Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kitty Cat Saturdays are Coming!

We are going to implement Kitty Cat Saturdays!  Each Saturday there will be helpful information from our licensed technician Kelley.  Today, I'm posting the introduction to this fun new segment.

To help visualize all the aspects of feline behavior, I've created a multiple-cat household.  Enter into my imagination and see them!

Our house has four cats.  Their names are Prince, Maude, Violet, and Sparky.  First and foremost is Prince.  Prince, of course, rules.  He spends his days patrolling the house, checking borders, and keeping the other cats in line.  His owner, Nikki, always knows when it's meal time because Prince has a very insistent meow.  When Prince walks through a room, he holds his tail straight up in the air with a little L-shaped curve at the tip.

Maude is our resident senior cat.  She's a little old, a little slow, and, well, a bit overweight.  Maude likes her cat bed, her food, and her peace and quiet.  She's fond of Nikki, loves her sun spots, and tolerates the other cats - except for Sparky, the bane of her existence.

Sparky is six months old, and he is into Everything!  If you hear a crash, it was probably Sparky.  He never walks when he can scamper; he's the first one to stick his nose into new things; and everything to Sparky is a toy.  Sparky loves plastic milk bottle rings, empty boxes, unsuspecting human ankles and, especially, grumpy old lady kitties like Maude!

Last but not least, we have Violet.  Violet lives a very quiet, nervous life.  She's Nikki's 'invisible' cat.  If she comes out when the other cats are around, she slinks around the edges of the room with her tail down and her eyes watching everything - especially Prince. She'd love to have more lap time with Nikki, but you'd never know it because she's always hiding.

Now, this is a pretty functional cat home, but there are a few things we can do to improve it.  Thus, our new Saturday project.  Today, we'll just start with one quick tip for each cat.

Prince has a lot of responsibility.  He has to keep an eye on a all the action.  We can help him out by making sure he has available resting places that are high - a bed on top of the refrigerator or a cat tree with multiple levels.  From here, he can comfortably survey his domain.

Violet needs a safe room.  She is on high alert when she's in a common room because everything about her seems to set off the other cats.  Pick a room like a spare bedroom that holds little interest for the other cats.  We'll give our Violet food, water, and a litter box in or near her safe room, and we'll make sure we visit her on a regular basis.  At first, we can just read a book while sitting in her room.  She'll know we're there, and she'll eventually venture out for that long-needed attention.

Our final tip is technically for Sparky, but it will also help Violet and Maude.  Sparky is a kitten, and Sparky is BORED!  He'd love a few scheduled play sessions with a laser pointer or a feather on a string.  (Prince will probably get in on the action, and Maude might even take a lazy swipe or two at the 'bird'.)  Also remember that toys that are left out all the time get boring.  If they rotate, they're new and exciting every time.

If we can use just one or two of these tips in our multi-cat households, we may have a palpable reduction of stress in our cats' lives.

This Saturday:  To Pet or Not to Pet

Kelley Wagner, CVT


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