How to give your indoor cat the best of both worlds

By Dr. Karen Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

 

Not long ago at a veterinary conference, a Dr. Margie Scherk, a vet from Vancouver, Canada with a feline practice, spoke on the topic of lifestyle risks of indoor versus outdoor cats. One of her points was that while many people believe responsible cat owners keep their pets indoors, “The fact is that cats have not been selectively bred to be indoors 24 hours a day, and many don’t adjust to living in close contact to people — they’re forced to.”1

Lifestyle risks of indoor cats

According to Scherk, who cites a 2005 study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science,2 the following are risks to cats who live entirely indoors:

Lower urinary tract diseases Boredom
Hyperthyroidism Household hazards (burns, poison exposure, falls)
Obesity Inactivity, decreased fitness
Diabetes Behavior problems (spraying, scratching, obsessive behavior)
Odontoclastic resorptive lesions Dermatologic problems (atopic dermatitis, acral lick dermatitis)

Lifestyle risks of indoor-outdoor and outdoor-only cats

Thanks to KittyCams, researchers have been able to learn plenty about the kinds of risky business free-roaming cats get up to when they’re wandering around outdoors, including:3

Trauma (usually involving being hit by a vehicle) or human abuse Entering storm drains
Parasites Climbing trees
Crossing roads Climbing on roofs
Having non-aggressive contact with unfamiliar cats (infectious disease risk) Having contact with wild animals (injury and disease risk)
Consuming solids or liquids left by owners, baits Crawling into car engines

Cats are also prey for wildlife such as coyotes, mountain lions, wolves and raptors, and fights among outdoor cats can also lead to serious injury and infections, including bite abscesses. Sadly, cruel humans also pose a grave risk to cats through gunshots, poisonings, burnings and asphyxia.4

Infectious diseases, several of which are zoonotic (can be spread to humans) commonly sicken and kill outdoor cats, including feline retroviruses, mycoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis, bartonellosis (cat scratch fever), tularemia, plague and rabies, along with worms, ectoparasites and fungal infections.

Best of both worlds: Cats should live indoors and also spend safe, supervised time outdoors

Given the risks associated with living entirely indoors, Scherk believes it should be the goal of veterinarians to encourage people to make indoor living more suitable for cats by decreasing stressful stimuli and enriching and improving the environment.

I certainly agree. I tend to think of cats like humans; we live in protected, safe environments indoors, but enjoy going outside, and spending lots of time outside, in safe environments. Living indoors all the time isn’t what most cats would choose, nor is it an entirely natural environment for them, but it’s by far the safest life we can choose for them. Letting them roam free outdoors some or all of the time presents much more risk.

But just because your kitty lives inside doesn’t mean she can’t go on supervised visits outside to bask in the sun, exercise and ground herself on a daily basis. Outdoor adventures are wonderful for cats, as long as they’re safe.

I recommend walking your cat in nice weather using a harness. This gets him out into the fresh air, stimulates his senses and gets his paws in direct contact with the ground. An alternative is a safe, fully enclosed catio that prevents him from getting out and other animals from getting in. Many cats with catios spend the majority of their days outside, but safe.

Diane tried walking her cat once but the kitty was so scared she had to bring him back inside so this outdoor experience doesn’t always work; however, some cats love it especially in enclosed strollers!

How to provide your cat with an optimal life indoors

  • Enrich the indoor environment — The term “environmental enrichment” means to improve or enhance the living situation of captive animals to optimize their health, longevity and quality of life. The more comfortable your cat feels in your home, the lower her stress level. Reducing stress is extremely important in keeping cats physically healthy.

Enriching your kitty’s surroundings means creating minimally stressful living quarters and reducing or eliminating changes in her life that cause anxiety. Jackson Galaxy has written several books on creating feline environmental enrichment around the house that I highly recommend.

The essentials of your cat’s life — food, water and litterbox (which should be kept scrupulously clean), should be located in a safe, secure location away from any area that is noisy enough to startle her or make her feel trapped and unable to escape. Your cat also needs approved places for climbing and scratching (natural feline behaviors) in her indoor environment, as well as her own resting place and a hiding place where she feels untouchable.

Think about what you can do to appeal to your kitty’s visual, auditory and olfactory senses. For example, some cats can gaze out the window for hours, while others are captivated by fish in an aquarium. Some even enjoy kitty videos.

When you’re away from home, open all your shades and blinds to provide natural light during the day. Provide background noise for kitty similar to the ambient sounds she hears when you’re at home, for example, nature music or a TV at low volume. You can stimulate your cat’s keen sense of smell with cat-safe herbs or synthetic feline pheromones.

  • Make sure he gets daily exercise — Consistent daily exercise, including at least 20 minutes of high-intensity activity will help your cat burn fat and increase muscle tone. Make sure he has things to climb on, like a multilevel cat tree or tower. Think like a cat and choose toys and activities that answer his need for hunting, stalking and pouncing on “prey.” One of Diane’s friends had stairs created going up a wall so the cats could jump from one to another or just sit on them! Ingenious!

Because our cats don’t have the freedom they would in the wild, it’s up to us to give them opportunities to practice those natural instincts. A great way to do that is to have your kitty “hunt” for his food. Try separating his daily portion of freeze-dried raw food into three to five small meals fed throughout the day in a variety of puzzle toys or indoor hunting feeder mice, or load them with a small piece of tasty, dehydrated meat treat.

This will encourage him to “hunt” and eat on a schedule similar to his wild cousins, and as an added bonus, he might just sleep through the night thanks to the puzzle toy you give him at bedtime.

  • Feed a moisture-rich, nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet — Offering your cat an optimal diet is the single most important thing you can do to help her have a long, healthy life. That’s why it’s important to understand that some foods are metabolically stressful, for example, all dry (kibble) formulas, processed pet food (canned or dry) containing feed-grade (versus human-grade) ingredients and diets containing grains, potatoes or other starches.

The nutrition that generates the least amount of metabolic stress for most cats, regardless of age, is their ancestral diet: whole, raw (or gently cooked), unprocessed, organic, non-GMO and in its natural form. Animal meat should be the foundation of your kitty’s diet throughout her life. Filtered, pure, fresh water in nontoxic metal or glass (not plastic) bowls is also important.

  • Keep your cat at a healthy weight — Tragically, the majority of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. The obesity-related diseases overweight kitties inevitably acquire shorten their lifespans and often destroy their quality of life along the way. If you want your kitty by your side and able to get around comfortably for 20 years, one of the worst things you can do is encourage him to get fat.

The first step in keeping your cat at a healthy weight is to feed an optimal diet as I described above. It’s equally important not to free-feed. It’s also important to calculate kcal (kilocalorie) requirements for your cat’s ideal weight and include treats in his total daily calorie count.

  • Schedule regular veterinary wellness exams — I recommend twice-yearly wellness visits because:

◦Changes in your kitty’s health can happen rapidly, especially on the inside where you can’t see it, like sudden changes in kidney health

◦Sick cats often show no signs of illness, but early detection allows for early intervention

◦Semi-annual visits give you and your veterinarian the opportunity to closely monitor changes in your kitty’s behavior and attitude that require further investigation

At a minimum, younger healthy cats should see the vet once a year. Kitties over the age of 7 and those with chronic health conditions should be seen twice a year or more frequently if necessary. If your cat hates car travel, consider a mobile vet who makes house calls.

I recommend that you find a veterinarian whose practice philosophy you’re comfortable with. This may be a holistic or integrative veterinarian, or a conventional veterinarian who doesn’t aggressively promote vaccines, pest preventives or veterinary drugs at every visit. House call vets can also be a great, lower stress option for indoor kitties.

Generally speaking, if you’re dealing with a conventional vet, you’ll need to advocate for your cat and push back as necessary, politely but firmly. Always remember that you have the final say in what treatments and chemicals are administered to your pet.

 

Your Kitty Loves This More Than Just About Anything

Written by Dr. Becker and comment by Diane Weinmann

 

As pet lovers, we all recognize that the connection we have with our cats is very different from the way we interact with our dogs. It’s not just a myth that kitties are more independent and self-reliant than dogs — it’s a fact. Cats simply don’t view their humans in the same way dogs do. For instance, they don’t get crazy happy when we arrive home. Their primary attachment is to their environment/territory/turf, not to us, whereas our dogs tend to treat us as if we hung the moon.

Unlike Small Kids and Dogs, Cats Don’t Develop ‘Secure Attachments’ to Their Human Caregivers

Even kittens who were properly socialized to people at precisely the right age and are quite comfortable around humans, don’t form the type of emotional attachment to their owners that dogs do, which was illustrated by a small 2015 study in the U.K.1

For the study, two University of Lincoln researchers used the Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST), a tool that measures whether a small child or dog has developed a secure attachment to a caregiver who represents safety and security in strange or threatening environments. They used the SST, adapted for cats, to evaluate 20 kittles and their owners.

Beyond the observation that the cats vocalized more when their owners left them with strangers than the other way around, the researchers found no other evidence to suggest the kitties had formed a secure attachment to their humans. According to the researchers:

“These results are consistent with the view that adult cats are typically quite autonomous, even in their social relationships, and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety.”

This obviously doesn’t mean cats have no ties to their humans; however, we need to develop alternative tools to better measure the normal characteristics of the cat-human bond, since the concept of secure attachment isn’t among them.

Cats Evolved as Self-Sufficient Loners

If you know much about felines, it’s no great mystery why they’re so different from dogs and therefore, in their relationships with people. Cats evolved as independent loners, unlike dogs, whose wolf ancestors lived in packs with a well-defined social structure.

The domestic cat’s ancestor is the African wildcat, which hunts alone for small prey animals such as mice, rats, birds and reptiles. Wolves, on the other hand, need members of their pack to help them bring down bigger prey. The exception to this rule is the lion, who lives in packs (prides) like wolves, and hunts and eats communally.

In domestic cats, socialization during the first 2 to 8 weeks of life gives them the ability to socially attach to their human, but only on their terms, of course. Once a feral kitten, for example, is over 2 months old, it can be very challenging to try to “tame” him or turn him into an indoor kitty.

But regardless of how well-socialized a kitten is, she’ll retain her independence throughout her life. She can be extremely friendly and extroverted, but she’ll never submit to you as a dog will. She won’t hesitate to set you straight if you do something that displeases her, either.

And because cats evolved to be loners, they don’t have the communication skills dogs do. That’s why it’s so important to monitor your kitty’s behavior for signs she’s feeling stressed, ill or has an injury. If you find her hiding in her covered litterbox or in a closet she never visits, for example, chances are something’s wrong and you need to investigate.

Despite Their Aloofness, Cats Enjoy Interacting With Their Humans

In a 2017 study, a pair of U.S. university researchers concluded that cats actually seem to like humans a lot more than they let on.2 According to Phys.org:

“[The researchers] point out that cats may simply be misunderstood, noting that recent research has found that cats have complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities. They suggest further that the commonly held belief that cats are less reactive to social stimuli might be due to a lack of knowledge regarding the things that cats actually find stimulating.”3

The researchers set out to determine what types of things stimulate cats, and to what degree. There were two groups of kitties involved — one group lived with families, the other group consisted of shelter cats. For the study, the cats were isolated for a few hours, after which they were presented with three items from one of four categories: food, scent, toy and human interaction.

The researchers mixed up the items for the cats so they could better evaluate which they found most stimulating, and determined the kitties’ level of interest for a given stimulus by whether they went for it first, and how and how long they interacted with it. The researchers observed a great deal of variability from one cat to the next, regardless of whether they lived in a home or a shelter. But overall, the cats preferred interacting with a human to all other stimuli, including food.

The kitties spent an average of 65 percent of their time during the experiment interacting with a person, leading the study authors to conclude that cats really do like being around their humans, despite how they might behave around them.

You Have More Influence on Your Cat Than You May Think

A study published in 2013 offered further insights into captive feline behavior.4 For example, did you know our cats take on human habits, or that they adapt their lifestyles to ours?

While genetics certainly play a role in feline personality and behavior, it’s clear environment is also a significant factor. “Our findings underline the high influence of human presence and care on the amount of activity and daily rhythm in cats,” says study co-author Giuseppe Piccione of the University of Messina’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.5

The purpose of the study was to explore the effect of different housing environ­ments on daily rhythm of total locomotor activity (TLA) in cats. The cats in the study lived with owners who worked during the day and were home in the evenings. They were all well cared for. The kitties were separated into two groups, with the first group living in smaller homes and in close proximity to their humans. The other group lived in more space, had an indoor/outdoor lifestyle and spent their nights outside.

Over time, the cats in the first group adopted similar lifestyles to their owners in terms of eating, sleeping and activity patterns. The second group became more nocturnal. Their behaviors were similar to those of semi-feral cats, for example, farm cats. Dr. Jane Brunt of the CATalyst Council made this observation to Seeker:

“Cats are intelligent animals with a long memory. They watch and learn from us, (noting) the patterns of our actions, as evidenced by knowing where their food is kept and what time to expect to be fed, how to open the cupboard door that’s been improperly closed and where their feeding and toileting areas are.”6

Indoor cats who spend a lot of time with their humans tend to mimic their eating habits, including those that lead to obesity. And if you happen to keep the litterbox in your bathroom like many cat parents do, you might notice Fluffy often seems to use her “toilet” while you’re using yours.

Feline personalities are often described in terms like “aggressive,” “arrogant,” “curious” or “timid.” These traits apply to people as well, and researchers theorize that cats’ environments may have a greater impact on their personality than previously thought.

Cats Appreciate Reciprocal Relationships With Their Caregivers

Dr. Dennis Turner is a leading expert on the feline-human bond and his research shows that unlike dogs, cats follow their human’s lead when it comes to how much involvement they have with each other.7 Some cat owners prefer a lot of interaction with their pet, others don’t have much time to devote or simply prefer less interaction.

Kitties are quite adaptable to their humans’ needs in this regard and fall into step easily with the pace the owner sets. They do this without complaint, and their independent, self-sufficient nature helps them get along without a need for the same level of interaction their canine counterparts demand.

Even more fascinating is Dr. Turner’s discovery that cats seem to understand the need for balance in their relationship with their humans:

“What we found was the more the owner complies with the cats wishes to interact, the more the cat complies with the owners wishes, at other times. They go up together, or they go down together. If the person doesn’t comply with the cat’s wish to interact then the cat doesn’t comply with the person’s wishes. It’s a fantastic give and take partnership. It’s a true social relationship between owners and cats.”

 As an animal communicator, I have found that cats love their owners very much but are not as demonstrative as dogs based on their physical differences in body types.  They cannot wag a tail and shake paws (usually but I have seen cats do a high five). I also find they are great cuddlers and take comfort in sleeping with their owners and being close to them.  They also like to hear your voice and enjoy when you talk with them.  They like being greeted when you get home and I had one cat client that told me when his mom got home she would yell LEEEEOOOOO (Leo) just like that. He really enjoyed hearing that and would come running.  Many of my cat clients come when called.  Not unlike our canine companions.  They also enjoy treats!

 

Urinary Blockages in Cats

Urinary Blockages in Cats

By Jennifer Coates, DVM

One of the biggest emergencies that pet parents can face is urinary blockage in cats. Treatment often involves a panicked trip to the veterinary clinic (usually at the least convenient time possible) and hospitalization for the intensive care and monitoring needed to save the cat’s life.

 

If your cat has blocked once, he is at high risk for it happening again. So whether you’re looking to prevent a recurrence or to protect your cat from every having to experience this condition in the first place, it’s important to be informed about ways to prevent urinary blockages in cats.

 

What Causes Urinary Blockages in Cats?

 

Urinary blockages (also called urinary obstructions) are usually caused by plugs of proteinaceous sludge, crystals and/or small stones that become lodged within a cat’s urethra—the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. Neutered males have very narrow urethras, which explains why these cats have, by far, the highest incidence of urinary blockages. Urinary obstructions can also be caused by involuntary muscular contractions called urethral spasms or, less frequently, by tumors, infections, trauma and other conditions.

 

Urinary Obstruction Symptoms

 

When a cat is blocked, he will frequently squat like he is going to pee, but little to no urine will come out. Urine continues to flow into the bladder, and the pressure and pain increase. Additionally, the toxic waste products that are supposed to exit the body in the urine begin to back up within the bloodstream leading to symptoms like lethargy, disorientation and vomiting. Without timely treatment, a cat’s bladder can eventually rupture. Needless to say, get to your veterinarian immediately if you think that your cat may be blocked.

 

How to Prevent Urinary Blockages in Cats

 

In some cases, your veterinarian may identify a particular risk factor that increases the chances that your cat will become blocked. For example, a cat who has a history of developing urinary crystals or stones made of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) will often benefit from eating a food that contains low levels of magnesium and phosphorus and promotes a urinary pH that makes it less likely that crystals will form. If your cat has a history of urinary blockages, make sure to ask your veterinarian about any specific prevention strategies that he or she can recommend.

 

If the cause of your cat’s urinary blockage can’t be identified or you simply want to prevent the condition from developing in the first place, don’t worry, you still have good options. The following three strategies will go a long way towards lowering the risk of urinary blockages in cats:

 

·         Provide enrichment. Research has shown that environmental enrichment and stress relief play a huge role in maintaining a cat’s urinary (and overall) health. Stress relief can take many forms. For example, you may need to modify your cat’s living arrangements if he is routinely fighting with other cats in your home. More generally, cats love a regular schedule so keep his routine as predictable as possible. Give your cats lots of opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds. Play with him, and purchase or make new cat toys and rotate through them regularly. Make use of food puzzles. Place perches near windows. Have lots of cat scratchers available.

·         Manage the cat litter box. You want your cat to keep his bladder as empty as possible so make his “bathrooms” pleasant and easy to access. Always have at least one more box available than the number of cats in your home and don’t place them all in one out of the way location. Keep all the boxes scrupulously clean. Determine what type of box and litter your cat likes best. Large, uncovered boxes with a deep layer of unscented, clumping litter are generally the most popular.

·         Keep your cat hydrated. You cat should be well hydrated so his urine stays dilute. Feed canned food rather than dry. Place several water bowls throughout your house and keep them clean and filled with fresh water. Some cats prefer drinking from a running source of water. An easy-to-clean cat water fountain can be an excellent investment.

 

Follow these tips and any advice from your veterinarian and you can rest assured that you’ve done everything possible to protect your cat from developing a urinary blockage.

 

Feline inappropriate elimination

Feline inappropriate elimination

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Feline inappropriate elimination — a fancy name for those times when kitty pees (or poops) outside the litterbox — accounts for about half of all reported behavior problems in cats. Sadly, it’s the reason pet owners give most often when they relinquish their kitty to an animal shelter. According to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and founder of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic:

“It is a cold, hard fact that cats who fail to use the litter box once a week are four times more likely to be relinquished; if they eliminate outside the litter box daily, these odds increase to over 28:1. About 4 percent of cats urinate outside the litter box weekly, and 1 percent eliminate outside the litter box daily.”1

Cats relieve themselves outside the litterbox for a number of reasons, some having to do with natural feline tendencies, and others involving their environment. Often there are both natural and situational factors underlying a problem with inappropriate elimination. The three main causes for feline inappropriate elimination are:

1.    A medical problem

2.    Urine marking

3.    Aversion to the litterbox

Estimates are that 10 to 24 percent of all kitties have an inappropriate elimination problem at some point in their lives.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Inappropriate Elimination

If your cat suddenly forgets her manners and starts either peeing or pooping outside the litterbox — especially if she starts using the bathtub or a sink instead —the first thing I recommend is a visit to your veterinarian. There are a number of medical conditions that can contribute to inappropriate elimination, including feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), urinary tract infection, cystitis, obstruction of the urethra, diabetes, cognitive dysfunction and hyperthyroidism.

Diagnosing and treating an underlying medical condition is extremely important to your kitty’s health and to resolving inappropriate elimination behavior. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam, and order a complete blood count, a blood chemistry profile, a urinalysis and check the thyroid if your cat is older. If the problem involves pooping outside the box, a fecal sample will be taken.

If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet but is a senior or geriatric kitty, it’s possible the aging process is causing changes in her elimination habits. For example, does she have to climb stairs to get to the litterbox? Is the box easy for her to get into and out of? It can be challenging to determine if a cat is uncomfortable or in pain. If your older cat is otherwise healthy but could be experiencing joint pain, make sure you’re doing all you can to make it easy for her to use her litterbox.

Urine Marking

Urine marking can be hormonally driven, but it’s most often the result of a natural system of feline communication, or stress. Both male and female cats spray, as do both neutered and intact cats. However, neutered cats spray less, and neutering can reduce or eliminate spraying in some cases.

Kitties who urine-mark generally use the litterbox normally, but also perform marking behaviors. Some cats do both house soiling and urine marking, but it’s easy to tell the difference between the two once you know what to look for.

Urine marking, when it takes the form of spraying, typically happens on vertical surfaces. However, some cats urine-mark on horizontal surfaces, which can make it more difficult to determine whether you have a marking problem or a house-soiling problem. Where your cat marks is of primary significance. Generally speaking:

·         If he marks under windows or on baseboards, he may perceive a threat from animals outside, usually other cats

·         If he marks on or near furniture or doors inside your home, he might be having problems with other cats in the household

·         If your cat marks personal belongings, such as clothes, bed linens, a favorite chair or a computer keyboard, he’s probably experiencing some anxiety about the human who owns those things

Other places cats are known to urine-mark are on shopping bags just coming into the house, heating registers and household appliances.

Resolving urine marking involves identifying and addressing the source of your kitty’s stress. When did the marking begin, and what was happening in your cat’s environment at that time? Just as cats favor certain scratching surfaces, they also return to the same spot to urine-mark. You’ll need to use an enzyme-based product for cleanups to remove stains and odor.

You might also want to spray a synthetic pheromone like Feliway on kitty’s favorite marking spots. Cats also “mark” by rubbing their cheeks against objects (for example, the top of their human’s head), and Feliway may encourage your cat to mark with his cheeks instead of his urine.

It’s important to note that urine marking can be difficult to manage, as often the root cause, if determined, can’t be resolved completely. And sometimes despite addressing all possibilities, cats still mark. 

One option is talking to an animal communicator, like Diane Weinmann to understand the underlying problems your kitty has.

Litterbox Aversion

Cats who are happy with their bathrooms behave more or less like this:

·         Approach and jump or climb into the box without hesitating

·         Take a little time to poke around and choose a good spot

·         Dig a hole

·         Turn around and do their business

·         Inspect the result and then cover it up with litter

Cats who are developing a litterbox aversion may approach it tentatively. They may balance on the side of the box or put only two feet in. They may actually use the litter, but immediately leap from the box when finished. Worst case they may walk to the box, sniff at it, turn, walk away — and eliminate elsewhere. Pooping outside the box, but very close to it, is almost always a litterbox aversion problem.

Your cat can decide she doesn’t like her litterbox for any number of reasons. Perhaps it isn’t being cleaned frequently, or not frequently enough for her comfort. Maybe she’s sensitive to a chemical used to clean the box, or perhaps she’s not fond of a box with a hood. The box may be in a noisy or high-traffic location, or where another pet in the household can trap her in there.

Tackling Kitty’s Litterbox Aversion

Extra boxes for multi-cat households. If you have multiple cats, you may need to add more boxes. The general guideline is one box per cat, and one extra.

Litter preference. It could be kitty doesn’t like the type of litter in the box, or it’s not deep enough (4 inches is recommended). You can discover your pet’s litter preference by buying the smallest amount available of several kinds of litter, and several inexpensive litterboxes. Place the boxes with different litters side by side and see which box gets used most often.

Studies on the types of litter cats prefer show they are quite particular about particle size. The cat’s evolutionary substrate, for potty purposes, is sand. When kitties started living indoors, clay litter came along and most cats were okay with it. But clay has its own issues, as do corn- and wheat-based litters.

These days, there’s a wide selection of organic and natural types of litters on the market, but many of them feature big particle sizes, which don’t appeal to most cats. Kitties also don’t like synthetic scents or odor control additives in their litter. The litter I use for my own cats is our own Biocharged Kitty Litter made with organic biochar. Biochar has a large surface area and is a recalcitrant, which means the charcoal itself holds onto things such as water and smells.

Our litter has incredible clumping properties, which means it lasts longer and there’s less total wetness and mess. It’s also 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. And it’s entirely fragrance-free, because the carbon helps to lock in odors.

Litterbox location. Find locations for litterboxes that are somewhat out of the way, and away from noisy household machinery and appliances. Choose warm locations in the house rather than the basement or garage. And make sure boxes aren’t close to kitty’s food or water bowls.

Litterbox cleanliness. Boxes should be kept scrupulously clean. They should be scooped at least once a day and more often if you’re dealing with a potential litterbox aversion situation. Dump all the used litter every two to four weeks (I recommend every two weeks, minimum), sanitize the box with soap and warm water (no chemicals), dry thoroughly and add fresh litter. Plastic litterboxes should be replaced every year or two.

To review, litter box aversion can usually be resolved by:

·         Determining the type of litter and litter box your kitty prefers

·         Using the right amount of litter (4 inches, minimum, at all times)

·         Keeping the boxes scooped, and doing a thorough cleaning at least every two weeks

·         Having enough boxes and locating them in safe, easy-to-access locations

Diane has encountered many litter box issues in her 20 years as an animal communicator.  Many litterbox problems are related to changes in the household, cleanliness and actual litter preference.  Please note that sometimes cats change their mind about the preference of litter they like so the tried and true litter you’ve used for years may not cut it any longer.  Contact Diane at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com to schedule an animal communication session.

 

5 Ways to Help a Hiding Cat

5 Ways to Help a Hiding Cat

By John Gilpatrick

It’s hard to say if Garfield started the stereotype of the mischievous, anti-social cat, but he certainly reinforced it, and to be fair, there’s some basis in truth.

 

While some cats are friendly and cuddly, many others spend their days in dark enclosed spaces and prowl the house at night.

 

“A lot of cats lead nocturnal lives,” says Myrna Milani, DVM, an author and veterinary scholar in the fields of pathology and anthrozoology.

 

If your cat usually spends its day hidden, that’s generally fine and normal, Milani says. The problem arises, however, when social cats suddenly start hiding. This behavior is often indicative of stress, fear, a medical issue, or some combination of these.

 

Continue reading for tips on identifying problematic forms of hiding behavior in cats and what you can do to resolve the underlying issue.

 

Allow Your Cat to Warm Up to Visitors

One of the primary causes of stress in cats is a change in their environments, and one big change that often induces hiding is the addition of a new person to the household.

 

Whether this is in the form of a temporary visitor or a permanent resident, cats are naturally inclined to assume a new person is a threat to their territory. (The same goes for the addition to a new animal.) As such, you might find your feline hiding or marking areas with her scent.

 

Milani says it’s important to give a cat time to adjust to the change and accept the new person on her own terms. “The worst thing you can tell the new person to do is play nice and ‘kissy face’ with the cat,” she says.

 

Instead, short-term visitors can sit near the hiding spot and let the cat come to them, maybe coaxing her out with a treat or a toy that will boost her confidence and make her feel more like predator than prey.

 

Milani suggests longer-term visitors or new permanent residents rub themselves all over with a dry towel or washcloth. Then, leave the towel in the middle of the floor overnight and allow the cat to explore the scent on her own time and at her own speed.

 

The cat should start feeling more comfortable the next day, though if the towel has been peed on, “That’s a message, and you need to keep being patient,” Milani says.

 

Try to Normalize a New Environment

 

Another cause of this type of stress is a move. It might take your cat a while to adjust to the new house, and that’s made worse, Milani says, the more you change things around. Trying to give your cat normalcy in a new house—whether that’s setting up her cat tree by a window or avoiding clutter with empty boxes—will help your cat adjust.

 

“I know it’s not what people who move want to hear, but the best thing you can do for a cat after a move is to unpack everything and settle in as quickly as possible,” she says.

 

Give Your Cat a Safe Space

 

It’s not uncommon for cats to be fearful of visitors or changes in their environments or routines. Fear in cats is often marked by prey behavior, which includes running away and hiding.

 

Dilara G. Parry, a certified cat behavior consultant, says “safe spaces” are an easy way for the owner to make sure that the hiding that’s taking place is healthy and safe.

 

“A sturdy cardboard box, turned on its side with a nice blanket placed inside, can be an alluring hiding space that is safe,” Parry says.

 

Milani adds that cutting a cat-sized hole in an upside-down cardboard box is another great DIY safe space because the cat can face the opening and know nothing is coming up behind her.

 

Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior Changes

 

Hiding behavior in cats could signal an illness or serious medical condition, and owners need to pay attention when this behavior emerges and is out of the ordinary.

 

Milani says if a cat begins hiding, it’s paramount that the owner monitors the cat’s eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating. She recommends blocking off the bathroom to the cat and marking his water dish with a marker so you know exactly how much water is being consumed every day.

 

Other easily observable signs of an illness or condition that’s forcing hiding are discharge from the eyes or nose, limping, and non-specific diarrhea.

 

Make an Appointment With Your Vet

 

If your cat is suddenly hiding, and seems more antisocial than normal, a visit to the veterinarian is recommended to rule out any medical issues. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

“Sometimes, the first indication to the guardian that their cat is sick is hiding behavior,” Parry says. “I have seen this in cases of urinary blockage, which can quickly turn fatal if untreated, so I definitely urge guardians to take hiding behavior seriously, especially if it is not ‘par for the course’ for that particular cat.”

 

Cat Talk- what the meow means

When Your Cat’s Meowing May Be a Red Flag in Disguise

 

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

A very common question many pet parents have is, “Why does my cat meow constantly? Is he sick, or is he just trying to drive me nuts?” Even if the crying isn’t constant, it can be frequent enough to be of concern, and sometimes it’s just plain annoying. Just as some dogs bark more than others, some kitties tend to meow a lot (just ask anyone with a Siamese at home). If Mr. Whiskers is otherwise healthy and is meowing right at you, he probably wants something. And that something is usually food or attention.

Cats whose owners answer their meows tend to grow more meow-y over time, until the cat and his human are actually having lengthy conversations. And kitties who learn they get food if they meow will ramp up the behavior — especially around mealtime. Senior and geriatric cats also tend to vocalize more, especially at night.

8 Types of Cat Vocalizations

Cats meow to communicate with other cats as well as with humans, and they actually have a rather extensive range of vocalizations. You may know the difference between your cat’s dinnertime meow, for example, and the way she sounds if she’s frightened or annoyed. But many kitty sounds and intonations are more subtle and don’t fit a particular pattern, which can make them harder to interpret. Here’s a cheat sheet for decoding some common kitty chatter:1

Vocalization How It Sounds What It Means Translation
Meow The classic mee-yoww Usually just a shout-out to whoever is around “Hey there!”
Purr Similar to a low idling motor; made by contracting the muscles of the larynx A sign of contentment in most cats; rarely, a sign of anxiety or illness “Backrub feels great… don’t stop!”
Murmur, trill Soft rhythmic “thump” made on exhalation A request or greeting “Pet me?”
Growl, hiss, spit Low-pitched, severe, “I mean business” sound Kitty is feeling fearful, stressed, defensive or aggressive “Back off!”
Shriek or screech High-pitched, loud, harsh scream Kitty is either in pain or about to cause some “Ouch!”
“Don’t touch me!” “Get away from me!”
Chatter Teeth chattering; jaw vibrating Feline hunting sound; frustration from being unable to hunt visible prey “Let me at it… let me at it… let me at it!”
Howl or yowl Loud, drawn out calls Cognitive dysfunction in older cats; aggression; distress “Where are you?”
“Where am I?”
“Why am I yelling?”
Moan Long, low, throaty cry Prelude to vomiting, bringing up a hairball “Get here quick I’m about to make a mess!”

When to Worry About Your Cat’s Meowing

Since you know your pet better than anyone else, it’s up to you to learn his “normal” when it comes to vocalizations so you can immediately pick up on any change in the way he communicates.

Changes in your cat’s meow can signal an underlying medical condition, such as laryngeal disease, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. It can also mean he’s dealing with a painful and potentially life-threatening problem such as a urinary tract blockage, especially if he cries out while in his litterbox.

In older cats, increased meowing can be the result of cognitive dysfunction, which is essentially a form of dementia. If your senior or geriatric kitty also seems disoriented, he could be vocalizing due to stress or confusion.

When to Call the Vet

Generally speaking, almost any feline medical condition that results in physical or mental discomfort can cause your cat to vocalize more often or abnormally. If kitty is typically fairly quiet but suddenly gets talkative, or cries when she jumps onto or off of high surfaces, or when you’re holding or petting her, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

This is especially true if you’ve noticed other changes, such as a decrease or increase in appetite or sleep patterns, eliminating outside the litterbox, a change in the way she walks or sits or rests, a lack of interest in grooming or a desire to hide away from the rest of the family. Also keep in mind that a normally talkative cat who suddenly grows quiet can also be cause for concern.

Is your Cat Depressed?

by Jessica Vogelsang, DVM and comments by Diane Weinmann

 

You’re probably familiar with Grumpy Cat, the little feline whose frown has made her famous across the internet. You may also be familiar with your own grumpy cat, if you happen to have a particularly temperamental one at home.

 

Cats are known for their diverse, often feisty, personalities; some are anxious, some reserved, others inquisitive. But what does it mean if your cat is acting depressed? Do cats even suffer from depression? Well, yes and no.

 

How is Depression in Cats Defined?

 

Certainly cats can exhibit depressed behavior, but the general consensus is that they do not experience the same emotional changes associated with clinical depression in humans.

 

“In general, depression in humans is considered a multifactorial disease,” says Dr. Lynn Hendrix, the owner of Beloved Pet Mobile Vet in Davis, California and a palliative care expert. Depression can be situational, caused by a stressful situation, or medical, due to chemical imbalances in the brain. The diagnosis is based on self-reported symptoms, says Hendrix, meaning that the symptoms can be expressed verbally to the doctor or psychologist.

 

Those diagnostic criteria are not available to veterinarians. Since  most people  can’t ask cats exactly what they are feeling, whether they’re sad or angry or anxious or joyous, they must rely on the clues that the cat gives us through their behavior and daily activities and make our assessments based on that.  If  you talk with an animal communicator you can find out for sure.

 

“The clinical signs we see tend to be loss of appetite, avoidance behavior, less active, and abnormal behavior, like hissing,” says Hendrix. Some cats may show changes in litterbox usage, while others have disturbed sleep patterns.

 

Other Causes for Symptoms of Depression in Cats

 

Unfortunately, those symptoms are caused by a wide variety of conditions in felines, so getting to the root of the problem usually involves a visit to the veterinarian to rule out other problems. Medical problems such as kidney disease or GI cancer can cause nausea and decreased appetite that mimic depression.

 

According to Hendrix, pain is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in cats, seniors in particular, and is one of the leading causes of clinical signs of depression. “Most of the time, there is pain or physical disease causing a cat to act ‘depressed’,” she says.

 

In Hendrix’s experience, many pet owners who are dealing with terminally cats are concerned that their cat is experiencing depression, often mirroring their own sadness about a pet’s illness. Hendrix encourages those owners to consider medical causes instead. Often, “it is sick behavior,” she says. “Their terminal illness [is] making them feel sick, nauseous, painful.”

 

As a hospice and palliative care veterinarian, Hendrix is able to address those specific symptoms and help cats feel much more comfortable, even during the end of life process. In some cases, owners who were considering euthanasia actually postponed their decision due to the improvement in their pet’s temperament once proper treatment was instituted. For that reason, she recommends people seek veterinary care for pets exhibiting depressed behavior, as accurate diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve quality of life.

 

The Evaluation Process for Depression in Cats

 

Veterinarians will begin the evaluation by taking a full history of the symptoms and performing a complete physical examination.

 

“Bloodwork, chest x-rays, and abdominal ultrasound may be suggested by your veterinarian,” says Hendrix. Those baseline tests usually provide a good overall look at a pet’s health and organ function. Depending on the results, other tests may be recommended.  Infections, tumors, and inflammatory diseases of the nervous system can result in significant behavioral changes in cats. Changes due solely to stress and anxiety can be difficult to differentiate from medical conditions, so it is often a process of elimination to reach a diagnosis in cats.

 

Again, if the issue is physical in nature these tests will help; however, if the cause of the depression is emotional, you will learn nothing.  At that point you should consult an animal communicator, like Diane Weinmann, to determine how to proceed.

 

Although cats tend to be independent and resilient, they can suffer from anxiety due to changes in routine, feeling threatened, or the addition or loss of family members. Anxiety is, in fact, one of the major behavioral conditions seen by veterinarians. Chronic stress can have an impact on a pet’s emotional, and even physical, health. Self-inflicted hair loss, aggression, or changes in litterbox usage are often traced back to anxiety.

 

Treating the Cat’s Stress Instead of Depression

 

If a stressor can be identified and eliminated, often the symptoms will improve or resolve. A veterinarian, trainer or animal communicator experienced in cat behavior can help with recommendations to make a home environment less stressful to an anxious cat. A cat that feels exposed and doesn’t have a place to hide, for example, may respond to more covered furniture or additional vertical spaces in the house so he or she feels more in control of the environment.

 

Competition in multi-cat households can also cause stress. Depending on the situation, owners may need to add resources in the form of additional litterboxes and food bowls, or even separate cats that are not getting along.

 

As another environmental modification, some cats respond to pheromone diffusers such as Feliway, which can have a calming effect.  Diane has had success with essential oils and bach flower essences to alleviate emotional issues.

 

Using Medication to Treat Stress in Cats

 

For more severe cases, veterinarians can prescribe prescription medications which have been known to help with anxiety in some cats. Trazodone, gabapentin, alprazolam, and midazolam are just some of the options that a veterinarian may recommend, depending on the situation.

 

Regardless of the cause, a cat showing signs of depression can benefit greatly from a prompt evaluation by a veterinarian. If we resist applying the human definitions of mood disorders to our feline friends and instead evaluate them strictly from a cat-friendly perspective, there is often much we can do to make our beloved kitties happier and healthier!  If the issue doesn’t seem to be physical—call an animal communicator (like Diane Weinmann-  www.theloveofanimals.com)

 

 

Cats and Urine Accidents

Cats and Urine Accidents

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

On occasion (and in some cases, more than occasionally), cat urine winds up somewhere other than the litterbox — usually on a soft absorbent surface like carpeting, an area rug, a pile of clothes or even your bed.

Obviously, this is a problem that must be tackled from a few different angles, the most important of which is to sort out why little Fluffy isn’t confining her potty habits to her litterbox. There are a number of reasons she might relieve herself outside the box. Here are a few of the most common:

• The box isn’t scooped and/or disinfected often enough. Cats are fastidious creatures who don’t enjoy a dirty, stinky bathroom any more than we do. That’s why you must be extremely disciplined about scooping the box. As in, once or twice a day scooping of all poop and urine clumps.

Also remove any litter stuck to the sides or bottom of the box with a damp paper towel. Dry the area thoroughly before scooping dry litter back over it. Keeping the sides and floor of the box clean and dry may help extend the time between full box clean-outs. Dispose of all used litter and clean the box at least weekly.

It’s important to wash the litterbox thoroughly to remove as much odor as possible so your cat doesn’t get turned off by the smell and decide not to use it. Wash the box using hot water and fragrance-free soap. Avoid scented cleaners and products containing potential toxins.

• Your cat doesn’t like your choice of litter or the box is in a high-traffic area or is difficult to get into or out of

• She has a medical condition like FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease), or another chronic illness

• Your kitty is a senior citizen or is experiencing cognitive decline

If your cat suddenly starts peeing outside her well-maintained litterbox and you haven’t moved the box or changed the type of litter she prefers, I recommend making an appointment with your veterinarian to check for an underlying physical or cognitive issue that may be contributing to the problem.

How to Pinpoint Where Your Cat’s Been Peeing

The next thing you’ll want to do is to get rid of urine odors for your own sanity, and so your kitty won’t continually return to the scene of the crime and reoffend. Some people tend to believe cat urine smells worse or is harder to extinguish than the urine of other animals, but I’m not convinced.

Often when a cat urinates outside the litterbox, no one notices right away because it’s a small spot that dries quickly or it’s somewhat hidden. As the bacteria in the urine decomposes, it gives off that telltale ammonia-like odor we all know and don’t love. Older kitties whose kidneys aren’t working at 100 percent efficiency can have more potent-smelling urine than younger cats, as well as intact males whose urine contains testosterone.

If you discover your cat has been peeing in a spot outside his litterbox, it’s a good idea to find out if he’s doing it in other areas of the house as well. The quickest way to do this is with a black light. Urine stains appear in a lovely shade of neon green when illuminated with a black light, so darken your house and walk around shining the light on floors, baseboards and anywhere there are suspicious stains or smells.

Once you find he definitely is urinating outside his box you need to determine why.  A vet visit may be in order or you may have a kitty with an emotional issue.  If this is the case, you can call Diane Weinmann, an animal communicator to obtain info from your cat as to why a change has occurred. Contact Diane at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com.

Removing Urine Stains and Smells

For dried urine spots, treatment will depend on the type of surface you’re dealing with. Hard materials such as tile, wood flooring and baseboards can be cleaned using a safe, natural solution like 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water, or undiluted white vinegar. Liberally spray the solution on the urine stain, wipe and repeat as often as necessary to eliminate any lingering odor. If the smell remains despite your best efforts, I recommend purchasing an enzyme-based cleaner as described below and re-treating the area(s).

Cleaning carpeting, upholstery or another absorbent surface requires a bit more effort. Cat urine is composed of several different chemicals, strains of bacteria and other substances. And while natural cleaners like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar or baking soda can deal with some urine odors, they don’t deal with them all.

That’s why it’s important to have an enzyme cleaner on hand to deal with the uric acid in cat urine stains. Take these steps to thoroughly clean urine stains and odors from carpets, rugs and other absorbent surfaces:

1. If the spot is still wet, use paper towels or another absorbent material like a rag or cloth and blot up as much of the urine as possible before moving to step 2.

2. Pour plain water over the spot and soak up the moisture, again using clean, white cloths or paper towels — continue blotting until no yellow appears on the towels.

3. Saturate the spot with a commercially available enzyme-based “digester” solution and let it sit for the prescribed amount of time. Thoroughly saturate the soiled areas, including carpet padding, if you suspect the urine has soaked all the way through.

4. Use more clean paper towels to blot up as much moisture as you can and then allow the spot to air-dry. Protecting the just-treated area is a good idea to prevent humans from walking through it and kitty from finding it and re-soiling. You can place aluminum foil loosely over the spots or use upside-down laundry baskets, bowls, baking sheets or similar items.

If the urine spot has been there awhile, you may need to repeat the last two steps at least once. Depending on the scope of the problem, be prepared to make this a multi-week project as you soak the spots, blot them, allow them to dry and then repeat the process as many times as necessary to completely remove stains and odor.

Additional Suggestions

Do yourself a favor and DO NOT make the mistake of using any old carpet-cleaning product you have on hand instead of a specialized pet formula. The products sold specifically for pet messes contain bacteria and enzyme digesters that are extremely effectively at eliminating stains and odor in both carpet and padding, without damaging or discoloring most flooring materials.

If you try something else on the spot first, then use a specialized pet formula, you may not get the same good result you can achieve using the pet product only. Also, no matter how bad the stain may look or smell when you discover it, resist the urge to use a harsh scrubbing motion to remove the spot, as this can quickly destroy the texture of your carpet or rug, and scrubbing really isn’t necessary.

If you’re patient and follow the steps listed above for stain removal, even if you have to repeat the process a few times to get all the stain out, there’s a very good chance you won’t notice the spot after it dries thoroughly. Even light-colored carpeting and rugs can be returned to good condition with the right cleaning agent and technique.

Once the urine is completely removed from a spot your cat has repeatedly soiled, try applying a few drops of a pure essential oil (I’ve used lemon, tangerine and lavender) on the area as a deterrent.

Unfortunately, urine occasionally soaks all the way through carpet and padding into the subfloor. If you can’t get rid the smell despite all your best cleaning efforts, you’ll need to remove that area of carpet and padding, neutralize the odor with an oil-based, stain-blocking primer on the subfloor and then replace the padding and carpet.

 

Cat Scoot—is this a new dance??

Cat Scoot—is this a new dance??

 

By Geoff Williams and comments by Diane Weinmann

If you have ever tried to explain the concept of cat scooting to your friends, you probably quickly realized that there is no graceful way to put it. If your cat is scooting, your cat’s butt is dragging along the carpet or ground.

 

Scooting or butt dragging is a problem far more common among dog owners, but it does occasionally happen to cats. And while it may look funny or strange, cat scooting could signal a medical problem that needs to be addressed.

 

Why do Cats Scoot?

“Scooting is normally associated with pruritus of the posterior end,” says Jim Lowe, a technical services veterinarian with Tomlyn, a company that makes pet healthcare products. Pruritus is a medical term for severe itching of the skin.

 

While it’s fairly rare, this can happen to any cat—there is no particular breed that experiences it more than another. And the reasons your cat’s bottom is itching, Lowe says, might be due to a number of factors, including parasites, impacted anal glands and allergies.

 

Cat Scooting and Parasites

If your cat is dragging its bottom on the carpet, there’s a chance your cat has worms. Parasitic worms, such as tapeworms, can cause irritation to the posterior area. And while you may check your cat’s stool for worms, you may not be able to see them.

 

“Just because the owner doesn’t see the worms doesn’t mean that they aren’t there,” says Dr. Carol Osborne, who owns the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Most worms only become visible in the stool after deworming, and sometimes not even then.

 

And if you do see worms, your cat is likely experiencing discomfort, Osborne says. In other words, get your cat to a vet immediately.

Cat Scooting and Impacted Anal Sacs

All cats have anal sacs located near the opening of the anus. Inside those sacs is a dark, smelly and slightly oily liquid.

 

“The anal sacs typically release their contents when a cat defecates,” says Laura Pletz, a St. Charles, Missouri-based veterinarian.

 

But when the sacs get clogged, they are considered impacted. That means the sacs don’t express when your cat goes to the bathroom, and the area becomes irritated, potentially causing your cat to scoot. In severe cases, a cat’s anal sacs can become infected, which is even more painful.

 

Cat Scooting and Allergies

If you see your cat dragging his or her bottom, there may be something in or around your home affecting the feline.

 

“Environmental allergies are caused by many things, such as dust mites, grasses, molds or fleas,” Pletz says.

 

The problem may also be due to whatever you’re feeding your cat. “Food allergies are typically an allergy to a particular protein source, such as chicken or beef,” Pletz says.

 

Pletz says that there are medical therapies that can help with scooting caused by environmental allergies, but if there is a food allergy contributing, your veterinarian will likely be putting your cat on a new diet.

 

What You Should Do if You See Your Cat Scooting

Your cat scooting action plan is pretty simple—if you don’t want to rush to the vet, start by taking a close look underneath your cat’s tail. Maybe there are some dried feces or another irritant there that is causing your cat to scoot. If so, simply wash gently underneath your cat’s tail and monitor his or her behavior to watch for scooting.

 

But if you don’t see an obvious culprit for your cat’s scooting, then contact your vet and get your pet checked out. Your vet may be able to express your cat’s anal sacs, check for problem-causing parasites, recommend a different diet or prescribe antibiotics or anti-itch medications.

 

My mother-in-law’s cat is constantly leaving a poop trail on the floors in her kitchen, living room and bedroom.  Obviously a vet visit will be required to fix this situation.  But I must admit, it’s a hoot to watch him slide around on the floor.  Wonder if he could ride a skate board??

 

 

Cat’s Hunting Abilities

By Dr. Becker and Diane Weinmanncat hunting mouse

According to cat expert Jackson Galaxy, when we learn to walk through the world as our cats do, we understand their needs on a very basic level, and we naturally insure they have outlets for their curiosity, energy, and other innate gifts.

Today’s cats are still very much in touch with what Galaxy calls their raw cat. They’ve retained their drive to awake from a nap to go hunt, catch, kill and eat prey, groom, go back to sleep, and do it all over again in a few hours. That’s the life of a cat living in the wild, and when your indoor kitty isn’t given those outlets, she can wind up “hunting” your ankles, your children, or your dog!

 

Diane has found that as an animal communicator, many kitties enjoy stalking and killing bugs and flying insects in your home. Most of the time, cats assume this job as their daily work for their family’s household. If your cat does not take on this job and seems bored and destructive please tell them this is their job. Job assignment is a great way to motivate and challenge your pets to provide environmental enrichment in their life.

 

In addition, interactive play is also crucial in drawing out the raw cat. Interactive play means we become our cat’s prey — the mouse or the bird — moving the way it would, unpredictably, and really drawing out the cat’s hunter energy.

Galaxy has seen miraculous results when shy cats find their inner hunter. Their new confidence comes from the thought that “I just killed something,” which is 100 percent raw cat at its core. The toy moves across the floor, the cat pounces on it and “kills” it. He realizes, “This is what I was meant to do, isn’t it!”

cat hunting outside

This is what interactive play is all about. Finding ways to move the toys that energize your cat and bring out the swatting, batting, chasing, pouncing hunter in her. As Galaxy points out, cats are family members with very strong needs. Interactive prey play gives you a meaningful minute-by-minute bond with your cat and encourages her to be the feline hunter she was born to be.

So whether you give your beloved furry friend a job in the house or engage them in interactive play, you will be enriching their life and providing them with the means to get in touch with their inner hunter and to do what comes natural! Roar!!!!!!

cat playing