Cat Behavior

Cats are known as solitary animals. They don't hunt communally or share the

spoils of a hunt. Sometimes cats with adjoining territories will get together for a pleasant

evening grooming session, but on the whole they are not the most social creatures with

others of their kind. This general wisdom does not always seem to hold up.

My barn cats are a single family descended from a lone female who wandered

onto our place one day and decided to stay. She and her children and grandchildren police

the local rodent population. Their behavior doesn't always match the solitary hunter of

common wisdom.

The original female, Patch, used to like to take her kittens for daytrips around the

area. I've watched her bring her little brood back from wherever they've been in the

evenings. One evening I watched her stop and sit down near the edge of a small, lightly

used road running next to our farm. Two of her kittens stopped next to her. As she turned

her head one way and then the other, carefully looking for traffic, the kittens mimicked

her actions. The only one who didn't was the little orange tiger who became distracted by

a butterfly. Patch retrieved her wandering kitten and brought the whole family home.

Walks are still a part of kitten lessons.

I recently watched Patch, her daughter and three of their kittens taking a walk

around the boundaries of our farm. Patch and her daughter led the way. The two younger

kittens were in the middle. The oldest kitten, not quite a year old brought up the rear.

When one of the younger kittens stopped too long, he tried to move them along. If he

couldn't then one of the mother cats would come back and get the little guy moving. I've

wondered what this little jaunt was about. Possibly Patch was showing the newest

members of her family where their territorial boundaries were?

Some of the most interesting behavior I've seen regards family member who were

injured. One of Patches' sons is a big burley black and white adult tom. A very handsome

and friendly boy, he unfortunately has a talent for trouble. One day he came limping

heavily into the yard wailing at the top of his lungs. His mother and sisters raced up to

him as fast as they could. While he continued to cry, Patch began washing his face and

ears while his sisters lay down over top of him. They stayed that way for some time while

I called the vet. I'm happy to report that he recovered just fine with only a hitch in his

giddyup to remember his adventure by.

Another of Patches sons, a brown and white tom just under a year old, got into a

fight with his eldest brother. During the fight his foot was injured and began to swell. I

found him limping along on three legs the following morning. I brought him onto our

porch where I could keep a close eye on him and he could recover without further

injuring his foot. While he was recuperating, various members of the family perched

outside the porch windows, keeping him company.

These are just a few examples I've seen among my cats. Maybe they are unusual.

I've certainly never seen cats act this way before. Or maybe, just maybe, cats aren't such

social isolates as everyone's always thought!


Socializing Kittens

Socializing kittens is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of raising cats.

Introducing them to people will make a huge impact on their lives. Even if they are barn

cats and never leave the farm they were born on. Being friendly and relaxed with people

will improve the quality of their lives. It will make it easier to find new homes for them

when it is time for them to move on. It will also make having them more pleasurable for

their owners.

Socializing is not only enjoyable, it is very important. Before a kitten is ready to

leave home she should have learned that people are good to have around. Petting, playing

and good food all happen with people. Purring, not hissing brings these good things her

way. Fortunately, cats are smart and observant creatures. It is really very easy to instill

this attitude in a kitten. It just takes a little bit of patience and perseverance on your part.

The socialization process can begin even before a kitten has opened her eyes. Pick

her up and pet gently for a few moments then set her back down where she was. Your

motions should be slow and gentle and your voice soft. Handle the kittens daily if you

can. The mother will generally allow your attention to her kittens, especially if you give

her petting and attention first. If she doesn't like your interest in her kittens, or if she has

hidden her litter somewhere so that you can't find them right away, don't worry. You can

begin the socialization process later when they are a little more independent and still get

great results.

As the kittens get older and start to toddle around under their own power,

continue to regularly pick them up and pet them. Playing with them can also begin now.

Slowly dragging a string will catch any kittens' attention. Continue these sessions on a

daily basis. You really don't have to make a big issue of it. Just go over to the kittens at

odd times of the day, whenever you have a moment. Be sure that each kitten in the litter

gets some attention.

Introducing the kittens to children and other adults is a good idea. Expand their

definition of people to be more than just you. Remind the children that the kittens are just

babies and need to be handled ever so gently. Always supervise children around pets until

they understand how to handle them properly.

By the time the kittens are old enough to leave for their new homes they should be

relaxed and happy around people. Purring happily when they are petted and reasonably

patient when picked up. If the kittens are to be indoor cats, then they should be

introduced to litter boxes and scratching pads or trees. A first visit to the veterinarian

should be accomplished in a calm sensible fashion that will not alarm your kittens. If

your kittens are young enough on their first visit, bring the entire litter along with their

mother in a carrier. It will reduce stress on both the kittens and their mother. This may

seem like a lot of extra effort but it will be worth it. What will be your reward for all of

your work? Your reward will be a well socialized kitten that will be a joy to her new



Cat Mythology

Cats as Familiars

Cats as familiars have a long and dark history in western mythology. These cats

often found their way into literature. One of the most famous was Grimalkin, the witches'

cat from Shakespeare's MacBeth. Cats as witch's companions are still a part of the

popular symbology associated with the modern holiday of Halloween.

What is a familiar? In western mythology a familiar was an animal companion

given by the devil to a witch in order to help her with her evil magic. These familiars

would have names just like any other pet. In the middle ages, if you were caught talking

to your pet (like a lot of people do) you were considered to be consorting with the devil in

speaking to w obviously your familiar. The Middle Ages were a very dark and violent

period in Europe. Their alternative name "Dark Ages" should come as no surprise.

Learning was confined to clergy and nobility. The general population was therefore quite

ignorant and prone to superstition.

A familiar could be any type of animal such as a toad, dog or cat. Black cats

became the traditionally cited companion and hence cats became particularly reviled. In

1233 Pope Gregory IX wrote in his Papal Bull "Vox in Rama" actually denounced black

cats as satanic. The Popes' proclamation began the persecution of cats all over Europe.

Thousands and thousands of cats were burned alive in the attempt to drive out the evil

Satan. Wild tales of these cats shape shifting into other creatures were common among

the populace and justified these terrible acts in their minds. When the power of the

Knights Templar was broken, some of the knights were said to have confessed to

worshipping cats. As these so-called confessions were given under extreme torture, they

would seem to speak more to the attitudes of their inquisitors than to anything the

Templars themselves had actually done.

Why were black cats in particular singled out? There are a couple of legends that

might explain this singular revulsion. In the first legend, so the story goes, is that cats

who were born at the end of blackberry season were called blackberry cats. According to

this legend, the end of blackberry season coincides with the expulsion of Satan from

heaven. When he fell he landed on a blackberry bush which he defiled with his urine and

spit. Thus, blackberry cats, especially black ones are associated with the devil in this tale.

The second tale comes from Italy. The Italian witches, called streghe, tell a legend about

Diana who is goddess of the moon and also called "Queen of the Witches". Her brother

who was known in ancient times as Apollo, is renamed Lucifer (Light Bearer) in this tale.

Supposedly, Diana wanted to have a son by Lucifer, so she attempted to trick him by

taking the shape of a black cat.

As you can see, these stories were pretty wild, and yet the people of those dark

times took them as the gospel truth. The irony of this superstitious hysteria against cats

was that by destroying the cats the Europeans nearly destroyed themselves. Cats had been

used for centuries to keep down the population of vermin, especially mice and rats. When

their predators were destroyed, the vermin population exploded. They ate large amounts

of grain that had been meant for human consumption resulting in widespread hunger

among the people. Even worse than the hunger was that the enormous numbers of rats

became disease carriers. The worst of these diseases was the bubonic plague, otherwise

known as the Black Death. The Plagues of the Middle Ages are terrible instance of the

repercussions that can befall humans due to misplaced zeal.


Cat Breeds

Maine Coon Cat

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

Maine Coon Cat

The ancestry of these big, hearty cats from New England is unknown. Most likely

they came across from Europe with the early settlers as working cats on the ships. Some

of these long haired ship cats apparently decided to disembark in the new world and

made their home there along with the new colonists. Winter in New England can be

extremely tough. Only the strongest survived those early winters, human or cat. Once

they settled in to their new homes, these long haired cats began to thrive. The Shaggies,

as they were called then, became a familiar part of colonial life throughout New England.

The Maine Coon Cat is a big, strong, intelligent cat. They are also very loving and

devoted family members and remain very playful into old age. Maine Coon Cats do not

seem to make snap decisions about people. They remain somewhat reserved when they

first meet new people or move into a new home. Once they have made their decision,

they become affectionate and devoted companions. Maine Coon Cats also have an

unusual fascination with water. They are known to dabble in their water dishes or play in

showers before the water has all run out. Once in a while, a cat will actually go


Maine Coon Cats are gentle giants in the cat world. Males can top out at 20lbs

while females can reach 12 lbs. The size difference between the sexes is unusually large.

The females are no pushovers despite their lack of size. They feel they are every bit as

strong as the males and aren't afraid to prove it. These ladies can be quite feisty. Maine

Coon Cats have broad chests with well muscled bodies and medium length legs. This

breed does not reach full maturity until they are four years old. This cat has an easy going

and affectionate temperament. The smallest part of this cat is its voice. Maine Coon Cats

speak with a high squeaky voice that seems entirely incongruous coming from such a

massive cat. These cats chirp, cheep, chortle, and trill as well as meow. It's quite an eye

opener to hear a Maine Coon Cat speak.

These cats have thick semi long coats which are all-weather and water resistant

as well. Fortunately, the Main Coon Cats coat does not tangle easily. The texture is

surprisingly silky. The most common coat color pattern is tabby though they can come in

a wide variety of colors and patterns.

The Main Coon Cat is a breed whose cheerful ways continue to charm people

every day. Give the Main Coon Cat a closer look. The breed is hardy and affectionate.

This cats' laid back temperament would make an outstanding family pet. This cat may be

exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.


Cat Breeds

American Shorthair

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

The American Shorthair

Originally known as the Domestic Shorthair, the American Shorthair is truly

America's cat. The Shorthairs' ancestors came to America from Europe with the early

settlers. Records show that the famous Mayflower had several working cats aboard her on

her famous voyage to the new world. Also, written records exist that mention the cats that

lived with the colonists at Jamestown in 1609. These cats were working members of their

communities and valued for their contributions to the well being of these early

settlements. Ever since that time, this breed has patrolled farms and stables for mice and

rats all over the country.

In the early 20th century, foreign breeds arriving on these shores threatened the

distinctive look and temperament of the native shorthair breed. Admirers of the American

Shorthair began acquire the finest examples of the breed that they could find. They set up

selective breeding programs based on these individuals to preserve this beautiful and

unique breed of cats. The breed was officially recognized by the Cat Fancier's

Association (CFA) in 1904 as one of its first five breeds. The very first registered

American Shorthair was named Buster Brown. In 1966 the breed registry changed its

name from Domestic Shorthair to American Shorthair. The move was made to accentuate

it all American heritage and to distinguish it from other shorthair breeds.

The American Shorthair is famous for its amiable temperament. Its' quiet

disposition toward children and dogs has made the American Shorthair a family favorite

for many years. This breed tends to be of moderate to large size, healthy, strong , well

balance and long-lived. They are independent, lively, playful cats that retain their

playfulness well into old age. The American Shorthair routinely is found in published

lists of the top ten most popular cats.

The American shorthair is an extraordinarily beautiful breed and comes in over

eighty recognized colors and patterns: solid colors, shaded colors, smokes, tabbies,

particolors and bicolors. One of the most beautiful color patterns is the silver tabby. The

silver tabby has dense black tiger type stripes over a clear silvery background. It way or

may not have white markings as well. So popular is this color pattern that more than one

third of all American Shorthairs are now silver tabby. This color is so striking that cats

that have it are often used in advertising or in the movies. The second most popular color

for American Shorthairs is brown tabby. A brown tabby has black tiger markings over a

brown background.

The American Shorthair cat is a sturdy American original with winning ways and

comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Give the American Shorthair a closer look. A

gentle, loving, loyal companion and also a fierce mouse hunter, the American Shorthair

can and has filled many roles over the years. This cat may be exactly what you are

looking for in a new companion.


Basic Nutrition For Cats

Cats are what are known as obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is one that

must east meat. You cannot just turn her out to graze in a pasture. The digestive tract of

cats has been shortened and optimized proteins from meat. They simply don't have the

dental or digestive apparatus to process plant materials. It's therefore surprising, given

their physical inability to process plants, that you will still find cats nibbling on plants

from time to time. There are many theories for why cats would nibble plants. They may

be trying to balance an upset digestion or add missing vitamins and minerals. Perhaps

they simply like the taste. Maybe it's a combination of factors. The jury is still out on this


Fortunately these days, we don't have to go out and hunt for food to feed our cats.

There are a large number of very good, nutritionally balanced foods available in pet

stores to satisfy any cats' tastes. Try to feed good quality food. It really does make a

difference in the health and appearance of your pet. Pick one that your cat likes and stick

with it. Cats don't actually need a lot of variety. Changing their food constantly tends to

just make them picky eaters.

Nutritional requirements for your pet will vary by age and size. What she needs as

a kitten will be very different than what she will need as an adult. Be sure to follow the

instructions on the bag to avoid feeding too much or too little. The average adult cat will

need about one cup of food a day. Cats appreciate consistency in their feeding schedules.

Try to feed them at the same time each day. Also, try to keep their bowls out of high

traffic areas. It's hard to eat your dinner when people are stepping on you!

Try not to feed your cat people food. Some things, such as chocolate and raw

liver, are actually toxic to cats. Others cause digestive upset. Remove the bones from any

cooked meat you might want to give to your cat. Poultry and pork bones in particular are

given to splintering and can injure your cat.

When you need to switch from one type of food to the other, do so in a gradual

process. Shifting gradually from one to the other over the course of a week will help

prevent digestive upsets. You may need to switch foods because your store may stop

carrying the brand you like or perhaps your kitten has grown old enough to graduate to

adult food. Do the changeover slowly and your cat will thank you for it.

Feeding treats is something for you to decide if you want to do it. Some people

are dead set against them. Others lavish treats on their pets at every opportunity. There

are many good cat treats on the market today. Read their directions carefully. You don't

want to overindulge your cat and turn her into a furry beach ball with legs. The only other

thing that a cat requires is water. Do your best to keep a nice fresh supply of water

available for your pet. With a little thought and planning you can keep your pet healthy

and happy for a long time to come.


The Importance of Understanding Your Cat

Are you a new cat owner? If so, there will come a point in time when your cat becomes “just like one of the kids.” However, until that time arrives, it is up to you to understand your cat and the small signals that he or she may be sharing with you.

As important as it is to hear that it will be your responsibility to understand your cat and decipher the signals that he or she may be sending you, you may be wondering why. Many pet owners often respond with something like “what the heck?” If you are a new pet owner or a first-time pet owner, you may not understand just how much your cat relies and depends on you.

As for why it is important to understand your cat, doing so can be important to his or her health. We humans are able to speak and seek medical attention when we develop a cold or suffer a debilitating injury. Pets, on the other hand, cannot do so. Just because your cat doesn’t outright tell you that she needs to go the vet, it doesn’t mean that a visit isn’t in order.

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a medical problem, whether it be an injury or an illness, you will want to seek professional help right away. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian. The sooner you do so, the quicker you can understand what is bothering your cat. If you must make your cat’s appointment an emergency appointment, especially if he or she seems to be suffering.

Speaking of suffering, many new cat owners wonder how they can tell when their pet is feeling ill or has suffered an injury that may not be noticeable to the human eye. Whether you have only had your cat a week or five years, you should already start to notice habits that he or she has. These habits may include greeting you when you walk into a room or sleeping in the same spot. If these habits change, it may be due to an injury that is difficult to see or a medical illness.

In addition to knowing when your cat may be ill, understanding when your cat is hungry is also important. Some pet owners will always leave food out for their pets. This is doable; however, there may be some negative consequences. For instance, your cat may eat too much and develop an obesity problem. Bug and other rodents can be attracted to your pet’s food, especially wet canned food, regardless of how clean your home is.

For that reason, look for signs that your cat may be hungry. Many cats will approach their empty food dish and start to cry out. Others, may take steps to get human food or the food of other pets in the home. Of course, you also don’t have to let it get that far. Creating a set feeding schedule for your cat has a number of benefits.

Despite the fact that deciphering your cats every move may seem like an impossible task, it really isn’t. Although your cat will have his or her own distinctive attitudes, you may be surprised just how similar cats occasionally react like humans. When upset or frustrated, your cat may retreat to their own special spot. When hungry, your cat may call out for food. When your cat is excited, you should be able to tell right away, as he or she will likely be more active than usual.

The above mentioned reasons are just a few of the many why it is important for you to learn how to understand your cat. If you are looking for helpful tips, consider speaking to your veterinarian. There are also multiple book and online websites that are designed to help new pet owners develop a close and healthy relationship with their cats. Having an attentive and close relationship with your cat is the first step in understanding their wants and needs.

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Naming Your Cat

With all apologies to T. S. Eliot, the naming of cats is not all that delicate a matter.

But some thought should certainly be given to it. Giving the cat a foolish or ugly name on

the spur of the moment because it sounds funny is no way to start a relationship. It

encourages a careless and disrespectful attitude toward the cat not only in yourself, but in

other people as well. A bad name encourages a bad attitude toward the cat. Fortunately,

coming up with a good name can be fun and there are endless possibilities for ideas.

One very popular way for finding a good name is to look up the names of stars,

galaxies or constellations. You don't have to stick with just the major ones. Look up

some of the minor constellations and stars as well. You could find just the perfect name

in a constellation you had previously never heard of. You too may find you have a

Dorado or Indus on your hands. Another popular means of naming cats is using human

names. Matilda, Annie, Pete and Bobby are all quite popular. Some people name their

cats after movie stars or characters in a favorite film or book. I'm certain that at this very

moment, there are a large number of Frodos purring contentedly on their favorite

windowsill right now.

Another good way to name a cat is by using something in their appearance to

name them. Many calico colored cats have been simply named Calico. Spotted cats of

any color frequently have the name of Patch. One cat was named Shadow because her

black and tan tiger stripes seemed to melt into the late afternoon shadows the first time

her new owner saw her. A gray kitten was quite suitably named Ash.

Sometimes it is something the cat did that suggested their name. One kitten had a

habit of scaring himself silly. When he and his siblings first learned to climb trees, he

became over excited and rushed up higher than he was brave enough to climb down from.

The poor little gay clung to a branch crying at the top of his lungs while the adult cats

rushed around trying figure out a way to get him down. It only required a stool to retrieve

the little guy, but he was sure he was stuck halfway to the moon. Another time he

managed to get his head stuck between the slats on an old corn crib. He was safely

rescued after considerable effort. Due to this undeniable talent for scaring himself, he was

named Spook.

Sometimes it is the cats' personality that suggests a name. A bold little explorer

who was the first kitten in his litter to explore the world outside their nest was named

Boone. A handsome brown kitten was so very fastidious in everything he did (one never

puts ones' paws in the food dish, that's dirty!) that he was eventually named Thomas.

Naming a cat can be a pleasant and entertaining task. It's often the very first thing

a person does when he or she picks out a new companion. Take a little time to select just

the right name for your new friend. A good name will set your new relationship off on

just the right foot.


Cat Breeds

The Siamese

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

The Siamese

Famous in songs and movies, the Siamese cat was the Royal Cat of Siam. Though

their origins are uncertain, they were the companions of royalty and priests for centuries.

The cat was so highly valued that it was rarely given to outsiders. Siamese were first

exhibited at the famous 1871 London Cat Show at the Crystal Palace. People fell in love

with the new breed. Despite the difficulty in importing these highly valued cats, they

became wildly popular in Britain. The Siamese arrived in America in about 1890 and

quickly gained favor with cat fanciers here.

The Siamese cat is a real character. They are extremely lively, friendly, and

intelligent and they are very attached to their people. A Siamese cat is constantly in

motion. They seem to regard their people as belonging to them instead of the other way

around. They develop a lot of unusual skills. Siamese cats have been known to play fetch,

walk on a leash and chase dogs. One Siamese learned to play the piano. He sat on the

bench in front of the keyboard and used one paw to press each key to make a sound.

Siamese cats are also real chatterboxes and will talk to you about everything and

anything. When they are making a point, a Siamese cats' voice is powerful enough to

bend metal.

Siamese cats are sleek and svelte in appearance. Elegant and graceful they have

long bodies, long legs, and long tails as well. This breed has become divided into two

varieties: the extreme and the traditional. The extreme is a smaller, leaner, lighter animal

with males weighing 9 lbs at most and females 7 lbs. The traditional variety is rounder in

appearance than the extreme variety though still retaining the breeds' oriental elegance.

The traditional variety, also called the Old Style or Applehead is larger in size than the

extreme variety, with males up to 15 lbs and females up to 12 lbs.

Siamese are famous for their large, almond shaped blue eyes. The coat is short,

fine textured, silky and glossy. It lies close to the cats' body. However, the truly defining

feature of the Siamese coat is its color. There are four main colors: seal, chocolate, blue

and lilac. There is also one pattern called colorpoint. The points of the body, the ears,

face, legs and tail are more darkly colored than the body. There is a strong contrast

between the body color and the points. The color at all the points must be the same.

Interestingly, Siamese darken with age.

The Siamese cat is a breed whose noisy and cheerful ways continue to win

peoples admiration and affection every day. Give the Siamese a closer look. The breed is

intelligent and very affectionate. This cats' friendly and confident attitude can make it a

highly amusing family pet. This cat may be exactly what you are looking for in a new



Cat Breeds

Turkish Angora

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

Turkish Angora

Beautiful and rare, the elegant Turkish Angora is considered a national treasure in

its home country of Turkey. The breeds name came from the former Turkish capital,

Angora, now called Ankara. The Turkish Angora probably originated in the mountains of

Turkey. This graceful breed may have descended from the Manul cat, which was a small

cat domesticated by the Tartars. Turkish Angoras can be traced back in European

writings to 16th century France. The breed was enormously popular with French and

British nobility in the 1700s. Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI as well as King Louis

XV are said to have been Turkish Angora fanciers. The breed almost disappeared entirely

in the early 1900s due to indiscriminate interbreeding with Persians to the point where

nearly all longhaired cats were referred to as Angoras. Fortunately, Turkish breeders

continued controlled breeding of this lovely breed. In the 1950s, American servicemen

discovered Turkish Angoras at the Ankara Zoo. These servicemen reintroduced the

Turkish Angora to cat fanciers everywhere. All modern Turkish Angoras must trace their

ancestry to Turkey.

Turkish Angoras, though highly prized, are unfortunately rather rare even in their

lands of origin. They are loving, playful and very adaptable to many situations. This

breed is very friendly and outgoing. They coexist well with dogs. Turkish Angoras are

often the first to greet guests and are known to stick around to visit with them. Turkish

Angoras make outstanding family pets. This breed is also famous for its tendency to bond

strongly with one special human. Once that bond is formed, this cat will be an always

present, always affectionate companion.

Elegant and graceful, this breeds' most distinguishing feature is its beautiful coat.

White is the most popular color but many others colors are available and are becoming

more popular with time. The Turkish Angoras long haired, single layered coat is soft and

silky. It rarely mats or tangles and so requires little grooming. Most owners do use a fine

toothed comb their cats a couple times a week anyway, to get rid of loose hair and reduce

the likelihood of hairballs. Being a natural breed, they are also very healthy cats.

These cats are highly intelligent and need to have lots of interaction with their

people or they tend to get bored. It's a good idea to have another lively feline playmate

for The Turkish Angora to play with when you are away. Otherwise, she is liable to get

into mischief.

The Turkish Angora cat is a breed whose cheerful ways continue to charm people

every day. Give the Turkish Angora cat a closer look. This breed is considered the most

outgoing and affectionate of all cat breeds. This cats' grace and energy would make it a

lovely and entertaining pet. This cat may be exactly what you are looking for in a new



Cat Breeds

Turkish Van

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

Turkish Van

A rare and ancient breed of cat, the Turkish Van was depicted on ornaments as far

back as 5,000 B. C. The Turkish Van was so named for its region of origin, central and

southwest Asia. The area includes the modern countries of Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Syria, and

eastern Turkey. Van is a very common name in the area. There is in fact, a Lake Van

which is also Turkey's largest lake, so it is not surprising that Van was used as part of

this breeds name. In fact, this cat is known sometimes in its lands of origin as the

"Vancat". Turkish Vans were brought back to Europe by the Crusaders on their return

from the Holy Land. These cats were called several different names during that time

including; white ringtail and Russian Longhair.

The first Turkish Van cats to arrive in England were brought in 1955.The breed

was initially called the Turkish cat in England but this name was modified to Turkish

Van later to avoid confusion with the Turkish Angora. The various names under which

this breed was known in Europe created the misconception that is was simply a variant of

the Turkish Angora. They are, in fact, very distinct breeds with separate histories. The

Turkish Van is very much the new kid on the block in America having been here only

since a first importation of a few kittens in the mid 1970s, but the breed only began to

take off in this country with a second importation from France in 1983. The Turkish Van

has since attracted a loyal and spirited group of breeders and fanciers.

Turkish Vans are unfortunately rather rare even in their lands of origin. They are

large and strong cats that are very intelligent and are very curious. They are also very

healthy cats. Turkish Vans are unusual in that they require three to five years to reach full

maturity. There is one other characteristic that makes them highly unique. Turkish Vans

love water. In their homeland, Turkish Vans are sometimes referred to as the swimming


The Turkish Vans most distinguishing feature is his coat. The breed standard

requires that Turkish Vans have a white semi-longhaired coat with colored markings

confined to the head and tail. Cats of other breeds who display a similar color pattern are

often said to be "van-patterned". The coat lacks an undercoat and has a very unique and

beautiful texture similar to cashmere. This wonderful cashmere texture of the Turkish

Vans' coat makes it waterproof. Another plus to their unusual coat is that it doesn't easily

mat or tangle and so requires little grooming.

The Turkish Van cat is an ancient breed whose winning ways continue to charm

people to this day. Give the Turkish Van cat a closer look. These cats' great intelligence

and intense curiosity could make it interesting and entertaining pet. This cat may be

exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.


Tips for Understanding Your Cat

Are you a new pet owner? If you have just purchased a new cat, you may be excited! After all, you should be. Owning a cat is a huge responsibility, but it is one that is filled with many great rewards. There is nothing better than seeing love and compassion in the eyes of your cat. In fact, that it not all that you will see.

When you and your new pet get to know each other more, you will begin to notice many traits and characteristics that your cat displays. After all, all living animals have their own personalities. In no time at all, you will be understanding your cat, just like he or she is one of the kids or another human being.

As nice as it is to hear that you may be understanding your pet in no time at all, you may be looking for more information. After all, you may be curious as to how you will understand your pet. No, you will not receive a human response when talking to your pet, but there are other signals that your pet may send you. To be the best pet owner possible and to provide your cat with proper care, it is important for you notice and take action when these signals are displayed.

So, what signal should you look for when understanding your cat? For starters, do you know when your cat may be ready to fight? Whether your cat is ready to attack you, another person in your home, or another pet, this is a sign that you need to be on the lookout for. Although cats are almost always safe and cuddly, some do have anger issues. If your cat has his head down and is in a crouching position, he may be ready to pounce. Many cats will also try to hide behind an object, such as a couch so that they cannot be seen.

Cats, like humans, and other pets can develop a wide array of emotions, including anger. Even if your cat does not pounce or attack, he or she may still be upset. Many cats will move their tail in a horizontal pattern. In fact, it will seem like your cat is lashing his or her tail back and forth, not just moving it. Some cats will also deal with their anger by hiding or retreating to an area that they feel comfortable or safe in.

Although some cats will pounce with the intent to play, many other cats will display other playful signals. A happy cat and one who wants to play is usually very active. Your cat, when happy and excited, may always be on the move. He or she may be extra cuddly with you, hoping that you will provide them with extra attention and playtime. Another sign of a happy and excited cat is one whose head, tail, and ears are straight up.

As previously stated, the reward of being a cat owner is seeing love and compassion in your cat’s eyes. What you may not realize is that this is actually something that you may be able to notice. It has been said that cats who squint when looking at you, are showing you that they do love and care for you. It has also been said that biting and licking are additional ways that cats show love and affection.

The above mentioned examples, are just a few of the many that you will want to be on lookout for when trying to understand your cat. As a reminder, the process of understanding your cat isn’t one that should be rushed. All you need to do is give your cat the proper amount of love and attention, watch their reactions, and make note of any habits your new friend may develop. In time, you will and your new pet will soon be understanding each other.

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A Short History Of Cats

It seems strange that there was ever a time when cats were not a part of our lives.

It's been less that 10,000 years since cats swaggered into our lives. Hardly an eye blink in

the grand sweep of life on this planet. Why were cats so late to join our team? The simple

answer is they didn't need us to survive. Cats were surviving just fine on their own. Then,

people invented agriculture. Agriculture resulted in large scale storage of grains which

attracted the usual and well know group of freeloaders, mice and rats. Grain attracted

rodents. Rodents attracted cats who consider them tasty meals. The result was that cats

set up housekeeping close to human settlements. Eventually, cats being cats, moved right

on in.

Who were these first cats? The first clue lies in where agriculture was first

practiced. Agriculture first took root (no pun intended) in the Middle East in a great

sweep from modern day Turkey to Egypt. Within this area ranges the African wild cat,

Felis libyca. African wild cats are slightly larger that our modern house cats and are

yellow in color with muted stripes. These cats have a docile, almost laid back nature.

Interestingly, these cats still tend to live and hunt near human dwellings today. Locals

still like to catch and rear young wild cats as pets. When mature, wild cats raised by

humans tend to behave very much like our familiar housecats. A very good case can (and

has) been advanced designating Felis libyca as the principal founding population for

domestic cats. At least two other varieties of wild cat are speculated to have contributed

to the genetic make up of domestic cats. One is Felis silvestris, The European wildcat

who appears to have contributed darker markings and a peppery spirit to the African wild

cat base. Also, from Asia, comes the Pallas or Steppe cat (Felis manul) that appears to

have contributed long-haired coats to the mix.

The early period of domestication of cats is vague with only patches of evidence.

However, by 6,000 B. C. statues found in Anatolia (modern Turkey) show women playing

with domestic cats. Cats had clearly become common and affectionate pets by that time.

The earliest written records about cats appear by approximately 4,000 B. C. in Egypt

where they were frequently kept to hunt mice and rats from stored grains. It was a good

time to be a cat in ancient Egypt. Domestic cats were thought to be the embodiment of

the goddess Bast (or Bastet). There was a necropolis at her principal temple at Bubastis

that contained mummified cats.

Romans spread the domestic cat northward into central Europe and westward to

Britain during the expansion of their empire. Cats were quickly adopted and admired as

great hunters. And they continued to move north and east in Europe. The Vikings used

cats as both rodent hunters and pets. The Viking goddess of love and war, Freyja, was

associated with cats. Huge winged cats drew her chariot. It also became the custom to

give new brides a kitten in her name.

The Middle Ages it were a very bad time to be a cat. Cats were said to be witches

familiars, in league with the devil. Because of this superstition, cats were routinely killed

during festivals. Sometimes they were even burned alive or thrown off tall buildings. The

Europeans paid heavily for their cruelty to cats. The deaths of so many cats allowed the

rodent population to rise out of control, bringing in the Black Death which killed so much

of the European population. Eventually, the cats' cleanly ways and hunting prowess

redeemed them in the eyes of the people of Europe. By the 1600s, people in France began

putting little holes near the bottom of their doors to allow their cats to enter and leave as

they please.

In Asia cats continued to be familiar hunters and cherished pets. Cats were often

subjects for drawing and painting in China. In Japan, cats in the form of Maneki Neko,

usually portrayed as a sitting cat with one paw raised and bent, are considered good

fortune. They are often found in businesses to draw in money.

The history of cats is a fascinating one, worthy of much more in depth study. It

fosters an appreciation for the personalities and talents of our pets.


Raising Kittens

Your cat is expecting kittens. How exciting! Raising kittens can be a highly

rewarding and enjoyable experience. What should you expect? What will you need to

make sure the little tikes grow up happy, healthy and strong?

Let's start from day one. Most likely, you walk in and find your cat already

nursing her new litter. As there will be a bit of a mess where she is, you will want to

move her and her kittens somewhere clean and safe. Mother cats prefer a darkened den,

so putting a blanket over her box and lining it with nice clean bedding will do nicely for a

nursery. The nursery should be set up in a quiet area, away from traffic. Too much noise

and light can upset a mother cat and she may try to move her kittens if she doesn't feel

her they are safe. A sad fact is that sometimes there are one or two dead kittens born

along with the live ones. Remove them immediately along with the rest of the birthing

mess. The mother will be unlikely to show any interest them.

For the first few days the mother will be constantly with her kittens. They need

warmth and frequent feedings at this time which doesn't leave much time for socializing.

By the time they are approximately a week old their need for very warm temperatures

will begin to reduce. The mother will begin to leave them alone for longer and longer

periods. They will begin to huddle up together for warmth. If you peek into the nursery

and find a ball of kittens sleeping peacefully, rest assured they are doing just fine. Kittens

will sleep nearly all the time for their first two weeks. If the kittens are crying constantly

then they are ill or not getting enough milk. Call your vet immediately. Ill or starving

kittens can die very quickly without your help.

Assuming that kittens and mother are all healthy and content, you will need to do

very little during the first month. The kittens' care will rest primarily in their mothers'

capable paws. Normally, kitten eyes will open in seven to fourteen days. If they stay shut

for longer than that call your vet. Kittens often get a mild eye infection. The infection

results in the eyelids being gummed shut. A cotton ball that has been moistened with

warm water should be all you'll need to open the eyes again. If a kitten gets this eye

infection keep a close on her. The infection could build up behind those glued shut

eyelids and damage the eyeball. The infection usually clears up by itself in a few days. If

it turns particularly severe, take the kitten to your vet.

At about one month of age, the kittens should toddle around pretty well and will

want to start eating solid food. You may find one of your little tikes standing in his

mothers' food dish trying out the food. You will want to put down a plate of a good

quality kitten food for them to nibble on. Kitten food is formulated specifically for the

needs of growing kittens, where adult food is not. Poor nutrition while the kittens are

growing could result in health issues when they become adults. The trick will be keeping

the mother out of the kitten food. Most adults find kitten food absolutely delicious.

The first planned visit to the veterinarian for vaccinations should come at about

two months of age. By about 3 months of age the kittens should pretty independent and

ready to move to their new home if you are planning to sell or give them away. I've given

a general overview here. For a normal healthy litter and mother these guidelines should

serve you well. If there are any issues, rely on your vet to let you know the best thing to

do in any situation. Enjoy your kittens while they are with you. They grow up so

amazingly fast!


Cat Breeds


Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider:

The Persian

A very ancient breed of cat, the Persian was first mentioned in hieroglyphs

beginning at approximately 1684 B. C. The Persians' beginnings have long been lost to

time. The Persian was so named for their ostensible country of origin, the great ancient

empire of Persia which was located in around the modern country of Iran. The first

known Persian cats to arrive in Europe were brought by an Italian traveler, Pietro della

Valle, in the 1600s. Persians became very popular throughout Europe. At the first modern

cat show, held in 1871 in London at the Crystal Palace, Persians were a featured breed.

The show at the Crystal Palace, and the others that followed, served only to increase the

popularity of this already very popular breed. Queen Victoria herself adored blue


Persians are a wildly popular breed. They are, in fact, the most popular breed of

cat on the planet. Their long flowing coats and sweet faces immediately endear them to

so many people. Their personalities are gentle and affectionate. They are strong creatures

of habit and are most comfortable in secure environments with regular routines, but with

gentle support, they can adapt to a more lively environment if need be. Persians are soft

spoken cats with pleasant and melodious voices that many people enjoy. Their expressive

eyes charm people of all ages. Persians are built long and low with sturdy short legs.

They are not big jumpers but do enjoy lounging in their favorite strategic locations. They

can often be found beautifully draped on a sunny windowsill posing for sheer pleasure of

it. Friendly cats, Persians will seek attention, but not demand it. Persians have long been

a fixture in artwork. Their great beauty has earned them frequent roles in commercial

advertising and in movies.

Persians need to be kept indoors, away from dirt and burrs that could knot up

those beautiful coats. Daily combing is a must to prevent snarled fur and hairballs. Those

huge beautiful eyes do tend to do a bit of tearing. Washing a Persians' face daily will take

care of tearing. A well bred Persian can be hearty and healthy. When properly cared for,

Persians can live to be 15 years old.

The Persian is an extraordinarily beautiful breed and comes in an amazing variety

of colors and patterns. The registry divides their colors into seven categories: solid color

division, silver and gold division, shaded and smoke division, tabby division, particolor

division, bicolor division and Himalayan division. Each color and pattern exquisitely


The Persian cat is an ancient breed whose winning ways continue to charm people

to this day. They appear in a rainbow of colors and patterns, one of which is sure to catch

your eye. Give the Persian cat a closer look. The Persian has long been a gentle, loving,

loyal companion to many people over the years. This cat may be exactly what you are

looking for in a new companion.


Spotted Cat Breeds

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider something a little bit different:


The Ocicat were named after the Ocelot wildcat that is found from southwestern

Texas south to northern Argentina. The Ocicat, however, does not have any Ocelot blood

in them. They are entirely domestic bred. The first Ocicat was produced as a happy

accident in the early 1960s by breeder Virginia Daly who was was trying to breed a

Siamese cat with Abyssinian colored points. She did reach her goal, but in her second

litter she found a cream colored male with golden spots and copper colored eyes. She

named him Tonga. Her daughter called him Ocicat because he reminded her of a baby

Ocelot. Tonga was later sold as a pet and neutered.

Fortunately, the same breeding pair that produced Tonga later produced a second

spotted male. His name was Dalai Dotson who became the foundation for the Ocicat

breed. The first Ocicat, Tonga, was exhibited at a cat show in 1965. The Ocicat registry

was established in 1966. The Ocicat was so striking and unique that other breeders were

attracted and joined Daley in establishing this beautiful breed. The breeder continued to

focus ion Abyssinians and Siamese for their foundation stock, but some American

Shorthair was introduced as well. The American Shorthair bloodlines introduced a

beautiful silver color to the ocicat.

Ocicats are very lively and intelligent. They are also great talkers. They are loyal

and loving and tend to bond strongly to one person. Ocicats are very intelligent and will

make up new tricks to entertain themselves. Most of them know how to fetch. Ocicats are

another breed that doesn't like to be alone for long. Again, a feline companion will be

ideal for keeping your Ocicat happy.

The Bengal

Unlike the Ocicat, the Bengal has wild ancestry. The Bengal was produced by

crossing the Asian Leopard Cat, a small wildcat with domestic shorthaired cats. The

name Bengal was derived from the Asian Leopard Cats Latin name, Felis bengalensis. It

took the original breeder Jean Mill, several generations to produce a beautiful cat with

domestic and predictable personalities.

In 1985 Mill showed her cats for the first time. There was some controversy over

the new cats. Some people felt it was unwise cross wild cats with domestics since many

wildcats are threatened species. Most people, however, were very taken with the beautiful

new cats. Mill was able to recreate a number of new Bengal breeders.

The modern Bengal is a wildly beautiful cat with an affectionate personality and

great energy. Bengals form strong bonds with their owners and become faithful and

affectionate companions for life. Bengals love to climb and will do so given any

opportunity. You will routinely find them on top of bookcases, doors and dressers. They

are very curious and will rearrange the contents of any drawer the find open. Bengals are

playful well into old age and will pounce an anything that moves. From their Asian

ancestors, these cats inherited a love of water. Some will even join you for a swim in the

pool or hot tub.

These very unusual cats are not everyone's' cup of tea. Give these very different

cats a closer look. Their unique appearances and lively personalities might just make a

great pet. These cats may be exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.


Cat Mythology

Cats as Deity

Cats as deities are most closely associated with ancient Egypt. The ancient

Egyptians had several feline gods and goddesses. Lions were said to guard the great god

Ra during his nightly journey through the underworld. The Egyptians had a fascination

with lions. They created their sphinx with the body of a lion and the head of Pharaoh.

Three lion goddesses existed in ancient Egypt. Sekhmet was a fierce and powerful

goddess. She was a war goddess who was sent by her father Ra to earth to destroy his

enemies. She is usually depicted as a woman with the head of a lion. Another lion headed

goddess was Tefnut whose name means moisture. She represented a primeval force of

nature. The third lion goddess was Mafdet who was the goddess of protection.

Among her fierce sisters, gentle Bast may seem a bit out of place. Often shown as

a graceful cat wearing bracelets a broad collar and earrings, Bast was the protectress of

domestic cats and those who cared for them. Her principle gifts to the world were joy and

pleasure. She was a much beloved household deity. Her principle temple was at Bubastis

and was said to be one of the most beautiful and popular in all of Egypt. She had a

secondary seat in Memphis as well. There is some evidence to believe that the ancient

Egyptians believed that Bast and Sekhmet were actually two faces of the same divine

force. Sekhmet representing the violent aspect of the divine, and Bast, the gentler


Egyptian children were often consecrated to Bastand placed under her protection.

Bast was considered a divine mother and was sometimes depicted with kittens. When a

woman in ancient Egypt wanted to have children, she would often wear a bracelet or a

necklace depicting the goddess Bast with kittens. The number of kittens shown with the

goddess represented the number of children desired by the woman. Ancient Egyptians

seemed to consider cats to be the height of beauty. The styles of makeup they used,

especially around the eyes, tended to give them a feline look.

Cats were so highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians that the penalty for killing

one was death. When a family cat died of accident or old age, its' human family would

go into mourning. They would shave their eyebrows off to show their grief. Cats were

often mummified. One royal cat was buried in a marble coffin. The hieroglyphs on her

coffin referred to her as "Lady Cat".

Bast was said to be the wife of the god Ptah. Ptah was the creator god of the

universe. Ptah and Bast were said to have had a son, the fierce lion god Maahes. Maahes

originated as a Nubian god. During the New Kingdom, his worship moved northward

where he was incorporated into the Egyptian pantheon as the son of Bast and Ptah. On

becoming a divine mother, Bast became associated with the protectress of Lower Egypt,

Wadjet. They became linked as Wadjet-Bast. A similar association was created in the

Upper Kingdom By the combination of Sekhmet and the Upper Kingdom protectress


The constantly changing nature of Egyptian religion can be rather confusing.

They had an inclusive attitude towards other gods and religions. The ancient Egyptians

freely adapted and adopted these others into their own cosmology. This attitude makes it

difficult for modern readers to understand. Most of us have been raised in religions

whose nature is highly exclusive. With an exclusive religion, outside influences are

rejected or even actively repelled. The Egyptians, as demonstrated by the story of Bast

and Maahes, had a very different way at looking at religion.


Cat Behavior

More Oddities

In my previous article on cat behavior, we discussed some interesting and unusual

behavior displayed by the family of cats that live on my farm. That was only the

beginning. These cats seem to delight in unexpected behavior. I thought I would share a

few more gems with you.

There are three female cats on my farm. They consist of matriarch, Patch, and two

of her daughters. There have been other female cats on the farm, but I have been able to

find new homes for all of them. Cats, being solitary hunters, are not expected to show any

kind of social hierarchy. My three female cats do have a definite hierarchy. The top cat is,

of course, Patch. It's the two daughters that have been interesting. The older daughter,

Calico, is from Patch's first litter she had on the farm. She is a sturdy, healthy calico that

has not had any real problems. The second daughter is Little Girl. Little girl is a couple of

years younger than Calico. She is the smallest cat on the farm. A black cat with flashy

white markings, little girl is active and elegant.

Since her birth, Calico has been Patch's favorite daughter. Calico and patch hung

out together much of the time. Patch even allowed Calico to help her with her kittens.

When Patch wanted to go do something, Calico was right there to baby sit. Even when

Patch was there, Calico was often right there with her. She could often be seen washing a

kitten or even just providing a nice warm place for the little guy to sleep. When Little

Girl arrived things continued quite awhile in the same way. Little Girl grew up and had

her first litter of kittens. Calico, as occasionally happens with calico cats has turned out to

be sterile. She has never had any kittens. Because of that, when little Girl had her kittens,

Calico lost her favorite daughter status. With Little Girl's kittens, Patch became the

doting grandmother. She was always helping Little Girl with her kittens. The two of then

could often be see lying together, bathing the kittens or watching them play. Calico was

banished. She wasn't allowed anywhere near those kittens or any other litter since.

Calico didn't just lose kitten privileges. She wasn't even allowed to hang out with

Patch anymore the way she used to. Poor Calico, she was very upset. She knew exactly

who to blame for her predicament. Little Girl. Calico and Little Girl fought several times.

Unfortunately for Calico, Patch would sometimes jump in on Little Girl's side and run

her off. Calico was banished to hanging out with her brothers. It's been a couple of years

since then. Little Girl is still favorite daughter. Calico's position has eased somewhat.

Last summer, Little Girl allowed Calico to help her with her kittens once in awhile. Patch

has allowed Calico to hang out with her again from time to time. Who knows? One day

Calico may just be able to work herself back into her mother's good graces. Little Girl

seems to think so. She watches Calico very carefully. If she thinks things are going too

well for Calico, Little Girl will start a fight with her. Oh well, Life goes on.

It isn't only the girls showing some interesting behavior. This past year two

brown kittens were born. Thomas, a handsome cinnamon brown with lots of flashy white,

was born in the spring. Pudge is solid brown without any white at all and was late

summer. What is interesting about these two is that they are both fascinated by horses.

We have three horses and every day you can find Thomas or Pudge (or both) strategically

positioned to watch them. When I call the horses out of their pasture, often I find Thomas

trotting in along with them. If I throw hay into their mangers I have to check before I

throw. Quite often Thomas or Pudge will be sitting in the manger, ready for a close up

study of the horse. When the horses are grazing, Thomas will creep along, nose to the

ground until he's almost nose to nose with the horse. He will stay there for a few

moments until the horse gently swings his nose at the kitten to push him out of the way.

Pudge has recently developed a fascination with horse's tails. He will come right in

behind the horse's heels and start playing with the tail. Fortunately for him, the horses

have refrained from launching him into orbit.

Cats are funny and entertaining creatures aren't they. You just never seem to

know what they are going to do next.


Understanding Your Cat’s Aggressive Behavior

Are you a cat owner? If so, your cat may typically appear to be a calm, cool, and collected cat. After all, many cats are content with lounging around all day with just a few hours of play. Despite the fact that your cat may appear to be calm and mild mannered, there may come a point in time when you notice a change. It is not uncommon for pet owners to report occasional aggressiveness with their cats.

If you have just witnessed your cat in an aggressive state, fear may be the first thought that enters into your mind. Many cat owners have questions when they witness their cats attack. Many owners want to know if something is wrong with their cat or if it is a danger to those around him or her. In all honesty, you will find it depends. Before deciding if you should contact your cat’s veterinarian, there are a number of important points you will first want to take into consideration.

First, it is important to know that cats, even domestic cats, can be considered predators. The ancestors of your cat relied on hunting to survive. This is not a trait or a characteristic that just disappears. Your beloved cat will also have that need and desire to hunt. This is one of the many reasons why cats occasionally display aggressive behavior.

Concerning natural aggressive behavior, many pet owners are concerned, as they provide their cat with enough food. It doesn’t matter how well fed your cat is, he or she will always occasionally feel the need to hunt. For example, has your cat ever killed a bird, mouse, or another rodent? If so, did they consume their kill? Chances are not. This is proof that cats don’t just attack for the sake of food.

As for how you can determine whether your pet cat is just exercising his need to hunt, look at the attack in question. Did your cat try to attack your foot as you walked by? If so, this a normal occurrence and not a sign of something serious.

Jumping at your feet as you walk by was sited as an example above. This can lead to another cause of aggression in cats; overexcitement. Some popular cat toys on the market are those where balls are attached to a string and your catch chases it. These toys are nice, but they can also lead to some confusion, as your foot may appear similar in nature to your cat’s favorite toy. It is also important to know that cats are sensitive and their mood easily changes. Is this why playtime with your cat can end with you having a scratch or a bite mark.

Cats, as with many other pets, are territorial. This is another leading cause of aggression in cats. Is your cat the only pet in your home? If so, they may react with aggression when another pet enters into their territory. The same can be said for children. Do you have children? If not, when a child visits your home, your cat may be frustrated, fearful, or angry with the change, especially inside their territory. The quick movements of small children can also cause a cat to act out. As an important note, cats are typically safe around children. With that in mind, all small children should be watched carefully when around any kind of pet.

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How Kittens Learn to Hunt

Cats have been famous for hunting mice and rats for as long as cats and people

have been together. As strange as it may seem to some people, cats are not born knowing

how to hunt. It is a skill they learn from watching their mothers. If the mother cat is a

good hunter, then her kittens will learn to be good hunters. Interestingly, kittens seem to

learn the best from their mothers. They do not seem to learn as well or as quickly from

watching other adult cats.

At about five or six weeks of age, a mother cat will begin teaching her kittens

how to hunt. At first she brings dead mice to the kittens. She will eat some of the mice in

front of the kittens. In this way she is showing them that mice are their prey and that they

are good to eat. As time goes on the kittens begin to play with the dead mice their mother

brings them. Before long the kittens are flinging the dead mice around and pouncing on

them. It's a good idea to stand clear of them when they're at this stage. You might get

smacked by a flying mouse if you don't!

After awhile, the mother starts bringing mice that are still half alive and releases

them for the kittens to practice. Very soon the kittens are leaping on and flinging these

mice around as confidently as they did the previous dead ones their mother brought them.

Then, mother start bringing live, healthy mice and releases them for the kittens to practice

on. The first time the mother cat releases a live mouse, and it tries to run off, there's

immediate bedlam among the kittens. Wildly excited, the kittens flying around trying to

leap onto the running mouse zigging and zagging between them. If the mouse escapes the

kittens, the mother will usually swat it back into play. By this time the kittens are so over

excited they're leaping at anything that moves. The mouse, a blade of grass, a blowing

leaf or even each other, are all fair game to the kittens. Not surprisingly, the mouse often

escapes during these early lessons.

As the lessons progress the kittens become more discriminating in their targets

and develop their skills in catching the quick and agile mice. These lessons don't always

go smoothly. One kitten got the surprise of her life when a large mouse she was chasing

suddenly sat up in front of her and began scolding her at the top of its' lungs. The mouse

was apparently so fed up with the whole business that it actually jumped at the kitten.

The startled kitten fell over backward and the mouse raced off to safety. Live and learn.

Eventually, the mother cat will decide that the kittens are ready for their first real

hunt. She will take them out to a good location that she knows will have plenty of mice

for the kittens to practice on. She does not demonstrate her hunting technique to the

kittens. Instead, lets them develop their own unique styles on these hunting forays. Each

kitten discovers the techniques that work best for them. By the end of their lessons the

kittens have become fine mousers in their own right.


Let's Go For A Walk!

Why should dogs have all the fun? Many indoor cats would love to go outside and

enjoy the sun but it is often far too dangerous to let them simply wander about as they

please. Busy roads, large dogs and careless people are hazards many of us don't want our

cats exposed to. So why not teach him to walk on a leash?

But cats don't walk on leashes! That's the sentiment many people have when the

idea is first introduced. It's true that some cats will absolutely have nothing to do with the

whole business. They apparently think it is entirely beneath them to be seen out of doors

on a leash. What would the neighbors think! Fortunately, there are other cats willing to

entertain the idea and some who actually come to like their walks. There really isn't any

way of knowing which way your cat will turn out unless you try. Let's get started.

The first thing you will need is a properly fitting harness and a light weight leash.

It doesn't need to be fancy, just sturdy and well made. Trying to teach your cat with only

a collar is not a good idea. Pressure around their necks seems to make some cats freeze.

You want to teach him to move forward, not lock in place. The second thing you will

need is a bag of treats. Preferably something he really likes but doesn't often get. The

third thing you will need is lots and lots of patience.

Begin training inside your home. Do not take him outside until he is walking

freely and comfortably along with you on his leash. Place the harness on your cat and let

him get accustomed to it. If your cat is particularly timid, you might want to leave the

harness where he can investigate it and get used to seeing it first before you put it on him.

Leave the harness on him for ten to fifteen minutes a day for the first few days. After that

the period can be raised to fifteen to twenty minutes. Give him one or two treats during

the time he is wearing the harness so that he associates it with good things. When he is

fully comfortable with the harness, add the leash in the same manner, allowing him to

drag it around for a slowly increasing period over several days. Don't forget the treats.

By now, your cat is comfortable wearing both harness and leash. Pick up the end

of the leash and just hold it. Don't try to lead him anywhere. Follow him around if he

moves. Do this exercise for a few minutes a day until he is comfortable with it. Now

comes the big step, teaching him to follow where you lead. Place your cat to your left

side, your leash should be in your left hand. Let your arm hang relaxed at your side. Take

a treat in your right hand. Turn toward your cat and show him the treat. Now take a

couple of step forward, continuing to show the treat. If he follows you, take a couple of

more steps. If he follows to your new position, give him his treat and praise. If he is

reluctant to move forward, place the treat closer to him. Praise him if he takes a step

forward and give him the treat. If he doesn't want to move forward no matter what you

do, don't drag him. Pick him up and take him somewhere else to take his harness off. Do

not give him a treat since he didn't do as you asked. Here is where patience comes in.

Keep repeating the lesson every day, asking him to move farther each time.

When your cat is walking freely on leash with you all over the house, take him

into your back yard and walk him around in it. If he freezes and refuses to move, don't

panic. Reassure him he is safe and take him back inside. Try again tomorrow. If he tries

to take off on his own you can easily check him with your leash. Once he is comfortable

in the yard you can start taking him farther. Before long you will be able to take nice

walks wherever you choose.


Deworming Multiple Cats

Ah yes, everyone's favorite pet chore. One day you clean your cats' box and

discover little white chunks of what appear to be cooked spaghetti lodged in the feces,

that is, until one starts to move. You know then that it's time to deworm your cats. If your

veterinarian says that your cat doesn't have anything particularly tough or nasty then he

or she may recommend a regular schedule using commercial dewormers that can be

found readily in any pet store. Your veterinarian even may have a good general purpose

dewormer on hand for your use. Fortunately, there is a wide range of deworming

medicines available on the market. Most are liquid or pill form.

If you have only one cat, your task is relatively simple. Choose a dewormer that

your cat will find acceptable if not palatable. Many liquid dewormers claim to be very

tasty to cats. Unfortunately, many cats would vigorously disagree with that assessment.

In such a case, if you have access to a pill form of dewormer that your cat is willing to

swallow, you're in luck. If your cat won't swallow pills without major mayhem breaking

out and turns his nose up at every liquid dewormer you try, then you have a problem. If

you have more than one cat, it can become even more of an issue. If your cats will

happily take whatever you offer, then the only thing you have to worry about is keeping

the greedy guts from getting more than they should. But, If each of them has a different

idea as to what is acceptable (or not) for deworming medicine, then you have a major


Rather than cater to each cats whims and maintain a veterinary pharmacy worth of

dewormers in your house or routinely running your finicky feline into the veterinarian

every to he needs deworming, you might try a different route. You will need a liquid

deworming medicine and a syringe. Syringes are readily available in the livestock

medication section of farm supply stores. You only need the section with the barrel and

plunger. No needles are needed or should even be used. Syringes in farm supply stores

usually offer the two sections separately. Select one of smaller size. Your cat won't need

large amounts of medicine at any one time.

Measure out the proper amount of dewormer for your cat into a measuring cup. A

measuring cup usually comes in the package with a liquid dewormer. Take one of your

syringes and place the open end (where the needle would normally attach) into the

measuring cup and draw the medicine up into the barrel by pulling upward on the

plunger. Try to get it all at one time. You could do this task by increments but trying to

manage a squirming cat while refilling a syringe really is more difficult than it is worth.

Now restrain your cat gently and situate yourself so that you can hold the cat and use the

syringe easily. It could require some experimentation to work out a suitable position for

the both of you. . If you keep one hand underneath the cats head and cradle his chin it

will make this part of the task go more smoothly. Slide the end of the syringe a little bit

into your cat's mouth and slowly depress the plunger This will empty the medicine into

your cat's mouth slowly enough that he can readily swallow it without choking. Repeat

for each cat.

Naturally, your cat will not be particularly pleased with this method. He may

object rather strenuously. With repetition, however, you will become much smoother

with the task. You don't need to rush during this task. Take your time to discover what

will work best for you and your cats. Your cats will become more accustomed to it

despite themselves. This method will ensure that each cat, even your most finicky, gets

the proper amount of medicine he needs. And that, of course, is the whole reason for the

entire exercise.


Unusual Cat Breeds

Are you looking to get a new cat soon? Great! You may want to consider a

purebred cat. There are many breeds that can be found in this country, each with its own

characteristic appearance and temperament and history. Think carefully about what you

would characteristics you would like to see in your new companion. Perhaps you would

care to consider something a little bit different:

The Munchkin

When you think of the Munchkin, think of a cat that is built like a dachshund. A

cat built with a long body and short legs. Munchkins are a very recently developed breed.

They have only been established since 1983. The foundation cat was a female named

Blackberry who was rescued from dogs by school teacher Sandra Hochenedel.

Blackberry was a black cat with very short legs. Found pregnant, she passed on her

unusual body type to her kittens. Blackberry's son, Toulouse, was left unaltered and it

wasn't long before there were a good number of short legged cats living around his

owner's home. Strangely enough, Toulouse and his short legged sons had no trouble

competing with standard toms for females.

In 1990 a study of the genetics of these short legged cats was conducted. The

study found that only one copy of the short legged gene to create more cats with the same

characteristic. The spines of these cats were also examined because there were fears that

they would have issues just like the low long bodies dog (e. g. dachshund) have. Though

nothing wrong was found at that time, judgment was reserved due to the extremely small

population that existed at that time.

Munchkins were named for the little people in Wizard of Oz that Dorothy met

when she first arrived in Oz. Breeders became interested in the quirky little Munchkin

and began controlled breeding programs. The Munchkin was first introduced to the

public at the Madison Square Garden Cat Show. The breed has faced some opposition.

There are people who believe that deliberately breeding for a mutation, even one that

occurred naturally, is ethically wrong. The cats themselves seem unaware that they are in

any way different from there long legged cousins. They self-assured, outgoing and

curious in nature. Munchkins tend to be people-oriented and bond easily with their

people. Munchkins leap and play just like other cats. The only difference is they can't

jump as high due to their short back legs.

The Sphynx

If you ever wondered what a cat would look like naked, look no further. The

Sphynx is virtually hairless. Sebaceous oils secreted by the skin are normally transferred

to the fur in other breeds. The Sphynx requires regular wiping down to remove these oils

to prevent skin infections.

This breed originated in 1975 as spontaneous mutation in a shorthaired litter. One

hairless kitten was born in that litter. She was named Epidermis. The following year a

hairless male was born. He was called Dermis. When bred to normal shorthaired cats,

Epidermis produced normal kittens. When Epidermis was bred to one of her sons, three

hairless kittens resulted. The hairless gene was a recessive. Both parents must carry it in

order for hairlessness to be expressed.

The breed was named after the great Sphynx monument of Egypt. The

Sphynx cats are devoted, loyal companions, who love attention and will purr happily if

their favorite person is near them. They are very athletic and like to jump to high places

or hang upside down from their climbing trees. Sphynx have strong personalities and

don't like being left alone. A feline companion will help to keep a Sphynx happy and

occupied while you are gone.

These very unusual cats are not everyone's' cup of tea. Give these very different

cats a closer look. Their unique appearances and lively personalities might just make a

great pet. These cats may be exactly what you are looking for in a new companion.


Understanding Your Cat’s 5 Senses

Are you a cat owner who is curious about your cat and how they function on a daily basis? Of course, you cat likely cannot comfortably survive without the food and shelter you provide him or her with, but you may be curious about their senses. Do you ever find yourself wondering how well your pet can see or what their tastes are like? If so, please continue reading on.

As for your cat’s hearing, have you ever heard that your cat’s ears are similar to a satellite dish? There are many pet owner and veterinarians who make this comparison. What does this mean? It means that your cat does have a relatively good sense of hearing. You may notice your cat turn their head and move their ears when you start talking or when they hear a noise outside. This provides cats with the ability to hunt mice and other small, quite rodents.

As for your cat’s sense of touch, all pets are just like humans. They have a fine sense of touch. Whether you touch your cat’s whiskers, her paws, or her tail, it is a movement that she can notice right away. The most sensitive part of your cat’s body is their whiskers. As a cat owner, you should already know how important a full set of whiskers are to a cat. Your cat’s paws are also a sensitive area on their body.

As for your cat’s sight, he or she has good vision. It has been claimed that cats see at 1/5th the intensity of humans. Although cats cannot see perfectly in the dark, they are still able to make out distinctive shapes and movements. Cats are also able to see movement quicker than humans are. A movement that may appear as nothing to us, is a movement that a cat can notice. However, during daylight humans do have a better sense of sight.

Depending on your cat and his or her eating habits, you may assume that cats have a sensitive sense of taste. After all, many cat owners report their pets as being picky eaters. Although it may appear as if your cat is a picky eater, they logically aren’t, at least for taste reasons. In fact, cats are more likely to pick and choose their food based on smell, rather than taste.

Speaking of smell, this is the most heightened out of the five senses for your cat. Cats have a much better sense of smell than humans do. In fact, did you know that cats have about 200 million cells in and on their noses that are odor sensitive? They do. This is much more than us, humans, have. In addition to using smell as a way to decide which food to eat, cats can also use smell to determine if an environment is safe to enter. Smelling is also a method of communication for felines. It has been said that cats can smell odors that humans can’t even detect.

Now that you know how your cat’s five main senses are, you may be able to better understand the behavior that your cat displays and the habits that they develop. With that said, also be sure to use your best judgment. If your cat is refusing to eat their food, it may be something more serious than them just not liking the smell of their cat food. If your cat appears to lose or have problems with the above mentioned senses, you should consider scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian.

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Selecting Your Cat

It's a great day today! Today is the day you go out to find your new friend and

companion, your new cat. But where do you go to find her? What will you need to look

for? What would you be wise to avoid? Let's take a look at each question.

Where do I find my new cat? There are a large number of places where cats are

available for new homes. The local animal shelter is an excellent place to begin. They

always have a very good selection of cats and kittens to choose from. With so many

different breeds, sizes, colors, and ages to choose from you're almost sure to find a new

friend just waiting for you to come and pick her up. Farmers frequently have kittens that

are available to go to a new home. If you are interested in a particular breed of cat,

contact their registry. They should be able to direct you to a reputable breeder in your


Now that you have looked over the cats or kittens available, how do you select

right one for you? First and foremost, make sure the cat or kitten is healthy. Bright eyes,

shining coat and a lively manner are indicators of good health. Interact with the kitten or

cat. Does she hiss and pull away when you touch her or does she purr and rub her head

against your hand? Is she patient or happy to be picked up, or is she frantic to get away?

Does she walk away from people and sit down as far away as she can with her ears down

or does she hold her ground and let her curiosity draw her to the new person. It will

become obvious pretty quickly which kitten or cat will have the kind of personality that

you will enjoy. Avoid the cat or kitten with an ugly attitude or that shows poor health.

That will be the way to avoid heartbreak on down the road.

Another thing that you should consider is yourself. What do I mean? I mean that

you should take stock of yourself. Most people are a sucker for kittens. Those little fluff

balls with their sweet faces are nearly impossible to resist. Do you have the time and

energy to deal with a lively kitten and her antics? (Oh, you mean I'm not supposed to

swing on the drapes?) Perhaps you would be more comfortable with an older cat who

already knows all about litter boxes and not climbing on top of the counter. A quiet adult

who will sit on your lap and purr while you watch your favorite show may be more your

speed. Be honest with yourself. You and your new cat will be much happier for it.

Okay, you've assessed yourself and the kittens and cats available to you. You've

picked out your perfect new friend. On your way home think over what supplies you have

at home. Do you have everything you need? A litter box with nice fresh litter? Is there a

little scooper to clean her litter box with? A food dish and a water bowl? Do you have

good quality food for her? Is it the one she is already used to? No? Perhaps you might

want to stop and pick up a small bag of the one she's familiar with. It will be something

she already knows in a strange place and may help her become comfortable in her new

home faster. You can begin blending your preferred food into her old one in the coming

days, eventually shifting her completely to her new food by the time the small bag ends.

There is much to consider when getting a new cat. Take your time. Make sure all

your preparations are made. You will be well on your way to a happy life for you and

your new cat.