Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

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Senior Cats Are the Best Choice for Senior Citizens


 Miss Snookie is about nine years old now and is a sweet lapcat for Bobbi Fein, who rescued her. A male or female cat Snookie's age would be a good choice for an older couple or single who might pre-decease a younger cat. In fact, you'll often find older cats in shelters for exactly that reason; their human companions died, and no relatives or friends wanted to take them in. What a win-win situation it would be for both parties, to adopt a cat like Snookie!

Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

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Consider a Young Adult Cat with Smaller Children


Fluffy is an example of last year's kittens who often turn into this year's unwanted adult cat languishing in a shelter. In his case, he was lucky because a caring person rescued him (after months of failed attempts), patched him up and gave him a home. A young adult cat would be perfect for a home with smaller children, or for a younger working single or couple who need to leave a cat unattended during the day. Let's face it: little kids are often much too rough with kittens, and kittens become bored and mischievous when left home alone day after day. There's also too much chance of their harming themselves in even the most kitten-safe home.

Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

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An Older Female Cat Comes With Benefits


 D'Ni had just given birth when first discovered, and was pregnant three months later when finally trapped. Older female cats often make loving companions for homes without small children. They are ideal for retired couples or singles. The bonus is that most of them are already trained to a litter box, have been spayed, and have had all their shots.Cons: If you have small children or kittens in the house, a senior cat might not be your best choice.

Foster a Lonely Kitty for the Holidays

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By Franny Syufy, Guide to Cats

Sunday Night as I watched the movie "A Dog Named Christmas," I was touched by the idea which was the premise for movie, inspired by the book of the same name, written by Greg Kincaid. Animal shelters are generally overflowing and understaffed, especially during the hectic holiday seasons. What a lovely concept: to foster a shelter cat or dog, and to give him or her a real home, instead of a lonely cage, if only for a few weeks.
And what a pleasant surprise to find out that was also inspired by the movie to create its own Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays program. Over 2,000 shelters and rescue groups are participating in the program, and you can find one close to you in the Petfinder database. If you've been seriously thinking about adopting a new pet, but aren't yet sure you can make the commitment, this is an excellent way to give a cat or dog a trial run. Even if you are not ready to adopt, it would be a wonderful way to bring some holiday cheer to a homeless pet. Who knows? You may be so bonded by the end of the holiday period that you'll decide to make the relationship permanent.
Photo Credit: © iStock Photo/Julia Pivovarova
If you've been thinking about fostering cats and kittens, this is also a wonderful opportunity to test your mettle before making a long-term commitment. Read stories and advice from current cat fosters, and if you already foster cats and kittens, post your own story.

Good, Bad, and Ugly News for Cats

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The Ugly
From the Cats Forum "From The Globe and Mail": "Toronto Humane Society officials arrested, face animal-cruelty charges."
Toronto police officers and agents from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals swooped in Thursday afternoon to execute a search warrant and lead five handcuffed men out of a shelter that the OSPCA's lawyer derided as "disease-infested."
"These are animals who are just left to die in their cages," Christopher Avery, a lawyer for the Ontario SPCA, said during the raid. "They're found dozens at a time, dead in [a] cage, every morning in this building. Read the original forum post for links to more news coverage of this arrest.

The Bad:
From msnbc news: Certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball cat food (recalled in September) have sickened 21 cats in the south and along the northeast coast. I covered this recall in a blog early in October, and also at the same time updated my top picks of dry cat food to reflect this information. This recall illustrates the importance of rotating foods when feeding cats. Cats who obtained thiamine from other food sources should not have been affected by this food. From the Premium Edge web site: "Product testing proved no contaminants were discovered in the cat food; however the cat foods were deficient in thiamine. Diamond tracked the vitamin premix lot number that was utilized in these particular cat foods and have performed testing on another lot of Premium Edge cat food that used the same vitamin premix, and it was not deficient in thiamine. No other neurological signs have been reported on any other product manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods."

The Good:
From The Animal Rescue Site and Clicks on the purple button became over 7 million bowls of food for shelter animals in November. You can also help support the work of the Animal Rescue Site by shopping in its gift shop.
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Kittens are born with their eyes closed and they open at about 2 weeks. A kitten's eyes are blue until are about 3 months old. Several breeds color up during the first 6 months, so the color of the kitten may not be the color of the cat. Kittens should not be removed from their mothers until 8 weeks of age, when they naturally wean from their mothers and begin to eat kitten food. 

3 Kittens by Fibercool
Kitten by Yukari
Kitten ChoiceChoose your kitten by the temperament that you observe. Don't go by color and markings alone. You will be living with the personality, markings are incidental and may change. If you are getting your kitten from a reputable breeder, the genetics are what matter at this stage.


Choose one that is free of discharge from any orifice. This may be your best indicator of health.

Kitten Sex

The sex of the kitten may matter to you, depending on your temperament. "Feel the underside" and if there are bumps, it's probably a male. Although some females will exhibit these characteristic bumps at an early age, all males will have them. Regardless of the sex of the kitten, plan on spaying or neutering your pet. Your new kitten can be neutered as soon as 12 weeks of age according to a new study. Males have the reputation of being more independent, but I have not found this true. Both sexes make good "mousers," but while males will play with a mouse, a female will kill it.

Flea Control

Flea control should start as soon as the kitten is weaned. Use flea wipes or powder instead of drops or baths for the first 6 months. After that, you can graduate to the drops and flea baths. Collars are also a good choice. No matter which method you choose, watch your cat closely for the first 24 hours after applying the treatment in case your cat has a reaction to it. Keep the package handy so you will know what to do to stop the reaction. In the case of a collar, remove it; in the case of flea powder, you will have to bathe your cat.

Nursing Mama Cat by GaGah

What to Feed Your Kitten

Feed a high quality diet designed for kittens. Your veterinarian is your best source for information regarding an appropriate diet for your kitten. Dry foods are usually most economical and have the advantage of providing a rough surface that will help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your kitten's teeth, but canned foods can be fed as a supplement if desired. The amount fed will depend on your cat's diet, as well as the age, size, and activity level of your kitten. Kittens can be fed free-choice or at set mealtimes; however, many veterinarians recommend feeding all pets at set mealtimes because intake can be more easily monitored. Canned foods should always be fed at set times, because if left unrefrigerated, they can spoil. I recommend use of stainless steel bowls because plastic and ceramic bowls can scratch, leaving crevices for bacteria to hide. The plastic and ceramic types of bowls (and resultant resident bacteria) have been associated with feline "acne" and skin irritation.

Special kitten foods make sure your new kitten will get the nutrition it needs to grow and thrive. If your kitten is removed from its mother too early, it is even more important to feed the kitten well, and use KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement until the kitten is properly weaned. This will prevent health problems later on in life, such as blindness, kidney and liver problems, or other digestive issues.

Try not to change your cats diet radically. This can cause stomach upset.

Play With Your Kitten:

Use a flashlight or Laser Toy, and never aim toward the face. Aim about 6"-8" away from the kitten and get its attention. Drive the baby nuts trying to catch it. This is really good during the "crazies" when they are all tooth and claw! There are also bubbles you blow, Balls, mice and other toys to wear your baby out. Remember to rotate the toys regularly so the kitten does not become bored and decide your shoes, feet or hands (or worse!) are the toy of the day.

Litter Box Training

Pick a litter box that is the right size for your kitten. Too large and she may not be able to get into the box in time, causing accidents. Too small and your new kitten may outgrow the box too quickly. You may need more than one box during the first six months your kitten lives with you. They can be consolidated into one, larger box later, as your kitten gains control of her functions.

Your cat should be able to turn around comfortably in the box without having to step out. If the box is too small, you will set the stage for other problems later on. If you have a very large breed cat such as a Maine Coon or just a big kitty, your litter box may become too small very quickly. I have found that the large storage boxes make excellent litter boxes for exceptionally large cats. I get them at the discount store, discard the lid and fill with litter. As long as the cat can turn around comfortably and it holds enough litter to be useful, you can use it.

Cat Beds

You kitten may want to sleep with you at first, but provide a bed for your cat to sleep in. Allergies can develop that will make you very uncomfortable around your cat.


Little Kitty by Brotha

Your new kitten's personality can be influenced by its treatment, so handle and groom your kitten daily. Be kind, and watch your step. If you accidentally step on its tail or foot, apologize to it. Your relationship with your kitten as it grows will be better for this. A kitten is very small compared to a human, so treating your cat with respect will incline your cat to do the same, and at the same time, not be afraid of you.
Never strike or yell at your cat. A firm "no" is all you need. If your cat ignores you, use a soda can with a penny in it, taped up, and shake it before you say "no." If you use this gimmick, it alerts your kitten by sound and gets its attention. Alternatively, you can use a clicker to mark the good behaviors you want your kitten to exhibit. The correct use of the clicker is described on Cat Training Tips.

Redirect your kitten's attention to something else if it gets into something you don't want it to. Kittens are easily amused, and this is better than any discipline I've ever found. Redirection is the most important tool in the trainer or owners list of tricks.

Kittens and Furniture

Wrap the sofa or chair (kitten height) in bubble wrap when introducing a new kitty into the house. They scratch, it pops, they jump! Some cats actually think it's fun! (Uh-Oh!) If this happens, uses double sided sticky tape instead. Provide your kitten with a BlitzTM TurboScratcher Cat Toy as a place to sharpen her claws. This is an instinctive behavior, and if you cater to it, the household will be happier for it.

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If you want to be a better cat-owner, here are some pointers to help you take care of your cat in the best way possible. Hygiene, training, and grooming are all addressed in a logical, easy to understand format. How to use treats is addressed, so that they stay treats, not a general practice.

Cats need food, litter boxes, and flea control. Their people need the correct supplies to take care of them. While there are many good products in the general marketplace, there are specialty items you may not be aware of or may be paying top-dollar for. I can help with the latter. Specialty items can be purchased directly from the suppliers at a price that makes their use more appealing, often with free shipping.

Cat care consists of attending to the physical comforts of your cat, emotional and intellectual stimulation, and love. The physical is easy. All the "things" you need are easily accesible. Emotional and intellectual stimulation are in the way you relate to your cat. Talk to your cat. Treat it as a friend and it will be one to you. Allow your cat to express it's unique personality. Stimulate it's natural intellect with toys, games and training.

By simply relating to your cat as you go about your day; talking to it when you enter the room, calling it for food or bed; your cat will become attentive to you. You will find your cat coming around to say "hello," asking for cuddles and play.

Tickler wands and other interactive toys will always help your cat to relate to you. Because these toys are only available for play when you offer them, your cat will ask you for them. Your cat can easily be trained to playing with these toys by offering the toys, and when your cat loses interest, give a treat and a cuddle. The treats and toys will give your cat an added reason to play with you besides the exercise and enjoyment it gets by chasing the toy you offer.