Do Cats Choose their Owners?

Family PortraitsSome US cat behaviourists have conducted a series of fascinating experiments. A cat was placed in a room with several people. Some were cat lovers, others not. Surprisingly, the cat made overtures to the non-cat people. The cat approached the non-cat lovers and rubbed its body against their legs, a sign of ownership and affection. The cat even climbed on the lap of one of the non-cat lovers. Do cats really choose the people they want to befriend? Do cats choose their owners? Some seem to. Some cats develop a certain kind of fondness for people that provide its basic needs.

We know cats to be solitary animals. Unlike dogs that have the tendency to develop destructive behaviour when not provided with enough attention by the owners, cats don’t seem to require human contact for their existence. Notice how stray cats managed to survive on farms, in warehouses and in decrepit and abandoned buildings on their own. These animals hunt mice and rats and other small fast moving animals to survive. Cats are noted for their independent and aloof personalities. Of course cats never consider themselves owned! Unlike dogs, a cat doesn’t have a master. Cats are pretty choosy animals. They are particular about who they will bond with. This knowledge makes some people take pride in the fact that cats have specifically chosen them to be their ‘owner’.

Despite the studies conducted on feline behaviour, humans are still puzzled by some of the actions and behaviour these animals show. One example of cat behaviour humans find perplexing is the animal’s tendency to choose its owner. In the example given above, cat behaviourists have explained that cats are intimidated by the attention given to them by cat lovers. Thus they tend to choose people that are ignoring them. Feral cats that have existed in farms and kept grain sheds free from mice and other rodents may suddenly decide to change their lifestyle and move into family situations. The decision can be influenced by the ever present food source in households. It is common for stray cats to hang around areas where food can be found. It is also possible that the cat has instinctively found someone in the home that it can bond with. Many cats may not be very affectionate but they can develop a bond with anyone that is showing them kindness. It is not uncommon for animals to have a strong attachment to children. The cat may have found a friend in the child that offers food and provides care and affection.

In a family setting where the pet cat is being cared for by all the members of the family, the pet still chooses to bond closely with a particular person. Behaviourists have theorized that the person’s voice, demeanour or the way he/she interacts with the cat is what entices the cat to choose the person to be its owner.

There is still no definitive reason for the cat’s tendency to bond with a particular person and to consider that person as its owner. It is not surprising if people would want to win the affection of cats given that cats are wonderful animals to have around. Cat lovers need to understand that even if cats are noted for their independent personalities, these pets would not say no to the attention and to the love showered on them. You want the family pet to consider you as its owner? Try spending more time, that is be present but don’t smother your kitty and see if it does not follow you around and consider you as its most favourite person.

Taking Kitty’s Urine Seriously

How do cats get urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections (UTI) in cats, also known as feline urinary tract disease, can be fatal if left untreated. The cat suffers from intense pain and it can be fatal. UTIs can result in a completely obstructed urinary tract. The blockage can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. A lot of factors can lead to the development of UTIs.

Bacteria and viruses in the cat’s urethra or bladder are one of the common reasons why these pets get urinary tract infection. These infectious agents can travel to the bladder through the opening from where urine flows from the body. This is one of the reasons why UTIs are more common in female cats. The shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to enter the bladder and infect the urine. Long haired breeds are also predisposed to UTI as the faeces tend to accumulate on the hair around the anal area.

The formation of bladder stones and crystals in the urine is another factor that leads to UTI in cats. Cats with an improper diet are mostly affected by this infection. A diet that has high magnesium and other mineral content can result to the infection of the bladder. The excessive minerals in the diet are not entirely taken up by the digestive system. The mineral deposits would form into crystals that would eventually bind together to develop into stones. Stones in the bladder cause inflammation and irritation. The mineral deposits are washed out of the cat’s system if the animal drinks ample amounts of water. Cats though are poor water drinkers. The situation is aggravated if the cat is provided with dry kibble instead of wet or canned pet foods.

Physical trauma, urinary tract tumours, congenital abnormalities in the anatomy of the bladder and urethra are other reasons why cats get UTIs. Intentional urinary retention is another cause. This situation is common in pets that are not provided with suitable places to urinate. Cats are generally very clean animals. They are known to cover their faeces and would rather not excrete or urinate if the litter box is not cleaned. UTIs occur if the bladder is not emptied regularly.

As mentioned, an untreated urinary tract infection can result in permanent urinary tract and kidney damage. These conditions can lead to the death of the cat. Once the cat is noticed crying and straining to urinate or if kitty passes bloody urine or passing malodorous urine, it is imperative to take the it to a veterinary facility for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. An antibiotic course is commonly prescribed for the infection. In cases of bladder stones, the cat may need to undergo a surgical procedure. A change of diet may also be necessary.

So don’t overdo the dry pellets, encourage kitty to drink, change the litter regularly and ensure your cat has a safe, accessible place to urinate.

Cats and Hibernation?

In Northern climates the long and extremely cold winter season is no picnic for some animals. Aside from the freezing temperature, the frozen ground makes it very difficult to find food. To survive the rough and tough condition, animals hibernate. Animals that live in areas with very cold winters are most likely to hibernate. Cats have become one of the most popular pets and can live in areas with freezing temperatures. Do cats in these locations hibernate too? The short answer is no. With an ample supply of food and adequate shelter, there is no need for cats to hibernate

What is hibernation? Hibernation is one of the winter survival strategies of animals. When the time of the year comes along they are faced with a choice, animals can either migrate to warmer areas or hibernate. Animals need to burn energy in all their activities. Working, walking, breathing, even thinking are energy burning activities. The normal functioning of the body’s systems like pumping blood and breathing are activities that burn energy as well. Animals instinctively eat unaware that filling the stomach ensures that energy will fuel all their activities. Finding food during the winter months may be very difficult. Animals in the wild can go out all day without finding food. Searching for sustenance is an energy burning activity. In order to survive the harsh winter months, animals conserve energy by hibernating.

Obligate hibernators eat large amounts of food before the winter months set in. This is to build up the fat reserve. Hibernating animals use the reserve body fat at a much lower rate. The energy needs will be reduced to a bare minimum. An animal in a state of hibernation has a lower than normal metabolic rate. Hibernation is often viewed as a very long sleep…sleep that can last for weeks or even months for some animals. Hibernation though is more than sleeping as the animal goes through drastic physiological changes. Body temperature drops to almost the same as the temperature of the environment so that mammals can almost have the same temperature as cold blooded animals. Heart rate and breathing rate drastically drop. A hibernating animal has a diminished consciousness; it’s oblivious to its environment. Waking up a hibernating animal would be very difficult.

Animals have different ways of coping with the winter months. As mentioned, some migrate to areas where food is easily available and some animals hibernate. Some animals stay in their burrows that already have a cache of food and very occasionally go out. Other animals adapt with the change in the season by growing thicker coats. Dogs and cats belong to this category. Domestic cats have no need to hibernate since these cats will be provided with enough food. Inside temperature controlled homes, domestic cats can easily weather the winter months. Cats are predators. Although not plentiful, small fast moving animals can still be hunted. Having grown a thicker coat, stray and feral cats can survive the winter months. Feral cats have another way of surviving winter. These animals can go through temporary hibernation. Cats can go through torpor, a state or physiological activity characterized by reduced rate of metabolism and lowered body temperature. With this short term hibernation the cat maintains its normal body temperature during the day while doing its usual activities. These activities would include foraging for food. To conserve energy, the cat would drop its body temperature usually at night and spend longer amounts of time sleeping. Just as with hibernation, the heart rate and breathing rate of the cat are considerably lowered.

Do all cats shed?

Leaving the cityCat hair on the furniture, on the clothes and even on food is a fact that must be accepted by all cat owners and cat lovers. All haired cats shed Similar to human’s hair fall and hair growth periods; cats’ shedding is a natural process that allows these animals to remove old hair that will be replenished with new healthier growth to keep the coat in good condition.                

Cats generally shed their hair twice a year. In the spring, cats shed to lose the heavy winter coat in order to adapt to the hotter summer weather. Cats undergo another shedding period in Autumn to grow a thicker coat that is more suited to the cold winter months. The shedding pattern depends on the breed, on the grooming routine and on the number of hours the cat is exposed to sunlight. Some breeds are heavy shedders, others are known to shed minimal amounts of hair. Owners of Cornish Rex and Devon Rex may not notice the pets shedding because the thin coat has very short curly hair. This breed appears not to shed hair at all but they do so with little visible effect. Indoor cats shed all year long but in lesser amounts as compared to outdoor cats. Shedding is influenced by photoperiod which is the number of hours the pet is exposed to sunlight. This is why outdoor cats shed more compared to indoor cats. Indoor cats shed less because of the artificial light and the controlled temperature inside the house.

Cat owners love to run the fingers through the soft coat of a cat. People love to own Persian cats because of their volumous hair. However, it cannot be denied that the cat’s shedding is one of the less pleasant processes associated with cat ownership. Shedding though is a natural process. Pet parents should be glad that kitty is shedding because this coat renewal process is a sign of good health. Sick cats don’t shed. Shedding though is not only a concern of good housekeeping. The hair shed by the cat has dander. People hypersensitive to this allergen suffer from allergy symptoms. Shedding and the associated effects it can have on people is one of the reasons why some cat lovers are prevented from taking a cat for a pet.

Shedding cannot be eliminated. People that cannot live with this concern should opt to get a hairless breed of cat as even thin coated breeds are known to shed. The Sphynx is a non-shedding breed. Although not totally hairless, a Sphynx cat’s fine fuzz gives the skin a suede-like appearance. Shedding of cats though can be controlled. Since what is shed is loose hair, a regular grooming routine will significantly reduce the amount of hair that will be shed by the pet. Aside from removing loose dead hair, daily brushing will maintain the health of the skin and the fur. Cats are fastidious groomers. They tirelessly groom for hours. However, grooming the pet is still advisable as it also prevents the pet from ingesting loose hair. Regular brushing prevents the formation of hairballs. The grooming routine is a wonderful chance for the cat owner to interact with the pet.

Shedding can also be minimized by providing the pet with a high quality diet that will promote the health of the skin and the coat. Vitamins and supplements that will strengthen the coat are available from pet supply stores. Some products like sprays can be used to minimize the shedding of the pet. Of course, there are different strokes for different folks.

Do cat calming collars work?

Cats are always pictured as calm and serene pets. One of the reasons why people choose a cat for a pet is because of its apparent calm personality. The only real reason why cats are often compared to dogs because is because they are the most popular pets. Dogs are noted for their hyperactive personalities. Pet owners that cannot cope with the high energy dogs exude often opt to get a cat. Cats indeed are the embodiment of calmness. However, there are instances when a cat owner would need to deal with a stressed pet. A calming collar is one of the natural methods used to calm cats. Cat owners attest to the effectiveness of cat calming collars as it provides stress relief in minutes.

We humans know how debilitating a stressful situation can be. Our pets can get stressed and suffer from the effects of anxiety too. Cats are creatures of habit. Any change in the cat’s environment can get them physically and emotionally stressed. The introduction of a new pet, a new baby or a transfer to a new home may get a cat stressed. Loud sounds such as rumbling thunder, the blast of firecrackers and even a long trip by car would stress out a pet. Stressed out cats behave abnormally. Kitty can vault and be gone in seconds at the sound of thunder. Anxious pets can become aggressive. Highly stressed cats can also manifest destructive behaviour.

To prevent kitty from getting into dangerous situations, it is imperative for a pet owner to find ways to calm the cat down. Cat owners are now using cat calming collars instead of administering anti-anxiety medications given that sedatives are known to have side effects. Cat calming collars are products newly introduced to the market and are gaining acceptance among cat owner as it has been proven to mellow stressed out cats in minutes.

So what are cat calming collars? This new trend in calming cats is otherwise known as pheromone collar control. Pheromones are hormone molecules produced by the cat’s scent glands and released as gland secretions. The cat’s facial secretions and anal gland secretions contain small amount of pheromones. The cat’s paws also deposit pheromones to areas scratched. One of the main functions of pheromones is to mark the territory. Pheromones have an important role in a cat’s sexual activities. Studies of feline behaviour have proven that pheromones are vital factors in mother-kitten bonding. These pheromones are used by mother cats to cosset stressed out offspring. Natural herbs are known to have a calming effect on people and on animals. Ginseng, chamomile and lavender are effective stress-relief herbs. Cat owners are aware of the effects catnips have on felines. The combination of herbs creates a scent that mimics the pheromones produced and used by mother cats to calm the kittens.

Calming collars are new innovations that have replaced synthetic pheromone diffusers and sprays. Synthetic pheromone diffusers and sprays are only effective if the cat is confined in the designated room where the calming products are applied or used. Calming collars work anywhere the cat goes as the release of the pheromones will be sustained. A calming collar is a natural method of calming a cat. The fabric collars with its easy to clip plastic buckle contains a precise amount of dried herbs. The blend of fragrance provides the pet with relief from stress in minutes. Calming collars cost approximately R100.00, a worthy investment that will ensure the wellbeing of your kitty.

Do all male cats spray?

Feeding the ducksDid you know that almost 50% of complaints by cat owners are associated with house soiling? Compared to dogs, cats are pretty docile animals…practically with no unwanted habits except for house soiling. Unlike dogs cats do not adapt well to training. Thus a cat that was not been trained to use the litter box would certainly be a problem. Cats that have been litter trained can still be a concern. The pet may be using the litter box but the pungent smell of cat urine may still permeate the inside of the house. Cats are inclined to spray and this habit is not a toilet training concern. Spraying is a territorial, social and sexual behaviourism of cats. Female cats are known to spray too but this behaviour is more common in male cats given their inclination to manifest their manliness. Spraying is a testosterone-driven habit hence it’s safe to say that all male cats spray. Some manifest this behaviour more often than others, others rarely do so but all male cats spray because it is natural and normal for these animals to manifest this social, sexual and territorial behaviour.

 

A male cat manifests spraying behaviour by backing to a vertical surface. It holds its tail erect and squirts a urine-based liquid to a spot about two feet off the ground. I hope you’re not eating your lunch reading this. After spraying, the cat wiggles his tail, does some kneading, then ambles away with a satisfied expression on its face. So what are the reasons why male cats spray?

 

After reaching sexual maturity, hormonal changes will make a male cat start spraying. One of the main reasons for cat’s spraying is to mark territory. Cats, especially males are very territorial animals. When cats spray, the urine mixed with pheromones allows these animals to communicate with other cats. The cat would purposely aim the spray about two feet from the ground…a spot that other cats would not fail to smell as they pass by. The cat’s spray is generally used to mark the boundaries of the territory but it can also be a way for the cat to tell other cats that all is not well. Spraying is more common in a household with more than one cat as the pets would have the inclination to reinforce its claim on the turf. Spraying can also be triggered by insecurity. The pet may think that it is neglected if the attention of the family is given to a new pet or a new baby. So always remember to give affection to your cat in the presence of a new baby or pet – indicating that this new addition is positive thing in the cat’s life not a threat. A feeling of insecurity will trigger spraying. Another reason why cats spray is to find a potential mate. The pheromones in the cat’s urine let other cats know of its availability.

 

Some cat owners brag about a non-spraying pet. As mentioned, all male cats spray but it is possible that the owner has not witnessed the pet spraying. This commonly happens if the cat is an outdoor pet. Another reason why a cat may not spray is neutering. Neutering, especially when done before the cat reaches sexual maturity will minimize the male cat’s inclination to spray. As hormonal activity that triggers spraying is eliminated, the male cat would have no more reason to spray. Cats though have different personalities. In some cats, neutering can effectively stop spraying. In other cats, this kind of solution could have no effect at all. Castrating the cat would not be an effective solution to spraying especially if the cat already has the spraying habit. In a multi-cat household, the most common reason why a cat would spray is stress. Spraying can be minimized by reducing the stress of the cat as much as possible. Play sessions are effective stress relief. Anti stress medications can be administered as well but a vet consult is necessary to prevent side effects caused by contraindications.

Do All Cats Purr and Why?

Purring is a trademark of cats. Owners of domestic cats are exposed to the purring trait of the pet. Big cats Lions and Tigers are known to purr as well. Purring appears to be an innate behaviour as kittens will be heard purring a few hours after being born. The soft purring sound will be heard and the vibration in the cat’s body that is not unlike an idling diesel engine will be felt by the owner whenever the pet is cuddled. This experience gives the owner a wonderful feeling. Purring after all is usually a manifestation of the cat’s happiness and contentment. Because the cat’s purring is believed to have healing properties, people would intentionally cuddle the pet to hear its soft purring. All domestic cats have the ability to purr. Unfortunately, not all cat owners have the opportunity to hear their pets purring as some individuals are incapable of producing the purring sound due to health reasons. Cats with laryngeal paralysis for example cannot purr.

Cats do not have a different vocal anatomical feature. Yet other animals cannot make the purring sound cats make. Other felids can make sounds that resemble purring. Lions, tigers, jaguars are members of the cat family…they have the same anatomical features as domestic cats. Large cats like lions and tigers roar but they cannot purr like domestic cats. Indeed domestic cats are pretty special animals.

The purring of cats has been a topic of debate among scientists. Despite studies conducted, the definite reasons why and how cats purr is yet to be discovered. It is believed that the purring sound is created when blood rushes to the large vein in the heart. Another more popular and more accepted school of thought is that purring is produced by the vibration of the vocal chords. When cats breathe, the air that passes in and out of the lungs causes the vocal chords to vibrate. This theory was supported by the fact that cats with laryngeal paralysis cannot purr. Other sounds like meowing and screaming are made at the end of every breath. Cats have the amazing ability to purr even while breathing. Cats also have the ability to switch on and to switch off the purring sound. It seems that cats purr only when they want to.

Purring is always associated with the contentment of the cat. It is certainly satisfying to know that the efforts exerted in caring for the cat makes the pet happy and contented. As mentioned, laryngeal paralysis will prevent a cat from purring. This is a rather unfortunate condition for a cat owner. Not only because the owner will not be exposed to the pet’s expression of pleasure but also because she/he will not benefit from the healing properties of the cat’s purring, assuming they exist. Cats are now used as therapy animals because of this belief in purring as having healing properties. The purring sound is relaxing and the vibration is believed to promote healing changes in the body. It is reported that purring provides pain relief for owners suffering from migraine and arthritis and other chronic pains. Evidently purring creates frequencies that are ideal in promoting bone growth. Cats are not very energetic animals. Cats spend long hours lying down. The purring serves as a low energy mechanism that allows these animals to stimulate muscle and bone development without expending a lot of energies.

Purring is a means of communication that allows cats to make the owners aware of their happiness or pain. Cat owners have discovered that by cuddling a purring cat, the soothing purring sound would drive stress and pain away. Squeeze a cat today. (Courtesy Carey’sCats)

Do all cats like catnip?

Cats are known to love catnips. This herb that is a member of the mint family is given as a treat to cats. Knowing the unaccountable effects of this plant to cats, pet owners are now providing cats with catnip-filled toys. Cats love to sniff, to nibble and to roll on catnip leaves and catnip plants. It appears that this herb has euphoric effects on cats. Does this mean that all cats like catnips? No. Studies on cat behaviour have proven that about 50% of cats ignore catnips. Apparently, in some cats the herb has no effect at all.

 

People, especially cat owners are aware of the effects of catnips on their pets. Catnip is a plant that belongs to the mint family. The scientific name of this herb is Nepeta Cataria. The plant has heart shaped leaves. Colours of flowers range from white, pink and white with purple dots. The variety with solid white flowers is most favoured by cats. Why do cat go gaga over this weed-like herb? Catnip has Nepetalactone, a chemical that creates a psychosexual reaction in cats. This substance’s effects are the same as the effects pheromones have on cats. Cats have special receptors in their olfactory system. Studies have proven that the cat’s response to the substance starts when the catnip is smelled. When catnip is found, the cat is seen nibbling and sniffing the plant, the leaves and the flowers. The chemical enters the cat’s nose and passes through the Jacobson’s organs that are connected to the hypothalamus. One of the functions of the hypothalamus is to act as a switchboard that will trigger different kinds of behaviours. Cats sniff the catnip, roll on it rubbing the plant against their bodies. Finally, the cat is seen munching on the catnip plant. The cat’s high though is produced when Nepetalactone is released when the catnip is bruised. This is probably the reason why cats roll on the plant. The cat then shows uncharacteristic behaviour like rolling and leaping. The cat that appears to be enjoying itself may even foam at the mouth and the drawn back lips look as if the cat is grinning. The cat may meow and pur more than usual. Catnip can have alternative effects on cats as some individuals manifest aggressive behaviour. In short sniffing catnip is believed to stimulates the cat. The euphoric behaviour lasts for five to ten minutes. After rolling and rubbing the body on the plant, the cat does a lot of sniffing. Afterwards, the cat eats the catnip. When eaten, catnip becomes a sedative thus after ingesting catnip, the cat goes back to its normal self. The effect of catnip is not unlike the effects of marijuana. One good thing about this plant is that it has no side effects and the cats don’t get addicted. These animals have the ability to self-regulate.

 

Catnip is a good training tool. Catnips are rubbed on scratching post to entice the cat to scratch the post instead of the furniture. Catnips are given to calm a pet that is about to go on a long car ride. Unfortunately, catnips don’t affect all cats. Kittens show an aversion to this herb. Aging cats don’t show any reaction to catnips as well. It is believed that the cat’s response to catnips is inherited. Cats are affected by catnips because of an inherited autosomal gene. Cats that are not affected by catnips do not have the genes that will produce a response to the herb.

Do Cats Really Get Hairballs, If So What Are They?

courtesy catexpertblogspotcom

courtesy catexpertblogspotcom

By Carey’s Cats.Com

Is that a hairball? Yuck! Hairball that is often chucked up by the cat on the rug or on the carpet is one of the common problems of cat owners. Long haired and short haired cats get hairballs but this ball of fur is more common in long haired breeds. Hairballs are one of the reasons why finicky people would not dare to get a cat for a pet. Hairballs though should not stop a person from enjoying the wonderful companionship cats can offer. Not all cats form hairballs. Anyone wanting to have a cat but deterred from getting one because of hairballs simply need to choose a hairless breed or do something to minimize the likelihood of hairball formation.

What are hairballs? Cats are known for being fastidious groomers. Cats would contentedly lick the fur for hours causing some of the loose hair to be ingested. Cats have abrasive backward-facing spines in their tongue that aids them in grooming. These are called papillae. Made rigid by keratin, rows of these stiff spines would act like a hairbrush that would effectively remove loose hair. However, because of the backward formation of the papillae and also because cats would not know how to spit out loose hairs, hairs removed when grooming will be ingested. Loose hair will then work their way into the cat’s digestive system. Some will be removed normally…hairs will pass all the way through the digestive tract and will be passed out with the faeces. Some hair though will remain and form into clumps in the cat’s stomach and form into hair balls. Cat owner would often see the pet retching and gagging. After a while, a sausage like wad of hair and undigested matter will be chucked up by the pet. Hairballs take on a cigar-like or sausage-like form as the wad of hair passes through the cat’s long and narrow oesophagus.

Hairballs are more common in long haired breeds and in cats known to groom excessively. Hairballs are normally vomited by the cat. About twice a month, the cat would be seen gagging and retching. However, hairballs that are not vomited would accumulate in size and create a life-threatening situation. The hairballs can create a blockage in the digestive system preventing the cat from defecating. Oftentimes, this kind of concern would only be corrected with a surgical procedure. This will of course be a financial burden on the pet parent. A bigger concern though would be the risk to the cat’s life.

Hairballs are one of the deterring factors why people would not get a cat for a pet. Hairball though is not an unmanageable concern. People that do not want to be bothered by this unpleasant cat concern can get one of the hairless breeds. Sphinx cats, the Donskoy and the Peterbald are only some of the hairless breeds. Aside from being bald, these cat breeds possess all the admirable characteristics of cats. These breeds though would still manifest the habit of social grooming. Bald cats may not ingest their own hairs but they can ingest other cat’s hair when they groom other cats. This kind of situation usually happens in a multi-cat household. Formation of hairballs cannot be totally prevented. It is the nature of cats to groom not only themselves but other cats as well. However, an owner can reduce the likelihood of the pet to have hairballs. Frequent grooming is one. Brushing the fur, especially in long haired breeds will remove loose hair before it can be ingested by the pet. Another is to give the pet foods specially formulated to reduce hairballs. These high fibre foods would help the cat pass the hairballs normally and promote the health of the coat thereby minimizing shedding.

EVeryone

Do cats’ teeth grow back?

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Cats do grow their teeth when they lost their first ones. Same as with humans, cats also have two sets of teeth- milk teeth and permanent teeth. Lost permanent teeth will never grow back.

 The milk teeth of kittens appear between thirteen and fifteen days. They are replaced by permanent teeth between five and seven months. During this period their gums are very tender thus cats at this age would find eating very uncomfortable. Adult cats have 30 teeth- 12 incisors, 4 canines, 10 premolars, and 4 molars. Cats are hunters. Their teeth are designed to chew dry foods, bones, meat of prey and other tough substances. Chewing of bones and meat of prey cleanse the teeth. The abrasive hair, feathers and bones of prey help maintain the good condition of the teeth and the gums. However, most domestic cats never have the opportunity to hunt. Domestic cats are generally fed dry foods. This results to accumulation of tartar. Tartar build up is one of the causes why cats lose their teeth. Lost permanent teeth will no longer be replaced as they never grow back.

 Cats have the inclination to gnaw hard objects and substances. This is one of the reasons why cats lose their permanent teeth. The teeth can get broken if the cat chewed hard objects. Diet would also affect tartar and plaque formation in the cat’s teeth. The most common dental problem in cats is a condition called Feline odontoclastic resorotive lesions. Feline dental disease is a true medical condition and one of the leading causes of cat teeth falling out. Tartar build up often causes gum irritation. It causes the roots of the tooth to become exposed. Plaque is produced in the cat’s teeth every six hours. Over time, plaque forms into a hard yellow brown substance called tartar. This plaque to tartar cycle can cause serious dental health problems like gingivitis, gum abscess, periodontitis, tooth loss and bone loss. There are 300 types of bacteria that naturally live in your pet’s mouth. The bacterial infection arising from these dental concerns can have serious effects on the cat’s vital organs. Once tartar has developed on the cat’s teeth, an animal dentist’s attention will be necessary as brushing would not be enough to remove the tartar.

 Kittens would suffer from teething pains and discomfort. The soreness of the gums makes it hard for the kitten to eat or play. Teething toys are commonly given to cats at this stage to alleviate the discomfort and pain caused by sore gums. Cats are stoic to pain. They may not show signs when suffering from broken tooth. A broken tooth can lead to more serious health concerns if it is neglected. Cats may develop serious systemic bacterial infection from the infected broken teeth.

 Brushing your cat’s teeth is the most effective way of preventing tooth loss. You can use a finger brush or a tooth brush specially designed for cats. Toothpaste formulated for animals must be used as well. Getting the pet accustomed to the feel of a finger inside its mouth would make the brushing routine easier. Place a dab of the pet’s favourite food in the finger. Put the finger into the cat’s mouth and move it on a circular motion over the teeth and gums. Do this several times a week. After a few sessions the cat will be comfortable with having the fingers in its mouth. The cat will then be more cooperative during teeth brushing time. Massaging the cat gums with soft cotton once a week can prevents gingivitis. It is important to always check the cat’s mouth. Monthly oral examination can uncover hidden diseases. Vet consultation is imperative as soon as problems associated with the pet’s health are noticed.

Do cats choose their owners?

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By Carey’s Cat’s.com

Cat behaviorists have conducted an experiment. A cat was placed in a room with several people. Some are cat lovers…others are not. Surprisingly, the cat had made overtures to the non-cat people. The cat approached the non-cat lovers and rubbed its body against their legs. The cat has even jumped on the lap of one person who did not particularly like cats. Do cats really choose the people they would befriend? Do cats choose their owners? Some cats do. Some cats would develop a certain kind of fondness to the people that are providing its basic needs.

We know cats to be solitary animals. Unlike dogs that have the tendency to develop destructive behaviors when not provided with enough attention by the owners, cats would not need human intervention for their existence. Look how stray cats managed to survive in barns, in warehouses and in decrepit and abandoned buildings on their own. These animals would hunt mice and other small fast moving animals to survive. Cats are noted for their independent and aloof personalities. Cats would never consider themselves owned. Unlike dogs, a cat would not have a master. Cats are choosy animals. They are particular about who they will bond with. This knowledge makes some people take pride at the fact that cats have specifically chosen them to be the their owner.

Despite the studies conducted in feline behavior, humans are still puzzled by some of the actions and behaviors these animals show. One of the cat behaviors humans find perplexing is the animal’s tendency to choose its owner. In the example given above, cat behaviorists have explained that cats are intimidated by the attention given to them by cat lovers. Thus they tend to choose people that are ignoring them. Feral cats that have existed in farms and kept grain sheds free from pesky mice and other rodents would suddenly decide to change their lifestyle and move into family situations. The decision can be influenced by the ever present food source in households. It is common for stray cats to hang around areas where food can be found. It is also possible that the cat has instinctively found someone in the home that it can bond with. Cats are not very affectionate animals but they can develop a bond with anyone that is showing them kindness. It is not uncommon for animals to have a strong attachment with children. The cat may have found a friend in the child that offers food and provides care and affection.

In a family setting where the pet cat is being cared for by all the members of the family, the pet would still choose to bond closely with a particular person. Behaviorists have theorized that the person’s voice, demeanor or the way he/she interacts with the cat is what entices the cat to choose the person to be its owner. Some researchers have suggested that the choice of the cat is influenced by similarity of psychic aura that the cat and the person it chooses to bond with have.

There is still no definitive reason for the cat’s tendency to bond with a particular person and to consider that person as its owner. It is not surprising if people would want to win the affection of cats given that cats are wonderful animals to have around. Cat lovers would need to understand that even if cats are noted for their independent personalities, these pets would not say no to the attention and to the love showered on them. You want the family pet to consider you as its owner? Try spending more time with the cat and see if it does not follow you around and consider you as its most favorite person.

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Do Cats Get Sad?

Feeding the ducksThere is a common misconception that cats can be left alone at home all day. This is why cats are the common choice of busy pet owners…owners that would not be able to devote much time interacting with the pet because of busy schedules. However, cats can get sad too. Who wouldn’t be if there is nothing to do inside a very quiet house? Not many pet parents though are aware that cats are subject to emotions. Kitty can get depressed, angry, threatened and sad too.

Cats are solitary animals noted for their independent personalities. As such, there is a common misimpression that cats being tough animals can happily exist without interacting with humans. Humans are only the cats’ tickets to comfortable existence. True enough, cat owners would provide the pet not only with its basic needs but also with all imaginable things that would make the pet comfortable. It is even believed that it is not possible to own cats. Cats will never have a master as these animals own the masters instead. This kind of behavior gives the wrong impression that cats do not have emotions. Cats would not get sad.

However, we have heard of situations where a cat that was parted from a loving owner would pine, would not eat and would have no interest in its surroundings. Cat owners have observed how a cat would have teary eyes and how it would howl and brood after the death of another cat. The cat is sad because of the absence of the owner. It is obvious that the cat is grieving because of the death of the playmate. Skeptic would say that these actions are not manifestations of sadness but the owner’s tendency to attribute human emotions to the pet. However, studies on cat behavior have revealed that cats can get sad. The same situations that would depress humans would cause depression in humans too. The cat may be accustomed to being left alone at home all day but a gloomy weather, the demise of the owner or the transfer to a new house would be too much for the cat to bear. Cats do not wear watches nor do they know how to tell time but these animals are accustomed to doing the same activities at the same time. Any disruption to the routine would have an effect on the emotions of the pet given that cats are creatures of habit.

A change in behavior would make the owner aware that all is not well in the pet’s world. A sad cat would be restless. Cats are fastidious groomers but a sad pet would be noticed to groom halfheartedly…if they groom at all. The cat would sleep excessively and lose interest in food. Cats are not big on showing affection but sadness would make the cat even more aloof. The cat may even tend to hide from the family members. Sadness would make the cat develop destructive behaviors. The cat may forget to use the litter box thus owners would be concerned with the cat’s habit of house soiling. A sad cat would manifest attention-getting behaviors like scratching and gnawing.

What should a cat owner do to prevent the pet from getting sad? Contrary to the common impression that cats have cold and aloof personalities, cats really need to interact with their human friends. Cats really appreciate the attention given by the owners. The cat’s sadness can be prevented by giving the pet extra attention. More bonding time will make the cat feel that it is loved. Cats need mental stimulation. Toys will stimulate the cats mind while it is alone at home. A sad cat may be longing for company. Another pet will provide the cat with a companion.

Do cats get lonely? by Carey’sCats.com

PeaceIt is not uncommon for people to see cats as independent animals. In spite of domestication cats have retained their wild nature. It is a common belief that cats’ existence is centred on food, on grooming and playing. Interaction with humans and with other animals is on the bottom of a cat’s list of priorities. This solitary personality is one of the reasons why would-be pet parents that do not have much time to spend on interacting with the pet would opt to get a cat for a pet. Cats can stay ALONE at home all day. Cats can easily find their own amusement. Dogs develop separation anxiety when separated from the human family or when left alone at home all day. Do cats miss their owners too? Do cat miss the company of other cats? Studies on feline behaviours have proven that cats do get lonely.

Despite the solitary personality and the independent demeanour, cat experts believe that these animals are social creatures by nature. Cats are solitary hunters. However, in the wild, feral cats live in colonies. These cats interact with each other. These cats eat and play together. Cats would groom each other as well. Domestication may have altered the personality of these animals. In a one cat household, the pet has become accustomed to being on its own. Cats are less friendly to the human family as compared to dogs. Cats may not be too demonstrative with their affection but these animals do form a strong bond with their owners. Cats would also form a close bond with the other pets of the family. When separated from the owners or from the other pets, the cat would get lonely. Being separated from the littermates would be though for a kitten. Cats are not expected to understand the death of the owner or the loss of the other pet. However, it would certainly show signs of loneliness even if the owner seldom interacts with the pet and even if the cat is constantly fighting with the other pet.

Cats have varied ways of showing their loneliness. Some cats would excessively vocalize. Cats are noted to be good at grooming but loneliness can cause the cat to groom excessively until it coughs up more hairballs and the attractive appearance of the coat is marred by bald spots. On the other hand, lonely cats may have no desire to groom at all. A lonely cat would have no inclination to do its usual activities as it would tend to sleep a lot. Just like lonely humans, lonely cats may turn away from food. The opposite is also possible. Loneliness and depression can stimulate the cat’s appetite so that it would be seen overeating. The loneliness associated with the death of the owner can make the cat hide and ignore the attention of other family members. It is also possible for the cat to be underfoot. Missing its owner, the cat would follow other members of the family everywhere they go. Loneliness can make the cat developed unwanted behaviours like aggression, indiscriminate defecating and urinating and destructive scratching and chewing.

The cat’s loneliness can be caused by many things. The owner’s first course of action is to make sure that the pet is not sick. A vet visit is imperative. If nothing is wrong with the cat’s health, the owners have to deal with the cat’s loneliness. Another pet would provide the lonely cat with a playmate and companion while the humans are not at home. New toys will stimulate the cat’s mind. A lonely cat needs the attention of the human family. Spending more time to interact and to play with the pet would certainly make the lonely cat happy.
{Courtesy Careyscats.com}

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Do cats know their owners?

Leaving the city

by Carey’sCats.com

Many people have this notion that cats are opportunistic animals…that these pets would only follow people that provide them with a regular supply of food. Non-cat lovers believe that cats would not care what happened to their caretakers precisely because these animals do not know their owners. These theories can’t be farther from the truth. Cats surely know their owners. Cats may not show it but these pets love their owners deeply.

The independent personality cats have is oftentimes the reason why association with humans is believed to be the cats’ strategy to survive. People that have never owned cats have this mistaken notion that cats don’t even know their owners. Cats only stay with humans as the caretaker is viewed as a meal ticket especially when hunting is nil. People may have a reason for believing so. Let’s face it. Cats indeed, are not big on showing affection to their owners. There are even instances when the cat would not only ignore the calling of the owner…cats would even feign indifference. Cats would not grovel for attention and affection. Unlike dogs, cats would not follow the owner around with the tongue hanging to wait patiently for a pat on the head. When it comes to bonding with humans, cats are simply different from dogs. Cats are not frivolous creatures…they do not give their love lightly. But when they do the recipient of the love would know that they are loved deeply.

Cat owners would assert that their pets know them. This fact was proven in many occasions. Cats do not really have very many distinct marks. A cat that was lost for quite a while and was reunited with the owners may not be recognized by the owners at once. However, cats would readily show signs of recognition especially if the animal has closely bonded with the owners. At the sight of the owner, the cat would purr and immediately jump into the owner’s lap or rub its body against the owner’s legs. Cats have shown signs of missing their owners. We have heard many stories about pet cats that would persistently wait or look for the owner that has died. Cats don’t usually vocalize but pets that are missing their owners would incessantly cry and go from room to room trying to find its favourite person. These situations would not be possible if the pet does not know their humans friends.

So how do cats know their owners? Cats are very perceptive animals with keen senses. Cats use these senses to identify the objects, the animals and the humans around their environment. Cats have superior sense of smell. Aside from the ultrasensitive nose, cats have an additional organ at the roof of their mouths – the Jacobson’s organ. These scenting organs are used to identify their human friends. Ever noticed a cat rubbing its head or body against the owner’s arms or legs? The cat is actually marking the human using their distinct smell that is secreted by the glands on the cat’s cheeks and paws. This scent will be used to identify the owner even in the dark. Moreover, cats can see well in low lights. The silhouette of the owner can be easily identified. Of course cats have very sharp hearing abilities. A cat would get familiar with the voice of the owner that it hears every day. Even if parted from the owner for quite a while, cats would easily know the owner simply by hearing its voice.

Cats may behave differently from other pets but this behavior is a part of the cat’s allure. Being solitary animals, cats have the tendency to show indifference but owners are certain of one fact…that the pet knows them and that their affection for the pet is fully reciprocated.(Courtesy Carey’sCats.com}
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