Why October is a great time to take your cat for a checkup! 13 Things You Can Do to Make Veterinary Visits Better for Everyone With 13 Great Tips!

With the holidays rapidly approaching, a busy time for everyone, we thought that we might urge you to take your cats to the see the veterinarian now for a checkup before holiday animal (and human family) emergencies might crop up creating additional stresses. Statistics tell us the emergency room trips increase on holidays for a variety of reasons! Here’s an older newsletter/blog posting of ours with a check list of what to do to make trips to the vet easier for you and for your cat! It will help you organize and plan before you get there. And once you are there double check and question everything – we’ve seen where a doctor mis-prescribed a medication or got the dosage wrong – you have the right to go over every detail without getting push back.

  1. Accustom your cat to a carrier and to traveling in the car.
  2. If your veterinarian doesn’t already have your cat’s medical record on file, bring it with you or have your previous veterinary hospital send or fax the records. Also bring your own notes on your cat’s health and medical history. Don’t send your cat with a person who doesn’t have the information the vet will need to help your cat – or if you must do this, thoroughly document your cat’s current condition on paper and make sure you’re available by phone to answer questions that may come up.
  3. Arrive on time or a few minutes early for your appointment.
  4. Unless children can sit quietly without distracting you or interfering with your veterinary team’s ability to examine or treat your cat or talk to you about your cat, consider leaving your children with a babysitter while you take your cat to the veterinarian.
  5. Turn your cell phone off while you are in the exam room.
  6. Know what medications your cat is receiving (including supplements), as well as how much, how often and how long it is given. Better yet, bring them with you.
  7. Don’t be shy about sharing your observations and concerns with your veterinarian – after all, you know your cat better than anyone else does.
  8. Ask questions. Ask until you understand the answers. Often vets forget that we don’t have a medical degree.
  9. Take notes! Don’t expect to remember everything. While you are taking your notes, you may think of additional questions which you should write down and ask before you leave.
  10. Ask for handouts and brochures. Ask if there are reputable online sources of information about your cat’s condition.
  11. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. They’re given for one very important reason – to keep your cat healthy.
  12. Arrange for a follow phone call to review how the cat is doing.
  13. And our Lucky 13 thing to do: Check the name or names of medication. Check the dosage and instructions on the bottle/s of medication and compare them to what the veterinarian wrote down. Show it to the office manager to verify. Mistakes can happen and in the case of drugs – they can be fatal. Never take anything for granted, a cat-parent cannot be too fussy!

How to Keep Your Cat From Biting

Every now and then we hear from people who ask what products we might have for cats who bite. They often bite during play or while being petted. The good news is that you don’t need to spend a dime on a product BUT you do need to change behavior, yours, not the cat’s!

There are many cats who get “overly stimulated” and it can happen fast. Even a few brisk strokes on a cat’s fur can be too overly stimulating and trigger than same excitement of an outside cat when prey is in sight – attack and bite! This harkens back to their early primitive years in forests and jungles when survival depended upon great hunting skills.

If you have such a cat here’s what you should do. Beginning right now No More Petting! Give this a few weeks to a few months. I know – it’s hard! Really hard, but you must. Don’t think about how soft and plush your cat is, resisting isn’t easy! But resist you must. Even if the cat begs for it, rubs on your legs or body, don’t do it. Play hard to get! If you can’t resist some fur-contact do a few strokes, soft strokes on the tippy tips of fur, then stop. Walk away if you need to.

The other thing you must stop doing right is no more playing finger-mice with your hands. You must restrict play by allowing the cat to only play with floor toys (like our Catnip toys) rather than interactive toys. We want to give the cat some time to disassociate you with play, chasing and hunting that your cat might be more genetically prone to than other house cats

You can make this stop and allow your cat to be calmer and less likely to channel their hunter ancestors!

One last thought. Sometimes a cat will bite because of a tooth ache so have your vet check out your cat’s mouth to see if this is the root cause.
 
 
 
 

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.

 
 
 
 

“The Cat Rescuers” documentary film

The Cat Rescuers is a new documentary film about the volunteer heroes in New York City who are trying to make a dent in the 500,000+ population of New York’s street cats, because as we know, the humane societies nationwide cannot do it all themselves.

See the 2 minute trailer!

http://catrescuersfilm.com/

Meet some of the city’s rescuers:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/the-rescuers/

Schedule of upcoming screenings:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/screenings/

Learn how you can host a screening in your community:

http://catrescuersfilm.com/host-a-screening/

The film isn’t available on DVD yet, but it will be available for purchase later this year! We’ll put a notice in our newsletter when it’s available (if you aren’t signed up for our newsletter, you can sign up here).

 
 
 
 

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.