Fill Your Cat’s Stocking For Less

I don’t know about you, but my cats are my family, and as such they deserve nice gifts for the joy they give me all year round. Now, I could go all out and spend too much money for things that they have no interest in, or I can use my imagination and a $20 bill.

First, I will start off my saying that, like children, if you put all of the new toys out to play with on Christmas morning, chances are they will become get bored with them by Christmas night. My advice is to hold back, only giving them a few toys at one time, until they get bored with them. Then, pick them up and replace them with some of the new toys that you have in reserve, that way, it’s Christmas all over again.

Some of the toys you can pick up in the local pet shop. However, they usually jack the prices sky high to cover their overhead. That being the case, the only time that I go into the pet shop is to look, not buy.

Your next option is the Internet. Now, there are a lot of places out there that charge just as much as the pet shop does, but if you scour the pet outlets on the Net, chances are you will find deals. Two stores that I shop at are Amazon and Chewy.

Then there are toys that you can make with a little imagination and a lot of love. I suggest that you watch your cat play. Do they like to stalk, pounce and jump high in the air, like my Mimi? Or are they lazy cats who only grab the toy from where they lay and chew on it, like my BoBo?

For cats like Mimi, a ping pong ball works great to help get their energy out. Bounce it and see them go for it. The higher you bounce the ball, the higher they will jump. Another good one is a lazar pointer. Now you can get them from any pet store, but why not use your flashlight on your cell phone (assuming you have a cell). A substitute for a ball is a cork. I keep several on hand just in case she gets too rambunctious, and it goes under the stove or refrigerator. I had both of the appliances replaced last year and was slightly embarrassed when the installer found all the corks that had gotten away from the cat.

BoBo is a bit different. He’s older and has always been a lazy hunter. For these types of felines, you need to be resourceful. You may be able to entice them with a feather attached to a stick, straw or anything that is tubular. Bo even goes after the lazar, but only if you point it right in front of him. Just as long as he doesn’t have to get up, he’ll play.

Help your cat have a merry Catmas!

Until next time, let’s play!

What You Need to Know About Your Cat and Christmas Trees

It’s that time of year when people all over the world decorate for the holidays. Many people adorn a tree for the season. A few years ago, I learned about the real dangers of these trees and ornaments.

Ii astonished me to learn the statistics regarding Christmas trees. According to National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 350 million Christmas trees planted by farmers in the US alone. Of those, 350 million, 25-30 million are sold. These numbers pale compared to people who buy artificial trees, which amounts to 80% of those who decorate Christmas trees.

You may wonder what Christmas trees have to do with your cat.

The obvious answer is if your cat is prone to climbing, or as I like to put it, be a “tree baby” (pun intended), there is a chance for injury. There are other reasons, too.

  1. The sap from the tree is toxic to your cat. It is in the tree, needles, and the water in which the tree stands.  
  2. Along with pine poisoning comes the threat of the pesticides and fertilizers used in growing the tree, and chemicals that are used to enhance the look of it. These can cause kidney and/or liver failure, muscle weakness, labored breathing and digestive issues. 
  3. The needles pose another problem in that they can easily become lodged in the cat’s throat, or rip her intestines, etc.
  4. The ornamentation of the tree adds to the problem.Tinsel and those shiny bulbs look like cat toys and are an enormous temptation for the cat. If she chews on the tinsel, chances are that she will swallow it and it may wrap itself around the cat’s intestines. Some ornaments used on the tree are made from breakable material and can cause damage to the cat’s paws if stepped on and, of course, cut internal organs if swallowed.

Unfortunately, except for the sap poisoning, artificial trees have the same dangers as do their live counterparts.

Solution: Raise your tree off the ground and out of reach of your little ones. You may think that it takes away from the beauty of the season, but better that than spending hundreds of dollars in vet bills, or take the possibility of a beloved family member dying..

The Inspiration For Harry the Wonder Cat

Monkeyface

When I decided to create the character for Harry the Wonder Cat, I had to look no further than my Monkeyface, the first cat I ever had.  Twenty years ago, Monkey and I met and it was love at first sight. The big Maine Coon was the gentlest creature I’ve ever known.  He was fiercely loyal to me and protected me from the people that he considered bad. (Cats are like that…they can smell trouble a mile off.) I, in turn, protected him from everything from the rustling of a paper bag (he hated paper bags) to the loud claps of thunder in the mountain sky.

Now, I know you’ll think that Harry doesn’t sound at all like Monkeyface, and you would be right when it comes down to fears.  After all, Harry isn’t afraid of anything. You must remember, however, Monkeyface didn’t have the powers that Harry has.

Other than being fiercely protective of their person, Maine Coons are among the largest domestic cat, (the biggest was a cat named Stewie,  who grew to be a whopping 48.5 inches. Harry’s 38 inches seem small next to him.)

While Harry grew to weigh over 30 pounds, Monkeyface weighed a mere 25 pounds. Maine Coons are known as the Gentle Giants of the cat world, but sometimes Harry uses his size to intimidate enemies.

I chose the Maine Coon breed for Harry the Wonder Cat in memory of my lovable Monkeyface who, in my mind, will always be my Wonder Cat.

What Makes Harry the Wonder Cat Tick?

We want you to know a bit about Harry the Wonder Cat and what makes him tick.  He is a Maine Coon, so we thought that we would give you a little background on the breed.

The Maine Coon cat,  otherwise known as “Gentle Giant”, is a special breed of cat…or so Harry says (and we all know how special he is).

Let’s start with the outer cat.  Maine Coons are extremely big for a house cat.  The average male Maine Coon typically weighs in at 15 to 25 pounds, but they have been known to be up to 35+ pounds.

They can get to be about 40” in length. (No, that ’s not a typo…40”!)  The world’s record is held by a beautiful Coon, Stewie, who measured 48.5”.  (Seems like a monster next to Harry’s puny 38”, huh?) Read more about Stewie.

Stewie – Longest Cat
Guinness World Records 2011
Photo Credit: Ryan Schude/Guinness World Records
Location: Reno, Nevada
Also Pictured: Stewie’s Owner Robin Hendrickson

There are some who claim that Maine Coons are the biggest or certainly one of the biggest domesticated cat breeds in the world.

Some other physical traits are:

1. Both their bodies and their heads are rectangular in build, unlike their smaller, sleeker counterparts.

2. A Maine Coon’s medium to long fur has three layers to it to protect them from the cold of Maine (hence the name).

3. Maine Coons have a luxurious mane that resembles a small lion.

4. The tail of a Maine Coon is long in length and covered in long, bushy fur.

5. As is true with Harry, a Maine Coon’s eyes have the wisdom of the ages, revealing natural intelligence.

6. Their ears are normally larger than their counterparts and have tufts of fur growing out of them.

7. Their paws are unusually large with tufts of fur between each “toe”.

8.  Maine Coons do not normally communicate like other cats.  When they talk to you, which is often, they do it by trilling and singing.

In this author’s opinion, male Maine Coons are certainly one of the sweetest breeds.  I know this from experience as my first cat was one. His name was Monkeyface, and Harry is based on him. Like Harry, he was ready to show off his comical antics at a moments notice. 

The Maine Coon has a mystery all their own based on many legends. We will share them with you in later posts.

Our thanks go out to:

Guinness World’s Records

boredpanda.com

mainecoon.org

Next week:

Harry interviews Little Bea from his new book, “Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond”.  Please join us.