Cat Guide - How to take care of Cats and make them happy

January 2018

How to take care of Cats

Take good care of your cat, not only he will take care of you back, but the love between you will always be inspiring. Check these tips and curiosities that help your feline live hapily:
  • Ever since early 2000’s, Cats are more popular than Dogs as house pets. This happened mostly due to human urbanization, since Cats are better house pets than dogs (cheaper, safer, cleaner and don’t need to be taken for strolls or large environments);
  • Cats sleep as much as 70% of the time;
  • Cats are super-fecund: A cat can have kittens of different fathers on the same litter;
  • The gestation time of a Cat is between 64 and 67 days;
  • Some humans can be allergic to "Cats". In fact, people are allergic to some proteins found on Cat's saliva, which they spread on their fur. There are treatments (costly and long) to reduce this allergy, but any anti-allergic (anti-histamines) can temporarily stop this allergy. As a courtesy, if you are allergic and are going to visit a friend that have a Cat, take an anti-allergic before instead of cursing the Cat - you are the visitor, and the Cat owns the house;
  • Domesticated Cats can reach up to 50 Kph in a sprint.
  • Cats have a better quality of life if they have another Cat to play with. If you leave your cat alone often, consider having a second one for company;
  • Cats can survive from very high falls (The highest surviving cat fell from 32 stories, aprox. 100m);
  • Cats have two methods to cope with fall. For short falls (up to around 5 meters) they rely on their legs to absorb impact. Past that, the impact would crush their legs (and most likely cause lethal perforation on the body), so instead they open their legs to form a air-cushion and reduce their speed, hoping their flexible rib cage can absorb the impact. Between these two areas, while the cat readjusts the fall, there is an altitude that is particularly dangerous since the cat would be switching from leg landing to belly landing, around 5m and 10m. Falls from these heights are often more lethal than from higher ground because the cat do not have time to readjust before impact;
  • Cats drink water by turning their tongues downwards, not upwards, creating a bubble under the tongue as they drink. This is surprisingly more effective and allow them to take more water per sip, as well drinking from any angle;
  • House Cats don’t need to be given baths, since they can do all the hygiene they need. It is usually suggested you give at least a monthly bath for young cats to help with their early hygiene, but after that you can do only as needed. Cats with access to the outside should be given a bath once in a while;
  • Under no circumstance declaw a cat. It causes stress and problems with their behaviour, and it is now illegal in some countries. Instead, trim their claws once a week if it hurts you;
  • Neutered cats have a tendency to be fatter, therefore there's usually a low-carb diet for neutered cats;
  • Cats can use their taste sensors to “taste air”. They do that when they smell something with their mouths opened, regulating air to move over the sensors to provide extra smell/taste analysis;
  • Cats can’t properly taste sweets;
  • Cats were “domesticated” almost 7000 years after dogs. That is because, contrary to Dogs, Cats didn’t approach and let humans near them until they felt a better deal (rodents in cities). In a way, Cats domesticated humans. In many countries, it was a crime to kill a cat because of their use in controlling pests;
  • Houses with Cats are a lot less likely to have any pest problem: rodents or insects will be hunted down with extreme prejudice!
  • Cats are as protective to those they like as any other mammal. Except they are aware of their weaknesses and will only attack if really needed;
  • Cats purr as a form of mantra. The vibrations relax muscles, reduce stress and can even reduce pain. Because of that, cats can purr both when they are happy (to further enjoy the moment) or sad/in pain (to relax and reduce pain);
  • Cats are not vocal: in nature they don’t meow. They learn that from humans, to communicate exclusively with humans. Also, Cats can make a wider variety of sounds than Dogs;
  • Cats have incredibly better memories when compared to Dogs. Cats can remember events, feelings and people they met while young their whole lifes. Cats have a short attention span, which explain why they are harder to teach tricks - It is not related to their memory capacity, but rather their interest. They have no interest in learning tricks from humans if there are no clear benefits to them;
  • Studies show that it is easier to teach tricks to cats if the cat can choose their reward (present multiple rewards and let the cat pick one) instead of a predefined reward. The curiosity on which reward they will have increase their interest in participating;
  • Most cats (around 75%) are Lactose Intolerant. Do not give milk to a cat;
  • Cats should not be allowed to eat too much fish. Most raw meat, including fish, have an enzyme that destroys Thiamine, which is essential for cats and can cause serious neurological problems if lacking. As a rare occasion, meat can be a treat, but do not make it an habit;
  • Cats are mandatory carnivores, which mean they need meat to survive, because some proteins they need are only ingested from meat. Since Cats can’t eat most raw meats in a human diet (see above), like Cow or Pork, Cats should only be offered Chicken or some types of Fish. Rodent meat is fine, obviously (part of their natural diet);
  • Tuna is one of the few raw fish that cats can eat, however it is not a complete nutritional food and should not be used alone. Also, cats can grow addicted to it and refuse other food, so give Tuna only as a treat (Tuna is a great humid food, so it is healthy to give Tuna to cats about once a week). If you don’t buy special Tuna for Cats (usually pricey), you can use Tuna for humans: it should be Tuna only, without conservatives or oil. The label should read “Tuna in water”, for instance. Always double check that the ingredients are only Tuna, water and (maybe) salt;
  • Like Dogs, Cats should never eat Chocolate - it is poisonous to them! Other food that should be avoided at all costs: Onions, Garlic, Chives, Any Dairy (because of milk), Alcohol (obviously), Grapes, Raisins, Caffeine, Candy (Specialy those sweetened with Xylitol), Fat, Bones, Raw eggs, Dog food (on occasion, if the cat likes, can be used as a treat, but should not replace the normal diet), Liver, Tomatos, Any human medicine (unless explicitly prescribed) (ref);
  • Cats will completely ignore human food if you never give it to them. A Cat that is only fed Cat food and occasional treats will ignore human food unless left for them, and won’t bother you at the table;
  • Cats' jaw do not move sideways, so they have difficulty eating any big serving.
  • Cats with longer fur usually throw up "hairballs" more often, even if properly groomed and fed. It is normal for Cats to throw up, up to about once a day - more than that might mean trouble. Cats with very short fur can go several days without ever throwing up.
  • Cats with long fur is a human "invention". Feral cats have short fur.
  • Cats brains are more similar to human brain than Dogs, with nearly twice as many cortex neurons. Cats have a lower social IQ, but have been proved to be smarter and solve more complex cognitive problems then Dogs - when they feel like it. The keyword with Cats is “Interest”. Cats will also socialize with others once they get to trust them;
  • Cats have a wider array of emotions than Dogs and there are confirmed reports of Cats dying of sadness or depression for loosing their Human;
  • Cats use litter boxes not only for hygiene, but to hide the scent. Cats are not at the top of the food pyramid and have plenty of natural enemies, so keeping a low profile is important in a Cat way of life - thus, hiding their feces and keeping their fur clean to avoid smells;
  • Cats that are used with litter boxes (most of them) only leave poop in other areas or uncovered if they are defiant (sending a message to you) or sick. If they like you, probably the latter;
  • Cats whiskers are used to detect wind changes and measure if they can fit through a space;
  • Cats sweat by their foot pads. They have a higher body temperature than dogs and humans, so they are usually more comfortable in hotter weather than us;
  • If water is abundant, Cats can tolerate up to 55ºC;
  • The strongest sense of a cat is their hearing, which is better than Dogs. They will recognize a human faster by their voice;
  • Cats have scent glands along their tail, forehead, lips, chin and paws. They rub these parts to mark their territory - so when a cat rubs their tail or their forehead on you, they are marking you as theirs;
  • Cats groom themselves to remove the scent of others, including you;
  • Cats usually don’t like water because their coats are not good at insulating water;
  • Cats literally see better at dark: they have inferior daytime sight, but can see seven times better than humans in the dark. That is because cats are night creatures that hunt at night to avoid predators;
  • House cats might develop gum infections because they don’t clear their teeth properly with prey. Giving good toys and brushing your cat’s teeth can help prevent that;
  • Cats do not show pain, so the best way to see if your cat is in distress is to check their feeding habits - they stop eating when in pain;
  • Cats don’t have a circadian rhythm (biological clock), so they can sleep at any time they want, or be active any time they want;
  • Cats have very low ketone (blood sugar) reserves. This means that without feeding, they run out of energy very fast and might die of malnutrition even while having reserve fat. A cat should never go more than 3 days without some food. If your cat is sick, a doctor will usually prescribe a forced diet starting on the 4th day to give minimal energy so the cat can burn his fat reserve;
  • The most common disease in male cats are urinary tract infection or blockage. Cats kidneys are considered super-efficient in filtering water, but because of that the lack of water in their diet easily lead to problems. The early signs is the cat going to the litter box very often to (try to) urinate, eventually the cat starts (trying to) urinate everywhere, and then you will notice blood on the urine. This is a potentially fatal issue that requires immediate medical attention. Female cats can also have blockages but it’s rare;
  • Cats nose are normally cold and wet, and their ears are usually cold. If their nose is hot and dry, or their ears are hot, it is sign of fever;
  • Cats do not breathe through the mouth when hot, like Dogs. If you see your cat exhibiting this behaviour, he is in intense stress and should be taken to a vet;
  • Because Cats are not the top of the food chain, and have predators against them, they are always cautious. It takes time to most Cats adapt to new people or pets, and they can be aggressive to them. Introduce new “friends” slowly and do not force confrontation. You know a cat is comfortable with someone when he sleeps nearby, lowering his guard;
  • Some cats are naturally scaredly and will jump to any minor noise or movement. There is nothing you can do to stop it other than being prepared to the eventual jump. These cats might have past trauma, or just be naturally scaredly;
  • Cats easily recognize infants of any mammal - including humans - and will be careful with them. Cats never attack infants and are known to be extremely safe around babies. Cats have infinite patience with Babies and, if that runs out, they will simply run out and never attack. They also become protective of babies they know;
  • The lifespan of a cat varies depending on their breed, nutrition and environment. Most cats have a lifespan around 15 years, some breeds (like Siamese) around 20 years, but well cared indoors cats with strong genetics can live past 30. A cat is often called “senior” past 10 years;
  • Senior cats sleep more and eventually will groom less. The quality of the fur is an important psychological factor to a cat: if your senior cat have difficulty on grooming and keeping his fur clean and arranged, help him with a humid (warm) towel (once a day is ok), cleaning it and arranging the fur so he feels well cared for;
  • Cats prefer running water as their source of water, thus cat owners often have fountains for their cats. Most pet fountains not only keep running water (which is cooler), but also filter it to remove fur and hair. Keep the fountain well maintained. Keep a normal bowl of water accessible in case the energy goes out and the fountain stops working;
  • Cats do not like their food/water close to the litter box. Cats hide their feces in places they consider away from their hunting grounds, so they will avoid food/water near it;
  • Cats feel better when there are plenty of places to hide. If your cat have a particular place they hide, do not remove it and instead, make a point to keep that place always safe from people meddling;
  • Cats that get enraged by fear (example: at a vet) are dangerous because their fight or flight instinct takes over. The best course of action if a cat gets enraged is to try and leave him in a protected hiding place until he calms down. Most vets know how to prevent a cat from getting too scared, but some are unfortunately unprepared. Vets should always handle cats slowly and if possibly keep them inside their cage, where they feel “safer”. When still a kitten, let the vet handle the cat as often as possible so he learns not to be scared of them too much;
  • Leave the cage or bag you use to take your cat to the vet available as a resting/hiding spot, so the Cat doesn’t relate it with the terrible trip to the vet;
  • Avoid strings or any prolonged object being left around so that the cat could ingest it. These objects can stretch inside their intestines and cause ruptures. If you ever see any object hanging from the anus of your cat, do not pull. Try to cut it and wait for the rest to come out, while preventing the cat from pulling it himself, or seek a vet;
  • Stress can kill a cat fairly quickly, they are considerably delicate. A sign of intense stress is drooling and breathing with the mouth open. If you need to transport or have a trip with your cat, check with a vet for ways to keep him calm. A mild sedative/muscle relaxant can be used to make your cat sleep during the trip. Long trips should always be avoided;
  • Most Human medicine is poisonous to Cats. Never give human medicine to cats;
  • Cats are Godsends .... respect your masters!

 

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