Archive for September, 2007

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Why your cat wakes you up at 4am in the morning

22 September, 2007

This is dedicated to everyone who’s been woken up at the crack of dawn by their cat!

The truth is, it may not be hunger that drives your cat to rouse you.

It’s because cats are crepuscular – a great word that describes activity that takes place at twilight, i.e. at dawn and dusk. 

Prey tends to be active during those hours too, and so cats naturally evolved to take advantage of Mr Mouse’s social hours. 

If anyone tells you cats are creatures of the night, that’s not technically true.  Cats have superb night vision, but even they can’t see in pitch-black darkness, so cats tend to sleep when it’s dark/night.

So, what can you do if your cat’s crepuscular peak hours don’t coincide with yours?

Goes without saying:  don’t allow your cat to share your bed/bedroom.  [i.e. do as I say and not as I do, said she who shares her bed with 2 Maine Coons and is slave to their dawn chorous].  And best to shut your cats at night in a room as far away from the bedroom as possible so that you don’t hear them scratching the door in the morning.

If your cats are your bed companions, try getting black-out curtains to shut out the early-morning sun.  That might buy you a bit of time [but not much – I have black-out curtains].

Try ear plugs to block out their crepuscular cries.  [Works a bit, but not much use when the cat decides to walk on your face, or make bread on your chest]

Try keeping your cat awake during the day, so that it sleeps for longer at night.  Apparently, cats sleep up to 16 hours a day! 

And I don’t know if it’s true, but a psychic once told me that cats journey in their sleep, i.e. their spirits leave their bodies and go on a kind of astral hike which is why they sleep so much.   The same psychic added that cats have the ability to absorb entities – whatever that means.

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New Cat Scratching Post from Cat-Palace

22 September, 2007

Kittens on Cat Scratching PostKittens on Cat Scratching PostAbout this time last year, I wrote about a company in the Netherlands, Cat-Palace, that makes the ultimate in cat scratching posts.

I drooled about owning one of their cat scratching posts, imagining the happy looks on my cats’ faces as they saw their new toy – a cat scratching post that was made from natural logs.

Finally, after a year, I succumbed.

The deciding factor was when Teddy threw himself onto the old scratching post (bought off e-bay) and it collapsed under 14 pounds of Maine Coon.  Teddy squealed with fright and ran away.  He never went near that old scratching post again.

cat-post So it was as good an excuse as any:  I needed/the cats needed a scratching post that was sturdy enough for an atheletic Maine Coon.

After many months pouring over the web-site, countless e-mails to Cat-Palace, trying to make my money stretch as far as possible, I made my choice.

So on the right is a photo of the cat scratching post.

It’s a model F2.XAS.  It’s got three tiers.  And what makes it special is the top tier is a pagoda with a curved roof so that cats can sleep on each side of the roof.  Having a pagoda means that more than one cat can play at top cat by getting the highest perch – it’s good cat psychology.

There were so many options and considerations:  should I get the extra-strong Berber carpet (geared towards Maine Coon heavy usage)?  Should I get the model with the round basket at the top?  Was it too large?  Was it too small?  Was there enough room for it?  What colour carpet? Should I get the optional sisal post?

And finally:  was it worth the small fortune I was paying for it?

The answer is:  yes.   You’ve got to think of it as a handmade, customised piece of furniture – that’s what you’re paying for.  The workmanship is fantastic.  The carpet covering is proper thick carpet, not the thin sort normally used on cat scratchers.  It’s made with natural wood and artificial ficus leaves so that it is aesthetically pleasing.  It’s more sturdy that any other type of cat scratching post I’ve seen.  So sturdy that in fact according to Cat-Palace, customers in California who’ve got one of their cat scratching posts have reported that during earth tremors their cats all rushed onto the posts and sat out the quakes on them.kittens-on-post

The day it arrived I felt like those women who go shopping and have to stash their bags away from their husbands.  But of course, the post was too large to hide, and hubby knew it was coming anyway.

The kittens and cats took to it straight away.  They shimmied up the post without having to be told what it was.  Teddy scrambled to the top and dangled precariously, but the scratching post barely moved (it weighs about 50kg and is beautifully balanced.

My only regret is that I didn’t get the model with a round cat bed on it because my cats like curling up in balls.

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Several months on, and the kittens have left for their new homes.  Strangely enough, the cats have stopped using the cat scratching post.  I’ve moved it to a new location in the hope of tempting them to use it.  Maybe it just means that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on a cat scratching post – you can lead a cat to the cat scratcher, but you can’t make it use it!

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The last day …

6 September, 2007

 Loki&Elli1

I’m writing this in the small home office, and the kittens are arranged around me, on the carpet, asleep.  They follow me wherever I go.

This morning, hubby described how they ran round the living room doing a wall-of-death, then stopped at the arm of the couch, and looked him in the face, as if to say: hope that’s all right by you?

The little girl has curled up on hubby’s lap and made eyes at him.  Disconcerted, he asked me what it meant when a little kitten stares into your eyes for a whole five minutes. [of course I didn’t question his sanity in staring into a kitten’s eyes for five minutes]

Mum cat, Ananda, is going to miss them.  I’ve been telling her, for the past week that they’re going to a loving home.  But she’s still suckling them and loving it.

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Moth

6 September, 2007

Mum cat, Ananda, helpfully brought in a LARGE moth last night. 

She let it go and the kittens pounced.  Moments later, Loki, the brown tabby kitten, was wearing a cute fluttery moustache.  A gulp later, moth was no more and Loki was looking very pleased with himself.

(urggh – rather him than me).

There is a stain on the kitchen floor where the moth’s wings have left their powdery imprint.  Elli, the little black kitten, keeps darting toward that spot and sniffing it.

I suppose this could be construed as raw feeding for cats?  What sort of nutritional values does a moth have?  Is there a market for canned moths for cats?  Are you going to report me to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Moths?

[if you suffer from Mottephobia (fear of moths) as I do, cats are a great way of avoiding it.  I grew up in a country which had Atlas Moths – please be kind – Atlas Moths have a wingspan of 10-12 inches!!!   Imagine, a moth the size of a blackbird!!!! I haven’t seen many moths around this summer.  Now I know why.

Ananda, the mummy cat, understands what I mean when I say “flappy flappy?” in an enquiring tone, and she looks around for the moth.  You know you’re a cat breeder/crazy cat person when you talk baby talk to your cat!]

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2007 Kitten Packs

6 September, 2007

 Kitten packs are what most cat breeders give to new kitten owners when they collect their kittens.

Yep … my little kittens are leaving home tomorrow … more in a later post.

Kitten packs usually contain:

– a Kitten Guide written by the breeder and covering items such as the food the kitten is used to eating, the type of litter they are used to using, how to help the kitten settle in etc.

– the kitten’s pedigree

– the pink slip (as the registration slip is known by breeders who register with GCCF.  I register my kittens with TICA, and as is commonly the practice amongst breeders nowadays, the registration slip is sent to new owners on proof of neutering)

– the kitten’s vaccination certificate

– Six week’s free insurance from Pet Plan (the market leaders in pet insurance)

– a toy

I give a small bag of World’s Best Cat Litter as well.  As I’m a member of the Breeder Scheme with MPM Pet Products (and I buy an awful lot of WBCL from MPM) I’m entitled to free 3kg starter packs of World’s Best, plus some tins of Applaws cat food, all packaged in a nifty box.  This year the delivery is late, and I’m hoping it will arrive tomorrow.  If it doesn’t I’ll just have to give the kittens some WBCL from my own stash.

This year, I’m also including two weeks’ worth of raw food.  I’m thrilled – the kittens’ new owners have agreed to try raw-feeding.  I told them that it was worth a trial, apart from the obvious health-benefits, to see how relatively “odourless” raw-fed kitten poo is.  Once you start feeding commercial, the poo smells like fermented canned food.  So I’ve been up-to-my-arms in chicken and rabbit mince.

As for cat toys, last year’s litter went away with a Da Bird. A Da Bird consists of a 36″ fiberglass rod, 50 lb. test braided nylon string and aerodynamically configured feathers on a swivel that mimics the action of a REAL bird in flight. All cats find it irresistible. (Buy Da Birds from Purrs in Our Hearts, an online shop with profits going to UK cat rescue).

This year, the kittens are going to have fun with a Cat Catcher.  Made by Go Cat, the same company that makes the Da Bird, the Cat Catcher has a small furry mouse attached to a wire on a wand. The mouse is small and bristly, and has just the right size and feel for a cat to pick up and hold in its mouth. The wire has the perfect tension to agitate the mouse as though it’s scurrying away. It has been a real winner with my Maine Coons. (Buy Cat Catchers from Solomio Pet Products)

And of course, the kittens go away with a hug and a kiss and a promise that they will always have a special place in our hearts.

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Happy Birthday, Hudson!

4 September, 2007

hudson-and-cake

 Catswhiskers Hudson celebrating his 1st Birthday!!!

This is Hudson, who was born in 2006 to my girl Ananda (Mullycoonz Eowyn) and Mullycoonz Romulas.

Hudson turned one-year-old recently – how time flies!  I still remember him as a small bundle of cream fur zooming round the living room.

I remember how he picked his owners out when they came to visit.  He chose well – as you can see, he’s very much a part of their family and is living in the lap of luxury.

According to his owners (the Sharps), Hudson only drinks water from the tap, loves being brushed and to show how happy he is to be with them, he frequently brings back “gifts” from his hunting.  Clever boy!

And here’s Hudson after his birthday party – “ah … it’s a cat’s life”, that blissful expression says it all!

hudson-asleep-cu

Many thanks to the Sharps and Hudson for permission to use these great photos.