Sunday Selfie: Kittens Have Arrived
Today is a glorious day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the air is full of joy… why? Because we have kittens!
There are these four gorgeous boys who need some love and care (and flea treatments) before they go and find their forever home.
They aren’t tiny and will probably only be with us for a couple of weeks… but they are joyful and playful and just so much FUN!
We haven’t decided on what their names are yet… so if you have any suggestions, leave your ideas in the comments and we will introduce these handsome boys in the next few days.
As always we are joining our friends over at The Cat on My Head for this blog hop.
Meow for now… Kristian
5 Reasons to Keep Your Cat Happy and Safe Indoors
All cat owners must have heard the question: ‘is your cat an outdoor cat or an indoor cat?’ at least a dozen times. In fact, I sometimes feel that this question is asked more frequently than ‘is your cat a girl or a boy?’! Cat owners tend to take the answer to this question neutrally, whatever it is: indoor cats and outdoor cats are usually seen to be equal, but different. However, a growing body of cat owners are starting to argue that cats are much safer indoors. Are you already acquainted with this argument? If not, read on to read a few of the main reasons why, it can be argued, cats are much safer indoors. What do you think?
Young cats – keep them in!
As well all know, kittens need a few rounds of vaccines in the first year of their lives (and then boosters each year or so afterwards, and more for travel, as necessary). These first vaccinations are super important, though: your kitty is not born immune to Feline Distemper or Feline Leukaemia (two of the ailments commonly vaccinated against in the early stages of a cat’s life): rather, they need to acquire immunity through vaccination.
Your kitten can get some pretty awful (and costly) diseases if allowed to play outside before it is fully vaccinated. It is a good idea to keep your kitty indoors for a few weeks after they have finished having these first vaccines, too, to ensure that they have thoroughly worked their magic. Check with your veterinarian about which vaccines your cat needs (some cats will need different mixes of vaccines to others, whether because of the area you live in or because they are more prone to certain illnesses genetically), and for any advice they may have for you.
Little baby kittens!
OK, now I have your attention! We all love kittens, but if you let an un-spayed or un-neutered cat out of the house, chances are, it will mate. In various parts of the US, and all over the world, un-neutered and un-spayed stray cats are becoming a big problem: stealing food from domestic cats, starting fights (we’ll get to that topic later) spreading disease, and, of course, breeding with each other and with domestic cats in ever increasing numbers. A sure fire way to contribute to the stray cat population is letting your male cat out of doors before they have been neutered. Whilst letting a female cat out of doors before she has been spayed is a fool proof method for landing yourself with a litter of kittens each year!
Perhaps you want your cat to have a litter of kittens, and you have enough room to care for them all. Perhaps some cat loving friends are eager for new kittens to welcome into their own homes once they are weaned. In this case, go forth and multiply! It can be such a magical experience for your kids, to see cute, furry new life being brought into the world. Just make sure to research how to care for pregnant cats and newborn kittens thoroughly. It’s just as important to remember to have your cat spayed when they have recovered from the birth and their kittens have been weaned.
It is best to keep your female cat indoors until after they have been spayed. As you can see from the above male cats should be kept indoors until after they have been neutered.
Tom cats (un-neutered male cats) are especially notorious for fighting. Cat fights often happen over territory, with tom cats generally commanding larger territories than neutered male cats and female cats. Even if your cat is a timid little thing, it may still stray into the territory of a local stray tom cat and wind up getting into a fight. A vet will need to examine your cat after any fight that results in cat scratches. This can be costly if extra vaccines may be in order, depending on your cat’s vaccination status. One simple way of avoiding this issue is (yes, you guessed it!) to keep your cat indoors!
Busy roads are very dangerous to cats. If you live near to one it is a good idea to keep them indoors. Fatalities on roads are a big killer of domestic cats. Your kitty could dart in front of a moving vehicle without the driver noticing them. Moving to a new play which is beside a busy highway is one of the main reasons why people have turned their outdoor cats into indoor cats.
Keeping indoor cats happy!
If you have decided to keep indoor cats rather than outdoor cats, there are plenty of ways that you can keep them purr-fectly happy and satisfied all day long. You can give them plenty of toys (whether that is a classic toy stuffed with catnip or one of the high tech feline apps that are available for cats to play on on smartphones these days) and lots of affection too.
Do you live in quite a small apartment? Studies have shown that it is not so much the size of your apartment that matters when it comes to having an indoor cat. Rather the number of nooks and crannies and dividing walls that your cat can explore and hide behind. Use curtains on your windows for cats to play peek a boo, give them a scratching post to exercise their claws on; and consider planting some cat friendly pot-plants in little containers around your home. This last piece of advice is due to the fact that cats, when they are outdoors, tend to eat grass to cleanse their gut of hairballs and other nasties, so you may need a simple indoor solution to this!
You can also get specialized kitty leashes if you want to take an indoor cat outdoors safely. Be prepared to potentially get some odd looks from the neighbors!
Download our guide to apartment living with your cat!
Meow for now… Kristian
What to do When Your Cat Has Passed Away
Losing a pet can be a huge loss. Often it feels that it is not simply like losing one of the family – it very literally is losing one of the family. Dealing with the grief that comes from the loss of a beloved cat can be very hard, and it is important to acknowledge that this grief is real. Animals are part of our families and lives. They add so much joy. However, they do not live nearly as long as we would like them to. There are several things that can help with the grief, however, and chief among these is commemorating your cat’s life in a fitting way. As well as providing a sense of closure and validation, commemorating your cat properly enables you to remember them for ever more.
My cat has died. How can I commemorate him?
There are several ways to commemorate a beloved pet, and of course your commemoration should be an individual one: one that reflects both the unique personality and life of your cat and your own relationship to them. Below are some suggestions for frameworks that you can use to commemorate your pet after their passing. You can customize and adapt these frameworks so that they reflect your pet’s place within your family, and your life.
A memorial service
Just as we come together to celebrate the life of a human being that we have loved with a funeral, so too can we arrange a memorial service for a cat that has passed away. The form of this service can be however you wish. For example, you could gather together with friends and family members to share photos of your cat, tell anecdotes about them, and screen any videos that you have of them. After, you could have a short party (like a wake) to celebrate your cat’s life.
This could be combined with a burial or cremation if you wish. Many pet crematoria offer facilities for a memorial service. Or, you could make the memorial service a separate event on a separate day.
A photo memorial
Images of your cat will enable them to live on in your memory forever. You could collect together photos of them to create a scrapbook style memorial, or you could arrange a selection of photographs (or a single photo) in a frame and display it on the wall of your house. Some people like to make a time capsule relating to their cat, putting a few of their toys, some photographs and some information about them into the ground in a sealed container for future generations to find. Another way that you can use photographs is to place a miniature photograph into a locket to keep your cat close to your heart.
Make a donation to an animal charity
Make sure that other cats are loved just as much as you loved yours by making a donation to an animal charity. Most animal charities will enable you to make a donation in your cat’s name, so you can make this into part of their lasting legacy. When it comes to remembering a human or animal that we have loved, there is nothing like spreading more love and kindness in the world to ensure that the essence of that loving relationship lives on and multiplies in the hearts and minds of others throughout the world.
Volunteer and make a difference!
Engaging in practical and worthwhile activities can be a very good way of dealing with grief. And what better way to remember your cat than to volunteer at an animal shelter, animal sanctuary or other animal based charity? You could also volunteer behind the counter in a local charity store, whose proceeds go to help animals need. Think about what skills you might have and how you can put them to good use to help other animals.
If you do not have time to help regularly at a local animal charity, rest assured that plenty of these charities run one off initiatives that members of the public can volunteer at. For instance, often in winter, animal shelters will ask members of the public to knit blankets for their furry boarders to sleep in. Or, when they are mounting a big campaign, animal charities tend to really appreciate the help of members of the public who are willing to give up some of their time in order to go from door to door handing out fliers or man the phone lines asking for donations.
Have you had a pet cross over the rainbow bridge? How did you cope?
Meow for now… Kristian
6 Things a New Cat Owner Needs
Preparing for the arrival of a new cat can be so much fun. Of course, part of this preparation involves research into cats and their habits, as well as practical advice on topics such as how to litter train a kitten or how to make your house cat proof. This is particularly important if you are getting a cat for the very first time in your life, and thus entering into the unknown! Another aspect of welcoming a new feline into your home is amassing all of the items that you will need to make their life a comfortable and pleasant one.
What do I need for my new cat?
You will need the following essential things: paperwork, food (including treats), toys, bowls, a place to sleep and a collar.
OK, let’s do the admin part first. You will need to register your new cat with a vet and get the paperwork that shows that their vaccines are up to date. If they need some vaccines, these will need to be done, too. In addition, you may wish to get your cat microchipped. This is useful if they go missing, because if someone finds them and hands them in to a vet or an animal shelter, the staff there will be able to trace you via the data stored in the microchip.
Make sure to get food that suits your cat. If they are a kitten, they will need specific kitten food (kitten milk is also available if you want to try that). If they are elderly or on a special diet, they will also perhaps need something a little different to regular adult cat food. Make sure to buy them a small packet of treats too – treats are great for making friends with your new cat!
Plush toys, dangling toys (make sure that they are kitten proof), balls and even cat friendly apps for the tablet or iPad are all good options here. A scratching post is a very useful ‘toy’ that stops your kitten from tearing your favorite items of furniture to shreds. Throwing a few catnip toys into the mix is sure to get your cat playing!
A separate food bowl and a water bowl will be needed for a new cat. If you have other cats in the house, it is worth while getting a new set of bowls for a new cat so that your cats do not get into habits of stealing or sharing food, making it difficult for you to control their diets. It might be helpful to purchase a wipe clean mat to place under the bowls, too, so the floor near to them does not get dirty with cat food or splashed with water.
A place to sleep
Designate a place where your cat or kitten can sleep (like our DIY cat tent with 3 things you have at home). You can buy them a cat bed if you want to, or you can just lay a blanket down on an old armchair or fold one into a crate in a warm place in the kitchen. Do not be insulted, though, if your cat selects their own place to kip: cats are very independent animals!
A collar with a little tag that has your details on is so useful for identifying your cat as yours. This is particularly important if your cat will be spending any time outside.
Anything we’ve forgotten here as essential for a cat?
Meow for now… Kristian
What You Need To Know About Flying With Your Cat
Travelling with your cat by plane need not be a daunting experience! Navigating issues such as quarantining, pet passports and keeping your pet calm and happy on the plane is pretty easy when you know how. So, follow these handy tips and you will find that no matter where you go with your kitty, you will both have a wonderful time!
First things first
Check the travel advice for the country you plan to visit – some countries have different restrictions and rules relating to the transport of animals, as well as those relating to the different vaccines that your beloved feline will need to have in order to cross the border. So be sure that you know about them well in advance of your departure. And, be sure to pay a quick visit to your vet to ensure that your kitty has a clean bill of health before you fly!
Pet passports – is it worth getting one?
A pet passport enables you to take your pet between several different countries (all countries that are members of the so-called Pet Travel ‘PETS’ scheme) without them having to be quarantined. A pet passport will have a record of your cat’s vaccines as well as other data, and your kitty will usually need to have a microchip to accompany the passport.
If you and your cat are paying a short visit to another country (perhaps you even make several short-ish trips a year) it is probably worth getting a passport, as you do not want your cat to have to spend the whole time in quarantine while you are on holiday! With the rise of pet friendly hotels, and airlines that enable cat owners to have cats in baskets sitting beside them on their seat, more and more cat owners are choosing to take their kitties with them on holiday – hence there has been a surge in the number of people taking out pet passports!
If, however, you are planning on making a single plane trip – for instance, perhaps you are emigrating to another country and planning to live there for a while – you may not think it is worth it to get a passport for your cat. Instead, you may feel that you can just let your kitty be quarantined for a couple of weeks before they can join you in your new home.
Do cats always find plane travel stressful?
Some cats do, and some don’t. It is very important to be aware of your cat’s temperament and not to force them to travel if they find it overwhelming. Always have a back up plan, such as a friend who can care for your cat whilst you are away, if you find that your kitty is getting too stressed out to travel with you on the plane.
If you think your cat will be okay, make sure to get them used to being in their basket for a while. Taking them on car trips with plenty of water and toys in their basket, as well as lots of treats at the end of the journey, is a good way to accustom them to taking trips with you. Bon voyage!
Leave us a comment with your experiences of flying with your cat.
Meow for now… Kristian