Shadow and Frosty weigh in on the #Bruneldebate – Katie Hopkins: Students Walk Out
In spite of the fact that it is hard to separate the seasons while living in Sydney (an aside: lately, I have thought that Summer begins in October with the heat we have had, however the date-book lets me know otherwise), I saw on my calendar and from the Google Doodle that spelled out “Google” with delightful Spring blossoms that we have authoritatively entered Spring season. What’s more, in the animal kingdom, Spring season is synonymous with kittens. Lots of them. Every day.
I have compiled the most commonly asked questions (and answers) about kitten season.
Kitten season is the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation with homeless litters. Kitten season is really three seasons in one, starting in spring, peaking in late spring or early summer, and ending in autumn.
As cats have very little difficulty conceiving and giving birth, nearly every undesexed female cat who is exposed to one, or more, undesexed males will become pregnant. She may even be bred by more than one male, including those related to her. Even females who are nursing kittens can be rebred and have another litter in the same year.
Why does kitten season occur? Because too many kittens are born when cats who are not spayed and neutered mate. The easiest way to help reduce the overwhelming numbers of unwanted cats is to spay and neuter your own cat and encourage others to do the same. Unaltered cats are driven by their hormones and tend to sneak outdoors primarily in search of a mate. Mating just once can start a domino effect that can result in dozens, even hundreds or thousands of unwanted animals. A cat can become pregnant at just 5 months old!
These unwanted cats and kittens, when not left on the street to fend for themselves, often turn up in large numbers at the local animal shelter and other rescue groups.
Resources that are already limited —like food, money, and space—are often stretched to their limit as shelters and other rescue groups are inundated with homeless kittens. As shelters and rescue groups struggle to house as many cats as possible, the risk of illness increases.
The chances that an adult cat will find a home typically drop—they are generally overlooked by potential adopters when cute kittens are in abundance. The burden often carries over to staff and vet services, who attempt to cope with the overwhelming number of cats.
Kittens need to be fostered before they are able to be put to the public for adoption, fostering means that they are checked for any illnesses and cared for in a loving home with lots of play time and cuddles while they get old enough to be de-sexed. Kittens as young as 8 weeks old and weighing 1 kilogram can be de-sexed.
If kittens are not in the shelters they grow up in the wild meaning they can grow up to become a danger to native wildlife in their struggle to survive.
Try not to treat a kitten like a cat
A kitten requires totally distinctive consideration from a grown-up cat. kittens experience different phases of change through the first year. By eight weeks of age, a cat is weaned and prepared to eat kibble. Playing is an important part of growing up kittens and they need to be stimulated with different toys.
Socialize and reward good behavior
It’s important to introduce kittens to a variety of normal household situations and noises so that they don’t become fraidy cats and experience anxiety as older cats (for example, vacuuming). Lot’s of cuddles and play time with you will keep them socialised and feeling loved. Reward good behaviour with treats and cuddles.
Take the kittens to see a veterinarian as quickly as time permits
Make sure your kittens are vaccinated so they don’t get sick and are de-sexed when it is their time! It’s certainly difficult to be responsible for another 8 mouths to feed and raise during kitten season!
Meow for now … Kristian Taylor
— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) November 24, 2015
What better way to fight terror than with pictures of cute, fluffy cats and their antics? Well, that is certainly what the people of Brussels have been thinking over the last few days, as they used cat pictures to help the police to keep their operations secret. Feeling confused? All will become clear…
A few days ago, anti terror police in Brussels began an operation in one of their suburbs, seeing (among others) the supposed mastermind behind the recent terror attacks in Paris. As modern Twitter users tend to do, people who had got wind of the police operation started to tweet details about it for everyone to see. Locations, times, dates, and even photographs of the various police operations started to pop up on Twitter, marked by the hashtag #brusselslockdown. The ‘lockdown’ part of the hashtag relates to the fact that over the past few days, Brussels has been subject to a pretty strict curfew, with schools closed on Monday in the capital and the country’s terror alert raised to level 4: its highest possible level. As you can see, the situation in Brussels is serious, and the police operations in various locations in the capital are sensitive ones.
So what did the Brussels police do when they saw the hashtag? Well, for a start, they got a little mad with the people who had posted it. Several official announcements appeared from the anti terror police and various civic institutions, requesting Belgian citizens not to tweet information about the operations also started to appear on Twitter. And then…the Belgian public responded in their own way…
The problem was, even though the police and other institutions had asked people to stop posting information about the police operations, their tweets were still visible on Twitter. This information could potentially be used by terrorists to keep themselves out of the eye of the law. So, ordinary Belgian citizens decided to bury tweets about the police operations under a mountain of cute cat pictures. By matching up cat pictures with the hashtag #brusselslockdown, they soon swamped out any description of the operations under a deluge of fluffy felines.
The trend grew and more and more people started posting pictures of their cats, with some people even jokingly posting cats that seemed to be acting out their own ‘lockdown’ (hiding under the duvet for instance). Try searching for the hashtag yourself: I challenge you to piece together much info about the police raids from the huge wave of cat pics. It is like finding a needle in a haystack.
The response to this trend on Twitter has been overwhelmingly positive. One user, for instance, explained the trend for posting cat pictures and added simply ‘love my country <3’. For us devoted cat lovers, this is another example of cats saving the day yet again. Even if you do not live in Belgium, you can lend a helping hand by tweeting a picture of your cat and #brusselslockdown.
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) November 22, 2015
Feral and free-ranging cats lead busy and complex lives. They often maintain large territories, which contain a wide range of habitats, such as urban gardens, farmland, forest and more. They hunt, explore, scavenge for food and interact with other cat in the area. On the other hand, pet cats, especially the ones living exclusively indoors, get bored easily. This can lead cats to be “naughty” or look for entertainment and being destructive. Playing with your cat improves their health as well as being a lot of fun for you and them. It also saves your furniture and carpets from some of those naughty behaviours you might be used to.
Cats who don’t play lack stimulation. They can be quite aggressive, both with other pets in the household, people and furniture. Young cats who lack these enrichment opportunities often pester owners to play at inappropriate hours during the night and day. They often start to interact destructively with plants, furniture and other objects in the home and is a sure sign they are bored and looking to play.
Cats lacking play and stimulation can also become reclusive. They are likely to retreat from new objects or people that enter homes. These cats also get scared by new sounds and sights. Cats lacking play are often attracted to perch on windows peering outside and over-react to the presence of other animals, eventually showing signs of distress.
Regular play is important for improving your cat’s health (and keeping your relationship with them fun and exciting). When cats are bored, they display aggressive traits. You should teach your cat not to bite, attack or scratch you during play sessions. You should praise and reward the cat for playing gently. When your cat shows signs of aggression, you should end the play session (just until they calm down). This teaches them good behavior.
According to experts, cats need fun in their lives to learn and grow. Just like humans exercise to keep their bodies and minds in tip top shape, cats need the same. Playing with your cat on a regular basis, breaks the monotony and gives you both something exciting to look forward to. This ensures you have a less aggressive and more confident cat. Hunting is considered to be a natural instinct of cats. When a cat is confined indoors, it has little chance to develop and express itself, regular play sessions provides a great replacement and it’s a lot of fun.
It’s better to indulge your cat in a wide range of activities. You should enjoy the play time with some interesting cat toys. It’s recommended to purchase a wide range of cat toys, but use just a few in a single session. Like everyone, cats get bored of the same toys over and over again. Keeping a rotating box of toys that your use and put away for them to forget is a good way of keeping things fresh. Change out the toys in the box every 1-2 months, anything they no longer play with goes into the box; by the time it comes back out it is like they have a brand new toy.
If you are using small toys (like catnip mice) you need to make sure the toys can’t be swallowed by your cat. Encourage your cat to play with small bells, string, ribbons and other household items but ensure they can’t swallow them or get caught up in them. Plastic bags, elastic/rubber bands and anything with sharp edges (bobby pins, paperclips etc) are considered to be dangerous because it can damage their intestinal systems if swallowed. If your cat is playing with these then it’s a sure sign they need some new toys and some playtime with you. A caution for those that live in warmer weather, leaving your flip flops and sandals out can be unsafe, particularly if your cat likes to chew on them as they have bits that can be easily broken or chewed off – especially if they are rubber or plastic. This can be a very expensive exercise with surgery and vet bills, as well as the stress for you and your cat. There’s no doubt that playing with your cat on a regular basis is perfect for improving your cat’s health. In fact, it also helps you build a stronger relationship with your cat. Over time, it builds better relationships and is fun for both you and your furry friends.
Download our 10 fun exercises you can do with your cat.
Even though the ancestors of domestic cats, i.e., African wildcats used to hunt at night, the modern cats are not really nocturnal in nature. Cats are usually cooperative and they try to match with our schedules. So, their nighttime activities cannot really be blamed on their feline internal clock. If your cat is waking you up from sleep at night for quite a long time now, it’s important to try to figure out the reason behind it.
Many of the humans get up at night as they feel hungry. Similarly, cats might even feel hungry during the night. So, your cat might be waking you up to feed her. The best way to stop this habit is by giving her sufficient amount of healthy snack before she goes to bed, like some food which is high on protein. You can even take suggestions from your vet, if you can divide your cat’s food in smaller meals throughout the day, so that, it can give her more satisfaction.
In situations where owners leave their cats back at home all alone, they do not get the chance of indulging themselves in enough activities all through the day. They often end up sleeping throughout the day and become more active at night. So, make sure that your cat can indulge in a variety of activities to use up their energy, so that you can get a good night’s sleep. You can keep some toys for them or even find out some innovative feeling methods, like hiding some food at different parts of the house. You should even spend some time to keep them active once you return from work.
If you have got a new cat from a shelter, it might find it difficult to sleep in a new environment. They might have a habit of sleeping with their housemates in the shelter and now they might be feeling lonely. You will have to allow her to sleep in your room, so that, she does not feel alone or scared in her new home. Or, just adopt two cats so they can keep each other company – during the day and night.
Your cat might be suffering from a medical condition, which is not letting them sleep properly at night. If your cat is old and has developed the habit of waking you up lately, then there is a high chance that they are not well and feeling uneasy for some reason. Some of the common ailments that are found in the older cats are, toothache, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and high blood pressure. If you suspect any of that immediately, you should immediately take them to your vet.
Your cat might even feel uneasy in extreme weather conditions and cannot sleep comfortably. Make sure that you are providing a comfortable sleeping area for your cat. In the winter seasons you can make their bed somewhere near the heater.
Cats generally cannot bear any light while sleeping, as they have more light-sensitive receptors in their eyes. Thus, even a dim light can spoil their night’s sleep and keep them awake and alert. You will often see them covering their eyes during the day. Try to keep it dark inside to improve their ability to sleep.
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