Happy New Year! And, to our feline patients, a Happy Mew Year. (Fluffy actually celebrated the new year on January 2nd.) As we turn our calendars forward to 2024, many people are thinking about the things they want to achieve in the coming months. Cats also have a few things on their to-do lists for this year. A local Askov, MN veterinarian goes over some of them in this article.
You’ve likely heard of the Crazy Cat Lady syndrome. Believe it or not, there is a bit of truth to this. As it turns out, some cats do carry a parasite, toxoplasmosis. This particular parasite affects its victims’ brains … by making them more amenable to cats.
This, in turn, makes hunting a bit easier for cats, which is really quite brilliant of Fluffy if you think about it.
While most cases resolve on their own, there is a risk to pregnant women and those with immune deficiencies. Fortunately, taking a few simple precautions, like having someone else clean the litterbox and washing hands thoroughly, will mitigate the risks. Keeping your cat indoors will also do it, as most cats contract the parasites when eating freshly-killed prey. Ask your Askov, MN vet for more information.
Kitties are really never cuter than when they are hard at play. Fluffy may be a cold, efficient killer, but she’s also pretty comical when she’s on the prowl.
Take time to play with your furry pal daily. Interactive play is both more fun and more challenging for cats than just batting a catnip mouse around. Laser pointers are an easy way to do this: just keep one near your favorite chair or sofa spot, where you watch TV.
If we know one thing about Fluffy, it’s the fact that she gets very, very tired. Your drowsy pet can sleep up to 20 hours a day, though most of these sleepy furballs somehow manage to scrape by on about 12 to 18. (We aren’t entirely convinced that they actually need that much rest, but that’s another topic.) Offer your cat lots of comfy spots for her to curl up, sprawl out, or just flop down in.
As for you? Making sure that you’re getting suitable rest is very important for your health and well-being!
While cats will never give up all of their secrets, they do benefit from us having a better understanding of them.
We’ve recently learned that cats can make nearly 300 different facial expressions, and that they actually get much more attached to their humans than many people give them credit for.
Another bit of information that has come to light about cats? Our feline pals prey on a wide variety of animals and insects. There were a whopping 2,084 creatures on Fluffy’s menu, including 347 that are listed as threatened.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Researchers have also realized that we may have domesticated cats as far back as 9500 years ago. French archaeologists discovered an early burial site, in which human remains were interred with those of a kitty. The find, in the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, is 4000 years older than the earliest Egyptian art of cats.
We’re looking forward to finding out what we can learn about Fluffy this year! Of course, it’s not always easy getting kitties to cooperate with researchers. Perhaps our feline buddies will have a change of heart in 2024.
This one goal you want to nip in the bud.
Hairballs are an unfortunate side effect of one of Fluffy’s best features: her cleanliness. Kitties are very diligent about keeping their pretty coats soft and shiny, and will spend up to a third of their waking time grooming themselves.
In the process, your pet will inevitably swallow some of her own fur.
There are ways you can reduce the number of hairballs Fluffy gets. Brushing your kitty regularly can go a long way here, as you’ll capture that fur in the brush before it ends up on your sofa. If your cat seems to be getting too many hairballs, talk to your vet. Your pet may also benefit from hairball formula.
Fluffy is very, very good at meowpulating us. In fact, she may have started meowing specifically to boss us around.
As it turns out, cats usually communicate with each other using facial expressions and body language. They mostly only talk to us. It seems our feline pals figured out that having a meow that resembles a baby’s cry is very helpful at getting us to, well, spoil them.
Modern technology may lend a helping paw here. You can now get your cat programmable paw pads. These speak specific words when Fluffy steps on them. While results will vary, some of our feline overlords pick the idea up pretty quickly. (We suspect that some of Fluffy’s favorite buttons will be the ones that say Play, Food, Or Cuddle.)
Kitties have some pretty interesting ways of showing their love. Fluffy may curl up on your lap, follow you around, rub against your legs, meow at you, or sleep on your pillow.
Then again, she may also bite you, scratch you, try to trip you. You just never know!
Our feline overlords are always on the lookout for warm napping spots. (Fluffy isn’t actually cold blooded, and she doesn’t technically utilize solar power, but we aren’t sure anyone has told her that yet.)
At some point in 2024, you’ll find your kitty snoozing in the sunlight. Get your cute pet’s motor going by making her a comfy spot in a window, where she can relax and watch birds and squirrels. (You may get some bonus purrs if the spot has sunbeam access.)
While Fluffy probably won’t be gaining control of Scotland, she’s poised to make quite a mark. Researchers involved in a rewilding program successfully released 19 Scottish Wildcats into their native habitat, the Cairngorms. Why is that newsworthy? The Scottish Wildcat—a truly majestic floof—was formerly declared functionally extinct. We’re hoping that next year we’ll be able to announce that even more kitties are returning to these lands.
Kitties may be small, but they’re worth their weight in gold when it comes to comedic relief. Fluffy’s charming vocalizations, cute expressions, and generally comical reactions to things fill our lives and hearts with love and laughter.
It’s safe to call this one: at some point this year, you’ll find yourself chuckling at your cute pet’s antics.
Fluffy is already well on her way to achieving this goal. One thing that we have to chuckle at is the way our feline companions have become internet stars. We’ll never stop laughing at those cute videos of our furry pals being silly and adorable. We’re looking forward to meeting next year’s social media celebrekitties!
Using a laser pointer engages cats in vital physical activity and mental stimulation by tapping into their instinctual prey drive. This playful interaction encourages exercise through chasing and pouncing, which can help maintain a healthy weight and support agility. It also provides an excellent outlet for energy, reducing potential behavioral issues associated with boredom or excess energy. To ensure a positive experience, it’s advisable to finish playtime with a tangible toy that the cat can catch, offering a sense of accomplishment and preventing any potential frustration from the inability to “catch” the laser light.
Cats communicate their needs and manipulate humans through vocalizations, body language, and behavior. They often meow in a pitch miming a human baby’s cry, exploiting our natural nurturing instincts to respond to their demands for food, attention, or outdoor access. Cats also use purring, rubbing against us, and direct eye contact with slow blinks to express affection and solicit care. Additionally, they employ body language such as tail positioning and ear orientation to convey their mood and desires, effectively influencing our responses to their benefit.
Cats expertly communicate with and manipulate humans through various vocalizations, body language, and behaviors. They have developed a unique meow for interacting with humans, often tailored to trigger a caretaking response. For instance, a high-pitched meow may mimic a human baby’s cry, compelling us to address their needs. Cats also use body language, such as rubbing against us or presenting their belly, to signal trust and solicit attention. Purring, while commonly a sign of contentment, can also be a strategy to comfort themselves or communicate their need for closeness. By understanding these cues, cats effectively guide human responses to fulfill their desires, from feeding to affection.
Cats show affection to their owners through various behaviors, including purring, headbutting, or bunting, which signifies trust and comfort. They also demonstrate affection by kneading with their paws, a comforting behavior rooted in kittenhood. Cats may follow their owners from room to room, seeking proximity and companionship. Bringing toys or small prey is another way cats express care, mimicking their instinct to share a catch. Slow blinking, often called “cat kisses,” is a subtle sign of love, indicating a cat’s relaxed state and trust towards its owner.
Sunbathing is crucial for cats as it aids in regulating their body temperature and provides a comforting and relaxing environment that can enhance their well-being. The sun’s warmth also helps produce Vitamin D, essential for healthy bone growth and maintenance. Owners can facilitate sunbathing by ensuring their cats have safe access to sunny spots inside the home, such as window sills equipped with comfortable resting places. Additionally, providing a secure outdoor enclosure or catio allows for safe sun exposure while preventing the risks associated with outdoor roaming.
Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your local Askov, MN pet hospital, today!