What's New Pussycat?

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by StrangerInAStrangeLand, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Furry Friends Need Fun, Too: How to Keep Your Pet Happy and Active

    It seems like the most natural thing in the world—our pets need food, water, medical care and lots of love. But dogs and cats have other needs, too. Our furry friends need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to lead truly full and happy lives.

    "They need jobs," says Kristen Collins, CPDT, ASPCA Animal Trainer. Dogs and cats need to stay busy and engaged, but unfortunately most pets are unemployed—daily they sit at home, chronically bored and waiting for their humans to return from work. And as we all know, an idle pet can quickly turn into a naughty pet when restlessness becomes overwhelming.

    "With nothing to do, dogs and cats are forced to find ways to entertain themselves," explains Kristen. "Their activities of choice often include behaviors we find problematic, like excessive barking or meowing, gnawing on shoes, raiding the garbage, eating houseplants and scratching furniture."

    To prevent behavior and health problems, Kristen recommends the following physical and mental workouts—both when you're there to join the fun and when your pet is home alone.
    •Move it! Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a day. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy.
    •Engage in structured games, like fetch and tug-of-war—they're not only great exercise but also teach your pet impulse control and strengthen the bond between you.
    •Keep your dog occupied when he's home alone by giving him a food-stuffed puzzle toy, like the Kong, or some tasty chew toys.
    •Like their canine counterparts, cats also need plenty of aerobic exercise. Get kitty fit with rousing play sessions, such as chase and fetch with furry toys, small balls or toy mice.
    •Encourage your cat's favorite home alone activities, including bird watching, exploring paper bags or boxes, watching cat videos or spending time in secure outdoor enclosures.
    •Teach your cat new tricks! Felines are quick studies and can learn practical skills like coming when called, sitting up, rolling over and even using the toilet!

    Kristen adds: "The bottom line is that you're responsible for enriching your pet's life. Providing opportunities to exercise your cat or dog's mind and body will keep her healthy and happy—and enhance your relationship, too."
     
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  7. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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  9. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Bringing Cats Indoors

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    Coming in from the Cold

    Autumn is slowly making way for Old Man Winter, and your concern is steadily growing for the stray cat who settled into your backyard last summer. Homeless Hildegarde has been enjoying your fresh-air hospitality under the deck all season, but with cold weather approaching, there's no better time to introduce her to the pleasures of indoor living. Luckily, bringing a friendly stray in from the cold or keeping an indoor/outdoor feline entirely inside is not as difficult as one might think. All it takes is some environmental enrichment and a bit of training. All it takes is some environmental enrichment and a bit of training. (Please note that this page provides information about bringing stray cats indoors. Please visit our Stray and Feral Cats page to learn the difference between the two.)

    Litter box training is the biggest concern for most people. If the cat was ever box trained, she will likely fall right back into the habit. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Place one where you want the litter box to permanently reside, and put the transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house. When she finds that she can't get outside to the topsoil, she will use the box by the door. After that habit is established, slowly move the transitional box closer to the permanent setup. Once the boxes are side by side, you can remove one of them.

    For the cat who has never been litter box trained, a confinement method is usually necessary. Set the cat up in a cattery cage or a large dog crate complete with litter box, resting space, food, water and toys. When the cat is consistently using her litter box, she can be moved to a small room, like a bathroom or galley kitchen. After she gets the hang of that, you can increase her space yet again. If she has a lapse, return to the last space the cat kept clean. Don't forget to visit her often and release her for supervised exercise, grooming and affection during the confinement period. Also, once she has earned the free run of your home, make sure she isn't tempted to use your potted plants as a litter box. Cover soil with aluminum foil, or pack glass pebbles or marbles around the plant.

    Enhancing Your Cat's Habitat

    When litter box training is complete, you can begin to enrich your cat's new environment. Since her days will no longer be spent searching for her supper, she'll need something else to while away the hours. Window perches allow your indoor cat to keep an eye on the backyard bird population while safely basking in the sun. An indoor planter containing feline favorites such as catnip and wheat grass enables your cat to nosh on cat-safe greenery. Toys are a must for these reformed hunters; interactive playthings sporting feathers are especially enticing. Just remember to rotate toys every week or two to keep your feline's interest piqued.

    To safeguard furniture from a cat who's used to scratching wherever she pleases, offer several kinds of scratching posts to determine her pleasure. Look for posts that are sturdy enough to climb. Cat tree furniture, which usually includes several resting platforms atop natural tree trunks or posts wrapped in sisal, is a good bet. Placement near a sunny window or patio door guarantees enjoyment. In addition, cardboard scratch pads embedded with catnip are inexpensive and can be scattered throughout your home.

    Overcoming the Lure of the Outdoors

    Although indoor living has many perks, the call of the wild can be intense for some cats. Given the opportunity, these cats will attempt to dash for freedom whenever a window is opened or a door is left ajar. Make sure screens fit snugly in windows and cannot be dislodged by a persistent cat. Dissuade door-dashing by drawing your cat away from doorways before entering and departing your home. Roll a toy or toss a treat across the room to focus kitty's attention away from the door. If there are children in your home who come and go frequently, stage practice runs with your cat. Leave the door ajar; if she begins to saunter out of it, startle her with a blast of canned air or a spritz of water from the outside. If the outdoors proves inhospitable, it's likely to dampen her ardor for adventuring. A backyard cat enclosure can fulfill the fresh air needs of a hardcore outdoor lover while keeping the cat and nature safe from one another.

    By the time winter sets in, you'll be able to sit back and enjoy watching the first snowflakes fly. Hildegarde will be napping on the hearth, safe and warm and there to stay.
     
  10. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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  12. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Safe Outdoor Environments

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    A Look at Indoor/Outdoor Issues

    Thanks to the creation and marketing of cat litter since the mid 1940s, more and more cats are staying in—becoming indoors-only pets, that is. As such, cats are generally leading longer, healthier lives. The average indoor cat lives to be ten to twelve years old, and many of us know felines who are older than twenty. Conversely, outdoor-only cats survive for an average of two years in that situation. Our homes offer a safer, healthier environment than life on the street. Just think, no ticks and fleas unless the family dog brings them in; no tangling with rabid raccoons, aromatic skunks or hungry coyotes, and no one-on-ones with moving vehicles. There's no doubt about it—indoors is safest!

    Yet, when we choose to make our cats indoors-only companions, we have a responsibility to provide the stimulation that nature provides automatically. Scratching and climbing posts become pseudo-trees; interactive toys become hunted birds, bugs and field mice. A rotating array of cat playthings provides excitement, variety and exercise.

    Taking Them to the Street

    That said, many cat lovers still prefer to share the Great Outdoors with their feline friends. Happily, there are ways to minimize the risks. While vaccinations are important to indoor cats, they are essential to the health of cats allowed outside. The soil of a garden or yard can harbor diseases spread by stray, unvaccinated cats for many months. And rabies has spread over much of the country, transmitted mainly through altercations with wildlife such as foxes, raccoons and bats.

    The safest way to allow your cat to enjoy some time outdoors is to either harness-train him or her and go for walks together or to provide a screened-in enclosure or fenced-in yard topped with cat-proof netting.

    Hold the Line

    Harness training, like many things, is easiest taught during kittenhood. But some adult cats can acclimate to it, too. Choose a figure-8 or H-type harness and make sure it fits well. (The fit is right if you can barely get your finger between the cat and the harness.) At first, put the harness on for a few minutes at a time, preferably just before mealtime or during play so that the cat associates it with something positive. Repeat this several times a day. When the cat begins to ignore the harness, attach the leash and let him or her drag it around for a few more short sessions; stay nearby in case the leash catches on something. The next step is to pick up the leash and follow the cat around the house. This will allow the cat to get used to a human following behind, prior to providing gentle guidance with the leash.

    When your cat is comfortable taking light direction, proceed to a quiet area outdoors. Keep your first sessions short, frequent and upbeat; little food rewards come in handy. If you are leaving your property, keep your eyes peeled for off-leash dogs, in-line skaters or bicyclists who could put Tabby in danger or give her a scare.

    Hey, Fence Me In!

    Since outdoor enclosures can be homemade or commercially constructed, they come in all shapes and sizes. For durability, chain link, chicken wire or wire mesh hardware cloth—secured around a simple wood frame—is preferable to ordinary window screening. Roofing is a necessity since cats are exceptional climbers. The most successful structures include furniture for resting and climbing inside. A shaded area complete with a water bowl is required for warm or hot weather usage.

    Whether you choose an outdoor enclosure or add cat-proof netting to the top of traditional fencing, remember that they are best used only when you are at home and outdoors with your cats or able to check on them often. Pet theft only takes a few moments, whether perpetrated by pesky neighborhood kids or an organized group rounding up animals to sell to research facilities. Don't forget, a microchip, tattoo or ID tag is the very thing to reunite you and your family feline if all precautions fail.
     
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  15. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Bathing Your Cat

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    With her built-in grooming tools (tongue and teeth, of course), your fastidious feline is well-equipped to tackle her own haircare needs. But if she is very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give her a bath. Read the following tips before you begin to ensure minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

    1. Perfect timing: Schedule baths when your cat’s at her most mellow. A play session with a cat dancer or other toy of choice can help tire out even the friskiest of felines.

    2. Clip, snip: For your own protection, ASPCA experts recommend trimming Fluffy’s claws before bathing.

    3. The brush-off: Next, give your cat a good brushing to remove any loose hair and mats. Now’s also a good time to gently place some cotton in her ears to keep the water out.

    4. Stand firm: Place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub where you’ll be bathing your kitty so she doesn’t slip. Fill with three to four inches of lukewarm (not hot, please!) water.

    5. Just add water: Use a hand-held spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes and nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup works great.

    6. Lather up: Gently massage your pet with a solution of one part cat shampoo (human shampoo can dry out her skin) to five parts water, working from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth. Take care to avoid the face, ears and eyes.

    7. All clear: Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your cat with a spray hose or pitcher; again, be sure the water is lukewarm. Take good care that all residue has been removed, as it can irritate the skin and act as a magnet for dirt.

    8. About face: Use a washcloth to carefully wipe your pet’s face. Plain water is fine unless her face is very dirty—in which case, we recommend using an extra-diluted solution of shampoo, being very cautious around her ears and eyes.

    9. Dry idea: You’re almost there! Wrap your cat in a large towel and dry her with it in a warm place, away from drafts. If your kitty doesn’t mind the noise, you can use a blow dryer—on the lowest heat setting. And please note, if your pet has long hair, you may need to carefully untangle her fur with a wide-toothed comb.

    10. Good girl!: Your little bathing beauty deserves endless praise—and her favorite treat—after all this! And with such a happy ending, next time she may find that bath time isn’t so bad.
     
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  17. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    The lynx is a reclusive species, and not often seen during the day as it does most of it's hunting at night. They are quite numerous throughout much of the Yukon, though less so in the southern lakes region because this area is more densely populated and has a lot of recreational vehicle activity.

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    http://www.nhptv.org/wild/canadalynx.asp
     
  18. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Cat Brushing & Skin Care

    Brushing your cat not only removes dirt, grease and dead hair from her coat, but it helps to remove skin flakes and stimulates blood circulation, improving the overall condition of her skin. One or two brushings per week will help kitty to keep her healthy glow and allow her to bask in yummy together time—and you’ll find that regular sessions are especially beneficial when your cat ages and is no longer able to groom so meticulously on her own.

    Healthy Coat and Skin

    Before brushing, check out the condition of your kitty’s coat. If it’s healthy, her hair will have a natural gloss and spring back under your hand when you touch it. There shouldn’t be any bald patches or signs of fleas and ticks, and her skin should be free of wounds and unusual bumps.

    Brushing Short-Haired Cats

    With a metal comb, work the brush through your cat’s fur from head to tail to remove dirt and debris. Make sure to work along the lie of her fur, brushing in the direction the coat grows. If you brush in the reverse direction, you’ll lift the hair up and back—an uncomfortable feeling for kitty. Brush all over her body, including her chest and abdomen, concentrating on one section at a time to remove dead hair and tangles. A rubber brush can be especially effective for removing dead hair on cats with short fur.

    Brushing Long-Haired Cats

    Long-haired cats who live out in the wild shed every spring, but those who live indoors with artificial light and heating shed throughout the year and need grooming sessions every few days to remove dead hair and prevent tangles. Start with kitty’s abdomen and legs, gently combing the fur upward toward her head. Comb the neck fur upward, too, toward her chin. Finally, make a part down the middle of her tail and gently brush out the fur on either side. You can sprinkle talcum powder over knots and gently use your fingers to tease them apart. If the knots don’t come out by hand, try using a mat-splitter.

    Body Checks

    During your weekly grooming sessions, run your hands along your cat’s body, checking for wounds, bumps and hidden tangles. Also check for ticks and flea dirt, black specks of dried blood left behind by fleas. Sneak a peek under her tail to check for feces attached to the fur that may need to be snipped away with scissors. It’s also important to check around your cat’s anus for tan, rice-sized objects—these may indicate the presence of tapeworm.

    Skin Problems

    Cats can also suffer from skin conditions that don’t involve fleas, ticks or other parasites. If your cat shows any of the following signs, please have her examined by your vet:
    •Persistent scratching
    •Excessive licking and grooming
    •Biting at the skin and coat
    •Swelling under the skin
    •Increased shedding/bald patches

    Hairballs

    Neglecting to brush your kitty’s coat can lead to painful tangles and a bellyful of hair. You’ll know if your cat is suffering from hairballs when he coughs them up onto the floor or expels them in his feces. If, despite regular brushing, your cat continues to suffer from hairballs, there are several remedies available. Please ask your vet to recommend a solution.

    Nervous grooming

    A healthy cat grooms himself regularly and fastidiously. However, if your cat obsessively licks certain parts of his body, giving himself bald spots and sores, please bring him in for a veterinary exam. The cause might be fleas, an allergy or stress that can be resolved by altering something in your cat’s environment.

    Diet

    Many hair and skin problems can be linked to a poor—possibly allergy-causing—diet. A nutritionally complete food that is appropriate for your cat’s age and the amount of exercise she does, plenty of fresh water and not too many treats should bring a glow to her skin and coat. Check with your vet to help determine the right food and optimum feeding schedule for your cat.
     
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