I love everything about this piece of cat furniture – its great looks, reasonable price, and the many opportunities for a cat to explore and enjoy. She can even hide out inside and plan her sneak attack.
I also love that it’s compact and close to the ground, meaning that even the clumsiest cat will be perfectly safe from harm.
One of my cats, Alexa, fits this description perfectly. Even she couldn’t cause a disaster with this cat furniture!
- Wrapped in soft plush inside and out
- Condo lined in plush fabric
- Natural sisal scratching surface
- Dangling plush toys inside
The Topi Cat Condo will provide endless opportunities for your cats to play, scratch, explore or just relax. This stylish piece of cat furniture combines the best of both worlds: a condo hideaway and a scratching surface. Felines can sharpen their claws on the large scratching surface wrapped in durable sisal instead of on your furniture or carpet. If a nap or a place to hide is in order, the cat can crawl inside the kitty condo which is covered in plush fabric both inside and out, making it the perfect retreat. Feeling a little spunky? Taunt the plush toys suspended inside, sure to peak your little hunter’s interest. Suitable for cats of all ages and activity levels. One year warranty. Color: chocolate brown. Dimensions (inches): 18 x 12 x 13; condo opening 6 x 6. Weight: 3 pounds.
This Cat Furniture with Scratching Surface is available on Amazon – click through for a closer look and more information.
Below is a great guest article addressing these very needs.
Overcoming Pet Winter Woes
by Paul Mann
Like humans, pets can experience winder doldrums. Even those living in warmer weather regions are still affected by seasonal changes, which can be especially tough on dogs and cats–particularly those that are used to spending time outdoors.
Beyond the obvious challenge of pets getting less exercise during the winter months, dogs and cats often experience less emotional stimulation during this period and can suffer a variety of adversities, including excessive weight gain, irritability, anxiety and even clinical depression. This can lead to a variety of unsavory behaviors and dissatisfaction for all involved. The more outdoor-oriented the pet, the higher probability that these and other problems will present and persist through the season.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things pet owners can do to physically engage and psychologically stimulate their pets and make everyone happier during the long, cold winter months:
Most dog breeds need to go outside 2-3 times a day, not only to relieve themselves, but also to get some form of exercise and sensory stimulation. Dogs are more likely to go outside in nearly any kind of weather and often love a romp in the snow. Taking your dog outdoors will trigger its natural play instincts. Running, jumping and chasing are natural ways to energize your pet, burn calories and boost metabolism. If you’re not up to the task amid Mother Nature, consider hiring a professional dog walker to happily take on the duty. Indoors, tried-and-true games like fetch, tug-of-war and wrestling can also serve as a great workout that also stimulates a pet’s appetite.
Cats also love to pounce and play, and if they’re stuck in the house you can easily brighten their day with 10-15 minutes of play each day. String, laser pointers, objects on strings and other enticing toys dragged around get your cat into chase mode, keep her busy and burning energy. Find or install a perch by a window where your cat can watch the birds. For those cats that pine to be outdoors, the marketplace has an abundance of outdoor enclosures that also allows cats to run, roam and prance freely in the invigorating fresh air. Of course, moderate the time spent in these enclosures based on the winter weather conditions.
For both dogs and cats, keep a set of toys and laser pointer handy for an energized and sustained play session, either indoors or out, at least once daily. When outdoor play just isn’t an option, there are a number of motorized animal treadmills on the market today that are entirely enjoyable and effective for exercising both Fido and Felix.
If your dog or cat doesn’t get outdoors as much in the winter as they normally do, it likely doesn’t need to eat as much food. Reducing food and calorie intake generally means less weight gain and more energy. If you often give your pets treats, consider hiding them inside toys, such as freezing kibble inside a “Kong,” to give them prolonged busy work.
As with humans, weight maintenance is all about portion control. Feed your pet using a designated measuring cup so that you know exactly how much food they’re consuming each day. If you still aren’t getting the desired results, call the pet food company for dietary recommendations to ensure you aren’t over-feeding—especially as seasonal dietary requirements change when a pet becomes less active. Automated pet feeding systems are also helpful. These tech tools utilize a wireless tag attached to a pet’s collar to regulate and monitor one or more pet’s food intake to ensure the pet isn’t eating too much or too little at once or throughout the day—also keeping multiple pets away from each other’s food.
Let There Be Light
Pets react to illumination just like humans do. Their energy level increases when the light is brighter. According to Animal Behavior College, “The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals found that approximately 40 percent of dog owners saw a considerable downturn in their pet’s moods during the winter months” and that related symptoms in pets “typically manifest as behavioral changes such as inappropriate soiling, aggression, lethargy and separation anxiety.” The report notes that “Light is intimately tied to the functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands, and can stimulate the body to release hormones that have an uplifting effect on mood.” If it’s too cold to go out, simply open the drapes and let the natural light in, turn up your indoor lights, and consider replacing bulbs with the full spectrum or daylight variety to better simulate a daytime environment. A company called Pawsitive Lighting, has even developed a light box to help conquer those wintertime blues.
Scented toys can really engage an animal’s interests and natural stalking instincts, also keeping them occupied and mentally focused as they try to find the source of the smell. Luckily dogs respond to a variety of smells and there are seemingly infinite availability of toys that engage canine olfaction—alone and in combination with other senses that can be concurrently engaged. A game of hide and seek can go a log way with your pooch!
For cats that respond well to catnip, there are catnip and other “play sprays” that can be squirted onto indoor climbing structures, cardboard boxes, and scratching posts. A multi-story cat climber or “tree” with strategically placed low-cal treats or scented play toys can readily get kitty jumping from level to level and its heart pumping in kind.
With just a little planning, you can help ensure your pet’s winter season remains happy and healthy, with a great quality of life for everyone in the household.
Paul Mann is the Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care—the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services—serving thousands of pets and pet parents throughout the United States from coast to coast. He may be reached online at: www.FetchPetCare.com.
Like all kids, cats love the holidays. One of the highlights each year for me is seeing the reactions of our cats when the Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, and all the other decorations come out. Their eyes light up as they insist on getting right in the middle of everything!
While cats make the holidays even sweeter, it’s a time when we have to pay close attention to potential dangers for our little ones. Many of the following definitely fall under the heading “common sense,” but we all get so busy this time of year, sometimes we need a few reminders. Our cats lives are definitely worth the extra time it takes to read over cat safety tips, so let’s have at it.
- Even though it’s tempting to give our cats “special treats” such as ham, turkey, whipping cream, icing, etc during the holidays, come up with a better plan. Buy special Cat Treats and dole them out instead. Cat’s insides are very, very special and they simply can’t process the food that we’re able to process. Why take chances, right?
- Make certain your Christmas tree is VERY secure and stable. Many cats like to climb them (Prissy always did!) and the last thing you want is the tree toppling down on top of your cat.
- If you have a live tree, be sure your cat doesn’t drink from the water. Cover it in some fashion. Stagnate water is a health hazard, for one thing, and for another who knows what kind of chemicals or fertilizers could transfer from the tree into the water. This water could make your cat very sick at best and could prove poisonous at worst.
- If you have cats (or dogs or small children for that matter) in your house, you’d be better off avoiding tinsel altogether. Cats find tinsel completely irresistible – so shiny and easy to play with! However, tinsel easily gets into their digestive tract and can cause obstruction (which requires surgery and a great amount of pain for your cat).
- Tissue paper, popular for putting in gift bags, is something else that cats can get into their digestive system, which would then wreak havoc. If you use tissue paper, make certain it’s closed up tightly within the bag and be sure to throw it all away immediately upon opening.
- Beware of long ribbons as well. Cats can get them wrapped around their necks, creating a choking risk. They’ve also been known to get these ribbons stuck in their throats.
- Never leave burning candles unattended, for obvious reasons.
- Anything that involves burning oil, melted wax, or flames is simply too risky. Potpourri pots can EASILY be pulled down by a cat who is either attacking the cord or simply running from one place to another. Again, it’s just not worth the risk.
- Cats LOVE gift bags – the bright, fun, “crinkly” bags spell GOOD TIMES to an inquisitive little girl or boy! I always leave a few lying around for Alexa, much to her delight. However, I make certain that the strings are unattached – the larger bags are especially dangerous (the ribbon loops look like little nooses!).
- I already mentioned “treats,” but this one merits its own mention: Chocolate is a huge NO NO for cats (dogs too). Chocolate can poison a cat, plain and simple. Also, make certain your cats never eat anything containing xylitol. Again, what’s the best way to make sure your cat doesn’t digest food that’ll harm her? Feed her only cat treats and cat food. Also, remember that just because you don’t hand it to your cat doesn’t mean she can’t get to it! Keep candy and all other foods out of your cat’s reach.
- No doubt you (like me) fill your cat’s stocking with toys and special treats. Make sure the toys, themselves, are safe. It’s always best to buy specially made cat toys because you pretty much know for certain they won’t contain poisonous paint or harmful parts. Cat toy manufacturers have a lot of codes they have to live up to and that always makes me feel safer. Remember that long, stringy toys can cause a lot of nightmares, as can small parts that can come off and lodge in your cat’s throat or intestines.
- Make sure no turkey or ham bones are given to your cat and be sure they’re disposed of properly.
- Keep Holly (the plant, not a relative!) out of the home. Holly can cause pets to suffer needlessly with nausea and diarrhea.
- Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset as well as cardiovascular problems.
- Many lilies lead to kidney failure and death for cats. Why take any chances? Buy artificial plants and keep your cat safe and healthy.
- If there’s a lot of commotion, noise, and guests, some cats may want to retreat to another room for some much needed peace and relaxation. If this is the case, be certain they have their essentials nearby: Litter box, water, food, and a comfortable place to sleep. If your cat does seek refuge, don’t try to coax her out – she’ll come out when she feels ready.
Finally, remember three facts that are essential for cat health and safety:
- Cats are small children in fur coats. Everything is a toy and everything is a game. Like children, they cannot discern what is safe and what isn’t. It’s up to us. To keep them safe, we have to think like they do and look at the world from their viewpoint. Seek out anything that poses a threat to your cat and remove the danger.
- Cats are perhaps the most emotionally in-tuned animal in the world. They’re like emotional sponges, as one vet put it. They pick up on our moods as well as the excitement going on around them. Sometimes the chaos and excitement will cause them to act differently than normal. They may sleep more, may be cranky, or may need more of your attention and reassurance.
- Cats aren’t wild about change. They crave consistency and want their little world to pretty much stay the same. Same feeding schedule, same play time, same “couch time,” and same television routine! Cats feel stress and nothing causes them to stress out quite like change, so keep things as normal as you possibly can during the holidays. Also, cats HATE sharing their parents with other people or situations. They want their mom and dad’s attention and feel distress when they feel that someone or something else is taking any of this attention away from them. If children (or Heaven forbid other pets!) come into your home during the holidays, be sure to reassure your cat(s) and involve them in everything you possibly can.
I hope you and your cats have a fun, safe, and wonderful Christmas and holiday season! I’ll be adding more cat lovers gift ideas, cat toys, and cat ornaments – so watch for them.
I’m such an animal lover that I can’t even stand the thought of killing mice. Granted, I don’t want them moving in my kitchen and I have no intention of sharing our food with them. Most importantly, I don’t want Alexa catching one – for more reasons than one. For one thing, I’d hate for the mouse to be frightened or hurt but most of all, I wouldn’t want her to catch anything from it. Mice carry diseases (such as tape worm) that can be transmitted to your cat.
So what’s a cat lover/mouse protector to do? Catch the mice humanely and release them…. far, far from the house, in a wooded area where they’ll have a fighting chance at survival.
The Smart Mouse Trap – Humane Mousetrap is one of the best humane mousetraps I’ve seen. What’s more, I love the animal-loving and protecting vibe the company projects. When reading the description (below), I thought… Hmmmm, that sounds like something I’d say..
This Humane Mouse Trap is perfect for all animal lovers. The Smart Mouse Trap senses when the mouse enters to retrieve the bait and snaps the door shut. The little critter will stay in the trap enjoying his treat until you come and release him in a safe place. To use this easy “no kill” mousetrap simply place a “saltine” cracker in the bait holder, set the trap and check frequently (make sure you check daily or you may starve a trapped mouse). Take the live mouse still in the trap to a wooded or brushy area and open the door and set the little guy free. Escape is delayed until the mouse chews through the cracker. This delay avoids contact between the mouse and the trap user and gives the mouse a little snack to keep him nourished for a while. The Smart Mouse Trap can be cleaned and reused as many times as needed. You’ll be thrilled with this quick and humane mouse control. The trap is made of green see-through Kodar plastic & two stainless steel springs work the trap door. Measures 3″ x 7″ x 2.5″. Comes with 1 mouse trap with instructions and booklet about trapping smart mice and mouseproofing your home. Endorsed by humane societies and animal rights organizations in the U.S. and worldwide.
- No Poison or Glue
- Safe around Children and Pets
- Reusable Humane No Kill Mouse Trap
- Endorsed by Humane Societies and Animal Rights Organizations in the U.S. and Worldwide.
- An Effective, Patented Mouse Trap
Take a closer look: Smart Mouse Trap – Humane Mousetrap.
Good on you! There you are, reading a cat blog article about keeping your cat healthy and extending his/her life. As a cat lover, myself, I applaud your love for your cat(s). We all want our precious little furry babies to live as long and as well as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of things we can do to help make that happen.
If you’re a regular reader, you probably already know that we had a much (much much much, much…) loved cat named Prissy, who I named after my favorite Gone With the Wind character, who lived for over 20 years. Within those years… 20, wow, that’s a lot of years…. she only had to go to the vet once, when she was 3 – for a sinus infection of all things. Prissy was a house cat, which certainly helped her achieve such an impressive lifespan. In fact Keep your cat safe and secure inside your home at all times was listed number 1 on Real Age.com’s Cat Health Tips for Helping Your Cat Have a Younger Real Age.
Of course, there are times when your cat has to live outside the house rather than inside the house. They’re still much beloved family, of course, their section of the house simply doesn’t have a roof. If your cat has to live without a roof, as some of our cats do, read How to Help Your Outdoor Cats Live Longer.
A few safety precautions all cat lovers will want to take include:
- Make certain your houseplants are safe. Some houseplants are poisonous and shouldn’t be allowed in a cat’s vicinity EVER. I wouldn’t even keep one on the highest shelf in a room my cat never visits. Can you say not worth it? No plant is worth making a cat sick and it certainly isn’t worth the risk of killing a cat! Please see Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants for Cats. Needless to say, if you have dogs, be sure to check the same website for poisonous plants for dogs.
- If you have an indoor cat, be certain that all guests to your home know that the cat is not allowed outdoors. Some people have cats that come and go and may automatically assume that your cat does so as well.
- Please don’t allow your cat to lie on or play near ironing boards. I see a lot of precious pictures online of cats lying on ironing boards (horrifyingly enough, sometimes the iron’s plugged in and is next to the cat) online. I used to keep our ironing board up most of the time (with a blanket on top) because Alexa loved to lie on it and look out the window. One day, she had a terrible accident, though, and somehow managed to pull the ironing board down on her when she quickly jumped off. One of the metal legs landed on one of her tiny back legs, breaking her leg in two places. I’ll NEVER forget the pain she was in or the helpless, sick feeling I had. She had to have a cast and had to spend months in a large cage. It was absolute hell for me and her. When we first brought her home from the animal hospital with a cast on her leg, I had trouble getting her to agree to the cage. At one point, she backed into a corner as tears, literally ran from her eyes (as well as mine!). It’s an image that will stay with me forever and will prompt me to beg cat lovers to keep their ironing boards put up at all times. PLEASE. If you have a cat blog, a facebook page, or a Twitter account, help me spread the word about the dangers of ironing boards for cats.
- Always remember how inquisitive and nosy cats are! Be certain to always double check the dryer before closing the door – even if you’re almost certain your cat never came into the room.
Click HERE to read the Real Age.com article about adding years to your cat’s life. Great stuff!
We all know that the safest place for a cat to live is inside your home. However, sometimes that simply isn’t possible. There are times when circumstances dictate that, no matter how much you love your cat(s), they must spend all or most of the their time outside.
For us, our inside cat (Alexa) simply could not and would not tolerate other cats coming inside. When our current outside babies came along, Alexa already had complete and total run of the house. To bring any inside would surely incite a riot. I honestly just don’t trust any of them not to fight and it would break my heart if any harm came to any of them.
Fortunately, Hannah, Jelly Bean, and Queen Fatima seem perfectly content with the arrangement. After all, their outdoor crib is the only one they know. We’re very lucky to live in a remote area with a garage they have access to 24/7 – as well as two abandoned barns they LOVE to hang out in. The garage and the barns have lofts that Jelly Bean and Fatima love to sleep in. Hannah prefers to sleep on the carport, so I keep a warm, elaborate tent for her during the cold months. When it gets super cold, she joins the others in the loft.
If your cat or cats also have to live outside, realize that there are steps you can take to protect them, keep them safe, and even help them live longer. Below are my own tricks and tips of the trade that I’ve adhered to through many years of being a cat mom:
- Like inside cats, make sure your outside cats eat primarily cat food. People tend to think of outside cats, often, like dogs. They’ll throw them scraps as they would a German Shepherd. Cats have very dainty, complex digestive tracts and cat food products are designed especially for them. It’s the food they should be given the majority of the time.
- I’ve never put collars of any sort on my outside cats. Some people do, and swear by it, but I’m scared by the thought of the collar getting caught on something. Again, we live in a remote area, so I don’t have to worry about name tags, dog catchers, or anything like that. If I did, I’d find a “break away” collar.
- Give your outside cat LOTS of escape opportunities. Not only is our yard full of trees, but my husband keeps the garage door open just large enough for our cats to slink into. Nothing larger can follow them into the garage.
- On the carport, I have tall black shelves that our cats can also jump onto if a skunk, possum, or raccoon spooks them.
- Keep all motor oil, weed killers, car wash, etc. put far away from nosy cats. Also, be sure to spray (with a hose) any residue left behind. These products can be poisonous to inquisitive cats.
- Outside cats need love and attention as much as indoor cats. Make sure to set aside certain times each day to visit with your outside babies – even during the winter. Bundle up and cuddle up!
- Outside cats generally get some exercise on most days – often by chasing feathered or furry prey! However, they need physical activity and play just like our inside cats do. We tend to think they get all of the entertainment and exercise they need by living outdoors, but think about it: They pretty much see and do the same things over and over again. Mix things up for them by buying special cat toys, cat nip, scratching posts, and so on. Give them new things to see, smell, and do.
- I’ve always given our cats a combination of dry and wet cat food. I also give them food/treats that are good for their teeth.
- Always, always, always provide fresh, clean water and lots of it. In the winter, be sure to check on their water throughout the day.
- Make sure your cats have a safe, dry, warm, and comfortable bed. Cats love their beds as much as we humans do! Their beds are very important to them. Make certain that your cats have soft beds that are always dry. Place the cat bed where your cat likes to sleep or hang out. Realize that cats, generally, don’t want their bed in high-traffic areas. The thing a cat hates more than anything is feeling vulnerable. Put the bed in a safe, out of the way spot – preferable off the ground – or under a table or tent! See Cat Beds.
There’s no reason your outside cat can’t live a long and wonderful life. Our outside cats are beautifully healthy and happy and always live for many years. We’ve always had at least one inside diva cat (Prissy, and then Alexa) who refuses to allow feline company – so we’ve always had outside babies as well as the inside “spoiled” girls!
Love your cats, whether they’re inside cats or outside, with all you have and think about them and their happiness throughout the day – not just when it’s time to feed them. Remember, they need attention and affection as much as they need water and food.
Finally, I wanted to make sure you knew about Pet Health Insurance. This is a UK based business and can be a great, great service to cat parents.
This is too cute. The FDA-approved PetSafe SlimCat Food Distributor Ball, Blue is ideal for cats! They are such inquisitive little beings – this will delight and amuse them again and again. Cats love to play, hunt, and eat and this food distributor ball allows them to do all three. The interactive “toy” provides exercise, which for most indoor cats, is a much needed and welcomed provision!
You simply fill the SlimCat with .67 cup of dry cat food. Adjust the hole in the SlimCat to let one piece of food pass through easily. As your cat chases and bats the SlimCat around the room, one piece of food at a time will exit the ball. This allows you to control how fast your pet eats and provide him with hours of stimulating play. Small portions several times a day will improve his digestion. The SlimCat also satisfies your cat’s inherent need to hunt.
To clean, simply wash the plastic SlimCat in your dishwasher or with hot soapy water.
- Improve your kitty’s eating and exercise habits simultaneously
- Builds muscle and burns fat, while fighting obesity and lethargy
- Perfect for all breeds of cat
- Made from FDA-approved plastic
- Safe for dishwashers
Can you imagine a day spent doing absolutely nothing? No television, no internet, no trips to the store, no reading… zip, nada. What if a couple of these days were strung together? Not only would we be bored out of our minds, our minds would, literally, begin to degenerate; followed closely by our bodies. We’d probably ask ourselves, “Is life really even worth living?!”
When you think about it in these jolting terms, you realize JUST how important it is to provide your cat(s) with plenty of entertainment, amusement, and activity (mental and physical).
Outside cats get a pretty regular stream of different activities. They don’t always peruse them, of course, but they ARE there! My Hannah is a little bit older, and extremely laid back, so she watches the activities go on around her. Jelly Bean and Queen Fatima (when you’ve had as many cats as we’ve had over the years, you get pretty creative with the names!) explore most noises and activities, unless it’s a really lazy day – then they memo the activity to go ahead without them.
However, make no mistake about it, outside cats still enjoy playtime with their “parents.” Hannah LOVES playing something we call “Sliding Stick” – okay, I call it that, she just calls it “Mew.” I slide it horizontally back and forth in front of her, while she picks the perfect time to pounce. When playing with cats, they love it when you vary the speed of a game like this – fast at times, slow at times. You’ll be able to tell by your cat’s reaction which he/she prefers. When Prissy was younger, she loved for toys to move as fast as they possibly could (the way Alexa prefers them now), but when she got older (like Hannah), I had to make sure the toys knew we were dealing with a “special” baby.
I still buy cat toys for my outside cats, as I do for my inside cat (Alexa) and as I did for my inside girl, Prissy. However, I’ve found that their tastes in toys differ from inside cats. They prefer the natural-looking toys. A favorite (in addition to sticks!) is anything with feathers on it, for obvious reasons, I guess. They appreciate toys that squeak and chirp, but bells seem to leave them puzzled. I guess they never heard an animal that chimed!
Scratching posts don’t really fascinate my outside cats either, but they do LOVE the inexpensive cardboard scratching pads that are treated with catnip. Like Alexa, they think it’s party time when I bring home a new one. Their reaction reminds me of myself when I have something chocolate…. anything chocolate.
If you have outside cats, be sure to spend plenty of time in playtime with them. Yes, the world is their playground, but they’d rather enjoy it with you than by themselves.
While outside cats need the extra stimulation and entertainment, I have to admit, when I think of how critical playtime is for cats, I tend to think primarily of the inside cat. Especially for cats that spend a lot of time alone during the day – without the ever entertaining human to watch. I work from home full time and my daughters (and one of their boyfriends) are normally home, offering Miss Alexa endless amusement. However, if I know we’re all going to be out of the house for a while, I often leave the television on for her. I put it on a channel that’s frequently on (like the Food Network, ESPN, or The Cooking Channel), so she can watch her favorite shows!
A few days ago, she was in the kitchen when my youngest daughter and I stepped out, leaving Alexa home alone for a few hours. This wouldn’t be a huge deal for most cats, but like I said, Alexa’s used to at least one or two people being here pretty much 24/7. So I turned on the tv in the home office for her, since it’s the room she’s in the most often anyway (workaholic cat). I put it on the Food Network and when I came home later, she was on the love seat in front of the television watching Rachael Ray, a personal favorite.
Apparently a favorite of Alexa’s as well.
Inside cats love a wide variety of toys – you pretty much just have to test some out to find your cat’s favorite type of toy. Never overlook what’s right in front of you, though. A paper sack and the plastic lid to a milk jug provide hours and hours of enjoyment!
A word of caution when using playthings with your cat, always make sure its safe. Think through any and all possible outcomes before giving your cat a particular object or toy. Most commercial cat toys have been tested and tested some more, so they’re usually safe. However, always make sure there’s nothing that could come off and choke your cat. Also, beware of these potential hazards:
- Ribbons on gifts, shoestrings, and yarn: If they’re very long, they could become wrapped around your cat’s neck (just as dangerous as cords on mini blinds). Also, some cats have gotten choked on ribbons they’ve gotten into their throats. Never leave them lying around where your cat could “play” with one without your supervision.
- Gift bags with handles: Again, the handles can be a choking hazard. Cats can get their heads/necks stuck and panic. Alexa loves the feel of gift bags, so we get FULL use out of using gift bags. Long after the gift has been given, she loves to sit on and “rough up” the bag. However, I always remove the handles. As accident-prone as she is, she’d find a way to hurt herself.
- Be very, very cautious of ironing boards or anything else that isn’t perfectly steady. Make sure cat towers, scratching posts, etc are steady and won’t tip over on your cat. Alexa broke her little leg in two separate places when she ran, jumped on an ironing board, and pulled it down on top of her. It broke my heart so completely, I’m not sure it’ll ever heal completely! Her leg did, but my heart’s another matter. I learned then that you can never be too careful – you can’t predict what a cat’s going to do, so never take any chances.
The video at the top of this article is a good example of cat parents entertaining their adorable cat WITHOUT FRUSTRATING her/him. I despise cat videos where it appears that the cat is being scared or frustrated. When the video is just pure clean fun, and the cat is obviously having the time of his/her life, it’s a beautiful and wonderful thing. This video’s a perfect example of cat lovers taking delight in their beautiful cat and sharing it with other cat lovers. THAT’S what funny cat videos are supposed to be. It’s also a perfect example of amusing and entertaining a curious cat.
That’s the beauty of cats, they’re so curious and inquisitive, it doesn’t take much to fascinate them. JUST LIKE CHILDREN.
Just be sure you never frustrate, aggravate, or annoy your cat. If they’re agitated, they may look cute but they aren’t enjoying it any more than a human would if someone pinched their ear or tapped their nose. Be sure to always amuse, not annoy.
A few personal tips for playing with your cat:
- Pick your moments. Be sure that playtime is a time when your cat will enjoy it most. Never wake her up to play and don’t think for a moment that she’ll be interested in play if eating is on her mind. Also, don’t play right after she eats… can you say upset stomach?
- When playing with your cat, give her your full attention. Don’t “go through the motions” while distracted by a ballgame, book, or television show. Cats are extremely perceptive and they’ll get more enjoyment from it if their human is having at least as much fun.
- Mix things up. Your cat… and you!… will understandably have a favorite game you return to often (like Hannah’s “Sliding Stick”) but try to mix things up to keep it interesting. Think of it as “nurturing” different aspects of your cat’s skills. One game may keep her sharp and fast, while another feeds her instinct to “stalk.” A favorite game of Alexa’s is to chase my hand as it moves underneath covers. She’ll slink around the bed, keeping low, until she thinks she has the perfect angle – then she’ll pounce on my poor hand! Even underneath comforters and quilts, the “prey” sometimes feels it.
- Never confuse your cat. Add this one to the MUSTN’T ANNOY THE CAT OR FRUSTRATE THE CAT rule. If you’re playing with your cat and he/she gets all worked up to the point of hissing or you accidentally get scratched, realize that YOU took it too far. Don’t get onto or yell at the cat. She’ll only be confused and certain that you’re a poor sport.
- Keep it Fresh! Every now and then I share information that gives away JUST how pampered my cats are, and this is one of those times. I keep a little “toy box” of toys for Alexa and pull out different ones weekly. This keeps them fresh for her and it sometimes seems like she thinks she just got a whole new batch of toys. Saturday is her designated day for the switcheroo. However, she does have one favorite toy that stays out all the time. It’s a little bird that makes a bird sound when tapped. Sometimes she pounces on it and other times I’ll watch as she just walks by and pops it with a paw to make it tweet.
- Get a little exercise while you’re at it! If you “go all out,” you can actually get some exercise while playing with your cats! When I get on the floor for yoga, Alexa automatically thinks it’s playtime, so we usually combine the two. Sometimes she just likes to watch, probably wondering if I’ve completely lost my mind. I catch her expression sometimes and it’s like she’s thinking, “Why, mom, why?”
Did you know that having your cat declawed is painful for him/her? Don’t be fooled by what some may tell you, it’s simply not a painless, simple procedure. Not for the cat, anyway.
From The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat by Darlene Arden, a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant:
The declawing procedure is painful for your cat. Even if a veterinarian uses a laser and the cat can walk sooner, your cat can’t really be comfortable with part of its toes missing, especially since cats walk on their toes first. This means that your cat is in pain and has to walk differently, rather than in its normal manner.
Most cat parents have their cats declawed for the same reason: Cats scratch furniture (and very often anything else they can handle!). There are far better solutions to this problem – solutions that won’t hurt the cat or affect the way she enjoys the rest of her life.
When our precious Prissy was alive (all 20+ years!), buying new furniture was completely out of the question. That girl never met a couch or chair she didn’t like. She was convinced each and every piece of furniture was an elaborate scratching post for her! My daughter Stephany would help the situation by keeping Prissy’s nails clipped – a procedure that the ever laid-back cat actually enjoyed. Prissy never scratched walls or woodwork, but furniture was in constant danger.
I did, finally, find a way to throw salt in her game: I placed throws over the sides of the sofa – her favorite spots. I also started buying her scratching posts and placed them near her favorite spots.
With Alexa, it’s a little different. She seems to understand that furniture is for sitting on. She enjoys few things more than curling up on the sofa with her mom and dad as we all enjoy a game of baseball (or whatever it is we’re watching at the time). Alexa’s weakness is door frames. I’m having trouble convincing her that these weren’t placed in the house solely for her enjoyment.
She’s not buying it.
I’ve found a way to outsmart the little smarty pants, though, and it’s AGAIN with scratching posts. I’ve placed one near her favorite place to scratch and, now, when she’s in the vicinity, she uses the scratching post instead.
If you’re trying to lure your cat away from scratching furniture or wood, use a good, sturdy scratching post – preferably one treated with catnip. If the scratching post doesn’t come with its own catnip, buy a package and make the scratching post more enticing for your cat yourself.
Also, it probably goes without saying but Alexa, Hannah, Jelly Bean, and Queen Fatima want me to say it anyway: Cats cannot be treated as dogs or children when it comes to discipline. Remember their ancestors are lions, tigers, cheetahs, etc… how responsive do you think this DNA is to “NO!” or, worse yet, swats to the backside?!?! They’ll simply think you’re mean and will perceive you as a threat. Cats don’t even like yelling. They simply aren’t wired to be disciplined in this manner.
However, many cat parents have had success with spritzing a tiny bit of water (something cats detest) on their cats when they’re involving themselves in unsuitable behavior. I’ve never done it, myself, but many say that their cat comes to associate scratching on furniture with the unpleasantness of spritzed water.
Personally? I’d be afraid that, yet again, my cat would come to perceive me as a threat or as a meanie! Maybe if you were somehow able to do it without them seeing you? I’m not really sure. I do know this, though: Cats are very, very bright and it wouldn’t take them long to realize when scratching was safe and when it wasn’t. After all, what they’re doing is as natural to them as scratching an itch is to us. I’m convinced that the best solution for all is simply to give the cat an alternative: A sturdy, safe, scratching post.
Click the following link to read more about The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know about Caring for Your Cat by Darlene Arden.