National Cat Day

Hooray, hooray! It’s National Cat Day!

Oh wait. I’m pretty sure that’s every day at our house. The clowder insists that we celebrate, even if we don’t give them new toys every day. Instead we give them adoration.

Garrus and Charlie observed National Cat Day with an appropriately cute snuggle. Not quite a heart shape but bromance-flavored nonetheless.

When I told Mau it was National Cat Day, this was his response. Typical.

Everyone wanted to bro down for National Cat Day. Note Garrus’ intense side eye.

How will you celebrate National Cat Day? Will there be catnip-filled merrymaking, new toys, and cat tower carousing? Share in the comments!

Extra Good Boys!

Mau and Garrus both need to take medication. We had been mixing their respective medications in wet food but noticed that both cats did not eat all the wet food and therefore were not getting all their medication. In particular, Garrus is known for faffing about and only eating a few mouthfuls, despite acting very excited when we’re preparing food.

So we tried another method – Pill Pockets. This time we bought salmon-flavored Pill Pockets and hoped for the best. The salmon flavor is a hit and both take their medication without faffing about or a fuss.

The boys are often down for a snuggle in the morning…or any time of day. They’re very good boys.

Do you have to bribe your pets to take their medication? What strategy do you use? What works and doesn’t work? Please share in the comments!

Making Friends

Having three cats – all boys, with very different personalities – is a fun lesson in cat ownership. I’ve noticed that all three regularly play by themselves and with each other. It’s a common occurrence for a scamper session to start before we wake up in the morning and continue during breakfast. Another preferred time to bat toys around and tell everyone about it is right when we’re going to bed. Charlie in particular likes to warble when he plays – I’ve been working on getting video and audio of it so I can share it with you here on Purry Home Companion.

Hooray the boys are getting along! Apparently Charlie and Garrus are starting to see Mau as belonging to their social group.

Garrus and Mau chill on the ottoman.

“Hi Mom. I really want the blue blanket for myself but Charlie won’t move. Maybe we can snuggle instead.” ~Mau

They both fit!

Charlie and Mau shared the cat tree! Charlie got his spot back!

Do your cats get along? Are they friends with each other? Does your cat have a dog friend? Share your stories in the comments!

Garrus remains unconcerned.

Gentleman Cat Side-Eye

Sometimes the cats decide to doze on the bed. Garrus tends to curl up near the pillows and looks at us like we just insulted his mother if we ask him to move so we can sleep too. Such a snooty face! But, because he is a Gentleman Cat, he does move.

“It’s only Wednesday? How disappointing. I’m going to nap on your side then.” ~Garrus

“Pardon me, but I believe these jeans belong to me. I find them most comfortable. I’m sure you won’t miss them.” ~Garrus

Occasionally we can convince him that he doesn’t have to move immediately and instead could just enjoy a bed visit. Even if he starts purring, more often than not he’ll still give us a healthy dose of side-eye. I’m pretty sure if he could speak in English, he would be a deadpan snarker.

If your cats could talk, what do you think they would say? Would they have a sense of humor? Share in the comments!

Harmony in a Multi-Cat Household Part Two

Some cats prefer to have buddies, as in the case of Charlie and Garrus. Others are happier as solo cats (example: Nala). Still other cats get along better with dogs than cats, as was the case for Boudicca. It depends widely on the cat’s personality, background, age, previous experiences, health, and other factors.

It’s important to remember that cats and dogs have very different social behaviors. Wild cats tend to be solitary, and as a result, they don’t have the complex social relationships and behaviors that other animals, such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, and whales, have. Dogs have easily recognized play behaviors, such as the “play bow”. By contrast, cats do not have these ritualized play behaviors. Misunderstandings can occur as a result. Case in point, one cat may chase or swat at another in play but the other cat may interpret this as a threatening action. Consequently, the play session can quickly escalate to a fight.

Garrus, being a bona fide Gentleman Cat, is willing to share the ottoman. Mau takes it as an opportunity to sprawl and flaunt his belly.

In short, cats can be incredibly socially awkward. This has certainly been the case for Mau and, to a lesser extent, Charlie when he tried ever so earnestly to befriend Boudicca every day, regardless of her definite opinions on the subject.

Ahem. Mau appears unaware of the concept of personal space. Garrus, for his part, is again relegated to being another cat’s pillow. (Charlie has done this a few times so this situation is not new.)

There are several factors to consider when keeping a multi-cat household, whether it is introducing a new pet to residents or helping housemates get along. There are several actions you can take to keep things peaceful. They can include:

  1. Background. A cat’s ability to successfully adapt to a new home with housemates depends on the cat’s age, personality, prior experiences, health, and other factors. Where did this cat come from? How did the cat react to other cats in the shelter? Charlie, for example, had no such compunctions and would walk right up to a new cat and roll onto his back. For this reason, the director paired him with the well-mannered Garrus. Since Charlie was so affable, he and Garrus became instant friends.
  2. Space. Cats highly value their personal space, and some feel safer high up or in down low in cave-like environments in which to hide. Make sure you provide ample areas for your cats to hide in, sleep, play in, and call their own. We have multiple sleeping areas (including cat beds, couches, chairs, the bed, and the window seat), the cat tree, and boxes throughout the house.
  3. Decreased competition for resources. This is closely related to #2 and #4. Lessen friction by serving food in separate dishes and providing enough litter boxes. Having a variety of options where to snooze, sunbathe, watch birds, and play also helps, as does providing vertical territory and hiding or safe spots.
  4. Feeding arrangements. In the morning, our cats jauntily escort us into the kitchen in anticipation of breakfast. We have learned that putting a dish in its own position and putting it down in the same spot each time keeps the peace. Garrus, for example, sits like the gentleman he is by the end table while we prepare his meals; he beelines to his spot before we set the dish down. Each cat has their own dish so they don’t have to compete for food.
  5. Calm environment. Sometimes using a calming pheromone diffuser like Feliway helps cats relax and get along better.
  6. Attention. Spend one-on-one time with each of your pets. Play with them. Offer scritches and belly rubs. Have a snuggle. Your attention and affection is also a resource. Don’t have your pets compete for it.

Garrus and Charlie like to share the blue elephant pillow and snuggle.

Harmony in a Multi-Cat Household Part One

I’ve considered myself lucky that Garrus and Charlie were already ironclad cat buddies when we adopted them. Charlie is so characteristically sunny that he enthusiastically wants to make friends with everyone, a trait he demonstrated repeatedly in the shelter before he came into our lives. Garrus, being a bona fide Gentleman Cat, is self-possessed, gives other cats space (and appreciates the favor returned), and is adept at reading other cats’ body and vocal language.

When we decided to foster again and brought home Mau, we focused on ensuring that our cats remained happy and that harmony prevailed. We were fortunate that Mau previously had housemates, and we acclimated everyone to one another slowly. However, sometimes it appears that Mau doesn’t always speak the same “cat language” as Charlie and Garrus do. Because Mau isn’t territorial himself, he doesn’t seem to realize that other cats have their preferred spots, personal space, or things they claim as their own.

Mau initially claimed the top platform as his spot while Charlie kept his spot. But Mau would occasionally bop Charlie on the head, apparently in play. Charlie wasn’t a fan though; up until then Charlie had been the one doing the bopping (to Garrus).

Mau took Charlie’s spot! He’s unrepentant about it too.

Charlie and Garrus like to share the car seat, though one could argue that Charlie tends to hog the chair and Garrus gets squished.

I found a most handsome box monster. All the cats wanted to check out this new box but Mau got into it first.

Still Looking for A Furever Home for Mau

We’ve had Mau for almost three months now. About a dozen people have reached out to Austin Pets Alive expressing an interest in him, though several have not responded after an initial email. I’ve exchanged emails with a few and it was by mutual agreement that Mau was probably not a good fit for that particular person and home. (That’s OK. Not every pet fits every person.) Two people have met Mau in person but the main issue there is that he becomes Mr. Shy and hides under the bed whenever new people come to the house! It’s hard to convince someone that he is a lap cat when he’s nowhere to be seen and requires a lot of coaxing to come out.

After having Mau in our house for some time, we’ve been able to assess a few of his needs. If we were to draw up an ideal home for him, this is what we would want:

  1. Only cat home. While Mau is not overtly aggressive and seems to like other cats, he doesn’t grasp the concept of territoriality and gets in other cats’ faces when trying to play. He also steals food and butts in when another cat is receiving affection because he wants to be the center of attention. Garrus, being passive, is rather tolerant of these faux pas while Charlie does not like another cat being more intense than he is. Other cats could construe Mau’s behavior as being dominant, which, coupled with his size and clumsy manners, could lead to conflict. Furthermore, we have no idea how Mau would react to a dog or how a dog would react to him.
  2. Homebody. Mau would definitely do best with an owner that is home a good deal of the time. He craves human companionship and demands regular lap sessions and snuggles. Mau is the type of cat who will happily chill on the bed while you fold laundry just to be near you. He also enjoys toys and playing with the red dot, something that involves his human’s participation. Other cats are more independent and self-sufficient. Mau is not one of those cats; he’s a cuddle bug. While he is a color-point, he doesn’t demonstrate a lot of the traditional Siamese-y traits like being exceptionally vocal, extroverted, busy, precocious, and social. Instead Mau is low-key and selective but definitely a lap cat.
  3. Quiet home. Our home is a pretty chill environment. The most exciting thing that may happen is when we get all three cats to chase the red dot in laps across the house for a sustained period of time. We are definitely not the life of the party and our cats like it that way. Mau falls in that camp as well. Mau is not a fan of new people streaming in and out and would not like being in a loud, high-traffic, bustling house. With that in mind, Mau would probably not like being around small children. While he might do better with teenagers if they are respectful, Mau still might not do well with lots of noise and activity that often accompanies a house full of people. Because he can be timid and skittish, I suspect he would spend a lot of time hiding and being unhappy.
  4. Routine. This goes with #3. We have a predictable routine, something that works well for all three cats. They are most insistent about getting their meals at the same time every day and don’t care about weekends. I’m not kidding about Mau wanting regularly scheduled lap time and it is a common occurrence for Aaron to wake up with Mau sprawled on him. Mau is most persuasive with those huge Frank Sinatra blue eyes. You can’t say no to him. Then you can’t get up from the couch for a while because you have a sweet furball sprawled on your lap.
  5. Experienced cat owner. This would be a definite plus. Mau, now toothless, has had a rough life and may develop health issues as he gets older. While Mau is certainly cuddly with certain people, he can be very shy at first, so those expecting instant gratification might be disappointed. While he is a genuinely sweet cat, he doesn’t fit every household.
  6. Crazy cat man: extra brownie points. We’re not sure if Mau truly prefers men or if he’s simply enamored with Aaron. (He does look up at Aaron adoringly and wants to bro down with him early in the morning.) If the former is the case, Mau will be one happy kitty. In the same vein, Mau may be a one-person cat. He appears to be most selective.

LOOK AT HIM. He’s adorable, isn’t he?

National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

Happy Cat Month

I’m sure that Happy Cat Month occurs at my house every day (or at least I truly hope so)! The CATalyst Council created Happy Cat Month to educate cat owners about what they can do to ensure their fur person is indeed happy, healthy, and thoroughly loved. There are four themes throughout the month, as follows:

  • Happy Healthy Cat: September 1-5
  • Happy Enriched Cat: September 6-12
  • Happy Multi-Cat: September 13-19
  • Happy Valued Cat: September 20-30

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Isn’t that neat and comprehensive? For more information, check out the CATalyst Council’s Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Pexels