We got a new toy for the cats. So far, Kali’s the only one that seems to like it, but she really likes it. Watch her below:
Cats…and fur. Fur is a fact of life in a house full of pets, but even if you’ve got just one cat, you’ve probably got fur all over place. Lint rollers are nice, but they produce an awful lot of trash, and you have to keep replacing them. It’s the same with rolls of tape (which is basically what lint rollers are), and lint brushes don’t always grab everything. What about a nitrile, latex or rubber glove? According to Cole & Marmalade, this is a great way of cleaning cat fur away.
Cleaning cat fur can be a real pain sometimes
How does this even work? Fur, hair, and other strands and fibers stick to rubber and rubber-like materials rather well. The benefit of this method is that it can help pull strands of fur that would otherwise be stuck, and these gloves are reusable, so there’s less waste than there is with a traditional lint roller.
When you’re done cleaning cat fur away, you can simply dip your hands in a bucket or sink full of water. The fur will float off. You can also do like Chris Poole does in the video and gather it into a ball to throw away.
Or you can roll it into a ball, put it in front of your cat, and see what he does with it.
I’ve never actually tried this method of cleaning cat fur away. I ran across it when Chris posted a new Cole & Marmalade video. I do, however, know how my cats react when I put balls of their own fur in front of them. They sniff, and then they sniff the air, and then they sniff the fur again. Then they look at me like they’re wondering why this weird thing smells so much like them, like me, and like the other interlopers in the house.
Here’s how I clean up cat fur
I usually use a lint brush, but I know that, on some materials, the brush just smooths out the fur, and doesn’t pull it all up. It’s great for getting most fur off of things, but the fur I can’t pick up with it slowly builds.
I have a box of gloves, but I also have rubber cleaning gloves. If you don’t want to buy a whole box of gloves for cleaning cat fur, you can buy those rubber cleaning gloves and use those. They might even work a little better than latex or nitrile gloves. I plan on trying this method of cleaning cat fur very soon.
For more life hacks with cats, watch the video below, and visit Cole & Marmalade’s YouTube channel for more fun:
Cats are silly. Cats are cute. Cats seem to love doing things that make us say, “Awwwww.” Cats carry things around in their mouths, which looks funny and makes us laugh. One thing that I’ve written about before is Chase’s penchant for carrying my hair ties around in his mouth. He also cries loudly for me, which he does, I think, because he knows I’ll come to where he is (he used to bring the hair ties right to my feet, but doesn’t do that anymore). What happens when he can’t find a hair tie, though?
It’s funny when my cats carry things around
He makes do with something else, like an old foam ball toy, or one of our hand wraps. He’s been known to carry a small, rolled up ACE bandage around like this, too. I have had so much trouble catching him on video carrying something around in his mouth, but I was recently successful. I found him at the top of the stairs with an old ball in his mouth, and he didn’t seem to want to drop it. Watch the video below:
Why do cats carry things around?
Cats carry things around like this for various reasons, which usually boil down to bringing us a gift, or finding a suitable place to hide or bury their prey. For example, one of Chase’s favorite toys is a mousie attached to a string, which is attached to a stick. It’s a homemade wand toy. He loves catching the mousie in his mouth, and then walking off with it. Where does he take it? Usually to a pair of my boots, where he then “buries” it.
Cats are only partly domesticated, but even fully domesticated, they would still be creatures of instinct. Carrying things around and looking for suitable places for them, or delivering them to the “alpha” of their home, are catering to the more wild parts of their instincts. Cats carry things around because it caters to their instincts. In short, they do it because it they’re cats.
Experts talk a lot about the need for interactive playtime, which is when you play with your cats using toys. Waving a wand around, or rolling a small ball across the floor, are great ways to play with your cat, and help enrich his life. However, cats amuse themselves, too, and watching cats amuse themselves is, well, amusing. It can also provide a different type of enrichment for your cat.
I have no idea about anybody reading this blog, but I love watching my cats amuse themselves. To me, it’s hilarious. They still get their interactive playtime, but all four of them are capable of finding something with which to amuse themselves. Sometimes, their antics are the best thing for me when I’m feeling low, because they’re so silly about their personal playtime that I can’t help but laugh.
Watch Chase quietly amuse himself with the little foam ball off a microphone boom below:
Cats amuse themselves because they have imagination
It’s amazing the imagination that pets have, and how easily cats amuse themselves. Linda Cole, writing on Canidae, not only swears that her cats spy on her neighbors (I’m pretty sure mine do, too), but she also says that one of her cats would take the end of a new roll of toilet paper and wind it around the house. She always managed to do that without tearing it, but since she’d wind it around the legs of tables and chairs, that must have been so much fun to clean up.
Sometimes I’ll find Kali up on top of the refrigerator when there’s a bug crawling on the kitchen light. She never jumps for it (I think she knows she can’t make it), but she’ll sit there until she’s sure the bug is gone. I’ve seen her sit up there, as straight and alert as possible, for an hour before she was sure the bug was gone.
Cats will always need interactive playtime; it’s never a good idea to assume that they can always amuse themselves. But when you’re lucky enough to see cats amuse themselves, it’s a treat for both you and them.
What is up with cats and cucumbers? Videos have been making the rounds of the Internet, showing cats that get freaked out by strategically placed cucumbers. They don’t smell especially strong, and they’re not exactly big and towering, and yet, when cats see them, they freak. What on earth is going on?
Cats and cucumbers is like cats and circles made of tape
It’s like the cat circles phenomenon, where people would try to “trap” their cats inside circles made of tape, ribbon, rope, or anything else cats could step over easily. It doesn’t work with all cats, but it does work with enough that it became an Internet phenomenon. Cats and cucumbers is very much like this; many cats react, but some don’t. Watch the compilation below to see the ways that some cats react to cucumbers.
This brings up the main question: What is it about cucumbers that’s so scary?
There are a few theories, one of which has to do with a possible resemblance to snakes. Seeing a cucumber appear behind them might trigger some sort of reflex to avoid snakes. It’s also possible that the cucumber is an object that just magically appeared, from the cat’s perspective, and that alone is enough to startle cats.
This is such a popular phenomenon that there’s even an entire subReddit devoted to it. It comes complete with a disclaimer that, sadly, applies to us and our cats: “This is /r/CucumbersScaringCats, not /r/CucumbersNOTScaringCats. If the cat isn’t scared, it doesn’t belong here.” Maybe some have tried to prove there that cats and cucumbers aren’t always a thing?
Cats and cucumbers are hilarious, but this is not necessarily a good thing
However, it’s not a good thing that this is taking the Internet by storm. National Geographic ran an article about this, which went after people who were intentionally scaring their cats with cucumbers. Jill Goldman, a behaviorist in Southern California, says that if you’re causing your cats stress this way, then it’s probably not a good thing no matter how funny it seems.
One of the problems is that people are putting the cucumbers behind their cats while they’re eating. Cats associate their feeding stations with safety and security, according to the National Geographic piece, and people are intentionally scaring their cats in those places. That’s cruel, and could potentially cause behavior problems.
So, while cats and cucumbers take the Internet by storm, beware of doing this to your cats. Cats’ fear reactions can be funny, but in the end, are not really worth it. You want them to feel as safe as possible.
Cats are often unsure of new things, especially unfamiliar things that appear to move on their own, and make high-pitched whines while doing so. Their behavior, when encountering such objects, ranges from the cute, to the strange, to the truly bizarre.
Chase’s behavior was on the tame end of that spectrum, but still silly and cute, nonetheless. Watch him try to engage, and provoke, the incomplete RC Jeep below.
This is one of Gizmo’s favorite homemade toys. It’s just a crushed paper bag with old spearmint tea bags inside. She treats the spearmint in this toy like it’s catnip, because both catnip and spearmint are part of the mint family. We’ve found that these toys are great enrichment for her, especially since she doesn’t like playing when the other cats are around.
Gizmo was 13 years old when this was taken, and now she’s 14. She still loves these homemade toys. If you’d like to try a toy like this, it’s easy. All you need are brown paper lunch bags, and dried catnip, mint, spearmint, or even pumpkin spice. You could even try valerian root, since some cats respond to that as well. These are great ways to make a variety of toys for your cat that are fun, cheap and replaceable.
Click here for a short list of plants and herbs that are safe for your cat.
Kali and Chase were bottle babies, so they were taken from their mother way too early. As such, there are some behaviors they never grew out of: Wool sucking, and kneading. Cat behaviorists believe that kittens need to be with their mothers until about 12 weeks of age, rather than the usual six to eight weeks. This could be why we have so many cats that engage in wool sucking.
It may also be why cats knead on pillows, blankets, your stomach, and whatever else that might remind them of their mothers’ bellies. When Kali does it, she very gently touches her muzzle to whatever it is she’s kneading on. It’s usually either one of us, or her favorite pillow, like in the video below:
Kneading behavior is both kitten behavior and a way of showing affection
The fact that she was a bottle baby explains a lot of her kneading behavior. She didn’t have her mother to teach her, and wean here. She had us, and she thinks that we’re her mama. PetMD concurs that her kneading very well may signal that she’s “a kid at heart.” Nursing kittens instinctively knead on their mothers’ bellies to stimulate milk production. They knead before they learn to walk, before they learn anything other than nursing.
Another reason for the kneading behavior is affection. You might have noticed that your cat flexes her paws on your lap when she’s relaxed, content, and purring. PetMD says that kneading and flexing can be one way our cats tell us they love us and they’re happy. Unfortunately, it can hurt, since the happier they are, the harder they knead.
Kneading behavior in the wild
There’s also the possibility that your cat kneads because she’s softening up her nest. Our cats’ ancestors liked to make sure their nests were soft and comfortable, either to sleep or to give birth. Kneading down tall grass was a way of making a safe, warm, comfortable nest, and also allowed her to check the area for potential hazards and hidden enemies. If your cat’s favorite time and place to knead is in her usual sleeping spot, it’s entirely likely that’s what she’s doing.
The only real problem with kneading is her claws, so if she’s tearing up pillows and blankets, or your clothes, train her to use old blankets and clothes for her beds, instead of your good things. But kneading behavior itself is normal, affectionate, and basically kitten behavior. Treasure it.
This is something that Chase only does when he’s hungry, and sometimes he’s very insistent about it. I suspect it’s similar to wool sucking behavior, because sometimes he kneads while doing this, too. He’s not actually gnawing, per se, and it doesn’t hurt. He presses the corner of his mouth against my knuckles and…it’s more like gnashing his teeth, I suppose. Has anybody ever seen anything like this before? Do your cats ever do this?
What do playful cats look like from underneath? At least here, we can get a glimpse of paws, pads and toes. This is a unique perspective on how Chase, here, holds his paws, and how quickly he swipes and bats, during his interactive playtime. His current favorite toy is a stuffed mouse attached to an elastic string on the end of a stick.
Since taking this video, we’ve had to attach a new mousie to the string, because he finally tore the old one apart enough that I was getting worried about him swallowing pieces of it. The last time he swallowed a piece of a toy, he needed emergency surgery, so we’re really careful about making sure he can’t swallow anything.
Both Chase and Kali were feral kittens; they came to us at only three weeks of age. Despite the fact that they never knew the life of a feral, they’re both a little more “wild” than our other two cats, Gizmo and Aria. We’re not sure why this is, because they’ve been indoors since they were rescued, but it is what it is.
This is especially true for Chase. When he doesn’t get some good interactive playtime, he actually starts pawing at the knob on the back door, and mewing plaintively. He’ll stalk through the house, looking for things to bat around, and try to satisfy his instincts on his own, which doesn’t work too well. We’ve noticed that there’s always a marked improvement in his mood and behavior when we make sure to play with him regularly.
Of course, all four of our cats need their interactive playtime, and we can’t effectively play with Chase by himself. So all four cats get to play, too, as they want.
All cats need interactive playtime
Sometimes, cats can amuse themselves okay with their own toys, but they really do best when you’re around and can make their toy move the way their prey might, in the wild. Keeping their prey instincts satisfied is one way to keep cats, particularly indoor-only cats, satisfied.
When it comes to interactive playtime, one of the most important things you can do is make sure your cat is successful. Make him run after his toy, and jump for it, and chase it, yes, but also let him catch it. According to Cat Behavior Associates, interactive playtime includes both physical and mental stimulation. If your cat never catches his toy, it becomes just frustrating physical exertion, and he may not get excited about playing.
Also, at the end, start winding the action down so your cat can start relaxing and calming down. Don’t end interactive playtime suddenly, because he’ll have all this pent-up energy that suddenly has no release. Cat Behavior Associates says the best way to think of it is as a cool-down, the way you would after your own workout.