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Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Let Him Go First

Pete, a guinea pig, had a nice, warm cage with plenty of food and water. The four children in the family took turns cleaning his cage and playing with him. He liked to be out of his cage and run around with the children. It was so much fun! They were very gentle with him and gave him lots of love.

Things were fine until the family brought home another pet. Pete was out of his cage at the time. This was a  creature that he had never seen before! He jumped back into the cage and wouldn't come out. The children tried calming him down and telling him it would be okay. Nope! Pete was NOT coming out of his cage. This new pet was called a cat. It made a horrible hissing sound and had very sharp claws. Pete stayed in his cage for many days and felt sad that he couldn't get on the floor and play anymore.

Several months went by. The cat seemed to change and wanted to play with Pete. He didn't hiss anymore or show his claws. He would stay by the cage and just look at Pete. "Well", thought Pete. "Maybe he's not so bad, after all!" The children forgot to close the cage door one day when they were done cleaning. Pete stuck his nose out very slowly. He sniffed noses with the cat. Nothing bad happened! After that, Pete and the cat were down on the floor everyday playing with the children. One day, Mom found Pete in the teapot. She wondered why he had done that, so the cat explained:

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, July 18, 2015

Cats and Baseball

Tuesday was the All-Star game which was very exciting if you like baseball. Some of the greats were honored before the game with a standing ovation. The League my favorite team is part of didn't win, but it was still fun to see all the great talent that's out there. A little less known game is the All-Paws game which was played by kitty cats. That gave me the idea of forming a baseball team of my own. Asked Kirby and Sammy if they wanted to be part of the team, but Kirby thought that was too much work. Sammy said he was comfortable in his hiding place and would have to think about it.

Guess that means they'll just be by-standers if they can stay awake that long! Here are my choices.

Claude has good coordination skills, so he will be the pitcher.

Ike looks comfortable in the catcher's position.

Now we need someone on the bases. How about these three?

Also need a shortstop. Thought this one would be purrrfect because that look would stop anyone short!

Fielders need good eye/hand coordination too, so we'll put Jose in left field.

Merlin will play center

One of the triplets can play right field. Should it be Curly, Larry, or Moe?

Of course, as with the All-Star game, there are alternates. Max could be on one of the bases since he likes to steal things.

We also need a coach to plan the strategy for the game.

The coach needs an assistant to help him keep things organized.

Let's not forget the Umpire!

Of course, the press is always there to record the whole thing.

Think I have "all the bases covered" now. Hope you enjoy the game! Let me know which position is your favorite one!

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, July 11, 2015

Helping Your Cat Overcome Fear of Unexpected Noises

Last Saturday was the Fourth of July. Of course, that means fireworks. Hope my blog about ways of handling that with your cat(s) was helpful. However, there are other noises that can frighten cats as well. My younger cat, Sammy, was a feral cat for the first five months of his life. Since I moved back home four years ago into a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere, he has become more comfortable and doesn't scare quite as easily. Saw an article about this and wanted to pass on the information.

It's natural for our cats to react to unexpected noises. They have extremely quick reflexes and their senses are highly developed. Those who have an excessive fear can develop aggressive or skittish behavior and have trouble interacting with other pets and people. They  have trouble adjusting to their surroundings which can affect their quality of life. One of the factors that can cause this behavior is abuse. Cats that have had abusive backgrounds often display fear of noises. Abused cats should be given time to learn how to trust, and they should be in a quiet and calm environment.

 There are steps that you can take help your cat to feel more secure in its environment. It takes time, but eventually your cat will be able to overcome these fears. Providing a safe hideaway in your home where the cat will not be disturbed can help them feel more secure. Whether this is something you provide, like a box or kitty condo, or whether this is a place the cat chose, make sure that you and your family leave the cat alone when it is in this area.   

If your household changes or is very busy, this can be very scary for cats who haven't experienced this before. Let your kitty stay in a quiet room until it begins to get used to its surroundings. Keeping a radio on a low level in the room can help the cat to become accustomed to noises.

If you can control the noise that causes your cat to be fearful, it can really help the process. Be mindful of what those noises are (vacuum, doorbell) and make sure your cat feels secure. Some noises, of course, you can't control, like thunder. But, as I said last week, you can purchase CDs on the Internet to help your cat get desensitized to these noises. You could even record it yourself while the thunder is rolling. 

Play the noise at a very low volume for about 15 seconds. Play with your cat in a positive and relaxing way.  Stop the attention as soon as the noise stops. Wait a few minutes and repeat this. End the session and wait for at least a couple of hours before doing it again. When there is no visible sign of fear or distress, you can increase the volume slightly to make sure your cat gets used to the sound.  Slowly wean your kitty off of these distractions and continue to praise your cat when it does not over-react to noises. If you can't get your cat to relax, just give them some time. When things calm down, they will come out and be fine.

I have a very loud sneeze which I've had to learn to tone down. This is what frightened Sammy the most. It was something I could control, thank goodness. He'll ignore the firecrackers, but not my sneeze. Go figure!! What noises makes your cat uncomfortable?

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, July 4, 2015

Have a Slap-Happy Fourth of July

Today is Independence Day, more commonly known as the 4th of July. Time for picnics, for families/friends  to spend time with each other, and for fireworks. Personally, I don't like the fireworks part unless it's a professional display run by the Fire Department or other professionals. Have been around too many people who don't use any common sense with them. Have some suggestions about keeping your kitty safe and as comfortable as can be in spite of the loud noises. If the sound of fireworks is loud to us, imagine how uncomfortable that is for your pet since their hearing is so much more sensitive than ours.

Even if your cat is an indoor cat, it's a good idea that they wear a collar with an identification tag that includes your name and telephone number. Even better is a microchip. Be sure to register the microchip or it won't be of any help. Terrified animals may end up miles from home. 

Keep your cat inside with you during the evening or leave them at home if you're going to a neighborhood party. Those who are terrified of all the ruckus can be left in a room with no windows and a locked door. This should help to tone down the noise and also prevent escape if they panic. Taking your cat to a neighbor's picnic can lead to all kind of things happening depending on the level of noise, number of people, food or alcohol being served. They're much safer at home.

Block outside sights and sounds by lowering the blinds and turning on the television. Play soothing music in the background to counteract the noise of the fireworks.

 Keep sparklers, candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

 Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Last, but not least, if your pet seems fearful or anxious, spend some time with them. Loving them can help. Distracting them sometimes works, but not always. Remember not to yell at them. They are already afraid; they need some quiet loving time.

You can also try desensitizing your cat to loud sounds, such as fireworks and thunder. There are a number of places on the Internet where you can find recordings of these sounds that you can play for your cat to slowly accustom them to the sound. I have to laugh every time I think of the last fireworks show here in town. We are only about three blocks from the fairgrounds where they're being shot off. Fireworks are blasting away with booms shaking the house. My mother is the one who wants to crawl under the bed; Sammy and Kirby were eating away like nothing was happening! Guess eating was more important than being afraid. :>) That will probably be the case this year also. What stories do you have to tell about your 4th of July experiences with your pet(s)?

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.