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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The "Gifts" of Christmas From Your Cat--Entertainment

The first two gifts we talked about were Affection and Happiness. Please refer to the previous blogs if you haven't read them yet. We'll conclude with Entertainment, although, these are not the only gifts. There are many more. Each cat is different and brings its own special gifts to you. Of course, the gifts described in this blog are all connected. As these creatures show their affection, it makes you happier. They keep you entertained which makes you laugh which makes you happier!

#Gift 3--Entertainment

First of all, we know that cats have cattitude!

Second, you NEVER know what to expect next!

That's the reason they are so entertaining. Mine can be perfectly calm; the next minute, they're jumping over each other, playing with something, or peeking out from behind a corner. Their expressions can be hilarious, especially if we don't do what they think we should do!

These expressions, these entertaining moments can happen at any time during the day or night. They might involve other animals.

Of course, that also includes other cats!

They definitely will involve you sometimes!

This could go on and on as you well know. I think you get the idea! Tell us about some of the things your cat(s) do that make you laugh. Would love to hear some cute stories!

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The "Gifts" of Christmas From Your Cat--Happiness

In the last two weeks, we've taken a look at the 14 ways that cats show their affection. Admittedly, some of them seem a little weird to us, such as spraying, scratching, and sticking their butts in our faces! If you haven't read the last two blogs, check them out to see why this is a form of affection.

#Gift 2--Happiness

They MAKE US FEEL HAPPIER. They are such great companions and love us with unconditional love 365 days a year. Psychologists at Miami University have found that people who own pets are more conscientious, more social, have better self-esteem, and healthier relationship types. Pet owners, especially those with dogs, can get more exercise and reduce stress. Animals help us heal; many are used as therapy animals. 63% of pet owners consider their pets to be family members. So how can animals make us feel better and happier?

 They can grab our attention which distracts and relaxes us.

These cats are also offering social support which reduces stress, as well as, physical contact with another living thing which is good for mind and body.

Here are other examples of how supportive they can be. Or, at least, they think that they are!

How do your cats make you happy? I know when I have a cat in my lap, or sometimes two, things just seem to be better. I'm not nearly as stressed out. It's very comforting.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Gifts of Christmas From Your Cat--Affection, Part 2

Last time we discussed cats showing their affection by purring, rolling, bunting, scratching, kneading, gifting, and playing. There are seven more ways they do this.

Gift #1--Affection

Cats Love with Sleeping. As sleep champs, felines typically sleep up to 16 hours a day. Because they are most vulnerable during sleep, the place your cat chooses to snooze must be a secure and trusted location. There is no greater loving compliment than a cat choosing your lap for a favorite sleep spot.

Cats Love with their Eyes. A kitty’s eyes are proportionately very large—if human’s eyes were the same proportion, our eyes would be eight inches across! As such, cat eyes are important assets for survival, yet extremely vulnerable. Cats that place their faces and wide open eyes near a human express great trust and love. A slow “eye blink” from across the room is considered a cat kiss.

Cats Love with their Tails. In a similar fashion, the “elevator butt” pose invites you to give special attention. Simply scratch her/him above the tail. Cats also signal their love when they approach you with the tail held straight up, and the end slightly tipped over. Kittens use this to greet their mother—and adult cats continue to treat their favorite humans like a beloved mom, with tails flagged high in respect.

Cats Love with Meowing. Cats rarely meow at other cats. Kitty uses these vocalizations specifically to interact with their people. Do you make a point to talk with those you dislike? Neither do cats! Even when kitties pester you with lots of meows, they're interacting with you out of love.

Cats Love with Grooming. Cats spend an enormous amount of time self-grooming. They also groom each other, but shared grooming behaviors only happen between friendly cats. Kitties that groom their human by licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing, indicates great affection. This spreads familiar scent and helps mark you as an important part of their family group.

Cats Love with Spraying. Say it ain’t so! But it’s true—if your cat has decided to baptize your bed or other belongings with urine, you should consider it a back-handed compliment. Cats use their own scent to calm themselves down. Kitties feeling upset over separation anxiety or other issues often target areas that smell the most like their beloved owners…such as the bed.  (Not posting a picture for this one.)

Cats Love with their Butts.  This is another “back handed compliment” that cats offer to only their most trusted, beloved people. Because kitties identify each other by scent, butt-sniffing is the equivalent to a very personal hand shake. When your cat jumps on your lap and presents their tail in your face, the invitation is obvious—not that you need to sniff.  (No picture for this one either)

Yes, cats DO show affection. Many people think cats are too independent to do that, but they just don't realize how many ways affection can be shown. Here is a video clip for you to enjoy.

If you think cats don't love their owners, watch this!

Again, would love to hear from my readers about the ways your cat shows affection. Next week, we'll talk about another gift our pets give us.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The "Gifts" of Christmas From Your Cat

One of the first things on your mind at this time of year is a gift. Whether it's for family, a friend, the office, the school, etc., you know you need to buy gifts. Let's take a look at the gifts that your cat can give you, not only at this time of year, but all 365 days of the year. The amazing part of this is that these are given freely and unconditionally. How special is that!

Gift #1 is Affection.

I read an article about 14 ways your cat shows love. Not going to do all of that here because you would be reading way too long! Will touch on 7 of these and go into more detail about them some other time.

Cats Love with Purrs. Their purrs can mean a variety of things, from delight to expressions of concern. And kitty purrs range from soft and subtle to Mack-truck loud. (Kirby) When your cat purrs in your presence, you can be sure they're expressing their love for you. Then there's Grumpy Cat!

Cats Love with Rolling. When kitty throws itself on the ground at your feet, and rolls around, consider this a loving greeting and a solicitation for attention. Presenting the tummy in this fashion places the cat in a vulnerable posture. So cats generally reserve the rolling around for people they truly love. (When mine do this, it's always out of reach so I have to go to them!)

Cats Love with Bunting. When a cat cheek-rubs you, head-bumps your face, or pushes against you, they leave their scented signature. These behaviors, termed bunting, are expressions of affection cats display to other cats, dogs-and their most favorite people.

 Cats Love with Scratching. ( OMG! Say it isn't so!) Just as with the spraying, cat scratching leaves both scented and visual marks of ownership. Pay attention to where your cat scratches the most. The areas most important to kitty often are related to those places associated with the owner, like a favorite chair where you sit.

Cats Love with Kneading. Kneading behaviors—front paw treading on soft surfaces—hearken back to kittenhood. Kitten paws knead against the mother cat’s breasts to induce milk to be released. Adult cats continue the behavior when they’re feeling most relaxed and content and loved, and that’s often when being petted on the owner’s lap. Kneading is an obvious expression of adoration.

Cats Love with Gifting. Mighty hunter cats that catch everything from toys to bugs, mice or frogs, often share the bounty with those they love. Kitties who present you with this bounty deserve praise. They wouldn’t bring these special gifts if they didn’t love you.

Cats Love with Playing. Kittens play out of pure enjoyment, and many never outgrow playtime. Some cats may actually control the interaction of petting by moving just out of reach—so YOU must go to THEM. Their most favorite playmate typically is a trusted, beloved companion.

Next time we'll look at the other seven ways your cats can show affection. One of them will really shock you! Tell us how your kitties show affection to you. We need some "Awwwww!" moments.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The First Thanksgiving

You've all heard the story of the first Thanksgiving when the Pilgrims and Indians sat down together to give thanks for what they had. It's been written about in history books and told many times. However, there is a part of the story that you have never heard. It's my pleasure to tell it to you now.

There were many kind of animals living in this brand new country that the Pilgrims learned to call home. The Indians killed only what they needed to survive so there was always large groups of animals roaming the meadows and forests. Some of these animals, however, were very small and not noticed by the Pilgrims. One such group was a little colony of hamsters. They didn't trust these strangers and stayed as far away from them as they could. The mayor of this colony was Harry Hamster; his wife was called Minnie. Life was good and things were going well.

The first winter that the Pilgrims spent in America was very harsh. Some of them did not make it through  because of the lack of food or being sick. The hamsters watched all of this going on and couldn't help but wonder why these creatures were so silly. After all, the hamsters had plenty of food that they had stored and they knew how to keep themselves warm. They began to feel sorry for these strangers and talked about ways they could help.

Minnie's cousin, Fluffy, had a great idea. Why not leave some nuts for them! Everyone agreed that this would be the thing to do. When piles of nuts started appearing around town, the Pilgrims had no idea where they came from. The nuts kept coming, so the Pilgrims put them to good use by eating them whole or by baking them. Soon, delicious smells were floating around the countryside. The hamsters couldn't resist the smell and found themselves coming closer to town. To their surprise, these strangers were actually very friendly. By the time of the first Thanksgiving feast, the hamsters had many friends among the Pilgrims. So, it was no surprise when the hamsters decided the join the Pilgrims and Indians on this special day. They had only one request.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Talk to Your Cats About Catnip!

Do you remember the commercial with eggs frying in a pan and the announcer is saying, "This is your brain on drugs."? With the use of drugs being so much higher now than when my kids were growing up, every parent is encouraged to have that talk with their kids. In this blog, I'm using that same theme to talk about catnip for cats. Hope you enjoy.

First of all, let's talk about what catnip is. Nepeta cataria, or catnip, is a strong-scented mint that contains a volatile oil that’s easily released into the air. Biting or rolling on the plant crushes the leaves, and releases the oil so Kitty can get a good sniff. It doesn’t take much. Cats can detect catnip oil in the air at a saturation as low as one part per billion. Whoa! That's pretty amazing!

How does catnip affect your cat? Rather than a simple smell, the chemical in catnip resembles sedative components also found in the valerian plant, which may be used in natural therapies to calm pets and people. Catnip also may be similar to one of the substances found in tomcat urine—yucky to you, but a lovely smell to the cat! In fact, this pheromone in urine often triggers the same sort of behavioral reaction in cats as exposure to catnip. 

These types of chemicals, once inhaled, enter the cat's highly specialized scenting organ through the roof of the mouth. The vomeronasal, or Jacobson's organs, sit between the hard palate of the mouth and the septum of the nose, and connect to the mouth via tiny conduits directly behind the cat’s upper incisor teeth. You may see kitty perform an odd facial grimace with lips curled back and mouth open when employing this organ.
The Jacobson’s organs are linked to the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that acts like a switchboard to direct information to higher centers. This part of the brain integrates taste and smell, motivates appetite, and triggers a variety of behaviors.

Catnip in cats affects the same biochemical pathways that are affected by marijuana and LSD in people. In its simplest terms, catnip is a feline hallucinogen.The kitty "high" lasts from five to 15 minutes, and causes a loss of inhibition. While the behaviors may look similar to cats-in-love, catnip is NOT a feline aphrodisiac. It prompts similar behaviors in both neutered and intact cats. Catnip-intoxicated cats act like furry fools who roll and flop about on the floor, drool, and have a wonderful relaxing time.

Cats rarely respond to catnip until they are about six months old, and some cats never do. The trait is an inherited one, with only two out of three domestic cats being affected; male cats seem to respond more strongly than females. The quality of the catnip also influences the response. With my two, Kirby reacts to it, but Sammy doesn't.

So, I'd like to emphasize the point again because if you don't...........

you might have to put up with these things!

Well! That story is for another time. Tell us about your cats and how silly they can get when they are around catnip. Would love to hear your comments.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're starting into that busy time of year again; Thanksgiving, Black Friday, cards, presents, decorations, etc. Today I'd like to share some of the things that I am thankful for. Yes, some of them will be funny. On a serious note, I am grateful that my mother is still with us at the age of 95. My sons and their families are close and doing well. My seventh great-grandchild will be a year old in December. Our health is good, and we look forward to many things. Kirby and Sammy are a blessing and such good companions. Well, most of the time anyway! And last, but NOT least, I am very thankful for all of you who read my blog!

Now, lets go through a Thanksgiving day and see how our pets can help us enjoy it even more. First of all, you need to get up early to start the turkey. If you don't get up early enough, you might find this!

Regardless of what time I get up, I usually have to start my morning out with coffee. Lots of it.

You will be making other things for dinner besides the turkey, but there's one thing every recipe calls for.

Some of you like to "dress up" for the holidays, but I guarantee that your kitty cat will outdo you every time!

Your pets can be a source of entertainment when guests arrive. Not everyone might appreciate it, however.

If you get tired from all the preparation, someone will be there to help you get through it .

You certainly want your pets to mind their manners when there are guests in the house. That's not always easy though!

After all the excitement of the day, you may find that your pets will be ready for a nap wherever they happen to be.

Wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. Let us know some of your favorite things to do on this special day! Or what your pet does! Some of that can be pretty funny.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.