Cat Version of March Madness

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It’s that time of year again when basketball fans are so excited to see who ends up in the Final Four and who goes on to win it all. Cats don’t really care, but they do consider the following things as MADNESS!

Being obedient

Lack of attention

Things hoomans do

Not catching birds

Having a dog around

 Not enough time to relax
Finding hidden toys
Having to explain themselves
Getting lost
Being dressed up

So I guess we all have our version of madness. Mine is going through withdrawal when football season is over. What’s yours?

 

 

 

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

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Make Your Own Food Puzzles for Cats

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As I told you last week, I would share the five different ways of making food puzzles that I found. These are pretty simple; you can buy more complicated ones on Amazon.

1. Take a shoe box and cut random shapes for your cat to discover

Take a small cardboard box and cut holes that are larger than the size of your cat’s paws. Cut these holes in random places and use random shapes like circles, squares, triangles, etc. Tape the flaps of the box closed and then toss some dry kibble in there. Shoe boxes make good puzzle feeder boxes.

always-hungry

2. Toilet paper rolls can make a fun alternative cat food puzzle

What cat doesn’t love to bat around a roll of toilet paper? Take the cardboard center from the toilet paper roll and cut holes in it that are a little bigger than the size of the kibble. Fold the ends in to close them and you have an easy and cheap puzzle feeder.

bugged-kitty

3. A plastic water bottle makes a durable long lasting food puzzle

You can also make one out of a small plastic water bottle.  All you need to do is cut holes in the plastic bottle and then pour some dry kibble in. Replace the cap and you have a feeder that’s simple for the cat to roll around, plus it makes an alluring sound.

carry-me-to-my-food

4. A plastic holiday egg (if you have that around) is a very durable and fun food puzzle

Cut a couple of holes in the top and bottom section of the holiday egg using the X-ACTO or utility knife.  Trim away any remnant plastic so the opening is as free as can be.  Place some kibble inside the holiday egg, reassemble it and give it a test before rolling it out for play. Widen the holes as needed to ensure kibble can pass through.

bunny-you-can-go-home-now

5. An egg carton is a ready assembled food puzzle

All you need to do is take an egg carton and put some dry food in the cups! Cut the carton in two so you can have two puzzles.  The carton will slow down your cat’s eating, and if they are nimble with their paws, they can fish food out of the cups!  Easy breezy.

kitten-egg

When you make homemade puzzle feeders, you should be around to supervise the playing.  Most of the above puzzles are safe enough but it’s always a good idea to watch your kitties when trying something new.

Our cats do get bored, so shake it up and try a new puzzle every week.  And, for those who aren’t as handy or if your kitty needs more of a challenge, Amazon has some sturdier cat food puzzles.

I’m making some puzzles from small containers of cottage cheese. Will let you know how things turn out! If you have used food puzzles for your cat(s), please let us know about your experiences.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

Food Puzzles For Cats!

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One of the New Year’s resolutions that people make, including me, is to get into better shape physically and lose some of those pounds we put on over the holidays. We need to think about our pets too, not only at this time of year, but all year long. My vet told me that neutered male cats have a real tendency to put on weight. Once that starts, it’s hard to control. Had heard about food puzzles so decided to check it out. Here’s what I found.

Cats love to play with toys and chase fake mice around the house and this sometimes extends to their food. And when bored, our cats tend to eat more especially when dry food is let out all day long.  Food Puzzles can help make cats work for their food while stimulating them at the same time.

missing-toys

What are food puzzles?

Food puzzles are contraptions or home-made puzzles that make cats work for their food. The puzzles can be as simple as putting dry food in a closed and empty cottage cheese container and cutting a hole in the side, so that the cat has to bat around the container to get the food to fall out

conquer-earth

Food Puzzles can help our cats from over-eating and behave better according to a new study

 

Cats given food puzzles thrive as they tend to be more physically fit and happier. It seems there are also fewer behavioral problems, such as aggression and over-grooming, than cats with regular food bowls.

“Food puzzles provide cats with exercise and mental stimulation,” said review co-author Mikel Delgado, a doctoral candidate of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Delgado is also a certified cat behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.  “It gives them an outlet to let cats be their natural predatory selves.”

hunting-face

Indoor cats tend to be overweight since they don’t have to work for food and get less exercise 

Indoor kitties are often given unlimited food, and don’t have to work for their dinner.  “It’s no wonder that indoor felines have a high risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, joint problems and chronic lower urinary tract signs,” she said. Indoor cats can also have behavioral problems, including attention-seeking and stress-related behaviors, such as house soiling.

nothing-to-eat

In the review, cats that used food puzzles were thinner and behaved better

Food puzzles can alleviate those health and behavior problems. In the review, Delgado and her colleagues assessed about 30 cases that they had personally observed when food puzzles helped kitties. For instance, an obese 8-year-old male cat lost 20 percent of its body weight after using food puzzles for a year. Another case was a pair of sibling cats. They were constantly meowing for food, wanting the owner’s attention and stealing leftover food from dirty plates on the counter. The owner stopped leaving out leftover food, and gave the cats food puzzles, which slowed down both cats’ eating. Afterward, the cats stopped meowing for food so much, and they left the owner alone while they were distracted with the food puzzle.

how-does-your-day-begin

Food puzzles have worked on kittens and even senior cats

Food puzzles have worked on kittens, senior cats, three-legged cats and blind cats.  Delgado did caution  that young, old and disabled cats should be given easy puzzles as a way to ensure that they’re getting enough food.  And, for the cats who love them, keep them challenged by changing the puzzle.

our-deal

I think I’d better get started on making some food puzzles! Found some directions for making five different ones which I will share with you next week.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

WHAT Do I Feed My Cat?

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I’ve touched on this subject before. However, I’ve read new information which has caused me to rethink about how I’m feeding my own two cats. For years, it was only dry food and water for several reasons. The main reason is the fact that the older one wouldn’t eat very much wet food; the younger one tried to bury it!!!!! Ended up throwing most of it away, so I stuck with the dry food. It also helps to keep their teeth clean.

Brushing Teeth

We look at our cats peacefully sleeping on our laps or in their favorite spot and envision them as warm, cuddly, and affectionate. Biologically, they are actually lean, mean, killing machines because of their strong agile bodies with lightning reflexes, stealthy silent gait, razor sharp claws, long canine teeth, excellent night vision, highly attuned hearing and a superior sense of smell. We don’t like to think of them that way, do we? They can bring so much joy to our lives.

Taking a Nap

Raw and live prey animal cat food diets are potentially very biologically appropriate. This can be very time-consuming and hard to do in your own home. Commercially prepared cat foods are heavy on the carbohydrates which cats DO NOT need. What’s an owner to do?

Add More Tuna

Cats are carnivores which means they get their energy mainly from animal tissue. Commercial cat food does contain protein, but not all protein is created equal. Cats need a meat-based protein, not a protein from vegetables or cereals. Have you ever seen a cat stalk a vegetable? No, I didn’t think so. A cat’s natural diet does not contain a lot of carbohydrates, so they have a reduced ability to digest them. When you’re choosing what to feed your cat, always remember to consider the quality of the ingredients and the sources of protein.

Not Even If You Paid Me

Along this same vein of thought is an interesting article “Finicky cats” diet led to their mass extinction 12,000 years ago. Out of the six species of large cats that roamed the plains and forests of North America, only two-the cougar and jaguar-survived. Click on the link to read the article.

Since you’ve never seen a cat stalk a vegetable, you’ve probably never seen a wild cat milk a cow. What???? The idea that adult cats need milk is a myth. Adult cats do not need milk; kittens need their mother’s milk, not cow’s milk. Most adult cats are lactose intolerant and can’t digest it. Remember that cats are carnivores, and live on meat that provides a nutritional diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals. As for the milk, they should be drinking water instead. Some cat owners claim they have given their cats milk for years with no side effects, but these may be exceptions to the rule.

Tuna Disposal

A month ago, I tried the wet food with my cats again. Oh, my gosh, they love it! Couldn’t believe my eyes. Now that they’re getting this several times a week, they’re slimming down and have more energy. I am one happy lady!

I'm a Dangerous Tiger

Have you experimented with different foods for your cat(s). What have you discovered about their behavior and weight?

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667

What Dat Meens, Wide Load?

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In just a few weeks, it will be summer! Ahhh, the picnics, the hiking, the swimming. Now is the time we ladies are thinking of hopefully fitting into that swimsuit! I know, I know. The younger ones have already been working on their diets and exercise, but it takes us older ladies a little more time. Not looking for a stud muffin anymore; just want to get into the bathing suit. Which brings me to the topic of this week’s blog. Being overweight. No, not you, silly! Your cat.

Wide Load

Cat obesity is very harmful to felines and has serious health consequences. As in humans, if the calories burned up are less than the calories consumed, the result is fat. You can’t force your cat to exercise, so overweight and obesity can be hard to fight. Both of my males are neutered. The vet told me that it makes it doubly hard to keep their weight under control. The metabolism of the cat has evolved to run off of the protein and fats of their prey- such as birds and mice. The domestic house-cat eats completely differently and experts argue that this has a negative effect on their metabolism and predisposes obesity. Dry food is higher in carbohydrates than wet food. Mine won’t eat wet food, so they have two strikes against them already! Then, of course, there’s the matter of aging. As with humans, cats tend to put on a little weight as they get older because they’re not as active.

Please God

For the cat to be called “obese”, it must carry excess body fat that will compromise its health and well-being. Here are some characteristics to look for to evaluate your cat’s weight.

  • Your cat is noticeably sedentary

I Was Trying to Get Out of Bed

  • Has difficulty walking, running, jumping, climbing, and grooming themselves.

Just Because I'm Up

  • Most obese cats appear to have excessive appetite.

Haven't Eaten

  • When you touch your cat, you cannot feel the individual ribs.
  • When you stand over your pet, its waist must be seen and it must have an hourglass figure.

Taking your cat to the vet for an exam and blood tests can help determine if your cat being overweight is due to a medical problem. Cats come in all different sizes, so it can be hard to determine the right weight for your cat. Kirby was 24 pounds when I first came back to Wyoming. Dr. Molly said that even though he was part Maine Coon that was still too much. I’ve managed to get a pound off a year in the last four years, so we’re getting there. Losing weight too fast is a sign of a medical condition, so you have to be very careful.

Vet

The following is a list of complications caused by obesity in cats:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Arthritis: Joint and movement problems
  • Skin infection and matted hair due to their inability to groom themselves
  • Shortness of breath which may lead to breathing and respiratory problems
  • Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver
  • Bladder infection
  • Kidney and heart disease

It can be very challenging to compel your feline friend to exercise. You must still encourage it by offering toys since it can stimulate their hunting instincts. Putting food in a more remote place will encourage exercise since they have to walk further to get to the food. Of course, consulting with your vet is always wise.

I Should Have Had a V8

In the end, their attitude about their weight will probably be much different than mine!

Why Does This Make Mommy Mad

Do you have problems keeping your kitty slim and trim? Let us know what you’re doing to fight the problem.

 

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1604588667