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How to Tell if Your Human Servant is Depressed and What to Do About It


drawing by Ali Noel Vyain

If ever notice when your human sighs? Or seems to stop moving? I’ve seen that with my girl. I would tap her to make sure she was still alive. She always responded when I did so. But still I wondered if she was depressed.

Sometimes when humans are depressed they won’t get up out of bed. They don’t need to sleep off and on all day as we do, so it’s a bad sign. If they forget to eat or feed you, it’s time to do an intervention.

Humans do get depressed and they need us cats to help them get through it. I would suggest give them a head butt and rub up against them. Cuddle up against them and purr as loud as you can. It’s a simple and easy way to let them know you still care.

I’ve done that with my girl and she always got better. It wasn’t always so safe to sleep next to her as she is a restless sleeper, but I do like to sleep with her. It was better when she slept in bigger beds. Then I would have a safe place to sleep near her without having to worry about her crushing me by accident.

I hope these tips help if you human gets depressed. Talking to them might help to. I think they need to socialize as we cats do too.

Princess Lily Versus Nuri


photo taken by Ali Noel Vyain

Sometimes cats just don’t get along. As a cat, I know. I didn’t always get along with my brothers or with the kitten I raised with my girl. We cats do fight. Usually, when we live inside with someone caring for us, we do not fight to the death. We just scream and yell at each other and sometimes come to physical blows.

I stress to you humans if you see and hear us fighting, please keep in mind as long as we aren’t clawing each other or causing any kind of wounds, you don’t need to worry. We are dealing with the tension of the moment. Princess Lily and Nuri just don’t get along. I don’t know why not. They tend to hiss at each other too much. Sometimes Nuri tries to play with Princess Lily who doesn’t like to play.

Only a few times have they done more than hiss and scream at each other. Neither got hurt. My girl was usually around to get them separated or just have them stop altogether. In the case of Princess Lily and Nuri, it is best to stop them from taking it too far as my girl does. Fortunately, they tend to avoid each other often or are in their separate rooms so they can’t get to each other and cause trouble when the humans are sleeping. Or trying to sleep as the case maybe.

Sometimes we just play wrestle. My girl has seen Spot and me fighting like that enough that she found it amusing. She never got between us. She knew we were playing.

Please watch carefully and soon you will learn if it’s a bad personality clash or just sheer play or even a way to diffuse the tension between us.

Essential Cat Care (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

If you’re reading this magazine, especially if you’re a regular reader, chances are you already have a cat or three — or, at the very least, are a cat lover like the rest of us here. Although it would be easy to assume that most of our readers are already familiar with the basics of cat care, it’s also possible that some readers might have never had a cat of their own or have come here to learn more about what life with a cat is like. Julius’ post this month highlights a lot of the things cats enjoy doing and having in their home. This article serves to outline the very basics of cat care, what cats need, and what to do to prepare for bringing home your first furbaby.

Before you bring your kitty home, you will need to cat-proof your house and make sure it’s safe for your new friend. You will need to safely store cleaning products and other potentially toxic items out of your cat’s reach. Remember that cats are very agile and can climb. They will be able to jump onto high shelves and climb into cabinets and drawers. You might want to purchase locks or baby-proofing supplies to prevent your cat from investigating places you don’t want them in.

You will need to purchase a cat carrier for transporting your cat. Many shelters will give you a temporary cardboard carrier to take your cat home, but it’s a good idea to purchase a large, sturdy one for safer transport, especially since your cat will need to visit a vet very soon (see below).

Most cats are low-maintenance pets. Some, however, will require more intensive care and attention than others. Very young kittens, very old cats, and cats with special needs or certain health conditions will need more attention than “average” cats. Some need special diets or need medicines administered regularly. When adopting a cat, it’s good to familiarize yourself with any health conditions they might have and what care they will need in the future, including vaccinations. As soon as you get a new cat (or even before you adopt the cat), it’s important to find a veterinarian and consult with them about your cat’s specific needs.

Your cat will need a safe, quiet part of the house that can be theirs. Cats love having boxes and other hidden cubbies where they can hide. They also like having access to soft beds and cat trees.

Your cat will need food/water bowls and a litter box. Their water should be replenished at least once a day. Consult with your vet regarding food choices and an appropriate feeding schedule. Their litter box should also be changed frequently, especially if you are using litter that is not odor-absorbent.

Your cat will appreciate having toys to play with. There are many kinds of toys to choose from, and it might take some trial-and-error to figure out which ones your cat likes best. Your cat will also benefit from having access to a scratching post. It might not completely prevent them from clawing your furniture, but it might help.

Your cat will also need grooming supplies, such as nail clippers and a hairbrush. Trimming your cat’s claws is a good way to protect yourself from scratches, as well as reducing damage to your furniture. Brushing your cat regularly promotes bonding between the two of you and helps prevent hairballs.

Getting a cat can be overwhelming, but it is also extremely rewarding. Cats bring joy to and enrich the entire household, and it’s nice to have a furry friend around to keep you company.

 

Vocal Issues in Cats (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Many cats — and especially the early-rising Julius — are quite vocal. They are often especially talkative in the morning and in the evenings. Cats communicate through a variety of trills, purrs, cries, and other vocalizations, but the meow is something special, reserved for kittens talking to their mothers and grown cats talking to their humans.

Sometimes, though, cats lose their voices, just like humans do, and have to temporarily stop chatting. The cat’s voice might become hoarse or squeaky, or the cat might lose its voice altogether. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • an infection, such as laryngitis or an upper respiratory infection
  • nerve damage to the larynx
  • polyps and/or other growths on the vocal chords
  • excessive and/or prolonged meowing

Whatever might be the cause, it’s a good idea to take your cat to the vet to determine the underlying cause of their voice loss. It could be something incredibly simple, such as your cat yelling too much during a car ride, which is easily treated with vocal rest. It could also be something more serious, however, so it’s important to have the vet check on your kitty to make sure they receive appropriate treatment. If your cat has an infection, antibiotics might be on the menu. If it turns out to be polyps or other growths, your cat might require more invasive procedures such as surgery to treat the problem. Sometimes nerve damage to the larynx can cause laryngeal paralysis, preventing the cat from vocalizing. Surgery might also be needed if this is the cause of your cat’s voice issues.

Luckily, the most common causes of voice loss are not nearly so serious. Usually, cats lose their voices from overuse or from laryngitis, which are both relatively easy to treat. With proper care, your little one will be back to meowing soon and singing to you at 5am.

Traveling with Your Furbaby (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields 

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Not everyone looks forward to traveling. Some people dislike it more than others–and cats in particular are not usually happy about going on trips. (Or as dogs like to call them, “adventures”.) Cats are often notoriously difficult to travel with. They fight getting in their carriers and are terrified of leaving their territories. They often scream and yowl for the duration of the trip, making it much more tempting to just leave them at home…

So, what’s a pet parent to do when they have to take their little ones out of the house?

Safety is of the utmost importance whenever you have to go on a trip with your pet. It’s a good idea to have your cat wear a collar or harness with your phone number on it in case they get separated from you during transit. It’s also a good idea to know your cat’s microchip information (if they have one), as well as carrying a copy of their vet records, especially if you are traveling by plane. To reduce the risk of escapes, do not let your cat out of its carrier unless you are in a secured place — such as a parked, locked car, or a locked hotel room. If you must allow the cat out of its carrier, be sure it’s wearing a harness with a leash so you can hold onto it if it tries to run.

Another factor of utmost importance is comfort. Your cat needs to be comfortable during the trip — it will help keep them as calm and stress-free as possible. They will need a carrier large enough for them to turn around and stand up in. Preferably, the carrier should have hard sides so it is sturdy enough to protect them from accidental knocks or bumps that might happen during the journey.  Be sure to secure the carrier with a seat belt. The safest place in a car is usually the middle rear seat (this is where children are recommended to sit as well).

Don’t forget to pack food and water for your kitty. Your cat will also need access to a litter box if the trip is going to be longer than half a day or so. If you suspect your cat will get especially stressed or upset during the trip, you can ask their vet to prescribe them anti-anxiety medication to help them get through the journey. You should consult with your vet and follow their instructions regarding this.

With some preparation and a good attitude, you and your cat will be ready to take on whatever journey you need to. Your cat might not be super pleased about it, but traveling with your cat does not have to be a nightmare.

 

Playtime (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields 

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Cats, just like all of us, benefit from regular playtime. Not only does playtime keep your cat physically fit (the exercise will promote them to build muscle and improve their circulation), it will also provide them mental stimulation, keep them from getting bored, and give them a chance to bond with you over fun activities. Exercise is an important part of keeping your cat healthy and happy.

Cats enjoy playing games that involve utilizing and satisfying their natural instincts to stalk, hunt, and kill prey. They also typically play in short bursts — your cat might play vigorously for 10-15 minutes, “kill” its toy, and then grow tired or bored. It’s recommended to repeat this playtime once or twice a day to keep your cat entertained and well-exercised.

Common toys that cats enjoy include: small toys that resemble prey, such as catnip-stuffed mice or birds, feather wands, and tinkle balls. You can find a wide range of cat toys for sale in most stores. Cats don’t necessarily need special-made kitty toys to have fun, though–many cats also enjoy playing with crinkly paper or toilet paper tubes, which can be found regularly around the house.

It’s important to remember to always supervise your cat when they’re playing, just to make sure they are staying safe. It’s also important to not allow your cat to play with sharp objects that could injure them, as well as items that they could swallow, such as ribbons and rubber bands. Vets also recommend that cats stay away from playing with string and yarn, especially if they are unsupervised. Although these are popular cat toys, they can cause serious internal harm if eaten, and your cat could also get themselves tied up or otherwise entangled in the yarn in dangerous ways. Again, it’s important to keep an eye on your cat while they’re playing. Plus, who wouldn’t want to join in the fun? Playing regularly is good for both you and your feline friend. Stay safe and have fun!

 

To Eat, or Not to Eat (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields 

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

To eat, or not to eat? If your cat is anything like Julius, they might be inquisitive little foodies who want to discover the various tastes the world has to offer. They might want to graze in the garden, steal scraps off your plate, or partake in tantalizing human munchies. Sometimes, however, it might not be apparent that ingesting certain foods isn’t good for them — in some cases, ingesting certain plants or foods could result in serious harm to the curious feline involved. So what is safe for cats to eat, and what isn’t? (Note: cats really should not be eating food that isn’t meant for them, but we all know that sometimes they manage to obtain, ahem, supplementary nutrition from human kitchens and gardens, so it’s good to be prepared with knowledge of what is safe and what is toxic in such cases.)

Some foods and plants are extremely toxic to cats and should not be ingested even in small amounts. Doing so could cause the cat extreme illness or even organ failure. These foods and plants include: Chocolate, raisins, grapes, alcohol, caffeine, onions, garlic, crocuses, lilies, tulips, and daffodils. 

If you suspect that your cat has ingested any of these substances, take them to a vet right away, especially if they show signs of distress or if their urine changes color.

Some foods are safe for cats to eat, although they should consume these in moderation. These foods include: cooked meat, cooked fish, oats, rice, eggs, bananas, apples, broccoli, peas, and more. You can check out a longer list here. Cats can also safely enjoy a number of plants and herbs as well, including: wheat grass, parsley, and mint. 

Those new friends better stay hidden from Emperor Julius!

Weight Management (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields

 

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Cats, just like humans, often struggle with weight management. It’s not uncommon for cats, especially if they are exclusively indoor cats, to be overweight or even obese. And, just as humans’ health can be negatively impacted because of unhealthy weight, overweight cats can also experience a range of health problems stemming from their bulky figure — including but not limited to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, and breathing problems. Cats that are older, female, spayed, and kept indoors are at highest risk for becoming overweight or obese, but any cat can have weight problems, even young ones.

Your cat’s vet is your best resource for determining if your cat is overweight. Healthy weight ranges can vary widely, depending on your cat’s age, breed, sex, and personal body build. In general, though, you can determine if your cat is overweight if you cannot feel their ribs when you touch their sides, if your cat struggles to run and play easily, and if your cat does not have an obvious waist. These things could all indicate your cat might benefit from a diet.

There are many ways that pet parents can help their cats obtain and maintain a healthy weight. Encouraging your cat to exercise is an important part of weight management. Getting your cat fun toys and dedicating a fixed amount of time, perhaps 15-20 minutes per day, to playtime is a great way to prompt your cat to exercise. Another important part of weight management is limiting your cat’s access to food. Cats should be fed fixed portion sizes at specific times of day and should not be allowed free access to food or treats. Some vets might recommend or prescribe a special diet cat food to help you cat lose weight.

Your cat’s weight loss journey will likely be a long, ongoing process, but with the help of your vet, you can design a plan that will be perfectly suited to your little one’s needs and that will ensure they will stay healthy and playful long into their old age.

Protecting Little Paws (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

As Julius reminded us this month, most cats consider themselves to be tigers or some other kind of large, majestic feline. And it is only fitting for tigers and lions and other big cats to explore and climb and run all over their territory. It’s good for cats to explore various parts of their house — it gives them good exercise and entertainment — but they can also risk injuring themselves and their precious little paws during their journeys through kitchens, cabinets, and other spaces.

Common sources of injury could include: burns from hot stovetops, twisted paws/ankles from slipping and falling, chemical burns (and potential poisoning/digestive problems) from stepping in household cleansers (and then licking it off). It’s important that pet parents check their house carefully to make sure there aren’t any dangers that gallivanting felines might get their paws involved in. As always, it’s best to try to prevent accidents and injuries from happening rather than having to treat them later.

Good practices to follow include:

  • Being watchful of hot stoves. Don’t let your cat in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Pay attention so that they don’t run across the stove while the burners are cooling off.
  • Consider removing tablecloths, table runners, and other coverings that could potentially make tables and countertops slick and that your cat could accidentally get tangled/caught in.
  • Restrict your cat’s access to high places, especially if your cat likes to climb. Banisters are of particular risk, since it’s very possible your cat could slip and fall from such a great height.
  • Keep household cleansers and other caustic substances locked away and out of your cat’s reach. Watch your cat carefully whenever you use these substances to make sure your cat does not accidentally step in them, especially if you are cleaning floors, bathtubs, etc.

Despite our best efforts, however, sometimes accidents do happen, and our little ones hurt their paws. In these cases, it’s important to treat the injuries properly and then to follow up with veterinary care if necessary. In the event of burns to the paws, especially chemical burns, wash your cat’s paws well with cold water and then wrap the paws in gauze. If the burns are severe, be sure to take your cat to a vet for treatment. Infection is always a concern whenever the skin is injured or broken. In the case of your cat having slipped and fallen from somewhere — this can especially happen if cats get caught in tablecloths — they could have severe bruising, a sprain, or even a broken bone. You will likely need to take your cat to the vet for a physical exam and x-rays to assess the injury, especially if the cat is crying out in pain, is limping, or if a paw/limb is visibly swollen or otherwise injured. If this happens, try to wrap your cat securely in a towel to make them more comfortable and stable during transport to the vet.

Hopefully, your cat will be a wise enough tiger to avoid getting themselves into scrapes and messes, but it never hurts to be on the safe side and know what to do in case your beloved house panther hurts a paw.

Sleep Disorders (Monthly Cat Care Article)


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photo by Clarabelle Fields

Disclaimer: the staff writers here are not vets nor are they qualified to give medical advice. This article’s purpose is strictly to share stories/information and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Please take your cat to the vet if you suspect anything might be wrong with them. Your vet will know best what to do in your specific situation.

Cats can certainly adhere to odd schedules, at least by human terms. Cats often sleep blissfully through entire days only to burst with lively energy and enthusiasm at particular hours of the night. Most “normal” cats do sleep quite a lot — sometimes upwards of 15 hours or more — but this sleep is generally light or dozing sleep, from which they can awaken quickly if need be, and most “normal” cats awaken for activity during dawn or twilight hours. That being said, however, cats can and do suffer from a variety sleep disorders, especially as they age.

Narcolepsy is one kind of sleep disorder cats can suffer from. A cat with narcolepsy will suddenly collapse and seem to have fallen into a deep sleep, and the cat will also exhibit signs of REM sleep as if it is dreaming. The exact causes of narcolepsy are unknown. The disorder in and of itself is not dangerous, but could present dangers if the cat were to fall into water or from a high height because of a sudden sleep attack.

Sleep apnea is another sleep disorder cats can have, especially if they are overweight or if they are Persian. Symptoms to look out for include loud snoring, gasping/choking while asleep, and spasms of the diaphragm. Treatment might involve weight loss if the cat is overweight or corrective surgery in more extreme cases.

Cats can also suffer from insomnia, especially elderly cats. Some elderly cats will develop erratic sleeping schedules and will have difficulty sleeping. Some cats will be extremely restless and vocalize frequently throughout the night as well. In many of these cases, insomnia and disrupted sleeping patterns can be the result of age-related cognitive decline or sometimes hyperthyroidism. 

So what’s a pet parent to do? If your kitty doesn’t seem to be distressed or in pain and their sleep schedule stays relatively the same, perhaps they just enjoy roaming during nighttime hours. You might want to invest in earplugs.

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