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Caring for Cats

"MISUNDERSTOOD"
Article by Debra Stitt ©
(and "
Becca") 

This article is for those that have thought about having a cat, but donít know enough about them to trust adding one to the family. Hereís some helpful tips from Becca, queen kitty!

Even though itís normal for me to sleep about 18 hours a day, Iím kind of between catnaps. And, Iím too excited to sleep right now anyway. I always get excited about this time of day because itís when my mom comes home.

Yes, I know itís hard for you to believe but I CAN tell time. Maybe not the same way you do, but in my own way. So, even though Iím nocturnal, I save my active hours to spend time with mom and dad. Itís really important to me.

Mom wonít be home for a little while so Iíd like to talk to you about the many ďmythsĒ and misconceptions about me and my feline brothers and sisters.

1) We are not sneaky or evil, weíre just very curious and playful.

2) We are not as independent as you think we are, weíre just self-sufficient.

3) We are very smart and you CAN train us Ė we just leave the healing & rolling over for dogs.

4) We DONíT stink Ė unless youíre not taking good care of us.

5) We DO get attached to you and need you Ė and miss you when youíre gone.

6) Oh, and we CAN get along with dogs (see article on ďIntegrationĒ).

For example: When I hear the garage door open and the sound of the car, I just canít help but perk right up and get ready for a reunion with mom. I run to the door and wait Ė and end up getting rubs, hugs and kisses in return. Itís such a happy time and I want to take full advantage of it. Mom is always just as happy to see me Ė exactly as it should be. Iím so happy that itís hard for me to even let her get her coat off. I just want to cuddle and get more of those rubs!

We felines are all different. We have unique personalities, just like people, and we express ourselves in different ways. And, we RARELY let strangers see how cool we really are Ė we save that for the ones we hold dearest. Thatís what makes us so special. Once you live with us, thereís no turning back.

Iím watching my brother play right now with a toy that I really have no interest in. But, he LOVES it. On the other hand, there are toys that I love and he just ignores them. Thereís no accounting for taste with some kitties. There are some things we all tend to like, however, like boxes and bags. We can entertain ourselves for hours. But, be careful, I once saw my sister play with a bag that had handles on it and she got her head stuck through the handle. Man, we were scared Ė and so was she. She ran through the house trying to get away from the bag but couldnít. Thank goodness mom and dad finally caught her and got the bag off of her neck. Thatís the last time we saw a bag with handles on it. We may like something, but make sure itís safe for us.

There are a few things about us that some people really donít understand. For example, when I rub on your leg, it really means I like you. What you might not understand is that I have scent glands on my face, along my body, on my tail and on the bottom of my feet. When I rub on something, Iím ďmarkingĒ it. So, when I rub on you, it means Iím letting other kitties know that youíre mine Ė in other words, claiming you for my own. I donít do that unless I like you!

We LOVE to play. And, we like to play with you! I, for example, love to play with momís feet when sheís under the covers; or when she puts her hand under something and letís me play ďcatch the prey.Ē Itís a blast. My brother, on the other hand, likes to race mom down the hall to the bedroom. Heís so fast that he has to use her bed as a landing strip. He even tries to tackle her ankles along the way and almost trips her sometimes. Some people may think heís being aggressive, but we know heís just playing.

My sister likes to knead. This is an exceptionally complimentary action because itís something we do with our birth mothers and itís very comforting to us. Some of us enjoy it so much that we just donít give it up. Of course, mom really keeps her manicures up to date.

Speaking of manicures. . . Scratching is something that comes natural to us and you can read more about it in other articles posted here about the hazards and inhumanity of declawing. In fact, people that have taken out their kittyís claws have found that we will still try to scratch. We donít do it to be destructive and you CAN train us. Weíre actually pretty darn smart.

Weíre so smart. . . We DO know our names and we CAN learn to understand words and phrases. One of my most favorite words is ďkisses.Ē My mom taught me this one a long time ago. When she asks me for kisses, I know exactly what to do. Itís a time for mom and me to get cheek to cheek or nose to nose for a few gentle nudges. I really, really love this.

We DO get jealous! We each need our special time with you. So, never take in more of us than you can realistically handle. I always let mom know when I need time with her. I generally sit and stare at her until I get her attention. Or, I may clear the area of my brothers and sisters by acting up a bit. I donít hurt anyone, but I do get them to leave.

Another thing many of you misunderstand is when weíre trying to tell you that something is wrong or that weíre sick. If we ever go to the bathroom outside of our litter box thereís generally a good reason for it. It could be an emotional or physical problem,  an issue with the cleanliness or placement of our box, or we donít like the feel of the litter youíve chosen. This is a time when we need to see the doctor to rule out any physical problems. More often than not, whatever it is can be dealt with. You see, itís natural for us to want to dig and cover up whatever we deposit. So, when we leave it out in the open, you should take quick action.

Oh my, I hear the garage door opening. Iíve got to run. Itís good timing anyway because I wouldnít want to give away too many of our secrets. Youíll just have to adopt a kitty like me and find out the rest for yourself. If you ever need advice, however, feel free to ask. I love to help!

Iím off and running to get some of those hugs and kisses I love so much. . . .

Recommended link: CAN I ADAPT?
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Visitor Comments:

"Aww reading this the whole entire time made me cry. Everything listed on there is what Milo does. I feel so sad that he's away at the vet today because he is getting surgery. I love my son, and reading this made me realize it even more!

Thank you for this wonderful and uplifting message!"

Sarah 

(And Milo too. He's not here to say it, but he's thankful!) - 2/28/08

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