Why Does My Cat Do That?

Why is the cat doing that?

Jacket.aspxWe ask this question all the time in my house. We have two cats. One is a calm, loving lap cat. The other is a manic, race-around-the-house blur of fur who swings from the drapes, knocks over lamps, and creates general havoc. The funny thing is, these cats, both female, are litter mates,  adopted together at 5 weeks old.

We were stumped, so we hit the books at the library to discover how to deal with our Tasmanian devil of a cat.

We found Cats Behaving Badly by Celia Haddon and learned some good tricks for dealing with a crazy cat. Turns out, most cats are simply responding to their environment. Indoor cats, which our two are, need to be kept busy. They are dependent on their human pets… um, owners, for all their activities.  Some cats respond to a lack of stimulation by eating and sleeping and, consequently, gaining too much weight. Others misbehave in an attempt to break the boredom void. We have one of each.

The solutions? Provide vertical spaces such as tall cat condos or shelves for your cat to climb and perch on. Hide catnip mice (or just a little catnip) around the house and let your cat discover it. Cats love to hunt and their sense of smell is very keen. And the best thing? A good, old fashioned cardboard box. Cats LOVE boxes. Change the location and size occasionally and your cat will play happily for days.

Above all else, play with your cat. Cats need a toy that moves to engage their hunting instinct and that involves you. Throw that toy mouse. Dangle that string. Shoot nerf discs down the hall. (Yes, we do this.)

Need some more keep-the-cat-happy ideas? Try these titles:

cat1The Secret Life of Your Cat: Unlock the Mysteries of Your Pet’s Behavior by Vicky Halls

Starting from Scratch : How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

Cat Sense : How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw

Easter Pets

They’re adorable, all fluff and big watery eyes, but if you’re thinking about getting or giving a live pet for Easter, think twice! According to the Humane Society, 30% of all Easter pets will die in the first few weeks after Easter. Another 60 to 70% will be turned in at shelters, and almost all will not live to see a single birthday. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, take your time and do your research first.
        Rabbits come in all types and sizes, and they live an average of seven to ten years. Their health can be delicate, and simple diarrhea – most often from too many fresh veggies – can kill them. Inside a house, they will dig and chew at everything, so don’t feel bad when your couch gets a hole in it. If you choose a beautiful angora, with long fluffy hair, remember they need to be brushed and combed daily, or at least shaved down. Rabbits love to run and kick up their heels (which is very amusing to watch), so keeping them in a small cage all the time is just plain cruel. They are not hamsters; think of rabbits as your cat’s slow-witted little brother. You wouldn’t cage up a cat all the time, would you?

Ducks may live eight to fifteen years, and come in a huge variety of types and colors. Ducks are very social, and you may need more than one to keep your animal happy. Remember, ducks like water and are natural swimmers; keeping them in a dry environment like a dark basement does not result in a happy duck. Remember, ducks shed feathers everywhere, their water-proof feathers may leave grease on your carpets, and they will not be house-trained.

Baby chicks are one of the icons of spring, but they live five to eight years. It is their nature to hunt for bugs in the grass, and they will scratch and peck at whatever flooring is underneath them; they can crater dirt fairly quickly. Chickens (and ducks, too) may be subject to town ordinances, so check with your town first to see if you’re even allowed to keep them! Roosters can cause a ruckus; they don’t just crow at dawn, but any time they feel like it, which may not sit well with your neighbors. Both chicks and ducks have to be kept safe at all time from predators, including hawks.

If you’re not sure a live pet is right for your family, try sponsoring an animal instead. You can buy into a “share” of an animal at a zoo or refuge, and help keep it happy and healthy. You can also “donate” an animal through programs such as Heifer International, which helps people out of poverty by teaching them to raise and sell animals in developing nations.
If you do bring home that cute and fluffy new friend, check out these books to help you keep them around for a long time to come:

The Rabbit Handbook by Karen Parker

Keeping Chickens by Ashley English

Mini Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds & Care by Frances Bassom

Barnyard in Your Backyard by Gail Damerow



On Our Shelves: New Cozy Mysteries

snowJanuary’s batch of new cozy mystery titles have arrived!  Great reading for a long winter’s night!

Tapestry of Lies (A Weaving Mystery) by Carol Ann Martin

Home of the Braised (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

Teacup Turbulence (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston

The Ghoul Next Door(A Ghost Hunter Mystery) by Victoria Laurie

Playing With Fire (A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery) by J.J. Cook

Zero-Degree Murder (A Search and Rescue Mystery) by M.L. Rowland

Pecan Pies and Homicides (A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery) by Ellery Adams

Murder Sends A Postcard (A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery) by Christy Fifield

A Chorus Lineup (A Glee Club Mystery) by Joelle Charbonneau

Paws for Murder (A Pet Boutique Mystery) by Annie Knox