All cat owners typically know what our kitties are telling us as we get to know their personalities. We can tell or decipher what they want by their actions and gestures. It is important for our cats to understand us as we try to teach our cats to do (or not to do) certain things. For instance, teaching our cats simple commands like ‘down’ or ‘no’ will help make our kitty a better pet, while words like ‘treats’ or ‘breakfast’ will help her associate you with something pleasurable.
Feline language is a mix of facial expression, tail position, ear position and other forms of body language in addition to scent and sound. Cats learn to make demands of us by observing which of their sounds cause which human responses.
What is Your Cat Saying?
Whether your cat is vocal or not, she will be fluent in body language, a key component of her interactions with you and other animals. Your kitty will paw you with a loving meow when he or she wants her food.
The following meows are fairly common to most cats:
Short meow: "hello” how goes it.
Mid-pitch meow: A plea for something, usually dinner, treats, or to be let outside.
The long meow: "Where’s my food? Did you forget to clean the litter?”
High-pitch Meow: "Don’t try to clip my nails!”
The long meow to nobody in particular – “I’m older and a bit confused”
And the more obvious signs of communication:
Purring: Most often a sign happiness but can also be response to hide weakness from predators.
Hiss: Stay away from me.
How you can communicate with your cat
As you communicate with your cat, the words you use are not as important as how you say them and the body language that accompanies them. If you say ‘no’ in the same voice as you use for ‘good girl’ you'll confuse your cat and she'll misinterpret what you're saying. Consistency is the key to successful communication with your kitty.
If you are trying to correct a negative behavior, use a loud, firm voice, and use this same tone consistently in tune with body language. For example, when ordering your cat ‘down’, use a stern voice and use one of your hands to point down.
To reward good behavior or when calling your cat to dinner or offering treats, use a higher-pitched ‘happy’ and motion with your hand.
If your cat is begging for attention when you are trying to work or trying to eat your food, you will need to say ‘no’ firmly and gently push your cat away without showing affection. Cats don't understand our personal space and will try to invade it, so you may need to repeat the no (gentle push) combination several times before your kitty gives up and leaves you alone. If you say "no" and pet your cat instead of pushing her away, she will interpret your actions as a welcome signal. (I have a really hard time with this one and usually give in!)
If you consistently use the same voice, facial expressions and hand gestures, most cats will have no trouble understanding what you say. The more you communicate with your cat, the better the two of you will become at understanding each other. Each cat has their own way of communicating and you will learn from trial and error what works.
If you are thinking about adopting a cat, but are worried about if they will get along with your kids, not to worry. Cats and children are a great fit. If you adopt an especially playful kitten or cat, your kids will be their new best friends. It is great for kids to have the responsibility of pet ownership while the cats benefit from the love and devotion of the kids.
If you can find a kitty that has some of the following characteristics, it will start the relationship on a solid foundation. Of course, it isn’t always easy to know in advance, but it is best if they are: tolerant of loud noises and sudden movements, enjoy being handled and pet, don’t claw or nip when picked up and are sociable.
Choosing a cat or the cat choosing you:
Take your kids with you to select a cat, hold it and see how they get along. If the cat approaches your children readily, that’s a great start. Have your child pick up the cat and see how they like each other. Does the cat cringe or try to hide when he or she hears loud noises? If so, she might not be the best choice for your family. If the cat cowers or hides in a corner, she might not be a good choice in a raucous family environment. If the cat purrs, however, that is a great sign.
When adopting, you don’t always know the breed of the cat, however; the below cats usually have more tolerant and playful temperaments. They are less likely to be possessive of or bonded to individual family members, which means they are less likely to see a new baby as a threat. These are all social, people-oriented breeds.
American Shorthair: These happy, social, energetic cats also get along really well with dogs and kids.
Burmese: Friendly and people-oriented, the lovely Burmese are very gentle with kids.
Maine Coon: These big mellow cats are naturally sociable and a great cat with kids, but they do need to be brushed daily.
Manx: This tailless breed loves attention, and is also a social, friendly cat. And they don’t shed!
Persian: Like the Maine Coon, a Persian needs daily grooming, so be prepared for that commitment before adopting one. They are social and love attention.
Ragdoll: Ragdolls also are very furry but are very gentle cats who love to be picked up. They are amiable and love kids.
As mentioned above, when choosing a cat based by the breed, it does not guarantee a perfect match. Try not to limit your family to specific breeds that you might miss out on some of the wonderful mixed breed cats awaiting for homes at your local shelter, many which are great kid-tolerant pets.
Don’t forget to Spay or Neuter Your Cats:
Spaying or neutering your cat is the single most important action you can take to ensure that the cat will not lash out at one of your children. When your cat is spayed or neutered, it not only calms them down, but makes them less testy. And, of course, there are so many homeless kitties out there that we don’t need any more.
Selecting a cat with the right personality for your family will make your household that much happier. Even a meek or shy cat can and will benefit from the experience and will learn to love your family and become more affectionate.
While our cats are demur for the most part, they do meow as a way to communicate with us. Adult cats don’t actually meow at each other, just at people (unless they are provoked or attacked). Kittens meow to let their mother know they’re cold or hungry, but once they get a bit older, cats no longer meow to other cats. Cats also yowl—a sound similar to the meow but more drawn out and melodic (aka the night meows). Unlike meowing, adult cats do yowl at one another, specifically during breeding season.
Below are the main reasons why our cat’s meow:
Cats will meow as a meet and greet
Your cat will usually greet you when you arrive home, when he or she meets up with you in the house or and when you speak to her. They will often look you in the eyes and meow to say ‘hello’.
Cats will meow to get attention or noticed
Most cats enjoy social contact with people and some will be quite vocal in their requests for attention. Your kitty will meow because he or she wants to be pet or stroked, played with or simply talked to. Cats who are left alone for long periods of time each day may be more likely to meow for attention. They are in “attention –deficit disorder”!
Cats will meow to ask for food
Most cats like to eat, and they can be quite demanding around mealtimes. Some cats learn to meow whenever anyone enters the kitchen, just in case food might be on its’ way. Other cats will meow to wake you up to serve them breakfast as they are hungry! Cats also learn to beg for human food by meowing.
Cats will meow if they want to go outside (even if you won’t let them)
Meowing is the cat’s primary way to let you know what she wants. If your cat wants to go outside, he or she will learn to meow at the door. If you’re trying to transition a cat from being indoor-outdoor to living exclusively indoors, you may be in for a period of incessant meowing at doors and windows. This is a difficult change for a cat to make and it will very likely take week for the meowing to stop.
An older cat will meow out of a pain and confusion
Elderly cats suffering from mental confusion, or cognitive dysfunction, may meow if they become disoriented—a frequent symptom of this feline version of Alzheimer’s.
If your cat meows excessively, take him or her to the vet
A cat that meows excessively should be checked thoroughly by a veterinarian to ensure a medical condition is not the cause of the cat’s distress. Numerous diseases can cause cats to feel unusually hungry, thirsty, restless or irritable, any of which is likely to prompt meowing. Even if your cat has a history of meowing for food, you should still have her checked by your veterinarian. As cats age, they’re prone to developing an overactive thyroid and kidney disease, and either one may result in excessive meowing.
When your cat meows, don’t ignore it or scold him or her
Do not ignore your cat when she meows. The one exception is if you know that she’s only meowing to get you to do something she wants. Otherwise, it is safe to assume that there is something wrong. It could be as simple as he or she is hungry, the water bowl is empty or your cat might not have access the litter box. It also could be your cat is in pain.
Don’t ever scold or hit your cat for meowing too much. While these punishments may send simply running away, they are unlikely to have a lasting effect on her meowing behavior but instead will make your kitty fearful of you.
Petpav is so impressed with Halo Pets and Freekibble.com’s mission in providing food to pets in need. In fact, this holiday season, homeless pets across the nation will be looking and feeling their best, thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and Halo Pets. For the third year in a row, Freekibble.com and Ellen DeGeneres’ natural pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets, will make the holidays brighter for homeless dogs and cats across the nation.
The 2013 Inspire Tour
During the 2013 Holiday Kibble Drop “Inspire Tour,” Halo and Freekibble.com will deliver more than 500,000 meals to pets in need. The Kibble Drop trucks, including two 18-wheelers packed full of food, will make a combined 12 stops throughout this holiday season.
At each Kibble Drop location, 5-8 shelters will receive a substantial food donation in honor of a special, inspirational pet in that city.
“Supporting shelters is part of our company’s mission,” says Halo CEO Steve Marton. “We are inspired by the stories of hope and love we hear every day - and want to honor those pets, pet owners and organizations who exemplify the incredible bond we have with our pets.”
Halo retail partners in many of the cities along the Kibble Drop route have generously provided a place where area shelters and rescues can meet the truck and pick up their Freekibble.com donation of Halo’s Spot’s Stew natural pet food.
The Holiday Drop provides homeless pets with great food
The Holiday Kibble Drop provides homeless pets the highest quality food possible, helping shelter pets look and feel their best, sometimes helping them find their forever homes. In fact, in a survey of 85 shelter professionals, 71% said that better food quality “definitely helps” dogs and cats to get adopted.
Since 2008, Freekibble.com has donated 11.5 million meals to shelters and rescues. As Freekibble.com’s official pet food sponsor since 2010, Halo donates the kibble distributed to shelters and rescues throughout the U.S.
2013 Kibble Drop Cities include: Nashville, TN; Washington, DC: Raleigh, NC; Philadelphia, PA; Greenwich, CT; New York, NY; Wichita, KS; Phoenix, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; San
Francisco, CA; Bend, OR.
Participating retailers include: Phydeaux, Doggie Style, Pet Pantry Warehouse, All Paws, Pet Club, At Your Service Pets, Red Barn Feed and Saddlery, and Pet Food Express.
We are so impressed and want you to share with all your friends about this amazing program. Check out freekibble.com to see how you can support these great people.
ABOUT HALO, PURELY FOR PETS®
For over 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet’s life. Halo offers natural pet food, treats, supplements and grooming products - including the award-winning Halo Spot’s Stew, Dream Coat and Liv-a-Littles treats. Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became a part-owner of Halo in 2008. HALO’s natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products are available at Petco, Whole Foods Market, your local pet specialty and natural food store, and online at http://www.halopets.com. ABOUTFREEKIBBLE.COM Seventeen-year-old Mimi Ausland createdFreekibble.comwhen she was 11 years old, to help feed the homeless dogs and cats at her local animal shelter. Freekibble.com and Freekibblekat.com are two of the five most-visited animal rescue web sites in the world, with over 125,000 combined daily visitors. With the help of Freekibble’s 500,000 loyal monthly followers, they have donated 11.5 million nutritious meals to over 200 shelters, rescues and food-banks across the country.Freekibble.com works with Halo, Purely For Pets® to distribute the pet food to all the animal shelters they are assisting. Freekibble is played in 137 countries.
We love our dogs and they become an integral part of our family. And, of course, we want them to live a long, healthy life; how long do our dogs live? There are many factors that can determine a dog’s life span and size is one of the most obvious. Most of the larger breeds live to be about 10 years old, while some small dogs can live as long as 14 years. Smaller dogs tend to live longer because their internal organs do not have to work as hard to function.
Below are some tips to enable your dogs to live a long time!
Make sure to visit your vet regularly
Visit your veterinarian frequently. Most vets recommend a check-up once every 6 months when your dog reaches his senior years. Blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound, CAT scans or MRIs might be necessary. Make sure to tell your vet about any changes in your pet's stamina, appetite or behavior, when it began and what might have triggered it.
During those visits, make sure to have your dog’s hearing and eyesight checked. It's not unusual for an elderly dog's eyes to look cloudy, and the condition may not signal illness. Like humans, however, they can develop cataracts and glaucoma, and can experience hearing loss. If your dog is seemingly disoriented or is startled when you approach, your pup might be losing his or her hearing.
Groom your dog often and try to brush your dog’s teeth
By grooming your dog regularly, you can not only keep his fur detangled, but can check for any bumps or lesions that you might not have noticed.
If you can, try to brush your dog's teeth daily. This staves off tooth decay and helps prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Brushing regularly will also allow you to notice mouth and tongue ulcers early on.
Keep your dog active
Provide moderate exercise for your pup. Exercise helps your dog maintain muscle tone, keeps his heart and digestion healthy and even improves his attitude (just live. Try not to overexert your dog. Gentle games of fetch and other play not only keep him in shape, but keep him mentally alert and interacting positively with you.
Stick to a regular schedule. Your dog likes routine and will certainly appreciate it now. Try to feed and walk your dog the same times each day.
As your dog ages, even the most social dog may not welcome strange animals or people, or even tolerate familiar children. Due to his failing senses, arthritis or forgetfulness, your dog may shy away from previously welcomed travel or other social situations.
Try to keep your dogs inside more often
Don't leave your dog outside alone. Keep your dog indoors and minimize his time outside. As a dog ages, he'll be sensitive to changes in temperature - aging hearts and lungs don't adjust as well to extremes of hot and cold. Since his senses, reflexes and thinking aren't as sharp, the dog is likely to be more prone to accidents, injury from other animals or even getting lost.
Make sure your dog has a comfy place to sleep
Give him a soft bed. Arthritis, elbow calluses and other conditions will make it harder for your dog to sleep soundly. Orthopedic dog beds are available.
Feed your dog a healthy diet to maintain his weight
An aging dog gains weight more easily because his metabolism is slowing. Your vet can recommend food that is high in fiber and lower in fat, so that your dog is eating his accustomed amount of food, but fewer calories. Always provide fresh, cool water.