Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
Dogs teach us to love; cats teach us to live.
By Alma J. Buelva
WHAT Christmas gift would you give a pet that loves you blindly? if dogs could speak, they would probably ask for a whole rotisserie chicken. Cats would likely demand for their favorite canned good, a real cat loft or just some alone time.
Before you go gift hunting for your pets, take a look at the following unique gift ideas that are not all store-bought but might be even more appreciated by your furry pals.
CATS and water are like water and oil. But cat experts at Pet Food Institute believe pet owners have the magic touch to win their pet’s trust even in the face of, well, water.
"Regular baths can be more fun by putting safe toys in the pet's tub. It might seem like torture to pets at first try but the friendship that has formed will eventually pay off," they said.
According to Purina, a company that makes products for cats, felines don't usually need a bath except on rare occasions when they get really dirty, had been exposed to chemicals or for medical reasons. If you must bathe a cat, here are a couple of tips on how to do it from Purina and us:
THE arrival of new kittens bring joy to my heart. Although I know it eventually means more mouths to feed, more trips to the vet, more cat fights to break, more things around the house pissed at and scratched and more things to clean, I just could not for the life of me not be happy at the sight of cute kitties.
For me, kittens are the cutest things in the world and I have a whole army of Internet users that I know would agree.
I've watched kittens being delivered to this world countless of times since I was a small girl. I even documented some on film. In an hour or two, those tiny wonders would be cleaned and dried by their mother and then my desire to hold them would begin.
One should refrain from picking up very young kittens as it may upset their mother. This has never been a problem with me – the moms are my cats so they trust me. But it's true that one must not handle days old kitten unless the mother cat knows them and they could be perfectly gentle and careful with the baby cats.
Years of experience have taught me how to handle and cradle kittens and I'm gladly sharing some tips below to assist those who couldn't help get their hands on newborn kitties.
Early socialization by means of touch will help kittens be familiar with people. But not all kittens are the same. Some simply hate to be petted no matter how gentle and friendly you are. Home-grown kittens are usually okay with human's display of affection, but strays and rescues that have gone through some harrowing experience might resist your friendly advances. Of course, there are exceptions as some strays actually crave affection that they didn't get growing up.
One last tip: try to ascertain a kitten or cat's mood before you hold or carry it. Watch those tails and ears! They'll pretty much clue you in if they want physical contact or not. – AJB
THE world is truly one magical place, even for small creatures like cats. For how could one not marvel over the fact that two cats of different breeds can produce a new line that borrows some of the looks of an entirely different species!
A Poodle cat or Selkirk Rex is a special breed that came about after a black Persian cat and a certain cat named Miss Agnes DePesto gave birth to a litter of five with one that had curly hair due to a random mutation of fur gene that affected only her. Her breeder thought of using her distinct bloodline to further create a unique breed of cat now scientifically referred to as Selkirk Rex.
Selkirk Rex's curly hair extends to its whiskers which also curl at the ends. It is the fourth type of curly-haired cat but unlike the short-haired Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and German Rex cats, the poodle cats also come in long-haired varieties in a wide range of colors.
At first a poodle cat appears to be an unkempt cat, but its curly hair is exactly what makes it endearing. Experts assert that since the fur mutation was dominant, poodle cats can be bred with other cat breeds and still produce kittens with unique poodle-like fur.
Poodle cats, being relatively rare still, can fetch up to $1,000 a cat. – AJB
LONG-TIME cat owners, especially those with multiple cats, must have felt desperate at some point to find the perfect cat litter. As we are supposed to be more intelligent than cats, we often decide what we think would be best for them, which includes the choice of litter that they should use round the clock.
But shouldn't the choice for a suitable “toilet” be best left with the one who would use it? Before you convert your hard-earned money to a sack of what is essentially dirt that will cover piss and poop, perhaps it would be best to first watch and learn from your cats.
THROWBACK LITTER DAYS
Did you know that in the 1940s an ex-sailor named Ed Lowe “invented” the cat litter after suggesting to his neighbor to use absorbent clay instead of sand and ashes to collect cat's piss and poop? Fast forward to today, supermarkets and pet stores now offer a wide array of cat litter that promises improved odor control, easy cleaning, low maintenance and whatever would be appealing to fastidious cats. None of them comes cheap but for cat owners who want to attempt the nearly impossible – a clean house with an indoor cat – there is no arguing the price.
Unfortunately, the fancy cat litter, especially the perfumed variety, is not always to the cats' liking. They seem very eager at first to dig in to those dry, granulated clay, only to become uninterested the next day. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) came up with a long list as to why one in every 10 cats would have a litter box lapse in his or her lifetime. The 20 most common reasons are:
* The cat is suffering from a medical problem involving the urinary tract.
* The cat experiences a bout of geriatric constipation.
* The caretaker does not keep the box as clean as the cat wants it to be.
* The owner changes the brand or tries disposable plastic liners.
* The owner changes the location of the litterbox.
* The owner switches to deodorized or perfumed litter.
* The owner buys a new box and throws out the old one or covers the box with a hood.
* The owner cleans the litterbox with too harsh a cleaning product.
* The location of the litterbox is too busy or not private enough for the cat.
* The home is too large for just one litterbox.
* The cat inadvertenly gets locked out of reach of the litterbox.
* The cat is kept from using the litterbox by another animal in the house.
* There are too many cats and not enough litterboxes.
* There are too many cats and not enough territory.
* Stray cats can be seen/smelled near the cat’s territory.
* The unneutered male cat has come of age and is marking his territory.
* The unspayed female is in heat and advertising for suitors.
* Over time, the cat has developed an aversion to the texture of the litter.
* The cat was never properly trained to use the litterbox in the first place.
* The cat is stressed by a change in routine or environment, including new baby, new furniture, work schedule changes, vacations, overnight guests or a move.
LITTERBOX OF HORRORS
Purchasing your first bag of cat litter is going to be a hit or miss as nobody could really tell what a particular cat would want to use. Clay litter is the most common type one finds in the market today. Available in clumping and non-clumping types, clay litter has the advantage of absorbing smelly odors better than other materials like paper or sand.
Because they form a clump when they get wet, clumping clay litter is easier to scoop out. But this product should not be flushed down the toilet as the clumps turn cement solid and are non-biodegradable.
The problem with clay is they are quite dusty and cat's could still track dirt if they step on some wet, soiled clump. Using clay litter also requires you to ideally visit the cat's litter box as often as cats do to remove the soiled clumps right away so that your cats don't get into contact with those anymore.
Cats can be dirt devils but they are also quite the clean freaks. When a foreign material like clay gets stuck between its claws or paws, the cat would lick it off. This becomes a real issue as many are concerned about cats ingesting clay particles and becoming ill.
As for the odor eliminating quality of certain litter products, bear in mind that though we don't find the llitterbox to be as smelly as it used to be, it doesn't mean that it's the same with cats. Cats have stronger sense of smell than humans. It's supposed to be 65:15 labial pits in millions between cats and humans. So, if they stop using the “fine smelling” litter, maybe because it still assaults their noses even though it smells fine to us.
There are other eco-friendly litter alternatives that are finding their way into stores. The new choices include hashed newspaper, orange peels, cedar chips, silica gels and pine sawdust. They all promise to be great odor suppressants that will save you from lots of cleaning but we know that only cats could review these products with credibility. When buying a cat litter for the first time, get it in small quantity and let your cat test it. If they like it, it's probably safe to buy a second batch until you notice another change in your cat's toilet habits.
WHETHER you are a cat lover or not, chances are you have experienced that unblinking, sticky stare that only a cat could fix at you to the point of making you uneasy.
Cat people have interpreted the consuming cat stare as its way of telling that it's hungry, angry or anxious. Others believe it's the cat's way to size up anyone and anything as determined by one rule: the one who blinks first loses. If you engage a cat in a staring contest, the odds will never be in your favor, unless you cheat.
People find staring rude, but not cats. Cats love to stare. Some cat experts believe cats stare at humans because they find them highly interesting. In fact, it could even be an expression of affection, especially when the cat breaks its stare to head-butt a person's face.
But from one cat to another, the stares could make or break a war. Dominant cats talk and stalk with their eyes. A slit-eyed cat intently watching another cat or animal indicates its readiness to fight if provoked, and the wide-eyed cat that notices this should turn tail and scat.
Next time a cat stares at you, don't just stare back but also listen and look for other visual clues to help you understand its mood. I've noticed that my cats' stares are usually accompanied by a soft rumbling purr or a light flexing out of claws as if they want to knead. If you are patient, the cat could later reward you with a light pawing or strong head-butting of your face. Whether you blink or not, either way you win. – AJB
WE go through life learning from mentors and experiences. Mentors are varied but generally they are either male or female and usually older than us. Are they strictly from the human species? No.
Years of close contacts with cats have taught me certain things. The biggest one being patience. Here are at least 13 things my cats made me realize to be universally true whether you walk with two feet or four.
* Two meals a day is okay, but three meals are preferred.
* House guests disturb peace and order.
* Even your own siblings can be bitches.
* The only good tunes are your tunes.
* It's best to sleep after you have washed yourself.
* Chocolates can be bad for you.
* Frogs are nasty, avoid at all cost.
* Diving in a swimming pool doesn't build one's character.
* Sharing is conditional.
* Firecrackers are for fools.
* You get good results when you are sweet and nice.
* A nice garden soothes the soul.
* Something is usually good when there's a "string attached".
These snippets of "education" I got from my cats don't end here as they still continue to show me how life could be best live. Till the next class... -- Alma J. Buelva, Editor MetroPets