November 8th, 2013
Jackson Galaxy, the now famous cat behaviorist from Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” tv show, always talks about the catification of your home. In his words, it means “creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space.”
I recently came across an awesome example right here in Cambridge. Leif and Darwin’s mom built this very cool outdoor cat run for the boys. By slipping through a cat door out the window, they can walk down the side of the house to the patio. From there they can extend over to a large play cage, including a sweet hammock and some benches where they can rest under the trees — getting close, but not too close, to the birds.
Leif and Darwin are nearly 10 years old, but if you were around them, you’d think they were much younger. They are frisky as kittens, leaping for Da Bird, jumping on huge swaths of packing paper, taking walks on the cat run. I do believe that their home, being an active, engaging environment, is keeping them healthy and fresh.
OK, so theirs is an extreme example of catification, yet I hope you find it inspirational. Explore Jackson’s website for other ideas.
November 5th, 2013
LoveCats is very excited to announce that Adriene Tilton has officially joined the staff!
Adriene grew up in Western Massachusetts, where she followed a passion for dance, participating in two local dance companies. She has spent nearly 30 years as a childcare provider and more recently, has worked as a home healthcare provider. Her concern for the well-being of others has carried over into her volunteer efforts for HIV/AIDS and suicide awareness and prevention charities.
Speaking to her feline side, Adriene fell in love with a neighbor’s cats when she was 10 years old. They kindly let her visit as often as she liked. Thanks to that experience and her own family’s subsequent rescue of two kitten brothers, Adriene has been crazy about cats for more than 30 years. She has channeled that passion into trying to understand how cats work, and how to make their relationships with humans as comfortable and engaging as possible.
Adriene found her way to LoveCats as a client for her munchkins Henry (who passed away in February 2013), Caddy and Obi (six-year-old, orange tabby sisters). She answered a call for kitty helpers in August 2012 and has been assisting on busy weekends and holidays since then. Adriene officially joined the LoveCats staff in October 2013, working as a part-time sitter.
“I am excited to meet and help care for many more cats with LoveCats,” says Adriene, “and it’s a great opportunity to keep learning what makes cats tick!”
August 29th, 2013
It has been a long, busy summer — sorry for not posting any updates for a while!
I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve had to water my garden this summer, and the fact that we had several two- and three-week runs of no rain in July and August. My tomatoes paid the price of my poor watering skills. I’m going to chalk that up to not knowing how much to water and have bookmarked a couple gardening sites for my review this autumn.
I think the same goes for water and cats. We know to put down a water bowl, but how much should they drink? Is filtered any better than tap water? And how can you tell if your munchkin is in fact drinking it?
To help with that, I found a good article on Catster: www.catster.com/cat-food/how-much-water-should-a-cat-drink. There’s some really good advice on quantity of drinking water and signs if your feline isn’t getting enough.
One other tip that I think I’ve mentioned here before: I found that many cats do not like their water bowl to be next to their food bowl. I know it sounds unusual, but it has something to do with their primitive instincts as to finding water. So try putting the bowl or glass in a different place and see what happens.
June 24th, 2013
I hate dieting — only because I love all foods and begrudge having to limit myself. That said, I’ve found if I want to lose some weight, I start counting calories.
Well, it’s a similar situation for cats. If you’re worried about your munchkin putting on weight, my first bit of advice is make sure they’re exercising. Get wand toys to get them running and jumping around for at least 10 minutes twice a day.
But sometimes exercise isn’t enough, especially in middle-age or older cats — especially, if like me, you’re tempted to give the sweet peas some treats! So that’s when calorie counting may help.
I recently read that if your feline weighs 8-10 pounds, she would require approximately 200-250 calories per day (roughly 25 calories per pound of furry loveliness!). Now the tricky part arrives in finding out how many calories are in their food. Most pet food labels are a mass of confusion. It’s hard enough to figure out what the ingredients are, let alone determine the calories or amounts to give.
If your kitkat’s food does not give a calorie breakdown, here are two sites for reference:
1. Wet Food : www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/wet-cat-food-calorie-count
2. Dry Food: www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/dry-cat-food-calorie-count
You can also find a calorie counter for cat treats here: www.petfinder.com/cats/cat-nutrition/cat-treats-calorie-count
June 3rd, 2013
I don’t have a full blog post right now, but two items have been on my note pad for over a month:
1. To avoid a stinky trash bin in the summer, scrape uneaten wet kitty food into a tupperware container and put it in the freezer. Each day, whatever wet food your cat doesn’t eat, just add to the tupperware. Then on rubbish collection day, just plop the frozen mass into the garbage bag and take out the trash!
2. There are many cute covers or lids to put on unused portions of wet food. But here are two other ideas: put the can into a tupperware container or buy one of these cool Whisker City storage containers at PetSmart.
Also, as we head into summer, please make sure your munchkins have plenty of water. Put out an extra bowl (not necessarily by the food!) and maybe throw in an ice cube or two.
April 11th, 2013
I’ve never been more convinced of the healing power of animals as in this past month.
My father had a stroke in early March, which meant that I spent much of that month in Ohio with him and my mom. The day I left Boston, I was waiting at the curb for my cab and our neighbor’s cat, Misha, wandered over to wait with me, as you can see in the photo below. She gave me and my luggage a proper kitty-love sendoff. Her little bit of love made my flight a lot easier.
Then, one day when I was visiting in the hospital, a couple knocked on his door asking if they could bring their greyhound dogs in to visit. My dad, like me, is a passionate animal lover, so of course he said yes. These beauties came in, slowly approached dad’s wheelchair and let him stroke them. To see my dad’s smile and his eyes dance was powerful for me, so I can imagine how good the experience was for him.
Now that he’s in rehab and I’ve returned to Massachusetts, we catch up by phone every day and he asks about my kitty visits. He wants to know their names and if they prefer to play or be brushed. I can envision him smiling and I hear him chuckling as I describe one munchkin leaping in the air, another purring like a little motorbike. And I’m ever so grateful to know my work helps both of us.
March 25th, 2013
With Spring nearly here, you may be noticing your munchkin shedding fur around the house — and possibly a hairball or two!
We’re all used to seeing occasional furballs being coughed up. It’s nothing to worry over, unless it becomes a weekly or more frequent occurrence. At that point, you may want to talk with your vet to see if there’s an underlying digestive or respiratory problem.
But back to hairballs, there are ways you can help your kitkat prevent them.
Top of the list has to be brushing or combing. At this time of year, a regular grooming session with your munchkin (if he/she will allow it!) is helpful. And it’s a great bonding activity for the two of you. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find the right brush or comb. It sometimes takes trial and error. Much praise has been given to the Furminator, but I’ve met plenty of cats who can’t stand the thing.
Another preventative measure is ensuring your little one is drinking enough water. I know, I know: you can’t force a cat to drink water! So my top tip to encouraging your munchkin to hydrate is to place water bowls or glasses in new spots, not necessarily next to their food. Has your cat every drank out of your water glass? I’ve found many munchkins like to “discover” a new source. And quite a few even like to sip out of a slow running faucet!
Food is also a way to help sooth the passing of hair through the digestive system. If your kitkat typically doesn’t eat wet food, try adding a bit — even a tablespoon or so — during the heavy shedding months. Canned food is also a great way to help hydrate your cat if you think he/she isn’t drinking enough water.
Finally, you can try supplements or hairball treats. For example, laxatone is a brown-colored lubricant that many cats will just like right off your finger. It often comes in different flavors. But know that some munchkins have absolutely no interest in it. Also, many pet food makers now make treats that advertise hairball control. I don’t know if they work, but it may be worth a try.
February 11th, 2013
What a winter storm Nemo turned out to be! I’m hoping we’ve now reached our snow quota for the year, although that seems rather unlikely.
I’m very proud that LoveCats got to all ten scheduled kitty visits on Saturday. It was not easy. The roads were bad, and in some cases, we had to shovel our way into homes.
My kitty helper Pam walked to each of her scheduled visits in Somerville, often making her way up and over snow banks taller than her! I am so impressed with her dedication to making her rounds.
But that is LoveCats for you. A new client recently asked about our policy on storms like the one we just had. My reply: I promise we’ll get to your home and visit your cat. No matter what it takes.
January 21st, 2013
I’d say at least 95 percent of my kitty clients do NOT have Pet Rescue stickers on their building/front door or windows.
Admittedly, I’m a worrier. But if something happened in your home when you’re at work or simply away, would anyone know to rescue your kitkats?
The ASPCA offers door/window decals, but you have to join their mailing list. Or you can buy pet rescue stickers from sites like Amazon.
Please consider doing getting at least one sticker!
December 19th, 2012
An incident last week has me thinking about kitty safety over the holidays — and every day.
I arrived at the home to hear loud moaning. It took me a minute to see it: the kitty’s back paw tangled in the window blind cord, his body’s top half lying on the floor while his back half was dangling. I raced to find scissors or anything to free him, finally settling on a big knife. Once the cord was cut, the poor little thing just lie there, his back paw askew. As I called his dad and then the vet, kitty slowly got up and made his way to the bedroom, dragging his back leg.
The great news: No broken bones! Just a sprain and a severely swollen paw due to lack of circulation. A few days later, he’s now fine.
That said, I now enter homes surveying window blind cords, any stray strings and other potential hazards. And with the holidays upon us, I look closely at how low Christmas tree branches and ornaments are hanging, strings of fairy lights — anything that a furry munchkin might look at it and think: That looks interesting!
Enjoy the festiveness of the season, but remember your kitkats’ curiosity may very well lead them to closer inspection of decorations — including tasting, knocking over, batting around and chewing.