Do Cats Cost Less than Dogs?


Why do Cats Knock Stuff off of Tables?

There are memes and cartoons circulating the Internet that show cats are jerks, because they like to knock stuff off of everything. Tables, shelves, bars; you name it, some cats will knock something off of it. What’s worse is that they seem to do it for no apparent reason, other than to aggravate us. Why do cats knock stuff off of, well, anything?

Your cat isn’t a jerk. There’s a reason cats knock stuff off

Parade spoke to famous animal behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, about certain cat behaviors. For this one, Galaxy says that it could be boredom, kind of like giving a toddler crayons and no paper. “Hello, bedroom wall mural!” is how he explained what happens when you do that. One possible reason that cats knock stuff off of furniture and shelves is because they’re bored.

In my house, especially with Kali, that often seems to be the case. Kali is a little bundle of boundless energy, and if we don’t tend to that energy, she turns into a little rascal. It’s not uncommon for her to see something, like a tube of Chapstick, a piece of fuzz, a nail file or clippers, tweezers, or any other small or medium-sized objects, and suddenly decide they’re toys.

When she has balls, or little mice, to bat around, she’s far more likely to leave our stuff alone. Her behavior bears out what Galaxy says about why cats knock stuff off of tables. So what can you do, aside from more playtime, and ensuring your cat has ample toys of her own with which to play?

In addition to plenty of toys and playtime…

Cats also tend to find the outdoors fascinating, so in addition to toys, provide lots of window perches and non-toxic plants, to keep your indoor-only cat even happier. You can simply plant some cat grass and catnip in pots around your house, or you can actually create a cat garden as a refuge for your kitty. Put some toys in the cat garden, and having cats knock stuff off of tables might become less of a thing in your house.

The bottom line is, cats knock stuff off of tables because it’s in their nature to do so. It does make them seem like jerks, because they do it at random. But take heart! There are ways to address this. And if you can’t, you can always just ensure that whatever your cat knocks off won’t break.

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Study Suggests Cats’ Coloring Determines Aggression

Since cats are still partly wild, they often seem capricious and prone to mood swings. You might wonder why one of your cats is aggressive in certain situations, while another is just as mellow as can be in those same situations. Chalk it partly up to individual personality and disposition, but it’s also possible that cats’ coloring determines aggression, too.

If cats’ coloring determines aggression, which cats are most aggressive?

According to a story in the Independent, female calicoes are more likely to be aggressive than cats of other colors. There isn’t data on how male calicoes behave, due to how rare those cats are (you will occasionally find male calicoes, but they’re very rare due to the fact that genes for both orange fur, and black fur, are carried on the X chromosome).

Black-and-white cats tend to be aggressive when handled, and gray-and-white cats get most aggressive while visiting the vet. Veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis, surveyed 1,274 cat parents about what color cats they had, and when those cats most often displayed aggressive behavior. It seems that this survey may have, indeed, discovered that cats’ coloring determines aggression, at least to some degree.

What are the ideal colors for low levels of aggression?

The ideal colors, then, are solid black, gray or white, or tabby. That is, at least according to this study of whether cats’ coloring determines aggression. Gizmo, our solid black cat, does not like to be handled at all. She will claw and hiss, and sometimes even bite, unless we’re handling her on her express terms.

Kali’s a gray tabby, and she can be very affectionate, but she, too, only enjoys it on her terms. Her terms, however, come far more frequently than Gizmo’s. Chase is a black-and-brown tabby, and he’s a lot like Gizmo, except he doesn’t get aggressive when he doesn’t want to be handled. He just tries to get away.

Of all our cats, Aria is our most mellow, and will put up with an awful lot of petting, holding, hugging, and carrying, than our other three cats. She’s a dilute tortoiseshell, which isn’t mentioned in this article.

If it’s true that cats’ coloring determines aggression, then perhaps this could help people with deciding on a cat to adopt. It’s best to adopt a cat with a temperament that’s suited to your own lifestyle and home situation. For instance, if you have small children, you’ll want a cat that’s easygoing, mellow and tolerant. If calicoes truly don’t tolerate handling as well as, say, a solid white cat, then you can avoid calicoes that could snap at your children, just for being children.

Are You a Cat in Human Form?

If you’re a crazy cat person, like me, there are times you might think that you’re actually a cat in human form. Last year, I was walking through a parking lot with a friend, and a car turned a corner rather quickly. In darting out of its way, my friend noted that my movements were vaguely feline. I often feel like a cat in human form, but if you’re not sure, then I Heart Cats has a list of signs you should look for. Here are the most important signs.

You might be a cat in human form if you love your naps.

I love naps. Being surrounded by sleeping cats makes me very sleepy, just like a cat. Besides that, I actually sleep a little better at night when I’ve got a cat with me. If this is true of you, too, then you might be a cat in human form.

You might be a cat in human form if you’re nosy by nature…which you label as curious.

You find that you have to investigate everything that looks strange. Walking along the sidewalk, and something shiny catches your eye? You must go to see what it is, even if you’re sure it’s just a foil gum wrapper. I do this all the time. I also have to stifle my natural inclination to ask questions about things that aren’t any of my business, and then I feel like I’m going to die of curiosity.

You might be a cat in human form if you like affection on your terms.

This can be a bit of a sticking point between me and my husband, but we work on it. Despite feeling like I’m a cat in human form, I’ve had to work with my husband on giving him affection sometimes when he needs it. It can’t all be on my terms.

Did you know you might be able to train your cats to like certain types of affection, too?

You might be a cat in human form if you’re a bit of a loner.

This is definitely me. I’m not anti-social, but crowds drain me of energy, and can even upset me to the point where I need to run away. This can even be true at small gatherings if there are too many people I don’t know there.

I love spending time with the people I’m close to. If this is you, you just might be a cat in human form.

Click on the link to I Heart Cats, above, to read the full list. Are you a cat in human form?

Toilet Training Cats – Is it Even Possible?

Nearly all of us who have cats have thought about figuring out how to toilet train them at one time or another. It’s a natural thought – scooping and changing dirty litter boxes, plus the smell if we don’t stay on top of it, conspire to make us think, “There must be a better way.” Toilet training cats can be done, however, is it really a good idea?

You can try toilet training cats, if you have a lot of patience

Vetstreet says it’s possible, and they talk about a product known as the Litter Kwitter, which is designed specifically for toilet training cats. However, Vetstreet warns that toilet training isn’t right for every cat. You have to consider your cat’s temperament; the toilet might scare cats that are skittish and high-strung. They also warn that cats with physical problems, like arthritis, will have problems getting up on the toilet and squatting on the edge of the seat.

Vetstreet goes on to explain how the Litter Kwitter works, and makes toilet training cats sound easy as long as you follow Litter Kwitter’s instructions. The basic premise is teaching your cat to accept eliminating over a hole, and gradually removing litter from his routine. The process can be long, and will take love and patience, but can remove what many cat owners consider to be a major source of frustration in their home.

There may be some problems with toilet training cats

Cat Behavior Associates says, however, that toilet training cats isn’t the best option. Behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett says she’s seen behavior problems associated with toilet training cats, because cats can become stressed and confused. One of the issues is that eliminating, and then covering it up, is a natural instinct for cats. When we try to stifle our cats’ natural instincts, it leads to behavior problems, because it causes stress.

Other problems with toilet training cats include the possibility that cats in multi-cat households may have problems if one cat objects to others using the toilet. You can always get more litter boxes to deal with a problem like this, but it’s much harder to get more toilets, which is a major problem if you have one cat that chases the others away from the toilet(s) you have.

Cats also can’t flush, so unless you’re there to flush the toilet whenever it’s used, you run into the possibility of waste sitting in the toilet for hours, which can start to smell pretty badly.

So, ultimately, toilet training cats sounds like it’s a great idea, but it’s not something to undertake lightly. The risks associated with trying may make things even more frustrating than they are with just continuing to use litter boxes.

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Cats and Catnip: What’s REALLY Going On?

Ever wonder what is up with cats and catnip? We have catnip pillows and catnip toys in our house, and we give our cats fresh catnip sometimes. They react the same to all of it – rolling and writhing on the floor, rubbing their faces on the catnip, and generally acting as though they’re high. The only cat that doesn’t is Aria, but she will eat catnip if she can. If your cats also react like this to catnip, you’re in good company.

Scientists don’t know exactly why cats react to catnip the way they do. They know that part of what happens with cats and catnip has to do with a substance called nepetalactone, but what, specifically, it does, remains a mystery. However, Dr. Karen Becker wrote a column in The Huffington Post, which cites what Dr. Nicholas Dodman, of Petplace, believes happens.

The fun with cats and catnip is a chemical reaction

Dr. Dodman thinks that catnip stimulates the areas of the brain that deal with hunting, hunger, and mating behavior. He says some of this is evident in the playful behaviors that cats exhibit when in the presence of catnip, and in the fact that cats might even start drooling in response to catnip.

According to the Humane Society, some cats even get aggressive when in the presence of catnip.

The “interaction” between cats and catnip lasts about ten minutes, although it can be shorter or longer depending on each individual cat. The Human Society says it can take up to two hours, though, for your cat to fully “reset.”

The Humane Society also says that not all cats react to catnip. It’s an inherited sensitivity, it seems, so if your cat didn’t get that gene, then she won’t react to catnip no matter how strong it is. In fact, only about 50 percent of all cats will react to catnip (although in my house, it’s 75 percent).

Cats and catnip can lead to greater harmony in your home

Some research suggests, according to Dr. Becker’s piece, that catnip may help improve the relationship between cats. Catnip can stimulate the pleasure centers of cats’ brains, which can help de-stress them. This, in turn, can help cats get along better.

Catnip is non-toxic, and non-addictive, so even if your cat likes to eat it, the worst that will happen is she’s unable to digest it and throws it up. Because of this, there’s no reason not to give your cat all the catnip you think she wants. Who knows? It could improve playtime with her, which could help strengthen your bond.

From Kittenhood to the Golden Years: Nutrition to Make your Cat Thrive

Cats and kittens have nutritional needs that are very different even from dogs, to say nothing about how different those needs are from ours. While I’m a strong advocate of raw feeding, I also freely acknowledge that there are good commercial foods out there that contain the nutrition cats and kittens need not just to survive, but to thrive.

Did you know that cats nutritional needs change as they move through their life stages? Kittens need a lot more protein, to support their rapid growth. I recently ran across a great article on Petco’s website, titled “From Kittenhood to the Golden Years: What Your Cat Should Eat to Thrive,” which breaks down the types of nutrition cats require at each life stage. I recommend that you read the full article here, but I’ve included a fantastic infographic from that article, with permission from its creator, that also breaks it down.

Hopefully, with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make better decisions regarding your cat’s nutrition for whatever life stage he’s at.

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