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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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A Cat’s View of Fall

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Eyesight is getting better. Going to reblog a favorite from my friend, Colin. Enjoy, and please check out his other blogs also. Mageowl’s Blog

Cats have a different way of looking at the fall season than we humans do. Here’s a few examples of how a cat might view the changing seasons:

Summer’s over… the sun is dying… we’re all going to freeze to death! Oh! A leaf is falling, it’s a toy!

There’s not enough sun… we’re all going to freeze! We’re… we’re… is that a mouse I hear? It is! Let’s play!

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Leaves falling from trees? Changing colors, drying up… Mouse time!

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White powder falling from the sky? No sun? We’re all going to freeze! Where’s the blankets?

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Snow! Snow? Nap time, wake me in the spring.

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It’s fall! It’s getting colder! Time to run around and play until we all drop exhausted!

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Summer’s over? It’s starting to get cooler… that mean blanket time! Where’s my soft blanket?

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As you can see, cats have many different ideas on what the changing season means, some love it, others hate it.

How does your cat handle the changing seasons? How do you cheer them up? I’d enjoy reading your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks, Colin, for helping me out!

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

 

NO! NO! NOT the Vet!!!!!!!!!!!

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I recently reported that the last trip Kirby took to the vet was far more successful than any of the previous. I used to be a nervous wreck taking him in, but I paid attention to my own advice published on an earlier blog. Imagine that! These vets do know what they’re talking about.

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The suggestions I followed were to put the carrier in a room and leave it open so Kirby could go in and out without worrying about going out the door and to the car. I also put a towel over the carrier while he was in the car and in the vet’s office. According to the experts, it cuts down on the visual stimulation and keeps them calmer. The third thing I did, which I will mention today, is have them take the top off the carrier and keep him in the bottom while they trimmed his nails, examined him, and gave him his yearly shots. He didn’t make a peep! I was so surprised and elated, I could hardly stand it. I also didn’t go into the examining room on the recommendation of my own vet.

Most cats prefer familiar things and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. Everything about the veterinary visit is frightening to your kitty, including the carrier, the car and the clinic itself. Starting with the carrier, as I said before, place it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time. Place treats, catnip, or toys in it so your cat will go in, explore, and be able to come back out. You can also spray a synthetic feline facial pheromone in and around the carrier which gives the cat an “everything is good and happy” feeling. When you get to the point that kitty is napping or playing in the carrier, try giving them a treat to get them in the carrier and close the door. Repeat this “game” as often as possible. This makes the routine of getting into the carrier very familiar. When the day of the exam comes, remember to stay calm. Don’t chase your kitty. If you can’t lure them into the carrier with treats, open the top and gently lower them in backwards.

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During the car ride, cover the carrier with a towel and place it on the floor of the car for stability. Most prefer quiet, so no loud music.

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When you arrive at the clinic, find a secluded spot in the waiting room. Keep the carrier off the floor. (I need to remember this) Many cats are more much comfortable being examined in the bottom of their carrier under their own blanket or towel with the top of the carrier off. Boy, that sure worked with Kirby!

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If you have other cats at home, the one returning from the vet won’t smell right to them. If the cats are having a hard time readjusting to each other, use the pheromone spray.

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Cats sense our emotions. Staying calm will help your cat from becoming anxious and fearful. Also cats learn positive behaviors from rewards, not punishment or force.

All of the above were suggestions for normal, preventative visits to the vet which we do on a regular basis. However, there are some cat emergencies that need immediate vet attention. They are as follows:

 1. Difficulty breathing 

Death occurs after three minutes without breathing, so cats with breathing difficulties are on the edge of disaster.

2. Abnormal urination in male cats 

 This has the potential to be a symptom of one of the most serious crises any cat can face: urinary obstruction.  This condition, which is fatal if not treated, occurs when cats are unable to urinate. For anatomical reasons it occurs almost exclusively in males. Females are not likely to die from the problem, but they are likely to be suffering from discomfort that warrants treatment.

3. Signs of severe pain or obvious distress

4. Sudden paralysis of the hind end

Aortic thromboembolism, or ATE, is a complication of heart disease in cats in which a blood clot lodges in the rear (usually) legs. It causes sudden paralysis of the hind end. Affected cats usually will pant, vocalize, and show other signs of distress. It requires immediate veterinary attention.

5. Stopping eating and/or drinking 

 This often means serious trouble. It is not normal for any individual to go a full day without eating when food is available, and not eating can be a symptom of (kidney failure, complications of diabetes, intestinal obstruction) and a cause of (fatty liver) major health problems.

6. Protracted vomiting and/or diarrhea

This requires immediate veterinary attention, especially when blood is present. Cats who vomit repeatedly or have blowout diarrhea should see the vet immediately.

7. Known ingestion of toxins

Ingestion of toxics such as lily or antifreeze should be treated immediately. Rapid action can dramatically improve outcomes in many different types of toxicities.

8. Profound lethargy or collapse

This should trigger an urgent trip to the vet. Profound lethargy often manifests as “not moving,” hiding in one room for a protracted period, and not reacting to stimuli (such as the can opener or the dog) in a normal fashion. 

9. Seizure

Although a solitary seizure is not likely to be life threatening, owners should be aware that seizures often come in clusters that get worse over the course of several hours. They also can be a symptom of exposure to toxins such as mold or low-quality flea control products. Cats who suffer a seizure should go straight to the vet.

10. Major trauma

This should always trigger a veterinary visit. Owners of cats with gaping wounds or massive hemorrhage usually know this intuitively. However, sometimes cats who have fallen from height, been hit by cars, struck by garage doors, or attacked by large dogs can have major internal injuries yet appear unharmed after the incident. Any time you are aware of such an occurrence, your cat should be checked out.

11. Fights with other cats

Cats who have been in fights with other cats should see the vet sooner rather than later. Cat fight wounds are relatively easy to treat with antibiotics if they are caught early. If a delay occurs, an abscess may develop that requires anesthesia and surgery.

The above list is not exhaustive. If you have ANY doubts, get your pet to the vet!

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

Mews: 15 Shocking Truths Behind What Cat Behaviors Really Mean

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Reblogging this with permission from a fellow cat-lover from England, Marc-Andre’ . See more about Marc at http://katzenworld.co.uk/about/

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Hi everyone,

We came across this funny collection of Truths behind what cat behaviors really mean and just had to share it with you all!

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We hope you enjoyed these as much as we did! For the original post please go and visit WKNOWMEMES by clicking here.

Thanks,

KATZENWORLDLOGOnowords

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Okay, Let Me ‘Splain It Again!

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Time for another original story. Let me know if you like it.

 

Ralph and Fluffy lived together in the same house.  Ralph was a dog; Fluffy was a kitten.  Ralph didn’t think the same way Fluffy did which would upset Fluffy.  He would try to be very patient with Ralph, but sometimes it was hard.  He talked to him many times about how cats and dogs should get along, but Ralph wouldn’t listen.

Fluffy had a very comfortable bed of his own, but Ralph would always lay on part of it so he could be close to Fluffy.  He loved Fluffy very much and thought he was the greatest thing since peanut butter was invented.  Fluffy had cat food to eat; Ralph had dog food.  For some reason, Ralph thought that cat food tasted better than dog food and always ate some of Fluffy’s food.  The humans thought Fluffy had eaten it and wouldn’t give Fluffy any more until the next feeding time.

Ralph loved to play with toys and would always bring them to Fluffy so they could play together.  It seemed that he couldn’t understand cats sleep 18 hours a day and don’t want to play all the time.  Having to wake up when he wasn’t ready really made Fluffy crabby!  One day, Fluffy decided that he’d had enough!!  It was time to talk to Ralph and make him understand how he should act!  From that day on, there were no more problems.

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Home Improvements For a Cat (According to the Cat!!)

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I have a wonderful friend, Viv Drewa, who keeps me in stitches with her pictures and blogs about cats.  Since the last two weeks have been about moving, I wanted to share her latest thoughts about home improvements for cats.  (The pictures are from my gallery)  Here’s what she has to say:

Tonight I’m looking at how cats would like their homes improved. This list covers things as simple as lower counters to as complex as landing strips- yes, I did type landing strips.

Cats are simple in their wants, but sometimes they still want a few changes in their lives. One thing all cats want is a long stretch of carpet to run on, a landing strip of sorts. It’s much better for stopping on, tile and wood floors just don’t allow a poor cat to dig in their claws to implement a 180 degree turn, which in turn can endanger your cat. So do them a favor and get nice thick carpeting- there’s a reason it’s called carpet.

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Lower counters are also something cats would all enjoy, it would make looking for snacks much easier.

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In-floor sinks are also something most cats would enjoy, with faucets that they can use. Let’s face it, we humans are not the only ones who enjoy a nice fresh glass of water.

Floor mounted ice cream dispenser… come to think of it, I’d like one of these myself.

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Purr activated treat dispenser. Enough said.

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All two cat households should also be equipped with a wrestling or boxing ring.

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One last thing all cats wish they had is a spring-loaded mouse catapult. Catch the mouse, place it in the catapult and next thing you know there’s a mouse in space.

Hop over and read some of Viv’s blog.  You’ll find something funny and interesting, I’m sure.  Look forward to your comments.

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

Or Do I Wunts to Have Fun?

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Our little friend was facing a tough decision the last time we talked.  What would happen if he decided to have fun?

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If I wunts to have fun, I would HELP my human make breakfast.

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I would play all day long with occasional naps.

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I would spend time in my “secret room”.

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I would be in places I shouldn’t be.

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I wouldn’t let obstacles stand in my way!

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I WOULD catch that red dot!

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I would try something new.

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And, finally, I would exercise to keep in shape.

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This kitty has a very big day planned.  Hope his humans are ready for it!  Does it remind you of anything that your cat does?  Let us know about it.

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