Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Does your housecat need a behavioral housecall? Help is here

(ARA) – Cats have earned the title of America’s favorite pet in part because they outnumber dogs in households across the country, but it could also be because their quirky personalities make life interesting.

More often than not, you’ll find that your cat’s entertaining antics leave you wondering, “What could she possibly be thinking?” You may never have all the answers, but one of the keys to living a more connected life with your cat starts with understanding.

“Cats can come across as complex because they can’t verbalize what they are feeling,” says Dr. Katrina Warren, host of “Housecat Housecall” presented by Purina Cat Chow. “That’s why it’s up to us to decode what’s going on in their minds, so we have a better idea of what they are trying to tell us through their actions.”

If you find yourself in a feline quandary, you’re not alone. Plenty of cat lovers – and there are at least 82 million housecats in the U.S., according to the American Veterinary Association – are looking for ways to bring harmony into their cat-owning households. Hence the success of shows like “Housecat Housecall,” a reality-based program featuring real cats, real people and real answers, returning to Animal Planet for its second season.

“Sometimes cats act out in response to changes happening in their homes that alter their daily routine,” Dr. Warren says. “Life-changing experiences like having a new baby or moving into a new home can have a huge impact on cat owners, but they can also mean big adjustments for their cats. The goal is to achieve a well-balanced life for both you and your cat, and sometimes that means getting advice from a professional.”

On the show, which airs Saturdays and Sundays, Dr. Warren and her team of cat experts equip cat owners with the tools and knowledge they need to work towards a lasting solution that ensures both the cat and owner are getting the most out of the life they share. Dr. Warren provides answers to some common cat care questions:

Preparing Your Cat for the Arrival of a New Baby

* Make changes to the cat’s routine in advance. If you are no longer going to allow your cat to enter certain rooms or sleep on your bed, start making those changes now.

* Allow your cat to smell the new smells associated with the baby such as powder and wipes well in advance.

* Make sure flea and worm control is up to date. A check up by your vet is a good idea while you have the time. Trim claws in advance of baby arriving.

* Obtain a recording of a baby crying and play this regularly at home so puss gets used to the new sounds prior to the arrival of the real thing.

Managing a Multi-cat Household

Cats generally prefer independent living, but not necessarily solitary living. Owners should respect the living arrangements that the cats establish and not force interactions.
It’s essential to supply each cat with her own “resources”, which include a feeding area, bowl, bed and scratching post. Have one litter box for each cat, plus one extra in the house.
Make sure you provide areas to climb, toys for play and safe places to hide or sit such as tunnels or high perches.

Find the time to give each cat some individual love and attention each day.

Keeping Cats Happy Indoors

Cats are much safer living indoors. They are not exposed to the dangers of infectious diseases, predators or motor vehicles. Most cats are happy indoors, but you must create an enriched environment.

* Provide a climbing tower and at least one scratching post. Cats love rooms with a view and a few high spots to survey their domains.

* Give them lots of cat toys – furry ones, colored ones, jingly ones and rolling ones as well as tunnels and boxes to play in.

* Bring the outdoors indoors with a pot of “cat grass” available at most nurseries.

Finally, Dr. Warren advises, look for help when tackling situations with your cat. Consult your veterinarian, talk to friends and gather information. Tune in to “Housecat Housecall” presented by Purina Cat Chow, to watch Dr. Warren and her team visit homes across the country helping cat owners address everything from a boisterous cat with lots of energy to more complex matters like helping a once outdoor cat adjust to an indoor lifestyle. The show airs on Animal Planet Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. EDT/PDT and 8 a.m. EDT/PDT on Sundays, starting June 6. For credible advice beyond the show, visit housecathousecall.com where you can pose your individual feline questions to a team of cat care specialists and view all of the webisodes from season one.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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