Cat Cats: PUMPKIN, THE HALLOWEEN CAT - The neighbor's car pulled into my driveway. She got out holding a stranger in her arms.

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Pumpkin, The Halloween Cat

PUMPKIN, THE HALLOWEEN CAT
Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca

The neighbor's car pulled into my driveway. She got out holding a stranger in her arms.

"I found this cat in my yard. Is he yours?"

"No."

"Oh. I thought he was."

"Well, he's not."

"Well, can you hold him until I drive away so he doesn't follow me home?"

Oh yes, we all know how this story ends.

He was a beautiful little fuzzy ball of orange. Quite an affectionate, purring fellow too. And yes, I fed him. Knowing full well where that always leads.

I already had two cats. Witchie and Taz, both Siamese. It had taken quite a bit of time and effort for Witchie to accept Taz. Plus, Taz had been the sole male cat for several years. Another male? Not possible. But, I thought, why not have an indoor male and an outdoor male?

Since the new guy arrived in late October, and since he was orange, we dubbed him Pumpkin. He knew the indoors cats didn't like him, and he was fine with that. Their turf, not his. Besides, he loved it when my dogs, Daisy and Bebe, came outside to visit him, even when they chased him up a tree, which was always. They were just playing. My dogs love all cats, and they licked him when he came down.

One Saturday afternoon, I went outside to play with my chainsaw. On the porch, I found eight dead mice, beside the front door in a very neat row. They were all on their backs, with their heads pointing the same way and their tails neatly aligned. This was obviously a gift from young Pumpkin, a show of his gratitude.

I worked with my chainsaw for a while, then went back to the house for a drink. Now there were only five mice. No doubt my young son had decided that he'd done his part. He'd offered them to me first. If I didn't want them, well, it was a shame to let a good meal go to waste.

Still later, I returned to the house to see only two mice remaining. Still later, half a mouse. Still later, no mice at all. No blood or fur, either. He cleaned up quite thoroughly.

It's obvious how Pumpkin survived before I began feeding him. It's also obvious why he didn't eat very much.

One night, I was typing on the computer when I heard a strange squeaking noise coming from the porch. I finally went outside to see what it was. Pumpkin was standing there, looking every bit the wild-eyed feral hunter, with a live squeaking mouse in his mouth. I just muttered "Good boy" and went back inside. Eventually, the noise stopped.

When the weather turned cold, I let Pumpkin come inside. Yes, it pissed off the Siamese coalition, but I decided I didn't care.

I paused to look at life through the eyes of Witchie and Taz, and here is what I saw:

Every species has its own identifying colors. For example, all dogs are black with brown eyes. All horses are brown with dark brown manes. All people are white-skinned, with brownish hair and blue eyes. And all cats, quite naturally, are blue-eyed shorthaired sealpoint Siamese.

Now they see this longhaired, fuzzy, orange thing with yellow-green eyes. It smells like the woods and it's protected by dogs. Surely it's a tool of the devil and an abomination in the eyes of the cat gods, something that must be destroyed. I resigned myself to the fact that they would always hate Pumpkin, hissing and threatening whenever they saw him. It didn't seem to bother Pumpkin, so it didn't bother me.

In Taz's case, it also happened to be a male thing, and the only evidence he's ever given that he's an adult. He still looks and acts and vocalizes like a kitten, no doubt because his "mother" was a dog.

But Pumpkin never threatened back. He ignored the hissing and moved away from the attacks. Given his lack of aggression, I decided to just let him stay inside, Siamese be damned.

A month or so later, something strange happened. Taz started lying beside Pumpkin instead of lying beside Witchie. Oh, Witchie's face showed her outrage. Taz showed nothing but guilt. After a time, Taz started playing with Pumpkin. They became best buddies. I don't believe Taz was ever forgiven for that. Witchie can hold a grudge for years. She still hasn't forgiven me for bringing home uncivilized Bebe. (Half dachshund, half doberman, all moron.)

Once or twice, Taz and Pumpkin slept side by side on my chest between the two dogs. My sons were the same size, since Taz was the runt of the litter and Pumpkin was probably underfed as a baby. Before learning to hunt, of course.

I didn't show him the litter box, by the way. He found it himself. If he clawed something he wasn't supposed to, I scolded him once, verbally, and he never did it again. Again, the gratitude thing. "Show me the rules and I'll follow them; I'm just happy to be here."

Daddy had a problem with rats in his barn, so I told him he could borrow Pumpkin as long as he didn't shoot him. (Daddy doesn't like cats.) Nobody fed Pumpkin while he lived in the barn, but every time I went to visit, he was lying on the floor with a swollen belly. I took him home a week later, because he was going stir-crazy without human contact. Meanwhile, Daddy had no more rats.

Before I left the barn, I held Pumpkin up to to my horse's face. He sniffed and sniffed, quite fascinated. Then the head moved, and he realized that big thing was alive. It scared the hell out of him. I rushed him home. He always loved riding in the truck. A day with Taz and the dogs, and he was restored to his good old Pumpkin self.

I think I had Pumpkin for a year. In a manner of speaking, as no one truly owns a cat, especially not an independent fellow like Pumpkin.

Pumpkin vanished for a few days, then came home looking skinny and with a stomach swollen as if he'd swallowed a tennis ball. A trip to the vet confirmed the worst -- intestinal blockage -- and I made the hard decision. I borrowed Daddy's rifle and ended his pain myself. It was a sad day.

For several weeks after that, Taz kept looking at the door, waiting for his best friend Pumpkin to come inside. Finally I adopted another male from the Humane Society, but that's another story.


About the Author

Michael publishes a free weekly newsletter, WHO MOVED MY RICE?, which is dedicated to proving that you can't eat grits with chopsticks. http://www.chinarice.org



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Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

* Anemia
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* Cancer
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* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
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* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle.
About the Author
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For more easy, practical tips on taking great care of your cat be sure to visit the author’s feline health site now.

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Pets can be very funny. Watching them at play always makes a good time pass. Their simple antics and confusing behaviour can leave you in splits. Frolicking kittens trying to outdo each other can keep you engaged for hours. If you can capture the fun filled moments on video, you can enjoy them throughout your life. Freeze the moments for those who were not there when it happened.

HOW TO HAVE FUN WITH PETS
The spontaneous reaction of cats to awkward situations always makes great funny cat videos. Throw a crumb of bread before a kitten and watch them fight out. The greedy pull, desperation, impatience, squeaks, grab and run, wild chase, tumble can be the perfect dose for heartfelt laughter.

Give a plastic bottle cap to a kitten. It will go nuts batting it around and carrying it in his mouth. Its busy schedule with the cap is worth filming. Likewise allow cats to play with pull off tabs from milk jugs. The tabs may end up under the furniture but its struggle is a great thing to film.

Try filming two kittens in an empty bath tub playing with a toy like a spark ball. The sloped sides keep the ball rolling and the kittens keep pouncing and strutting on the seemingly live toy. And if you want to make the kittens dance to your tunes, direct a spot of light from a laser pointer at them. In a bid to catch it they fall over each other. Film their wild goose chase frenzy for it surely will be an all time rib tickler.

GADGETS REQUIRED:
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Add a Shelter Cat to Your Family Today

Stray Cat Adoptions of Texas (SCAT)

P.O. Box 700571
San Antonio, Texas 78270
Attn: Denise Duchaine
SCAT runs weekend cat adoption centers at several PetSmart locations in San Antonio.

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We are a rescue specializing in rescuing persians, himalayans, exotic shorthairs, and ragdolls. Most of our rescued cats are pulled from shelters. Some are given up by their owners due to family situations, financial situations, or a behavioral problem the cat is having. All cats are treated for any existing medical condition(s); they are spayed/neutered, FIV/FELV tested, and given all necessary immunizations before adoption; and any behavioral problem(s) the cat may have is addressed and resolved. All of our foster kitties are housed in actual homes with foster parents - so they get used to being in a home environment.

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Newest Articles

Feline Life Stage Guidelines

The American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association released the Feline Life Stage Guidelines, a 12-page document designed to promote important information regarding wellness care for cats. The guidelines have been developed in response to statistics that show that while cats outnumber dogs as pets, they receive significantly less veterinary care. Studies have also shown that many cat owners are unaware of their cats' medical needs, citing an inability to recognize signs of illness or injury.

The guidelines addresses wellness exams, recommending annual visits for healthy cats under 7 years of age, and twice yearly visits for cats 7 or older. They address a lenghty list of items that should be covered in an annual or bi-annual exam, including looking at behavior and environment, medical and surgical history, elimination, nutrition and weight management, dental health, parasite control, diagnostic testing, and vaccinations.

The guidelines also address how to overcome barriers to veterinary visits. Many pet owners perceive cats as being self-sufficient because they hide any discomfort, pain or illness so well.
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Spot-On Flea and Tick Treatment Q&A

Due to an increase in adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products (treatments placed over the animal' back), the EPA is intensifying its evaluation of these agents. At this time, the agency is said to be investigating all brands and types of spot-on treatments, and they have not specified that any one particular product is of most concern. Both products purchased directly from a veterinarian and those bought over the counter are being evaluated. Although the agency has not released any specific data as to the statistical breakdown of types of adverse reactions, side effects are reported to range from skin irritation, to seizure and death.
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Vaccines: What Cat Owners Need to Know

On my first trip to the veterinarian's office as proud new cat owner I pondered the question that I am sure has crossed the minds of many cat owners at some point. Does my cat really need these vaccines? My kitten, like many of yours, was destined to be an indoor-only cat so why did I need to drag her into the vet clinic every year for vaccines?

According to Dr. Melissa Riensche, a small animal internal medicine resident at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, the answer is actually quite simple. As with human medicine, vaccinations are an important part of the preventative medicine veterinarians practice. The ultimate goal of a vaccination is to eliminate the spread of certain diseases or, if that is not possible, to reduce the disease severity.

The vaccines engineered for your cat are separated into several categories referred to as core, non-core, and those that are generally not recommended. These categories are defined based on factors like: the overall efficacy of the vaccine, your pet's individual risk factors, and the health risks associated with the vaccine. Core vaccines are ones that most animals should receive and in some cases a core vaccine may actually be required by law.
Continue Reading About Vaccines: What Cat Owners Need to Know




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Pet Food Field Trip

I took a pet food field trip to Walmart yesterday. It was a discouraging visit. I won't mention any pet foods by name - but the trip provided me with some valuable pet food sales tricks to share with you.

The number one interesting marketing technique - and I have changed the exact words to protect the identity of this pet food (gotta play nice)...Blazoned across one pet food was Crunchy Beefy Nuggets. Did you catch it? Crunchy Beefy Nuggets is a trademark name (little TM after the Nuggets) - it's a name! It has nothing to do with the pet food - it is literally just a name. Very slick.

The most common sales technique I found was pet foods that are 'flavored'. The actual name of the pet food was 'Steak and Vegetable Flavor' or 'Chicken and Fish Flavor' - one even got very specific with the name mentioning Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna FLAVOR. The trick there is the pet food is just FLAVORED with steak and vegetables or Albacore Tuna - that's not really what's in the pet food!!! Again - it's just the flavor. Most people do not get that - they see Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna or they see Steak and Vegetable --- they don't see Flavor. Most pet owners just assume that since the front of the pet food bag - in big bold letters says Albacore Tuna on it - it's got Albacore Tuna inside the bag. If the food actually had Steak and Albacore Tuna in it - it wouldn't say 'Flavor' on the front - it would say 'with Steak and Albacore Tuna' and it would cost more than $.50 cents a can or $5.00 a bag (Albacore Tuna does cost more than Albacore Tuna Flavor).

One of the Walmart pet foods stated 'No Fillers' on the front of the bag. However in the ingredient list I found Ground Corn, Chicken by-products, Corn Gluten Meal to be the first three ingredients of the pet food. That reads like fillers to me!
Continue Reading About Pet Food Field Trip


Cats and Babies: 7 Tips for Healthy Coexistence

Cats and babies can coexist, but there are several factors that need to be considered. Cats are known to be very jealous of new babies and new pets, so you need to ensure your baby is safe and the cat is comfortable.

1. Prepare for the Baby’s Arrival
You need to establish some ground rules for the baby’s safety that the cat needs to respect; apply these rules before the arrival of the baby, so that the cat doesn’t associate the baby with the new interdictions.

2. Get a Crib for the Baby
Get a crib for your baby and make sure the cat does not make it his own or sleep in it. Cats and babies are not allowed to sleep together as the baby may suffocate.

Show the cat the crib but train him to know he is not allowed in the crib.

3. Cat Checkup
Cats may transmit a number of diseases to humans and babies are particularly susceptible to catching bacteria, worms and viruses. So you need to make sure your cat is healthy.

Schedule the vet checkup at least 2 months before the arrival of the baby, to make sure the parasites are gone. Fleas are particularly difficult to get rid of and it may take up to 6 weeks to fully eliminate them from the environment. Even if fleas cannot be transmitted to humans, the ingestion of a flea may lead to the formation of a tapeworm in the baby.

4. Gradual Introduction of the Baby
Given that cats may be very protective of their territory and owners, they can be very jealous when a baby appears. This is why the baby needs to be introduced gradually. First, keep the baby isolated and give the cat a blanket or a toy belonging to the baby. The cat will get accustomed to the baby’s scent.

When presenting the baby, one of the owners should offer a lot of affection to the cat.
Continue Reading About Cats and Babies: 7 Tips for Healthy Coexistence


Chewing and Licking Behavior in Cats

Chewing behavior - generalized pica
Q: My 2 1/2 yr. old Maine Coon chews on both soft materials (nylon rug fiber, curtains, tablecloth ends) and hard ones (window screening, radio antennas, hard edges on small appliances). I've heard about some breeds needing to ingest undigestible fiber (like wool). Might it be that? If so, is that dangerous? Or, could it be a teeth-related problem? He gets regular vet check-ups and seems in perfect health. Thanks!
Continue Reading About Chewing and Licking Behavior in Cats


Everything About Cat Airline Travel You Need to Know

For a cat, airline travel is extremely stressful. Prevent anxiety and stress in your cat by following a few simple guidelines. Each airline has specific rules on traveling with your cat, so make sure you know if your cat will be stored in the baggage area or if you can keep your cat and cat carrier with you on the flight. Veterinary Approval Is Usually Required While a cat sits in his cat carrier waiting to be placed in the baggage compartment, he may be exposed to outside elements. Many airlines refuse to take responsibility for a cat becoming chilled or overheated. Therefore, they require pet owners to supply a letter from their veterinarian, called an acclimation certificate, stating the cat is healthy and able to withstand temperature extremes.

Some airlines will request proof of recent vaccinations, including rabies, before boarding your pet. If you are traveling out of the country, make sure you've checked to see if your animal will face a quarantine when you reach your destination. Quarantines are stressful on both pet owners and their cat.

Choosing a Cat Airline Carrier
Airlines all require cat crates for air travel. Your cat carrier should be large enough for a cat to move around. Once you've boarded your cat, airline personnel will not allow you to take the cat from the carrier if the cat is with you. Make sure the cat has room to move and that there is room for a food and water dish. The water dish should be one that is filled from the outside. While the cat is flying, you will not be able to open the cage door.

Other features to watch for:
•Area for writing your name and contact information in case the cat carrier is lost
Continue Reading About Everything About Cat Airline Travel You Need to Know


Flea Yard Control

Yard flea control is an essential part of controlling flea infestation outside the home. No matter how diligent you are about controlling fleas inside the home, if your cat goes outside, he could pick up fleas in an uncontrolled yard and bring them inside, making indoor flea control difficult if not impossible.

Controlling Fleas by Understanding Their Life Cycle Simply killing adult fleas isn't enough to control flea infestation; flea larvae hatch from eggs and then mature into adults. In order to control flea infestation, you'll need to kill flea eggs and larvae as well as adult fleas. You should be aware that flea control is often an ongoing process; fleas can reappear if you aren't diligent in your control methods.

Preparing Your Lawn for Flea Control Treatment Many cat owners choose to treat their lawns chemically in order to control fleas. Before you consider using a chemical treatment, prepare your lawn to minimize flea hiding places and ensure that chemical treatment has the maximum effect.

The first step in lawn preparation is mowing your lawn. Mowing your lawn regularly can have enormous flea control benefits, as it allows sunlight to penetrate the soil, where flea eggs and larvae live. When sunlight penetrates the flea egg or larval cocoon, it can be harmful or even deadly for them.

Remove any weeds from your lawn, especially those growing around fence lines and in sidewalk cracks. Remove weeds from around play equipment and furnishings.

Take steps to keep unwanted animals out of your lawn. Fill gaps in your fencing and cover trash cans that might tempt wild animals and strays. Stray cats, dogs and even wild animals can bring more fleas into your yard. Because keeping unwanted animals entirely out of your lawn at all times is most likely impossible, you'll need to repeat flea control treatments regularly to prevent re-infestation.
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Cats, Coyotes and Coons!

My cat Spike had become uncommonly skittish when he was in his bed in the garage. He has two beds, one in the house and one in the garage. Even if I was outside with him he would nervously keep watch on his surroundings as if expecting something to jump from behind a tree and grab him. If he wanted to go into the garage from the house, he would nervously watch the garage door for any movement from the night. He even had me opening the door and looking outside to see if anything was going on. Spike seemed to be watching for any sign of the raccoons that had camped out in our garage during the summer. When we had chased off all the raccoons except one, we breathed easier, but then Spike almost lost his leg due to a scuffle with the largest raccoon. Spike had gotten between the raccoon and some leftover food in the cat's dish, leaving the cat with a badly mangled left rear foot.

About the same time, the neighbor's two large dogs that were kept in a pen in their back yard began to go nuts each night about two in the morning. They would howl, bark, and lunge at the fence! You could hear the dog's bodies hitting the chain link fence all the way too my house, two doors away! At this point we still didn't know what was causing the commotion each night.

A few weeks went by and now Spike was spending most of his night time in the house, while the dogs continued to bark each evening after dark. Only after we spotted the coyote crossing the road to trot in our direction did we know what was causing the disturbance. That's when we named the Coyote, Ruckus!
Continue Reading About Cats, Coyotes and Coons!


Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

* Anemia
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Cancer
* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle. About the Author
Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to
For more easy, practical tips on taking great care of your cat be sure to visit the author’s feline health site now.



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Homemade Kitten Food

Do you need a cheap, healthy alternative to store bought kitten food to help wean your kittens off their mother's milk and transition them to traditional canned kitten food? More than likely, they have shown little interest in regular canned food, preferring the milk to anything you might put in their bowl. Dry food will also be too hard on their developing teeth. The best option would be to start them on a food that reminds them of what they prefer, but can be mixed with traditional wet food to help transition them over. This recipe is simple to make, and kittens find it delicious.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and mix in one envelope of unflavored gelatin. Be sure to mix thoroughly, and do not boil the gelatin. If the water tastes bad or has a heavy chlorine taste when it comes out of the tap, consider using filtered water instead.

Pour this mixture into a blender along with half of a 12 ounce can of goat's milk. Blend just long enough to combine thoroughly. Do not substitute cow's milk because cats tend to be lactose intolerant. Using cow's milk can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and worse if fed to kittens.

Add the following ingredients one at a time. After each addition, blend briefly to combine before moving on to the next. You will want to use the lowest setting to avoid overmixing. Add: 3 tbsp full fat yogurt, 3 tbsp real mayonnaise, 3 tsp light corn syrup, and 1 raw egg yolk. Concerning the egg yolk, raw eggs carry a small risk of salmonella poisoning. To eliminate any risk of accidentally passing this on to your kittens, use eggs that have been pasteurized in their shells.

You can serve the completed homemade kitten food the way it is, or you can store it for use later. To store for later usage, cover the mixture tightly in a small container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to ten days or in your freezer for up to three months.

If you are going to use food that you have prepared in advance, you will want to warm it up before serving, especially if it is coming from the refrigerator or freezer. Cold food causes severe stomach upset in kittens. Warming it up will also make it more aromatic, and thus more appetizing to the kittens.

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How to Litter Train A Kitten

If the mother cat is still in the home and she is already litter trained, then litter training her kittens is a natural process. Her kittens will simply follow what she does. However, ultimately, each cat should have its own litter tray or else it may create a host of other litter tray problems for you!

For most kitten owners, the mother cat is not in the home if the kitten was orphaned or purchased. But this is not a problem. It is easy to litter train a cat when it's still a little kitten. Cats are creatures of habit and it may not be as easy to litter train once they have become used to their favorite toilet spots.

The key to litter training a kitten is to let it get used to the litter tray as soon as possible. You will need to manually place your kitten onto the tray initially, as it is neither used to it nor is it able to climb over the edge to get in.

Most kittens would defecate soon after waking up and after a meal. You could place your kitten in the litter tray during these times and after a few weeks, your kitten would get used to the routine and it would become a habit.

Just be sure to place the litter tray a reasonable distance away from where the kitten is fed and where it sleeps. Cats and kittens are fastidious creatures and do not like to do their toilet near where they eat and sleep.

When a kitten is still very young, it will not be able to "cover up" very well after its toilet, as most adult cats are capable of. But you don't have to worry about this. Once they are about 1 to 2 months old, they will instinctively know how to cover up their poop.

In the wild or in the garden, cats will scoop soil and earth to cover but in the home, if you provide commercial cat litter, they will naturally scoop the litter to cover up the poop. You will notice, even if you only provide a newspaper for their soiling, your kitten will still scoop at the newspaper in an instinctive act to cover up their poop.

Although you can expect to pick up poop after your kitten in the first few weeks, litter training a kitten is relatively easy and can be 100% trouble-free once it gets used to the routine of using the litter tray.

Cat litter box location strategies

New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home

A very important aspect of new kitten care is keeping your kitten safe from danger. There are a lot of potential hazards round the home for little kittens. This article lists the most common ones and suggests ways you can minimize risks to your kitten and keep her safe.

Washing machine and tumble dryer:
If you leave the door open and there are clothes inside, there's a good chance your kitten will climb in and go to sleep. Always check your kitten isn't inside these before you use them.

Fridge and freezer:
As soon as you've used these, shut the door.

Hob and oven:
Shut the oven door as soon as you've finished with it. Cover hot hob plates.

Raw meat:
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.

Garbage:
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.

Plants:
Many plants are poisonous to cats. If you're not sure whether a certain plant is safe for your kitten if she eats it, put it out of her reach.

Pot pourri:
The oils used to scent this can be poisonous.

Open fires and candles:
Use a guard on the fire. Never leave a kitten in a room alone with lit candles.

Electrical wires:
If your kitten is a wire chewer, you'll need to put wires out of her reach or buy plastic covers for them.

Curtain tie-backs and cords on window blinds:
Kittens can get caught in these. Either remove them completely or tie them up out of reach.

Filled bathtubs and sinks:
Make sure your kitten doesn't have access to the room when the tub or sink is full.

Open toilet:
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.

Medications:
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.

Small objects:
Kittens can swallow small things like paper clips, rubber bands, staples and needles.

String, wool, fishing line and thread:
Kittens can swallow large quantities of these. For this reason, balls of wool or string and pom-poms aren't good toys for cats.

Household chemicals:
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.

Tobacco:
Tobacco, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all poisonous to cats.

Reclining chairs, futons, folding beds, drawers:
If kittens get caught when this type of furniture is moved, they can get crushed. Make sure your kitten isn't asleep somewhere she could get trapped before you use any of these.

Safety is a major factor for new kitten care. It's fairly easy to keep your kitten safe as long as you anticipate potential dangers and take the necessary steps to prevent them. Putting brightly colored post it notes up around your home is a good way to do this. Stick the notes on or near potential dangers - for example the fridge, washing machine, oven, toilet and futon - and anywhere else that could be a hazard.

Cat allergies

Kitten Feeding with a Bottle

Kitten feeding can feel like a difficult process without a mother cat to do it for you. Newborn kittens are so tiny and fragile, and have to operate almost entirely by instinct. It may seem a daunting task at first, but the process of kitten feeding with a bottle is not so much from that of feeding a newborn human. Once they know what to do, they will do it all on their own. All you have to do is show them proper care and follow a few simple guidelines.

Step 1 Make up the bottle of formula. To do this, first sterilize the bottle and nipple in boiling water for several minutes and allow to cool thoroughly before adding the KMR (kitten milk replacement) formula. KMR is specifically formulated for kittens, and cow's milk is not an adequate replacement. To avoid clumping, add just a little bit of water to the powdered mix and stir until thoroughly combined before adding the rest of the hot water. The final temperature of the formula should be about 95 degrees. If the bottle gets cold, just warm it up in a small bowl of very warm water, but always check the temperature before offering it to the kitten.

Step 2 Prepare the kitten. Place a warm, soft towel either on your lap or on the feeding surface, then place the kitten gently on top of it. When feeding newborn kittens, they will need to be lying flat on their stomachs. It is best if you can do this with the kitten gently cuddled against you, because you need to be sure that the kitten is warm before feeding. Cold kittens do not digest their formula well.

Step 3 Feed the kitten. Gently work the nipple against the kitten's mouth. They will get the idea quickly and take it in. If not, very gently stroke the kitten until it gets the idea. You will need to do this six to ten times per day, around the clock, just like a newborn human. Newborn kittens will need a little over one ounce of formula per day, divided between feedings. Be careful to not overfeed them.

Step 4 Clean up and burp the kitten. While the kitten is still on the blanket, gently slip one hand under its belly and hold it while you very lightly pat its upper back. This will stimulate the burp response. Then, using a warm, damp, slightly rough cloth, gently clean its anal and genital area to stimulate urination and defecation.

Step 5 Put the kitten back to bed. It is worn out from its feeding and needs to rest.

Cat allergies

Getting Ready for the Newborn Kittens

Caring for your cat during pregnancy may require a lot of time and effort in your part but it is a very wonderful and rewarding experience. But after the kittens are already born, you will need to do a different task and that is to take care of the newborn kittens. These kittens will need special kind of attention and care and you must make sure that you could provide it to them.

One good way to start is to prepare your home for the arrival of the newborn kittens. Kittens tend to play with, chew, or nibble anything that attracts their interest like plants, cords, and other materials. You should remove the things that could be harmful to the newborn kittens like anything that could poison them or hurt them. Electrical cords must be kept out of reach. Look for anything sharp and pointed and remove them from the area immediately. Deal with anything that could strangle your kitten like ropes, ribbons, and cords to provide a safer place for your kittens.

You might also want to save your curtains and drapes from kitten scratches so it would be advisable to tie them up so your kittens will not be able to reach them. Make sure that the cabinet for your cleaning liquids are out of your kittens’ reach. Most of these cleaning liquids are poisonous and you wouldn't want your kitty to play with them to prevent any kind of accident.

Another good preparation that you should not forget is to shop for things that your kitten will need. You will have to shop for foods that are suitable for newborn kittens. You should opt for foods that could give your kittens the kind of nutrition they need for growth. The food should also be easily digestible by kittens to prevent any troubles with their tummy.

You should also get them the things they need like their own bowls, kitty basket or bed, blanket, litter box, and toys. This is to ensure that your kittens will be comfortable and that they will have a good playing time. You should provide them with warm and comfortable place or area to sleep in. When choosing toys for your little kittens, make sure that they are safe and will not put the safety of your kittens at risk.

Lastly, you must make sure that your kittens are healthy. After birth, you could have a vet take a look at them to check them up for any illness and to give them vaccines that they need. If your vet saw some signs and symptoms that suggest illness, your kitten might be subjected to some tests and examinations. This is to ensure that they will grow healthy and will reduce the risk of getting sick. These things will help prepare you and your home for the arrival of your cat’s newborn kittens. You will not have to get worried about their safety inside your home and you can be sure that you will able to provide them with anything they need for them to grow happy and healthy.

Cat allergies

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Cat Affection: Can You Make Your Cat Cuddly?
One of my cats, Cooga, is a Burmese. He is genetically designed to enjoy human company and cuddles. He is an attractive cat and his humans can hardly walk past him without touching him. He usually allows us to cuddle him like a doll...he will relax into our arms and enjoy the attention and warmth, rubbing his head against our faces. Cooga is likely to be cuddly all his life. He is bred that way and we are lucky to have him.

Cat Illnesses: When You Should Take Your Cat to a Vet
In addition to your cat's regular vaccinations, how can you know when your cat needs to see a vet? The following conditions and behavior are red flags.

Have you Checked your Cats Teeth Recently
Cats cannot brush their own teeth. This may seem like stating the obvious, but there are a huge number of cats out there with severe dental disease that desperately need treatment. Most owners are unaware of their cats teeth problem until either a vet checks the cats mouth, or the mouth becomes so sore and breath so foul that the owners attention is drawn to it.

Three Common Feline Skin Diseases
One of the most common feline skin diseases is acne. The most noticeable symptom of this condition is the formation of blackheads on your cat's chin. Although an exact cause is known, dermatitis, food allergies, and poor grooming can play a role. The veterinarian may not choose to treat feline acne is the case is mild enough.



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As Old as He Feels – Caring for Your Elderly Cat
They say old age creeps up on a person like a thief in the night. This is especially true of your cat. Cats seemingly race through adolescence and adulthood, and suddenly at around 8 years of age, they are entering their golden years.

The two most obvious reasons a cat may no longer want its food, is firstly has the food gone bad.
Sometimes cat food can become tainted in its packaging
check to see if the can has any dents in it or if there is damage to the packaging in any way. Smell the food your self and see if there are any unusual odours or any mould on the food. Secondly, is the cat ill in any way? Sometimes bad teeth can cause problems or they have a stomach bug. A vet should check out any suspicions of illness immediately.

Mammary Cancer In Cats: Any adult female cat can develop mammary cancer, but the average age is usually 10-14 years of age.
Siamese cats appear to have a genetic predisposition for developing mammary cancer and are twice as likely to develop it as other breeds. Unspayed females are at a much greater risk of developing mammary cancer. Female cats that were spayed after having one to several heat cycles, with or without having kittens, are also at a greater risk than a cat that was spayed before her first heat cycle.

Black Cats Bad Luck For The Allergic
A new study shows that dark-colored cats are the worst offenders when it comes to causing more wheezing, sneezing and overall misery to people unlucky enough to have allergies.

Training Your Cat for Aggression
The ears flatten backwards, cat is snarling with the sharp teeth exposed as he has his mouth wide open, and the eyes dilated. This is prime example of aggression in a cat.



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Home remedies for cats & other pets: Flatulence
Exercising helps to move the gas out of the system, so taking your pet for walk several times in case they suffer from flatulence. Give your pet, yoghurt that contains bacteria the helps to decrease gas problem

Does the world need more cats?:
Aren’t they cute? Yes, they are! A nest of meowing and crawling little kittens leaves only the fiercest cat hater indifferent. But does the world need more cats? A cat is the second most popular pet in the world

New Cat Causing an Odor Problem?
Recently, a friend said she'd gotten a new cat from a male friend and the cat was spraying and urinating outside the litter box



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