Why Not Give a Kitten For Christmas?

It’s that time of year again. The time for decorations, Christmas trees, Santa Claus and presents. It’s the time for parents to make their child’s fantasies come true. It is so tempting for ˜Santa” to give their darlings a cute and cuddly little kitten. The common belief is they will grow together.

However, we must remember a kitten is not a toy,  and needs a guardian who is a knowledgeable about raising a cat. The excitement of waking up Christmas morning to a brand new furry kitten will soon wear off when the child is charged with caring for Fifi. Often the child will grow tired of feeding her and cleaning the litter box. Then it falls to the parent to take care of the needs.

A cat is a full-time responsibility that can last for up to twenty years. In that time, Johnny or Janey will probably go their separate ways, leaving the cat behind. Over the years, she has grown to depend on her people for love and attention. To suddenly withdraw it can be traumatic and unfair for her.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons not to give a kitten as a present is that some pet stores, etc. receive their supply from disreputable breeders and kitten mills. In a kitten mill, cats are bred in tight quarters with no medical attention until they can no longer breed. When that day comes, they are either euthanized or sold. When they are given away, the kitten has the chance of being unhealthy. This might cost more money and heartache in the long run.

The next time you take your child into the pet store to gaze at the cute little furry things, remember, they are not toys, so look, and fight the temptation to take one home.

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..