Cat Project Archives for October 5-9, 2015.
5, 2015 - "One reason we admire cats is for their
proficiency in one-upmanship. They always seem to come
out on top, no matter what they are doing, or pretend they
do." - Barbara Webster
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "My bowl is empty... again."
Mewvie: A friendly little battle.
Art: The perfect Maru costume.
to do about cat spraying.
Spraying is a common problem in male cats, especially those that haven't
been neutered. While it's usually not indicative of anything serious,
the act itself is pretty unpleasant for the owners of said cats.
Why they do it
You might see spraying as a sign of aggression toward you and/or other
cats, but most of the time it's actually just a form of communication.
According to the ASPCA, cats are territorial, just like most other animals
in the wild, but they don't go about laying claim to their "land" by
being aggressive. Rather than lock horns with an intruder, they play
a more manipulative game — they leave messages in the form of urine.
Cats will do anything to avoid conflict, so they developed a pretty fool-proof
system by which they can work out disputes without having to be in the
same room together. Think of it like a frenemy sending you passive aggressive
texts to alert you to a transgression you made. While not the most effective,
it at least clues you into the fact that you've crossed a line.
Is it a litter box problem or spraying?
It's common to confuse a litter box problem with a spraying problem because
both involve inappropriate peeing. If your cat is using its litter box
regularly, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't also spray from time
to time because the purpose of each act is different. The way that you
can tell if it's purposefully spraying, or not clear on how to use the
litter box, is in the specifics of its actions.
If your cat is spraying, it'll usually pick a vertical surface like a
wall, plant or furniture on which to urinate. It also won't completely
eliminate all the urine in its bladder. According to the Cornell University
Veterinary College, a cat that's about to spray will lift its tail and
quiver, then urinate in short bursts, leaving little puddles of urine.
If left undisturbed, it'll usually continue doing this in the same place
or few places. Spray urine also smells more intense than regular urine
because it's mixed with chemicals that the cat is dispelling to announce
itself to the threat it perceives.
Threats to cats
Here are some of the most common things cats often see as threats and
thus may in turn cause them to spray. Cats not only spray to claim territory,
they do it to make themselves feel safer when there's a new stressor
around. The smell makes things feel familiar when something is out of
• Conflict with other cats — this is why spraying tends to happen
more in homes with more than one cat
• New baby
• New roommate
• Construction or restructuring of house (adding or changing furniture)
• Leaving for long periods of time
How to stop the spraying
If your cat hasn't been neutered yet, this may be the quickest and easiest
way to solve your problem. According to Drs. Foster and Smith, 90 percent
of cats that are fixed before they mature past adolescence will not spray.
Cat conflicts are a bit more difficult to solve because sometimes cats
just don't get along. You can try giving them their own litter box far
away from the other and even feeding them in different places so they
don't feel crowded.
If an outdoor cat is teasing your indoor cat, you can get motion detector-triggered
sprinklers to scare it away.
If a change in the household is causing the spraying, try using a pheromone
plug-in like Feliway to calm your cat. If it's just a temporary visitor
or change, keep your cat separated in another room until the "intruder" is
Make sure you clean any sprayed spots really well with enzyme-eating
cleansers like Nature's Miracle. You want to make it hard for your cat
to get into the habit of using the same inappropriate spot over and over.
6, 2015 - "One of the most striking differences between
a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: Cats and flour, a devilish combination.
Mewvie: The marvelous, mysterious bath-tub.
The Holy Fish.
7, 2015 - "Kittens are born with their eyes shut.
They open them in about six days, take a look around, then
close them again for the better part of their lives." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ya gotta watch these contractors EVERY minute."
Mewvie: The cheetah's doggy pal.
Art: Behold! The Cat Couch!
to have happy, stress-free cats.
By Beth Weil
The dictionary defines stress as “a specific response by the body
to a stimulus, such as fear or pain, which disturbs or interferes with
the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” When a cat
is confronted by what it perceives as a “stressor” or a potential
threat, its body goes into a “fight or flight” reaction.
If the stressor continues, the cat will either act out toward its environment — for
example, toward you, a family member, another pet or the carpet — or
toward itself, such as licking excessively or becoming ill or depressed.
For a cat to be happy, a guardian must satisfy its basic needs: food,
water, a clean litter box, warm places to sleep and companionship. And
most important, all of these must be free from stress.
Urinating outside the box, spraying, biting or scratching are the kinds
of “acting out” behaviors that bring cat guardians to behavior
consultations. Of course, if a cat is ill or injured, no amount of behavior
modification will be effective so the first step would be to receive
a clean bill of health from a veterinarian. Once physical troubles are
taken out of the picture, you can look for triggers in the environment.
Cats are creatures of habit so any changes in routine can be upsetting
to them. A new baby or pet, strange people, home improvement projects,
or an unknown noise or animal outside can all stress a cat.
It’s best to address such environmental stressors with a behavior
consultant. You can then turn to other ways to help make your cat feel
loved and safe, such as triple-checking that all of its needs are being
met. It will love you for it.
Your cat needs a high-quality kibble, wet food or both, which are generally
sold at pet food stores. Cats are true carnivores; they don’t eat
grain or carbohydrates in the wild. The first few ingredients of their
food should be meat. Wet food is about 70 percent water, as is the natural
food of cats — mice and gophers — so it’s more species-appropriate
for them. Wet food is particularly important for male cats, which may
be prone to urinary tract blockages.
Plentiful, fresh water is important to cats and many prefer their water
straight from the tap. If this is true of yours, you may want to try
a cat drinking fountain. Make sure you change the water frequently and
take apart and clean the entire fountain regularly.
CLEAN LITTER BOX
No one likes a smelly potty and cat’s noses are far more sensitive
than ours. Scoop at least daily; twice a day is preferable. Also consider
the location of the box. A high-traffic location will not do. Cats feel
vulnerable when they go to the bathroom and can easily be startled.
WARM PLACES TO SLEEP
Cats enjoy a warm sunbeam. When toasty and comfortable, cats tend to
relax and bathe. Bathing or grooming themselves is the way they check
their body for blemishes. And, like yoga, grooming increasing blood flow
to all body parts. Make sure they have a safe, comfortable place to escape
any stressors they might face elsewhere in the house or yard. Many cats
like to perch up high so you might want to invest in a tiered kitty condo
TIME WITH YOU
Your cat likes you and wants to be with you, even though its body language
may sometimes say otherwise. It is a social creature so you are one of
its best stress-busters. By adhering to a regular feeding schedule, providing
it with regular daily play time, and giving it excess amounts of love
and cuddling, your kitty should be able to face changes more successfully
To learn more about feline behavior, come to Catapalooza at the Marin
Humane Society on Oct. 25. Cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of “My
Cat From Hell,” is the keynote speaker. Go to www.MarinHumaneSociety.org
8, 2015 - "Essentially, you do not so much teach your
cat as bribe him." - Lynn Hollyn
Gratuitous Kittiness: "You missed a spot."
Mewvie: Simon's cat returns.
with a black cat" by Carrier Belleuse.
9, 2015 - "I've met many thinkers and many cats, but
the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte
Gratuitous Kittiness: Better turn the A/C up.
Mewvie: Cat rituals are really weird, man.
monument to homeless cats by German sculptor Siegfried Neuenhausen.
used to save suicidal man.
By Vivian Ho
As the standoff between San Francisco police and a suspected car thief
threatening to jump from a South of Market building crept into its third
hour Wednesday evening, officers turned to an unlikely source to help
them talk the man down: his cat.
The man, barefoot and wearing only black shorts, was distraught and hanging
out of a third-floor window of a building at 10th and Harrison streets,
threatening to leap. Officers set up foam pads below him as the department’s
trained hostage negotiators perched precariously on a fire escape, urging
the suicidal man figuratively and literally off the ledge.
But after three unsuccessful hours, reinforcements arrived — in
the form of the man’s orange-and-white feline.
Using his pet, hostage negotiators were able to persuade him to go back
inside the building, come down the stairs and surrender without incident.
Within 45 minutes of the cat’s arrival, the 31⁄2-hour standoff
“Using the cat was ingenious,” said Officer Albie Esparza, a police
spokesman. “Never underestimate the power of the love between people and
their pets. I think it was great to think outside the box like the officers did.
It made enough of an impact on this person to bring him down and come to his
The man had run into the building about 2:30 p.m., after he had been
stopped while driving a white Toyota Highlander that had no license plates.
While California Highway Patrol officers questioned him, he sat on a
sidewalk. When a computer check showed that the car was stolen, the man
jumped to his feet and ducked into the building, CHP officials said.
San Francisco police responded to the scene once the situation devolved
from a traffic stop to a possible suicide attempt. Officers from the
hostage negotiation team, the tactical unit, the motorcycle unit, the
traffic division as well as Southern Station arrived to aid in the standoff,
A common strategy in these situations is to call the family of the person
in crisis, in hopes a loved one can talk them down, Esparza said. The
man’s family was on its way from the East Bay as negotiators gently
spoke to him from the fire escape.
When police learned the man’s relatives brought his cat to the
scene, officers took it up to the negotiators. Shortly after 6 p.m.,
the man went back inside the building and the standoff was resolved.
“I don’t remember ever using a cat before, but it worked,” Esparza
said. “The guy voluntarily came out of the window and opened the door and
was taken into custody without incident.”
Esparza said he never got the cat’s name, but he applauded the
officers for their quick thinking, as well as their sensitivity. Even
as the man was handcuffed and taken to a police car, officers brought
the cat to him so he could see his beloved feline before going to jail.
“The hostage negotiators establish a trust with the person, regardless
if they are suicidal or a suspect, and you want to maintain that trust as much
as you can,” Esparza said. “The guy wasn’t resisting. There
was no need not to help him out. Obviously, he had a very emotional attachment
to the cat and it was nice to comfort him as much as possible.”