Monday, December 19, 2016

Does your cat really like you? Here's some easy ways to tell.

Everyone knows by now (or should, at least) that cats don't talk to other cats in the same way they talk to people (meowing) but by making other sounds, such as chittering, like in this (ADORABLE) video. Meowing is a unique way for your cat to talk to YOU and you alone (generally). I say generally because while it is possible for friends/neighbors/family to understand what your cat is saying when it's meowing at them, only you know for sure. Is that "Feed me!" or is it "I want to play!"???

Here's the top 10 not-so/subtle ways to know your cat loves you.

  1. Welcoming you home
  2. Staring at you
  3. Slow blinking
  4. Purring
  5. Doesn't kill you when you pick them up for a hug/kiss
  6. Head butting
  7. Kneading (baking bread as we call it)
  8. Bringing you gifts (this is nicer when they are an inside kitty)
  9. Exposing their belly for rubbing
  10. Taking over the house

For more detail, check out The Animal Rescue Site


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

How about a lizard?

The Old Town Crier has been a long-time supporter of King Street Cats and we're happy to share their (pet-related) articles on our Blog. Their current issue has an article with the above title that we would like to share with you.

Owning a reptile is something I've wanted to do since I was 14. Other than hermit crabs, I never got around to actually doing it, but since taking a herpetology class in 8th grade, I consider myself a bit of an expert (I kid, I kid!). But seriously, this article covers just about all the bases of reptile ownership that I've come across in my random perusing of the reptile section in my local pet stores.

A few other bullets I'd like to point out, again from my own experiences:

  • While lizards aren't as needy as a cat or a dog, the initial setup can get quite costly. The tank kits you see in your local shop are generally quite good (and usually have a water bowl, heat lamp, maybe a heat rock and a piece of driftwood), but there's so much more to setting up a tank the right way. You do really need to do some research (as the article states).
  • Iguanas. IGUANAS. These things grow like weeds. If you've ever owned a fish tank, you know the general rule that the fish in the tank will continue to grow relative to the overall size of the tank. So, if you have 2 fish in a 20 gallon tank, and 2 in a 50 gallon tank, the ones in the 50 will grow larger than the ones in the 20. This holds true for Iguanas, but with a catch: Sometimes they will outgrow the tank! You'll need to get larger tanks as time goes on.
  • Crickets: There is nothing quite like holding a handful of crickets. And good luck catching them if they get out.
  • Starter lizards. The article suggests bearded dragons, anoles, leopard geckos, or crested geckos as starters. While I would basically echo those suggestions, a word of caution: they can climb walls. Think of it this way. You've got your arm in the tank to take out the water bowl but thought your friendly gecko was hiding from you because you've only had him for about 3 days. NOPE. He's already on the ceiling of your bedroom. I'd recommend a Savannah Monitor (my personal favorite), a bearded dragon, leopard geckos, or fat-tailed geckos. Keep in mind, though, that most geckos have a built in security feature... I'm not going to tell you what it is. You'll have to watch it.

Lastly, Chameleons: DON'T BUY THEM. They are the single most difficult reptile to keep in captivity. They need a ridiculous amount of space to thrive (you really need a room the size of a closet, humidity and temperature controlled, with foliage). That and the fact that they have a very low success rate of being kept in captivity. Just save yourself the heartache (and the hit on your wallet as they can be very expensive) and don't buy them.


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Monday, June 20, 2016

CPR for your cat (or dog)

Hi everyone! Having recently been certified in CPR at work, I thought it would be good to post this article from LifeHacker's health/fitness section on performing CPR on your pet.

The basic steps (straight from the link below) are as follows:

  1. Carefully approach the animal, and look inside their mouth. (If they try to bite you, they don’t need CPR.)
  2. If they’re not breathing, give 4-5 rescue breaths, watching the chest rise and fall.
  3. Check for a pulse using the artery on the inside of the dog’s thigh.
  4. Perform 30 chest compressions, aiming to put your hands on the animal’s heart, right around the place their elbow touches their body. For large dogs, use both hands like you would for a person. For smaller dogs and for cats, you can squeeze the front of their chest with one hand.

This is quite similar, in and of itself, to the rules for a human. If you aren't CPR certified, it's not a bad idea to become it; get the AED certification as well. If you have a small child, then you should definitely take the class.


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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Guinea Pigs!

The Old Town Crier has been a long-time supporter of King Street Cats and we're happy to share their (pet-related) articles on our Blog. Their current issue has an article with the above title that we would like to share with you.

Not much I can really say about this article other than that I learned the following 3 things:

  1. They are technically rodents.
  2. They are considered a delicacy in South American and Latin Cuisine.
  3. There's a website called The Guinea Pig Manual.
    1. I just think that's the best name for a website yet.


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Friday, April 1, 2016

Monthly boxes for your Cat(s)!

By now, you've probably all heard of Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Loot Crate, Graze, etc. Those, obviously, are all for people, and this is a blog for Cats, so the closest I've come to that was BarkBox. Well, now there's not one, but two (!) boxes for kitties! I've tried one and not the other (yet) so I will report on the first and leave a link to a site comparing the two.

First up, Meowbox. From their site: meowbox is a cat subscription box full of surprises, delivered to your door every month. Your meowbox is brimming with yummy cat treats and fun cat toys, specially selected for quality and uniqueness, to cater to your cat’s discriminating taste.

I think the thing I liked the most was that they write on the inside of the lid of the box a note with your cats names on it. (If I can find the picture I took, I'll post it at the bottom.) The thing Lilly and Tommy liked the most was the catnip carrot they received. (Lilly woke me up at around 5am this morning rolling around on the floor with it; I could hear the tags on her collar smacking the hardwood...) There were 4 toys (2 individuals ones, like the carrot, and two 2-packs that I haven't given them yet), as well as a box of treats (that I will be giving to a coworker [my kits are finicky treat-eaters]) and a feather that was holding the tissue-paper-type wrapping closed in box (you'll see it in the picture). A one month subscription runs $32.95 (shipping included) and you have to call to cancel (or they just re-bill you every month). You can also select a checkbox to exclude edible items (which I've now done for my next box). Oh, and for the names written in the box, you can input information about your cats (name, sex, breed, birth month/year). Pretty cool. Also, with every box purchase, they donate a can of food to a shelter cat.

See, there's the feather I was talking about.

The second site is KitNipBox. From their site: Our boxes contain high-quality cat toys, all-natural treats, and other fun, healthy cat products. Here's a list of goodies from a recent KitNipBox, as an example.

As I said, I haven't tried them (yet) so I can't comment on the products, but they do have single and multi-cat boxes ($20 vs $30, each with included shipping). They also have the option to exclude treats/food (hooray!). With every purchase of a box, they donate proceeds to welfare organizations.

And, just in case you don't want to take my word for it, here's the comparison site I promised.

To Happy Kitties everywhere!


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Does your cat pay attention to your feelings?

One thing you always hear is that a dog will mimic your behavior when you're feeling down. Well, what about cats? There's been a huge amount of research on the canine side of this but not nearly as much on the feline side. Then, I found this article. It's a bit of a read, but quite informative.

I can only speak from my own experience, but my cats definitely exhibit this behavior. But, as the article points out, it's specific to familiar faces (particularly their owners). Reminds me of this video about Crows (also a supremely interesting watch).

Additionally, did you know that the sounds your cat makes toward you are specific to you? They aren't relevant to other cats (even other cats in your household) and someone just meeting your cat won't know a 'give me food' sound from a 'pet me' sound. Very intriguing stuff.


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Thursday, March 17, 2016

CPR for Cats

Hi All! Happy St Patrick's Day!

I thought since I just got certified in CPR and AED usage yesterday, I'd share an article on how to perform CPR on your feline friend, should she ever need it.

Signs to watch out for in your cat

  • Breathing trouble
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Unconsciousness
  • Sudden onset of illness
To determine if CPR is necessary:

  • Is the cat breathing? Watch for chest movement or fell it with your hand. Just as with a human, you can put your ear to their nose and look for chest movement.
  • Check the color of the gums. Blue/gray is a sign of lack of oxygen; white is poor blood circulation
  • Check for a pulse. Inside of the thigh, where the leg meets body.
  • Listen for a heartbeat (left side of chest near the elbow)

If you do need to end up giving CPR (and let's hope you never have to):

  • Check for breathing
  • If not breathing, open mouth and remove any obstructions
  • Pull the tongue to the front of the mouth then close the mouth and hold shut (gently)
  • With the neck straight, breathe short puffs of air into the nose (1 breath every 4-5 seconds). If you've trained in CPR for infants, use a similar strength of breath.
    • You should see a visible movement of the chest with these breaths
  • If the heart is stopped, use both Artificial Respiration and CPR (the next few bullets)
  • Check for heartbeat/pulse. If none, lay the cat on it's right side on a hard, flat surface.
  • Place your thumb and fingers from one hand on either side of the chest behind the elbows and give a quick squeeze to compress the chest to about 1/2 of its normal thickness.
  • Compress the chest about 15 times every 10 seconds; stopping to give a breath after every 10 compressions.

Again, hopefully you'll never need to do this, but it's always good to know!


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Why Chocolate Bunnies and Peeps® Make Better Easter Gifts

The Old Town Crier has been a long-time supporter of King Street Cats and we're happy to share their (pet-related) articles on our Blog. Their current issue has an article with the above title that we would like to share with you.

I've never quite understood why people thought the gifting of pets was a good idea, especially ones that you wouldn't normally think of as domestic house pets. Apparently it's still a common thing. I also had no idea that bunnies are the third most popular (mammalian) pet in the US.

I can relate to the bunny issue, though. Two times in my life (one rather recently, the other not so much) have I known a bunny that has been given up. Way back when I lived in NY, I had a school friend who had a bunny. (And yes, I prefer to say bunny over rabbit; it's more fun.) I remember we had gone out to play basketball after school one day and when he got home he called my house in a panic because his mother had put it outside while we were out. I don't recall if he knew why she did it or if he ever found it again.

More recently, about a year and a half ago, one was found in the trash room of my condo building. Some neighbors took it in and kept it for about a year (and yes, it did really use the litter box, much to the chagrin of their (King Street) cat), but after repeated incidents of it chewing wires and molding (which I didn't know was a sign of a teenage bunny), they gave it up to the local shelter (after I repeatedly tried to get them to give it to a local elementary school where it could have had a better chance of having a life IMO).

Regardless, stick to chocolate candy. And always check out the Washington Post's Peep Diorama Contest!


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Why Adopting an Older Pet Makes Sense

The Old Town Crier has been a long-time supporter of King Street Cats and we're happy to share their (pet-related) articles on our Blog. Their current issue has an article with the above title that we would like to share with you.

One of my cats is now, technically, a senior. She just turned 9 in December. (For all of you keeping score, the new-fangled math for cat-human years puts her at 53; you can find the calculator here.) I still remember the day I brought her (and her brother who's been gone almost a year) home from the shelter. They were the only cats that seemed interested in me, so it was a no-brainer. I also remember the first time I saw the following sentence on their surrender form:

My new apartment building doesn't allow pets.

There's all this talk about forever homes and no one seems to have any forward thinking in these terms. You see it all over Facebook, people posting/sharing quips about pets being a long term deal (which is true, of course), but if I were in that situation, I'd take the simplest approach: I'd find a new apartment! I know, I know, it's generally not that simple, but that's always been the first thing I checked for in the handful of times I've moved. Pet friendly, followed by washer/dryer in unit, followed by balcony. Those were my top 3.

Back on topic, I can't argue with any of the points in this one. My favorite, though, is the one that says that older cats seem to understand they've been rescued. I never realized how true that is until I read it there.

Happy Reading!


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A quick How-To on trimming cat claws

Ok, the title is a little misleading, I know (there's no 'quick' way to do this), but I tried to make this post as quick to run through as possible. So, here goes!

  1. Get a comfortable spot in a well-lit room and have everything ready and within arms reach (clippers, astringent powder/pencil, a treat for when it's all over).
  2. Hold your cat firmly (you need to make sure the package is secured) and take a paw and gently squeeze to extend the nail.
  3. Position the clipper a comfortable distance from the quick (if you're unsure, better to clip just the tip) and clip vertically (you should be cutting INTO the curve of the nail, not on the side) to prevent splitting. Do it in one smooth motion.
  4. Reward your cat (and then go wash the blood off your hands*, YOUR blood...).
If your cat is consistently anti-trimming, you may want to try it while she is groggy from a nap. If it's easier to have a friend hold your cat while you trim, do that. Just ensure you praise and give a treat. 

Alternatively, you can do what I do: Bring her to the vet. My vet (their vet, I guess) charges $15 to do it (best money I've ever spent!).

* Just kidding

Click here for the original link.


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