It’s my birthday… so I’m getting myself something that rhymes with nice!
For some reason Peoples do all their sleeping at once, I think so they can do more work, which is their favourite thing. Cats know this is foolish. Because they’re not supposed to and it makes them mess up all the work they’re trying to do.
Peoples should sleep at least twice a day, of course cats can do more, but we’re experts. People’s are just beginners so they can only do two sleeps. After studying Dasha, who does try to be an excellent People, but fails most of the time, I discovered that Peoples have four different types of sleep. which isn’t anywhere near the amount that we cats have, but if it’s all you can manage, then it’ll just have to do.
Ha, Teabag has pink-eye and he keeps walking into things it wouldn’t be so funny except every time he knocks something over he gives me this I-meant-to-do-that-look. He’s priceless. At some point we’ll tip into it’s-all-your-fault-anyway territory, but I’m used to that and besides I’m a horrible owner and some of the thing he’s bumping into… are actually my fault.
On a serious note though, while you’re wiping paws and brushing fur and doing the many everyday people-slave tasks for your cat, you might as well add a quick eye check onto the list. A quirk in your cats evolution has somehow not given them the ability to get dirt and foreign objects out of their eyes and so in this area, if nothing else, you cat does grudgingly need your help.
So first check your cats eyes, eyelashes and eyelids, look for discharge, watering and crusty gunk and if necessary give them a quick, gentle wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dirt that might be hanging around. Then check your cats eye’s themselves, they should be clear, bright and the pupils should be the same size, any eye-goo, cloudiness, redness or the third eyelid being visible are all bad signs that you need to get your vet to investigate.
You can also monitor your cat’s vision when playing and just by watching your cat as it goes about its day. moving an object slowly in front of your cat is a good way to check their vision, if they watch it, or decide to play then you have nothing to worry about, if they show no interest at all then there may be something wrong. You can also check if their eyesight is still 100% by putting objects in pathways that your cat uses to walk around your house that are usually clear. If your cat avoids them, then everything is fine, if your cat bumps into them and then tries and fails to give you evils because they have pink-eye, laugh while you can because there will be reprisals. So worth it though.
For more on eye health WebMD have some really good advice.
Almost all domesticated cats naturally fall into the following categories; nocturnal, crepuscular and diurnal and so understanding which describes your cat is useful in understanding your pet and knowing what is possible in terms of behaviour modification.
Diurnal animals are those who are mostly active during daytime hours. Nocturnal animals are those most active at night and crepuscular animals are those who are somewhere in between.
The normal state for a house cat is crepuscular, but some will be very obviously nocturnal and some will go for full on diurnal-ism. Some cats will adjust into a new routine and, if they like their owners company, will shift into being awake during the day and sleeping at night. I suppose me and Teabag are lucky as he’s very nocturnal and only bothers during the day when he’s annoying the dog, and I too, am pretty nocturnal in my habits, so it works out pretty well and we get to hang around a lot. If you are reading this then I suppose you have a nocturnal cat that you would very much like to become crepuscular, or a crepuscular cat that would make life a lot more peachy if it was a tad more diurnal. So, if your cats nocturnal habits are keeping you awake when you really need to sleep then you can adapt their play times and schedule to make sure they are more likely to be sleepy at night and awake during the day. Most of this you will do naturally, for example giving attention and treats during the day (because that’s when you are awake) and ignoring them at night (because you are asleep), but adjusting feeding and playtimes can go a long way to helping adjust your cats sleeping pattern. Playing in the evening, for example, is a fun way to reward your cat for being awake when you are and can tire out your cat so it’s less likely to be getting up to any shenanigans in the middle of the night. Make sure you adjust things gradually, persevere and give lots of positive reinforcement of the desired behaviours because It will take some time for the new routine to become the norm for your cat.
One last thing, if your attempts to persuade your cat to change their sleeping habits fail, it might be time to have a think about whether your cat actually likes you or not, it could be that your cat is nocturnal because it doesn’t like you and doesn’t want to be around you and it makes a lot of noise to wake you up in the middle of the night because deep down in its black little heart… it enjoys torturing you. 🙂
It’s really important to play with your cat a few times a day, play provides entertainment and exercise and can help with behavioural problems, but foremost your cat is a predator and so every once in a while those predatory instincts need satisfying, play is a great way to do this and give your cat as natural and fulfilling a life as possible. It’s also a great way to get to know your cats personality which will help you to understand the things they get up to.
Cats have 5 different types of play; solitary play by themselves which is basically running around, playing by themselves with an object such as a soft toy or a ball, playing with other cats which can be seen in behaviours such as chasing and playfighting, social play with humans like wand games and catch the ball, and investigation games, which usually involve poking their noses into your wardrobe, any boxes you have around and whatever other spaces they can get their whiskers into.
These types of play mimic actions and behaviours they would use in the wild, some clever person somewhere has labelled this the predatory sequence, which follows the sequence of – search, stalk, chase, pounce, catch and manipulate, and for complete happiness this sequence should be followed in your play sessions and the end should always be the same, the cat has to catch the toy. It would appear that games that do not fulfil this sequence (such as the red dot) can be frustrating for your cat, so I’d say it’s probably not the most fun game for your cat.
It’s recommended that cats should have 30-45 minutes of play spread out throughout the day, if you have an “inside” cat then you might want to lean towards the 45 minutes end of the scale.
Cats love rapid and unpredictably moving objects so when you pick toys try to get ones that you can manipulate for your cat. They also like novelty, so lots of toys, picked at random and taken away at the end of the play session is the best way to keep your cat interested. Toys left out will lose their appeal and become boring, so keep a space in your cat hoard to keep your toys stowed away in.
There has been some debate lately regarding how and when you should treat your cat. Let me just say… IGNORE EVERYTHING DASHA SAYS!
Your cat is amazing and superior and should have treats all the time. In fact, the first thing you should do in the morning, is load your pockets up with treats so you always have them handy. Treatworthy events include; napping, walking, breathing, purring, going outside, coming inside, walking on the kitchen counter, sitting on cushions, looking out of the window, playing with the red dot or the feather and eating.
Extra special double treats should be given at bath time and trips to the vet and for sitting quietly while being poked, probed, injected, for suffering the indignity of being put in a box, on birthdays and special occasions (we cats hold all major and minor religious festivals, from all religions, bank holidays, significant calendar events involving people we like such as Ghandi’s first day of school and Salvador Dali’s first moustache (you’ll need to ask your cat for the full list, but to be safe just assume every day is a significant day) and all special days pertaining specifically to cats. You are also obliged to double treat when your cat has been especially cute or funny or has attained a view on YouTube of said funny or cute action.
There is absolutely no excuse for withholding treats.
Looking after your cats paws is a fantastic thing you can do to keep your cat happy. It’s advisable to wipe your cats paws with a damp cloth or a wipe (with as few chemicals as possible) every day. If you think about it they go digging around in their litter trays and so it helps with keeping your house clean too. When you do this make sure you wipe in between the toes and also around the pads. Making a conscious effort to do this also ensures you get a chance to check for any cuts and sores that your cat may have and deal with them before they get infected.
It is also important to have a couple of scratching posts around so your cat can keep its claws healthy. Cats need to shed the outer shell on their claws and do this by scratching, so unless you like your carpets and furniture getting destroyed then a scratching post is a wise idea.
In excessively hot or cold weather your cats paws can become damaged, so be extra wary at these times in particular. I think rubbing your cats feet with balm or moisturizer just in case it steps on something too hot or cold, is a bit weird. Also if the product you have chosen is oily then it may do more harm than good, because in the instance of a heat wave, a heated oily substance, which your cat cannot get off, will likely prolong any injury. But if your cats paws have become excessively dry and moisturizing is necessary to relieve discomfort and a vet advises it, then go for it.
Hairy toes can also be irritating to your cat, so if you notice your cat licking its paws a lot. Then it’s likely there’s some uncomfortable hair growing in that spot and your cat will love you for trimming it. You can do this with a little pair of scissors. This may also be the case for splinters and trapped grit, which you can use tweezers to remove.
I’d like to say thank you to WebMD Pets – Top 10 Feline Paw Care Tips for providing the basic knowhow I used here. If you want to read their whole article I linked it above.
As expected… the first stage of weaning Teabag off his 100% tuna diet… did not go well. So he’s getting his claws trimmed today.
I know a lot of people do this themselves, but personally I’m too afraid of trimming too harshly and cutting into “the quick” which is the bit where the nerves are and hurting Teabag, so I get it done by a groomer or his vet. Both of them have an extra pair of hands available to restrain him and the ability to carry out the procedure quickly.
If your cat is cool, calm and collected, you may wish to do this yourself. In essence it’s not a complicated thing to do, it is just like trimming your own nails, and it can stop your cat getting ingrown claws.
First you need some cat claw trimmers, they are usually about £7. These are an item even I have in my cat hoard. I have them just in case there is an emergency and Teabag comes back with his claws half broken in a fight or some un-knowable event means I need a pair to sort out some problem he has and it needs to be dealt with immediately.
The next thing you need to do it to get your cat used to lying still and having their feet touched. A lot of cats don’t like this, but you will have to apply pressure to your cats toes to extract their claws for trimming, so it’s good to practise this and get your cat comfortable with what’s going on. When you think your cat is happy, then it’s time to get the claw trimmers out.
Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing, stay clear of the pink bit “the quick” as I said before this is where all your cat’s nerves are and it’s pink because it has blood flow to it. The sharpest part of the nail is the very tip, so you only really need to take off a small portion anyway. Make sure you reassure your cat with a soft voice and lots of gently stroking and the process should be relatively easy.