Cats have always been mysterious and even mystical as well as the first defense against rodents. Here are some cat facts to help you understand your feline companion.
It’s in the genes! You know a lot about your cat except, for many cat owners, you don’t know what type of cat you have. Basepaws, an animal health company specializing in genetics, can analyze your cat’s DNA for breed type, health markers, and its wild heritage. (You may have a cute kitten that is descended from a lynx!)
How it works: you purchase their kit, send them a cheek swab, and wait for your cat’s genetic report. You’ll discover what breeds and breed groups your cat descended from and what health issues can affect your cat’s life.
Personality Is your cat social, confident, and easy going or timid, shy and unfriendly? Studies have confirmed that not only is personality inherited from the mother, but that friendliness specifically is, in part, inherited from the father. The best time to begin gently handling a cat is before 8 weeks old. Feral cats may become adjusted to humans who regularly feed them, but they generally don’t like to be handled.
Foraging Cats in the wild eat numerous small meals each day and spend a lot of time hunting. This is why food puzzles instead of food bowls are so enriching. They mimic the cat’s natural choice.
Senses, habits, and interesting facts:
Each cat has its own signature scent. They spread their scent over their fur through grooming. Friendly cats rub up against each other to transfer their scent. This friendly behavior is called allorubbing.
Cat’s ears can be rotated at 180 degrees. The average cat’s hearing is at least five times keener than a humans.
Domestic cats spend about 70% of the day sleeping and 15% grooming.
Most cats don’t have eyelashes.
Cats can jump up to six times their length.
Cats use their whiskers to feel the world around them and to determine if they can fit into small spaces. A malady called whisker fatigue is caused by too much stimulation. For this reason many cat owners prefer to feed their cat on a plate instead of a small bowl.
Cats were first brought to America during Colonial Times to hunt rats.
Two hundred feral cats prowl the park at Disneyland on rat patrol.
Cats have also contributed to the extinction of 33 different species. Placing bird feeders in safe areas will save a lot of feathered beings.
Kittens often seek warmth in car engines. Always thump on your hood before starting your car to scare them off to a safer space.
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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The notch signifies that the cat is part of a community of feral felines that have been spayed or neutered and are being cared for. They are part of a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) neighborhood program to trap, test, spay or neuter, vaccinate and release the feral cats back where they were found. These cats are not your neighbor’s pet that goes inside and out. They are feral or wild and belong to no one.
When the cat or kitty is under anesthesia for surgery, a small portion of its left-ear is removed so that the cat colony care takers know that this cat does not need to be trapped again for this procedure. It’s a good thing. No new litters will be born and the cat can be returned to a closely managed cat colony. So when you see a cat like this, it is healthy, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered, and well cared for.
Neighbors Helping Cats
There are pockets of people involved in this program everywhere and several are in New Bern. Their purpose is to provide a life-saving solution to a cat overpopulation problem. These cats live healthier lives than the strays that are left to fend for themselves.
I have seen the success of this program in my neighborhood through a group named Derby Cats. They take the cats to Spay Today, Inc., a low-cost spay/neuter service in Greenville where $55 covers the cost of spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, and a 3 way combo vaccine (distemper). Derby Cats also provides pre and post-op care, any necessary medical care, food, litter and transport all made possible by the generous donations from our neighbors.
During the process, some of the friendly cats are placed into foster care where they can be socialized and adopted into a home. The ferals are released where they were picked up or, if that is not possible, are sought after as barn cats.
To learn more about Derby Cats, become involved, or make a donation, please visit their Facebook page.
A traumatized kitten from a trash can coffee cup finds a home, health, and happiness.
What Was That?
It’s 3:00 am, and five-pound Dora is tearing around the living room, attempting to climb the blinds and curtains and everything else she knows is off-limits during the day. All that can be seen is one little eye glowing with glee as she speeds by. “Having one eye doesn’t slow her down a bit,” says Ben, who found her on the side of a busy road almost six years ago when she was only five weeks old.
A Rough Start
“She was hiding in an empty cup by some trash,” Ben remembers. He noticed her little head poking out and pulled over. “She ran right to me, meeping and crying.” Dora was in a rough shape, weighing only nine ounces and covered in fleas and scratches. She also had significant trauma to her left eye, which couldn’t be saved.
Happily Ever After
Sweet Dora never seemed to mind the loss of her eye. She even tried to play with her stitches as soon as she came home from the vet after surgery. More recently, Dora’s job has been class mascot as Ben’s wife, Rachel, taught elementary school online. “Dora Zoomed with me every day. She’d walk all over the keyboard, sniff the camera, and twitch her tail when she heard my students talk. The kids loved it. She’d take a nap by the window to supervise.”
Hobbies & Habits
Dora’s hobbies include tackling her 17-pound older cat brother, Fluffy Ed, and napping with her more patient older brother, the Magical Mr. Mistoffolees. She also enjoys listening for the sound of a lid being removed from a rotisserie chicken container so she can roll on her back and beg by showing her fluffy belly.
~ Written by Rachel Donnelly
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One thing I love about summertime – the days are longer. That means I can take my dogs out for an early morning and late evening walk when the temperatures may be a little cooler and the daylight is stretched to the limit. It’s good for them and for me. There are more hours to explore new places. I know people who take their dogs to the beach or the river on a nice day.
I have found a new place close by to explore. It’s the Martin Marietta Park in New Bern. It’s still being developed and, sometimes, Davy and I have the park all to ourselves. Progress is being made with the boat ramp, restrooms and more. When this park is complete, it will have about 850 acres with activities for adults, children, and pets with forest, lake and river views. For now, even in the early phase of its development, it is pet-approved by Davy.
There is a 3.2 mile park loop that allows dogs on leash. Davy loves the exercise and the opportunities to sniff and smell. I love a good outing and the chance to see birds that I don’t get in my backyard. I can’t wait to see the birding activity that the fall migration will bring.
Short Leash = Safe Dog
When we are walking in the neighborhood, we spot a lot of squirrels, bunny rabbits, baby birds, and an occasional possum, or deer. I keep Davy’s leash short so he doesn’t have a snake encounter (they are out now too); I want to see exactly what is in front of his nose. My neighbor’s dog was frolicking in the park when she heard a yelp followed by her dog limping toward her. It turned out to be from a snake bite. If you have ever seen a dog swollen and whining in pain from a snake bite, you will think twice about letting your pup get too far ahead of you on the trails. A vet visit, pain meds, antibiotics, and time allowed her pup to fully recover.
On the Road…
Car rides are fun – now that they don’t always end up in the vet parking lot. Davy is happy to jump into his crate in the back of the SUV. An interesting side note: He knows by the direction I turn the car where he is likely to end up. When I drive him to school, he faces the back window; when we go to the park, he faces the front window. I can tell that he is happier going to the park!
Cats enjoy the summer too. They gravitate to their perch to watch the birds come to the feeder. Many of my clients have their feeders lined up with their cat trees by a window so the cats can get a bird’s eye view. Cats also love to find a sunny spot to snooze and summer provides them with comfy rays of sunshine almost every day. Kitties love to climb on the screen by the open window to get as close as they can to the flowers, animals, and scents on the other side.
Bird’s Eye View
I have a few clients who place their bird’s cage on the porch or patio on nice days so their birds can enjoy the scenery and the sun. I imagine that it feels good to a parrot, cockatiel, parakeet, and conure to have some wind under their wings and to hear our yard birds up close.
Your caged pets like bunnies, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, and your indoor cats are best left inside to stay out of harm’s way. They can have a fully enriched indoor space with toys, perches, hiding places, boxes and games where they can play in a safe and healthy environment.
Summer affords us a lot of extra daylight and nice warm temperatures to enjoy with our pets both inside and outside.
As the owner of Crockett’s Critter Care, I want you to know that you can reach out to me directly with any question, compliment, or concern you have about the care of your pet.