Cat sleeping positions and what they mean

4 common cat sleeping positions and what they mean

Have you ever taken notice of the way your cat sleeps? Maybe she even changes her preferred sleeping position quite often. There is actually some meaning behind each of your cats quirky sleeping styles so read on to find out more.

  • The curled up cat

One of the most common sleeping positions of all, the ‘curled up cat’ is basically just a cat curled up into its own body like it’s tucked itself into bed! This position is generally the best way to conserve body heat and to protect their vulnerable organs (it’s a natural instinct, and just like their wild counterparts do!). That being said, your cat is more worried about being prodded and annoyed by a human than a rival animal, a curled up cat typically wants to be alone.

  • Belly up

Your cat’s stomach is one of its most vulnerable spots, one that instinctively it feels the need to protect. So for your cat to be sleeping soundly in this position, you must be doing something right! This is a sure fire way to know that your cat trusts you and feels 100% safe in your presence.

 

  • Cat in the box!

The sight of a cat in a box makes most cat owners swoon; there is just something so adorable about it. Cats generally seek out small spaces such as boxes and drawers for a sense of safety and security, maybe you live in a busy household? And your cat runs to a secret box or drawer to find a bit of solitude and security, and hopefully some uninterrupted sleep.

 

This is another common sleeping position, normally when your cat isn’t set on a full-on sleep but more of a nap that they can still take in their surroundings and not miss out on anything. This is called the ‘cat loaf’ as they tuck their limbs under their body but still remain upright – essentially turning them into what resembles a loaf of bread. This is a sign that your cat is enjoying its surroundings but may have a slight doze whilst doing it!


Preparing your home for a new cat

How to prepare yourself and your home for a new cat
If you’ve made the decision of adopting a cat, I am sure you have thought about the best ways to prepare to bring it into your home environment so that you and kitty have the smoothest start to your new journey. There are of course a few tips that may help you in making this transition as easy as can be.
Whether you’re bringing home a kitten or an adult cat there are always some key steps you should follow first, as we know all cats can be quite inquisitive it is essential to ‘cat-proof’ your home.
Create a safe place
You will probably find when you bring your new cat home, they will run and hide under a table or somewhere else that’s dark and quiet. This is typically to do with cats being very sensitive to new smells and environments. It is best to find a safe place within your house where your cat can go and relax when it needs to, as it can take a couple of days before your cat feels settled and secure in its new home.
Tip: Cats love boxes, so why not repurpose one of your old shoeboxes by cutting a hole for an entrance and placing something soft and cuddly in there!
Secure what your cat can’t have
As we know cats are very curious creatures and they will try and get into anything they deem interesting enough. If there is a room your cat should stay out of, make it a note to keep this door closed at all times, and don’t forget that cats are great at jumping and climbing so sometimes ‘hiding’ potentially dangerous things on shelves and bookcases just won’t do the trick!
Tip: Consider purchasing child proof locks for cupboards which house cleaning chemicals etc., as cats can quickly learn how to open them!
Work out basic items you need for your cat
Make it easier for you and your cat and have these items at the ready before you bring your cat home.
Some necessary items:
• A litter box/tray – and appropriate litter (there are many different types out there, and it may take a few tries before you find the right one for your cat)
• A cosy bed – this could be as simple as a shoebox with a cuddly towel in it or a cute cat bed from the pet shop, either way a designated place to sleep is a must when bringing a new feline home.
• Toys – cats love to play with anything from a scrap of paper to a stuffed mouse.
• A scratch post – highly recommended if you don’t want your furniture to be all scratched up!


Everything you want to know about your cat’s whiskers

Everything you ever wanted to know about your cats whiskers

Why do cats have whiskers? I can assure you they aren’t there just for looks and indeed do serve quite an interesting purpose, and there is even some fascinating mythology associated with them! Keep reading to get the complete low down.

Whiskers are deeply rooted into your cat’s skin, considerably deeper than her normal fur. This means that they are rooted around a generous supply of nerves and blood making them very sensitive, so sensitive in fact a miniscule breeze will be felt and registered by your cat. This can also mean that with such a high level of sensitivity, there is the potential to cause discomfort and pain if pulled or prodded, which is why we recommend choosing appropriate food and water bowls that are low enough that they don’t interfere with her whiskers.

Whiskers are also you cats own built in measurement device, as the whiskers on your cat’s nose are generally about as long as your cat is wide. This helps them to determine if they can fit through small spaces or measure how wide an opening it, and generally the chubbier the cat the longer its whiskers!

There is some interesting mythology surrounding cat’s whiskers, and quite a few superstitions as well. One of the most well-known ones is that they are just plain old good luck! Although rare to find a cat whisker out of place, if you do make sure you snag it and keep it somewhere safe to possibly bring you some good luck. Another interesting superstition is the term ‘by a whisker’ which is associated with escaping or avoiding a detrimental circumstance (like a car crash or a robbery) many people keep them in their car so they stay protected whilst on the road. And finally, I am sure you have heard the famous phrases “the cat’s meow” and “the cats pyjamas” well “the cats whiskers” has just as much history to it, originally stemming from a the 1920s’. If you were called ‘the cat’s whiskers’ it meant that you were exceptional, superior or better than everybody else!


Cats and Cucumbers

Why are cats so insanely scared of cucumbers?

I have spent many hours watching the entertaining antics of cats on you tube, the agility, focus and absolute speed of cat reflexes has always amazed me. Our athletic feline friends definitely have the perfect design for hunting and survival, that’s perhaps why at times they think they are doing you a favour when they saunter up to their food bowl to see what you have served.

I’m sure you have seen those videos floating around where a human has snuck up on their cat and placed a cucumber behind them without them noticing and then waited in anticipation to see the cat’s reaction? These can be classed as funny videos but I am about to tell you why these cats react the way they do.

As you know, cats are generally very aware of their surroundings even to the point that they are known to be ‘hyper-aware, and you may have noticed they’re usually very cautious around the ‘unknown’.  So when a cucumber ‘creeps’ up on them they quickly assume that it is some sort of predator or snake like creature. How a domesticated cat knows what a snake looks like? It’s built into their natural instinct of course!

Dr Roger Mugford, an animal behavioural specialist says “I think that the reaction is due to the novelty and unexpectedness of finding an unusual object secretly placed while their heads were down in the food bowl,” Cats wouldn’t normally find cucumbers lying on the floor, so the sheer novelty of the whole thing generally freaks them out.

Although it can be a relatively funny trick to play on your cat and gauge its reaction, it is best not to try this at home. Veterinary professionals have exclaimed that not only does this cause unnecessary stress on your kitty; it can also be quite dangerous as your cat is unaware of its surroundings in its scared state and could potentially injure itself.


10 Things your cat hates

Cats are unique and have their own individual personalities. Most cat owners will know a few things there beloved cat likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate everything they hate but it helps to know what these are so it can be managed or avoided if possible.

Here are 10 things to consider

  1. Stale Food
    Like humans cats are fussy with their food. They don’t like stale food that has been left out all day. If your cat is leaving food in the bowl you may be feeding them too much. Try reducing the portion and throw away food leftover after 30 minutes. Ensure you wash your cats bowl after each meal, so the next meal smells fresh.
  2. Loud Noises
    Many cats are scared of loud noises such as fireworks, thunder storms, hail, very loud parties and humans arguing. The easier way to know if your cat hates any of these things is that they will run away and hide in their safe place.
  3. Heavy and rough petting
    Ensure when you pet your cat that you use a light touch as most cats prefer this. Avoid petting too hard, as this can upset your cat and lead to you getting scratched or bitten as that’s the only way she can tell you to stop. Always observe your cat’s behaviour.
  4. Car Rides                                                                                                                                                                  For cats that dislike car rides there isn’t a lot that can be done, if your cat likes the car then you are blessed
  5. Smelly Litter box
    Cats have an extraordinary sense of smell, 14 times greater than ours. We humans are very clean; we flush the toilet after every use. A smelly litter box will upset your cat. To avoid this displeasure, change the litter box regularly and provide the type of litter they prefer
  6. Water
    Most cats hate water, very few breeds love water. As cats tend to keep themselves quite clean most cats don’t need to be bathed as regularly as humans or dogs.
  7. Car Rides
    Cats dislike car rides so avoid them at all costs. Sometimes these trips are unavoidable such as a trip to the vet.
  8. Cats territory
    Cats are territorial and they don’t like when other cats encroach upon it. Most cats in multi cat households learn to share their area and get along. Cats notice inequality amongst other cats, so it’s important to treat all cats the same.
  9. Strangers
    Some cats hate strangers, they run & hide when they hear a knock at the door, footsteps or a car coming into the driveway. Other cats are very sociable and are unfazed by strangers.
  10. Taking Medication
    Most cats hate been fed medicine however, when they are sick they have no choice. Pill pockets work for some cats; some coat the tablet with a little butter or cream cheese. Avoid making them swallow a pill dry

 

Swimming cats

We all know the story, as soon as the water comes, the cat disappears, there are a plethora of cat videos on You Tube showing cats that have fallen into a bath or any water containing vessel and the scrambling hysteria that ensues.

Why is this ? Watching a documentary the other day on an animal channel I noted that the likes of Jaguars and Tigers are excellent swimmers and actually hunt in the water at times and then there is The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia.

Another water loving feline is the Turkish Van cat, who actually loves a good dip in the water, so you should, invest in a little paddling pool if you own one of these lovely creatures.

The above are examples of cats that absolutely are great swimmers and have no problem with water.

What about our beloved pets, why is it that our domestic cats are so anti – water?

Well part of the reason is nature and the other part is nurture. Cat’s in general were desert dwelling creatures, so water in general is foreign to them. On the nurture side….. the answer lies in the way they are raised, we protect our kitties from the water, they have warm dry shelter from the rain and storms and any water sensation is new to them, now and then you get a curious kitty who loves the water and will place their paws into the running tap water out of sheer curiosity.

It’s best to expose your kitty slowly while they are kittens to water, and see the reaction and be sensitive to their response.

If your kitty enjoys the water and seems intrigued then you can progress with water exposure, if not then we don’t suggest progressing with water exposure as you will just stress out your kitty.

 

How come your cat is picky when it comes to food ?

 

You generally find that changing your dog’s diet is one of the easiest things to do in the world dogs just seem happy with what is fed to them, the grateful loyalists that they are.

Enter the cat….Try change his or her diet and you will probably be on the receiving end of a rather haughty, arrogant and somewhat insulted response.

Cats seem to have an instinct for what is food and what isn’t, and they also seem to know what nutrients their bodies need as is evidenced by a number of studies on cats and cat nutrition.

Cats from when they are kittens,  seem to associate certain shapes and colours, with what is identified as food, this is a survival instinct, but not that necessary for today’s cats in modern homes.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for various reasons to change your cat’s diet, but in doing so, the survival instinct kicks in, and the difficulty of changing the food arises. Your cat thinks you are trying to feed it plastic or something when you offer him or her an alternative type of food.

So what do you do?
The trick is in offering two types of food to your cat, the food you are wanting your cat to switch to and the food that your cat normally eats, the food you are wanting to switch your cat too should be offered first, and left for up to an hour and monitor whether or not the cat eats, if your cat doesn’t then switch back to the food he or she normally eats, generally a few days of doing the switcheroo described above should be good enough, if this does not work, well then we need to switch to plan B.

Plan B is to place the new food on top of the old food and let the cat get used to the smell and look and taste of the new food, it is not advisable to mix the new food in with the old food because this will just create confusion and the cat will never really get used to the look and smell of the new food.

Over time the new food should form a larger portion of the total meal, moving from a topping to half the meal and eventually to the full meal, this takes time and planning and patience.


5 Things your cat shouldn’t eat

We love to spoil our cats but did you know that some foods we eat are really dangerous for cats. As a cat owner, it is important to know what is suitable to feed your cat and what can cause harm to cats, so that they can be avoided.

  • Alcohol– Never give your cat alcohol, just like us humans it can affect your cats brain & liver. Just a couple of spoons of alcohol could put your cat in a coma & kill them. Cats are not built to drink alcohol and eat alcohol filled sweets & foods.
  • Candy and Gum– Sweets and anything sweetened with xylitol should be avoided for your cat. Even tho you might be tempted to give your cat a little treat, a bit of cake or small sweet, you are better off avoiding them. Foods such as candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods and diet foods tend to contain xylitol. This increases insulin in the cats’ body which may cause blood sugar levels to drop. This can contribute to vomiting, lethargy, seizures, loss of coordination and more seriously liver failure. .
  • Chocolate We humans often love chocolate, but for cats it is not an indulgence they will often go for. Never give your cat chocolate as it contains theobromine, toxic for cats. If eaten it can cause heart palpitations, seizures and even death.
  • Dog Food– Most people think feeding your cat some dog food is ok. Whilst it isn’t going to hurt them it has not been formulated for them and it doesn’t meet their nutritional standards. Dogs are very different to cats, which are carnivores. Feeding your cat, dog food will mean your cat will be malnourished and not getting the vitamins & minerals it needs to thrive.
  • Fat Trimmings and Bones-It is quite common for cats to be fed scraps of the table, they can contain fat. Fat is dangerous for cats to eat. Cats eating fat can cause pancreatitis. Bones are also very dangerous as cats can choke even on cooked bones. Bones can also splinter causing cuts and can get caught in the digestive tract.

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Wondering why your cat is unhappy

Is your cat obvious about what he dislikes? Can you tell by his body language if he is upset? You may not realise that you are responsible for your cat’s unhappiness. Here are some common mistakes we make when caring for our cats.


1. Ignoring your cat

Many people think that cats enjoy being alone and left to do their own thing, although this is actually far from the truth. Cats enjoy socialising with their humans, and some like to mingle with other cats. Taking some time out of your day to hang out with your cat is important in establishing a good bond between you and your furry friend. If you have a long haired cat why not spend 20 minutes a day brushing and bonding with your cat? Or entertaining her with a wand toy.

2. Forgetting to clean the litter box regularly.

Some cats, just like some people, are more bothered by dirty surroundings and will stop using their litter boxes and search for an alternative solution such as a cupboard or even worse, a basket of clean laundry. Did you know that your cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than yours? Meaning that a litter box that smells clean to you may repulse your cat and lead it to do its business somewhere else.


3. Leaving your cats food out for too long.

Cats are like humans when it comes to food; fresh is always best! Cats won’t like eating canned food that has been left out for hours on end; and the smell is usually what deters them. Often people don’t realise that there are many toxins released from spoiled cat food which can be harmful for your cats to eat. These include salmonella, staph infections and strep! Just remember, It’s better to give them a tablespoon or two every three hours than to take a chance on spoiled food.

4. Petting your cat too aggressively

Cats are sensitive animals, even though they may seem fierce and independent at times. You may find that when petting your cat, she may suddenly hiss and then bite you. This is called feline hyperesthesia, cat behaviour specialist Amy Shojai recommends only patting your cat on the head and the neck until you work out your cats petting threshold.

5. Loud noises and commotion

Cats can be very vulnerable to loud noises. Thunderstorms, fireworks, arguments and other loud noises can be very stressful to cats, especially when a cat is left outside overnight. There are certain times during the year when your cats should be left inside, or away from the commotion. This may include, various holidays where fireworks are used, parties with loud music and lots of guests, thunderstorms and family fights as they are between people that cats love.


Decisions You Should Make BEFORE You Get a Cat

Hi Danielle Salmon,

Bringing a cat into your family is a huge responsibility. When you adopt a feline companion, you’re promising to care for them for the rest of their lives. That’s a pretty big commitment, so you would figure that a lot of thought would go into the decision, but veterinarians commonly see well-meaning pet parents who get a cat without much (or any) forethought. Sometimes we wonder what (if anything) was discussed before these owners decided to get a cat.


Many behavioral problems we see could have been solved if the pet parents had thought a little about what they want in a cat, or even considered some general rules for having a cat, BEFORE actually getting one. It’s usually situations like this that end up with the poor animal being surrendered or abandoned because “things just weren’t working.”

Please, PLEASE don’t put an animal through this kind of experience. It is very important that you don’t rush into getting a pet. In the interest of creating well-prepared pet parents, we put together a list of 10 things you should really decide, discuss, or think about BEFORE you get a cat.

If you have a minute, please take a look at this article (even if you aren’t looking for a cat). Who knows, it may help you help a friend that is looking for a cat or prepare you for future cat ownership.

I want you and your new kitty to be really well adjusted and to have a loving and great relationship, but there are always things to consider..

With warm regards,

Dr. Debra

P.S.: Remember, your vet can be a great source of advice when you’re considering adding a cat to your family. The next time you give the subject some thought, why not ask your vet what they think? It could be a great way to get tips and recommendations from someone who already knows you and your lifestyle.