Thursday, May 15, 2014

Adopting a Not-a-Kitten

Yes, kittens are so cute and cuddly! And clueless. And cause trouble.

The cuteness helps when we are helping them understand their world... over and over again. But there's a great way to bypass this highly intense and demanding stage, and still wind up with a great cat.

We simply go to a shelter and choose a great cat.

And don't forget, cats don't really mature fully until at least three years of age. There can still be plenty of kitten left in the older kittens and teen cats. While adults and seniors have lots to give. They have a whole history we can pick up on as we get to know them.

In my podcast #13, The Used Cat, I explain my tips and tricks for choosing a teen, adult, or senior cat. Despite all our worries, this is actually the best way to get a cat who fits us.

We know who they are

From six months onward, our cats show much more of their body type and personality than they do as kittens. So picking older cats means knowing what we're getting.

Tristan, 11 months, clear as a bell
As seen here, my cat Tristan is 11 months old. The long body and legs, and the high energy, instantly lets us know he is an Alpha cat type. When we got him as a three week old foundling, and even as he moved into his kittenhood, this important clue to his personality and needs was not clear at all.

More developed cats show their traits right away. We know if they are a cuddler or a climber. We know if we "click."

They know what they are doing

It's great to have an expert around, especially if we are cat newbies. Our more developed cat will have their own skills in place much more than they did as kittens.

If we are uncertain of our cat skills, working with a cat who has more maturity means we won't feel frustrated by our training or doubtful of our influence.

Kittens have tiny attention spans and high distractibility. It can take a bit of learning to interpret their behavior, and know what to do about it.

We negotiate as equals

Growing and grown cats known how to communicate and control their emotions. This means we can let them know what places to stay away from. Kittens think everything is a toy. More mature cats can be told.

The all-important negotiation stage can't happen with tiny kittens very fast at all. But a six or seven month old kitten is a delight. They can be trained. They do show they care about us. All without the frustration of younger ages.

We develop our relationship much faster 

They want to work with us and they want to be loved. Our instances of affection are actually more deep and lasting at this age. And it starts happening the moment we connect at the shelter.

A more mature cat shows outlines of planning and consideration that are the joy of cats. So don't deprive yourself of the Instant Gratification of getting a "pre-baked" cat.

My podcast tells you how!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Picking the right kitten

While we can influence our kitten, we cannot mold them. They come with their own personalities!

This is why I urge people to give some thought to the kind of kitten they would like... and give them tips on how to choose that kind of kitten.

While we took on our most recent kitten, Tristan, as a 3 week old orphan, if he had been six weeks old, I would have been able to tell he was an Alpha. This means he has plenty of energy, plenty of curiosity, and plenty of affection... if we are able to meet those needs.

Our Maine Coon mix, Reverend Jim, was an easily identifiable Beta cat. Sure enough, he has been a friend to everyone, a mellow boy who is easy to make happy when his social needs are met.

James Bond always had Gamma tendencies, and his shyness turned into devotion, once I reached his big heart.

It is important to know what Cat Type would work best for our home, with our existing cats, dogs, and people. Then we know what to expect, and what to give them to make them happy.

Listen to my podcast, How to Pick the Right Kitten. Take my SelectSmart quiz, What Cat Personality Will Be a Good Match? to find the right kitten for you!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Teaching Our Cats

Everyone agrees that cats are lovely to look upon and captivating to cuddle. But then, "they" say, cats are difficult to train and don't care about us.

Not only are "they" wrong, they don't realize that proper training springs from love... and vice versa. What they are missing is just how easy it is to do both.

When we do it right.

(l to r) Olwyn, Reverend Jim, Tristan
In my tenth podcast, Training is Communication, I explain that Training is actually the wrong way to think about how we raise and civilize our cats.

Trading is probably a better concept. What it boils down to is friends, doing each other, favors.

In the podcast, you can hear me asking favors from Olwyn and RJ, who, at different times, interrupted the podcast. I requested that they settle down and be quiet while I was recording. And they did.

The success of my method depends upon good communication. How else will my cats understand that I love them? How else can I convey my requests based on friendship?

Likewise, my cats need a way to communicate their love for me, and their own requests to have their needs met in the best possible way.

We can develop this vital skill in no time. I explain how in How to subtitle ourselves.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I'm a fan of multiple cats

I find cats more fun in bunches! From the very beginning of my cat enjoyment journey, I have been astonished and delighted by how cats interact, share responsibilities, and amuse each other and their humans. Properly supported, they can achieve a level of social sophistication that must be experienced to be believed.

Our three "kittens" love to play together
Many people worry about committing to another cat, no matter how much they would like to have another.

How can we choose the right cat to add?

How can we blend this new cat with our existing cats?

How can we smooth out difficulties if our cats have disagreements?

I cover a lot of the pitfalls... and how to avoid them.

We can have several cats who get along, delight us with their antics, and create what I call Cat Civilization. Because when we engage our cat's "social operating system," they are happy to be contributing members to a social arena with jobs, duties, and negotiations.

Mutual experience leads to social expertise; for both cats, and humans.

My podcast explains how much fun it is to have Multiple Cats.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do cats care for us?

Cats are not only emotionally connected to us, they are invested in caring for us, and increasing our well-being.

How can I be so sure? I've been carefully cared-for these past several weeks, as I've been struggling with a long bout of illness.

Tristan is in his own bag! He can come!
Many people are not aware that a cat's purr is actually a potent healing force. It operates at a frequency known to increase cellular growth, reduce swelling and inflammation, along with many other healing properties. And cats are willing to share this magic with us.

As seen at left, my youngest cat, Tristan, continually shows me that he misses me when I'm gone... and always comes up with a new scheme to accompany me on my errands. I appreciate the thought, even though I don't let him out of the house.

Anyone who has been "owned by a cat" has a story to tell about how they tried to look after us when we are sick, or came up with a way of getting us to feel better.

As I explain in my blog post, The Paw of Compassion, our cats actually exhibit empathy with their human friends, and care if we are feeling down; whether that's physical, or emotional.

Listen to my podcast about the cat's Paw of Compassion, and hear some extraordinary stories about how cats made a difference in the lives of their humans.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What are the cat's needs?

We are very fortunate to still have my Norwegian Forest Cat mix, James Bond, with us at the age of seventeen, (that's 85 in cat years!) and for him to be still fairly hale and hearty.

Just like large dogs, large cats don't have the longevity edge of their smaller cousins. I give a lot of the credit to our commitment to excellent care. We not only provide for the needs of James' body by fussing over his food and water, we also give him peace of mind by fussing over his litter box and scratching areas.

There's few things more frustrating than not realizing we are messing up their care, and then dealing with our frantic cat trying to signal their distress. When a cat doesn't use their litter box, scratches the furniture, and doesn't drink enough water... it really is our fault. Because when we do provide the proper care, our cat then loves to behave the way we want them to.

I discuss how to evaluate our food choices with The Cat Food Calculator. Find the tips and tricks about easy litter box maintenance I explained in what cats expect from their litter box setup.

We can't be happy when our basic needs are not met. Our cat is the same way!
    Meet all our cat's needs with my all-in-one problem solving care manual, Cat 911.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why "bad cat" is a misconception

Episode 4 of my podcast, Bad Cat, is about how often we mistake a cat's misbehavior as the cat "being bad."

But they aren't being bad. They are trying to get their needs met. How can that be bad?

In the cat's world, their original world of nature, desert, and must-concentrate-on-my-next-hot-meal, our cat would have taken care of their own needs, simply by following the urgings of their instincts.

When we open a can for our cat, we feed them... but the urgings of their instincts does not change.

Our cat still has the same needs to "sharpen" their claws, survey their territory, and investigate prey behavior... even if they are living with us, in our home.