“Long nights, a rough bed; our cat’s ‘meow,’ running through our head,” we’ve all been there. 3 A.M. wake up calls asking for a meal, or simply for attention. It’s the same old pattern, and we always get up to heed our furry companion’s companion beck and call.
However, consecutive sleepless nights won’t do any of you some good. As important as giving our cats the attention and love they need, it’s crucial that we take care of ourselves, and we get some shut eye as well. So, how exactly do we train our cats to do just that?
Guide Your Cat’s Circadian Rhythm
Much like humans, cats have their own circadian rhythms as well, and they vary greatly from ours. Cats are nocturnal, and are naturally inclined to wake from dusk ‘til dawn. Now, it is possible to reset their body clocks, but you’d have to guide their circadian rhythms first. To efficiently influence it, it’s going to be our job as their parents to provide them with, and maintain, a feeding schedule.
The best way to affect a cat’s behaviour is by strategically controlling their feeding schedule. Allowing them to eat whenever (and whatever) they want is what’s hindering us from dramatically making an impact to them. Without a schedule, you’ll also be putting your cat’s body in a constant flux of digestion, making their energies highly unpredictable. It’s best to stop free feeding, and stick to scheduled meal times, which is better for your cats.
Try to Get them To Sleep When You Do
Feeding your cat it’s last meal an hour and a half, prior to your bed time, is a good technique to try and get them to sleep when you do. However, don’t give it to them immediately. What you want to do is to give your cat a sweet amount of play time, tiring them out, before feeding it to them.
Cats run on four principles: Hunt. Catch. Kill. Eat. The play time will serve as the “hunt, catch, and kill,” part. Once they’re pooped out, then you let them eat, and soon after that, they’ll be grooming themselves ‘til they finally fall asleep.
Learn to Ignore Them Completely
Now, there’ll be times when they still won’t let you sleep, despite everything you’ve done. This is where things get serious because the next thing you have to do is… You have to ignore them completely. Yes, you read that, you ignore them completely.
The point of ignoring them is to discourage them to repeat their behaviour. Whether it’s in a positive, or negative way, responding to them is still attention. Tell your cats that nothing is going to happen whenever they do that certain behaviour, by not heeding to it.
Before your cat finally learns to let you sleep through the night, it’s going to be an uphill battle. However, the payoff will be so much worth it, for both you and your cat, as you let your body get some of rightfully earned snores. No more late night wake up calls.
Is your cat giving you the stink eye every time you try to give them a little hug? If so, it could be a sign that your cat is not a big fan of hugs. Regardless of whether your furbaby is a lovable softie or an independent ruler, here are some habits we do that actually drive them up the wall!
Let’s face it: No one likes to be forced into a bone-crushing hug, regardless of whether the recipient is actually a hugger or not! The same rule applies to cats who generally prefer a level of distance between themselves and their humans.
Lack of Attention
Consequently, cats are also not a big fan of lacking affection. While they don’t like forced affection, they generally aren’t big fans of being ignored either. So next time you think you’re spending too much time on your laptop, your little friend might give you a hint by effectively lying down on your keyboard for a belly rub.
Cats are very sensitive creatures especially when it comes to noise. Certain pranks like sneaking up on them from behind and actively shouting “Boo!” just to get a reaction from them is not something they look forward to.
Not Letting Them Win
Is your cat a fan of chasing the red dot from your laser pointer? If so, it might be a good idea to let them catch the dot or feather and win once in a while. Cats generally like a good workout but playing a game that never gives them the fair chance of winning can discourage them from future games.
Water and cats don’t mix unless you have a quirky cat who actually doesn’t mind getting in the tub! The reason why cats generally hate baths is because they are wired to believe that wet fur attracts their natural predators in the wild.
Are you thinking of dressing Snuffles in a pirate costume for Halloween? If so, you might want to think again. Cats are notoriously sensitive creatures that rely on their whiskers, ears, and other body parts to sense incoming danger. Certain costumes that cover their ears, limit their vision, and affect their defense system can add stress to your cat instead of making them happy!
Lack of Hygiene
Not cleaning your kitty’s litter box is another annoyance that they simply would not tolerate. After all, you wouldn’t like it if your partner didn’t flush the toilet after using it, right?
Smoking causes damage to the smoker and the surrounding parties which also include your pets. Like dogs, cats rely on their sense of smell to understand their environment which can be a hindrance if their human is a chainsmoker. Pets of smokers are also most likely to get certain types of cancers which means it’s probably a good idea to limit your smoking or quit it altogether!
While most cats often display a more “tolerable” attitude towards certain habits, it is always best to think twice before attempting any of the above. After all, while your cat loves you, there are certain instances where they may feel uneasy around you which can affect your relationship in the long run. Remember to give them enough affection and allow them to come to you at their own pace. Treat them with respect and love and they are most likely going to do the same.
So you decided to get a pet cat (a great decision by the way!) and you’re nervous because you never had one before. Well look further, here are some tips for first-time cat owners need to remember before bringing their cat home:
Consider Your Situation
Assess your situation first before getting a cat. For instance, are you currently living alone or are you living with family? Are you staying in a house or are you currently renting an apartment? Are you away from your home a lot? Do you have young children around? The list goes on. While cats are fairly independent creatures, they still require attention and affection which is why we need to consider how they would fit in our daily lifestyle.
Cat-Proof Your Home
Once you are certain that you are bringing a cat home, make sure to cat-proof your home. This includes keeping counters and other surfaces clean and free from sharp objects that could potentially harm your cat. Make sure you’re not keeping any dangerous plants around and put away your valuable items or at least at a place where your cat can’t reach them.
Invest In Essential Items
Some essential items include cat food, food bowls, collars, a cat carrier, name tags, a personal litter box, kitty litter, a scratching post, a cat bed, shampoo, a brush, and toys. For future cat owners who are on a budget, you can make your very own DIY cat toys to entertain your feline friends.
Get Them Vaccinated
If you’re adopting a cat from a shelter, remember to ask the stuff whether your cat is vaccinated and whether they give out regular vaccinations. For kittens who are not from shelters (i.e. bought from pet shops or if you have taken in a stray), consider putting aside a budget so you can get them vaccinated at a clinic. Some essential kitten vaccinations include prevention from feline rhinotracheitis, feline panleukopenia (FVRCP), and feline calicivirus. For adult cats, make sure to consult with your veterinarian on the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.
Once your house is ready for your feline friend, make sure to watch them over with patience and understanding. For cats, living in a new environment can be a stressful situation which is why it is important to provide a safe haven for them.
Upon arriving home, try to set up a small room that will serve as their “first” territory. This can be any small, quiet room like a small bedroom, a small corner at the living room, or a walk-in closet. Keep your cat in the carrier while you set up their safe space and allow them to get used to their surroundings. Remember to put everything the cat needs within their space like their litter box, food, and water, toys, scratching post, bed, and other essentials. Once you are done preparing their room/spot, open the carrier and let your cat decide whether they should explore or not. Remember not to force them to do something they aren’t prepared to do since cats usually have an adjustment period of a few days or more. Once they are used to their room or “spot”, open some doors to let them explore other places in your home.
Taking care of a cat is a big responsibility although the rewards are great! Once you are able to introduce your pet into your new home, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to become a cat parent. Always remember to search for additional cat care tips and take time a veterinarian or a cat behaviour expert for additional tips.
This wonderful plant has been associated with felines for as one can remember – it has been known to have bizzare effects on cats and has lasting effects of hallucination and happiness. Cats have been known to flock over catnip whenever it’s nearby, and they seem to lose themselves over it – frolicking and drooling whenever they get their paws on it.
While it’s such an adorable thing to witness, did it ever cross your mind as to why these fur babies like it so much? Your cats will actually scramble around to find where the secret stash of catnip is and will even beg you for it! If you have a plant outside your house, expect a gathering of cats outside and see them adorably roll around and being lazy.
Catnip is actually from the family of mint – it actually drives away mosquitoes, roaches, flies, termites and has a calming effect on humans. It was used as a cure for nausea and headache before, and has proven to be effective ever since. It’s usually boiled and made to become tea for humans, but cats prefer to nibble and smell it to get the best results.
On contrary belief, not all cats are actually affected by catnip since it is actually believed to be hereditary – passed on by their parents. A good example of this are Australian cats – they are deemed to be immuned from the ecstasy provided by catnip. Most cats from Europe, Asia, and America are more prone to feel pure ecstacy from the catnip.
You might wonder why they like to nibble on it – it’s actually because of a specific oil called nepetalactone that drips out whenever the catnip gets bruised or eventually sheds off leaves. There are over 250 different catnips that you can give to your cat and they will appreciate the gesture.
Catnips are actually not harmful for cats – they don’t have any harmful substances, just make them extremely hyper when they smell it or sleepy when they eat it. Catnips are all around safe, but it’s better to regulate the amount your cat should consume. It’s also believed that they only have a certain amount of time when they experience the ‘high’ and it takes two hours again to take effect.
If they are always exposed to catnip, they will likely to ignore it and simply move on to other toys. You should only give it once every two weeks in order to properly regulate the amount of catnip your cat indulges in. If you don’t have the potted plant, you can buy the dried leaves from the pet store and sew them in in tiny plushies or pillows.
Aside from domesticated cats, big cats like the lion and tigers are also affected with catnip. It’s something you can look forward to whenever you’re in the zoo and one happens to come across one. But aside from the fun things they do, and the weird faces they make when they’re high, it’s actually not something bad for them – it’s a treat that they will enjoy having.
The Maneki-Neko or “The Beckoning Cat” is an iconic symbol found in most Asian stores and business establishments. If you have been to an Asian shop or restaurant, you may find these ceramic or plastic figurines on cash registers, shop windows, and display shelves with its paw in the air as it continuously beckons you to come closer.
The reason many Asian shops have this cute figurine is mainly because it is said to bring fortune to your home or business. Many of these statues usually depict a calico Japanese bobtail cat holding its paw up to bring luck and happiness inside the area. However, depending on the colour and which paw it is raising, the maneki neko is said to bring either fortune, happiness, love, and good health.
What many may not be aware of is that this lucky charm is subject to several folktales from the land of the rising sun. The most popular version of which tells the legend of the Gotokuji Temple in Edo now known as Tokyo:
Legend has it that the Gotokuji Temple was once cared for by a local priest, who despite his relative poverty would often share his food with his cat.
One day, a wandering samurai who was on his way home happened to pass by the temple during a heavy downpour. The samurai, not wanting to get wet, took shelter under the temple’s nearby trees where he noticed a cat strolling around the temple grounds. The cat, raising its paw in the air beckoned the samurai to come closer to the temple. The samurai, curious at this gesture followed suit and decided to heed its direction, where a few moments after, a bolt of lightning struck the tree where the man stood only moments ago. The man then realized that if it had not been for the cat’s gesture, he too would have meet his untimely death.
Grateful for the cat, the samurai, who was also a very wealthy man, rewarded the priest and the temple with a generous amount of funding. Years later when the cat passed away, a special burial was made in honour of the “lucky cat”.
Today, the Gotokuji Temple is known as the birthplace of the lucky cat charm. Visitors who wish to visit the spectacular temple in the Setagaya Ward in Tokyo can see a small area filled with tiny maneki neko statues.
If you are curious to visit the temple where the lucky cat originated from, you’re in luck since the temple is easily accessible from central Tokyo! First, go to Shinjuku station where you will take the Odakyu line in the direction of the Hon-Atsugi. This will lead you to Gotokuji station which takes around 30 minutes. The shrine is located five to ten minutes away from the station where it is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Gotokuji Temple opens everyday from 6am to 6pm where entrance is free.