, cats do NOT enjoy spontaneous rides in the car. Being highly territorial and passionate about routine, they dislike abrupt changes in their environment. They’re also prone to motion sickness, and coupled with anxiety, the results can be rather unpleasant. Cars should be reserved for vet visits or meticulously prepared road trips.
 
Bringing them on play dates: Unlike dogs and their dog parks, felines, unless especially friendly, prefer to remain in their own cozy realms rather than visit unfamiliar felines in unfamiliar surroundings. Cats don’t enjoy meeting new cats or smelling strange cats’ scents. Nor do they like seeing themselves in mirrors.
 
Giving them baths: Most cats are superb at self-grooming, and accomplish with their tongues what we humans accomplish with soap and water. On the rare occasion that a bath is absolutely necessary, wary cats should be approached with caution, patience and a plan.
 
Neglecting their litter boxes: Although kitties always cover up their urine and feces, their litter boxes should be cleaned at least once a day. Their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours is, and if they begin eliminating OUTSIDE the box instead of in it, their message is more than clear!
 
Petting them too much: Cats can become over-stimulated very easily and with very little warning, shifting from purring contentedly one minute to hissing or scratching the next. To avoid over-stimulating your kitty, study her personality, learn her likes and dislikes, and respect her limitations.
 
Making too much noise: Whether it’s door bells or roaring traffic, slamming doors or thunderstorms, many cats are very sensitive to and scared of loud sounds. Because of this, conscientious cat owners are conscious of their own tone of voice, the volume on their TV and stereo, and all other sources of potentially frightening noise.
 
Serving stale or cold food: Leaving wet food out not only allows it to get stale, but allows dangerous bacteria to grow, often within the space of a single day. To prevent this, mete out smaller, more frequent portions. And because some cats dislike cold food, allow any refrigerated, canned leftovers to “thaw” to room temperature before serving it.
 
Ignoring them: While felines fend well for themselves, they don’t appreciate being alone or ignored. The solution is to create regularly scheduled play times with them every day particularly before bedtime to burn off their pent-up energy and strengthen the bonds of love and trust between you.
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photo by marya, source: https://goo.gl/azGVRr
by Nomi Berger
 
When is a cat’s nip more than a nip? When it’s a bite, intentional or not.
 
And bites to the hand can often be serious. Studies have shown that a shocking 80% of cat bites, even those that don’t bleed, become infected. The hand is one of the worst places to get bitten because the tendons and joints are very close to the surface of the skin and are therefore harder to treat if bacteria gets into the wound. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that a cat bite can even lead to permanent disability if not treated promptly.
 
Cat bites are twice as likely to become infected because their sharp teeth cause deep puncture wounds, injecting bacteria further inside them. Approximately 400,000 cat bites occur every year in this country, with 66,000 of them requiring trips to the emergency room.
 
Three out of four bite infections are due to Pasteurella Multocida, a bacteria that’s found in a cat’s mouth, and which, if left untreated, can cause cellulitis. Most people recover from cellulitis, but if severe enough, this bacterial skin infection can spread throughout the body and become life threatening.
 
Infections in the hand can destroy cartilage and prevent one’s fingers from moving in the future, while a chronic infection can destroy joints and bones, and lead to amputation. The bacteria can spread to the rest of the body and cause sepsis. If one’s immune system is compromised, other rare complications include bone or heart infections and meningitis. And since rabies, tetanus and other transmittable diseases can occur if the cat is a stray or a stranger, the best protection is keeping one’s tetanus shots current.
 
To reduce your risk of being bitten, it’s essential to understand why cats bite in the first place – including their instincts to hunt and play. Avoid picking up or reaching for cats you don’t know. Look for signs of anxiety or stress in your own cat and pay attention to the signals. But, if you do get a bite, wash it thoroughly with mild soap and rinse it with running water. Pat it dry and apply antibiotic ointment to the wound, then cover it with a clean bandage. Place some ice (an ice pack is best) on it to reduce the swelling, put pressure on the wound, and elevate it.
 
See your doctor as quickly as possible. You’ll likely be put on a regimen of antibiotics and receive a tetanus shot if yours is out of date, and possibly a rabies shot if your doctor thinks it’s necessary.
 
If you treat the wound promptly and seek medical attention swiftly, it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer any serious complications. But then, being prepared for a bite is one part of being an informed and responsible cat owner.
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Guest Blog Article by Stephanie N. Blahut

Bringing a cat into your home—whether it’s a kitten or an adult cat—is an exciting time. There's a new furry member in your family, and you can't wait to bond with your latest addition! For your cat, however, it is a different experience. Your pet is being thrust into a completely different environment. It will instantly experience sensory overload: There are different people surrounding it, new smells throughout the entire space, and new sights to see. It's not surprising that it's a stressful and even scary time for your pet. So, it's important that you do your best to help your cat transition.
 
Here are a few tips to consider when welcoming a new cat into your home:
 
Start the transition during the trip home. While you are driving home with your new pet in tow, you are likely thinking about all of the memories you will make together. Your cat, however, is probably very nervous and does not understand what is happening. Make sure that your cat is in a crate for the entire drive, as it is not safe for you or your pet if it is roaming around. Include a blanket or favorite toy from the shelter in the crate. Giving your cat a place to feel secure will help as you begin this transition.
 
Create a private, secure space for the first few days at home. Your cat will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of its new house, so it's important to give it a small room to explore initially. Many homeowners find that a laundry room or small bathroom is best. Prepare the room ahead of time by removing dangerous items and securing any doors or cupboards that the cat may be able to open. Add a few blankets and toys—placing its food, water and litter box in the room, as well. After you arrive home with your cat, open the door to the crate and allow your cat to come out on its own accord. It may take time, but the cat will eventually decide to explore its new space.
 
Allow the cat to explore at its own pace. Sometimes, your cat will need to be in its private room for a few days or even a week before it is ready to discover the rest of the house. Once you feel your pet is ready, simply allow your cat to visit each area of the home at its own pace. Cats often feel most comfortable checking out their new digs during the nighttime, so don't be surprised if you hear the pitter-patter of little paws while you are in bed.
 
Monitor initial interactions with other pets in the home. If you have other pets in the home, you will want to be present the first time they meet one another. Remember that the interactions will vary based on the type of animals that you have in the home and the personalities of those individual animals. Cats will typically paw or bat at dogs in order to establish personal boundaries as well as dominance. Cats may wrestle, bat or completely ignore other cats as they decide who will be the leader of the pair. Work with your veterinarian in order to help all of your pets peacefully coexist within your home.
 
Stay patient throughout the entire transition. This is typically not an overnight transition. The amount of time it takes for your cat to become comfortable with its new surroundings as well as with its new human and animal family members can vary, but it's not uncommon for it to last several days, weeks or even months. It is important that you remain patient with your new pet, your previous pets and yourself. Before you know it, you will all be enjoying your time together as a happy family.
 
Remember that this transition will be different for every cat and every family, because the unique dynamic of your home and the individual personality traits of your new cat will have a significant impact on the process. If you or anyone in your home feels concerned during the transition process, it is important to reach out to your veterinarian. He or she can provide you with customized guidance based on the needs of your cat and of your family.
 
Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Marketing for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo Pet Insurance is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.  
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by Nomi Berger
 
Sometimes, even the most closely watched cat can accidentally escape from the safest of homes. If this happens to your precious pet, the following suggestions should, hopefully, help return her to you.
 
1. Remain calm and stay focused
 
Despite your obvious distress, the longer you wait to “sound the alarm”, the more time your kitty’s been missing and the further the distance she’s traveled. And so, draw that proverbial deep, cleansing breath and spring into action – clear plan in hand.
 
2. Search your neighborhood
 
After unsuccessfully scouring your home from top to bottom, and checking each hiding place, nook and cranny, canvas your neighborhood. Start by going door to door with a photo of your cat. Print and bring flyers containing all of your contact information (especially if kitty’s not micro-chipped) and leave them with your neighbors.
 
3. Place calls and make visits
 
Call animal control services and area rescue groups, then visit your local shelter(s). Speak with the employees, give them some flyers, and check every cat there, including any in the sick/holding area. Check back with the shelter(s) daily because new cats arrive all the time.
 
4. Post flyers
 
For your flyer, use a large, clear photo of your kitty and ensure the words “Lost Cat” or “Missing Cat” can be read easily from several feet away or from a passing car. Hold back tiny details to ask anyone who claims to have found her. Plaster as wide an area as possible with your flyers including local parks and gas stations, restaurants and coffee shops, small businesses, schools and libraries, pet stores and vets’ offices -- wherever there are cork boards or places to affix them, making certain to get permission beforehand when necessary.
 
5. Use social media
 
Post that same flyer on Face Book, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Nextdoor and any other app or web site serving the area in which you live. The power of social media, particularly local Face Book groups, can be especially effective in helping spread the word about your kitty. Ask everyone to RESHARE your post, then send an email or text blast to people you know in your area and ask them to forward it to everyone they know.
 
6. Smells can help
 
Leaving an article of recently worn, unwashed clothing outside may assist your cat in finding her way home because she can pick up and track your scent. Putting out a bowl of her favorite food and setting her litter box outside can also help lure her back home.
 
7. Don’t give up
 
As emotionally and physically exhausting as it is, don’t stop, don’t give up and don’t lose hope. Sometimes it’s useful to search rigorously for several days, then take a break for a day before resuming your search. Remember: many missing or lost cats are ultimately found BECAUSE of the unflagging commitment and determination of their owners.
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by Nomi Berger

Every winter, cats die due to being left outside in the cold. That they have fur does NOT ensure their ability to survive out of doors for any length of time when the thermometer plummets.
 
What they DO need is shelter and warmth. And if your precious puss slips outside unseen, she must be found as swiftly as paws-ible or hypothermia will set in.
 
Hypothermia is the extreme lowering of a cat’s body temperature when she’s either been exposed to frigid conditions for too long or if her fur has gotten wet in the cold and the wind. This drop will cause her heart rate and breathing to slow down, and the results of sustained, severe hypothermia can include frostbite, neurological problems (including coma), heart problems, kidney failure, cessation of breathing, and ultimately death.
 
The symptoms to look for are strong shivering and trembling followed by no shivering, sleepiness, weakness or lethargy, fur and skin cold to the touch, a body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, decreased heart rate, dilated pupils, pale or blue gums and inner eyelids, difficulty walking or breathing, and stupor, unconsciousness or coma.
 
If you suspect your kitty has hypothermia, dry her thoroughly with either towels or a hair dryer set on Low and held a foot away from her. Wrap her in a blanket first warmed in the clothes dryer. Wrap a warm hot water bottle in a towel and place it on her abdomen. Take her temperature with a rectal thermometer, and if it’s below 95 degrees, bring her to your vet or an emergency clinic immediately.
 
If her temperature is above 95 degrees, take it again every ten to fifteen minutes while performing the above-mentioned warming techniques. Once her temperature reaches 100 degrees or more, remove the hot water bottle, but continue to keep her warm. To be doubly certain she’s safe, bring her to your vet the same day since one bout of hypothermia can make her prone to it again.
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Guest Article written by: willisfabrigus

Animals can make inter-species friendships if their need for social interaction exceeds their usual biological demands. Thus, a cat that has been raised from the beginning with a dog might not realize it is a cat and that the dog is biologically an enemy. Over the years many scientists have observed animals from various species searching for unlikely bonds to be made. Dogs have become best friends with squirrels, lambs and llamas, cows nurture lambs, rabbits become friends with deer, and a chimpanzee plays with tiger cubs. These are just a few examples of amazing interspecies friendships that prove that animals are more than just silly beasts but are in fact capable of both compassion and love. For a long time scientists stated that the apparent friendships between different species were just an evolutionary tactic for survival and friendship was unique to humans. Observation has showed us that many contacts can’t be related to the animal’s need for survival. Animals of different species can bond if both parties are engaged and are interacting for a long period of time. Some accommodation is also required, as the species have different behaviors and communication methods. Cats in particular have been known to be very independent and selective and thus they seem very unlikely to form bonds with other species. Still, there were many cases reported where cats and other species formed tight bonds.

1. Mishkin the Cat and Kodi the Dog
Cats have been known to have a difficult relationship with dogs in particular. Though it is very true that cats and dogs have different physical and social traits there were many occasions reported where they have put their differences aside & become best friends. One of these cases is the friendship between Mishkin and Kodi. Although dogs at times may display aggression against cats, some can bond with other species. Kodi has been attracted to other species his whole life, including rabbits, horses and neighbor cats. He later developed a very strong friendship with a furry little kitten as soon as it was brought to the house.

Source: https://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/interspecies-friendships-when-cats-join-pack/270

2. Emmy the Cat and Her Baby Squirrels
A cat from Mississippi has been nominated as “Mother of the Year” after she showed incredible motherly instincts when she adopted a baby squirrel. She put it along with her baby kittens and feed it with milk just like she did the others. The squirrel, called Rocky and the cat have an extraordinary deep bond in one of the cutest interspecies cat relationships. The fact that the squirrel has been raised among many other kittens all its life has made it change its behavior and even learned how to purr just like the other kittens do.

Source: http://www.catster.com/the-scoop/cat-mom-adopts-a-very-unusual-kitten

3. The Monkey and the Stray Kitten
Jojo and Alan have a great friendship that began by chance. Jojo is a-monkey that was rescued in 2011 from a gaged life in a restaurant in Thailand. Happily, she was able to heal properly from what she’s been through and was even able to make an unlikely good friend: the stray kitten Alan. Alan started wandering on the field where the macaques lived and formed an instant bond with Jojo. Their friendship goes so far that Jojo even shares her food with Alan, they play together and are posing for photos.

Source: http://metro.co.uk/2017/08/22/rescue-monkey-adopts-stray-kitten-who-wandered-into-its-enclosure-6869952/

4. The Cat and the Deer
A cat owner in Pennsylvania noticed that his cat disappeared every morning and he became curious. One day he followed his cat and discovered that he had a daily meeting with a friendly deer, whom he interacted and played with. The cat and the deer have a very sweet but unusual friendship. The bond goes so deep that the cat even grooms the dear and kneads his fur. The deer responds to this appreciation and nuzzles up his friend.

Source: http://honesttopaws.com/cat-and-deer-friends/

5. Sappy the Cat and Dakota the Horse
Cats and horses are known to show kindness to one another. Cats don’t mess with horses because they wouldn’t have a chance to win in a battle. However, they are not know to form deep bonds as Sappy, a 1-year old cat and Dakota, a 15-year old horse have. The cat spends time in Dakota’s stall every single day during feeding time and not only. The cat follows the horse when it is ridden as if he was a dog. The horse shows much appreciation for the cat and even though he could kill it with a single step, it is very gentle to it. Inter-species friendship shouldn’t be so bewildering or unbelieving, a human loving a dog, and a dog loving a human, is a common scene. However, it is astonishing to conceive how this happens. For me, it is love that connects and it’s alike for animals and humans. It demolishes the obstacles and differences and is powerful enough to render the natural enemies, lovers or friends. So, please keep on loving.

About the author:  This was a guest post from Pedro (pictured), Editor-in-Chief of We're All About Cats. Click over there and show Pedro and his family some love! And make sure to like their Facebook Page!
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by Nomi Berger

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to think not only about celebrating, but also about cat safety. Any changes in a cat’s regular routine – a home suddenly filled with new scents, sounds and strangers -- may send even the least “scaredy-cat” cats scampering for cover.
 
Be conscious of and careful about the plants you bring into your home. Despite their obvious beauty, holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are toxic to cats and should be kept out of reach, while a single leaf from any form of lily is lethal. The oils of a Christmas tree can irritate their mouths and stomachs, causing vomiting, while the prickly needles are hazardous to their entire GI tracts.
 
To err on the side of caution, consider buying an artificial tree and artificial plants instead.
 
Consider next the breakable ornaments and dangling tinsel, shiny ribbons and artificial snow, ropes of small lights and flickering candles. All eye-catching eye candy to curious kitties with batting paws, small, sharp teeth and swishing tails.
 
Hang delicate ornaments higher on the tree and resist placing any in decorative bowls on low surfaces. Not only can cats choke on them, but the sharp edges of any broken pieces can lacerate their mouths, throats and intestines. Drape tinsel higher on the tree as well, and keep ribbons on gifts underneath the tree to a minimum. If tinsel or ribbons are swallowed, they can twist and bunch inside a cat’s intestines, causing serious, sometimes fatal, damage if not caught quickly enough.
 
Artificial snow is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Lights, large and small, solid and flickering are another danger, not only because they are hot and breakable, but because of the electrical cords holding them together. If bitten, they can cause electrical shock if not properly grounded, and if frayed, they can cause severe lacerations to your cat’s tongue.
Place all lighted candles out of reach to reduce the risk of singed fur and pads, paws and tails, and lower the chance of them being tipped over, leaving burning wax everywhere or worse, starting a fire.
 
As appetizing as holiday fare is for people, it can prove agonizing, even lethal for pets. The most notorious offenders are:
Raisins and grapes: A handful of raisins can cause sudden kidney failure in a cat. Also avoid giving her grapes, while watching for signs of toxicity should she accidentally eat some. Signs that usually occur within 24 hours are lack of appetite, lethargy, weakness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased urination.
Onions and garlic: The sulfoxides and disulfides in both destroy red blood cells and can cause serious blood problems including anemia.
Fat trimmings: They cause upset stomachs, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Bones: Whatever the size, shape or texture, they all spell the same thing: danger. From throat scratches to stomach perforations to bowel obstructions. To safeguard against these painful possibilities, all leftovers, particularly bones, should be carefully wrapped and promptly disposed of.
Alcohol: It’s traditional to celebrate the holidays with more alcohol than usual – in cooking and in drinks such as eggnog and fruit punch. For safety’s sake, keep these temptations (including partially eaten plates of food and half-empty glasses) out of the reach of your cat to avoid intoxication and alcohol poisoning.
Chocolates: Although chocolate has long been taboo for cats, most chocolates are wrapped in foil for the holidays. Now, not only can your cat get sick from eating the chocolate, the wrappers themselves can get stuck in her throat or cause problems as they work their way through her digestive tract.
Christmas pudding, cake and mince pie: Filled with potentially toxic raisins, currants, and sultanas, they are also made with fat and suet, and laced with alcohol -- from scotch and brandy to sugary liqueurs.
 
With some strategic planning beforehand, you and your cherished kitty companion can enjoy the happiest and healthiest of holidays.
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Guest Article/Infographic by Daniel Richardson

Daniel is a cat blogger from Liverpool in the United Kingdom, his life was radically changed for the better in August 2014 when he adopted his first ever cat called Whisky. It is Dan’s experiences with Whisky that led him to look into some of the facts behind why adopting a cat is not just a great idea but also highly beneficial for the cat owner too. The infographic from Tuxedo Cat below outlines ten great reasons for adopting a cat. Please feel free to share it to encourage more people to adopt rather than shop for a cat.

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by Nomi Berger

As the days grow darker and shorter, and the thermometer plummets, so does the mood of millions of people living in the Northern Hemisphere. But humans are not the only ones affected by what scientists refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Our cats – even the happiest, most active and energetic ones -- can suffer the same dramatic downturn in mood.
 
Signs of the kitty cat blues include a drastic change in appetite, excessive fatigue, nighttime restlessness, reduced social interactions, and/or extreme hair loss.
 
According to scientists, the reason for these behavioral changes in both humans and felines appears to stem from the effect that light has on two significant hormones. The first is melatonin, produced in the pineal gland. The second is serotonin, produced in the brain.
 
Melatonin, often referred to as the “hormone of darkness”, plays a vital role in regulating the sleep cycle. The pineal gland is light sensitive, and because melatonin is usually secreted at night, the less light there is – as in the shorter, darker days of winter -- the greater the production of melatonin.
 
Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel good” substance in the brain also affects mood, appetite and sleep – but in an entirely different way. In this case, it’s sunlight that’s needed for the production of serotonin.
 
There are ways, however, to combat the effects of daylight’s diminishing hours on your cat’s mood before the full onset of winter. The simplest solution is one used by many humans with SAD: spending an increased amount of time in natural daylight. If your kitty has a lounge or bed, put it next to a window or underneath a skylight. If you have a cat-proof window, open it and let her perch awhile on the ledge. If she’s comfortable outdoors, allow her some playtime when the sun is brightest.
 
Another remedy is an artificial sunlight lamp. These therapy lights use special bulbs that mimic the natural light of the sun and can be bought at any major general retailer or online. Simply keep it turned on in a place where your kitty spends most of her time when she’s awake in order for her retinas to take in all of the light.
 
Hopefully, following all or some of these suggestions will spare your cherished feline companion an unnecessary case of the kitty cat blues.
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by Nomi Berger

According to the ASPCA, cold and flu medications for people could prove fatal to our kitty companions. And according to the Pet Poison Hotline web site, almost 50% of the calls they receive involve a pet’s accidental ingestion of a human’s medication.
 
Both physicians’ prescriptions and over-the-counter products used to reduce our symptoms and lessen our discomfort contain ingredients that, when swallowed by our cats may require urgent medical attention.
 
Aspirin, acetaminophen (found in Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve) and vitamin D derivatives are a few of the active ingredients to pay attention to. Cats ingesting any of these toxic substances can display a variety of symptoms, including discolored gums, a swollen face or swollen paws, ulcers of the stomach and intestines, and kidney failure. Some telltale signs are immediate, while others can take more than 24 hours to appear.
 
But the above-mentioned medications aren’t the only culprits.
 
Many cold medicines contain pseudoephedrine, a decongestant compound with stimulant qualities. It can cause a dramatic rise in a cat’s body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, causing her to become hyper or nervous and, in some cases, suffer seizures. Only 30 mg of pseudoephedrine can be a deadly dose.
 
To err on the side of caution, ensure that your kitty remains “paws off” and far removed from any of your anti-sniffling, sneezing, coughing and aching, cold and flu medications.
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