Six things your cat will love you for.
I've always liked cats. The first pet our family had while I was growing up, was a cat named Tobermory. He was named after a talking cat in a book by Saki. Toby, as we called him, lived to be about 16 - 18 years old. Pretty old for a cat.
I've been around a lot of cats since then. Recently, my parents got a cat, named "Kitty" not such a great name; so they renamed her "Tigger". When I first was introduced to Tigger, I had a psychic experience. I physically felt my heart chakra opening, a very subtle spinning sensation in my chest. I love kitties, and kitties love me! Tigger wouldn't come out for other people, but for the first two or three weeks, would only be seen when I came over. What a nice cat!
So, I was thinking, it would be great to share with you some of the things that I've learned about cats. They are very fine animals, and respond very well to loving kindness. I've got a list of six things that you can do for your cat, that will make your relationship with them smooth and loving.
Cats love to be brushed and combed.
I didn't know it until this year; and, cats love to be brushed and combed. You need a special brush or comb for your cat; and while you are brushing him or her, you'll quickly remove a lot of the fur that's being shed. This is great for your cat! Any fur that you get on the brush, is fur that the cat doesn't ingest while grooming. Cats are designed to swallow some hair; but if you spend a minute or two every other day combing your cat, they will thank you for it! The cat I live with now, Emma, just loves to be brushed! She'll sometimes come over when I show her the brush; and when I'm done, she'll rub her face (that's how cats mark their territory) all over the bookshelf near where I groom her. I like to groom her, because I know that it will help her to not throw up hair balls quite so often.
Cats need to get their nails trimmed.
Emma the cat recently had a nail that grew too long. It circled around and started to cut into her paw. She was limping and unhappy, until she got to the vet, who trimmed her nails. Now she's OK.
Trimming a cat's nails can be done at at home; especially, if you get the cat used to it at a young age. We got an emery board scratching tool for Emma. I'm not sure how well it's going to work yet; I hope it does, since Emma isn't used to getting her nails trimmed. My mother used to trim Toby's nails, and it was quick and easy for her to do. So, if I end up trimming Emma's nails, I'm sure she'll get used to it, also. Here's a video about trimming your cats nails. You can see the cat in the video is OK with it, and doesn't mind at all!
Cats (and especially kittens) respond to their environment.
When I lived in Arkansas and the cat there needed to go to the vet, we had to chase her around with a blanket while wearing leather gloves; and then forced her into a carrying case. What an unhappy cat! And then, the cat hated being in a car! But this could have been avoided; especially if you can work with the animal at a young age. Now the tips here may help with an adult cat, but are almost certain to work with a kitten!
First, carry the cat out to your car; and with the engine off, let him or her explore the interior of it for about ten minutes. Then take the cat back to the house. Praise the cat, and tell him or her "You're such a strong cat! You're such a brave cat!" Do this again, the next day. You are acquainting your cat with the car. Now after you have done this for a couple of days, take the cat out and do the same thing. Only this time, start the engine. Just sit for a few minutes. Turn the engine off, praise the cat again; and wait until the next day. Do it again, and keep doing it every day until the cat gets used to your car. This is where a quiet car comes in handy! In just a few days or a week, your cat ought to be OK with this.
Depending on you level of comfort, you may or may not want a kitty cage for when you actually travel with the cat. Now that your cat is comfortable being in the car with the engine running, you can go out for a short 5 minute ride, preferably on smooth roads. The vibration of the car may be unsettling to your cat; but don't worry, in time he or she will get used to it, and stop yowling. When the ride ends, be sure to praise your cat as much as you can. Five or ten minutes of loving affection, or as much as the cat can stand, will help the cat look forward to it. If your cat responds better to a treat, give them some now.
You have to take your cat on several short runs like this before you are ready to take the cat on a longer run. Be sure to praise and reward your cat after every ride. It may seem like the odds are against kitty every adapting to the car; however, there are cats that ride on motorcycles! So you know it can be done. And then be sure to take your cat out on a ride every couple of weeks, at least, so that when you have to get him or her into the car, it won't be a big deal.
Another thing about kittens; this is the time to get them used to riding on your shoulders, being carried about the house; and getting used to being picked up in general. An adult animal will also frequently warm up to being handled like this too. Carrying a cat make's for a cat with good character and strong resolve; just be sure to be nice to your cat! Praise him or her and pet them and give them treats. They will love you for it. Remember, a cat that's used to being picked up, carried to a car, and traveling in it, is worth it's weight in gold when it comes time to move or go to the vet.
Cats love catnip!
Another thing that cats love is catnip! You can get it at the store, and if you do, just get pure organic catnip. It's also easy to grow your own catnip. If you have an outdoor kitty, show him or her where the plant is; it should weather your cat's initial attention and produce a lot of leaves later in the season. Dry the catnip out of reach; and be sure to store it where the cat can't get to it. Cupboard doors can be easy for cats to open, and bags ripped apart. So, if you are saving some for later, keep that in mind, and be sure your cat can't get to it.
Despite having been around cats a great deal, I've never actually had to litter train one! What I remember about Toby is that we kept him in a tiled area (the kitchen I think) with the litter box, while he was being litter trained. That seems to be a bit nicer than being shut up in a cage; though that will keep things tidier.
Of late, I've had the opportunity to buy some litter for Emma. So if you can, I'd try getting bulk litter like they have at PetCo. That way, you can cut down on the amount of packaging you have to throw out, and it's inexpensive also. When I get litter for Emma, I show up at PetCo with a big five gallon bucket, and fill it up with the litter. They have buckets there too. I reuse the same bucket the next time I show up. It's good litter, too. It keeps down odor, and every thing clumps to it so it is easily removed with a slotted scoop, leaving unused litter behind in the litter box.
A happy toy for your cat!
Cats love some toys, and others just lie there. The best toys are the ones that you hold onto one end, while your cat plays with the thing at the other. I was really happy with the feather toy that I got for Rusty (the cat my parents had from about 1993 until 2007 or so). And Rusty was happy with it too! The feather must seem like a bird to the cat. The feather dances and floats about in a way that really activates the cat's instinct to pounce, swat, jump, grab, hunt and kill! Cats are built for that kind of stuff, and it's a shame if all they ever do is chase after bugs or invisible insects. A toy like this is great fun for the cat, and it's great fun for the cat lovers too! Hey, it might even get some people who are a little cool towards cats to warm up a bit!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about cats. They are impressionable at a young age, and will adjust to litter habits and car rides easily then. Older cats can adjust to things too, it might just take a little while longer. They love catnip, feather toys and being brushed or combed. An active cat is a healthy cat; and grooming your cat can help keep him or her healthy too. Cats need to have their nails trimmed, though I'm hoping the emery board scratching post does the trick for Emma - perhaps you know something about these, or about cats in general; just leave a comment below! Having a cat is it's own reward. I've been lucky to know all the cats I have, and I hope to meet some more!
Read about some more amazing cats here!