March 2014

Honorary Cascadia Cat: E.T.

 

Allow me to introduce you to our inaugural guest cat, and what a handsome boy he is. Meet E.T.—12-year-old fur child of Jim and Suzann (it was Suzann who took these stunning photos, by the way). They report that E.T. is a big fan of catnip. “Gets downright silly with it,” according to the household humans; they tell us they named him E.T. because he was born with huge eyes that made him look like an alien. We’ll let Suzann give us the rest of the highlights:

"E.T. was born in this house. His mother was brought here not spayed. We believe she was already pregnant when she got here. She was a lovely grey cat. She became very ill about two weeks after giving birth to six kittens. She stopped nursing and we had to hand feed them all. The kittens all survived but his mom did not. She died a few weeks later which was devastating. We found homes for three of the kittens and kept three.

"E.T. is one of the most sweet, loving cats I've ever met. He comes when called. He is so nice that if he catches a mouse in the house and I tell him to drop it....he does. He's an inside cat, but if he makes an escape outdoors you would think he would run like the wind for freedom but he doesn't. If I see him slip out a door all I have to do is go out and call his name and he comes immediately. He loves to go for walks on a leash. He still has those big beautiful eyes. He loves his sister Bear more than anything. They are almost always together."

If you’d like us to feature your special feline as an honorary Cascadia cat, just let us know. And thanks, Suzann, for sharing E.T. with us!

 

Happy Pi(e) Day!

Today is 3/14--the day we celebrate that unique and special quantity that plagued as all in middle school: Pi (or 3.14 to put it simply). And the best way to celebrate this auspicious date? By eating pie, of course! Determining its circumference (π diameter) before serving it up is entirely optional.

 

Speaking of pie, did you know that lots of cats (and dogs too) are fans of pumpkin? In fact, canned pumpkin can be a healthy treat for your cat, if he or she swings that way. And if you have a cat with a weight issue (*cough-Effie-cough*), you can replace up to a third of your cat's normal food ration with canned pumpkin. The extra measure of fiber will help him feel full even with the reduced calories. Just don't mistake pumpkin pie filling for plain canned pumpkin; most cats aren't big fans of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices that routinely show up in pies.

Just Who Is This Jackson Galaxy and What Does He Know About Cats Anyway?

If you’ve heard the name Jackson Galaxy, it’s almost certainly through his Animal Planet Series My Cat From Hell. Full disclosure: I’m a fan. Cats have been horribly underrepresented in the fields of training and behavior modification (not to mention in the media) in comparison to dogs, to their detriment. While pet owners with troubled dogs might naturally turn to manuals or professional trainers, they seldom think of these alternatives when it comes to a problem cat. If a cat is aggressive, destructive, or territorial, the owner is far more likely to be completely unaware of the resources that might be available to help them modify those behaviors. Such cats are therefore far more likely to end up in shelters (or perhaps abandoned on the streets) than dogs with similar issues. And who wants to adopt a cat with a spotty track record? It seems terribly unfair, but problem cats are more likely to die, euthanized in shelters, as a result of their objectionable behaviors than dogs.

            Enter Jackson Galaxy—a cat behaviorist who demonstrates actionable methods of changing even the most extreme cat behaviors. Hopefully he’ll be just the first of a growing movement of cat experts who can help owners overcome their feline challenges, allowing “cats from hell” to reform and remain in their homes.

            And, although I would never consider any of our four fuzzy furballs hellish in anyway, I’ve been able to glean information from Galaxy’s show that has greatly enhanced my cat knowledge. Here are a couple of my favorite take-aways from his show:

1)    Unlike dogs (or humans, for that matter) who live with their feet firmly on the ground, cats operate in an additional, vertical plane. They need high places in their environments to use as escapes, lookout perches, and alternative routes. Giving cats an opportunity to get to high places is an excellent way to enhance their habitats.

2)    Cats are not vindictive. No matter how much it might seem like a cat is purposely marking or eliminating inappropriately, the act is not a commentary on his relationship with his humans. Instead, these actions almost always have to do with a cat feeling territorially insecure, often because of a change in his environment—even one as subtle as a new cat coming into the yard while the resident cat looks on from a window.

3)    An unexpected consequence of having cats declawed is that they often have difficulty tolerating certain cat litters due to paws that have become hyper-sensitive as a result of what can be an often brutal surgery—another reason to think very carefully before taking the irreversible step of declawing your cat.

                A new season of My Cat From Hell starts up in April. If you haven't had a chance to watch, consider tuning in. You never know what sort of inspiration you might find to improve your own human/feline relationship.