Animalogy: Cats and Other Felines by Bassam Imam - HTML preview

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CATS

No doubt, humans have been fascinated and awed by cats for eons. Cats (house cats) along with dogs are the most ‘domesticated’ animals in much of the world. Dogs can be obedient, while house cats generally do their own thing. A generally healthy cat is easy to care for and to satisfy.

Cats have been associated with humans for over 6000 years.

The ancestor of all domestic cats is a wild cat of the Fertile Crescent. Much further back the Proailurus is believed to be the common ancestor of all cats. Proailurus lived as far back as 25 million years, was slightly larger than a household cat and stalked its prey.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 41 pedigreed breeds for showing in the championship class. Some cat organizations recognize more than 50 pure-breed cat. In addition, there are ‘Moggy (plural Moggies) as they’re referred to in the United Kingdom or alley cats in the United States.

Although the word ‘Moggy’ most often refers to mixed breed cats, it is sometimes used to refer to ‘a cat’ in general.

Like dogs, cats’ initial relationship with humans was somewhat symbiotic. Ancient humans including the Egyptians ‘employed’ cats as vermin exterminators. In this regard, they were prolific hunters whose primary job was to protect stored grain by killing rats therein.

Ancient Egyptians found it much cheaper, more convenient and relaxing to feed the cats in their employ. Indeed, it was the advent of ‘stocking’ of food and farming that gave the cat a boost to its importance to man. ‘Sedentary cultures’ stored their food items. Naturally, what’s food for us is food for some other creatures. And, those creatures that eat our foods are food for yet other creatures.

Rodents were food for cats, and although cats weren’t guarding our ancestors’ food stocks out of love, we must still thank them anyway. Seafaring crews also stored food stocks on board. Naturally, they needed to protect their food. Cats often accompanied the sailing ships of old.

Cats have the skills and senses of their big cat cousins, the tenacity, and the know-how, but of course they’re much smaller and generally don’t pose a danger to us.

In Ancient Egypt cats were actually worshipped as deities. The death penalty was imposed on anyone who killed a cat. In addition, ‘magnanimous numbers’ of cats were mummified. Much of Ancient Egyptian ‘Mummy History’ includes cats. Many more ‘of them’ were mummified than humans. This fact cannot be understated.

Male cats were associated with the sun god Ra, while their female counterpart was associated with the goddess Bast.

The collapse of the Ancient Egyptian Empire virtually ended the religious attributes of cats. The Romans were responsible for the transportation of cats to Europe.

Overall cats are demonized to a much less extent than they were in Medieval Europe. In that time period, many were burned as devils or devils’ helpers.

During the 16th and 17th centuries in the Place de Greve in Paris cats were bundled up inside a net, sac, or basket and then dropped into a bonfire. These spectacles were also acted out in Metz and at Gap. Cats endured the Kattenstoet (cat killing Festival in Ypres), and the Cat Wednesday burnings. In cat killing days or festivals cats could also be tossed from towers; any reason to kill cats.

The ‘burning speed’ varied, depending on the mood. Slower roasting meant more pain and torment. It was usually done in mid-summer.

Shockingly, the crowd absolutely loved the spectacle; the shrieks, squirming, and any other sounds or movements the cats made to indicate horrifying pain and agony brought out much laughter. Even French Kings enjoyed the spectacle, including Louis XIV (1648) who kindled at least one bonfire.

After ‘the show’ the embers and ashes were taken home by spectators believing that these could bring good luck. Obviously, the poor cats received none of this good luck.

On a larger scale cats in Medieval Europe endured nothing less than a ‘Horror Campaign’ by religious bigots/wide-scale bigotry.

Cats that were once loved, idolized, mummified, and worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians were now demonized with fanatic vengeance. Since they were idolized by the ‘heathen religions’ it was ‘only natural’ to demonize and destroy them using the most painful methods.

This period of horror lasted centuries’ on end. Depending on whom you ask, in what time period, or in what part of the world cats can be loved, tolerated, or absolutely loathed. The fact that cats are ‘nocturnal roamers’ has often worked against them. Not to mention, their ‘shiny nocturnal eyes’.

Because witches and cats were often clumped together they were also burned and/or tortured together. A cat in this horrible predicament could be ‘accused’ of being a shape-shifter or in cahoots with a devil or witch. Others believed that being a witch was the end result of a punishment for being wicked.

A person, especially old hag who owned a cat in particular a black one would’ve been suspect with little or no provocation.

‘WHO WAS YOUR FAMILIAR’ was a commonly asked question.

The actual number of cats tortured and/or killed during the Horror Campaign is unknown. But general estimates place the number at least in the tens of thousands.

Halloween is still a dangerous time for cats in general, but in particular black cats. There are shelters that ‘suspend adoptions’ of black cats shortly before and on Halloween for obvious reasons. Sadism, superstition, and religious sacrifice are the main reasons for this abhorrent belief and behaviour.

In general, feral cats are individuals that have not been housed, domesticated, loved, pampered, or seriously interacted with humans. These cats may be thin, battle scarred, fearful of humans but can be very aggressive if cornered. To them we are giant bipedal predators.

In general stray cats would love to be taken in by a good family; to live in a good home and eat good food, play with you and your family, and to be cared for. Stray cats are not the same as feral cats.

Stray cats may have been tossed, gotten lost, or fled an extremely abusive home. These cats are not as ‘street wise’ or ‘street broken-in’ as their feral counterparts. They aren’t as proficient in acquiring their own food, fighting, holding on to territory, and living in this tough environment.

Stray cats are considerably more likely to approach a human, unless the particular cat has had terrible dealings with humans.

Anti-freeze with a bad odour and taste should be the standard worldwide. All cats, homeless or homed must drink water. If a cat’s thirsty enough it may drink non-potable or dangerous water.

The most humane and often most effective form of cat population control is TRAP-NEUTER-RELEASE (TNR); unless there’s an extreme situation like a widespread outbreak of rabies or something of the sort. Any killings of cats should be humane.

To protect your yard, use cat repellents or a barrier. Both stray and feral cats kill countless birds a year. However, they also kill rodents and insects. Rabies and Cat Scratch Disease (cat scratch fever, CSD) can be a potential problem for persons handling strays or feral cats. Be careful when handling animals especially dangerous or unfamiliar ones.

Cat Scratch Disease is caused by the bartonella bacteria. Scratches, bites, and saliva are the avenues of transmission.

Furthermore, cats with CSD show no outwardly signs of the disease. Kittens are more likely to be carriers. Rough and tumble play can bring about a scratch and/or a bite from a cat.

Regarding rabies and cats and wildlife humane measures of action include sterilization, birth control, oral vaccination, research and education.

Cat abuse, also a very sad fact, is widespread. It comes in various forms from beating, shouting and taunting, severe verbal reprimand, abandonment, hoarding, horrible rituals, and lack of or no food, water, medical care, and/or shelter.

In addition, abuse may come from a stranger bent on harming the particular cat. In this case, I’m sorry to say this but anything goes! So long as the assailant isn’t stopped during the commission of the act horrible things can happen to the cat. We’ve heard stories about cats being doused with gasoline and then set afire, tossed into ovens or microwaves, had one or both ears sliced off, hanged, drowned, beaten to death, skinned (for fun or in the fur trade), crammed into horrible cages awaiting a horrible killing all to be served as food, or placed into a puppy mill.

Stray or feral cats that are injured may be left with lifelong medical and psychological problems. Unfortunately, being on the streets doesn’t entitle you to psychological counseling or veterinary medical care. These cats are at the mercy of volunteers or animal control officers.

Even if a cat is ‘picked up’ it all depends on the particular laws of the area and what kind of shelter it’s sent to. Furthermore, ugly or mutilated cats are usually on the bottom of the adoption hierarchy scale.

Unfortunately, cats can’t speak; therefore they can’t convey their message or file any kind of a complaint whatsoever. Abused cats are smaller, weaker and less intelligent than their owner/s.

In addition, as soon as they’re brought into a home or are under the care of humans they enter a human’s world. All of the rules, regulations, punishments, and rewards are provided for by the humans.

In many countries cat abuse is ‘technically’ against the law. In others, it simply isn’t. Even where cat abuse is against the law, enforcement may be a problem.

According to the Animal Legal Defence Fund California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, and Oregon have the best animal welfare laws on record. The worst on record are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Dakota.

Animal shelters and cat rescue organizations are very important in the fight against cat overpopulation and in helping to place countless cats in good homes.

By purchasing a cat from an animal shelter or cat rescue organization you’ll be helping the cat, the particular organization, yourself, and your country. A good cat is worthy of much of your love. And vice versa, cats love their families.

Cats can help lower a person’s blood pressure, pulse, and make him or her feel relaxed. A good cat is someone you like to see when returning from work or school. In fact, all family cats have names and of course there are two genders.

Millions of cats and dogs are put to death every year in the U.S. alone, not to mention the rest of the world. Countless shelters are overcrowded, understaffed, and funds are generally lacking.

By being a GOOD PARENT to a cat you’ll be saving the community time, effort, money, and a headache. Your adoption will be one less cat to care for; not to mention kill. And be sure to follow the general rule: ALL CATS SHOULD BE STERILIZED (SPAY AND NEUTER).

For the most part neutering a male cat is a standard operation, relatively quick, and entails a fast recovery. The end result will eliminate the ‘mounting drive’, testicular cancer, reduces spraying behaviour (if the cat continues to spray the noxious element of the spray will be significantly reduced), reduction in the fighting urge, reduction in the probability of contracting Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), removal of progeny, and an elimination of ‘ sexual prowling behaviour’. Be advised, that the basic personality of the cat will not be changed.

Spaying your female cat will help her live a happy, healthy life. Spaying will prevent mammary cancer, heat cycles, frequent calling and spraying and removal of progeny.

The surgery will entail the removal of the ovaries and the uterus. Removal of the ovaries will ensure the end of heat cycles. Complications-free, expect your cat to return home the same day or at the latest the next day. It depends on the veterinarian’s philosophy.

In addition, the surgery can be done either in a veterinary hospital or in a low-cost or in a low cost spay clinic. Ask your local shelter or humane society for more information.

Before buying a cat read the following:

A. Alleviate loneliness?

B. I need more love in my life.

C. He/she won’t use me like some or many humans have done?

D. Because I can’t get along with humans.

E. Can another species satisfy my needs?

F. Can I take care of a cat properly?

G. Do I have cat allergies?

H. Is my home cat safe?

I. Do I know what necessary items to purchase before bringing the cat home?

J. Will I love the cat enough?

K. Can I put up with cat play, meowing, and an occasional knocking over of an item in the house?

L. What kind of diet will I put my cat on?

M. Do I have a veterinarian that I can rely on? If not, how do I find one?

N. Will I get veterinary medical insurance?

O. What will I do if my cat won’t love me? Respect me? Notice me?

P. Am I ready to fork out the necessary monies to care for my cat, including food, medications, litter box, and whatever else is needed.

Q. How will my cat get along with the other family members?

R. Am I buying a cat because my other pet/s needs a companion?

S. Am I aware that there are certain human foods that are dangerous to cats? What about the plants in my yard?

T. Do I need cat entertainment in my life?

U. Am I, and the other members of my family aware that cats do get sick (sometimes very sick), age, and eventually die! Am I prepared for this possible shocker?

V. Will he/she be an indoor or outdoor, or indoor and outdoor cat?

W. Will I get a shorthaired or long-haired cat?

X. What breed of cat will I get? Y. What gender?

Z. Will I declaw my cat (hopefully not)?

AA. What about spaying and neutering?

BB. Where will I put my cat when I go on vacation? If I bring him/her along what precautions will I have to take? If I leave my cat should I place him/her with a family member, friend, or a temporary shelter?

CC. At what developmental stage will my newly purchased cat be in?

DD. If I decide that I’ve had it with my cat, should I sell it, give it away, or (hopefully not) just dump it in a shelter, or dump it on the sidewalk hoping that a ‘sweet Samaritan’ will take it in?

EE. What are the physical and psychological benefits of cat ownership?

FF. What benefits will my cat get out of being a new family member?

GG. Will I allow my cat to sleep in my bed?

HH. Who, when, where, and what will I feed and water my cat?

II. What will I do if my cat snaps at me (biting, scratching, hissing and overall body language of anger)?

JJ. What will I do if some family members love my cat, while others hate it; vice versa?

KK. What will I do in case of a medical emergency?

LL. Am I or any member of our family allergic to cats?

The preceding list is vast but in no way is it complete. I hope you read it and ponder about each and every question if you plan on purchasing a cat. Or, do the same if you already have a cat. You have nothing to lose!

Another procedure (surgery) that can (unfortunately) be performed on cats is declawing (onychectomy). I’m personally against it and think that it’s very cruel and insensitive.

If you can’t take care of a cat don’t get one. Except for medical purposes this procedure shouldn’t be done. Regular and correct trimming of claws, claw stations or scratching posts, SOFTPAWS, nail caps, closely woven fabric, a loud NO and a squirt of water (it’s better if the cat doesn’t see the squirt gun) when your cats attempts to claw at furniture, and correct training can be used instead of declawing.

Declawing a cat isn’t comparable to removing a human’s fingernails; although this would be a big loss for any human.

Declawing entails removing the claws, and the AMPUTATION of the first joint of a cat’s TOES. This is nothing short of mutilation! Worse yet, it’s permanent; there’s no retraction or reversal of the procedure.

And, this is under the assumption that the procedure and post op are free of any complications; which unfortunately does occur all to the detriment of the ‘poor kitty’. A re-growth of deformed claws, serious infections and bone chips are just some of the potential problems. Lameness, arthritis, and other complications may take months or years to become apparent. Even normal walking routine can be altered because of pain caused by complications from declawing surgery or from simply no longer having claws.

Remember, all cats have 4 legs; and these legs are used for walking all of the time. Therefore, the paws must support the weight during walking, running, standing, or getting up.

A declawed cat is often a detrimentally changed cat. Declawed cats can’t climb or at the minimum become seriously deficient climbers, are defenceless if left outside or are lost, can’t grasp prey animals or any other object, may incur balance problems, behavioural problems can include overcompensation through biting, depression and anxiety, and will not be able to scratch themselves in places where their teeth can reach thereby causing immense frustration. If you love and care about your cat PLEASE FIND A HUMANE SOLUTION TO DECLAWING!

Although declawing is either illegal or not practiced in much of the world it is big business in North America. The Paw Project, situated in California is an organization dedicated to educating the public about the adverse effects of declawing cats (domestic and big cats) and for its abolition.

Unfortunately, there are too many misinformed and heartless big cat owners who have ‘their pet’ declawed to make him/her less dangerous.

In fact, you can’t turn a wild animal such as a tiger, lion, or cougar into a pet. At any time, this animal can lash out with horrible consequences to the owner/s.

Furthermore, canines, weight, incredible muscular strength, ferocity, agility, fighting tenacity, and the element of surprise are on the side of the animal. Wild animals also pose a serious threat to the public at large, to companion animals, and to wildlife.

As per North America the wild animal in private captivity is almost never a natural part of the ecosystem. It has most likely been transported a long distance, sometimes through smuggling, or through circumvention of the law. Big cats are usually declawed as cubs.

A sad story is that of Kona, a cougar shown in The Paw Project ‘About Declawing’ Page. Shockingly, there are countless other felines who are suffering from this painful procedure.

Please, take a very close look at the picture of Kona and then imagine how horrible this cougar feels. Contact the volunteers at this organization for more information pertaining to Kona.

Unless done for medical purposes declawing is always for the sole benefit of the owner/s and never for the cat.

As for ownership, be prepared to spend time with your kitty. Don’t be fooled by your cat’s detached or aloof-like characteristics.

Your cat needs much love and attention. Each cat is a unique individual with a unique personality. Cats have their ups and downs just like we do. Also, sometimes they feel tired or aren’t in the mood for your antics. Learn about cats, preferably before getting one.

Playing with a cat is fun. They’re so cute, small, cuddly, and have really nice soft hair and generally stream-lined bodies. They feel really good in your arms. But always be careful when holding them. What may appear like an innocent move to you may appear provocative or irritating to a cat. Many cat bites and scratches are a matter of communication problems.

Buy your cat toys to play with. Do research into the kinds of toys to purchase and make certain that they’re cat friendly and safe. Even a string can become a nightmare. I’d be very careful about using a string as a toy to play with a cat. Countless cats have had a string lodged deep into their throat because they tried to swallow it. For some reason, the owner forgot to take back the string or wasn’t watching when the cat tried to swallow the string.

This brings us to preparation. Write down the complete contact address of your veterinarian, the clinic or hospital he or she works in and if applicable an emergency number to call. An animal poison control phone and contact address: www.workingdogs.com/dog0002.htm National Animal Poison Control Center.

www.aspca.org 888-426-4435 (Animal Poison Control Center, ASPCA; 24 hrs a day 7 days a Week).

Keep the complete contact information posted on your fridge, elsewhere, in easy to reach areas, and most important of all if you can keep a copy in your wallet and memorize it that’s all the better. As, you never know when, where, and under what circumstances the emergency may occur. At that moment you will be very anxious, nervous, afraid, apprehensive, and maybe a bit confused. Try to imagine a case scenario of sorts. Now, you understand that the complete contact information for the animal control center must be at hand and in your mind.

Whatever money you spend on cat toys should bring you and your cat much more joy than the cost of the toy/s.

Ensure that your cat can practice its predatory drive in play mode. In addition, scratching post/s, places to scale, and a view to the outside world from at least one easily accessible window are essential. Regardless of your mood please do not scream, shout at, strike, or otherwise humiliate your cat. Remember, we have our language and they have theirs.

Although many cats may appear content about staying in the home and yard (if you have one) I’d still recommend that you take your kitty on nice walks and rides. Cats should feel relaxed around their family and should be treated as respected members.

To make yourselves and your kitty more content a self- cleaning litter box can be purchased. These litter boxes automatically take out ‘the masses’ after your cat has done its thing. You can find specific purchasing and product material in the INFORMATION BOOTH IN LETTERS ‘S’ AND ‘N’ or at www.catpets.org Place your cursor at the column on the left and then scroll down to self-cleaning litter boxes; GOOD LUCK!

Cats groom themselves often, cleaning themselves with their tongues in the process. In addition, they prefer to bury their droppings. They’re of the cleanest animals. It’s only right to help them keep their litter box clean.

Before purchasing a cat or any other animal make a general calculation of expenses and how much work it’ll take to keep it happy, safe, secure, content, and healthy.

The following list contains some important information pertaining to better ensure your cat’s health. It’s basic, general and written in short statements:

A. Schedule an annual check-up with your veterinarian.

B. Ensure your cats receives all the necessary vaccinations, follow-ups, and de-worming.

C. Keep an eye on your cat’s behaviour. Excessive scratching, irritability, unusual lethargy, loose stools and/or bowels, excessive vomiting, diarrhoea, noticeable change in behaviour, etc.

D. Give your cat a daily petting and check-up; feel for lumps, abrasions, wounds, sores, or anything else that is unusual, check for lice, puffiness, mites, fleas, ticks, excessive ear wax, discolouration in the ears or eyes, excessive discharge from any of the orifices or eyes and ears. A healthy cat shouldn’t have any noticeable body irregularities.

E. Clip your cat’s claws regularly and DO NOT clip any part of the pink section of the nail. This is off limits always! And remember, bi-weekly nail trimming is the general standard. But always check and see anyway.

F. Brush your cat when necessary to prevent matting. Long- haired cats need to be brushed a few times a week, but you can brush daily if needed. This will help remove excessive hair. Regarding hair, there are 3 types for cats; guard hair (longest hair on the cat, outermost hair), awn hairs (are thinner and among the guard hairs), down or secondary hairs (the undercoat, are vital for controlling the temperature of the skin).

G. Do not give human medicine to your cat unless you get an official okay from your vet.

H. Find out what your cat is allergic to.

I. Cats can’t consume chocolate. It’s very dangerous for them. You should have relevant literature regarding the dos and don’ts of food and plant allergies.

J. Check for tartar, rotten teeth, repulsive breath or any other abnormalities in the mouth.

K. Help keep your cat clean. This includes its entire body.

L. Watch out for hairballs.

M. Give your cat time, love, effort, and empathy. Without these 3 last ‘items’ your cat can never be happy!

Hairballs (trichobezoars) are chunks or balls of hair that are vomited from a cat’s stomach. Cats are voracious self- groomers and as such much hair will end up in the digestive system via the mouth. That’s why it’s imperative that your cat be groomed on a regular basis. Naturally, long-haired and thick- coated cats will need more grooming.

The hairs that aren’t passed through faecal matter are inevitably stuck in the stomach. Cat-like gagging and coughing usually precede actual vomiting of hairballs.

If hairball vomiting becomes a problem see your vet immediately. In addition, although most hairball vomiting isn’t

serious frequent gagging (inability to vomit), swollen stomach or inability to defecate, entail a call to your vet. Your vet can prescribe oily foods or substances for your cat, or a special diet. If you love your cat, you’ll pitch out the money needed for proper treatment.

NOTE: Although books, magazines, articles, family, and friends can be a good source of information on cat health, always rely on your VETERINARIAN for all diagnoses, not the source you’re presently reading or any other literature.

Expect your cat to meow and yowl every-so-often or more so depending on the breed, age, personality type, general mood, state of mental and physical health, medications, family dynamics, gender (non-spayed females can be extremely vocal when ‘in heat’), etc.

Kittens meow when they need their mothers; in one way or another it’s a mild SOS of sorts, unless there’s an emergency.

Grownup cats can meow, yowl, hiss, or growl. Each sound has its own purpose. Cats use the ‘meow’ most often to communicate with humans. They may assume that we understand that language, or maybe it’s a cat secret of sorts.

Excessive meowing by a cat towards a human usually entails an important reason. Your cat may be trying to communicate with

you about something serious. Because it thinks that you can understand it, it may keep on meowing and meowing, but also wonder why you aren’t responding. Try to find the reason for the excessive meowing.

Cats can meow for attention, sickness (mental or physical, or plain ole stressed out or anxious), hunger or thirst.

‘Fertile’ males and females may meow out of frustration.

Furthermore, a cat may considerably increase its meowing if there’s a sudden death in the family or a drastic change in the everyday routine or environment. An addition of a new family member (human or animal), or a major move can cause a sudden elevation in stress. Some cats react to stress by meowing excessively. Body language is also used to communicate mood.

An ‘intent stare’ along with wide pupils may signify fear, rage, or excitement. Be careful if you see a cat with ears folded back. This is an aggressive stance. However, flattened ears signify fear. Your cat’s ears should be cropped up and a bit forward. This signifies a ‘jolly mood’, confidence, and happiness.

Although cats often purr when they’re happy and content, this behaviour also occurs when a cat is stressed out, have been traumatized, are in pain, nursing kittens, for self-healing, while under duress, when being petted by a human, or when a female is giving birth. However, when a kitten purrs to its mother, it signifies a ‘thumbs up’. Try purring back at your cat and see what happens!

Cats living in the wild are often found in colonies. Even some big cats like Cheetahs and lions live in social groups.

Your cat is now living in your social group, in a family setting.

Cats’ olfactory, vision, and auditory senses are good. They help cats hunt, warn them from eminent danger, and communicate to con-specifics and member of other species.

Big cats and domestic cats have a vomeronasal organ located in their mouth. To better utilize this organ function cats will open their mouth and tilt their heads slightly up and backwards. This special organ is needed to help cats identify scent marking, territory, and to mark people. Marking a territory or a person signifies ownership.

Cats have their own way of greeting others, including humans. Rubbing faces is normal cat greeting. When a cat rubs its face with that of a human’s it means ‘I trust you’. If you’re face is a bit too high for the cat it may stand on its hind legs. In this case, gently pick it up or lower your face to its level. Or the cat may choose to rub its scent glands against your body or clothing. Any cat with normal hearing can feel

When a cat rolls over onto its back and then stretches its forelegs and hind-legs and allows you to pet its stomach, it is considered ultimate trust.

When cats knead it’s a reminder of kitten-hood. Kneading is the rhythmic pushing of the cat’s paws and also involves the spreading open of the forepaws and extending the claws. If this is done on your bare skin, you’ll feel it all right!

Cats knead when they want to relax or feel comfortable in an area. It could be an article of furniture or on part of your body. This act goes back to kitten-hood. The act of kneading signified to the mother that the kittens were content and to stimulate the ‘free milk’ flow to their mouths. Furthermore, cats have scent glands on their pads.

Female cats in heat also knead, and male cats may do it during the mating ritual. In essence, kneading is a normal and expected behaviour in cats.

Sometimes unusual or irritating cat behaviours can and should be corrected. Peeing outside of the litter box and using unacceptable objects as scratching posts are the 2 most frequently cited reasons why people ‘dump’ their cats in shelters.

Cat owners must first identify the root of the problem. Sometimes, as in the case of a urinary tract infection, blockage, or old age, it’s physical. The cat may ‘inadvertently’ think that the litter box is the reason for its pain thereby it may very well choose to pee elsewhere.

Also, the reason may be behavioural; stress or a sudden change in routine or living arrangements, death of or introduction of a new family member, etc. The best action is always to seek the advice of a trained professional.

In cases where there’s more than one cat member in the household and the owner/s can’t determine who is peeing on ‘the carpet’ your veterinarian can help you by prescribing a product that will act like a dye in the urine under ultraviolet light.

And always remember, your veterinarian is the person who diagnosis or rules out medical conditions, no exceptions ever!

In cases of minor causes of peeing spray your cat with water, but DO NOT LET IT SEE THE PISTOL OR BOTTLE! Afterwards, redirect your cat to the litter-box. Praise your cat when it behaves properly. Shouting will scare the daylights out of your cat and of course physical punishment is never an option. However, placing discouraging objects like 2-sided tape, sandpaper or a cat repellent are viable options. But never place any repulsive product that can harm your cat.

For external stressors including dogs and cats living nearby, block the visual field if possible.

An animal behaviourist is basically an animal psychologist while a veterinary behaviourist is the counterpart to a psychiatrist. All referrals should be from reliable sources beginning with your veterinarian. Remember, it’s your cat and your money. If you’re not satisfied with your vet’s service seek advice elsewhere, but don’t jump the gun. Try to talk to your vet about your complaint/s.

Contrary to popular belief, cats are truly social beings.

However, they’re not like dogs in the sense of having a ‘group survival’ mentality. A cat will take care of itself, but it still needs you to help it along the way. Lions are the most social of the big cats. Feral cat colonies consist of numerous cats but still, each individual takes care of him/herself.

Although cats do treat ‘us’ differently from their own kind, at the same time they expect us to understand their subtle cues and language. Mewing is easiest cat word; it’s the most basic way a cat communicates with us. They know that we can hear a meow. Besides, they hear us talking, and I guess ... this may be their own way of ‘talking’ with us. Body language, everything from posture, ear position, mouth shape, bearing of teeth, tail position or movements, and vocals is important.

A cat that bares its teeth, ‘balloons’ its body and fully stretches its legs may attack; a direct raise of its head manifests dominance. In addition, hissing, growling are other aggressive behaviours.

A cat that shrivels its body, lowers its head, and tucks its legs it’s backing down or capitulating.

Given the chance a cat is a proficient hunter. However, it must be clarified that a cat that is dumped onto the street after being ‘humanized’ all of its life most likely fares poorly. Diseases, the elements, enemies in the human and animal camp, disillusionment, apprehension, and not quite knowing the rules of street life are big problems. In addition, house cats are used to having food and water placed onto their bowls. Cats on any kind of daily medication including but not limited to prescription vitamins will run into further problems; and in many cases death will ensue.

It’s true that indoor-outdoor cats do kill off many birds and other small animals. However, these cats have a sweet, comfortable home to return to.

A cat will ambush and pounce on its prey. It’ll crouch down, stare intently on its target and freeze still until the right moment. Even well fed cats can’t forget their hunting instinct. It is ingrained deep into their minds. In addition, their digestive systems are well-designed for flesh consumption, not for fruits, vegetables or sweets.

Cats have sharp claws and incredible canine teeth.

Depending on the prey and the particular situation, the attack will lead to a fatal spinal injury, a major bit on the carotid artery or jugular vein or a patient game of suffocation. Cats are basically miniature lions.

Kittens learn to play fight using inhibited biting and inhibited scratching. However, improperly socialized cats may bite and scratch the hand that feeds it. Humans hold and play with cats using their hands. Human hands are bare, have no thick for on them, and the skin is relatively thin.

Play fighting toys (kitten and cat safe; this is mandatory) are essential for kittens and even full grown cats. If your cat can chase and wrestle down the toy, it’s all the better. But as always, after placing the toy near your cat, pull your hands back immediately, otherwise you may be bitten and scratched.

Now we’ll enter a bad news section: Countless animals are skinned in the Chinese fur industry amongst them cats, dogs, foxes, rabbits, minks, and other species that can be skinned.

To promote ‘acceptance’ and ‘sales’ of cat fur, items are often mislabelled. In a basic sense, Chinese furriers have wide parameters when it comes to choosing the species of animals to skin.

Animals are cramped into tiny, filthy, dung-pasted, dry urine, vomit, blood, pus and rust infested wire mesh cages. These cages offer no protection from the elements and violent and/or sick cage-mates. Lack of proper nutrition, freedom of movement, empathy, and respect are the norm. Many animals also including cats are driven insane by the sheer stress of their lives. Animal fights are common and abnormal behaviours such as beating of the head against the cage bars or self-mutilation are expected.

Transport can be long, arduous; without food, water, or rest. ‘Display’ is also very stressful considering that the animals can see those before them being brutally beaten to death, strangled, or electrocuted. Some individuals are still alive during the ‘skinning’ process.

Kitten mills are basically the feline version of puppy mills; transform the dogs in puppy mills into cats and voila you’ve got a kitten mill.

Kitten mills are breeding farms established for profit. The inmates are money making machines. The most valuable ones are the fertile females, especially if they can be impregnated over and over.

Kitten mills often advertise in local or cheap newspapers enticing potential buyers with cheap kitten prices. However, purebreds in demand can be expensive running for hundreds of dollars.

Potential owners should do their research. Get a good reference from your veterinarian, trusted other, or contact your local government for assistance. Sales that appear too easy should be suspect. But for a better guide check the Fanciers Breeder Referral List (FBRL). When you arrive at the cattery check for the following:

A. A caring attitude by the breeder.

B. The breeder treats the cats on the farm with respect.

C. Veterinary records available upon request. The cat/s to be purchased must be fully vaccinated, de-wormed, and have had all the necessary tests taken. In other words, a clean bill of health.

D. Facility is clean and ‘stinky free’.

E. Cats appear healthy with no visible wounds or illness. F. Cats don’t cower away or are unusually aggressive.

G. Cage space should be adequate.

H. If searching for a purebred official records must be shown upon request.

I. Go to breedlist.com for helpful information locating a breeder.

J. Does the breeder belong to any relevant or related groups?

K. Cats must be certified; certified disease-free by a licensed veterinarian.

L. The breeder should present the parents upon request. M. Spayed or neutered?

N. Proof of sale and guarantees IN WRITING ON OFFICIAL FORMS. Go with a family member or trusted friend who understands the ins and outs of this business.

O. See the food and water fed to the cats. It should be clean.

The FBRL is has been in service since November 1994 (without interruption), and is the largest and oldest cat breeder referral list on the World Wide Web. Go to their ‘Listing a Cattery with the FBRL’ section for specific requirements. The 5 main areas to the FBRL are as follows:

A. For Cat Seekers

B. For Breeders

C. Retired Friends

D. Resources

E. About the FBRL

People who love their cats and others who don’t own cats bit love them too would be absolutely shocked if they knew about the goings on in the horrible cat fur trade. For people who own cats, it’s a matter of keeping them inside, letting them out sometimes, or giving them complete freedom to leave and return as they please. If you choose the latter, the least you should have is an enclosed yard, lawn, or patio. A place where your cat cannot escape from and no person or animal can enter.

However, the sounds and scents of other cats and animals won’t be ignored by your cat if it’s outside. It’s a chore to do when it’s inside.

Some people propose keeping cats indoors all the time. Although the outdoors is fun, full of new and exotic things for your cat, and is engulfed in fresh air, be sure to flip over the coin to see what’s on the other side.

Virtually every city and town has automobiles. Cats, especially when on a chase, zoom in on a potential kill, are running away from danger, or just ‘catting around’ may run across a busy, or even a not so busy street without looking both ways first.

A vehicular collision with a full-grown adult human can result in horrific injuries or death. Now, imagine a cat, as small and light as it is being struck by an oncoming vehicle. If the cat’s super lucky it’ll only be severely injured. Unfortunately, often times the cat will die in ‘road kill’. Driver are primarily on the lookout for other vehicles and ‘human pedestrians’ which are much larger than any cat and do not move about in the same manner.

Unfortunately, you can’t teach a cat to look both ways before crossing the street, or about who has the right of way.

Allergies, both annoying and extremely dangerous ones are another outdoor problem. In addition, toxic plants pose a potential threat; illness or even death.

Cats are naturally ‘investigative’ and often won’t hesitate to put something that looks edible into their mouths. Cats can’t spit out articles in the manner humans do.

Let me remind you, there are many creeps out there who’d love to get their hands on your cute kitty. Reasons being sadism of one kind or another, general theft (I want to have or I need to have this cute little kitty), sale to a biomedical lab or other institution willing to pay in cash without asking any questions, or to wait for the expected reward.

It’s a good idea for cat owners to use the ‘child yardstick’. Let your kitty have as much freedom to come and go as a pre-schooler.

Diseases and health problems (leukemia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), rabies, feline distemper, fleas, ticks, mites, worms, colds, etc.) can be transmitted from other animals (feline or non-feline). Fighting will most likely cause injuries.

Non-sterilized cats can increase the cat over-population problem and may not return home if let loose because they can easily get lost or die.

General dangers of being outdoors apply to unaccompanied cats all the time. Cats that live indoors have a longer life expectancy than those that live outdoors. Road-kill in urban areas kills countless numbers of cats. They’re smaller and scurry more than dogs.

Outdoor cats eat many birds and effect their populations. Estimates of bird losses in the United States alone range in the many millions, and at least that number in small mammals.

Cats too can be prey, to birds of prey (depending on where you live), coyotes, and cat-hating dogs.

In order to make your indoor cat feel better and more at home have toys, catnip, a nice window view, scratching posts, a second cat (if possible), and playing with your cat whenever you can.

I opt for allowing cats to enjoy the outdoors but on condition that they’re in an enclosed area otherwise they should be leashed, harnessed, or carried. However, the latter is more difficult if you’re taking a walk because a cat’s instinct can come into play in a split second. Imagine ‘a tiny scurrying mammal’ crossing your cat’s field of vision.

In addition, a good solid enclosure that GUARANTEES to be ‘cat escape proof’ cannot guarantee that no other animal species will get in. Even prey animals can be extremely dangerous. Your cat could kill and eat a rabid or otherwise sickly animal. Then what?

But, there are numerous dangers to cats in the household too. Ask your vet, purchase literature, and use common sense; consider your cat a highly inquisitive, suspicious, and curious pre-schooler who can’t read, write, or speak your mother tongue. It’s your job to cat-proof your home. It is not your cat’s job to determine whether an object is safe or not. You’re ‘the parents’ and your cat is the companion animal that ‘you love’ and want to protect. The following are possible dangers to cats:

A. Plants.

B. Medications (prescription, non-prescription, human, animal, etc.)

C. Chemical based substances regardless of use; cleaners, solvents, nail polish removers, paints, all sprays, dyes, liquid cleaners, soap, shampoo, cologne and perfume, etc.

D. Electrical appliances.

E. Chords, all string-like objects regardless of what their use is for, any inanimate object/s that a cat can put into its mouth. Remember, often times what enters a cat’s mouth is eventually swallowed. Also, watch out for strings, even harmful-looking ones. YOU MUST BE THERE AT ALL TIMES when allowing your cat to play with a string. If for some unknown reason you are distracted and forget, the cat may swallow part of the string. In this case, the string may become lodged (stuck) into your cat’s throat. This is an emergency matter!

F. Bags, especially but not limited to plastic ones.

G. Objects, especially but not limited to large and heavy ones that can fall or tip over.

H. Sharp objects, kitchen utensils, sewing materials.

I. Objects that can shatter or crack.

J. Washing machine, dryer, and oven doors must be kept closed after use. Always check the interior before every use.

K. Toilets.

L. Elastic bands including Band-Aids.

M. Human foods (candies, chocolate is very dangerous for cats and dogs. Ask your vet and have a ‘qualified list’ of potential cat allergies on hand).

N. Pens, pencils, erasers, paper, USB flash-drives.

O. Kids in the house.

P. Other animals, even if they’re cats too. Q. Open windows and open doors.

R. Leaky faucets and pipes.

S. Tobacco products (even those in cartons, cats can be quite tenacious if they’re intent on getting something).

T. Second hand smoke.

U. Alcohol products and also including ‘second-hand- drinking’. Don’t feed, medicate, or play with your cat if you’re drunk. Besides, cats don’t like alcohol breath.

Another preventative measure is to ensure that your cat receives a wholesome and healthy diet. It should be ‘cat appropriate’, developmental stage appropriate, and if your cat is on a special diet for medical reasons follow the instructions your vet or feline nutritionist has given you.

Pet food suppliers with good, sound reputations have basically performed the necessary work and calculations to determine the amount of a given food needed for a cat. Cat food containers must be labeled.

In addition, there are dry foods, canned foods (most of your cat’s diet), and appropriate snacks designed to sustain your cat’s nutritional needs.

However, to be on the safe side check first with your vet and/or feline nutritionist, and do some serious research because non-meat products are cheaper than real meat. Good cat food companies generally have good reputations. Check the can or bag’s feeding guidelines which should give you an amount to feed your cat based on its weight.

Higher quality commercial cat food is usually more expensive than its lower quality counterpart. As such, your cat will need to eat less high quality food than low.

Whether you want to believe it or not, your cat is a ‘die- hard carnivore’. It needs animal based proteins and other nutrition derived from living creatures. Your cat simply wasn’t built for plant-based, vegetarian, or especially vegan based diets. A cat cannot utilize plant proteins efficiently.

In addition, many cats, but certainly not all cats love milk. Find out from your vet what ‘fat content’ is optimum for your cat. Remember, TAURINE IS CONTAINED IN MEATS BUT NOT IN VEGETARIAN DIETS. A deficiency in TAURINE MAY LEAD TO BLINDNESS OR SERIOUS HEART PROBLEMS FOR A CAT. TUARINE IS AN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY AMINO ACID THAT HELPS PROMOTE THE REGULATION OF HEART RHYTHM, VISION, REPRODUCTION, AND DIGESTION. Cats cannot manufacture their own Tuarine! Meats and fish products contain Tuarine. Please note that cooking meat or fish will destroy a significant amount of the Tuarine in your food.

If you choose to be a vegetarian or vegan, then that’s your choice. NO PERSON CAN IMPOSE AN UNNATURAL AND POSSIBLY DANGEROUS DIET ON HIS/HER CAT/S! A person who does this is thinking about him/herself and not about the victimized cat. Most often cats placed on vegan or vegetarian diets must take supplement/s in addition to their diet.

Make sure that the cat food you purchase has sufficient Tuarine for maintaining a healthy cat. Overall, your cat’s diet must have adequate amounts of proteins, nutrients, and fatty acids. Special diets will have to be formulated by your vet and/or a feline nutritionist. Furthermore, canned cat foods ‘smell better’ than dry cat food, but may contain higher concentrations of salt, sugar, and may spoil soon after ‘the can’ is opened.

Like humans and other animals, cats need to drink clean water daily to help maintain optimum performance. Water helps to rehydrate a cat, essential for cell function, cushions the joints and aids the kidneys in flushing out toxins from the blood, aids in organ health. These are a few of the reasons your cat needs normal hydration.

Drinking any amount less than what a cat needs can be quite dangerous.

Fluids can come from pure water or the food that a cat eats. Remember, for hydration nothing beats a combination FRESH WATER and fluids in food.

As such, cat owners MUST ENSURE that their cat has access to fresh water at all times. Canned cat foods contain up to 80 percent water. Dry cat foods contain roughly 10 percent water. In the wild, cats get much of their water requirements from eating prey. But even these ‘wild cat’s must drink pure water.

Feeding your cat solely dry food will put pressure on it to drink considerably more pure water than feeding it canned food. Some cat owners mix it up using a primarily canned food diet supplemented with some dry food. Regarding water, don’t take any chances. Clean bowls that don’t create an after-taste in the water, and an ice cube or 2 will make drinking more fun and interesting for your cat.

For ease sake, let me list some basic comparisons between canned and dry cat foods. The following list is basic and general. DO NOT take it as a prescription or a veterinary medical opinion for your cat/s.

Canned Cat Foods:

A. Cats usually eat canned foods more cheerfully, willingly, and consensually more than other cat foods.

B. Pound for pound more nutritious than dry cat food.

C. Cereal grains need not be added.

D. Higher moisture (up to 80 percent, and should never be higher) content than dry cat food. Moisture is basically water. With this in mind, your cat need not drink as much water as in a dry cat food diet.

E. Less non-essential ingredients such as cereals, thickeners, shaping agent.

F. Cats with kidney disease will benefit from the moisture in canned foods by supplying its system with more water.

G. Is more expensive than dry cat food. Dry Cat Foods:

A. Usually contains 10 percent moisture. This is nowhere near the daily requirement for a cat. Therefore, your cat will have to drink ‘pure water’ or an addition of canned food/pure water to reach a normal hydration level.

B. Cats’ digestive system is designed to eat high nutritional value food in as little quantity as possible. C. Fillers add calories and DO NOT provide optimum nutrients that your cat needs. In effect, your cat will need to eat more.

D. Sometimes, a cat will swallow the ‘kibble’ whole’. This is not a healthy thing to do.

E. It’s convenient, easily stored, and is also cheaper (by volume) than canned food items. F. Little or no mess.

G. Unlike canned foods if the bag or container is opened the shelf like will not be short. You can reclose the bag in case and take it back to the kitchen closet. But as with all food items, read the label and find out what the shelf life is for a closed and for a newly opened container or bag of dry cat food.

H. Many experts agree that dry cat food has a dental hygiene advantage.

Unfortunately, many cat lovers have cat allergies. Cat allergens are small, ‘manufactured’ in ‘heaving’ quantities’, and float in the air longer than heavier allergens. The allergens come from your cat’s saliva, dander in the skin and fur and sebaceous glands (tiny glands in the skin that secrete oily, wax-like matter, called sebum.

Cat dander (in general, dead skin cells) floats around, can be ingrained in dust, on clothing, on bed-sheets, or anywhere a cat has been. Sometimes, a cat need not be there to have its dander present, as in the case of dander being transmitted onto a person’s clothing or hands.

Cat owners with allergies can end up with worsened allergies or even asthma. In the case of asthmatics breathing difficulties or attacks can result from severe cat allergies.

Cat dander tends to reach deep into the lungs of any human who inhales it.

Allergic owners do have choices:

A. Allergy shots (in extreme cases). Note: Allergy shots may make the allergy temporarily worse because ‘the serum’ is the allergy, although in small quantities. Furthermore, allergy shots cost money and require appointments with an allergist.

B. If you love your cat enough, you won’t want to get rid of it, but under extreme circumstances and if all else fails, your personal health is of prime importance! However, the choice is yours and for anyone else.

C. Use of antihistamines. These medications cost money, have side effects, and come in prescription and non– prescription form. Furthermore, you must take the medication daily. If you stop, the antihistamine medication will phase out of your body.

D. Try to keep your cat out of the bedroom. Otherwise when your cat leaps unto your bed his/her allergens will be there too.

E. Vacuum your carpet on a regular basis and clean it with ‘special cleaner’. Ask a professional for a good brand name.

F. If possible use a powerful air filter.

G. Use a special spray on your cat’s coat. Ideally, the spray should neutralize pet dander and dust mite allergens; should remove odours. Ask your vet or another qualified/trusted professional for a specific brand name and opinion.

H. Regular brushing of cat’s hair and bathing once a week (if possible).

I. Clean your walls and other horizontally level surfaces.

J. Do your research; shorthaired cats have less dander and more easily managed hair than their long-haired counterpart. Before bringing home a cat ask the shelter worker, responsible/qualified cat breeder, a vet, or a trusted family member or friend about cat dander.

K. Neuter your males and spay your females.

In the early 1990s I moved into an apartment that was previously ‘inhabited’ by a woman and her cat. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what to do at the time. The effects of my cat allergies were apparent throughout my entire stay, which was roughly one and a half years. If you do absolutely nothing about cat allergens; waiting it out, you’ll have to wait for a long time for the allergens to clear.

Cats are the most popular companion animal in the whole world. Hundreds of millions of cats live in human households, many others are strays, and millions more are in shelters and labs. Although there are performing domestic cats, their numbers are miniscule. I guess they’re luckier than their big cat cousins in that sense.

The highest statistic that I’ve come across, regarding the number of ‘owned cats’ in the United States is over 93 million.

It’s likely in the upper 70s of millions. Do not forget, there are millions of other cats that are homeless, either stray or feral. Cats are ready to conquer the world!

Below is a list of some famous cats:

A. Tom: From the Tom and Jerry Cartoons.

B. Sylvester: From Warner Brothers Cartoon Fame.

C. Garfield: Cartoon character from the comic Garfield.

D. Felix the Cat: Animated Cartoon character that was featured in silent cartoons.

E. The Pink Panther: Featured on most of the opening and closing credit sequences of the famed The Pink Panther Movies.

F. Cool Cat: A famous cartoon character of the 1960s.

G. Tigger: A famous tiger from the book ‘The House at Pooh Corner. Tigger is orange with black stripes.

H. Top Cat is (T.C.) was a character in the animal television series that ran from 1961-1962. T.C. was the leader of a gang of alley cats.

I. The Cat in the Hat is a children’s book by the legendary Dr. Suess. It features a tall, unusual looking, slim and mischievous cat.

J. Kitty Kat: The ‘pet lion’ from the renowned television show The Addams Family.

K. Snagglepuss: A pink mountain lion appearing in Hanna– Barbera cartoons.

L. Slippers: A gray coloured cat with polydactyly (6 toes) loved by President Theodore Roosevelt.

M. Homer: A blind black cat adopted 12 years ago by Gwen Cooper. Homer can get around incredibly well using his other senses. Gwen Cooper has written a widely known book entitled Homer’s Odyssey.

N. Dewey: Full name is Dewey Readmore Books. Dewey was adopted by the Spencer Public Library Staff (Spencer, Iowa)

O. Morris: Was a 14 lbs. tabby that was rescued from a Chicago animal shelter. Morris became spokes cat Purina’s 9 Lives cat food in the late 1960s. He was given veto powers over cat foods that he rejected.

The preceding list is by no means complete nor is it listed in order of popularity. It is opinionated (my opinion). There are countless other famous cats, big, small, and animated. They’ve done a good job!

Sometimes cats, regardless of breed can become a bit too boisterous, performing attention-seeking behaviour and sometimes driving their family nuts.

However, before responding to the cat owners should first find out why the cat is behaving that way. First, it’s a fact that some breeds like the Siamese are naturally very vocal and can be demanding; persistent meowing, crying, or even yowling.

However, cats can become vocal in cases of hunger, thirst, illness, sudden change of venue, an addition to the family, a new and visible neighbour (cat or dog) or some other kind of discomfort. DO NOT PUNISH YOUR CAT try to find out what the problem is first.

You can ask yourself a few questions like; is it meal time, water time, medication time, walking time (if applicable), play time (or do I ever enrich the life of my cat with toys or person to person play), does my cat appear ill? Check your cat’s stool, food bowl, and thing about his/her behaviour. Is my cat sterilized? Preferably it is. There could be other underlying reasons, though.

Calmly and gently pick your cat up (if possible) while speaking to it softly. Gently stroke its body and search for the following:

A. Abrasions

B. Bumps

C. Bruises

D. Matting of hair

E. Bald Spots

F. Unhealthy looking skin and hair (matting, rippled skin, excessive dryness, scabies, mites, ticks, fleas)

G. Mouth: Teeth, gums, tongue, throat, breath; also search for lodged article/s in the mouth or throat.

H. Eyes: Look for a discharge, unnatural colouration, a

I. blank stare, dilation

J. Ears: Check for any abnormalities

K. Rectum

L. Claws

Your cat could be reacting to a physical or mental problem that is almost always painful. He/she may only be trying to tell you in his/her language that ‘I am in distress!’

Other problems include:

A. Excessive self-biting, scratching, itching, or grooming

B. Sensitivity or repulsion to being touched

C. Unnatural, especially sudden inactivity

D. Noticeable hyperactivity, sometimes involving excessive circling or running around for no apparent reason or to no apparent destination

E. Noticeable discoloration or output in urine or stool

F. Staring into nothingness

G. Reactions: Allergens, toxins, chemicals

H. Excessive moth balls

I. Unnatural irritability or listlessness

Your cat’s rectal temperature should be between 100.4 Fahrenheit and 102.5 Fahrenheit. At 103 Fahrenheit and above you should contact your veterinarian. At 105 Fahrenheit or above it is considered DANGEROUS.

There are rectal and ear thermometers available to check your cat’s temperature.

The aforementioned is only a partial list and should not to be used as a diagnostic tool. For professional help or advice it is best to contact your veterinarian, animal dietician, or behaviorist. Whatever money you spend on the professional advice (if you can afford it) is usually worth it. A good cat in the home is good for your mind, body, and soul.

As always, be on the lookout for potential dangers and emergencies. In addition, owning a cat entails duties and actions:

A. Blunt trauma to the head or other body part

B. Burns (fire, scalding, chemicals, sunburn)

C. Shock

D. Choking

E. Vomiting

F. Persistent diarrhea

G. Birthing (if applicable)

H. Seizures (epileptic, pesticides, foods, chemicals,

I. poisonous plants, medications)

J. Falls

K. Automobile related injuries (being struck or as a

L. passenger)

M. Bone injuries (breaks, fractures, smashed bones, N. splinters)

O. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion

P. Hypothermia

Q. Serious symptoms from diseases

R. Mental stress

S. Scratches, bites (other animal, self-biting, insect) abrasions, contusions, rips or tears of skin, or any other skin problems

T. Microchip your cat

U. Recent, clear photos of your cat/s

V. Sadists who enjoy inflicting pain on animals including or especially cats

W. Cat thieves (for personal ownership, sacrifice, biomedical lab, for sale to an individual/s, to be used for animal fighting bait

X. Lost or stolen cat; know how to respond, when, and whom to call; pasting posters throughout the neighbourhood, contacting your local shelter, your veterinarian, humane society, and the police. If you can, post an ad in the local paper with a picture of your cat included. Beware: rewards may bring forth numerous cats that fit the ‘written description’. Some people will actually steal a cat in order to get the reward. The stolen cat may look almost exactly like yours. Anyway, the wrong cat will not be returned to its rightful owner (if stolen) it will probably be dumped somewhere inconspicuous

Y. Medicating your cat (pill, liquid, injection, lotion or cream, massage, kind and loving words)

Z. CPR and other First Aid Information. Note: If an emergency situation does occur you will find that memorizing the steps in practice is a lot easier and less demanding than the real thing. Preparation and knowledge are the keys.

AA. Learn how to take your cat’s temperature (mouth and rectal)

BB. Proper feeding and watering

CC. Proper hygiene

Cats, like humans and other animals DO FEEL PAIN AND DISCOMFORT! Cats are dissected in classrooms or for biomedical research. Biomedical research can include neurological experiments, eye experiments (Cats may have corneal work or have their lids sealed shut depending on the specific experiment), ear experiments (cats may be deafened).

In other experiments the brains of cat foetuses, neonates, kittens, or adults have part of their brains destroyed to ‘see’ how behaviour and task performance is altered as a result. A cat may have a hole drilled into its skull or have its skull pried open or broken. In these experiments ‘brain matter brain’ may be exposed.

Medications or other substances may be injected into the cat. Not to mention electrodes in his/her skull. The cat may be ‘forcefully restrained’ in a restraining device, further horrifying the cat. Experiments can be done on any part of a cat’s body including the oesophagus, rectum, or internal organs.

Cats are easy to dissect. In addition, have similar brains to ours. However, our ‘grand neo-cortex’ is what makes us different and mental primacy over other animals.

Anaesthesia isn’t always used in cat experiments. Many cats undergo experiments having to deal with incredible pain both during the experiment and if sometimes during recovery. If it’s deemed that the pain killers will alter the test results, tough cookies for the cat! Now, for cat graphic cat vivisection pictures go to:

www.animalsvoice.com/TomRegan/archive/vivicats.html Empty Cages: Vivisection Pictures Regarding cat ownership understand the following:

A. Marking or Spraying: Cats do this to mark their territory and to identify a boundary, and to ‘inform’ other cats about the ownership of the boundary. This behaviour is separate from a litter box problem.

B. How to Remove Cat Odour (urine, feces) from the Carpet: This is caused almost always by peeing or pooping. Owners sink deep into the carpet and even engulfing the padding.

C. Cats fighting in the Household: This is usually a result of a pecking order ordeal. One cat must be the boss; if that’s the case then the other cat/s must be subordinates. Often times, subordinates reject the status quo over and over again. If the problem isn’t very serious give each cat its own designated space, litter box, water and food bowls establish a hiding place for each cat, 3 litter trays if possible; one for each cat and one for either. Watch out for aggressive body language and vocals. Also, ensure that the aggressive cat doesn’t block the path of the other cat. Have a good perching spot for both cats but make them as far away as possible. If the problem persists inform your vet and ask for his/her opinion. An animal behaviourist, preferably someone specializing in feline behaviour may have to be consulted. Cat-on-cat aggression can also occur as a result of territoriality, defensive-aggression (self- defence), redirected aggression, male-to-male aggression, or ‘sickly aggression’ (one or both of the cats can be physically and/or mentally sick or unstable), side effects from medications. In the case of males fighting, neutering should help. If your cat’s behaviour changes suddenly then you should look into the situation seriously. Don’t show preferential treatment or try to bully your cats into their corners. Remember, cats are small and compared to the average adult human are also fragile and light weighted.

D. Cat toys: All cats need toys. Make sure that your toys are cat friendly and not ‘cat dangerous’. Every so often (if you can afford it) purchase another toy. If not, keep at least a few around for good rotation. This will reduce the likelihood of boredom and monotony. DO NOT allow your cat to ‘over-play’ with any of the toys. Make additions and remove the old toy. www.cattoysforless.com

E. Health Insurance: Be very careful on this one! If you do decide to get cat health insurance make sure that you get a solid reference from your vet or other cat service provider. Remember, health insurance companies (for humans or animals) are business enterprises. As such, they must make a profit. People work for money (salaries). Many cat owners refuse to get health care insurance for their cat. In a sense, it’s a gamble. But if you do get insurance, get it when your family member is a kitten (if applicable), or when it’s healthy. Find out if your vet or other cat healthcare providers accept ‘Insurance Company X’ and vice versa, of course. Find out what the deductible is and what is and isn’t covered, rising rates (what will cause my payments to increase), maximum benefits and coverage in foreign countries, study the application form. Be organized and prepared.

F. What should I buy before getting a cat? Litter box and scoop, food and water bowls, treats, cat food, shampoo, comb, collar, nail clipper, soft claws nail caps, first aid kit, tag, cat bed, literature pertaining to cats, carrier, leash, and tick spray and other repellents, toys, kitty door/s, pad with veterinarian/s phone number, animal poison control center, and other important phone numbers listed on it. In addition, insert emergency numbers in easy access places. Cat proof your home.

G. Elderly Cats: Veterinary care and checkups (body and dental), appropriate medication, weakened immune system, appropriate diet, increase in the availability of clean water at all times, side effects from multiple medications (if relevant), dulling of the senses, slowing down and less energy and decreased mobility, increased apathy, be gentle especially when carrying and putting your cat down, extra grooming, allow your cat to doze off, looser skin and less elasticity, watch out for kidney failure and arthritis. Cats can be stoic about their pain and discomfort.

H. Veterinarian: Qualifications and credentials (Specialist or non-specialist), one vet office, small clinic, hospital with high-tech equipment – American Animal Hospital Association Accredited (AAHA) www.aahanet.org, nearby, doesn’t really matter, mannerisms and personality of the veterinarian, fees.

I. Bringing home a Cat: Personality, breed, age, gender, location (pet store, shelter, relative, friend), how will the addition change the dynamics of the family. How will other family members (human, animal) respond to the new addition? A move from a previous home into a new one is a sudden, large change for any cat. Go easy, be empathetic and understanding. Any diet change should be gradual (10 to 12 days for a full transition). For the initial trip to the new home the cat should be in a carrier. You wouldn’t want your cat to go nuts on you inside the car. In addition, vomiting, urinating, and defecating are also possible. Better done in an animal carrier than on upholstery. Feliway is a product derived from a cat’s face that has a calming effect on cats. Spraying Feliway in your cat’s quarters beforehand. Placing your cat in its personal area first and then gradually desensitise it to the other parts of the home. Introductions to other family members including other animals are important, but don’t shock your cat. Each cat has its own personality. Introductions should be gradual; confinement (initially, place your ‘newbie cat’ in an isolated area then gradually bring the animals closer and closer together; this may take days or more), scent swapping (exchange sleeping blankets and rub a towel or cloth on one animal and let the other smell it), exchange living quarters, and by all means DO NOT ALLOW ANY KIND OF AGGRESSIVE OR HOSTILE MEETING TO TAKE PLACE OR CONTINUE. If you make it past this stage things will probably level off to a normal level. Ask yourself why am I bringing home a cat; I’m terribly lonely, I need companionship, I love cats, I want an addition to the family, I have a maternal or paternal instinct, I must replace a deceased animal companion, I feel that I have to keep up with the Joneses.

J. Pregnant Cat? At 3 weeks nipples will enlarge, soften, and turn pink, weight gain and stomach distension, may become noticeably more affectionate, increased appetite near birth time, occurrence of nesting behaviour (searching for a place to give birth) as the day approaches. However, just two days before giving birth your cat’s mammary glands will enlarge and milk production will commence, decrease in body temperature, attachment behaviour, vaginal discharge, contractions.

K. Giving Birth: Respect your cat’s maternal and survival instincts. She has been ‘pre-programmed’ to understand what to do and what not to do. Only if there’s a behavioural or medical problem should something go wrong. Make all birth preparations before the moment. In other words, be prepared! A prepared box (used as a nest) should be placed in an appropriate place around 2 weeks before the expected birth. Make certain that your cat visits it at least a few times. Make sure that the environment is safe and that your cat doesn’t decide to stray outside. Towels, clean and fresh linens, sanitized scissors, first aid kit. Strong contractions exceeding 2 hours without ‘a birth’ may be a sign of trouble. However, it’s best not to wait the complete 2 hours. You know and understand your cat; always be calm, speak to her in a soft voice, and use your instincts. In a normal birth the ‘mother cat’ lick her kittens and will later breast feed them for roughly a month before beginning to wean them away. It should be a gradual process where the mother uses less and less time to breast feed her kittens and gently pushes them away with her behaviour. This is when owners should begin to introduce canned or semi-most foods should be gradually introduced to the kittens. Small amounts then see how each kitten responds. Hopefully, the kittens will begin to chew and swallow their food.

L. Questions about Medications: Allergies, dangerous human medications, which pharmacy, directions (dosage, procedure, contraindications) costs, insurance, expiration date, safety seal, storage.

M. Food: Canned, dried, both and kitty snacks, brand names, cost, storage, where to purchase the food, special diet.

N. Allergies: Food, chemical, pesticide, medication; know what you can because it may mean the difference between life, severe illness, or even death.

O. Dangers: Know all the potential dangers both in the home and when you take your cat for a walk.

P. Scratching post/s: How many, location of posts, cost. Scratching is normal behaviour for a cat. To punish a cat by declawing him/her is outright cruel and inhumane. Scatter the scratching. Scatter them across your home; tree logs (with rough bark texture), wooden sawhorse, carpeting texture.

Q. Exercise: Scratching posts, toys, energetic (but not hyperactive) family members, proper diet, offer your cat something to do. If there appears to be a medical cause for your cat’s obesity consult your veterinarian and if applicably veterinary nutritionist.

R. House Rules for Your New Cat: Reinforce good behaviour and ignore (if applicable) or redirect unwelcome behaviour. Know the dos and don’ts before you bring home the kitty. Never strike or shout at your cat. Be firm, consistent, response to unwelcome behaviour should be immediately after the act. Otherwise, your cat will not be able to connect your response to his/her unwanted behaviour. This can include anything from toilet training, not biting or scratching, rough play, chewing on or destroying objects, etc.

S. Cat Euthanasia (Putting Your Kitty to Sleep): Depending on the situation; a sudden illness, long-term illness, sudden injury, or whatever cause; if you live decades on end after bringing in your first cat, YOU WILL SEE DEATH OR DEATHS depending on how many cats you own. Some owners dump their cats at the vet, animal shelter, and in horrific cases dump their cats outdoors. If an appointment is called for, make it and be there. In my opinion (if possible) be with your kitty till the end. Ask your vet if you can hold one of his/her paws or other body-part, and if you can speak softly and kindly to your cat. Remember, your cat was with you, now you should return the favour. Speak to the vet and staff and get their opinion on what you should do afterwards. They have experience! A waiting period (depending on the owner/s) is called for before purchasing another cat. Remember, you can never replace your deceased cat. It’s all right to convey THE THREE GOLDEN WORDS (I LOVE YOU) to your cat during your final moments with him/her. Neither your vet nor his/her staff will mock you for this. Also, say other good things like ‘you are the best kitty in the whole world; you can never be replaced; we’ll miss you a lot; you’ve been an incredible asset to our entire family; you’re wonderful; you’re beautiful and cute; you’re funny; you’re nice to be around; you’ve lightened up our life, you’re a gift from GOD to us; we thank GOD for having you in our household; you’ve calmed us down and made us feel better and healthier; we’re sorry if we’ve ever upset you in any way, shape or form.’ Use your voice, demeanour, and hands to help make your cat feel better. If you’re there during the ‘goodbye stage’ don’t take your eyes off of your kitty. Do whatever else you can, to make your kitty and yourself feel better.

T. Lost Kitty: Indoor-outdoor, outdoor, or indoor only cats can get lost, or just plain disappear. The kitty could have strayed away for some unknown reason; mating (if applicable), prey animals, fighting, getting booted out of the territory by a stronger cat or other animal species, picked up away from home by a good Samaritan; a person/s sees your cat and feels sorry for it, takes it back home or to the local animal shelter. In this particular case it depends on how the person interprets the event. If he/she thinks that the cat is lost (owned by a family) and is a Samaritan then taking it to the local animal shelter or contacting the police would be the likely response. However, if the person wants your cat really badly and simply doesn’t care about your feelings, then he/she will take your cat to his home. If an otherwise Samaritan thinks that your cat is un-owned and lost, then he/she may choose to bring your cat back to his/her home. A neighbour who’s pissed off at your cat or a neighbour who despises cats may snatch or kill your cat. A cat hating stranger-sadist could entice your cat, snatch her and then take her off to his dungeon. Bunchers pick off cats and then sell them to kitty mills, biomedical labs, breeders, individuals, or to whomever will pay money. Some kitty snatchers use them for dog- baiting or some sort of distorted religious ritual. Be aware, Halloween is not only a dangerous time for black cats, but often other cats will do. A mentally unstable person could just want a cat in his/her home; your cat will be a freebie. Accidental cat snatchings are also possible. In this case scenario your cat enters someone else’s vehicle to take a nap. The rest is history. Your cat could follow a group of school children and end up many blocks away from home. Crush video films sometimes picture kitties. Animal control could pick your cat up thinking that it’s a stray or abandoned. In that matter, as soon as your cat is in the local animal shelter it depends on the municipal bylaws and state laws. Your cat may be resold or put to sleep depending on the particular circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction. If you are a cat owner, please DON’T FORGET that you are the parent, guarding, and human voice for your cat. Cats can’t speak our language. A fresh collar with clear and complete contact information and a chip are necessary. If it happens to you, call your local animal shelter, call the police, post signs, speak to your neighbours, post an ad in the local newspaper ... do whatever you can and do not procrastinate!

It’s important to be knowledgeable about your cat food provider/s and to know where you can get your cat food from. For your convenience, I’ve provided a list of cat food providers with URLs. Go to the INFORMATION BOOTH ‘Cat Food Providers’ section. I hope that you find what you’re looking for and BON APETIT TO YOUR CAT/S!