Category Archives: Cats

How to Travel in a Car With a Cat

Cat in pet carrier

In this post, we discuss tips on how to travel in a car with a cat so that you can make the experience easier for you and your pet.

There will be times where you will need to transport your cat with you in your car. The problem is, unlike dogs, cats are not well known for enjoying rides in the car.

Cats do not travel well. They enjoy their routines and the safety of their home and territory. Cats don’t like changes.

If you’re just going on a vacation, we don’t recommend that you even try to take your cat with you. Cat sitting services are well suited to your cat, who will enjoy the safety of her familiar territory and in-home pet sitting

 

Why Cats Hate Cars

Cat BoredomFor starters, most cats have very bad associations with cars. Their first and often only experiences with cars are usually unpleasant.

Their first experience in a car is usually when they are taken away from the only home they’ve ever known.

The second is usually being taken to the vet. And often, that’s the only experiences they’ll have. Nothing about them make your cat want to go on another car ride.

The challenge is to help your cat build a more positive association with your car. You will have to spend some time conditioning them to associate your car with positive experiences.

 

Tips for Car Travel with a Cat

Your cat should always travel inside a pet carrier while in a car. A cat roaming around in the car is a distraction to the driver and can be dangerous. An accident could send your cat flying or get them crushed by an airbag. Crate train your cat ahead of any planned trips.

Related: My cat ate a mouse, should I worry?

Make sure your cat has identification in case they make a quick escape from the car. You might think you’ll be able to stop them or they won’t try to run but you would feel very bad if that happened and your cat would likely be terrified as well.

Allow your cat to wander around and rub their scent in the car before a trip. Before doing this, move their bed or a toy or favorite blanket into the car so it gives them something familiar. Get inside the car with your cat, close the door, and let him sniff and explore for five minutes before taking them back into the home. Do this five-minute car visit a couple times a day for a few days before leaving on a trip.

Related: 9 Weird cat behaviors explained

When your cat is starting to appear more comfortable in the car, give them a few meals in the car, or offer high-quality treats that your cat wouldn’t normally receive. If your cat is a big fan of catnip, you can use that as well. You want to begin having them associate special things with being in the car.

You should introduce the pet carrier when your cat has shown that they are becoming more comfortable in the car. Set it the carrier on the back seat and start the car. Then turn off the motor and get out without going anywhere. You should repeat this a few times a day until they are used to this activity. Give them a reward when it’s time to get out of the car.

Related: How to get your cat to use a litter box

Eventually, you should be able to back the car to the end of the driveway with your cat inside. Do this two or three times in a row, and then let them out after your return. If your cat shows signs of stress, you may need to slow it down a little. This can take awhile. When they are used to a trip to the end of the driveway, expand it to a trip around the block and then after that, around the neighborhood.

 


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, dog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


Cat Myths We Should Put to Rest

Cat resting

In this post, we address the most common of those myths that you hear about cats that are not actually true.

There are many things in the world we believe because we’ve heard them for so long, we assume them to be true. Many myths that people have about pets or animals are repeated so often, we never think to ask if they’re actually true.

Let’s review some common myths about cats and their behavior.

 

Cats are low maintenance

Because cats have a reputation for being so independent and aloof, some people think having a cat will be very easy. Like many pets though, owning one requires your commitment and attention. Cats need to be fed of course, but they also need to be loved, they need to be played with and entertained, and they need our help in getting their needs met. They require our understanding and patience sometimes too. 

 Related: Is Your Cat Bored?

 

Cats won’t be happy if you don’t let them outdoors

Indoor cats can be just as happy as outdoor cats. Cats that grow up inside can be very happy as long as you give them the entertainment they need. Provide them with plenty of toys, scratching posts, window they have access to for outdoor viewing and climbing towers. 

Related: Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

 

Pregnant woman should not have cats

The truth is that you don’t have to get rid of your cat. It’s fine to be around cats when you’re pregnant, but you have to be VERY careful about cleaning the litter box. It is recommended that you have someone else do it if possible. Cat feces can carry a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, that could cause birth defects. Keep the litter box extra clean but the pregnant woman shouldn’t be the one cleaning it.

 

Declawing cats is no different than trimming nails

Declawing is NOT like trimming nails. In reality, it is actually the surgical amputation of the first joint of each toe of the cat. For many people and pet advocates, this procedure is viewed as mutilation of the cat. There are humane alternatives to declawing you can choose instead.

 


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


 

Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

Many different people choose to have their cats be “indoor-outdoor” cats. Their pets get to spend some time outdoors as well as indoors.

Others choose to keep their cats inside exclusively.

There are many reasons people use to keep cats indoors, and some of these reasons can be very beneficial to your cat and their health.

Let’s review the best reasons to keep your cat indoors.

The most important reason to keep the cats indoor is that the lifespan.

Outdoor cats can live for only 3 to 5 years average. On the other hand the, indoor cats usually live about 13 to 17 years. The huge lifespan difference should be enough reason to keep the cats indoors. Even though it’s a risk to leave the cats outside some cat owners to allow their cats to go out.

Cats should always have kept inside the house, so they are warm, cozy and most importantly, it is safe for them. Keeping the cats in the house is one of the most important action you can take to encourage the cat’s Safety.

Main reasons to keep the Cats indoors:

  • Indoor cats live longer
  • Vehicle danger
  • Risk of poisoning
  • Animal fights
  • Allergies
  • Cats can get lost

Vehicle danger –  Outdoor cats are always at the risk of getting hit by a vehicle. It is easy for pets to get distracted while running or chasing, therefore, it’s hard to form to keep an eye on the road while playing. That can result in an accident. Sometimes the cat can survive but they can still suffer from severe injuries.

Risk of being poisoned – It’s easy for outdoor cats to get poisoned since they have a lot of exposure outside. Poisoning risks include toxins like lawn pesticides, food from trash cans, and intentional or accidental poisoning from people. Outdoor pets are at risk for eating poisoned bait left out for rats, raccoons, and skunks.

Even though there is a risk of getting poisoned indoors by different kinds of toxic plants or chemicals, you have more control over keeping your home safe. Once a cat is free outdoors, you cannot control what they may get into.

Related: My cats ate a mouse – should I be worried?

Animal Fights – Cats that are outdoors can have unexpected encounters with wild animals. Though a raccoon may ignore them, wild animals such as coyotes can be a threat. Outdoors cats may encounter them and get injured.

They could also encounter a wild animal with a disease such as rabies. Other cats roaming outside, whether domesticated or feral may be extremely territorial and will fight if they encounter your cat.

Allergies – Though you may love your cat like your own family member, many people with allergies to cats can’t stand being anywhere near them. They may not “hate” cats, but they hate the way cat dander triggers their allergy symptoms, from mild fever to full-blown asthmatic attacks. Though they may not often be a threat to your cat, if these people are your neighbors they can put a strain on your relations.

Lost – It’s tough for a cat that sleeps all day on your bed to get lost. Indoor cats don’t get lost since they are in front of your eyes most of the time. They are also safe from human abuse since they won’t get targeted by the cat haters.

Related posts: Cats & Cucumbers

Health/exercise – Keeping cats indoors doesn’t mean that cats can’t exercise their hunting instinct. It’s up to cat guardians to provide a stimulating environment with plenty of cat trees, window perches, and scratches. Daily playtime keeps kitty aactive.

Do not risk your cat’s life. Keep them safe and motivated to stay inside the house. That way your cats can have a happy and healthy lifestyle for many years.

Related: Is your cat bored?

 

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

My Cat Ate a Mouse – Should I Be Worried?

Cat with mouse in it's mouthCats are natural predators of rodents. Some cats are particularly obsessive about mouse hunting. For many years, many people kept cats or fed outdoor cats because our feline friends are so good at catching mice.

Today it is much more common for people to keep their cats indoors full time. Just because your cat is an indoor cat doesn’t mean it won’t get a chance to catch a mouse. Mice will move indoors during the fall and if you have a cat, it’s likely they will be hunting for him.

This leads people to wonder:
If my cat eats a mouse, will he get sick? Should I let my cat eat mice?

 

If you want to be safe, you really shouldn’t let your cat eat mice. Your cat could eat a mouse and not get sick, but it’s possible they could contract a disease from mice.

Cat BoredomDiseases mice can give cats:

  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Intestinal Worms
  • Hantavirus
  • Rickettsialpox

Eating a mouse could cause your cat to be infected by one of these diseases. 

Toxoplasma can make your cat sick and can cause various symptoms ranging from diarrhea, pneumonia, liver disease, or diseases of the nervous system. This disease can also spread from your cat to you!

Roundworms are a common intestinal parasite that a cat can get from eating a mouse. Roundworms can live in your cat’s intestines and compete for nutrients they would normally ingest.

Hantavirus can quickly progress into acute respiratory distress and pulmonary edema. It can also be spread to humans as well, although symptoms may not show for weeks. 

Rickettsialpox causes ulceration of the area surrounding the mite bite, fever, and a rash over the body and limbs.

Another danger your cats face is that they can eat a mouse that has already ingested poison. The poison that will kill a mouse may also make your cat sick and even endanger their life.

The safest option is to not let your cat eat mice. Of course, that’s not always possible.

What to do if my cat eats a mouse?

Since you don’t know how your cat will react or if the mouse was diseased, you must carefully monitor your cat’s behavior and health for anything out of the ordinary. Watch for any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abnormal behavior. If you notice any symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

If you don’t see any unusual symptoms but are still worried, call your vet’s office for advice. Better to be safe because early treatment is very important.

Related: 9 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


Cat image by Stig Nygaard


 

Benefits of Pet Therapy

Therapy dog with elderly patient

Photo by Zachary Wolf

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. It is essentially a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment and rehabilitation. Patients in hospitals or nursing homes can benefit from pet therapy, especially children and the elderly. 

Animals have been a benefit to human’s well being for thousands of years. Only in recent decades have they been recognized for the physical and mental health benefits they give people and pet therapy might be recommended by a doctor.

Benefits of pet therapy

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Decreasing effects of depression
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improves social skills
  • Improves motor skills and joint movement
  • Increases verbal communication
  • Increases willingness to join in activities
  • Decreases loneliness and isolation
  • Can provide motivation to exercise
  • Helps teach empathy and nurturing skills

People who benefit from pet therapy

  • Stroke victims
  • Children having dental procedure
  • People undergoing chemotherapy
  • Residents in long-term care facilities
  • People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • Children having physical or dental procedures
  • People undergoing physical therapy
  • Patients working to regain motor skills
  • People with mental health disorders
  • People suffering from suicidal thoughts

Could pet therapy be of benefit to you?

You should ask your doctor, therapist or caregiver if pet therapy could be of benefit to you. They could recommend a certified pet therapy organization for you to get in touch with. 

Even if you don’t suffer from some of the more serious issues above, any pet owner can tell you how they benefit from their animal friends. If you are physically capable of caring for a pet yourself, you can get a dog, cat or other pet to be your companion. They will keep you company, ease stress and depression and maybe help you meet new people. 

How much should my cat sleep?

Cats are true masters when it comes to sleeping. They can sleep anytime, any place, under any circumstance. But why do cats sleep so much? Do they have sleep cycles like people do? Read on to find out more about cats and sleep.

Catnap

You may be wondering why your cat sleeps most of the time, don’t worry, cats actually require a lot more sleep than you and I. Cats are crepuscular creatures, crepuscular is just a fancy term that means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Their vision is best adapted to the light levels at those times in the day so that is when they like to play, socialize, and hunt.

Younger cats and kittens require around 20 hours of sleep a day while adult cats will only need around 13~16 hours a day. Of course your cat may need more or less sleep than others just like the rest of us require different amounts of sleep.

Cats don’t really sleep eight-hour sessions like us, they will cycle in and out of naps throughout the day. While they are sleeping their senses remain finely tuned. They can jump out of bed at a moments notice to be alert. Just as quickly as they awoke they can fall back asleep.

Habits

Cats are predators and they are hardwired to chase and hunt small creatures, mainly at night. Although cats are domesticated, for the most part, housecats are still in touch with their wild side. Even when cats play they still show these instincts of creeping about and pouncing on their prey. Hunting takes quite a bit of energy and all that sleep is used to reserve that energy for hunting, running, climbing, and stalking.

Related: Is your cat board?

Sleeping Problems

Excessive sleep in kittens is rarely a concern but if your adult cat is sleeping more it may indicate a medical concern. Many feline diseases don’t begin to develop until adulthood. Any single illness can cause your cat to spend more time asleep. Excessive sleep in an adult cat could also mean they are in pain, such as arthritis.

If your cat seems to have endless energy and is sleeping less it may be a sign of medical problem such as hyperthyroidism. Other signs of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, increased appetite and thirst.

If your kitten seems lethargic or uninterested in her surroundings they may be sick and should be taken to the vet. Sudden changes in behavior, including sleep, can mean there is a problem.

Internet Cat Video Festival Features Best Cat Videos

Internet Cat Video Festival

Do you love cat videos?

Of course you do!

Our research shows that 125% of internet users enjoy watching cat videos online. We were surprised the number was that low.

Since everyone loves cat videos then that means that everyone would be interested in the Internet Cat Video Festival. 

The Internet Cat Video Festival is described by its organizers as “the first offline celebration of online cat videos”.

The live event was held from 2013-2016 and gathered cat fans in a social environment to watch a curated collection of funny cat videos ranging from six-second videos to short films and everything in between.

Related: Cats and Cucumbers

The festival began as an event held at the Walker Art Center in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2013 but grew into a touring event in cities across the United States and even internationally to Ireland, Japan and Australia. 

After the 2016 festival, the Walker Art Center announced it was discontinuing the festival in order to pursue new projects.

The Walker donated its archive of related cat-themed ephemera to the Minnesota Historical Society and hopes others will be inspired to create copy-“cat” events of their own.

Related: 9 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

The Internet Cat Video Festival did come to Chicago in 2013, 2014 and 2015, but if you weren’t able to attend, you can enjoy 60 Things I Learned At The 2013 Internet Cat Video Film Festival on Buzzfeed and watch a few selected Internet Cat Video Festival videos at Animal Planet.

Is Your Cat Bored?

Take a look around your home. Are there things that your cat can do, play with and watch?

Kitty boredom can lead to a variety of problems and destructive behaviors such as:

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Overeating
  • Aggression
  • Scratching

Preventing Cat Boredom

It is important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This means an environment with things to do. Windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with are all great ways to prevent boredom.

Here are some tips to entertain your cat and prevent undesirable behavior:
Cat Boredom

  1. Catnip – Cats LOVE catnip. Offer your cat some catnip on occasion to roll around in and eat. You can also revive interest in an old cat toy by sprinkling it with catnip.
  2. Window Perches – Cats enjoy having a comfortable place to watch what is going on outside. Purchase a window bed for your cat or position a cat tree near a window to create an outside view.
  3. Create an Outside View – Position a bird or squirrel feeder within viewing distance of your cat’s window perch.
  4. Cat Toys – Make sure that you are stocked with plenty of cat toys. Hiding and then reintroducing toys that your cat enjoys is a great way to keep them interested.
  5. Scratching Post – Even a declawed cat will enjoy scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat should be able to really stretch when using it.
  6. Your Time –Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat or allow them to curl up with you.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems can be caused by many things. Be sure to take your cat for regular checkups and vaccinations. A healthy kitty is a happy kitty.

Cats & Cucumbers

You may have seen the phenomena sweeping YouTube: videos of cats scared by cucumbers. It may seem harmless and hilarious but animal experts share another story.

Experts warn that scaring your pets and causing them stress is probably not a good idea. Many are frustrated that the videos have become trendy and incite people to scare their pets for a laugh. Experts and pet-lovers alike call the cucumber trick, mean spirited, cruel, and lacking humanity.

The reason cats are scared is because they would not typically see the cucumber on a floor, and a surprise object triggers their natural startled response. Some experts suggest that cats may  also associate green with snakes, which are threatening predators. In addition, the cucumbers are often placed near feeding areas, a space cats consider a safety zone. The cats jump in reaction, assuming cucumbers are threatening.

Bringing new objects into your cat’s environment can be good mental stimulation, but your objective shouldn’t be to scare them. Experts suggest introducing items slowly or gradually over time. This is, of course, dependent on your cat’s personality and nature. Each cat reacts differently and should be treated as such.

The moral of the day is to keep cucumbers, or any other surprise object, away from your cat. Surprising and scaring your cat is not ideal to their psyche, could cause them to injure themselves, or lead to stress.

9 Weird Cat Behaviors Explained

crazy cats

Cat running across the house at full speed for no reason? Turns out there actually is an explanation for that, and the rest of your cat’s weird behavior. Cats are surprisingly excellent communicators and their behavior is their method of communicating with you. Take note if your cat displays the following behavior.

  1. Sprinting across home. Perhaps one of the most random cat behavior, these sprints are completely normal. Cats need regular exercise and occasionally a burst of energy overtakes them and they sprint about. If your cat does this frequently, try taking your cat for a walk or playing with her more.
  2. Nail biting. You may have seen this behavior before: your cat relaxing on the ground, paws up to mouth, and gnawing on their nails. This can mean  a few things including she needs a nail trim, she’s anxious, or bored. Try playing with your cat more to naturally wear down her nails, and keep her entertained and happy.
  3. Rolling around on the ground. If your cat rolls around on the ground in front of you, she’s telling you that she trusts you and may even want a belly scratch.
  4. Sniffing you or your face. Cats are curious creatures and use their sense of smell to learn more about the environment. If you don’t mind letting your cat sniff you, let the behavior continue. It’s natural and innocent.
  5. Biting. Your cat’s natural instincts tell her to bite when she’s aggressive or feeling threatened. Most biting is a provoked behavior or your cat’s way of letting you know she’s unhappy.
  6. Licking. Though this is a behavior attributed to dogs, cats lick their owners too. It’s just their way of claiming you as their human.
  7. Loud, whining meowing. This whining behavior is just that: whining for something. Whether it’s for attention or food, you cat is trying to tell you they need something. If you cat is older, this could be a form of kitty confusion and they simply may not know where they are or what they’re doing.
  8. Eating grass. There’s a few theories to explain this behavior. Some experts think that grass aids in digestion or contains enzymes that cats need in their diet. Since cats don’t have the ability to digest vegetable matter, they’ll usually throw up grass if eaten. Not to worry, this is totally normal and does not harm your cat.
  9. Waking you up. Cats are nocturnal and usually most active at night. Waking you up stems mostly from boredom. If you cat has been snoozing all day and only sees you for a short time before you go to bed, they might feel bored or lonely. You cat just wants your company and attention.