Important note about declawing:
Scientific journals refer to declawing as "elective mutilation". It is an amputation of the cat's toes comparable to the removal of the human finger at the first knuckle. It handicaps the cat physically, socially and psychologically for the rest of its life, predisposing the cat to certain temperament and behavior problems such as shyness, biting and litter box avoidance. By regularly trimming your cat's nails and offering a suitable scratching target you are providing a natural outlet for a normal, healthy behavior and you will be rewarded with a content and confident companion.
KITTENS, CATS & THEIR HABITATS
Outdoor Habitat For Indoor Cats
Indoor cats can become bored with life in the house. They need occasional trips outside to smell the air, watch the birds, chew on some grass, chase a bug or other exciting creature. We have 5 indoor cats. They have their own room with 2 cat condos & 3 automatic litter boxes. They very generously share it with my desk, computer & filing cabinet. In the back wall of “their” room is a pet door. Attached to the pet door, on the outside is a walkway, the size of the door, enclosed with chicken wire. Attached to the walkway is a 2” X 6” board, covered with sisal rope leading to the ground inside the kennel. The kennel has two rooms constructed by erecting two 7' W X 12'L X 6' H dog kennels. A secure roof is made by constructing 2 sections of roof, per room, 8’ X 4’ of 2” X 2” frame & corrugated PVC plastic sheets cut in sections & attached to the roof to allow water to flow off the roof. These two sections are attached in the center of each room to form the pitched roof. A section of pipe, like the kennel frame, is attached to the top of the kennel frame with risers, making the center of the roof about 8” taller than the sides, allowing for the pitch of the roof. Since the pitch in the roof leaves openings at each end, between the roof & the kennel top rail, a plastic mesh material is attached in the opening to prevent escape. J
Cats love to climb trees, so, tree limbs are configured in each room of the kennel to give them trees to climb & allowing space on each where they can lay & watch their outside world around them. Also in the kennel is a perch with scratching posts. I am designing two outside condos that will be weatherproof & hope to share the plans for the outside condos, on the kittystoreonline.com site soon. I’ll post more info when the plans are available, so check back often.
There are other "ready to assemble" outdoor cat kennels available here on our site with numerous choices in size and configuration
PLEASE give some serious thought to providing an outside habitat for your indoor cats where they can safely, securely investigate the outdoor wonders they crave.
BUILD AN OUTDOOR CAT KENNEL & CONDO
Your cat wants to go outside – You want to keep your cat safe. Needless to say, you can’t just put a cat in a dog kennel, with no roof, & expect it to stay very long. Cats will be up & over the top before you can get the door closed. But, you can use a large dog kennel for your cat if you secure the bottom frame with anchors & construct a suitable roof, with no openings to allow their escape.
I designed a two room outdoor kennel with two 7’ X 12’ X 6’ tall dog kennels, added a pitched roof on each one to drain rain water, covered the floor with cypress mulch, fit large limbs into tree configurations for climbing & put in some weather resistant cat furniture. It is connected to “their” room in our house by a pet door & ramp. They love it and spend hours out there everyday. For any details you would like to have, leave your questions. I’ll be happy to share. There’s also a picture in Miss Kitty's Chat Corner” .
CAT SCRATCHING PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS
You can’t stop a cat from scratching but you can keep her out of trouble by providing scratching posts. Many are available, some less expensive than others. But no matter the cost, it could save you from damaged furniture, frayed draperies and your frayed nerves. Scratching is a normal part of all cat’s behavior. They sharpen their claws to keep them ready for climbing, catching prey and, I’m sure, other reasons cat behaviorist haven’t even thought of. An outside cat has trees as a favorite scratching post but inside cats have to find a substitute, most likely your sofa or favorite chair. A good method to lure your cat from your furniture or drapes is to place a scratching post in front of the area they have chosen. They will be drawn to the post & use it instead. You can gradually move the post, eventually placing it in a spot they can easily find and one you approve. This can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs and unnecessary wear & tear on your nerves. This also helps you have a happy, healthy indoor cat, without the inhumane act of de-clawing. Scratching posts are available as a stand-alone-post, a post with a perch on top, some with dangling toys, and cat condos that include all of these choices along with small rooms, hammocks and ladders, all for the pure enjoyment of your beloved cat. Never take for granted the comfort and well being of your precious pet. Your good care will be rewarded with years of unconditional love.
PROGRESS ON OUTDOOR CAT CONDO
I'm working on perfecting the outdoor cat condo for the climbing, lounging, & napping pleasure of my precious kitties. Will have more info soon. Here's a picture of the first prototype but I will be making some modifications. Note: Everything is weather resistant. Note the cat "Squeaky" in the bottom corner of the "tunnel".
DO CATS TALK?
Of course they do, they talk to each other and they talk to you. You just have to learn to be a good listener. It's sort of like a dog's training class, the trainer isn't training the dog, he's training you.
For instance, my oldest cat, a fifteen year old Ragdoll, is a whiner. I often ask her if she wants whine with dinner. But, apparently, her whining has gotten her what she wants and she's not about to change.
So, when she comes into my bedroom at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, I first know she wants me to get up. But I've come to understand there is probably a good reason she wants me up. She has become the 'spokesman' for an empty food dish. But then, she has four other felines depending on her to make sure the food bowl and water fountain are filled and, believe me, she is very good at her job, because she is persistent.
Then there is Smokey, my fourteen year old Russian Blue. He is responsible for getting the pet door to their outdoor kennel opened, first thing in the morning. That's why he is uncharacteristically loud early in the morning, around 5:00 AM. He also takes responsibility for reporting back in, to us and his housemates, if the weather is cold or if it is raining. On cold, wet mornings, he wastes no time with his report. I can tell he wants us to do something about it. I just comfort and sympathize with him until he calms down and finds another spot inside to relax.
Our third vocal kitty is Little Bit, an eight year old Manx with a stub of a tail. It has fallen to her to scold the others, chasing them while she does it. She's the most mischievous one in the family. It has also befallen her to be the beggar of treats, starting about 5:00 in the afternoon. Since I like to wait until dusk to bring them in, with the shaking of the treat container like the pied piper, she sometimes has to wait, but continues to make her impatience known. After all, she has four others depending on her for their daily treats, so, she continues improving her vocal demands and I know exactly what she is saying.
Then, there is Precious, sister to Little Bit. Precious was given her name before we discovered her personality. Now, when I speak of her, I often say "Precious.......NOT." Don't get me wrong. She is very lovable. She is also very vocal. She can be loud when she paces the house calling for her sister. She gets cross, like a sleepy baby, when she wants me to take a nap with her and I'm too busy. She will sometimes spend an hour or more following me every step I make, asking me to take a nap (I swear she says mama, over and over), until finally she gives up and finds a place to nap by herself. She also is like a little girl, watching my every move when I'm folding clothes or some other task, as if she's trying to learn how, in order to help me.
Last, but certainly not least, is Squeaky, a five and a half year old gray Tabby . She got her name when she was a 'stray' living outside and only showing up for meals twice a day. I would call her for her food and not realize she was there until she was right next to me because of her faint meow. She is still quiet and shy with other humans, basically only trusting me. She has become friends with Precious and they snuggle together at night. Even though she is shy, Squeaky does talk, mostly to tell me when Little Bit or Smokey are bullying her or when she needs a little love from me, often demanding it, quietly, by jumping into my chair if I'm working at the computer.
So, you see, they all talk, some more than others. Once you understand the personality of each cat and you learn to listen to them, their communication will become much clearer to you.
MOVING, WITH A CAT?
You’ve bought that new dream home or acquired that new dream job……...but it’s in a new city, far from your current home. On top of that, you have 2 dogs and 2 cats to consider in the move. The dogs will follow you anywhere and be happy just because you’re there. However, moving the cats can be a particularly stressful ordeal, for them as well as you.
Although this can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be. It just takes some forethought and planning. I have heard numerous stories of people pulling into the driveway of their new home, opening the car door for the cat and never seeing the cat again. So sad. They are frightened and just want to go back to their familiar home and neighborhood.
The first thing to consider is how to reduce the stress on the cat. If the cat has been an outdoor cat or indoor/outdoor cat, you should keep the cat in for a few days to a week before moving. To prevent the cat from running away, extra care should be given to keeping the cat confined to a private room while movers are loading household items, preferably with a companion person or other friendly pet. Make sure the cat has the necessary water, food and litter box and that the door is kept closed.
When it comes time to physically move the cat, transport the cat in a familiar pet carrier. If you have to buy a new pet carrier, buy it a week or two before the move. Leave the carrier open in a place the cat normally spends time. Inside the carrier, place some familiar things like toys, a cushion, etc. The cat(s) will get used to seeing it and should go in and out, familiarizing itself with it and not associating it with anything negative.
Prior to the movers arriving at the new house, you should have set up a room with the cat’s familiar surroundings, such as a condo/tree, cat bed, litter box, food and water bowls and toys. A large note should be taped to the outside of the door of this room, stating “Do Not Enter”, to remind family members as well as the movers. Then, after all of the movers have left, open the door and let the cat roam around it’s new home. It won’t take long, maybe a day or two, for the cat(s) to accept their new home.
Outside access should only be given with supervision until you are sure the cat has accepted the move and it’s new surroundings and won’t try to run back to the old house. Even if your move is hundreds of miles from the old house, the cat doesn’t know that and may try to find it’s way back. This is, most often, the reason people lose their cats after a move.
Consider making them “house cats”. Outside cats typically live 1 to 5 years because of all of the dangers inherent to the outdoors. A house cat typically lives 12 to 18 years. Keep your precious companion beside you as long as you can.
WHY DO CATS SCRATCH?
· To remove old nail sheaths from the claws
· To exercise and tone muscles
· To relieve stress, frustration and boredom
· To "warm up" for a vigorous play session
· To mark territory
….Place a scratching post in a room where the cat spends a lot of time. Cats often like to stretch and scratch when they wake up from a nap.
….To introduce the post to your cat try using catnip as a lure. (For most cats a lure is unnecessary, but fun.) Rub catnip onto the sisal material and call the cat over to the post.
….Scratch your nails along the surface of the material. This will attract the cat and at the same time teach him where to scratch. After your cat begins to scratch, praise him and give him a food treat.
….Small kittens can be trained to climb the post by showing them food treats and placing them at the top perch of the post.
….If your cat has already been scratching a piece of furniture, place the post directly in front of it. Temporarily cover the previously scratched areas with a few strips of double-sided carpet tape or clear double-sided tape strips that are designed for this purpose. This will help redirect your cat's scratching activities to the post. By offering a suitable scratching target you are providing a natural outlet for a normal, healthy behavior.
Smart and caring cat owners know that claws are very important to cats. Claws give the cat a sense of security, knowing that their defense system is intact. They also allow the cat to grasp and hold objects as well as establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching.
Scratching products are designed to maximize your cat’s scratching pleasure by providing an appealing target for territorial marking, exercise, and a playful warm-up.
By regularly trimming your cat’s nails and offering a suitable scratching item, you are providing a natural outlet for a normal, happy and healthy behavior and you will be rewarded with a satisfied and confident companion.
DEALING WITH THE GRIEF OF LOSING A PET
The loss of a Precious Pet can be almost as devastating as the loss of a family member. Of course, we come to accept them as our children. It can be one of the most difficult times in your life. Getting past the grief is different for each individual.
My husband and I grieved for the better part of two years after the loss of our Beagle Sam, at the age of nine years. He was just like a child to us. We had his lifetime companion, Mandy, also a Beagle who lived to be almost twelve years old. She was in poor health for the better part of four years and each day was like a blessing to us. The day we lost her, six months ago, filled us with a terrible sadness.
A large part of the population have turned to cremation as a way of preserving the love they have lost. The Humane Society in most regions offers that service to pet owners at a reasonable price and you only need to call them before bringing in the deceased pet. If your pet passes away in your veterinarians office, they can also take care of this for you through a local crematorium, which is what our veterinarian did for us when Sam’s time came. We were traveling with Mandy when she became ill. An out of town veterinarian arranged for her cremation and return to our home.
We bought memorial chests for both their ashes & they sit on our mantle, with their picture on each one. It’s a sad, sad thing to lose them but keeping them close will help us always remember the love and companionship they gave us. We have made the Memory Chests available on our web site at below retail price. For customary burial, we also offer gravestone markers as memorials to a lost beloved pet.
On our web site, I have placed a link to Dr. Diane Pomerance who has written extensively about dealing with the grief of losing a pet. Her site offers a wide range of messages for this difficult time. Please visit her site for comfort when you are in need.
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