What did our ancestor’s sleep patterns have in common with your cat?

You’ll be fascinated to learn that our ancestors did sleep, wake up, and then sleep again. A bit like cats, but not all day long, rather overnight.

Long before the Industrial Revolution and the invention of electricity people went “early to bed and early to rise”. And what exactly does that mean? Did they really go to bed early and sleep for hours on end? No.

Our ancestors did not sleep straight through the night, rather they had two nightly sleeps. They would go to bed early and sleep for a few hours, and then they would wake up. Which we modern humans often do, probably our Circadian Rhythms trying to tell us something. So we toss and turn, and feel guilt or anger for not falling back to sleep, they got up and did things, generally quiet things like meditate, pray or read. A few hours later they’d fall back to sleep again for the duration of the night.

Also before the invention of electricity our ancestors slept in complete darkness other than some light from a full moon. There was no light to disturb their sleep or rest. There was no artificial street light or light from electronics to disturb their sleep or rest.

Our cats have their own Circadian Rhythms which are: Sleep. Wake up. Sleep. They do this throughout the day. What’s similar between us and cats is that we aren’t meant to sleep for hours on end.

Doing what you can to flow with human Circadian Rhythm will keep us youthful and disease free. And probably even as agile as a cat.

The article on this link will explain how our ancestors used to sleep. Do read it, it contains a lot of fascinating details about what people did during those wakeful hours at night.

http://disinfo.com/2013/08/how-our-ancestors-used-to-sleep-twice-a-night-and-highlighting-the-problem-of-present-shock/

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy?

Are squirrels driving your cat crazy? at CatFaeries.com

In 1997 when we shifted our focus to Feliway and helping cats get back to the litter box we quickly realized that one of the key triggers that caused stress for many indoor cats which can lead to litter box avoidance was the pesky presence of those cute bushy tailed rodents: squirrels. Squirrels running around outside have sent many a cat over the emotional edge.

Most cats find them to be cheap entertainment. But many cats find squirrels to be very annoying or threats to territory and this can lead to retaliation: peeing outside of the litter box, often right under a window. Even if a sensitive cat never sets foot outside (which is good, keep em indoors!) squirrels run along window sills, up and down trees, they get into bird feeders, and other antics all under the watchful eyes of our indoor cats.

We have long suspected that the quick ways squirrels zip around can really annoy and taunt cats. The defiant flicks of squirrel tails agitates many cats. And then there is that chittering sound they make. Traits that might seem cute to us often really irk and threaten even the most mellow feline.

A very easy solution to help steady your cats’ nerves is the feed squirrels (and birds) out of view from windows and at the farthest place on your property.

You can also install one or two Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers in the rooms where your cats squirrel-watch. This will do two things:

1) The pheromone is calming to your cat, less fighting among your feline family.

2) The pheromone sends the message: “I don’t pee in this room.”

Why cat beds are important to a cat

Why cat beds are important to a cat at CatFaeries.com

Your cat will sleep absolutely any place they wish. They look for places which are soft and warm, comfortable and in a safe place. And a safe place can be on a high surface like your bed or a dresser, or on the floor nestled in a pile of clothes.

But those places get moved according to your whim, and they are washed or cleaned frequently. Most cats like a cat bed because they can arrange it to their liking and also that their fur clings to the fibers of a cat bed and their scent both of which are soothing to your cat – much like snuggling into their mother’s tummy to nurse and sleep.

Yes, you will want to wash your Cat Faeries cat beds from time to time! We give you the instructions with your order. Don’t worry if all of the cat fur doesn’t wash out – kitty prefers it that way!

Cats and Sleep (It’s Primal)

Cats and Sleep (It’s Primal) at CatFaeries.com

Adult cats tend to sleep 15 to 17 hours and in intervals during a 24 hour period. Some cats, particularly elderly cats and kittens, can sleep 20 hours a day. All cat lovers joke about this, and wonder – why do they sleep so much? Is it that our modern housecats are overly pampered, perhaps even lazy?

Not at all! They are sleeping to conserve their energy. All cats, including the big cats, are predators and they are hardwired to leap into action, to chase their prey (or toys) and hunt for suitable food which is what they do mainly at night (which is why they see so well in darkness). Cats are the most active at twilight: dusk and dawn, which is when prey animals such as rodents, birds, and bugs are the most active. Therefore a lot of sleep is required even if the ability to spring into action from sleeping isn’t necessary for survival.

Cats spend so many hours sleeping to store energy reserves and allow their bodies to detox and stay strong for the hunt, even if it’s to stalk a catnip toy. Unlike most humans cats have the ability to spring into action from a light or deep sleep. Hunting takes a massive amount of energy and the best way to nurture energy is through sleep or rest. A dozing cat is conserving energy for future activities.

We’ve heard cats referred to as being nocturnal, but that’s incorrect, they are crepuscular. These are animals that are active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn when they seek out food and water. Our modern housecats do best with being fed two meals a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.

Cats aren’t the only crepuscular animals: dogs, nighthawks, moose, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, bears, ocelots, deer, moose, squirrels, mice, rats, chinchillas, skunks, wombats, wallabies, possums, spotted hyenas, bobcats, and mosquitoes.

A few interesting and important Notes:

1) Cats being very individual creatures often develop their own sleep patterns, this is normal. Sometimes they mimic our sleep patterns. If you notice a change in your cat’s sleep pattern this could be a sign of illness, especially for older cats. Call your veterinarian.

2) A cat responds to sunlight for waking up. If your cat sleeps with you and your drapes or curtains allow sunlight in the early morning this could explain why your cat wakes you up before you are ready. We recently found a company which makes very interesting inserts for windows which can black out light and sound: http://www.indowwindows.com/

3) Yes, they do dream! And they do have an REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM phases just like we do. Don’t you love it when you cat appears to be dreaming of running through a field and moving their mouth like they are chewing, or chomping on a plump bird?

Are behavior modification drugs right for your cat? Do they really work?

Here’s an article by guest cat-tributor Issac Newton:


I’ve been asked how I feel about behavior modification drugs prescribed for cats. First, I must admit that I do partake in a little ‘nip on occasion. But that’s just for fun and the effect is short term. Shouldn’t we think very carefully before using drugs that could not only affect personality, but also have adverse side effects?

The ASPCA has published a good overview of behavioral medications used in cats. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/behavioral-medications-cats


Typical behavior problems include timidity/aggression, litter box avoidance, urine marking and compulsive behavior (e.g. excessive grooming leading to hair loss).

Before asking for a “magic pill” cat parents should carefully assess the home situation. The following includes some of the questions to answer:

  1. How many cats live in the household?
  2. How many of these cats are exhibiting behavioral problems?
  3. Are litter boxes and private spaces sufficient and strategically placed? Sometimes cats just need a place of their own to chill out.
  4. Have there been significant changes in the environment? (e.g. new pets, children, furniture etc.)

Armed with this assessment the cat parent is better equipped to take Kitty to the vet for a complete physical. Cats generally hide their illnesses well, but if the environment hasn’t been altered a behavioral change may very well be due to some physical cause.

If no physical problems are detected the first course of action should be to try a natural solution such as Feliway, calming music, or flower essences. Your veterinarian might also prescribe a food containing amino acids that reduce anxiety. (Please give any of these methods at least a month before making conclusions regarding their effectiveness.) However, if the problem(s) persist the next step would be a consultation with an expert in animal behavior. The veterinary specialist should visit your home to see Kitty’s behavior in her own environment.

(Cat Faeries’ note – Feliway, calming music, and flower essences are available at CatFaeries.com)

After exhausting all of the options above the veterinary behaviorist may want to try a prescription drug. There are four classes of medications that may be used depending on the problem behavior. As with human medications, positive results are not guaranteed and there are many potential side effects. Be sure you are aware of these and know what to do should they occur. Also ask if any foods are contraindicated while taking the medication.

Oh, did I mention that these medications must be given daily? Is Kitty suffering from anxiety? Imagine how she will feel about taking a pill every day. (I know how I would feel about it!) However, many drugs are now available as flavored “treats” or in transdermal gels. This alleviates the stress for everyone, but consistency is vital.

As a cat I think I can safely say that we would all prefer to “just say no to drugs”. However, if they must be used please keep us safe with regular veterinary checkups and blood tests as required.

Anti Icky Poo (the urine cleaner that works) and using a black light

Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner from CatFaeries.com

When using Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner, a black light is handy for finding places your cat has sprayed with urine or peed on. They are also helpful if you are considering buying a new home to find out if there are any urine stains.

But they are not fail safe – they are not accurate on all surfaces. They are most accurate on smooth surfaces like a painted wall or very low pile carpet. They don’t reveal urine in kitty litter or on carpets with a deep pile.

And you must use them in total darkness.

Recently we got this email from a customer:

Dear Cat Faeries

After treatment with Anti-Icky-Poo will spots still fluoresce under UV / Blacklight? I understand this is not as important as removal of the smell / pheromones is the most important, but still I’m just wondering, especially in terms of being able to identify a ‘new’ spot vs on previously treated other than intensity of the fluorescing.

Thanks,


Chuck

Dear Chuck,

Great question. The spots could still how under your black light. Here is why you may still see discoloration after using a round of Anti Icky Poo:

  • Staining or spots could remain if they have been there a very long time
  • The urine could have stripped the dyes from the carpet
  • The naturally occurring dyes in urine could still be in the fibers
  • Believe it or not, sometimes the dye you see is from the cat’s food!
  • Once you are confident that Anti Icky Poo completely got rid of the urine smells and gases, you might consider having a professional carpet cleaning service come in will help to remove the traces of urine dye

This week we also heard from another person who wondered if Anti Icky Poo is safe to use after her cat urinated in a house plant. It is totally safe – it won’t hurt the plant or taint the soil!

As you said and it’s also on our website, smell is the way to know that the urine proteins and gases are gone. Further evidence is observing your cats – do they hover around those spots you treated? If not, then Anti Icky Poo was completely successful!

As for knowing if those are old spots or new ones: You might keep a sheet a paper and list the locations and size of the stains you treated. If you use a black light every month or so this will help you know if the spots are old ones or new ones.