cats-purr

Why Do Cats Purr?

Cats ability to purr is one of the most distinctive features. It is the most common sound but also one of the most puzzling. The question why cat purr has been contemplated for centuries and there are several theories derived.

The triggering mechanism of the purring is speculative. Some say the lulling noise is caused by the cats blood vessels, while others point to bone vibration.  Researchers believe purring is caused when a cat’s brain sends signals to muscles in the larynx that cause the glottis to vibrate. Combined with the steady inhalation and exhalation of air as the cat breathes, passing air causes vibrations that result in the purring sound. The purring sounds is continuous because it happens when cats are inhaling and exhaling.

Domestic cats purr at a frequency of 20 to 30 vibrations per second. Purring of some cats can be as loud as hearing it across the room. While others are so quiet that the cat purring can only be felt by the vibration. Cats often purr as a sign of contentment. For example, when being petted or as result of becoming relaxed. Many people do not realize that cats also might purr when nervous, when distressed or in pain. This is common for mother cat to purr during labour. Some research suggest purring can trigger a cat’s brain to release a hormone which helps it in relaxing and acts as a pain reliever.

There is speculation that the vibration frequency of a cat’s purring stimulates muscles and bones and may promote healing in both cats and humans. Results of just stroking a cat has been shown to lower blood pressure and stress. The sound of the cat’s purring near us usually makes us feel more relaxed since we associate purring with contentment. We begin stroking the purring cat and that exchange is very comforting.

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cat-fighting

Aggression Between Housemate Cats

Aggression between housemate cats comes in several forms, with associated causes. As cat owners, it behooves us when our cat pounces on his feline housemate or sibling, who counters with a paw in the face. Stalking, chasing, and sometimes roughhousing are common in multi-cat household. We need to fully understand these kinds of aggressive behavior so that we can take appropriate steps when needed.

Knowing the forms of aggression between cats, whether your cats are on guard or only playing by tuning into these behavioral clues.

Healthy play: Stalking, chasing, and pouncing are normal play. Such play-fighting usually starts at an early age with siblings. This starts with one kitten stalking the other, then pounce his unsuspecting prey. This turns around with trade off roles, with the victim chasing his former predator. The chase game is often a favorite in multi cat homes, including cats of all ages.  Play is generally quiet, though cats may hiss or make meowing sounds. Play-fighting is usually harmless fun, and intervention is only necessary when one cat is injure by accidental scratches or nips.

Foul play: Identifying by the sound and look of their interaction. You’ll hear wailing and howling, and one cat will act as a dominant force, intimidating the other. Each cat preface his attack with much posturing: back raised, ears laid back. They will not trade pounces or take turns chasing one another. Unlike healthy play-fighting is characterized by each cat’s offensive or defensive roles. After play, cats will act as friends, even curling up together for a nap. Fighting cats walk separate ways, one scared of the other.

If you must break up a cat fight, keep your hands away from the action. Never try to pick up a cat who is still in attack mode. Splash a glass of water directly on the aggressor’s face. Push a broom between the two cats to separate them. If cats are not yet making contact and are in the frozen position, hold a newspaper in front of them to block their view of each other. Ideally, the frightened cat will slink away and the aggressor will become calm enough for you to pick up and secure.

cat_on_computer

Keeping Cats Off The Computer

Cat owners often realize their cat seem to be fascinated with computers. Cats like two things, warmth and security.  It is cat’s nature to have the tendency to jump up on your keyboard while you are working to get closer to you. Your computer poses risks for her as cats can wreak havoc with electronic harming herself. To avoid risk of the cat getting entangled with electric cord and chargers,  it is important that you keep your cat off your computer to avoid harming herself.

Some cats likes to sleep atop your computer or printer. Overheating can damage electronics. Cat’s fur tends to ends up inside your computer or your keyboard. If it builds up, it can present a safety hazard as with any build-up of dust and fluff.  Therefore, it is vital that the ventilation areas of your computer be kept unblocked and free of fur. While it is cute when a cat chases something on a computer screen or lies across a keyboard, allowing them to keep doing this cements the habit and encourages them to do it again. Be tough and remove your cat as soon as the activity starts, and keep doing it until she gets the point.

Here are some of the simplest ways to keep your cats off your computer:

  • Provide a computer desk with slide out elements that can be stowed when they are not in use
  • Buy plastic covers for your screen, printer, and keyboard for when not in use
  • Conceal wires and cables by blocking access to them or by enclosing them in tubing specially made for them. Be sure to keep the cords out of sight and definitely not dangling or jiggling!
  • Place a box near your keyboard that is the right size for the cat to sit in. If possible, place it on something warm.
  • Provide cat toys to keep your pet’s attention away from cords and switches

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multi-cat

Maintaining A Multi-Cat Household

Multi-cat households can work well under the right circumstances.  A harmonious multi-cat household can also run into fair share of upsets at times. Cat siblings that have been brought up together can develop strong bonds and become best pals. Even so they still disagree sometimes aggressively. Then there are cat sibs that cannot be in the same room without hissing or instigating a fight.

In a multi-cat household, you need enough space to give each of your cats a place to call home. This means having plenty of snuggle spots, window perches, hideaways, and other in-demand cat locations so no one has to fight over who gets comfortable place to nap and view the outside world. Play the role of  a mother cat in charge of this big, happy cat family. Set some ground rules and take time to properly introduce new cats to the house. Watch for bullying, and know when to intervene if cat play turns into foul play.

There are few important factors that influence success for maintaining a sane household.

  1. Cats are territorial creatures. Some are clearly more territorial than others, so the time required for the introduction process varies greatly depending on the cats involved. A two-week introduction process with gradual, supervised “meetings” between new cat and the in-house crew eases stress for everyone.
  2. Accommodate cats’ need for space, privacy, and resources (litter, food, water).  Set two food bowls in the kitty eating area, and contain the dominant cat for a short time during mealtime if he scares away timid cats.
  3. Provide two (or more) litter boxes. A dominant cat may leave his waste uncovered to mark his territory. Some cats demand private litter boxes. Observe behavior and set up litter stations to accommodate everyone.
  4. Create territories with hideouts, cubbies. Cats need somewhere safe to rest, free from danger and interference, preferably off the ground.

Cat Urine Odours

Cat urine odours are notoriously difficult to remove. Male cats contains hormones which make the urine smell much stronger than that of females or neutered males. These hormones serve a purpose, to enable the male cat to mark his territory.  Male cats exhibit this behaviour to attracting females and deterring any possible competing males.

Cat urine smells the moment after she urinates or sprays. The longer that urine sits, the worse the stench becomes. The main odor-causing culprits, urea. Bacteria have the ability to hydrolyze the urea, which releases ammonia. It is also part of why cat pee glows under a black light. Most cleaning products easily take care of urea , but detergents and soaps will not remove uric acid. Uric acid crystallizes and bonds to porous surfaces, such as carpet, fibres, which makes is very difficult to remove. Often, we think that urine is gone once they dry up and crystallised. The truth is cat’s sensitive noses can smell the uric acid and will return to the same spot to urinate.

On a humid day, the odour is released when the crystals absorb surrounding moisture. To remove uric acid, use a solution specifically formulated to remove cat urine odours. Using an enzyme cleaner breaks up the crystals in the uric acid to permanently remove the smell.

Most enzymatic cleaners require several applications to fully remove uric acid, especially if the stain is old. While enzyme cleaners come in a spray bottle, spraying a light coat over the stain would not do much. For best results, remove the sprayer and douse the spot liberally. Allow the enzyme cleaner to air dry, letting the cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The drying time break down the uric acid salts, allowing the resulting gases to evaporate. After which  blot up as much of it as possible with a clean cloth. Remember not to use ammonia or an ammonia-based product to try to remove cat urine. Cat urine contains ammonia, cleaning urine with an ammonia product will just encourage your cat to return to the area.

Essential Playtime For Cats

Obesity and behavioral problems are much more common in indoor-only versus indoor-outdoor cats, probably in large part because of inactivity and boredom. So play is essential to any cat’s health and sanity. Toys that stimulate the prey drive will get cats chasing, stalking, pouncing, and generally burning off energy and steam. A bored cat will find ways to “keep busy,” and those activities generally result in a frustrated owner. If you’ve ever returned home to find that your cat used the dining room table to sharpen his claws, or decided the heirloom grandfather clock was more interesting than his scratching post, then you understand that cats need quality exercise to stay out of trouble.

Besides the “good kitty” factor, exercise will improve your cat’s circulation, stimulate vital organs, aid digestion, and eliminate harmful toxins from the body. Your cat will feel mentally stimulated and physically satisfied after a quality play session.

One of the most effective ways to provide the mental and physical stimulation that indoor cats need is to schedule daily, individual play sessions with them. Aim to exercise your cat for ten minutes, four times each day. House cats especially require dedicated playtime because they don’t burn calories and stimulate their feline instincts by roaming outdoors. It’s your job to stoke their curiosity and challenge them with games. A great time to exercise your cat is before mealtime. This way, you cater to your cat’s natural cycle: hunt, kill, eat, groom, sleep. Playtime is your cat’s modern-day hunt-and-kill activity.

Not sure where to start? Begin by stocking your kitty’s toy chest with safe, stimulating options. Cats love things that dangle, bounce, and move-these actions require chasing and pouncing, which are cats’ natural instincts. Use a remote-controlled mouse or even Ping-Pong balls and wads of crumpled paper are a thrill.

Nobody enjoys playing a game if they never get a chance to win. If you wave the toy all over and keep it out of the cat’s reach, it just leads to frustration. Playtime needs to be physically AND mentally rewarding. If your cat chases, pounces, stalks, leaps and attacks the toy but never gets to capture it because you’ve kept it out of her reach, it just becomes a physically exhausting exercise in frustration. The key is also you’re involved in the play.

Why Does Cat Eat Dirt

Cats explore with their paws and mouths. They explore the world for themselves by sniffing and tasting. It is normal for your cat to chew on bits of cloth, eat paper, or take in a mouthful of dirt from time to time. But there are cases when a cat’s nibbling habits are cause for concern. A cat that eats dirt or litter may be seeking trace minerals such as iron, a sign of anemia.

Anemia is a deficiency in red blood cells, which are needed to carry oxygen throughout the body and keep organs functioning properly. Anemic animals often become weak and lethargic. Cat may sleep more than usual and their toes and ears are often cooler than normal. They often stop grooming themselves as carefully as they used to. Some cat may loose their interest in food, playtime.

Anemia is most prevalent in cats that roam in the spring and summer, increasing their risk for flea infestation. Proper flea prevention is important for preventing para­sites (fleas, ticks, lice) from spreading harmful organisms to your cat, which can cause feline infectious anemia.

The most common underlying cause of anemia is chronic disease, as anemia is a typical side effect of age related health conditions. If you suspect anemia, see your vet immediately. Your cat’s oral fixation may just signal the urge to “explore.”

Here are some tips to modify the behavior:

• Secure targeted items, such as blankets, houseplants, and electric cords.

• Entertain your cat with interactive toys. Plant catnip indoors to lure your cat to this “houseplant” instead. Cats chew when they are bored, so keep them busy.

• Consult with your vet to determine whether dietary changes are necessary to fulfill your cat’s nutrition needs.