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Infinite Cat Project Archives for October 5-9, 2015.

Mewsings: October 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

hungry cat

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "My bowl is empty... again."

Cat Mewvie: A friendly little battle.

kitty sneak attack

Today's Kitty Komic

cat rings

Surprise Kat Art: The perfect Maru costume.

cat spraying

What 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 the ordinary.

• 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)
• Moving
• 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 gone.

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.

Mewsings: October 6, 2015 - "One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives." - Mark Twain

cat masseuse

Gratuitous Kittiness: Cats and flour, a devilish combination.

Cat Mewvie: The marvelous, mysterious bath-tub.

self-adopting cats

Today's Kitty Komic

the holy fish

Feline Art: The Holy Fish.

Mewsings: October 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." - Stephen Baker

cat foreman

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Ya gotta watch these contractors EVERY minute."

Cat Mewvie: The cheetah's doggy pal.

boneless kitty comic

Today's Kitty Komic

the cat couch

Surprise Kitty Art: Behold! The Cat Couch!

stress-free cat

How 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.


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.


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 unit.


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 and peacefully.
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 for details..

Mewsings: October 8, 2015 - "Essentially, you do not so much teach your cat as bribe him." - Lynn Hollyn

cat looking at woman in bathtub

Gratuitous Kittiness: "You missed a spot."

Cat Mewvie: Simon's cat returns.

cts just want us to die

Today's Kitty Komic

painting ballerina with black cat by carrier belleuse

Feline Art: "Ballerina with a black cat" by Carrier Belleuse.

Mewsings: October 9, 2015 - "I've met many thinkers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

big cat yawn

Gratuitous Kittiness: Better turn the A/C up.

Cat Mewvie: Cat rituals are really weird, man.

cats are bonkers, man.

Today's Kitty Komic

monument to homeless cats

Surprise Kat Art: A monument to homeless cats by German sculptor Siegfried Neuenhausen.

stress-free cat

Cat 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 was over.

“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 senses.”

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, Esparza said.

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.”


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