Traveling can be a lot of fun especially when you get to go to places and do things that you love. When you are traveling out of town for a cat show you want to be able to stay someplace that is nice and does not have cat fur on the pillow for a change. However, since you don’t get out much you might find it difficult to choose a hotel. There are a lot of choices in hotels, so how do you know which one is the best? According to Independent Traveler you need to decide what matters most to you and let that guide your decision. What type of accommodations are you interested in? Are you searching for a hotel that also has a pool, spa and fitness center or would you prefer to be close to entertainment? You next decision will probably be what you plan on (or set aside) to spend on a hotel along with where it is located. Another thing to consider when choosing the best hotel for you is if there are fees in case you have to cancel. There is a lot to consider when trying to decide which hotel is the best option for you.
A great hotel that you might want to consider when you are at the next cat show is Crowne Plaza and with their partnership with Groupon Coupons you can save money on your stay as well. When it comes to the very best that is what you will get when staying with Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts. At Crowne Plaza you will only get the finest treatment and most luxurious experience. Why no give the lap of luxury a chance before you head back to your kitties when you choose to stay with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts.
Before you visit Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts be sure you visit Groupon Coupons for money saving coupons and promo codes that will be sure to please just about anyone. Save more money when you use this promo code and get up to 30 percent off your next stay. Use this code and smile because you will be getting the best rates anywhere. Become a IHG member and get an extra 30 percent off! Are you 62 or older? Use this coupon and get up to 30 percent off with senior discount rates. Use this code and get up to 20 percent off during the coast to coast sale. If you find a better rate somewhere else, Crowne Plaza will give you our first night for free. Have a pizza party with this coupon and save! Use this promo code and claim your free golf ticket. Sign up for the reward club and earn 60,000 points easily! From special offers when you grab the best money saving coupons around to adding breakfast to you stay you will always save more when you visit Groupon Coupons first.
Stay for less but still get to enjoy staying in luxury when you stay with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. Be sure to see Groupon Coupons first and then you can sit back and enjoy the savings.
The infographic below shows just how greatly local humane shelters need our help and support. It’s a very real problem and it’s a growing problem, especially here in the States. Do all you can – even if it’s just donating dry food or cans to your local shelter. – Joi (“Joy”)
Image courtesy of PBS Pet Travel
I’ve had and loved cats, literally, all of my life. I can’t even begin to imagine a home or life without at least one cat. I’ve always had several indoor cats as well as several (oftentimes SEVERAL!) outdoor cats.
Some of my cats have lived exceptionally long lives and I can say this – nothing in the world is any sweeter, more enjoyable, or more lovable than an older cat. Older cats do, of course, require extra consideration.
Recently, we had a kitten (Guen) move into the house – a house where a 13 year-old-diva-cat (Alexa) reigns supreme. The entire process has amazed me for several reasons. For one thing, do kittens ever run out of energy?!?!
Naturally we’ve enjoyed outdoor kittens over the years, but this is the first kitten we’ve had in the house in years. The energy level and amount of wonder and curiosity are pretty amazing and I’m loving every moment.
Ironically, caring for (and preparing your home for) a kitten is very much like caring for (and preparing your home for) an older cat.
- You have to make sure there’s nothing that can fall on them if they (kitten) ram into a table or shelf or (older cat with dimming eyesight) accidentally bump into the same table or shelf.
- You have to make sure they have comfortable beds in several places throughout the house. Kittens and older cats are liable to have a nap attack at any given moment and a nice, comfortable bed all their own is highly important. Younger cats often climb onto furniture to nap, whereas older cats (whether they’re lazy, have a little arthritis setting in, have diminished eyesight, or simply lack the wherewithal or inclination to jump if they don’t have to) usually favor low-to-the-ground beds. I have a bed for Alexa in my home office – right beside my desk, so she’s always near me during the day. I have another bed in the den, so she can retire near the tv at night to stay close to my husband and I (though, most of the time her favorite place to sit is beside “dad” on the couch). She also, of course, has a huge bed in our bedroom where she sleeps (and snores!) through the night. Multiple beds are simply one of the kindest and most loving things you can do for an older cat. But make sure they’re easy to get in and out of – the less they have to jump, the better. The Deluxe Easy Entry Cat Bed (pictured at the top) makes a perfect cat bed for an older cat. More on it in a minute…
- Two words: Fresh water. This tip (as well as others, obviously) is applicable for cats of all ages, but it’s one that I list any chance I get because so many people overlook it. We wouldn’t want to drink day-old, dirty water, so we shouldn’t make our cats. I provide fresh, cool water throughout the day for our cats (inside and out).
- If you have reason to suspect that your older gal or guy would need glasses, if available (don’t you wish they were?!?) – keep this in mind at all times. When a cat or dog begins to have trouble with their vision, extra care must be taken to keep them safe, comfortable, and confident. Be CERTAIN you don’t move furniture around or place anything (even a new rug) along their preferred paths. Cats with failing vision get around amazingly – but they do so because they’ve made a mental map of their home. If you change anything, it’ll make for one very confused and frustrated little one.
- This tip is for older cats and/or cats with vision problems: No loud or sudden noises. Bad for the nerves! Always try to keep the house as calm as possible. This, of course, doesn’t count the noises he/she is already accustomed to. If my husband and I didn’t make plenty of noise while watching our favorite baseball team (St. Louis Cardinals!), Alexa would think something was wrong. She’s VERY accustomed to us questioning the umps, cheering for our team’s home runs, booing for the other team’s home runs, etc. Again, if all that racket stopped, she’d think something was rotten in Denmark! Also, if you have kids or grand-kids and the cat is used to their noise… it shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure everyone knows to approach an older cat slowly, calmly, and to… by all means… let them know you’re headed their way.
- Never “roughhouse” with an older cat – it’ll only frighten them and you could very well hurt them, without meaning too, of course.
Basically, this is the time to pamper your little girl or boy more than ever!
One final tip from someone who has had quite a few cats who lived WAY longer than you’d expect: When you look at your cat (whether they’re 10, 15, 20, or 24), do NOT think of “losing” them. Think only of “having” and “loving” them. This is something I realized when one of my cats (Prissy) hit 15 years old. Every time I looked at her, I found my heart feeling heavy – thinking about how badly it would hurt when I lost her. That sort of pain is bad enough to feel just once… when you actually have to say goodbye. Don’t invite those feelings into your life a minute before. Think of how blessed you are to have this little bundle of fur, how much you love her/him, and how you are going to do everything in your power to make them as comfortable as possible.
I caught myself (when Prissy turned 15) and turned my thinking around. She went on to have 5 more birthdays!
Why The Deluxe Easy Entry Cat Bed Makes a Perfect Bed for Older Cats:
This beautiful bed has “easy access” – the older cat doesn’t have to jump in or out of bed, which is something older cats greatly appreciate. The material is incredibly soft and comfortable – perfect for an older cat. I also love that its “walls” provide extra support and comfort. The fact that it’s so darn good-looking (and machine washable) are icing on the cake. Click through Deluxe Easy Entry Cat Bed for more information. This deluxe beauty is just the thing your pampered baby would love to curl up in.
You Need More Sleep: Advice from Cats is an especially fun book for cat lovers.
A few of the adorable (and, let’s face it, true!) nuggets of wisdom include:
- show you care with homemade gifts…
- don’t be nice to unpleasant people…
- never let anyone dress you…
- trust the person who feeds you regularly….
An enjoyable and entertaining read, this is a book you’ll want to read again and again. It also makes a perfect gift idea for the cat lovers in your life – if that describes your mom, dad, or an upcoming graduate, this is the time of year to grab each one a copy!
- Stay CALM. Cats are incredibly intuitive – if you get excited and put off an anxious vibe, they won’t just pick up on it…. they’ll run with it.
- Don’t overwhelm them unnecessarily. While your intentions are great, don’t provide them with too many faces and too many toys at once. Take it slow – let them dictate when and how they’re ready to progress.
- Remain patient. If they have an adjustment period (and it it perfectly expected and normal), it is nothing at all personal. It’s not you and it’s not your home. Just imagine how you’d feel if you were removed from the home you knew to an entirely different one, with different smells, voices, sounds, and sights. Their world has completely changed in a matter of hours – love them and be patient with them.
- If you’re introducing a new cat to family pets, be extra patient and loving to the family pets who are already “family.” Again, try to see things from their perspective – animals don’t often (ever!) reason things out like we do. They in NO way understand the whys of the situation – all they know is that their life has been drastically changed. Cats, especially, aren’t terribly fond of change (I can so relate to cats on so many levels!) – give your pets extra attention and comfort. If you family pet loves to play with a particular toy, give them extra playtime – and, whatever you do… don’t let the newbie have the toy!! Talk about getting off on the wrong paw!
- Patience. Love. Understanding. Rinse and repeat.
If you’ve read my cat blog for long you know that we have an ever-changing number of outside cats (who we love to distraction) and a diva inside cat (also loved to distraction). Alexa, the Diva, doesn’t see any reason to welcome any of her siblings indoors with her (and traumatizing an aging cat isn’t something I’m looking to do), so our “outdoor babies” remain our “outdoor babies.”
A “colony” of feral cats has joined our family and they are as much a part of our family as the rest of our whiskered cuties. This would actually be the perfect type of blanket or cat bed to provide to feral cats – one they’d appreciate a lot! It could be placed inside a huge crate or box out of the wind and rain/snow.
Fortunately, contrary to what many humans believe, cats love the outdoors! So much to see, do, and explore – they never get bored. We live out in the “boondocks,” so to speak, so they’re perfectly safe from dogs and traffic.
They’re actually as spoiled as any indoor cat.
- We buy new blankets for them when their’s get worn.
- They have two “cat houses” one of my sons-in-law built for them.
- We call our carport “Kitty City” and this is their domain. There are chairs with throws, blankets, and even a few “tents” they LOVE getting inside. Naturally there’s an ever-rotating colony of Amazon boxes for them to explore as well.
- They have a huge old shed they can get into when it’s raining – IF, that is, they consent to leave “Kitty City” and their wooden houses.
The only time I get concerned for them is when it’s really cold outside. One of their smaller houses is “heated” as in it has a great heating pad that’s plugged in and activated from inside. We’ve used it for three winters in a row and the cats love it. This particular house sits up off the ground – on top of a much larger house.
I told you they were spoiled.
The larger house is really big, so we’ve been trying to decide how to provide warmth to it. It’s actually so big that if all the cats simply got in there and huddled, they’d keep each other pretty warm! I was looking on Amazon earlier for “thermal warming pads” – the safest heating pads imaginable, since they are “heated” by the cat’s own body heat.
I found the Thermal Warming Mat pictured here (available in Brown Suede and Giraffe Print).
I love the size of this mat – I think three would be ideal for the larger house. I also love how pretty they are because I’d also like to get one for inside for Alexa. Inside cats would love these mats year-round because, very often, our idea of a reasonable “summer thermostat” setting is like a blistery winter day to a cat.
Speaking of summer, there’s even a cool gel insert for the mat (sold separately) that you can buy when the weather warms up.
See Thermal Warming Mat for more information. At just a little over $15, this is a really great deal.
Alexa: Spoiled and Loving It
Sometimes in life, beautiful blessings come with sorry side-effects. For example, if you’re blessed enough to live a really long life, you will know aches and pains as well as diminished hearing and vision! If you’re blessed to live a really, really long life, your memories may begin to play hide and seek.
Often BAD rides into town on GOOD’s back.
The same is true with our beloved cats. As they grow older, they very often develop vision problems. Cats over 10 will often have a “foggy” appearance to their eyes and their vision will change.. and not for the better. The good news is that cats adapt beautifully and can often find their way around their home in spite of Father Time’s cruelty.
Of course, some cats have diminished vision and even blindness as the result of accidents or illnesses aside from age. Caring for a precious cat who just so happens to not have perfect vision is both easy (most of it is common sense) and can be a joy. How? It will only lead you to a closer relationship with your furry baby – and that’s always a joyful thing.
In our family, our house cats live a very long time. Since they’re treated and loved like family – which they are – that’s a very good thing! However, we’ve seen, firsthand and firstpaw, that an older cat’s vision can change rapidly.
First Order of Business: Take a Deep Breath and Don’t Freak Out
If you love your cat like I do mine, it’s a love that’s difficult to explain. They are very much like our children, aren’t they? Funny, furry, ridiculously lovable children! When you first see that your cat’s eyes are changing or when you begin to notice that they stand in the middle of a room and “call out” for you rather than walk right to you, it’s easy to… well… fall apart. That’s exactly what I did when my much beloved Prissy lost her eyesight.
I bawled and bawled and bawled. Which, of course, did nobody any good. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she’d go on to live a happy (even more pampered) life after her vision failed.
Now, our much beloved cat Alexa is experiencing diminished vision (again, age-related). As was the case with Prissy, I first noticed it in the eyes – the pupils began to be dilated for the better part of the day and there was (in certain lights) a foggy haze on the eyes.
Prissy, who was known for jumping anywhere and everywhere also began to stop jumping. She’d stand in front of a bed, couch, or chair, and wait to be lifted. Spoiled!
Because Alexa is still able to see (she has more trouble with judging how close/far things are and can’t see in the dark as well as she used to), she gets around find. She still jumps up on her favorite spots and has no problem (at all!) finding her food and water and hasn’t missed a litter box visit once.
At nighttime, for as long as I can remember, we have a routine in our home. My husband and I settle in on the couch in the den and Alexa joins us – she either runs me out of my spot on the couch or she jumps into a big basket that’s all hers. About a month ago, instead of simply coming onto the scene, she began standing in a hallway near the den and “calling out” to us. Then she listens to see where our voices are coming from and slowly joins us.
By that time of night, the house is pretty dark, so that’s really the only time I notice any issue whatsoever.
If you’re experiencing age-related vision loss with your cat (if it’s something different, see your vet), I promise you, it’s going to be fine. You will become even closer to your cat as she/he will now need to be cared for much as a kitten would. This will give you even more opportunities to make her/him feel extra loved and, yes, even pampered.
Below are Tips for Caring for a Cat with Partial or Complete Vision Loss
- If you feel that the vision loss (either partial or complete) could be health-related (as opposed to simply a by product of a very old little girl or boy), make an appointment with the vet. Hypertension in cats is treatable with medicine and I’ve read that often doing so can restore vision loss, if it’s related to the hypertension.
- Keep your visually-impaired cat indoors. At all times. A cat who lacks good vision is very vulnerable and there are far too many things that could go wrong outdoors.
- Again, I can’t say this enough – stay calm. Cats are exceptionally perceptive and they can pick up on our emotions. They hear it in our voice and they sense it. Don’t bring any negative emotions into the equation. IF your cat is annoyed with the vision change, doing so will only make it worse.
- Keep in mind that cats do NOT think like we do. They’d be quick to point out that they’d never stoop to that level! Your cat is NOT thinking, “I used to chase that red dot and… sigh… I’ll never do that again…” More likely than not, they’re wondering why their humans suddenly stopped paying the light bill! Cats adapt quickly, too. The way they’re seeing or not seeing now is their reality. They do NOT think of a time when they could see… they do NOT fret about being able to see tomorrow. They’re beautifully “in the moment” and approach life like, “It is what it is. They didn’t pay the light bill and now we’re all in the dark. Well.. let’s make the best of it.”
- If your cat still has most or even just some of her/his vision, but struggles in dark places, buy a couple of night lights. One placed near their food dish and one near the litter box would, each, be greatly appreciated. You can even find motion-detected night lights which are pretty darn cool.
- Keep noises in your home as quiet as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t turn on the tv (our cats have always enjoyed the tv actually) and it doesn’t mean you can run the washer or dishwasher – these are all noises your cat is familiar with and they will not startle him/her. However, sudden loud noises (balloons bursting, alarms going off…) can be extra frightening when you can’t see well.
- If you know there’ll be extra noise (company, electric mixer, etc..), carry your cat to another part of the house. Sometimes, when we have company, I carry Alexa into the back of the house and put her to bed – something she never minds (can’t blame her). Try to keep things as calm and peaceful as possible and if you have kids either visiting or living with you – make sure they understand completely that the cat is NOT to be scared or chased under any circumstances.
- Be mindful of making a little extra noise when you enter the room your cat is in. Cats startle easily anyway, but even more so if their vision is diminished. It can cause them to feel pretty vulnerable. Most cats can hear the footsteps and can even identify their particular “human” by the footsteps. I’ll often go ahead and talk to Alexa when I enter the room anyway. Some cat parents hum or whistle so they know they’re approaching, but, since I always over-think everything, I don’t want to do anything I wouldn’t normally do. I don’t normally whistle or hum… but, Heaven knows, I normally talk!
- You can (and should) still play with your cat. Look for cat toys that make noise – ones that sound like a bird or mouse are especially fun for your cat. The “crinkling” toys are also a hoot and a half for them and catnip will be enjoyed as much now as ever. [See: Chickadee Chirp and the adorable Play-N-Squeak at Night Twinkle Mouse Light-Up Toy]
- If your cat has completely lost their vision, consider confining them to a certain portion of the house. Sometimes, for the cat’s safety (and if they have trouble finding their litter box), it’s best to buy gates and confine them to a certain part of the house – even if it means removing them at nighttime so they can join you in the bedroom. Prissy completely lost her vision and had to be confined to a particular area – which she didn’t seem to mind. By the time a cat has gotten so old that he/she loses vision, they’re too old to worry about roaming much anyway. They remind me of a grandfather in his favorite recliner – there’s no place he’d rather be!
- Speaking of litter boxes…. If your cat’s vision “isn’t what it used to be,” they will locate their litter box by memory and/or smell. In other words, this isn’t the time to move it around or mask the odor with a new scent you’ve never used before. Simply keep the routine and location the same as it has always been. Trust me, your cat will adapt much better than you think she will.
- Don’t rearrange furniture or add a new piece unexpectedly. Cats are very much creatures of habit and know where things in their castle are located and they expect them to be there. When Prissy lost her vision completely, I was amazed to watch her navigate through the house. It was as though she knew exactly how many steps would take her from her food dish to her favorite napping place (the living room couch). She’d walk the distance, then veer to the left in order to find the couch or, as she knew it, bed. If I had, for some inexplicable reason, moved the couch or placed a large piece of furniture (or even basket of magazines, for that matter) in her path – she’d have been frustrated and completely thrown for a loop.
- Your cat needs routine, calmness, and NORMAL. In addition to making your cat comfortable and safe, keep in mind that she/he needs a certain set of things from you now more than ever: He/she needs the routine to remain the same – if you always chilled on the couch with your cat each evening, continue to do so. Stay calm and don’t let your emotions get in your way or in your cat’s way. You still have your cat in your life – they simply need you more than ever. It is as though he or she is a kitten again and relies on you greatly. Cherish the extra opportunities to pamper them! I actually read where a woman held her cat and cried onto his fur for 10 minutes when she discovered that he could no longer see. Poor cat! I can’t even begin to imagine what he thought!
- Be PATIENT. Never become annoyed or irritable with your cat if he gets under your feet – I don’t care how busy you are.
- Be CALM. Your cat needs and even craves calmness and good old-fashioned peace and quiet.
If you have any tips of your own, please leave comments below.
~ Joi (“Joy”)
P.S. Stay Calm!
Prissy (at 19) Enjoying Whipped Topping from a Starbucks Drink
EDIT: Since writing the article below on tips for keeping your inside cat entertained, we’ve added several additional cats (a brother and sisters) for Alexa. Turns out, IF the cat is open to the idea, having other cats around is one of the funnest things for a cat. Endless, built-in entertainment!
Keeping indoor cats active (mentally and physically) is one of the healthiest (and most loving) things we can do for them. Outdoor cats have an ever-changing environment. While the outdoors is a more dangerous place for an animal to live, it can be infinitely more interesting and stimulating. After all, one never knows what you’re going to see outside, whereas the indoors (while safe and climate controlled) can be monotonous for the single most curious animal in the world!
Luckily, this can be easily taken care of by providing your curious little one(s) with plenty of originality and change – which always fascinates a cat.
- With my inside cats, over the years, I have always had a system in place where I frequently “trade out” toys. I’ll put a few toys away for a few weeks, while old favorites are brought back out.
- I often buy my inside cat (Alexa) a new toy. She knows that when I come home with several bags in tow, one of them holds something for her. She scrutinizes each bag like a two-year old!
- I place her toys in different spots throughout the house. I leave her VERY favorite cat toys where she leaves them, after all I don’t want to stress her out or get myself in trouble – but I’ll frequently place a ball, toy mouse, or other toy in spots to catch her off guard.
- Many cat parents believe their cats have “outgrown” playing when, truth be told, they’re simply bored with the status quo. Mix things up! Boredom for a cat is as dangerous and uncomfortable as stress is for a human.
- A little experimenting will help you discover what your cat’s favorite types of toys are. Some prefer toy mice while others barely glance at a toy mouse but will go gaga over a ball. Catnip toys are almost always a hit – however, the catnip does kind of wear off, which means you have to replace the toy after a while.
- ALWAYS be certain that the toys are safe. Frequently inspect them for anything and everything that could pose a danger to your cat… loose parts, for example that could potentially choke them.
- Get down on the floor with them and play with them. I’ll let you in on a secret… it’s as good for you as it is for them!
- This may fall under the category of “crazy cat lady,” but I’ve never let that stop me before: When you’re reading, sorting coupons, writing, etc.. either lift your cat so she/he can supervise you or get down on their level. What’s mundane to us can be utterly fascinating to a cat. Alexa is mesmerized by writing. She’ll concede to watch for a while, then inevitably will reach the point where she can’t take the temptation any longer… then…. whoosh!… she starts swatting wildly at the pen.
- Cat Tunnels are fascinating for cats! They love running in and out and can sometimes even be found napping inside the tunnel.
- A great (sturdy) cat tree is something I consider a MUST for inside cats. They have so much fun climbing, scratching, and sleeping on their own cat tree. When we got one, we literally wondered what had taken so long. It’s a wonderful, wonderful gift for your cat.