Wednesday, January 21, 2015

When Kittens Bite and Scratch

When you look at my hands you will see scratches. Know that these scratches are from the kittens that I care for.   When the rescued or abandoned kittens get to be a certain age they tend to play a little roughly by scratching and biting. Their  sharp little teeth hurt and sometime the scratch or bite gets infected.

Generally this rough playing with the biting and scratching occurs when kittens are about 7 to 8 weeks old. One day your kitten is sweet and the next morning something is different because your adorable kitten has discovered that her teeth hurt and she wants to bite everything and she also discovered that she has claws.

Discourage your kitten from playing with your hands or feet. Instead buy dabird (bird with feather on a stick) and run the bird across the floor. Your kitten will chase after the bird and find this to be amusing. If there are no litter mates for kitten to play with then buy your kitten a stuffed toy. Spray the toy with catnip and now you have a toy that kitten can play with and you hands are not their source of entertainment. 

 In addition to the cat toys, now is the time to teach your baby cat to use a scratching post.  I recommend buying a medium sized cat tree that is covered with carpet.  This tree will provide your kitten with hours of entertainment plus the cat tree will be their place a safe area to scratch.


Sometimes those dagger claws will puncture the skin and let me tell you this darling kitten’s playful behavior is not fun at all. So clip those claws so that they will not scratch you.  

I recommend that before you handle any stray or feral kitten that you make sure that you have on protective clothing; arms and legs covered with long sleeve shirt and if possible a jacket plus leather gloves to protect your hands.  Helpful to be current with your tetanus shot. Other than than enjoy the kittens as they are babies for only a short time.

Gray Cat at My Door is Injured

Not sure why cats find their way to my house but they do.  Our home is at the bottom of steep hill and it backs up 29 acres of dense woods with creek in the valley.  There is nothing around except a dead end street where cats and dogs are usually abandoned.   It should not surprise me but it always does when an animal finds its way to my side door. 

Tonight a large mature cat shows up at my side door and knew to scratch at the screen. I opened the door expecting to find my own cat wanting to come inside but instead there is a large gray and white cat sitting in front of the door looking at me.

My first reaction to this cat is to think that it is lost. So I turn on the porch light and go out to see if there is a collar and hopefully an identification tag. No such luck, this big boy with the shiny coat is well fed and I suspect either abandoned or lost.

I went indoors  to get some food and a bowel of water and set the cat bowls off to the side and that is when I realized that this cat was injured. His left hind leg is hurt because he is limping.

I called out to my husband and he examines the cats paw  to see if something is embedded but he said that the paw bed looked fine and he suspected cat got hurt in a fall or a fight with another cat. But again no bite or puncture wounds were noticed.  Maybe cat tried to climb a tree to get away from danger and fell?    We do not know but we both agree that this kitty that is injured must spend the night in our heated garage. 

 At this point we have no idea if this is somebody’s cat from the joining neighborhood.  All we know is that the cat is hurt and it is best that he is not spending the night outdoors tonight when coyote are in the area.  So there is another kitty that has found us and is of need of help.  We will do our best to care for him and hopefully we can locate his owner.

If you do not have a identification tag for your cat then I recommend this one. You can personalize it with your contact information.  If gray cat had a tag he would be home with his people tonight, instead of in my garage.

Spring Like Weather Means Cats will Mate

The last couple of days have been warm and the mild temperature is enough to make the unaltered cats eager to mate.
Feral Cat Bob was always eager to mate, he was neutered in December

In December we had taken in four cats to be neutered and thought we were all up to date with the feral and stray cats in our neighborhood but today I look out my back window and what do I see, a tomcat getting it on with a queen cat. What the heck is this and better yet are these stray cats or the lady down the streets cats that are not sterilized. 

January is not a good time for an outdoor cat to be pregnant because this warm weather is just a break in winter, snow in the forecast for this weekend and bitter cold weather. Not a good idea to have those kittens during the winter even if queen is held up in a thicket den, the weather will be too darn cold.

Since I am not about to let those kittens freeze to death I decided to get out the cat trap and try to catch the stray queen cat. Take her in for a spay and vaccines. Then I am going to go down the street to have a chat with the women with all of the unaltered cats and if she does not listen to me then I may report her to animal control because she is way over her limit and we can no longer continue to pay for her cats sterilizations. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ornamental Grass Garden Attracts Cats in Winter

In winter when the outdoor cats are seeking shelter the ornamental grass gardens if left in a natural state will attract cats. These cats will burro under the grass leaves and will gain a a comfortable resting spot where they are not noticeable.

Today while I was in the back part of my garden I had the feeling that I was being watched. I looked into the woods expecting to see a l cat watching me but saw none. Then I looked at the feral cat feeding station and again there were no cats there or hanging around.  I suspected that it was just a feeling that I had of being watched so I let it go and continued with my garden needs. Then I heard movement and heard leaves cracking and there was no doubt I was not alone in the garden.

So I moved toward the grass garden as the sound that I had heard seemed to be coming from that location.  I looked for the animal and again saw nothing.   My ornamental grass garden is thick and anything could take up residency there and would go unnoticed. 

Instead going in for a closer look I walked back to the house and got my Canon EOS rebel camera with the telephoto zoom lens. This is when a zoom lens comes in handy. My grass garden rather large and nestled behind is a private brick patio and small pond. 

While viewing through the camera lens I passed over the garden rather quickly and saw nothing. Then I sat and listened for sounds of movement. Sure enough I heard the leaves crack and pointed my camera in that direction. There at the base ornamental grasses close to the  karely rose boarder grass and Karl Forester grass lies a large gray tabby feral cat, that we call Fatty Boy. This feral cat has boundaries and if I had crossed them he would have lunged at me, hissing and showing me his claws. 

So very thankful that I found the whereabouts as to where cat was and learned what was watching me in the garden today.

Fatty boy is the in the photo that you view above.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Watching Cats at Backyard Feeding Station

I always feed the feral cats at the same time daily but since the weather has gotten cold I found that they are not running to the feeding station in the morning. I do not blame them because the last couple of days it has been really cold outdoors.
I normally put our dry Evolve chicken maintenance food mixed with Friskies whitefish pate. But since it is freezing I have taken away the canned food and I am only putting out kibble. Now if I see the cats in the woods I will put out the canned food because the aroma from the whitefish food lures the cats out of the woods and to my backyard feeding station.
Here is a photo of my insulated feeding station.  There are two doors and we set it on cement blocks to keep the snow and rain water out of the cavity.  Inside is a bowl of food and water.

Today we waiting for the cats all day to come to the feeding station, they did not come until midnight. To my surprise they are now in my yard. I guess fox or other animal ate the food because the cats are taking turns at my backyard feeding station. Soon I will have to o out and refill the bowls.
Do you have an outdoor cat feeding station in your yard ?
View this video to learn how to make inexpensive feeding stations for outdoor cats.

Foods NOT Meant For Cat: True Live Story

Over the years I have come to know that the feral cats are more cautious about the foods that they eat and in this respect they are healthier than the housecat. I say this because housecats are scavengers and will eat anything. From left over food on the plates in the sink to knocking over the trash to see what they can scavenger in there.

Most cat owner do not realize that human foods can make cats really sick, and in some cases these foods they eat can cause fatalities.

Here is a true life story of how human food effects cats.

A friend of mine told me that her four year old cat was dying of kidney failure and she had no idea why. The first thing I asked was did the cat eat poisonous plant. She said no that she was really good about keeping plants out of the house.

Then I asked if the cat had access to antifreeze or bleach and my friend again said no. So I asked her about table scraps from the plates left in the sink and this was the red flag. Most humans foods are toxic to cats; causing them stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting and in some case kidney failure.

My friend told me that they feed their cat human food only, and it was not a raw diet made up for a cat. She was feeding her cat chocolate, nuts, avocados, donuts, beer, milk, potato chips, raw hamburger, chopped onions and grapes. All of these foods are toxic to the cat and will cause the cat to suffer because these foods are poison to the cats kidneys.

My friend had no idea as to what she did to her cat, she told me that her cat loved these foods and I told her to take her cat to the veterinarian and tell him the cats diet.  Euthanasia was recommended as the cat was suffering from both kidney and liver failure. 

Learn more about the best and worst foods for your cat by viewing this video by Dr. Karen Becker.