Category: “Learn”

Cats and The Holidays: What You Need to Know

Cats and The Holidays: What You Need to Know

Cats and The Holidays:
What You Need to Know

The holidays are fast approaching – decorations are going up, treats are being baked and gifts are being bought. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that some of this holiday cheer can actually be hazardous to our furry friends.

If you’ve got a kitten or cat at home, or are considering making an adoption this holiday season, don’t fret! We’ve listed everything you need to know about your cat and the holidays.

#1. Your Christmas tree could become a jungle gym

If you’ve had cats before, you’ve probably seen their heads poking out of your Christmas tree at least once. While it might be a very cute and “photo-worthy” moment, remember that it’s all fun and games until your tree tips and knocks over your favourite heirloom.

#2. Beware of tinsel

Tinsel is attractive to cats and, ingested, it can create havoc in their stomach, or they could choke on it. We suggest avoiding tinsel all together when decorating.

Bonus tip: Cats are also known to chew pine needles – so if you’ve got a cat who can turn anything into a snack or toy, a fake tree might be the best way to go.

#3. Research before buying holiday plants

In many homes, holiday plants are a staple item when it comes to decorating. But did you know that many holiday plants – poinsettias, for example—are toxic to cats? Before buying your plants this year, make sure you do your research.

#4. Cats are not a “surprise” gift

While we love to see our cats being adopted, they are not a gift you should surprise your loved ones with. There are a few different reasons for this:

. . . Holidays are a hectic time, people are stressed and there is just so much happening at once. In the overall confusion and with guests coming and going, it is all too easy for your new kitty to streak out the door unnoticed.

. . . Cats take time to settle into a new home. The hustle and bustle of the holidays could cause your new friend to become ill from all the stress. It’s best to adopt when the cat can have some quiet time to adjust

. . . As cute as a cat or kitten may be, every member of the family really should spend some time with it prior to adopting, to ensure the animal is a good fit for your home

If you want to adopt for the holidays, do it early, or preferably, after the holidays when life is calm again.

The holidays are busy. It can be easy to get carried away, but it’s important to remember your cat’s safety, even through all the excitement.

Happy Holidays from the Ninth Life team!

Written by: Grace Robertson and Shelby Andrews
Original photo by Jo Anne Estacion
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue kitten pictured: Wednesday

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Why Adopt From Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

Why Adopt From Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

Why Adopt from Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

First of all, you are giving a cat a home and a new chance at life. As an animal lover, what can be better than that?

Ninth Life Cat Rescue shelters cats of all ages and colours, including, occasionally, purebreds. Mixed parentage kitties come from tough stock and are every bit as beautiful and lovable.

The volunteers at our shelters and those who foster in their homes love these cats and wish they could keep them all. Happiness is seeing a rescue cat and new owner head home together.

Of necessity, the cats are kept in large condos but three daily shifts of volunteers feed, clean cages, and socialize the cats during free play time. They get to know the cats intimately and are accurate and honest in evaluating their personalities, helping you find a perfect match. What information we do have on the cat’s history is posted on a card attached to each condo.

Here’s what you get when you purchase a cat from Ninth Life Cat Rescue:

♥ A cat or kitten who will love you for the rest of its life.

A cat or kitten that has been vet checked and is up to date on all vaccinations. A veterinary record is supplied.

♥ A cat that has been neutered. Young kittens under 6 months are returned for one day for their procedure, at no additional charge.

♥ A cat or kitten who is microchipped. Even an indoor kitty can escape.

♥ Four weeks of free pet insurance. You can extend the service if you wish.

♥ A PetSmart coupon book with lots of savings on pet needs.

Choosing a cat, or having a cat choose you, is personal. We want the right match for both you and the cat. Our shelters are always full and there is no pressure to purchase. Stop by anytime. We hope to see you soon!

 

Article and Photo by: Grace Robertson
 – Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteer

Rescue Cat Pictured: Buttercup

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The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

Kitten season arrives in early spring and often continues late into the year if the weather stays nice.This year it seems that we may even have an extended summer and that could mean more and more kittens. It is an exciting time to see all the little fur babies scampering around and entertaining everyone who drops by the adoption centres. Children squeal with delight as the fluffy fur-balls go flying by and parents chuckle at their silly feline antics.

Kittens, Kittens, Kittens

So why do volunteers at the rescue feel sad when kitten season is here? It is because once the kittens arrive, the older cats (i.e. 1 year and up) become invisible. How can sweet 8-year Maestro with the damaged ear due to a mite infestation compete with the frolicking cuteness of a small kitten? What about cute Aunt May, only 2 years old who has been looking for her new home for months now; how can she show off her loving quality when little fur- balls are bouncing around? Who will notice that Blackjack is the sweetest boy despite his rugged appearance? Or that poor Albert and Victoria have as much play and love in them as the little ones?

As volunteers, we smile at the kittens and know they will be adopted soon after arrival. Even the black ones have a good chance when they are tiny and frisky. However, many of us feel that our hearts will always belong with the cats that are older. You can see how grateful they are for attention and the smallest indication of love. They give so much and ask so little. They are content to sit and listen to you telling them about your day. They snuggle in and give comfort when you need a little hug. They become true, life-long friends.

Advantages of an Older Cat

When meeting an older cat, you can tell what their personality is like: a snuggle-bunny, a player, a listener, a talker. Even the shy ones show you what they are going to be like in their permanent home. Finding a personality to match what you are looking for in a feline is so much easier with an older cat. And what can be better than that?

Many things in life improve with age. As adults we are wiser and understand and appreciate more so why should we not apply the same logic to our cat friends? A mature cat offers gratitude and loyalty. They are lovable and loving and should not be invisible.

Remove the Cloak of Invisibility

So the next time you pass by an adoption area, take a look at those gentle soulful eyes that are pleading for another chance. The older cats are deserving of love and make wonderful companions.Consider adopting a mature cat and help remove their cloak of invisibility.

Written by: Patti Jean Altridge
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat pictured: Slick

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How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

As pet lovers, it’s tough to resist spoiling our cats with that extra treat or two every night before bed. But would you be able to tell if your cat became overweight? And if they did, would you know what to do about it?

An overweight cat can have health issues like arthritis, heart problems and diabetes. A healthy domestic cat should weigh around 10 pounds, although this can vary based on size and frame. While you should always bring your furry friend to the vet for an accurate analysis, there are a few telltale signs you can look for on your own, too. When you look at your cat, they should have an hourglass figure and no saggy belly hanging down. You should also be able to feel their ribs (but not too much).

Here are a few tips to maintain a healthy weight for your cat:

Replace dry food with wet
Wet food has more protein, less carbohydrates, and is an all around healthier option for your cat.

Cut out grazing
Rather than leaving a bowl of food out for your cats to snack on all day, try setting designated meal times.This will help ensure your cat isn’t over eating out of habit or boredom.

Read the bag
Every cat food is different. If you switch your cat’s food, make sure you’re re-reading the serving size, as it has probably changed!

Designate more time for play
Like humans, the more active your cats are, the easier it will be to maintain a slim waistline. It’s important to make sure your furry friends are getting the proper amount of exercise every day.

Adopt a friend
If you don’t have enough time to keep your cat active every day, it might be a good idea to consider adopting a companion cat. Companion cats keep each other happy, healthy and most importantly… active!

Find a new reward
If you reward your cat’s good behavior (and overall cuteness) with treats, it might be time to find a new system. Your cat would be just as happy to earn some extra play or snuggle time—and it would help cut back on calories.

While we all love having some lazy snuggle time with our cats, or watching them light up over a full dish or an extra treat, we must also remember the importance of keeping them healthy and active!

Article Written by: Shelby Andrews
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat Pictured: Lavender

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Why Your Cat Needs a Companion

Why Your Cat Needs a Companion

Does My Cat Need a Companion (The Answer is Probably YES!)

For most animal lovers, once you’ve adopted your first cat, adopting a second seems almost irresistible! Many potential adopters come into our shelter who desire a second cat, but have hesitations as to whether it’s the right decision.

Usually, their main concern boils down to a simple case of cohabitation anxiety (whether or not the current cat will be able to get along with the new one).

While there are a few cases where your furry friend may be happier alone, it’s very unlikely that this is the case! Here are a few reasons why adopting a companion cat is a great move for your pets:

#1. Companion cats keep each other company

While cats are much more independent than dogs and other pets, they still need socialization! If your household is always on the go—whether it be with work, school or other obligations—a companion cat is a great way to ensure your pets are still getting the attention they need. While you’re away, they can help to keep each other busy (but don’t worry, they’ll still be thrilled when you come home again).

#2. Companion cats keep each other active

Whether you have a young kitten who needs someone to jump around with, or an older cat who could use some encouragement when it comes to keeping active, a companion cat is an excellent solution.

Having a friend to entertain them will ensure your current cat is getting all the exercise they need, and at all times of the day. For example, cats can spend up to 16 hours sleeping each day, but most of these are done during the morning and afternoon. That means when you’re ready to go to bed, your cat is probably gearing up for its most active hours.That’s where a companion comes in!

#3. Companion cats keep each other mentally stimulated

We know what you’re thinking—double the cats means double the trouble, right? Wrong!

Did you know that a lonely cat is much more likely to cause trouble, and without even realizing it? Having another cat to keep it occupied can reduce (almost) any mischievous behaviour you may currently be experiencing in your home.

#4. Companion cats allow each other to BE cats

As much as you might understand and relate to your furry friend, there’s no one that can do it quite as well as another cat. Interaction with its own species will allow your pet to embrace its full feline!

It’s important to note that although companion cats have many benefits, introducing two cats takes time. Multiple cats probably won’t be best friends right away, but with a proper introduction, a companion cat will be the best decision you’ve ever made!

Article written by: Shelby Andrews
Photo by: Melissa Sue Visentin
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat Pictured: Bonnie

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Cat Introductions: How NOT to Make the Fur Fly

Cat Introductions: How NOT to Make the Fur Fly

Miss Kitty seems lonely and you want her to have a furry friend to play with when you aren’t there. You adopt a new cat who seems like a perfect match for Miss Kitty and take him home. Arriving home, you promptly open the carrier and say “Miss Kitty, meet Master Tom” and expect a harmonious reception. Instead of the anticipated friendly curiosity, Master Tom and Miss Kitty turn into a blur of flying fur, slashing nails, and high-pitched screaming (possibly yours’).

So what went wrong?

So many people believe that cats “will work it out” when introducing a new cat to a home. They may “work it out” but rarely is it in the positive way you had hoped. Improper introductions between cats can trigger problematic behaviours such as not using the litter box. Health issues can arise from stress and injuries occur from fighting. Many times Master Tom will be returned to the rescue after a couple of days because he did not get along with the other cat and Miss Kitty has been traumatized unnecessarily. So what can you do?

PROPER INTRODUCTIONS

Cats are territorial and do not appreciate change so introductions need to be slow and extra attention should always be given to the resident cat, i.e. Miss Kitty. You do not want your cat to feel threatened by the new arrival as if he is going to replace her.

STEP 1: When bringing home a new cat have a separate room set up and take the new cat directly there, not stopping along the way to let your resident cat sniff the other. 

STEP 2: Prepare to keep cats separated for at least 2 weeks. Cats have their own timetables and it could be longer or shorter.

STEP 3: Let the cats sniff on either side of the closed door to get used to each other’s scent. Placing their food bowls or treats here will make the experience a positive association.

STEP 4: Exchange scents by taking a favourite blanket or toy from each cat and giving it to the other. Watch their reactions and provide positive responses possibly with treats or soothing words.

STEP 5: When the new cat seems comfortable with his room and you (perhaps after a week or so), allow him to explore the rest of the house accompanied by you while your resident cat explores the new cat’s room. Always follow up with positive reinforcement.

STEP 6: If you have a baby gate or something similar, the next step is to open the door to the new cat’s room and allow them to see each other. Treats or food on either side of the gate will make them associate the introduction as a positive thing. The timing on this varies.

If step 6 goes well after repeated several times:

STEP 7: You can move on to controlled play in the same room. At different ends of a room each cat can engage with a person in play (if there are at least two of you). Watch for any aggressive moves. If play goes well, it can be repeated at a closer distance next time. 

After step 7 is successful, you can try allowing the cats to interact in a room but only while under supervision. Sometimes having the new cat in the carrier is the safest way to carry this out and gradually over time allow the new cat out.

Always supervise interaction between the cats until you feel comfortable that they can be left on their own for a short period and then extend the length of time until they are out enjoying each other’s company for good.

Doing it right means you only have to do it once

A proper introduction means less stress and less behavioural problems in the future. Cats may be happy enough to skip a few steps but always follow their lead and watch their reactions to each other. We want a loving and happy relationship for Miss Kitty and Master Tom.

For expert advice please check out these famous cat behaviourists:

Pamela Johnson-Bennett http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/

Jackson Galaxy http://jacksongalaxy.com/

 

Article written by: Patti Jean Altridge
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers

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What Your New Cat Needs

What Your New Cat Needs

You are no doubt anxious to get your new cat home, but it will be easier if you have the necessities in place before hand, litter box and food/water bowls. Staff in pet stores are knowledgeable and will be happy to help you choose what you need.

Cat Carrier
Lightweight and sturdy plastic carriers are available in different sizes and are a ‘must have’. You will need your carrier to transport your new kitty home and, later on, for veterinary checks. If you also choose a collar for your cat, make sure it is a break-away version.

A Litter Box, Litter and a Scoop
This does not have to be fancy but select a box that is roomy enough for the size of your cat. A litter box with a removable top will help contain the litter. Consider where you will locate the litter box because the cat may or may not like you moving it later. Sometimes litter sticks to kitty’s feet so consider putting a mat underneath the litter box. Options are clay litter (good for kittens) and clumping litter which, as the name suggests, clumps the urine and feces, making it easier to remove. Plan on using the slotted scoop to clean the lumps at once a day and monthly do a more thorough cleaning.

Cat Food
Ask the volunteer what your cat was being fed and initially stick to that brand to ease the transition to your home. If you want to try a different brand, do it gradually. Cats can be fed both wet cat food and dry kibble. Treats are always a hit but they are high calorie so should be used sparingly. Leaving cat kibble out all day also leads to cats eating too much.

Food & Water Bowls
The water bowl should be on the heavy side so the cat does not tip it over. Food bowls with rims (stainless steel or ceramic) are better as the cat will otherwise lick the food over the side of a plate. If you have a kitten, however, don’t get too tall a bowl. Avoid plastic as it will be harder to clean and retains smells. Put something like an easily cleaned vinyl placemat under the food and water. Change the water daily and keep the bowls clean.

A Cat Bed and/or Cat Tree, Scratching Post
Cats love to climb and enjoy being higher up so a cat tree is usually much appreciated, although optional. Many cat towers have a scratching post included or consider buying one separately. The corrugated cardboard ones are smaller in size and cats like them. Cats need somewhere to scratch. There are many cat beds or you could use a blanket of some sort or even make your own cat bed.

Toys
Even grocery stores have toys for cats and there are lots of do-it-yourself options too. A paper bag or cardboard box is always a hit. Be careful with items like string/wool that the cat does not eat it. Adult cats love catnip.

Grooming Tools
There are many types of combs and brushes for cats, taking into account the length of the coat. Ask as store representative to help you choose if you are unsure. Daily brushing promotes a healthy coat and keeps your cat from ingesting too much hair when they clean themselves. Most cats love being brushed and it is a nice way to bond. Also get a pair of nail clippers. If you are unsure of how to clip your cat’s nails or if the cat is initially resistant, your vet can do it for you.

Choose a Veterinarian
Your cat will be up to date with inoculations and have been vet checked but it is wise to early on form an association with a local veterinarian. Plan on yearly checkups.

Licensing & Microchip Updating
Some municipalities require you to annually license your pet. Your cat will be microchipped but you must update the information (usually done online). If you move or change your phone or email, don’t forget to update your microchip information too.

 

Article Written by: Grace Robertson
Photo: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteer
Rescue Cat Pictured: Chops

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Here’s Why You Should NEVER Declaw Your Cats!

Here’s Why You Should NEVER Declaw Your Cats!

While it’s becoming increasingly uncommon, one question we’re often asked by pet owners and potential adopters is “should I declaw my cat?”

The short answer is NO – you should never declaw a cat or kitten!

The surgery is extremely invasive, painful, and has many long-term repercussions for both you and your pet.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should never declaw your furry friend.

#1. It’s an extremely painful surgery

While you may think declawing a cat is like trimming your nails, the surgery is equivalent to a human having their fingers removed up to the first knuckle.

#2. Claws are a cat’s main defence mechanism

If your cat ever finds itself in trouble with another human or animal, claws are their first line of defence. Without them, your cat will feel clumsy and helpless, and may not be able to take care of itself should a problem arise when you aren’t there to protect them.

#3. Declawing cats can change their behaviour for the worse

When a cat’s claws are taken away, it’s common for them to become nastier, and more aggressive as a way to compensate.

Often, cats who come to the shelter without their claws tend to bite or hiss more, and are much less social than those with their claws.

#4. Clawing is an important behaviour for cats

Not only are claws important for cats in terms of defence, but clawing is also a huge part of their daily lives! Cats and kittens claw to exercise, maintain their nails, and stretch their muscles. It can also be a main form of comfort for cats in stressful situations.

Claws are an integral part of a cat or kitten’s lifestyle. Taking them away is not only painful and intrusive, but it could have long-term effects to your pet’s behaviour.

What can you do instead?

#1. Provide scratching posts

Cats need to be able to stretch and scratch on a rough, stable surface. Choose a scratching post or surface that is 3 feet or higher and made of rough material. Make sure the post has a stable base so it doesn’t fall onto your cat while it’s being used. Soft carpeting won’t necessarily fulfill a cat’s need to scratch. Sprinkle catnip on the scratching post periodically to encourage them to use it.

#2. Keep their nails trimmed

Build trust with your cat so they allow you to trim their nails regularly. When your cat is relaxed, use nail trimmers to trim the hooked part of their nail. Gently press the pad of their paw until the claws extend and you can see them clearly. Be careful to only cut the tip of the nail while avoiding the ‘quick’, which is the part that can bleed if trimmed too short.

Looking for more information about declawing your cat and strategies to manage this behaviour? Learn more on www.catscratching.com

Are you interested in adopting a cat or kitten? If so, see our adoptable animals here!

 

Written by: Shelby Andrews & Danielle Kramer, Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers

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