A better way to get a “difficult” cat into a carrier!

Here’s a better way to get a “difficult” cat into a carrier with less stress for the cat and less chance of scratched up arms and hands for you!

Is your cat one of those who when you need to place your furry friend into a carrier, their legs flare out and it’s a battle to get the cat inside without them panicking and you becoming a bloody mess of scratches? Our brainy veterinarian, Dr. Debra Scheenstra, showed us a trick and now we share that with you!

  • Place a hard plastic carrier on the floor with the door open and the opening facing up to the ceiling. Dr. Scheenstra recommends using a carrier with at least a 8″ x 7″ door opening (a bigger door is even easier).
  • Place a dish towel over the opening. We recommend a large potato sack-like towel – a bath towel is too thick and won’t work.
  • The carrier is now at an angle that the cat won’t recognize and the potato sack towel makes the opening invisible to the cat.
  • QUICKLY pick up the cat and drop the cat on top of the towel where it and the cat will drop down into the carrier before they know what’s happening!
  • Quickly shut the door and lock it!

Mr. Cat Faerie recommends you also wear thick leather gauntlet-style gloves when handling difficult cats to protect against scratches and bites. Animal professionals use “animal handling gloves.” Some can be quite expensive, but some are in the $20-$30 range. Other similar gloves are sold as welding gloves, BBQ/fireplace gloves or rose pruning gloves. One more tip – put aside a pair of gloves just for handling your cat. You don’t want to smudge up your kitty with a used pair of fireplace gloves.

 
 
 
 

Newton’s Purrspective – Cats and Sleep

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.


Cats have a reputation for preferring sleep over almost anything else. Perhaps you’ve seen the cartoon showing a group of “business cats” sitting around a table. The head cat is calling for a vote. Should they explore, invent things, do research etc. or keep napping? All answer “nap”. You may laugh, but I don’t think that is such a bad idea considering the decisions far too many humans make without taking adequate time to think about it, consider the consequences, or gather information and read about, or “sleep on it”.




Isaac Newton

Cats need approximately 12-16 hours of sleep daily. I really don’t understand why we should get a bad rap for that. Dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep and nobody jokes about them! But seriously, if you’re going to take an afternoon nap wouldn’t it be better for a snooze with a cat? Of course, we felines enjoy helping you read, type on the computer, text on your phone, knit – almost any activity. But naps are our specialty and you could learn a lot from us! Lying down is an invitation for a snuggle. We are soft and super flexible for cuddling – especially in cold weather. We also make the most delightful music while “making biscuits” on your stomach. Irresistible!

In fact, we cats have perfected the art of napping. We can fall asleep quickly and awake refreshed in a flash! Surprisingly, some people (who may have been cats in another life) have even learned the joys and benefits and they call it, appropriately, a “cat nap”.

Even if you aren’t feeling tired you probably enjoy watching Kitty sleep. What could be more relaxing, meditative even? You may wonder if cats dream. Of course we do! Sometimes our legs kick or our toes twitch like we are running in hot pursuit of a toy or something to eat. We can look like we are chewing, dreaming of a delicious morsel. What are we dreaming of? Perhaps we are dreaming of what we love, like chasing butterflies, hunting for a snack, or a platter of fresh meat. Or maybe we are indulging a more sinister side – catching and crunching unwary birdies.

Regardless, we are never as uncouth as dogs. Have you seen them dreaming? Barks and whines and enough leg movement to generate electricity! Cats are refined and elegant even in our dreams.

Can a cat sleep too much? I think a more important question would be “Have Kitty’s sleeping habits changed?” Kittens and senior cats do tend to sleep for longer periods. But lethargy in a normally active cat is a concern. Other considerations include poor diet or a health problem such as changes in Kidney function. A veterinarian should definitely be consulted if there are symptoms of disease (vomiting, changes in water consumption, flinching with pain when touched or picked up, etc.). Keep in mind that we cats are experts at hiding sickness as to not appear to be weak and vulnerable. Extra sleep could be a “self healing” technique handed down via DNA from our wild ancestors. If Kitty is sleeping much more than usual a health check is in order. If the veterinarian gives Kitty a clean bill of health it may mean that Fluffy may be bored and in need of environmental enrichment – perhaps a CATio, extra attention from you, or fresh Cat Faeries toys.

Now some people complain that cats race around in the middle of the night for “no reason at all”. Of course there is a reason! Wild cats are normally crepuscular. They are most active at dawn and dusk when prey is most available. Housecats don’t have to catch their own meals, but we retain some of that genetically programmed timetable. We have just modified the timetable a bit to suit ourselves. Why not? We (in the sense of the “royal we”) were once worshipped in Egypt and have never forgotten that.

Who doesn’t like to have fun and get a little exercise? How fun it is to scuff up the area rugs and knock things off tables! Considering that our night time vision is six times better than that of humans why shouldn’t we take advantage of the extra room to run when the rest of the household is asleep? We have all day to nap.

Sir Isaac Newton, Feline Boy Genius and Cat Faeries Editor At Large
 
 
 
 

Reader’s tips on how to lure a feral cat into your heart and into your home!

 

From Rosalinda: “This little stray showed up in our backyard, we feed it but once it eats it runs and hides.”


When we posted this story and photo from Rosalinda of her little backyard stray kitten she told us that the kitten runs and hides after feeding time. We have some pretty smart and experienced with feral cats readers on our Facebook page, and if you’ve got a feral cat or kitten who you’d love to bring into your home here are some of their tips!


Deborah V tells us: I had a little cat that I was feeding and she was very shy (and careful, I must say). But, after about 6 months, she started to come up to me and let me touch her. Then after a while, I got her to come inside. She stayed with me inside (never going outside again).

Patricia C. has stellar advice: If you lay down she may not be as frightened. Also sing a soft little song. Some cats love music.

Donna I. reminds us of this great trip, which works wonders! Give the kitty the trust blink. you look it in the face and slowly close your eyes and open them, if you wear glasses take them off so it can see your eyes. blink slowly and wait to see if they blink back. if you do this for a few days it’s ok, if they blink back then they trust you. maybe you can put the food in the bowl and sit there on the steps, not in the chair. he/she will learn your scent, maybe even rub up against you. just be patient

Diane McG suggests: Beautiful kitty. Please try to rescue it because it’s very dangerous outside. You could probably borrow a live trap from the Humane Society.

Wendy R says: Just keep feeding her. I’m sure eventually she’ll venture inside and stay. Just show kitty love.

Colleen D has encouraging words: She will come around!

Robin P. has words of wisdom: Doesn’t trust yet…please be patient..God Bless you!

Norma Jean TS wants you to know: Soon it will be friendly

Cathy MS wants you to know: I’ve been feeding a stray cat for a year on my front porch. Iv only recently been able to scratch her back a little.

Andrea Lee B: tells us: It is wonderful you are feeding the baby but please… when you do catch… get her/him neutered.

Millie C has a good tip: Every time you put food out keep bringing it closer and closer to your home and the kitten has to claim you. Thank u so much you have a great heart

Elizabeth W has this to say: Be patient. Little by little she’ll feel safer. Just keep it up. Don’t make fast moves or loud noises around her.

Phyllis L speaks from experience: Try to get a have a heart trap and catch it to get it spayed or neutered. Alley Cat organization will help with that. Took me over a year to get the last of 4 ferals to come in my house. That was 10 yrs ago!

Patricia K has good advice: Move the bowls further away from the chair. You are BIG… sit down, but not too close. Sweet talk very softly while the kit is eating. You will have her in your lap in about a week, maybe two.

Sina T is encouraging: I am hoping that she will come around for you.

Connie H tips her hat to Rosalinda: Love that you are feeding. Just be very patient.

Linda M has good things to say: It looks like a young cat, if your willing to take care of this beauty be gentle and keep feeding on a regular basis it takes time for them to trust and they choose.

Pamela M. is cheering you on: The girl says just keep at it and be patient she’ll come around. Has to learn to trust first and foremost

Joan F. is optimistic: Be patient, trust will come…this little cutie needs your love & help!!!


When you feed your feral cat, or cats, sit with them. Being closer to their level makes you less scary, more friendly. Cats and other animals communicate telepathically – they see images of what we are thinking (like when you are looking for the cat carrier for a vet appointment, they “see” the image of the carrier in your mind and run!) What you want to do is free your mind of the usual chatter, worries, and thoughts and images of chores we are bombarded with. This technique is good for you and the cat as it’s a nice time to meditate. Imagine your thoughts on the 12th floor of a building, in an elevator, which is holding all the chatter and thoughts in your mind. Now, bring the elevator down to the 11th floor with less chatter and thoughts. Then to the 10th floor with even less chatter and thoughts. Keep going. The goal is to reach the ground floor in a paradise where you’ll be free of chatter and thoughts and be in a state of quietude which is going to feel very safe to the feral cat and be healthful for you too. If the cat wants to approach you let it happen BUT do not reach out. Play hard to get! Make the cat want your attention! You might see the cat lay down, sit down, or clean a paw or face. This is what we want. Keep practicing. Eventually the cat will trust you and you can try to stroke the cat (start with the aura, then then fur once the cat is ok with your reach) and at that time you can decide what’s next for you and the cat!

While you are descending down the Meditation Elevator you might picture your thoughts and chatter being swept away by a broom, perhaps blown away be a breeze, or encased in a cloud or a rose bud where the breeze with take it away, or place those thoughts in a sail boat and allow them to sail away.
 
 
 

When cats are naughty or loud at night and what it can mean!

When cats fight at night or pee outside of the litter box at night this tells Auntie Cat Faerie that most likely you’ve got feral cats coming around!

The neighborhood ferals, also called Community Cats, are active at night when it’s safer for them to prowl and hunt outside. Since it’s the middle of the night when we are sleep, we have no idea they are there and we might even tell people “we don’t have ferals in our neighborhood.” Surprise!

Your inside cats hear them, see them, and if they are spraying urine or peeing outside your house, your kitties smell them. All of which upsets your cats. Many cats don’t care about the presence of outside cats but for the indoor cats who do care it will cause them to fight – or worse – pee in retaliation! Still not convinced that some of the behaviors your cat is exhibiting is caused by ferals, answer this: 1) do you find that your cat peed or pooped by a window or door? 2) do your cats only do this in the middle of the night and rarely during the day? A yes to either question is evidence that you have outside cats annoying your indoor cats. And until you keep those cats away from your home stopping the problems for your indoor cats may never stop 100%.

  • To keep outside cats away don’t feed them, look at installing Spray Away or The Water Scarecrow which use water to chase them away, hang up put shiny objects near your doors such as old CD’s or DVD’s (and keep the porch light on to reflect)
  • Give your cats our Territorial Rescue once or twice a day in food/water. You can also spray it around the house, and near the doors and windows.
  • Give your cats our Convivial House Cat who behaves in a manner similar to Feliway but is 100% natural and edible! It can go into food and water, as well as sprayed on objects or near the doors and windows.
  • Our Beneficial Crystals truly do boost effectiveness of both products when drops are applied.
  • Clean the outside of your doors with our Anti Icky Poo to remove any traces or urine and its smells. If you see a water mark at cat-butt-height that’s evidence of your doors being sprayed. Also check flower pots, chairs, and your car’s tires.
  • After you’ve cleaned the door off apply some of our Convivial House Cat or Territorial Rescue to the outside of the door and repeat as often as you can – this is going to help chill out the ferals!
  • We have customers who installed a Feliway diffuser on their porch and liked the results! You just need an outlet.

Another cause for fighting in the middle of the night is if one of the cats is getting old and kidneys are failing – perhaps one cat is yowling and this is upsetting the other cats (and disturbing your sleep)? If yes, this is a sign of kidney failure (and deafness which causes the yowling go hand in hand with kidney failure) Get to the vet this week!

  • Before you go to bed, go around the house and give a few random “here and there” sprays of Convivial House Cat or Multi Cat Household to a few objects per room.
  • A bedtime snack might help them stay calm – most cats will be happy with a tablespoon of a “mid-night snack.”
  • Feliway diffusers help too. We suggest 1 or 2 per room concentrating on the rooms where they spend the most time and/or near doors/windows.

 
 
 
 

Catnip, it’s not just for cats! It’s easy to grow your own too!

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb of the mint family native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Legend has it that Captain John Mason introduced catnip to Newfoundland around 1620 as an essential plant for settlers’ gardens. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins Catnip enjoys a long history worldwide as an important herb with both culinary and medicinal uses. Although undocumented, the Egyptians, known for their love of cats, may have been the first to discover catnip’s recreational aspect by providing the herb to felines in their care. http://catniptoy.co.uk/the-history-of-catnip/




Isaac Newton

Have you ever wondered who put the “cat” in catnip? Catnip has long been a mainstay of herbal medicine, but it is taken orally for its calming effect and to soothe digestive upsets. The ingredient that makes kitties leap for joy is nepetalactone, a volatile oil. Although many cats enjoy nibbling on catnip, the euphoria (and downright silly behavior, if I do say so myself) comes from sniffing the nepetalactone. Due to our special nasal receptors cats (as well as our wild cousins: leopards, lynxes, lions and tigers) are the only mammals who can enjoy the delightful sensations. http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/nepetalactone/nepetalactoneh.htm

Do all cats love catnip? As a matter of fact, no. Sensitivity is genetically controlled so not every cat will feel the effects. It is commonly thought that 10-30% show no interest at all as they did not get the “catnip gene.” In general, kittens are not affected until they are three months old.

Fresh catnip is the best (especially just before flowering), but it is hard to grow if you can’t keep the local cats away from your garden. If you must buy the dried variety consider quality. The active ingredient is highest in flower buds and leaves, but inferior commercial blends may be 80% stems. https://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/catnip-and-cousins

Wanting to grow your own? The seeds have a rather poor germination rate, so plant lots! Also plant them away from your house or every cat in town will be loitering and rolling around crushing the plants! Some parts of the US produce very good catnip and other parts produce catnip that’s not so potent – it’s all about soil and weather.

All of the cats at my house enjoy catnip to varying degrees. I have to admit that I am a bit of a “nip head” and am a little down if I don’t get my daily dose. I positively adore it! Fortunately it is nontoxic and non-habit forming. We cats know when we’ve had enough. Some people don’t want to give catnip to their cats because the crazy behavior makes them uncomfortable. However, a little catnip can encourage play (especially in older cats), elevate moods and ultimately act as a mild sedative facilitating the all-important ritual of cat napping. A little loose catnip on the scratching post can also encourage proper manners around furniture.

Cat Faeries Legendary Catnip Toys are my favorite way to enjoy catnip. The catnip is wildcrafted from catnip which grows in a secret place in the US where, due to soil and weather conditions, the level of nepetalactone is the highest on the planet! The smell is irresistible right through the box and the toys are adorable and are very durable. I know mine get a lot of use. Of course, if you’re not a cat you may prefer a soothing cup of catnip tea while you watch Kitty enjoys her new toys. Just keep in mind that a big cup of catnip tea can cause you to doze off to slumberland!

Catnip has some surprising health benefits for people including: sleep aid, menstrual cramp killer, hot flash cool down, and upset tummy settler! For cats it’s great for their immune system.
 
 
 
 

Cats and Water

We often think about the interesting relationship between cats and water. They seem to be blissed out when lapping it up out of their water bowl, but usually, but not always hate getting wet. Then there are the cats who sneak into the shower after we’ve used it to sit in the water remaining on the tile or who practically want to join us! We thought we’d ask Newton, our feline editor at large to cat-chat about cats and water.


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats and Water

Cats have a reputation for hating water. I’ve always wondered if this is deserved or just urban legend. True, domestic felines did evolve from desert dwelling ancestors conditioned to an arid environment. Early cats probably didn’t encounter much water, and the fact that they do not need to drink a lot is no surprise. Cats today drink what they need to maintain health if the water is clean and free of distasteful chemicals or minerals (hard water).

However, when it comes to other encounters with water… we have a real game changer!




Isaac Newton

Imagine yourself in a restaurant anticipating your favorite refreshing beverage. The waiter approaches, but instead of handing you the glass he dumps the contents on your head! Or worse, he picks you up and submerges you in a large container of your now former favorite drink. I’m sure you get the idea. If humans would not tolerate this situation what would you expect of creatures who were once worshipped as gods? Cats prefer (some say demand) everything on our own terms. I’m sure that few cats even pretend to enjoy squirt bottles and baths, but more on that later.

Instinctively we seek out the freshest, cleanest water possible. This explains why many of us balk at having food and water dishes side by side. Uneaten food transferred to the water increases bacterial growth and just tastes bad. Food and water bowls should be separated by at least 10 feet to prevent cross contamination. Running water is the cleanest in Nature, so in the absence of a ceramic cat water fountain we may insist on drinking from the kitchen or bathroom faucet.

In the wild felines get a substantial part of the water they need from their prey. However, when they share a home with a human what they eat is very different. Dry food has become popular because it is convenient and can safely be left out while Kitty is home alone during the day. However, dry food has a very low moisture content (10%), much less than canned (70 – 80 %). Cats who are fed only dry food must drink more water to compensate. Veterinarians often feel that excess thirst and unnatural water drinking from salty kibble might lead to kidney disease.

Blood has to be processed through the kidneys to remove toxins and waste products of metabolism. The more water a cat drinks the harder the kidneys must work. Extra stress on these vital organs can lead to serious problems, including kidney failure. For that reason, foods with high salt content should be avoided. One way you can tell is if you feed a cat one type of food and the water bowl is drained – that means way too much salt.

If possible, establish a baseline for what is normal for Kitty. While water is necessary, excessive thirst can be a symptom of disease. On the other hand (paw) it could be something easily fixed by changing to a food with a different combination of mineral additives. Please consult your veterinarian if you notice an increase or decrease in water consumption.

But now let’s get back to squirt bottles and baths. Many people try to (ha ha) train cats (ha ha) using water. The idea is that Kitty will dislike being squirted so much she will (ha ha) stay off the kitchen counters. I’m sorry. I just can’t stop thinking about my brother Purricane Felix (aka Purr). He LOVES getting squirted! In fact, he purposely jumps back on the table JUST so someone will squirt him again!

I don’t know how he would feel about a bath. I can’t see him floating in a tub of bubbles surrounded by scented candles. But he definitely loves to take a shower. Yes – he jumps right into the shower with Mom and demands to be petted until he is soaking wet. (He skips the soap, of course.) He’s been doing this since he was a kitten 11 years ago and never loses his enthusiasm.

When he can’t shower the best substitute is our ceramic cat water fountain. I think he would swim if the pool wasn’t so tiny. I’m not sure what swim stroke he is practicing, but we go through a lot of towels with all that splashing around.

I have to admit I sort of fit the cat stereotype since I am not a big fan of water in general. I do love the fresh fountain water though. Even though I live safely indoors, I am still in touch with my wild side. I stalk, pounce, and capture my Cat Faeries toys as if my life depended on it! Then I walk around yowling until I find Mom. I think cats do this to call their kittens to dinner. Mom isn’t much of a hunter so I know I have to provide for her. When I proudly drop the feast at her feet she pets me, says thank you, and tells me what a good boy I am. I trained her well to be appreciative of my efforts.

If she isn’t around I put the “prey” in a safe place – usually in my food dish or the cat fountain. Cats have no need to wash (or drown) our prey. I guess that’s a good thing since Mom had to put the screen on the fountain pool so Purr couldn’t splash all the water out onto the floor. We just want to keep our prize in an area where it is not likely to be found. Of course, in multiple cat households this is no easy task. I have 3 feline siblings so sometimes I have no choice but to share.

Many of our Dear Readers have asked if they can put Cat Faeries flower essences for cats and Convivial House Cat drops right in the water fountain, they wonder if the filter will diminish their effectiveness – good news – the filter will not compromise the power of these two fabulous products!

We recommend that even a ceramic water fountain be washed with soapy hot water daily to prevent any bacteria harboring sticky and slimy biofilms from forming.

“The worst canned cat food is far better than the best dry kibble.”
Debra Scheenstra, DVM
Novato, California