Cat Fact Friday


5 Reasons Why Cats Make Us Better People

 

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Well here’s some good news for cat owners… studies have shown that cat people are among the healthiest, happiest, and smartest people in the world.  Scientific research has repeatedly shown that there are significant health and happiness benefits of having a feline family member in your home.  So what are they?

Here are 5 reasons why cats make us better people:

Reason #1: Cats are good for our (mental) health

Numerous studies have been published showing that cat owners have higher IQs than their dog owning counterparts. Some of these studies suggest that this is in part due to time constraints (smarter people tend to work longer hours, and cats tend to require less maintenance than dogs), but it is also suggested that the relaxed demeanor of a cat has a calming effect on the family members which promotes mental health and increased brain activity.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Cat people are among the healthiest, happiest, and smartest people in the world.” quote=”Cat people are among the healthiest, happiest, and smartest people in the world.”]

 

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And of course, petting our cats brightens our mood. Just a few minutes of petting (or even brushing) your cat signals our brain to start producing the hormones oxytocin and serotonin – these are 2 calming chemicals that when released in our bodies make us feel more relaxed and at peace.

It’s soothing for our cats to be stroked and touched by us, but we also get a huge physiological payback as well. Go pet your cat!

Reason #2: Cats are good for our (physical) health

Want to lower your blood pressure? Spend some time with a purring cat. The relaxation and calming effect of petting or brushing your cat (see above), as well as the purring that your cat does when happy has been shown to lower blood pressure in humans.

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The American Heart Association confirms it: Pet ownership is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and a lower likelihood of obesity. Another study found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely than their feline-free counterparts to have a heart attack or stroke, says Dr. Becker. Beyond the exercise factor, experts aren’t entirely sure why pets improve our health, but they certainly do. “Think of your cat as free medicine you already have in your home that can help you maintain optimum health,” adds Dr. Becker.

Read more about the benefits and healing power of cat purrs.

Reason #3: Cats teach us patience

Being a cat owner is not always an easy venture without stress. Cats can be very stubborn and willful creatures, and much like parenting, you will often have to ‘pick your battles’. It also requires us to practice patience when trying to problem solve behavioral issues such as urinating, scratching, or howling.

Cats are the ultimate zen masters.  We often chase the ‘quick fixes’ and fast solutions to problems in our busy lives.  Watch a cat sometime.  It can sit for hours focusing on something.  Take time to breathe, pet your little zen-master and allow its calming influence to soothe and guide you. You might be very pleasantly surprised!

Reason #4: Cats teach us empathy

Cats get a bad rep for being selfish and self centered. Cats are actually very empathetic and loyal creatures and can sense when someone needs comfort. Think of a time you’ve been ill, or sad, or maybe just plain exhausted. Quite often you’ll find that your cat will climb up and lay on you. It senses your distress and seeks to comfort.

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Some research suggests that kids who have cats (and dogs) often become more nurturing, giving adults — perhaps because they learn from a young age that all living creatures need comfort and feel pain. But even people who bring home their first pet as an adult tend to develop a stronger sense of empathy, thanks to their furry friend.

“Taking care of an animal reminds you that all humans and animals have needs that may eclipse your own, and you’re able to see things from others’ point of view. That helps you become more caring and compassionate,” says Dr. David Niven, a psychologist and social scientist.

5. Cats increase our social connections

Ever notice that when you talk about your cat that strangers are more apt to smile, say hello, even strike up a conversation?  Or perhaps if you were to share a funny cat video, people would chime in and share stories about their own cat’s silly antics. Those brief exchanges leave us feeling more in sync with our community, says Dr. Niven, and such interactions makes us happier because we feel better when connected to others.

Cats are great conversation starters and icebreakers, so it’s no surprise that pet parent dating websites, pet/human fitness classes and other social gatherings for pet owners are becoming more popular. “People who have pets are perceived by others to be more social and open,” says Niven. “That can make your social circle wider and more diverse, resulting in less loneliness.”

So, convinced yet?  Cats make us all better people!

Check out our post on:  Want to be Healthier & Happier? Science says…Get a Cat!

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/5-reasons-cats-make-us-better-people/   

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/  


5 Health & Nutrition Tips for Senior Cats

All cats are created equal, right?  Wrong. Senior cats have special dietary needs, different from adult cats and kittens. Their bodies require different things. Thanks to advances in veterinary care and improved nutrition, cats are living longer than ever, giving those of us who love them many more years of their affection and warm companionship.

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This longevity, however, means that senior cats, just like their aging human companions, become more vulnerable to a variety of health issues and ailments: weight gain and decreased mobility; heart, kidney, and liver diseases; diabetes; dental problems and periodontal disease; behavioral problems and cancer.

Unlike humans, cats can begin to approach their senior years as early as 7 years old. Factors that have an impact on how individual cats age include body weight, nutrition, environment, and overall health.  First off, how do you know when your cat reaches “senior status”?  You might see a sprinkling of gray on her chin; a small cloud forming over once-clear eyes. Perhaps there’s a touch of stiffness in what was once a frisky gait. Any of these can be tell-tale signs that your fuzzy feline friend is entering her “golden” years.

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The old saying that one year in a cat’s life is equal to seven “human” years isn’t entirely accurate.  Pets mature quickly during the first two years of life, level out for their middle years, and then begin to age more rapidly once more during the final third of their life span.

Aging can cause natural changes in your cat’s body functioning, which as a pet parent, may require you to adjust their diet, care, and nutrition accordingly. Many pet parents may experience denial not want to acknowledge that their cat is aging, but supporting your cat’s health as they enter their golden years can actually help prevent, manage several common health conditions to keep your feline friend healthy for many years to come.

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An important but often forgotten aspect is to ensure easy access to their litter box.

Ever Considered Using A Cat Litter Mat

The cat litter mat is placed underneath your feline’s litter box. Although many people use a cut square of a regular mat, these end up looking unsightly and ratty when they start fraying. Furthermore, these can snag on the claws of your cat. There are many benefits making it worthwhile  investing in this useful item. Check out this summary of Best Cat Litter Mats by Cindy Grant, founder of  NolongerWild.com.

But by the time they reach 11 years of age, weight loss becomes an even bigger concern. The 11-plus years are especially difficult for cats because their sense of smell and taste tend to diminish at this time, which in turn has an adverse affect on their interest in food. The power to absorb key nutritional elements and digest fat begins to declines, making eating itself less efficient.

[clickToTweet tweet=”5 Health & Nutrition Tips for Senior Cats” quote=”5 Health & Nutrition Tips for Senior Cats”]

We asked our go-to expert Gillian Ridgeway {Nutram OTC Pet Wellness Expert} for her advice on key things to look for in senior cats. Here are her 5 recommendations and some tips to help cat owners improve the quality of life for their beloved senior cats:

  1. Bladder Issues

Urinary incontinence, which is the loss of bladder control, and kidney disease are not uncommon in cats as they mature through life. You may notice your cat losing weight and drinking more water than normal or making frequent trips to the litter box, which are all signs of a possible bladder condition. To help prevent bladder issues, select a diet that includes specific ingredients for your cat. Incorporating a diet with ingredients such as cranberries, a natural acidifier, and celery seeds, will help sustain healthy fluid levels, and work to maintain proper pH and moderate ash levels, supporting a healthy bladder.

*TIP: Cats have different dietary requirements than dogs, so if you share your home with both, keep Fido’s dish out of reach.

  1. Decreased Mobility

Decreased mobility is a common concern with senior cats, and is especially important if their water intake has increased. It is important to help your cat have easy access to their litter box. If you start to see mobility issues arise, make sure the litter box is very accessible.

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*TIP: Use a ramp or lower the litter box to allow easy access to your cat. If you have stairs in the home, consider putting a litter box on each floor.

  1. Weight Fluctuation

Obesity is often on the rise in the senior cats. This can be due to decreased mobility, decreased metabolism, or lack of appropriate exercise. Proper diet is imperative for weight control. Often a diet higher in fibre will help keep your pet feeling full, while helping to push food through the intestinal system and prolong satiety, crucial for weight management.

* TIP: Look for ingredients like chicory root, which promotes the growth of natural intestinal bacteria. Ingredients such as pumpkin are rich in fibre, which also assists with the movement of food through the digestive system.

To prevent obesity, you should also entertain and mentally stimulate your furbaby regularly with interactive cat toys or a nice stroll on an appropriate cat harness

4.  Furballs

Grooming is an important part of each cat’s day. However, you may notice that their ability to groom themselves wanes as the years move forward. Less frequent grooming can result in increased shedding, causing problems such as hairballs, which can be quite serious if left unattended. Make sure your cat food is formulated to help with the hairball situation if your pet is susceptible to them.  Look for ingredients rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to support your cat’s coat as well as natural fibers to help with gut motility and facilitate hairball elimination.

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  1. Stress

Believe it or not, stress can begin to affect your beloved cat and manifest in various ways. The cat that normally loves new people may start to seek out quiet spots. Cats love routine so it’s best to keep their living situation and routine the as consistent as possible. As cats age, they may begin to experience changes in their eyesight or hearing which makes them less able to cope with new situations.

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*TIP: If you require a house sitter or plan a holiday, it might be best to ask a friend to house sit daily rather than bringing your cat to a boarding facility, removing them from their home turf.

In addition to looking out for these five signs in your senior cat, you should also do a mini physical exam each week while grooming your cat. While grooming, check for lumps and bumps, and make sure your cat has good dental hygiene.  Regular health checks and Veterinary appointments are necessary every 6 months to help ensure that your feline friend is on track.

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Prevention is key to success with your senior cat. While they may have been on a specific diet for the first part of life, it may be time to re-evaluate and make a switch to a recipe appropriate for their health conditions and life stage. A proper diet that’s formulated with their health in mind and geared towards specific issues will certainly help keep your pet happy and healthy over their lifetime.

If you have a new kitten, you might want to read our post on nutrition and health tips for kittens.

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/senior-cats/  

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/  

 


11 Cat Sounds – And What They Mean!

Our cats make sounds ranging from purrs to meows to hisses and growls — but what do they mean?

To find out we asked our paw pal (Annie) who is the founder of MeowKai to enlighten us with her expertise on the various cat sounds and their meanings. So without further adieu here’s what Annie had to say…

When owning a cat, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard him meow a lot! But did you now that his or her different yowls and meows have different meanings behind them? It isn’t just about meowing for attention, but can also mean an underlying condition that your cat can’t express through words, but through the sounds she makes.

Or, perhaps kitty just wants to show his happiness with you. Either way, it’s important to learn about the different cat sounds your cat makes for you to properly address his problems and act upon it. Wondering what these meows and yowls mean?

Here are the 11 most recognized cat sounds – and what they mean!

1.  Short Meows

A short meow is the basic and most popular cat meows for cats who just want to say hi! This is normal and nothing to worry about, as your cat is simply happy to see you. Give him a pet, because it means he wants a bit of attention.

2. Multiple Meows

If your cat meows multiple times or a few meows every minute, it says he’s VERY excited and happy. It’s more comfortable version of the short meow, meaning that your cat is saying that it’s great to see you. Just like the short meow, give him a pet!

3. Mid-Pitch Meows

For cats who have mid-pitch meows, it usually means he’s asking for something. It might be playtime or attention, or he may want to go out to do his business. Other times, it means that he wants food. If it’s time for dinner and he starts meowing this way, you know he’s hungry!

4. Long Meows

Just like mid-pitch meows, your cat wants something. But it isn’t just a plea; it’s a demand! Your cat may be VERY hungry, or he simply demands attention from you after a long day alone. Or, he wants you to open the door, so he can go out or back in.

5. Low-Pitch Meows

A low-pitch meow means your cat is complaining and he’s unhappy about it. It’s time to show your attention or fill up his empty bowl, or he will be in a bad mood for a long time. He might also be mad at something you did, like forgetting him outside!

[clickToTweet tweet=”The 11 Cat Sounds – And What They Mean!” quote=”The 11 Cat Sounds – And What They Mean!”]

6. High-Pitched Meows

High-pitched meows is an expression of pain. It might not be something wrong with his digestion or body, but it may be physical pain, such as accidentally kicking him or stepping his tail. This yowl helps you know if he’s hurt from a fight as well.

7. Growls or Howls

If your cat growls, that means he’s feeling VERY negative. They are usually growling when fighting with other cats, trying to protect their territory. A growling cat is an angry cat, so I urge you to stay away to avoid any scratches or bites. If your cat begins to howl, it means she feels danger or needs immediate help because of an injury or sickness. Go to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

8. Hissing

Just like growling, a hissing cat can also mean someone that’s very upset or irritated. It can also show fear, since cats would usually hiss when he’s surrounded by unfamiliar people or in a new environment. It’s best to let him be first.

9. Chirping

Chirruping means that your cat wants something but he can’t get it. But this isn’t about food. He might see prey out of the window but he can’t move to it. It’s a short and stuttered meow that’s a mix of both excitement and frustration.

10. Caterwaul

Caterwauls are low moaning sounds female cats would make when in heat. It alerts other cats that she’s in heat and ready for mating. Your cat may also have an uncomfortable-looking stare to go along with these cat sounds.

11. Purring

Purring is a sweet sounds that means that your cat feels content with your. It means that he’s happy or sleepy, comfortable as he sleeps on your lap or cuddles with you. Mother cats would also purr to her kittens to comfort them. Read more on the healing powers of purring.

Tips on Helping Your Cat Control His Meowing

If your cat meows a lot, then there are various reasons as to why it happens! So if you want to control his meowing and make sure that he stays healthy and disturbs no one in the household, here are some things to follow:

  • Make sure that your cat has access to all his toys and a comfortable environment, allowing him to have fun and enjoy while you’re out of the house or running errands. He might just want to play or sleep in a quiet area.
  • Give your cat access to treats or food a few times a day. He may be hungry! Studies show that it’s best to feed your cat multiple times a day instead of one large meal to avoid indigestion or hunger.
  • Play with your cat a bit! Your cat needs attention, just like many humans. Give him a few minutes of cuddle time or petting, making him feel loved.
  • If your cat looks uncomfortable and in pain, he might be suffering from more symptoms other than just meowing a lot. Take him to the veterinarian to evaluate if he’s sick or requires medical attention.

If your cat incessantly meows or makes different sounds, then it’s time to learn how to evaluate what they mean! Each of your cat’s meows, hisses, purrs, or yowls mean something, and while some can be brushed off by a gentle pet, some can be serious and will need to be checked by a veterinarian.

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/cat-sounds/  

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/  


Should Your Cats Sleep With You?

 

Have you ever wondered how other cat owners would answer the question … “Do you let your cats sleep with you at night?

Well we decided to find out, so we ran a quick 24 hour survey on our Twitter feed and here’s what came back:

There were nearly 300 responses and 88% of them said ‘Yes’.  We’ll have to take that as an overwhelming majority!  >^..^<

Interestingly it seems that most people ask the question whether it’s healthy/advisable for people to let their cats sleep with them (more on that below), but few (if any) seem to ask whether it’s beneficial for the cats themselves. So we asked our pal and cat expert Dr. Lynn Bahr what she thought, and here’s what Lynn had to say:

“From a cat’s point of view, it’s completely natural to sleep with loved ones. During the first few weeks of their lives, kittens stay tightly knitted together for warmth, security and safety. For many, it is a habit they retain into adulthood choosing to curl up next to their owners for the same companionship and comfort they had when they were young.

Not only is sleeping with a cat good for humans, it is particularly good for the health and well-being of the cat too.” 

Sleeping together seems to be of benefit to both felines and us mere mortals…how’s that for good news!

Those of us in the majority already know that sleeping with our cats can certainly be calming, help release stress, and promote bonding with your cat. Unfortunately, sharing your bed with a cat isn’t always conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. This is because cats tend to be nocturnal, which can lead to some pretty irritating behaviors. Which cat owner haven’t been woken up by a cat pummeling their chest or nibbling on their toes?

Fear not – we have some invaluable tips to help you and kitty get enjoy a peaceful zzzzzzzzzz together!

Napping with Cats Guide

The infographic guide (below) is for the majority of us who sleep with our feline friends and it offers tips to help you get kitty sleeping peacefully in your bedroom. The guide offers tips on how to prepare your cat for bedtime and then outlines some negative behaviors and how to correct them.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Do Your Cats Sleep With You? If so, here’s a Guide to Getting a More Peaceful Night’s Sleep” quote=”Do Your Cats Sleep With You? If so, here’s a Guide to Getting a More Peaceful Night’s Sleep”]

Hopefully, this will enable you to have a good night’s sleep and have your cat share your bed. Although, if we’re honest, we all know the cat will get its own way in the end. They always do.

Credit: The above infographic was kindly provided by mattressonline

Summary

Go ahead and let your cat(s) sleep in bed with you.  Find the balance that works best in your household and enjoy the experience.  In our home, only our ginger tabby sleeps in our bed…and usually asks to be let out at around 3-4 am to join the others. What’s your cat sleeping story?  Tell us by dropping a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Sleep Tip

If you’re having trouble sleeping you may find this comprehensive Guide on Sleep Hygiene to be a very valuable resource. You can check it out here: A Detailed Guide on Sleep Hygiene-The Key to Proper Rest

Happy Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/sleeping-with-your-cats/  

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/  

 


Comparing Vision: Cats vs. Humans

Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to your cat? First off, you’ve no doubt read about the fact that cats have better night vision than humans (no big surprise). Cats are most active at dawn and dusk (the technical term is ‘crepuscular’) which is why we suspect they require better night vision than us.

The reason is that cats have between 6 to 8 times more rod cells in their eyes than we do. These rods are the cells most sensitive to low light giving cats the night vision advantage over us.

It turns out that cats are also much better than humans when it comes to following fast-moving objects. In particular, their excellent night vision also allows them to better capture motion in the dark.

Cats also have a wider field of view than we do. This gives them greater peripheral vision (approx. 200 degrees, compared with humans’ 180-degree view). All the better to hunt with at night!

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Fortunately,  Nickolay Lamm (a Pittsburgh-based artist) in collaboration with several cat and vision experts, created a series of illuminating illustrations intended to capture the differences between cat vision and human vision.

We’ve shared these images {via N. Lamm} in this post, and they nicely illustrate the human perspective shown on top, and the corresponding cat’s view in the lower image.  Here’s the first example in a night time setting…human view (top) vs. cat view (bottom):

OK so the score thus far is:

Night Vision:            Cats: 1 / Humans: 0
Peripheral Vision:   Cats: 1 / Humans: 0
Fast Motion:             Cats: 1 / Humans: 0

But what about daytime vision?

Well that’s where we mere mortals really shine. Turns out the human retina has about 10 times more light receptors (called ‘cones’) than cats do. These cones function best in bright light and are what allow us to see bright and vibrant colors. They also provide us up to 12 times better motion detection in bright light than the cat.

We humans have three types of cones, allowing us to see a broad spectrum of colors, while cats don’t seem to see the full range of colors that most humans do. Scientists believe that cats perceive colors that are much less vibrant and some speculate that a cat’s color vision is limited to blue and grays.

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So we outperform cats in bright light situations when it comes to color recognition.

Here’s another example: (top image is human view, bottom image is cat view):

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What about resolution (or sharpness)?

We believe that cats see images that are likely of much lower resolution (we’d see them as ‘fuzzy’ from our perspective).  Most people can see objects clearly at 100 to 200 feet away, but cats are limited to about 20 feet away to see those same things sharply.  Cats don’t have the muscles necessary to change the shape of their eye lenses, and as a result, they can’t see things clearly quite as close as humans can.

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So we humans can see better from far away, close-up, and overall with more sharpness and clarity. In fact, the differences in our eye structures are such that your cat will likely be better than you at picking up the darting motion of a frightened mouse, but many slow-moving objects that you can see would look stationary to Fluffy.

OK let’s update the score:

Daytime (bright light) Vision:    Cats: 0 / Humans: 1
Image Resolution:                       Cats: 0 / Humans: 1
Slow Motion:                                Cats: 0 / Humans: 1

Hmmmmm…a tie? Let’s just say that cats and humans each have their own unique vision characteristics optimized to our species lifestyle and behavior.

Here’s another city view in low light (dark) with human view (top image) and cat’s view (bottom image)

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Here’s another example of showing a skyline (bright daylight): images {human view top and cat’s view bottom image}.

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Finally, here’s an indoor well-lit train station (Grand Central)

We hope you found them as fascinating as we did.

On a more serious note, we wanted to share an excellent article on cat eye discharge from our pals at Honest Paws. It’s called Cat Eye Discharge: A Comprehensive Guide. Well worth a read if you have any concerns or your cat is experiencing these symptoms. >^..^<

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/comparing-vision-cats-vs-humans/  

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/

 


Think Your Cat Might be Overweight?

 

Did you know that an overweight cat is at significantly higher risk for many health issues and a shorter life? Excess weight can reduce their overall quality of life by interfering with the normal activities they used to enjoy when they were more physically fit.

 

Overweight cat health problems are becoming more numerous and more serious. When it comes to keeping cats at a healthy weight, humans contribute to both the problem and the solution.

 

The Human Element

Just as people need to control the temptation to overindulge, cat owners need to control the temptation to overindulge their pets.

A survey of pet owners by Royal Canin in 2018 revealed that more than half of cat and dog owners always or often give their pets food if they beg for it, and almost a quarter of them overfeed their pets to keep them happy. I think we’re all guilty of doing this at times.

 

Fat Facts:

  • According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59% of American cats are estimated to be obese
  • 15% of cat owners said their pet’s weight was normal when it was actually overweight or obese
  • The five states that rank highest for obese cats are Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Idaho, and Delaware

You will never find an overweight cat in the wild. They just don’t exist. So the weight problem is due to domestication. This limits the problems to diet, the medical system used and the environment of the cat.

 

Why a Healthy Weight is Important for your Cat

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), as little as two pounds above your cat’s ideal weight can put it at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a cat is overweight or obese it no longer is a question of ‘if’ your cat will develop a condition secondary to the excess weight but ‘how many and how soon! ‘

Some of the common disorders associated with excess weight on your cat include:

  • Type 2 diabetes – an obese cat is at least 3 times more likely to develop than serious disease as a cat of normal weight
  • Kidney disease
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Many forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers

Overweight and obese cats are much more likely to live shorter lives than their fitter, normal weight counterparts. Heavy cats tend to physically interact less with their families and are less energetic and playful. Because they tend to lay around more, it is easy to overlook illnesses since we attribute their lethargy to their “normal laziness.”

 

Above photo is our IG pal Carl from @treats4me619

 

Why So Many Cats Are Overweight

Four of the most common reasons that cats are packing on the pounds are:

  • They’re on the wrong diet
  • They’re being overfed
  • Getting too many treats
  • Getting too little exercise

 

Above photo is our IG pal Ugur from @ugurkedisi

 

Is My Cat Overweight?

If you are unsure whether your cat is overweight to an unhealthy degree, consider the following:

  • Does your cat have trouble, running, climbing and jumping?
  • When viewed from above, do his, or her, sides bulge?
  • When you look at him, or her, sideways, does the belly hang down?
  • Is there a large layer of fat covering the ribs? You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs but you should not be able to see them.
  • Is your cat sedentary? Does he, or she, spend all day sitting or laying?

 

Above photo is our IG pal The Chief from @the.chief_squeaks

One way to evaluate your cat’s body condition is to view their silhouette from above and from the side.  The key structures to look at are the ribs, spine, hip bones, waist, abdomen and muscle mass. At a healthy weight, you should be able to see your kitty’s waistline (an hourglass figure) from above. From the side, your cat’s abdomen should appear tucked up behind the rib cage.

The Body Condition Score visual guideline from WSAVA (below) illustrates:

If you feel that your cat may be overweight, please talk to your vet, who will be able to confirm your suspicions, rule out possible health causes, and guide you on the best course of action.

 

Start with Calories

For weight loss, the formulas seem simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. For starters, cats that are overweight or obese must eat. Their physiology is different than humans or dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Obese humans starting a diet program are also vulnerable to this serious condition. It is for this reason that you should never put your cat on a diet without the assistance of your veterinary healthcare team.

 

Above and remaining cat photos are of our IG pal Hercules Rockefellar from @fatcathercules

 

Change Diet Gradually

When you are introducing a new diet to your cat, allow several days for the transition. It is recommended to gradually incorporate the new diet over a one to two week period. Start by substituting one-quarter of the diet for two to three days, then increase to one-half total volume of food for another two to four days, then three-quarter new food for a final three to five days before completely switching to the new diet.

To enhance the palatability of the diet food, try warming the food or adding an omega-3 fatty acid supplement or salmon juice over the food. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is due to the fact that our finicky felines often prefer wet food over dry.

 

Cat owners consider taste to be the most important factor when buying food for their cats, but science shows that taste is more than just flavor. Great taste is a result of the right nutrient balance, which is affected by satisfying texture, savory aroma, specific kibble size, adapted kibble shape and desirable flavors.  Learn more in a post we published last year called Cats Savor More Than Just Flavor.

About 18 months ago we transitioned our cats to a special Royal Canin formula (sensitive digestion) and since then their weight and overall health has been excellent (both we and our vet are very pleased!).

We encourage concerned cat owners to ask their veterinarian for assistance. Of note, Royal Canin just launched a new satiety support diet for cats designed for weight loss. Please note that you will need a medical recommendation from your veterinarian.

 

Introduce Creative Play 

To increase the amount of exercise your cat gets, it’s very important to play with him, or her, more. Wand toys, balls and laser pointers are all popular with cats and will help them to become more active.

While we may take our dogs out for a brisk walk or jog, our cats aren’t designed to perform that sort of activity well. Our cats prefer the hundred-yard dash to the marathon.  Just because cats aren’t good endurance athletes doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage them to move.

Some simple tips for getting your cat to move more are:

  • Play “Find the Food” Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs and rotate it so that the cat always has to walk to get to its food bowl. Cats are smart, and if the food bowl moves upstairs, they’ll start relocating upstairs, too.
  • Move the food bowl as far away from your cat’s favorite haunts as possible. Again, many cats will sleep and lay near the food bowl so they don’t have to go far when the eatin’ urge hits!
  • Use feather toys, flashlights, paper bags or balls, anything that your cat finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your cat for ten minutes twice a day. You can do this while you eat, watch television or even read. There are numerous toys that move and squeak that may also be interesting to your cat. Experiment and understand that what is exciting today may be boring tomorrow.

 

Weigh-Ins and Follow Up

After you’ve put your cat on a weight loss program, it’s critical that you determine if it’s working for your cat. Each cat is an individual and may require many changes in diet or routine before finding the correct approach. In general, your cat should be weighed every month until the ideal weight is achieved. If there is no significant weight loss in one month, typically about one pound, then a new approach should be pursued.

 

There is nothing more frustrating than persisting in a behavior pattern that is not achieving the results we desire when a slight change could deliver significant improvements. Work closely and actively with your veterinary healthcare team to reach your goals faster and more safely. Here’s to helping your kitty achieve their target weight!

Note: This post is focused on dealing with overweight cats. Getting an underweight cat to gain weight is much easier if you know why they are losing weight.  A number of medical conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, IBS/IBD, bad teeth or dental problems could be causing your cat to be underweight. A trip to the vet should be your first step.

 

Disclosure

This post is sponsored by Royal Canin. While we are being compensated for helping spread the word about Royal Canin, The Purrington Post only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Royal Canin is not responsible for the content of this article. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit www.royalcanin.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/royalcanin.us.

A Parting Smile

Cat says … I told my vet that I thought I had athlete’s foot; he looked at me and said,

“I don’t think you have athlete’s anything.”

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/healthy-weight-for-cats/ 

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/

 


Cat Keeping You Awake at Night?

 

HELP! My Cat is Trying to Kill Me Through Insomnia!

How often we compare our cats with our children, and really, the comparisons add up. We love them beyond compare, we are responsible for their well-being, we feed them, bathe them, take them to the doctor, and comfort them when they need our love.

Oh. And sometimes, they go through phases that keep us awake all hours of the night. It’s true, much like humans, cats can get insomnia.  Young cats {particularly those under one year of age} have been known to drive their owners crazy from sleep deprivation. Remember that our cat’s ancestor is the African wildcat, and these big cats are mostly nocturnal. So there’s a lot of natural instinct in our little fur babies but the good news is that cats can learn to let their owners sleep in peace.

The unmistakable yowling and wailing of a cat in distress is nearly impossible to sleep through for even the heaviest of sleepers. And much like humans, cats are generally looking for a need to be met and can be taught to self soothe in order to regain a normal sleep pattern. Do not despair, parent of a frustrated furry family member, hope lies in these pages.

Following are 5 tips that can help:

#1:  Get thee to the vet!

The very first thing to do is bring your cat to their vet for a checkup. Much like a baby, cats do not have the ability to tell you with words if there is a medical problem. They can, however, vocalize.

There can be many medical reasons your cat is vocalizing at all hours of the night, thyroid disease, hearing loss, or cognitive dysfunction being just a few of them. Once you rule out a medical condition, then you can start to address the potential root causes of the behavioral condition that needs attention.

#2.  Let me entertain you.

We’ve all heard it before: Children who are bored in class are more likely to show behavioral problems. Cats are supremely smart animals, and do exactly the same thing. If your cat is not mentally stimulated, they will seek negative attention in order to have that need met.

Provide your cat with many opportunities to stimulate their mind and body. Toys, scratching posts, jungle gyms, and even cognitive games. (Yes, they make those for cats and they are incredibly effective.) It is important to not just wear out their body, but their mind.

#3.  Cry it out.

Just like the exhausted parent doesn’t want to hear their baby crying uncontrollably and swoops in to comfort their child, the parent of a furry child doesn’t want to hear their cat suffering and quickly moves to soothe them. Without doubt, there are times when you must comfort your cat, but you are doing them no favors by not teaching them to self soothe.

Night vocalization can often be a call for attention, and for every time you wake up to soothe your cat, you are reinforcing that behavior, leading to more and more vocalization. Behavior modification is needed on both ends of this spectrum: Your can needs to learn to self soothe at night and you need to learn to let your cat cry it out. Eventually they’ll find their zzzzzzzzz…

#4.  Celebrate the good.

Ending the undesirable behavior is only half of the puzzle. Behavior modification is a two part endeavor. The first part is disrupting the bad behavior, and the second part is reinforcing a more desirable behavior. What does this mean? Catch your cat being good. If your cat is vocalizing for attention, then be sure to smother them with attention when they’re being quiet and non-disruptive.

Give them the attention they’re seeking during the day and when they’re behaving in a positive way. This reinforcement will pave the way to replace the night vocalizations with day time cuddles. Replace the old habits with better habits.

#5.  Wear them out!

Cats and kids both learn through play, and they develop a bond and happiness through playtime with their parent. One of the best times to play is right before bed, not only does it provide your cat with the attention they’re seeking and craving, but it also wears them out.

With a consistent and regular nightly bonding time, your cat might start reducing their night vocalizations almost immediately. One method of playing with your cat is to mimic hunting. Get a toy mouse or a feather and allow your cat to get their predatory instincts out, and make way for a good night rest for both of you.

The key is to be consistent, and realize that in order to change the behavior, you will also need to change yourbehavior. If you do, you’ll both be sleeping like kittens in no time.

Here’s a cool little infographic from Cat Fancy Magazine and the Cat Channel that offers a few other clever suggestions. Well worth a read.

Here’s to a great night’s sleep!

 

Here is the link to the full article https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/cat-keeping-you-awake/ 

 

*Article kindly provided by The Purrington Post. To see more great articles from them visit their website  https://www.thepurringtonpost.com/