Kali and Chase both like the shelves in one of the bedrooms, but they don’t necessarily like to be up there at the same time. And when one is “trapped” by the other, they’re faced with a choice: Wait it out, or find an alternative way down. Now, Gizmo has jumped from that shelf to the bed a number of times, but Kali’s never done it before. She took her time surveying, which gave me time to pull out my phone, and then she just sucked it up and jumped. Watch below:
Every long-time cat owner has had to find ways to give their cat a pill. In fact, pilling cats is often so difficult that there are entire humorous stories dedicated to it. So how the hell do you do it without getting shredded and stressing out your poor cat to boot?
The easiest method for pilling cats is to turn it into a treat
One great method for pilling cats involves using something tasty, such as a pill pocket, her favorite treat, and even certain types of people food. This helps get her to eat the pill without really realizing that it’s even there. Chase and Gizmo are both on long-term medication, and we’ve found using pill pockets works very well. They hear the pill bottle and they come running, instead of hiding. Unfortunately, many cats will eat some of the treat, spit the pill out, and then finish the treat (or not). We’ve found that giving them empty pockets regularly helps keep them from learning there’s a yucky filling and spitting it out.
The old-fashioned way of pilling cats is stressful and can be dangerous, but here’s how you do it
There’s the old-fashioned way of pilling cats, which involves holding your cat down, forcing the pill into her mouth, then trying to make her swallow. According to Dr. Dawn Ruben of Petplace.com, the proper way to do this is:
- Firmly hold your cat’s head in your non-dominant hand, avoiding the lower jaw and neck/throat as much as possible. You don’t want to restrict your cat’s ability to swallow.
- Raise her nose upward, toward the ceiling, which should force her to open her mouth. This will also make it harder for her to bite you.
- Hold the pill between the thumb and index finger of your free hand. Use your ring finger, pinkie or middle finger, gently press on her canines, which should make her open her mouth wider.
- Place the pill on her tongue, as far back towards her throat as you can, but avoid putting more of your hand in her mouth than is necessary. If you make her gag, the pill will come back up too and you’ll have to do it all over again. It might also be more difficult to pill her in the future if this happens.
- Close her mouth and gently hold her that way. You can then stroke the tip of her nose, which can make her stick her tongue out to lick away the tickle. That should make her swallow the pill. You can also very lightly stroke her throat, which can also make her swallow. The latter method is not always effective, however.
Remember to praise your cat, and even reward her with a treat, as soon as she’s swallowed it. You don’t want her to remember being frightened and uncomfortable.
I personally hate this method for pilling cats, though.
There are devices you can use to shoot the pill into the back of her throat
There are certain devices available for pilling cats that you can use without having to stick your fingers directly in her mouth. Devices like pill guns are basically a type of syringe that holds the pill in place, with a plunger that helps you get it onto the back of her tongue. This can help to save your fingers and time, because they’re less likely to be able to spit it out.
If you’re good at getting the pill onto the back of her tongue, but she’s stubborn about holding it on her tongue, try coating it with a little butter. This can help it slide down faster and prevent her from holding it in the back of her throat.
If none of these methods for pilling cats works, then consider this option
You can always take her medicine to a compounding pharmacy, if there’s one near you. These pharmacies make the medication easier and more convenient for your cat to take. They can even make it tasty so that she might find herself thinking of it as a treat, and want to take it. You can take a look at this list to see if there’s one near you, or ask your veterinarian for recommendations as to where to go.
Ideally, one of these methods should work. Remember, though, that one method will not work well with every cat. If you have a multi-cat household, you might find that what works well for one of your cats doesn’t work at all for another. The biggest keys are patience and staying calm.
What do you do when something happens that makes it so you can no longer care for your cat? Some people have arrangements, but many don’t. One organization in Tucson, Ariz., known as Hearts that Purr, aims to help cats in this tragic situation.
What is Hearts that Purr?
Tucson.com says that Jeanmarie Schiller-McGinnis created Hearts that Purr to be an organization dedicated to cats that are left homeless due to illness or death. According to Schiller-McGinnis, cats that have lived with people for a long time don’t do well in shelters. This is especially true of senior cats. “They deteriorate rather quickly,” she said.
Because of that, once they go into shelters, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever come out. Hearts that Purr has two missions: The first is to provide a loving, caring environment for cats in these situations. The second is to educate the public about how important planning for your cat’s ongoing care is in the event you’re incapacitated.
This isn’t the first home for cats in this situation. Lincolnshire Trust for Cats is a retirement home for cats in these situations in the U.K. Founded in 1999, all of its cats once belonged to someone who either died, or is in a home themselves, and can’t care for their cats any longer. As of early March, they had 80 cats in their care.
Retirement homes for cats isn’t a new idea, but it is a good one
Japan has a concept retirement home for pets, as well, although last I heard, it was intended to be just for dogs. The law there requires people to care for a pet for its entire life, even though people might have legit reasons they can no longer do so. Aeonpet Co., created Japan’s retirement home as a way to address that problem.
Hearts that Purr got its start with two rescues that belonged to a 99-year old woman who died in 2013. She lived alone in a trailer in Cochise County, south of Tucson, and her biggest worry was for her cats. Schiller-McGinnis hadn’t yet opened Hearts that Purr, but she took them in anyway.
The two cats died within a year, but Schiller-McGinnis said that cemented her commitment to making this work. Schiller-McGinnis doesn’t just help cats who’ve lost their people, though. She also helps rescue cats at high risk for euthanasia from Pima Animal Care Center. They don’t turn any animal away, and they’re frequently overcrowded because of it.
We need more shelters like Hearts that Purr
Sadly, Hearts that Purr can only handle a certain number of cats, and Schiller-McGinnis is often forced to turn cats away. However, she’s hoping to expand her services, and possibly create some room, with a foster program that matches senior cats to senior citizens. Many seniors are isolated and living alone, and having a cat can provide a lot of companionship.
These kinds of “retirement” homes are a great idea for pets. Hearts that Purr isn’t unique in the U.S., but we could stand to have more like them.
Spring isn’t that far off, and so it’s time to start thinking about all the things that come with the season. That, unfortunately, includes allergies for a lot of us. Did you know that seasonal allergies in cats are a thing, too, though? Cats can react to the pollen and other triggers of our own annoying spring allergies. However, their symptoms are often different than ours. Seasonal allergies in cats are more likely to produce skin symptoms, rather than what humans experience.
Seasonal allergies in cats tend to look different than they do in people
According to PetMD, seasonal allergies in cats tend to show up as atopic dermatitis. Your cat might develop an itchy rash around his head and neck. He might also develop skin eruptions, and you might notice fur loss from excessive licking, grooming and scratching.
Allergies can be hard to diagnose, and it’s also very hard to figure out just what’s causing your cat’s skin problems on your own. If you notice skin issues, you need to take him to the vet to rule out other skin problems first. It’s not a good idea to assume that skin problems are merely allergies.
Cats can suffer from nasal allergies too, though
I remember one spring, it seemed I was getting up to little puddles of clear vomit pretty much every morning. I called my vet and she said she was seeing an unusually high rate of seasonal allergies in cats that year, and it was presenting more as nasal allergies than atopic dermatitis for some reason. The clear vomit was most likely from post-nasal drip. Of course, she also told me to closely monitor my cats for other symptoms to be sure I didn’t have some kind of infection going around my house, or other health problems requiring treatment.
Generally, though, nasal and respiratory symptoms are going to present in cats with weakened immune systems, and cats with other respiratory troubles. Kali, with her chylothorax, often coughs a lot more in the spring than any other time of year.
To treat seasonal allergies in cats, you need to know what they’re allergic to
If your vet diagnoses allergies, one of the ways to find out what your cat is allergic to is with intradermal testing. This is similar to that wonderful test we humans undergo when an allergist is trying to find out what we’re allergic to. Cats are usually put under general anesthesia for these tests. Then your vet or veterinary dermatologist will shave a small patch of fur, mark it with a pen, and inject tiny amounts of potential allergens. After anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes, the vet will evaluate the test.
Since this test has a small rate of false positives, it’s generally the best way to figure out what your cat is allergic to.
One of the potential treatments for seasonal allergies in cats is a “vaccine.” According to veterinarians at PetPlace, your vet will inject your cat with some of whatever he’s allergic to, repeatedly, over a period of time. The goal here is to slowly reduce your cat’s reaction to the substances. If that doesn’t work, then your vet will probably treat him with steroids. There are also allergy soaps that can relieve itching and help sores and scabs heal, although that means giving your cat a bath. Cool compresses on the affected areas might help if you cat allows it. Resist the temptation to give your cat human medicines, like Benadryl, until you’ve talked to your vet though. It’s never a good idea to give cats human medicines without your vet’s guidance.
Have you ever seen your cat react to its reflection in a mirror? Have you ever wondered why some cats bristle, hiss, and grandstand, while others just walk away like there’s nothing there, while still others will extend their noses for a sniff? Putting cats and mirrors together (or letting them explore mirrors by themselves) is amusing, but why?
Cats and mirrors can be entertaining, but there’s a reason they do what they do
Way Of Cats says that the way cats react to seeing themselves in mirrors is an indicator of whether they think the reflection is a real cat. Basically, if your cat thinks his reflection is actually another cat, then he’ll react as though it’s another cat. And how your cat does that depends on how he usually reacts to other cats.
Some cats greet strange cats by trying to touch noses. Some cats greet strange cats with grandstanding; puffing up their fur, arching their backs and flattening their ears. What happens with cats and mirrors, though, is that the “other cat” mimics your cat’s actions and movements exactly. Your cat doesn’t interpret this as a response; rather, he finds it confusing.
Another confusing element to mirrors is that there’s no scent. Cats’ sense of smell is far more refined than our own. They can smell each other, even if we think there are no cat odors around. But the cat in the mirror should have a strange scent, and all your cat smells are the usual, familiar scents.
Can cats recognize themselves in mirrors?
Cats don’t recognize the image in the mirror as themselves, either. Eventually, they realize that there’s something amiss, that the image they’re seeing is not another cat, but that doesn’t mean they’ve figured out they’re seeing themselves. In fact, according to The Nest, dogs and cats always fail the “mirror test.” In one study, researchers gave anesthetized dogs and cats marks on their foreheads. When they awoke, they looked at mirror reflections and gave no indication that they recognized they had marks on their own foreheads.
None of this makes their reactions any less amusing. We know the strange cat isn’t real, but they don’t, which adds to the hilarity as long as you’re not intentionally scaring your cat. How do your cats react to their reflections?
Cats’ eye color is an endless source of fascination for me. We all know that some cats have eye colors like ours–such as blue–but many have eyes that are far greener than any human’s green eyes, and, of course, there are cats with stunning gold eyes. On the homepage here, I have close-ups of both Kali’s and Chase’s green eyes. All our cats have green eyes, which seems to be the most common color. But there’s actually much more to cats’ eye color than just whether they’re blue, green or gold. Much more.
Cats’ eye color may be linked to their coat color
Cats with “pointed” coloring (meaning dark coloring on the muzzle, tail and feet), tend to have blue eyes. Burmese cats tend to have gold eyes. Egyptian Maus have a unique shade of green for their eyes, while Russian Blues may have vivid green eyes. Tonkinese have aqua eyes. White cats often have blue eyes as well, but can also have green or gold eyes.
We had a Persian with emerald green eyes when I was a kid, named Aurielle. She was a shaded-silver chinchilla Persian – white with silver peppering along her back and tail, on her paws, and around her eyes. She looked a little like she was wearing eyeliner. Her brilliant green eyes are part of what helped make her “the queen” of the house because they made her gaze so intense.
Cats’ eye color tends to be more intense when they’re purebreds
On that note, purebreds are specifically bred to meet certain standards, and that includes eye color. According to Catster, breeders specifically breed to make their cats’ eye color especially vivid. Like Aurielle’s up there. She was a purebred, which could explain her unusually vivid eye color compared to most mixed-breeds I’ve seen.
Blue-eyed cats don’t have any melanin in their eyes
Kittens are born with blue eyes because the melanin in their irises hasn’t been switched on yet. As they grow, their eyes may stay blue if they don’t have any melanin. As light hits the structures of their eyes, it refracts and makes them look blue, and without melanin, that will always be the case. Generally though, they’ll start changing around four to six weeks. We thought Kali was going to have blue eyes when she was young, but her eyes just took a little longer than Chase’s to change to green.
White cats with blue eyes are often deaf compared to cats of other colors and other eye colors, however, this isn’t always true. Furthermore, white cats with odd eyes might only be deaf on the side with the blue eye, or not at all. And odd-eyed cats are just plain cool no matter what they look like. We had an odd-eyed cat. Kitty had one blue eye and one green eye. The edge of the pupil in her blue eye was far less defined than that of her green eye, which we always found interesting. Odd-eyed cats are generally white, or have what’s known as the white-spotting gene. That gene produces tuxedo cats and cats with big white patches. Kitty was blue-gray and white.
Cats’ eye color is just plain cool.