Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kitten-Proofing Your Home

Nothing beats a kitten for fun. But the feline "wonder years" can also be the most frustrating and dangerous time in your kitten's life. Do not let his sweet, innocent face fool you. Behind those twinkling bright eyes is a mind brimful of curiosity, and the boundless energy to try and satisfy it. Kittens have a way of turning the most innocuous situation into a disaster. Whether you survive with your sanity intact and whether your kitten survives at all depend on you kitten-proofing your home.

Kitten-proofing is done to make the house safe so that your kitty does not hurt himself. It also prevents him from laying waste to your house. First, try to think like a cat. Invest in knee pads, get down on all fours, and tour your house at kitten level. But jumping and climbing kittens rarely stop at floor level, so you also need to kitten-proof the heights.

Kittens do not have hands. Instead, they use patting paws to explore their world and they stick their tiny noses into everything. Anything left within reach is fair game, so place anything breakable out of feline range. The more intelligent the kitten, the more ways he will find to get into trouble.

Protect your kitten from houseplants and vice versa. Chewing on houseplants like pothos and English ivy can cause toxic reactions. Kitty may even lick off the poison when he grooms his claws after shredding the plant. Keep plants out of your kitten's reach by hanging them or placing them on shelves. Choose nontoxic plants like the jade plant, the prayer plant,or the begonia.

Kittens do not tend to chew as much as puppies, but they do play-attack and bite nearly everything. Electric cords can be particularly tempting, and bitten cords can result in severe burns or even death. Get rid of as many electrical cords as possible, and check remaining wires regularly for signs of chewing. Tape cords to the floor to keep them from moving.

Keep garbage away from your kitten. Although cats are generally more fastidious than their canine counterparts, the smell of scraps may tempt them to scrounge. Your kitten might be poisoned by eating chocolate or he might end up with an upset stomach that results in a predictable mess.

Securely fasten lids on trash containers, or store them under the sink or in the garage where he cannot reach them. Never leaving sharp knives, food processor blades or other utensils out on counters where he might try to lick them clean and cut her tongue.

Like children, kittens have a tendency to swallow small nonfood items like coins, erasers and paper clips. Anything left out is fair game for the cat. Carefully cap all medications, and put them away. Pills are fun to bat around the floor, but if swallowed can be poisonous.

Christmas is a wonderful yet dangerous time of year for kittens. The tree seems meant for climbing, and the blinking lights and swinging ornaments tempt the most stoic kitty to indulge. But broken ornaments, extra electric cords, metal hooks or tinsel, sprayed lead-base "snow" and tree needles all pose dangers. Avoid placing decorations on the bottom branches, be sure the tree is securely anchored, avoid tinsel, and use ribbon to hang nonbreakable ornaments.
Carefully inspect cat toys and remove small eyes or tails that come loose and may be swallowed. Put away sewing baskets and tackle boxes. Kittens love to play with thread, string and yarn, but unsupervised games can lead to accidental strangulation, swallowed needles, cuts from fishing line or embedded fish hooks.

Cats can swallow several yards of ribbon or string, which will require surgical removal. Tie up curtain cords out of his reach, or purchase breakaway cords. The standard double cords on window blinds can hang and strangle a kitten. Always check cupboards and dresser drawers before shutting them to be sure your kitten is not hiding inside.

Keep appliances closed or he may think he has found the perfect warm hidy-hole to sleep in, until the appliance is turned on. It may sound funny at first, but kittens die every day by being accidentally shut inside a dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer or stove.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Giving Your Cat the Safest Place to Come Back To

When one thinks about cats as pets, the image that comes to mind is of a big furry cat lying down in his cat bed with a big plate of milk by his side. Cats have been known to be lazy, aristocratic interior house pets but that is not necessarily a rule. Most cats are very active, natural born hunters, who like to wander freely. For those, you might want to consider acquiring outdoor cat houses.
Many owners, when they have the habitation facilities for it, choose to give their cats the liberty to live outside and enjoy the freedom of having somewhere safe and comfortable to come back to when they feel tired of wandering. A great way to keep your cat coming back after his adventures is by providing them with comfortable outdoor cat houses. If you own a big house with a spacious garden, outdoor cat houses might be the way to provide with cat with proper housing in a safe environment.
Celtic Cat Plaque

Outdoor cat houses should be very sturdy and safe; preferably made of durable non toxic materials. They should protect your cat from rain, cold, wind and snow if it comes to that. On the other hand, they should not be excessively warm and they should be able to adapt to warmer weather. Remember that the cat should always feel conformable inside his own house, so he won’t need to wander outside in order to find a comfortable place to stay.
Most outdoor cat houses are made of isolated wood, which should have received a specific treatment to make them water and wind proof. They usually contain vinyl doors, in order to make it easy for your cat to go in and out and still keep the outdoor cat house warm and protected.
The floor should also be taken care of in a proper way, in order to isolate the complete house. If you really want to add a special treat to your cat, you will be amazed at the amount of outdoor cat house toys you can find, to put inside your new cat house and give your cat another good reason to keep coming back to his safe place.

Other popular outdoor cat houses include models made of synthetic materials that are specifically fabricated to withstand very cold or very warm weather. When buying synthetic outdoor cat houses make sure they are not made of toxic materials and that they are actually safe for your cat.
There are several outdoor cat houses available in the market today, and by doing a market research you will see you can find the perfect one within your budget as they come in all sizes and types of finishing’s. You can go for a more modest version or, if you have the financial means, there are several luxury outdoor cat house models available.
Cat Plaque

Cats are free and independent animals. They are feline hunters by nature and they were not made to be kept inside the house at all times. Keep your cat happy by providing him the opportunity to be free and safe at the same time. If he knows that by coming back he will find a perfect and safe place to be, he won’t need to go wondering for comfort. Outdoor cat houses are a great choice for the true cat lovers.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Common Cat Health Problems

If you are new to owning a cat, you may be surprised to find that cat health problems are a common thing. No matter what breed of cat you own, cat health problems are to be expected. Some may be hereditary, while others can easily be prevented.

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No matter what breed of cat it may be, worms are a very common and recurring problem. Tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms are among the most common that infect cats. Cats who have problems gaining weight, problems with fleas, or if you find white specks in his stool, you should have your vet test him for worms. Although they can be treated with medicine, worms can prove to be fatal if they are left untreated.

Hairballs are the most common cat health problem. All cats groom themselves on a daily basis, normally swallowing the loose hair that comes from their coats. On occasion, this loose hair will gather into a ball and become lodged in the digestive tract instead of passing through in your cat’s stool. When your cat starts to cough and hack, he is normally coughing up a hairball. Although it can be rather disgusting in the end, most cats can dislodge hairballs without any problems.

In rare cases, a hairball can pass through to a cat’s intestine, creating a blockage. Blockages are very serious problems, and can be life threatening if they aren’t treated. If your cat becomes constipated, isn’t eating properly, or has a very dull coat, he could have a blockage. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take him to the vet immediately. You can prevent hairballs and blockages by brushing your cat 2 – 3 times a week to remove loose hair. You can also feed him food that is designed to control hairballs as well.

Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection is also a common cat health problem. Urinary tract infection is more common with male cats that haven’t been neutered, although females can suffer from this problem as well. When a cat suddenly stops going to his litter box, this problem is normally the cause. Another symptom is when the cat’s urine starts to smell really strong. If you suspect that your cat has a urinary tract infection, you should take him to the vet. Your vet can treat the problem with medicine, and make recommendations to help avoid this problem in the future.

Feline leukemia
In the past, feline leukemia was the biggest cause of death in cats. These days however, there are vaccines available that can treat the disease. To treat the disease, your cat will need to be given the shot before he or she is exposed. Even though death doesn’t happen immediately, cats that are exposed to feline leukemia normally don’t have a long life span. If you know your cat has feline leukemia, you should never allow other cats around him, as the virus is highly contagious.

To protect your cat, you should always make sure that you take him to the vet for his regular check ups. If you keep him up to date on his vaccinations, he should lead a healthy and productive life. Although some cat health problems can’t be avoided, most of them can. You can also keep your cat indoors as well, which will protect him from a majority of cat health problems. If your cat is an outdoor cat, regular visits to the vet will keep him healthy. As long as you take your cat to the vet and keep him healthy – he will be your companion for years to come.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Test Your Feline Felicity

1. The Cat Family, or the family Felidae, includes at least 35 species of cats that are similar in physical characteristics. Which is NOT a member of the Cat Family?
A. Kodkod
B. Margay
C. Ocelot
D. Fox

D. Fox
TBD: Did you know that cats are regarded by many biologists as the most highly developed carnivores?

2. Do you know how many breeds of domestic cat there are?
A. 20
B. 40
C. 60
D. 80

B. 40
TBD: There are about 40 varieties, or breeds, of domestic cats recognized internationally.

3. Cats became objects of worship in Egypt for what reason?
A. The dog was already worshipped by the Assyrians.
B. Egyptians worshipped the sun and recognized the cat's affinity for the sun.
C. Their ability to keep down the rodent population in Eygpt's economically-important grain fields along the Nile.
D. Their grace and beauty.

C. Their ability to keep down the rodent population in Eygpt's economically-important grain fields along the Nile.
TBD: A very practical notion.

4. What is the collective name for a group of cats?
A. Sleuth
B. Murder
C. Gang
D. Clowder

D. Clowder
TBD: The other answers are collective names as well. You have a sleuth of bears, a murder of crows, and a gang of elks.

5. Cats are indigenous to all continents except which two?
A. Antarctica and Australia
B. Eurasia and South America
C. Antarctica and North America
D. Australia and Eurasia

A. Antarctica and Australia
TBD: This was new to us, too!

6. Who or what was Bastet?
A. The first domestic cat.
B. Egyptian cat goddess with the body of a woman and the head of a cat.
C. Egyptian goddess of war who was assisted by a magical cat.
D. The Egyptian pharaoh who declared that cats were sacred.

B. Egyptian cat goddess with the body of a woman and the head of a cat.
TBD: She was the goddess of love and fertility.

7. All cats are digitigrade which means they walk on their toes with the back part of the foot raised. Which cats do NOT have claws that are completely retractile?
A. Geoffrey's Cat
B. Cheetah
C. Jaguar
D. Little spotted cat

B. Cheetah
TBD: Actually the Cheetah is the only cat, including all the other large cats, with this distinction. Who knew?

8. Which is NOT a way that the Egyptians used the cat?
A. Retriever for birds
B. Racing animals
C. Object of worship
D. Hunting animals

B. Racing animals
TBD: It was true that cats were trained to retrieve birds brought down by their masters!

9. These breeds are all lacking something, what is it (respectively)? The Manx, Cymric, and Sphynx.
A. Tail and hair
B. Ears, hair, and tail
C. Claws, tail, and hair
D. Tail

A. Tail and hair
TBD: The Sphynx is a hairless cat while the Manx and Cymric are shorthaired and longhaired cats without tails.

10. Which region CANNOT claim a breed of rex?
A. Selkirk
B. Devonshire
C. Wales
D. Cornwall

C. Wales
TBD: There is a Selkirk Rex from Wyoming's Selkirk Mountains, a Devon Rex from Devonshire, England, and a Cornish Rex from Cornwall, England, but no Welsh Rex.

11. What is the scientific classification of the domestic cat?
A. Felis catus
B. Felis domesticus
C. Acinonyx jubatus
D. Panthera leo

A. Felis catus
TBD: That was too easy! By the way, The QuizQueen made Felis domesticus up, Acinonyx jubatus is the cheetah, and Panthera leo is the lion.

12. Which is NOT a characteristic of the cat?
A. The ability to taste sweet things
B. The ability to hunt in the dark
C. Using its sensitive whiskers to sense changes in the environment
D. Papillae to clean the flesh from the bones of animal prey

A. The ability to taste sweet things
TBD: This was new to us, too!

13. Two pigments form the basis for all coat colors in the modern domestic cat. These two pigments may be combined with each other or with white (the absence of pigment). What are the two pigments?
A. Black and orange
B. Black and white
C. Black and blue
D. Orange and blue

A. Black and orange
TBD: Scientists believe the domestic cat's original coat color was probably greyish-brown with darker tabby stripes, a color that provides excellent camouflage in a variety of environments. All other coat colors are the result of genetic mutations.

14. How many vocal sounds does a cat have?
A. 10
B. 50
C. 100
D. 150

C. 100
TBD: Most dogs have only about 10.

15. When a famous cartoon Cat and Mouse made their debut in 1939, what was the Cat's name?
A. Tom
B. Jerry
C. Jasper
D. Morris

C. Jasper
TBD: In later cartoons, they would become Tom and Jerry, but in Puss Gets the Boot, the feline co-star was named Jasper.

You can enjoy more trivia created by Deanna Mascle at Trivia By Dawggone,">Fun Trivia Online, and Trivia Tidbit.

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You can enjoy more trivia created by Deanna Mascle at A Trivia Break, The QuizQueen, and Trivial Topics.