Making Your Own Interactive Cat Feeder

Great ideas to make your cat work for its food! Reblog from Katzenworld.

Katzenworld

Just a couple of years ago few of us had heard of interactive cat feeders, but now pet stores seems to be awash with an amazing array of innovative feeders, usually marketing them as ‘interactive cat toys’.

As a Cat Behaviourist I’m a huge fan of these – not only do they provide natural stimulation for cats by encouraging them to forage for their food, but they can also slow down the food intake of cats who are prone to obesity. Here are some examples of shop-bought feeders:

IMG_2708Small My cats Billy & Jimmy using their first shop-bought feeder…

P1050652Small Jimmy really gets to grips with this flashy feeder!

However, you don’t have to spend a fortune on an expensive state-of-the-art feeder. With a little bit of imagination you can make your own as the following examples show!

Els Scholten's Cat Al Pacino #1 Cardboard rolls…

Suki Green 1 More cardboard rolls…

Billy Toilet Roll Pyramid Toilet rolls and…

Yoghurt Cups Yoghurt pots!

Not What We Mean By Puzzle Feeding! This cat’s  clearly still…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

Meow! I’m Hazel, and I love party treats in fish and chicken flavors! All I need to do is sit next to my empty bowl and look up at my humans with eyes that say, “Please give me treats!”

20151031_143958Soon one of them is shaking the treats container and pouring them into my bowl.

20151030_223748Having my treats every day keeps me from going hungry between breakfast and dinner!

20151030_223639For human responses to this challenge, click here.

Cats and fireworks

Is your cat afraid of fireworks? I watched Hazel’s behavior during a recent thunderstorm with loud claps of thunder, and her only reaction was to move her ears back and look annoyed – the thunder was disturbing her sleep!

I found two short articles online about what to do if your cat is afraid of loud noises. With 4th of July fireworks coming up, I am posting them with their links here:

www.petfireworkfear.co.uk
1. If your cat hides on top of cupboards or under furniture, leave him alone and do not try to coax him out. This ‘bolthole’ is where he will feel most secure. It is important that your pet can access his favourite bolthole at all times.
2. On the evenings you expect fireworks, ensure your cat is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps.
3. Plugging a Feliway® Diffuser in the room where the cat spends most of her time 48 hours before the festivities will increase her sense of security.
4. Make sure your cat is microchipped. If he does escape, frightened, confused animals can easily get lost.
5. Ensure your cat is provided with a litter tray both before and during the firework season.
6. Draw curtains to reduce the noise from outside and play music or have the TV on to help mask the noise of fireworks.
7. Ignore any fearful behaviour and do not try to comfort your cat. More importantly, do not try to pick him up or restrain him. Fearful cats prefer to be left to cope on their own.
8. Try not to go out while the fireworks are going off. Stay calm and act normally.
9. In multi-cat households, shutting cats in overnight may cause disharmony amongst your pets. A Feliway® Diffuser may help lower inter-cat tension.
10. If you are worried that your pet is taking a long time to recover from the firework festivities, speak to your vet. Your vet may also wish to refer you to a behavioural therapist.

scared-cat-hidinghttp://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/helping-cat-cope-thunder-fireworks-adt.html
Helping your cat cope with loud thunder and fireworks
It’s not uncommon for a cat to be afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. They usually display by hiding. A cat suffering from a substantial fear of loud noises may begin to display anxious behavior before the thunder begins. Rain on the roof of the house, bright flashes of light or even the drop in air pressure before a storm may be enough to trigger anxiety. It is important to know what to do when the situation occurs:
Staying calm will help your cat feel safe. You might even try to play with your cat to distract from the noise of thunder of fireworks.
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Make sure your cat has a safe place to seek refuge. Cats typically will run under a bed or under a chair to escape loud noises. Your cat chooses these places because she feels protected and the noise of thunder or fireworks is muffled. If your cat has not already picked out a place, provide one. Try leaving a few kibbles of a favorite Science Diet® cat food in safe place to encourage your cat to go there.
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Try desensitizing your cat to loud noises so the sound becomes normal. This is usually done by playing recorded thunder at a low volume and in short intervals while you monitor your cat’s behavior. This process is long and requires patience, but in the end your cat will be much more comfortable during a storm or near a fireworks display.

Tips & Tricks: Top Toxic Substances for Cats

I am reblogging this article from Katzenworld re substances that are toxic to cats. Very informative!

Katzenworld

Hi everyone today’s advice post comes fromPets Best. Who announces the top toxic substances for Cats. We also have an infographic that can help you on how to keep your cat safehere.

Common household items top the list of toxic substances that send pets in for veterinary visits, according to a new survey released by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC (Pets Best).

Toxins are one of the most frequent pet insurance claims submitted by pet owners partly due to the seemingly innocent nature of many substances that can harm dogs and cats.

cat with vet

Chocolate, headache medicine, grapes and raisins can all cause serious harm to dogs and make up some of the most likely substances to set off an emergency situation, according to the Pets Best survey. Cats are poisoned most often with a common flower, lilies, but also are susceptible to headache medicine, onions, chives and…

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The Daily Prompt: The guilt I will never overcome

The Daily Prompt of December 24, 2013: Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?

I have never overcome my guilt at torturing my beautiful tabby, Blackfoot  – by having her declawed. It was the worst decision I ever made. I didn’t feel guilty at the time – I had

This cat looks like Blackfoot

This cat looks like Blackfoot

been convinced that it was a good idea to save my furniture (which was relatively new – I had only bought it two years before when I moved into my own townhouse) and that the cat would get over it. I hadn’t done enough research of both sides (to do it and absolutely not to do it), just talked to some people who had declawed cats. The veterinarian was tepid in his advice that I consider this carefully and I was told only to have the front ones done, because that way if the cat ever gets out, she can at least climb a tree using her back claws and defend herself using her rear paws (I did wonder how exactly she would do that if confronted by an animal in front of her). He didn’t tell me what declawing really was and how much she would suffer. (He was paid handsomely for these operations, to be sure).

This is how the paws of my cat looked after she was declawed.

This is how the paws of my cat looked after she was declawed.

When Blackfoot came home after having had her front claws removed (she spent 2 days at the veterinary hospital), I was ready with a litter box full of shredded newspaper instead of litter, which would get stuck in her paws and open the wounds. I had been instructed to do this and was told that after a week or so, I could go back to the regular litter, as her paws would have healed. I didn’t know how to judge that exactly, but watched her behavior. When she got home, she looked weak and sick – traumatized, probably. She had bandages on her paws and blood seeped through them. She was very listless. She had no desire to walk, jump up on my lap or on furniture. When the bandages were removed, she spent most of her time lying down and licked her paws a lot. She got up to eat and go to her litter box, but didn’t want to play or get on my lap as she had before. She also got blood on the carpet when she shook her paws after licking them. She smeared blood on the newspaper outside her box. That’s when I started to feel guilty. Actually, I began to feel guilty the moment I saw her after the declawing, clearly in pain.

After a few days, she improved and started to move around more, but still seemed to be in some pain. I waited until all her behavioral symptoms went away and she no longer shook her paws, there was no more blood. That took about two weeks, but I waited a few more days to be extra cautious so I didn’t go back to her regular litter for about 3 weeks. I felt confident that, by then, her wounds would be healed.

The first day that I put regular litter back in her box, she got some caught in her paws – which opened the wounds! She shook her paws, splattering blood onto the wall – more than she had before, when she first had come home after the operation. This happened more than once; I had to go back to newspaper, but it was then that I realized I had made a terrible mistake. My poor, beautiful kitty that I loved so much, was suffering, in pain! I pampered her, empathized with her, did everything I could to “make it up” to her, which of course I couldn’t. Although she recovered and regained most of her former personality, she appeared more jumpy, more vulnerable, than she had before.

It wasn’t long after that that we got a second cat to give her some companionship. We had this second cat only a short time –he got into everything, climbed the curtains (not declawed, obviously!). He was full of mischief, but Jayme loved him and preferred him to Blackfoot.

This second cat, however, caused Jayme to have an allergic reaction which developed into asthma. We took him to an allergist who tested him and diagnosed him with severe allergies to cats along with a host of other things in nature – pollen, ragweed, certain grasses, etc.  There wasn’t much we could do about those things, but we could get rid of our cats. I gave the second one back to his former owner right away – we only had him for about two weeks. The former owner was a colleague of mine in the export shipping business and wasn’t upset about taking him back.

I’d hoped that with the second cat gone, Jayme’s allergies would improve, but they didn’t. I couldn’t give Blackfoot back to her former owner, who I didn’t know and we’d had her several months already. I ended up giving her to a friend of mine at the time, who I thought would keep her inside and love her as I had. But she didn’t. Blackfoot got out one day and had a fight with a raccoon, who tore part of her ear! I did visit her at the friend’s house, and at first she remembered me, but later she seemed not to. Then this friend gave her away to someone who lived in the country on a large property with a lot of cats. I was angry with her for doing that, but in retrospect Blackfoot might have ended up better off. I don’t know – I never found out what happened to her.

I would not even consider declawing my new kitty, or any other cat, for that matter. I have since learned what declawing really does to a cat. It’s like pulling out one’s fingernails from the roots! Actually, it’s worse than that. The ASPCA describes it on their web site:  Some people declaw their cats to prevent or resolve a scratching problem. The term “declaw” is a misnomer because it implies that only the claws are removed. In reality, declawing (onychectomy) involves 10 separate amputations of the last bones of your cat’s toes—including nerve, joint capsule, collateral ligaments and the extensor and flexor tendons. Cats suffer significant pain while recovering from these amputations. … The ASPCA discourages …declawing … because of the extreme pain these surgeries cause. [This procedure is] illegal in some European countries because they’re considered cruel to animals. We only recommend such surgeries if a cat caretaker has unsuccessfully tried everything else to resolve scratching behavior and is considering euthanasia.

http://www.hbky.org/sites/hbky/files/pictures/declaw.gif“Homeward Bound” (http://www.hbky.org/content/please-read-declawing) also advises against declawing: Your cat’s claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat’s claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”. When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing.

cat-declawing

No cat lover would doubt that cats–whose senses are much keener than ours–suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.

Your cat’s body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

I have also had people tell me that their cat’s personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.         

 I feel guilty even today for having subjected my cat to this procedure. Reading the information above renews my guilt feelings and I feel pain for Blackfoot, even after all these years and although she has most likely died by now.

Also see: http://www.catscratching.com/ – Information and advice about how to get your cat to use a scratching post.

http://www.purrfectpost.com/ – Website on which you can purchase scratching posts (it’s helpful to watch the video!). I recently purchased two scratching posts from this company for our new pet tortie. To get my cat to use them, I rubbed catnip on them periodically and also tied one of her toys to the post. In trying to get to the catnip and her toy, she discovered that the post was a great place to scratch, and now she uses it every day!

save a paw