Dressing Cats up for Halloween

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!

Dear Baker,

My human keeps trying to ensnare me in a princess costume. Last year I thought she would get the hint when I chewed and shredded the mini lion mane she wrapped around my head, but it seems like she’s trying even harder to make me ‘dress up’ for Halloween. Any suggestions?

Yours,

Not Amused

Dear N/A

At this time of year it is important to remind our humans all over the world that DRESSING CATS IN COSTUMES WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! It isn’t cute or funny; it’s irritating. If you want to give us some extra treats for Halloween, fine, but please do not subject us to your stupid, tight, itchy COSTUMES!

Dogs, on the other hand, look hilarious in Halloween costumes. Feel free to wrap them, dress them, put them in make-up, what have you. Here are some of my personal favourite dog costumes for this year:

chia pet dog costume

Chia pet dog costume, from Dogs – The Fun Times Guide

ghostbusters dog costume

If you have four dogs, consider putting them in Ghostbusters dog costumes, from Costumes Supercenter

minion dog costume

I think your dog should just wear this all the time, not just at Halloween, because it’s that funny: Minion dog costume from Spirit Halloween dot Com

walrus dog costume

Consider putting your canine companion in this DIY walrus dog costume from Instructables. This dog wears it well, and is clearly having a good time.

dog pinata costume

Best of all – dog pinata costume! Here at Spot the Kitty we hope it comes with a big stick…

Thanks for your question, and I hope my advice helps!

Baker - ask me anything byline

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Yours,

Baker

Best Outfits for your Naked Cat

Meet Ramsey, the newest member of the Spot-the_-Kitty family!

Glenn (the kitten formerly known as Ramsey), the latest member of the Spot the Kitty family, doesn’t have much hair. That’s fine for us because we live in the desert, but if you have a hairless cat and winter is coming where you live, you might want to check out Baker’s picks for cat clothes, and keep your nude baby warm!

Sugar Skull Sweaters

Sugar Skull Sweaters

These fashionable Dia De Los Muertos motif sweaters are available from SimplySphynx on Etsy and are made in the USA. They cost $33.00 USD. Click here to go to the shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sphynx Cat Wear Clothing Company Gang Sweatshirt

Sphynx Cat Wear Clothing Company Gang Sweatshirt

These cotton-lycra turtlenecks have the Sphynx Cat Wear logo printed on the front so your cat can represent. They come in three sizes and go for $38.00. Click here to go to Sphynx Cat Wear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Hardy knit shirts

Ed Hardy knit shirts

These Ed Hardy style kitty shirts are made from 100% organic cotton. Nudie Patootie Clothes for Cats sells lots of different sizes and prints with prices ranging from $15.00 for kitten trainers to $35.00 for their ‘butterball’ line. Click here to go to Nudie Patootie’s website.

 

 

Posh Punk Cat Wear Crossover V-Neck

Posh Punk Cat Wear Crossover V-Neck

Posh Punk’s tagline is “No hair – Don’t care” and they have a sizing chart on their website so you can be sure to get the perfect fit for your little nudie. This pirate shirt is $20.00. Click here to see all their styles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a kitten sweater from a sock

Make a kitten sweater from a sock

If you’ve been blessed with a little nudie-pie like Glenn, remember that hairless cats need to be protected from cold and sunshine. Even if you live in a warm environment, your kitty could be chilly under the air conditioners. Not all kitties will wear clothes happily, so you might want to start training your little one while he or she is still a kitten. A sock with the toe cut off and holes cut out of the heel for legs is a fashionable yet inexpensive way to sweater-train your hairless kitten.

Here is Ramsey in his fashionable sock sweater

Here is Glenn in his fashionable sock sweater

Fighting for My Right to Scratch Stuff Up – A Letter Regarding Claw Covers

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!

Dear Baker,

I recently made my mark on my humans’ sofa, as is my right, and now they are talking about gluing these stupid bits of colored plastic over my claws. This seems inhumane and, IMO, callous. It is my right as a kitty to scratch stuff up. Also, I am a creature of the night. Who ever heard of a nocturnal predator with pretty nails?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Your friend,

Right to Claw

 

Dear Claws,

This is a big debate that has been raging in cat communities recently. Is it or is it not humane to cover our claws with plastic? Let’s look at the pros and cons of claw covers:

cat claw covers Baker shows off his pretty nails

Baker shows off his pretty nails

 

Pros of Cat Claw Covers:
  • Contrary to popular opinion, if your humans choose the right size for your paws and put them on properly, you don’t really notice them. You can still retract your claws normally and the claw covers, while pretty, do not add any weight to your paw.
  • You can still stretch and scratch at stuff, but with claw covers on, your claws will not be able to snag or rip your humans’ precious furniture.
  • They come in lots of fabulous colors.
  • They are safe. Unlike human claw covers, cat claw covers fall off when you shed the outer sheath of your claws, so you are not at risk of infection.
  • No matter how you feel about having your claws covered, these things are way better than the alternative that some humans still go for: DECLAWING!

    cat claw covers Lance prefers glitter

    Lance prefers glitter

Cons of Cat Claw Covers:
  • If you are an outside cat or make your escape for a little outdoor exploration, you won’t be able to defend yourself against other cats or worse, dogs, with these things on.
  • They are a little uncomfortable at first and if you pull them off and swallow them (as some cats are wont to do) before the glue dries, you can get sick.
  • It can be a little embarrassing if your human picks the wrong color.
How to Sink your Claws into Fabulous Fashion

Cats instinctively claw at furniture, drapes, or rugs. It is a way of marking our territory and imperative to creating a comfortable living environment. Chances are, however, your humans are going to try to find some way to dissuade you. It’s just human nature.

If your humans put scratching posts in the locations you usually like to claw, I recommend you use the scratching posts instead of the furniture. This is a good compromise that seems to make everyone happy.

cat claw covers - Once you have a manicure, it is important to keep it clean.

Cat claw covers – Once you have a manicure, it is important to keep it clean.

Some humans make it unpleasant to scratch at their sofas etc. by putting two-sided tape on the places you like to scratch. Yuck! Nobody wants to touch that sticky, gross stuff! After a few weeks, you will find a more pleasant place to scratch (such as a scratching post) and forget about the sofa.

Practical Information about Claw Covers

Some cats, however, are so set in their ways that these methods do not seem to sway them, and then the humans in the house may turn to claw covers. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to put these things on your feet is going to be up to your humans, because nine times out of ten, they are bigger than you, but if they do decide to go for it, here are a few things they should keep in mind:

  1. Not all claw covers are equal. We have used several ‘knock off’ brands, but we recommend the original, “Soft Paws” brand. Cheap claw covers can be too hard (difficult to get on), poorly shaped (easily fall off) or come with super-strong glue (don’t fall off with claw growth and eventually need to be snipped off.) We do not work for Soft Paws, so encouraging you to buy them does not benefit us in any way. If you do want to support us, check out our game: Click Here.
  2. Nobody wants to sit still while a human is pinching their foot and messing with their nails, so this is really a two-human job, and should be followed by lots, and I mean LOTS, of treats.
  3. Keep an eye on your claws. The claw covers should fall off after a few weeks to a month, but if they don’t, as your claw grows, the cover might start to dig into the pad of your toe, which of course would be quite uncomfortable. If a claw cover has not fallen off after six weeks, meow loudly at your humans until they clip off the offending claw cover.
  4. If the aim is to prevent furniture from being damaged, you do not need to cover your back claws, because we scratch stuff up with our front claws only. However, some cats have sensitive skin or anxiety issues which lead to overzealous scratching at the ears etc. If the aim, therefore, is to prevent you from scratching yourself, you should have the claw covers attached to your back claws.

    cat claw covers - They come in a variety of colors

    cat claw covers – They come in a variety of colors

I hope these tips help you in your long struggle to get along with your humans.

Baker - ask me anything byline

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Your friend and fashion consultant,

Baker

Healthy Eating Habits — A Letter Regarding Cat Food

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!

Dear Baker,

My human refuses to feed me a steady diet of tinned tuna, no matter how much I meow and bite her hand. Am I doing something wrong? All I want is to eat like the beast I am.

Your pal,

Frustrated and Furry in Phoenix

Dear FFPh,

It’s certainly normal for a cat to want to eat nothing but tinned tuna, and compared to some of the cat foods on the market, it seems like it would be a decent diet. However, to make sure we give you the best eating advice possible, we’ve done some research into healthy eating for cats and this is what we have found out:

Cats are Carnivores

Sure, cats, dogs, and bears are all members of the family carnivora, but unlike dogs and bears, who actually have very omnivorous diets, we cats are dedicated carnivores. That means we need to eat meat and nothing but meat to be healthy.

lion eating warthog

A lion eating a warthog

Look at the wild cats. Lions, cheetahs, pumas… these felines are all predators, at the tops of their food chains. You don’t see them foraging for corn meal or veggies. Our bodies are the same, albeit smaller and possibly fluffier, but like our wild cousins, we need to eat a meat-based diet. We do need a little roughage to help us digest this meat, as any cat who has ever gone outside specifically to nom grass can tell you. Good sources of roughage are grass (as mentioned), some fruits such as pumpkin, and some leafy vegetables such as spinach, as long as the bulk of our diet is meat.

So, you may say, why not the tinned tuna? Well, my furry friend, if you’ve ever been on an African safari and watched Simba eating, you’ll notice that our wild cousins don’t just eat the muscle, like our humans tend to do. They eat the organs, the skin, the eyeballs, and the cartilage, and then they crunch up the bones and eat the marrow. There’s almost nothing left for the hyenas and vultures. To be honest, I don’t even know how those scavengers survive on the lions’ left-overs. Organs and all that other good stuff contains loads of nutrients that we can’t get from muscle alone. A good cat food will contain lots of animal products, unlike a tin of tuna, which contains only muscle meat.

And that brings us to:

Best and Worst Cat Food Brands

When you’re choosing your cat food brand, have your human first read the ingredients. Don’t bother with the gimmicky or persuasive words splattered in big print on the front of the bag, like “gourmet,” “premium,” or “vet approved.” Just find out what’s actually in the food.

Good, healthy cat food should be made of meat. That’s pretty straight-forward, isn’t it?

Here’s a list of things to avoid in your cat food:

  • By-products – these are the parts of slaughtered animals that aren’t even good enough for hot dog wieners, like brain, blood, and lungs. They’re not so bad but shouldn’t be the main or only source of animal product in your food.
  • Proteins from corn (“corn gluten meal” “corn meal”)
  • Proteins from soy (“soybean meal”, “soy flour”, “soy meal”)
  • Grains such as wheat, white rice. They are high in carbs and wheat has gluten, neither of which cats can digest.
  • Rye. It is very harsh to digest and pets don’t like it.
  • When 3 of first 5 ingredients are grains
  • Potatoes (except sweet potatoes). They are high-glycemic, causing peaks in blood sugar.
  • Tapioca, also high-glycemic.
  • Artificial preservatives and colorants, which are not necessary in pet food and some have been linked to cancer.

You’ll have a difficult time finding a cat food with none of the above, but if you can find a food that is mostly meat and has very little of any of the other stuff, you’re going to be healthy.

According to “Cat Food Dispenser Reviews,” these, then are the top best yummy cat foods based on their ingredients:

Orijen-Cat-and-Kitten-Formula

Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula

Orijen is made with fresh meats which are free of preservatives. It is grain-free and contains all the essential amino acids a cat needs.

 

 

 

 

Petcurean-Go-Fit-Grain-Fre-Formula-e1422133867230

Petcurean Go Fit Grain Free Formula

Petcurean Go! Fit + Free Grain-Free is made with a variety of meats, including turkey, duck, fish, and chicken, and has added chicken fat for energy instead of carbohydrates (which cats can’t digest.)

 

 

 

 

Acana-Pacifica-Regional-e1411326413655

Acana Pacifica Regional

Acana Pacifica Regional formula is made with wild fish caught in the Canadian Pacific, such as herring, flounder, and hake, and it also includes some fresh fruit and veggies. This cat food contains all the essential amino acids you need.

 

 

 

Read all the info on these and other great cat-food brands on the Cat Food Dispensary website by clicking here.

Our research led us to the top WORST cat foods according to their ingredients, too. BHA is a preservative found in many pet foods that has been linked to cancer!

9lives

9lives

The main ingredients in 9 Lives are corn, chicken by-product, corn, soybean, and wheat. Yuck! Cat’s can’t digest any of that stuff! That’s why this cat food also has a bunch of added fat for energy and vitamins so you won’t die. This nasty stuff also has BHA added as a preservative, so if you eat it for your whole nine lives, expect to get cancer.

 

 

Fancy Feast

Fancy Feast

The first five ingredients of Fancy Feast (Filet Mignon Flavour) are corn, corn, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and animal fat. There is no filet mignon listed anywhere on the ingredients, so I think it’s false advertising. It’s like when your humans drink kool-aid and call it juice.

 

 

friskies

Friskies

Friskies is another unhealthy cat food choice. Its main ingredients are also corn, corn, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and animal fat. This cat food has a lot of artificial flavour and colour added so your humans will like the look of it, but believe me, this is not what constitutes a healthy kitty meal.

You can look at the List Mart website for more details about these and four more of this year’s worst cat food brands by clicking here.

 

On Water

Some humans erroneously believe that we get all the water we need from our wet food. While it is true that wet cat food is up to 80% water, the truth is that all pets of any species need access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times.

water fountain

I like this one, which I found on Thirsty Cat Fountains, because it’s functional yet decorative. You can click on it to find out how to get one for your house.

If you’re like most cats, you probably don’t drink from your cat water dish as often as you drink from the tap or lick up the water drops in the shower stall after your human has finished showering. That’s because our natural instinct is to drink running water whenever possible. I’d recommend your human provide a nice water fountain for you so you will enjoy drinking your cat water and won’t feel the need to follow everyone into the bathroom in the hopes of getting your nose under the faucet. If your human is on a tight budget and can’t shell out the big bucks for a cat water fountain, encourage them to at least clean and refill your water dish regularly. There is nothing less appealing than a dish of stagnant water sitting on the floor with dust and hair floating in it and algae growing in its depths.

How Much and How Often a Cat should Eat

lancy enjoying a nibble of grass

Lancy enjoying a nibble of grass

Everyone is different, and your eating habits should depend on your body type and life style. Once you have selected your cat food of choice, have your human talk to your vet about quantity and frequency of feeding.

Treats are the best, and we all love them. In a perfect world, we could survive solely on treats such as tinned tuna. However, in actual reality, your humans need to limit the amount of treats you eat. Treats are high in fat and low in nutritional value, and if you eat too many of them, you won’t have room for your healthy dinner.

 

I hope this helps. Thank you for your question, and remember, everybody, you can ask me anything!

Baker - ask me anything byline

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Your friend,

Baker

 

Inside or Outside Cat? A Letter Regarding Freedom

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!

Dear Baker,

I am a jungle cat and it is my instinct to lie in the grass enjoying the warm sunshine on my back, and perhaps have a nibble or two. However, my cruel humans deny me this right to reign over all I see, and taunt me by providing a glimpse of the great outdoors via something called ‘windows,’ through which I can see and hear nature calling me to conquer it, but cannot escape.

Please help.

Your fan,

Meowster of the Universe

Lancy peeking through the window

Lancy peeking through the window at his domain.

Dear Meowster,

While it is true that you, like all cats, are master of all you survey, your humans keep you in for safety. You should not chide them, but thank them, and then tell them to make you a nice outdoor run.

Most cats don’t realize it, but there are many dangers lurking outside. Massive zooming objects often squish our furry cousins who roam the outdoors. No matter how many needles you have suffered on your annual vet visits, there are illnesses you may be subject to out there. Some humans take exception to us marking our territory, erroneously thinking that their ‘fences’ and ‘property lines’ somehow make it their territory. Some of these humans can get violent if they catch you pooping in their gardens. So although we are jungle cats, the concrete jungle is not the safest place for us to roam.

Happily, there are measures your human can take to allow you to explore the outdoors, eat grass, and lie in the sunshine in safety:

A harness

 

lancy enjoying a nibble of grass

Lancy enjoying a nibble of grass while on his harness.

Like you, Lance is a jungle cat who was plucked from his street domain and forced to live in an apartment. Lance enjoys going outside strapped to his human by a leash and harness. At first, Lance was not impressed by having something wrapped around his neck and chest, but now Lance is so happy for the chance to lie in the sunshine eating grass, that he scampers to the mat and lies down purring for his human to strap him into his harness. Our good friend Snuggy wears his harness all the time, and his leash is attached to a cable outside that spans the length of the yard. On his leash, Snuggy can lie in the sunshine or walk back and forth in the yard.

 

A Cat run
FunkyEnclosure1

This is a run any cat would be proud to own! It was built by D and L Classic Pet Enclosures in Australia. Click the photo to go to a website all about cat runs!

If your humans have enough money and skills, the right thing to do for you would be build you a cat run. This would cordon off a small area of the yard for you to eat grass in. Some countries have a problem with feral and pet cats eating up all the indigenous birds, to which we say, so what? But if you live in Australia and you have full access to the great outdoors, you may get blamed for nomming up the last survivor of some species or another. A fully-enclosed cat run is a great way to deter these tasty little critters from crossing your path while you’re on the prowl. A cat run can be a complete structure built of wood and chicken wire, an enclosed garden, or a wired-in run along an existing wall or fence. If the entire run is covered in wire, you won’t be able to leave and other creatures will not be able to get in, either. Just have your humans check the perimeter periodically for wear.

An Enclosed yard
security top for panels

A security fence-topper can discourage kitties from climbing out as well as robbers from climbing in. This one comes from Jackson’s Fencing in the UK. Click the photo to go to their website.

If your humans really love you, they will build a high fence around their entire yard so you can play freely. A metal fence is best, because you will not be able to scale it as easily as a wooden fence. Make sure there are no trees or furnishings near the fence that would allow you to climb out. There are things your humans can stick along the top of an existing fence to discourage you from climbing over, too, such as spikes or rollers. Some places require your humans to put up warnings if there are spikes at the top of the fence. That’s so a would-be robber won’t get hurt trying to climb into your yard and steal stuff and then sue your humans. Make sure your humans pay attention to local laws and regulations before putting up or adding to fencing.

Whatever method your humans choose, it is a good idea for a human to stay with you when you are playing outdoors, at least the first few times. Most of us cats are Hairy Houdinis who can find and execute escape from any harness or enclosure. After all the money and time spent ensuring your safety, you don’t want to end up prey to one of those zooming metal things humans are so fond of.

Hope this helps.

Baker - ask me anything byline

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Your pal,

Baker

A Letter Regarding Hairballs

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!
Long-haired-cat-hairball

A beautiful piece of artwork gifted to my human

Dear Baker,

My humans seem to regard my hairballs as “messy” and “gross.” I don’t understand it. What, aside from a half-eaten sparrow, could be a better symbol of my affection for them? I consider my hairballs a multimedia form of feline artistic expression: the sound, the odour, even the look of these objects d’art meld together to provide a commentary on my innermost feelings. But my humans continuously refer to them as “disgusting furry piles of vomit.” I try to encourage my humans to make full use of my gifts, collect them and perhaps build sculptural pieces, but now my humans have begun discussing a “remedy” for these wonderful little things. Please help, Baker.

Your fan,

Fluffy McFurcloud

cat grooming

Lance demonstrates a good licking

Dear FF,

While it certainly is difficult to comprehend the thoughts that must be going through the minds of our humans, I have good news for you regarding your hairball horror: this “remedy” your humans seek may actually be your free ticket to a better life!

Causes of Hairballs

Cats get hairballs in a good way – through our regular and fastidious grooming routine. The cleaner you keep yourself, the more hair you’ll swallow. Most of our swallowed hair passes through our digestive tract, but occasionally it will accumulate in our belly. When your belly is full of hair, you don’t have room for tuna, so you have to vomit it up.

Remedies for Hairballs

  1. cat brush filled with fluff

    Get rid of excess fur before you swallow it!

    Human assistance with grooming.

If your humans don’t want you swallowing and subsequently barfing up your hair when you groom, they can remove it daily with a brush. This is a win-win situation: you get a daily scritchy massage, and your humans can collect your excess hair before it becomes a sticky, vomity mess.

2. Dietary Changes

taste of the wild

This food is delicious, it makes your coat smooth and shiny, and it has a picture of a mountain lion on it! Yum!

Your coat will improve with an improved diet. Have your humans talk to your vet about purchasing an “indoor” or “hairball” formula. A healthier diet leads to healthier skin, less shedding, and better digestion. Also, it’s yummier! I recommend Royal Canin or Taste of the Wild. Your humans may also be able to give you supplements to aid with your digestion, so your hair passes through more effectively and doesn’t accumulate in your tum.

 

3. Vet visit

Much as I hate to recommend a trip to the vet, where you are likely to get poked with needles and such, if you suspect that you have a grooming problem (too much grooming), it could be a symptom of an underlining psychological or physiological cause. In other words, if you lick yourself too much, have your human take you to the vet for a thorough examination. You may have a skin condition or a parasite, or you might be an overly stressed cat.

So there you have it, you fluffy beast. A few good ways to improve your life and cut down on the hairballs that your humans hate so much!

Baker - ask me anything byline

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Your pal,

Baker

 

How to Get Your Cat to Take Medicine

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker!

A letter regarding cats taking pills:

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Have a question about cat life? Ask Baker.

Dear Baker,

The vet said I have gingivitis and now I have to take pills. I hate taking pills, and as a cat, I have no concept that I need the pills or my teeth will get infected and have to be pulled out. Any advice? Please tell me it’s all a bad dream.

Your fan,

Stinky Cat Breath

 

Dear Stinky,

In our house, we consider pill time happy time! Are you psychocats, you may ask? Actually, it’s because we get our pills served in treats.

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Pills in treats

My cat bro Lance also suffers from gingivitis, so we aren’t allowed wet food most of the time. Happily, whenever the vet says we have to take pills, our human smushes them up into a nice little bowl of delicious wet food. Mmm! Take twice a day, you say, Mr. Vet? Will do! How about thrice?

We find tuna canned in water (for humans) is the best wet food for masking the nasty taste of the pills. Of course, a cat can’t eat tuna all day every day (or can he? We have not been given the opportunity to try!) but a spoonful of tuna to help the medicine go down will not hurt anyone.

We have also had the good fortune of getting liquid medications in wet food.

After growing up on the streets, Lancy suffers from recurring dental problems. Luckily, that means lots of medicine, which means lots of treats for both of us!

After growing up on the streets, Lancy suffers from recurring dental problems. Luckily, that means lots of medicine, which means lots of treats for both of us!

Pills that Can’t be Given in Food

Some pills work on an extended-release formula and can’t be smushed, or need to be taken on an empty stomach. Have your humom ask your vet if your pills can be smushed and served in wet food. Some pills are so yucky that no amount of wet food can mask the taste (we think! Our humans have never let us try taking pills in, say, a gallon of wet food…)

If it is essential that you take your pills whole, or worse yet, you have to take a big pill that’s cut into a smaller piece so it’s all jagged and crumbly, there are a couple of options.

Butter: Ever found the butter dish left unattended and helped yourself to a couple licks? Mmm, butter… Have your humans coat the pill in this slippery delicious yellow stuff to make it easier to swallow.

How to administer pills to a cat (a two-human method):

  1. Human One: Cuddle the cat and hold the scruff of its neck firmly. Alternately, you might want to try wrapping the cat firmly in a towel or fleece blanket.

    Click this picture to see an illustrated, detailed process for sticking pills down a cat's throat.

    Click this picture to see an illustrated, detailed process for sticking pills down a cat’s throat.

  2. Human Two: With one hand, squeeze the sides of the cat’s jaw joint lightly and tilt his head back slightly. This will force the cat’s mouth to open. Place the pill as far back in the cat’s mouth as possible, and close the cat’s mouth.
  3. Human Two: Hold the cat’s mouth closed gently with one hand and gently stroke the cat’s throat downwards a few times with the other hand. This will stimulate swallowing.
  4. Human Two: Give the cat a little water with a syringe or dropper to make sure the pill goes down and doesn’t get stuck anywhere in the esophagus. The butter will also help with this.
A useful tool for shoving a pill down a cat's throat. Only to be used if the treats method is impossible.

A useful tool for shoving a pill down a cat’s throat. Only to be used if the treats method is impossible.

Tools: Your vet or pet store may carry a pill gun. When Lance had to take pills that couldn’t be crushed (the jerk!), our humans had a lot of success with this little tool.

All they have to do is put the pill in one end, stick the pill end into the back of the cat’s mouth, and plunge the plunger. The pill pops right down his throat. In Lance’s case, this was also a two-human job. Our humans also held Lance’s mouth closed and rubbed his throat a little, as with the butter method above, just to make sure. The vet said to make sure they followed the pill with water administered with a syringe to ensure the pill goes down. This little baby will probably run you about twenty bucks.

A delicious way for cats to take pills. That's if the cat likes the taste of the treats. Just saying.

A delicious way for cats to take pills. That’s if the cat likes the taste of the treats. Just saying.

Greenies and some other pet treat companies make special treats designed for taking pills. We tried them and Lance said they didn’t taste good, but I ate them up even though I didn’t have to take any pills.

It’s too bad we’re more discerning than dogs. Our humans just have to shove the dog’s pill into a piece of chicken or cheese and she gulps it down obliviously! But if you try that with us cats, we will daintily nibble the cheese (or ignore it completely) and leave the pill behind.

So, Stinky, there you have it. Many ways to enjoy taking pills.

 

Your friend,

Baker

A Letter from a Cat who Eats String

Lancy tries to decide between string and cat food.

Dear Baker,

I just can’t help it; I love eating string! All kinds of string: shoelaces, hood pull strings, ornament strings, even Christmas ribbon. Every time I do, my humans always freak out and stuff me in my carrier and next thing I know, I’m at the vet!

Is eating string really so bad?

Signed,

Tastes-like-grass

Baker ate some string and now he has to go to the vet.

Baker ate some string and now he has to go to the vet.

Dear Tastes-like-grass,

Your human’s right; eating string is very dangerous and you should check into rehab until you can shake the habit.

Sure, string seems like a good source of fiber and you might think it will help you with your digestion. Best case scenario, you barf it up or poop it out.

But string doesn’t always come out like we expect. Some bad effects of string use include:

-The end of the string can get caught in your mouth, perhaps wrapped around you tongue. Then it will get anchored and not pass through your system. Anchored string can cause blockage or rupture your intestines. Bad news!

-The string can bunch up in your intestine and cause a blockage.

Christmas ribbon -- it looks delicious, but it is very dangerous and should never be eaten.

Christmas ribbon — it looks delicious, but it is very dangerous and should never be eaten.

-The string can pass through your intestine lengthwise instead of bunching up. In this case, it can pull at your intestine, causing it to, as our vet put it, ‘accordion.’ That does NOT sound pleasant!

-Christmas ribbon is especially bad for you. It is inflexible and has sharp edges, so it can cut up your insides from the inside.

-A blockage, accordion, or cut in your intestines can get infected and lead to septicemia (blood poisoning) and death.

Baker learned his lesson. Now he resists the temptation to eat delicious string and sticks to cat food.

Baker learned his lesson. Now he resists the temptation to eat delicious string and sticks to cat food.

Some cats think they’re lucky because their humans let them go outside and eat grass. This is actually not the best solution to your string problem; believe it or not, ‘outside’ is teeming with dangers, such as fast shiny metal objects that can squish you, predators, and evil humans who might unjustly punish you for marking your territory in what they consider their territory. Although there is very little danger of encountering string, outside does have worse dangers. Perhaps your humans could consider providing some cat grass in the house, or building a nice cat run outside so you can enjoy eating grass and insects but avoid the other dangers ‘outside’ cats face.

If you do eat string, your humans should take you to the vet. The vet will check you for symptoms of blockage and infection, and probably do an X-ray. Some cats poop out part of the string and then their humans are tempted to pull it out the rest of the way. WARNING: DO NOT LET YOUR HUMANS PULL ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR BUTT! If it is even a few inches up your intestines, pulling it will do serious damage. The best thing your humans can do in this situation is carefully cut off the hanging string as close to your butthole as possible and wait for the rest of the string to pass naturally. If you don’t barf up the string or poop it out, your vet might decide to do surgery to remove the string.

More info on string eating and its dangers here.

So you see, eating string is a terrible idea. If, like me, you are unable to resist this admittedly tasty treat, your humans should make sure to keep all stringy objects put away where you can’t get at them. At this time of year, your humans need to be extra vigilant about holiday ornaments and ribbon on presents. If you ruin their holiday by getting surgery or worse, dying, they will not be happy.

Your pal,

Baker

A Letter Regarding Cat Meal and Playtime Schedules

Humans erroneously sleep at night and do stuff during the day.

Dear Baker,

My human is getting on my nerves. She gets angry with us when we wake her up to feed us breakfast, and she doesn’t seem to enjoy midnight play time. Could really use some advice.

Signed,

Hungry in the Morning

baker hiding spot the kitty 2

Baker takes time out from hiding to answer a fan’s advice letter.

Dear Hungry,

It sounds to us like you and your human need to get your schedules in sync. We had the same problem with our human before.

The first problem is getting hungry in the morning. You see, your human feeds you first thing in the morning, so you associate her getting out of bed with your breakfast. Tell your human she needs to schedule your breakfast to occur last in her morning routine, not first. That way you will get used to her shuffling around, making coffee, spraying water on her face, and doing all those bizarre human rituals before you get fed. Then you will realize there’s no point in trying to get her out of bed to feed you.

If humans would learn to sleep all day like normal animals, we wouldn't have so many problems getting them to do stuff at night.

If humans would learn to sleep all day like normal animals, we wouldn’t have so many problems getting them to do stuff at night.

Second, get your human to feed you dinner at about dusk. Humans do not naturally play in the dark like normal animals. They prefer to sleep when it’s dark. If they could learn to sleep all day like we do, we wouldn’t have this problem, but the reality is that many cats all over the world have a scheduling conflict with their humans when it comes to playtime. My point is, if your human feeds you dinner at dusk, then she will have a few hours of darkness with which to play with you before she gets into bed. If you play with your human between dinner and human bed time, you’ll be far less likely to wake up for crazy kitty play time later in the night.

Make sure you have a talk with your human about scheduling. I’m sure it will solve all your problems with her.

Sincerely,

Baker

The Spot-the-Kitty Cat Travel Guide

This is Pixie in his carrier for traveling in the cabin. This carrier is small enough to fit under the seat in front of Pixie's humans. A soft carrier can also be used for cabin travel.

This post will help you if your humans are considering a move – by K.I. Borrowman

A letter regarding moving:

Dear Baker,
My humans recently decided to move to China. I have never traveled before, and I have no idea what to expect. My dilemma is, do I move with them, or insist that they find some kindly elderly human to “foster” me while I await their return?
Yours,
Torn Between Two Humans

 

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Dear Torn,

Well, this is an unusual dilemma that most cats will never face! But my friends and I at Spot the Kitty HQ have all moved a time or two, and we can assure you that it is, while unpleasant, doable for most cats.

First, your humans have to determine whether you are hardy enough to endure a long flight. For example, our colleague, Scribbles, took to drooling every time she was put in her cat carrier. Her humans realized that if she was in the carrier for too long, i.e. long enough to get to China or other random far-off place, she might drool herself to death. They decided on the elderly-person-foster-care option instead. But our other colleague, Pixie, has just made a move to China and is more than happy to share his experience with you.

This is Pixie at Toronto Pearson Airport. As you can see, he is not scratching anybody's eyes out. Nor does he look especially thrilled about the trip ahead of him.

This is Pixie at Toronto Pearson Airport. As you can see, he is not scratching anybody’s eyes out. Nor does he look especially thrilled about the trip ahead of him.

  1. Regulations:

Have your humans check and double-check the regulations for moving you to a foreign country. Nine times out of ten, you will need all kinds of paperwork, such as a rabies certificate from your vet stating that you are up-to-date on your rabies shots, a certificate of health, a chip, and an import certificate for your new country. Some countries have additional requirements. For example, to move to Hong Kong, you must travel as “cargo”. If you move to Beijing or Shanghai, you will be quarantined for up to 30 days in your carrier at the airport! If you think the country you are moving to has difficult regulations, I’d recommend having your humans hire a relocation company. Make sure you check the company’s customer feedback, as some companies are more reliable than others.

  1. Airlines:

Some allow pets to travel in the cabin and others do not. Some airplanes have small heated and pressurised areas in the hold for a few pets to travel in comfort. Make sure your humans check and, yes, double-check the airline’s method of pet transport and notify the airline several days before your flight that you will be traveling with them.

  1. Carrier:

If you are travelling in the cabin, you will be expected to stay in your carrier under the seat in front of your human for the entire flight. Make sure your humans have a soft carrier that can fit under the seat. You will need to check the airline’s size restrictions. If you plan to travel in the hold, international airline regulations require you to be in a sturdy hard-sided, leak-proof carrier with ventilation holes on all sides. Collapsible wire carriers cannot be used. You must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably in your carrier. Have your humans pick up stickers at your vet that say “live animal” and arrows pointing up, or write and draw these important tips on your carrier with a big permanent marker. You don’t want any disgruntled airline employee tossing you around or putting you upside down! Finally, make sure you have a comfortable, warm blanket in your carrier. Even the heated area of the hold can be chilly during a long flight.

This is Pixie's carrier for travelling in the hold. On this flight, Pixie was told he had to travel as checked luggage due to the airplane's space restraints.

This is Pixie’s carrier for travelling in the hold. On this flight, Pixie was told he had to travel as checked luggage due to the airplane’s space restraints.

This is Pixie in his carrier for traveling in the cabin. This carrier is small enough to fit under the seat in front of Pixie's humans. A soft carrier can also be used for cabin travel.

This is Pixie in his carrier for traveling in the cabin. This carrier is small enough to fit under the seat in front of Pixie’s humans. A soft carrier can also be used for cabin travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Pre-flight Preparations:

You shouldn’t eat or drink just before a long flight, as you might get a tummy-ache, but do have a drink of water about an hour before your flight. You won’t be able to eat, drink, or use the litter during your flight. If you have never travelled before, have your humans drive you around in your pet carrier as often as possible in the weeks leading up to the flight so you will be used to the sensation of being on the move. Pixie’s human got some herbal wipes at his vet that, when used to wipe down the inside of the carrier, produced a nice calming scent. Lance was hesitant to use his carrier, so his humans tossed a handful of yummy cat treats in there every day leading up to the flight until he associated cat carrier with treats.

However, despite preparations, you may still dread the actual flight. No matter how nervous you feel, I highly recommend that you DO NOT use any sedatives. The airline flight attendant on Pixie’s flight told our humans a horrifying story about a cat who died during a flight because of ingesting too high a dose of sedatives. But don’t worry; if you have prepared properly for your flight, you will be relaxed and likely sleep through the entire ordeal.

To make your transition to your new home more tolerable, make sure your humans pack absolutely all of your favourite toy mice, food, dishes, placemat, blanket, bed, kitty castle, empty boxes, paper balls, litter of choice, rubber balls, and other things from home to help  you settle in once you reach your destination. Tell them they can leave the dog and the cat clothing behind, though.

  1. Settling in:

Once you reach your new home, you will want to have a bowl of your favourite food, some fresh water, and a box of your regular litter available to you immediately. You will want to spend several minutes exploring and sniffing your new home before you are expected to cuddle. In fact, you may feel angry at your humans for putting you through the entire ordeal and may not want to cuddle for several minutes, until you forget all about it and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. This is entirely normal. Don’t feel bad if you feel the urge to bite and scratch for the first few hours. Take advantage of the situation to get a lot of yummy treats as your humans will most likely feel guilty for what they have done.