Devon Rex

The Devon Rex has a heart shaped face, large pointy ears and big, oval-shaped eyes.  Their coat is soft to the touch with short, loose shaggy curls like a mop or a thin suede like finish.  The Devon Rex has a less insulating coat which can mean he will feel cold if you are feeling cold.  They look for the warmest spots to curl up like heat vents, computer screens, televisions and next to your fridge.

The Devon’s favorite spot is on his owner’s shoulder where he is at head level to not miss out on anything that is taking place.  He refuses to be left out of any activity and he will surely be at your side waiting for that moment to jump up on your lap and have a good cuddle.  He loves the attention of people and will be great with kids and friends.

Devon Rex are known to be quite smart and their activity level is moderate to high.  They love puzzle toys and interactive games which will tact his brain and keep him busy.

They weigh anywhere between 5 to 10 pounds, they love to sneak a treat here and there so do make sure to keep an eye on how much food they intake.

This mix breed is generally healthy but have had varying incidents of health problems which can be genetic in nature.  The following diseases have been found in the breed:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease found in some breeds like the Maine Coon.
  • Malassezia dermatitis is a yeast commonly found on the skin and ears of cats.  However, an abnormal overgrowth of the yeast can cause dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. The exact reasons behind this disease are not yet known, but it has been linked to allergy and  possibly congenital (born with) and hormonal factors.
  • Congenital hypotrichosis, also known as hereditary baldness.

The Devon’s coat is easy to maintain, no brushing is required, passing of your hand to even out the coat will be sufficient.  Baths are only necessary if your cat gets dirty.  This breed is hypo-allergenic  so  perfect if you suffer from allergies.

Daily dental hygiene is best to prevent periodontal diseases.  Brushing the teeth once a week is better than nothing.

Wipe the corners of the eyes daily with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears  weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep litter box clean, as the Devon is very particular about bathroom hygiene.
Trim nails regularly, declawing is not recommended.  Invest in a scratching post to keep them away from your furniture.
The Devon Rex is best as an indoor-only cat, they can run the risk of being attacked by dogs and other animals.  If possible it’s best to have an outdoor enclosure large enough for him to be able to climb and play safely.

Exotic Shorthair

Exotic Short hair

As the name suggests, this exotic beauty has a lot of similarities to his Persian relative in looks with its round short-flattened face and large round eyes.  The main characteristic that stands out from the Persian is its baby kitten’s face.  The main difference between the Persian and the exotic is its coat.  The Persian has a long thick coat which requires daily combing and brushing, the exotic is quite the opposite where its coat is medium in length and is quite dense and plush with a thick undercoat.

The Exotic is medium built and may grow up to 15 pounds but is quite short and their legs remain close to the ground.  Both pedigreed and mixed breed cats have health problems due to their genetic nature, but exotics have a number of health problems due to their facial structure.  To name a few:

  • Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing caused by constricted nostrils
  • Excessive tearing
  • Seborrhea oleosa, a skin condition that causes itchiness, redness and hair loss
  • Polycystic kidney disease, for which a genetic test is available
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Dental Malocclusions (their teeth don’t mesh well together)

They are very playful but still loves to lounge around and just sit quietly and get a good petting.  They can keep themselves amused by finding objects around the house for e.g. a paper ball.  In general they are good with people but prefer their owners and they do well with children and cat-friendly dogs. The Exotic isn’t very vocal but when they do speak their tone is very soft and elegant.

Exotics doesn’t shed hair heavily so daily brushing is not required, once a week should suffice mainly to keep the exotic looking beautiful and to keep hairballs at a minimum.  A bath once a month should do.

Daily dental hygiene is best to prevent gum disease, but brushing the teeth once a week is still better than nothing.  As for the excessive tearing, wipe corner of eyes daily to prevent under-eye stains from forming.  Clean ears with a cotton ball or a soft damp cloth using a mixture of half cider vinegar and warm water.  Avoid using cotton swabs as this can cause damage to the interior of the ear.

Exotics are best kept as indoor cats, they are not known as the feisty type to defend themselves against predators and other dangers.

Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is a medium built sized cat, known for their smoked colour coat which comes in white, black or brown with black stripes and spots.  On their foreheads is a distinctive “M” shape and their round shaped eyes are brightly coloured.  Their faces are a slight round-wedged shape topped with medium to large sized ears.  Their hind legs are slightly longer than the front which gives them the appearance of tiptoeing on small feet.  The Egyptian Mau is usually mistaken for the Ocicat which have the same spots.

Egyptian Mau’s are very active and they love to play, they will keep you on the go so having lots of toys and a cat tree will be a good investment for him.  You can tell when he is happy, he will be vocalised and will flap his tail rapidly.  Another way of him showing his affection to his owner is by kneading his paws on you, because of this, frequent trimming of the claws are recommended.  Another unique trait about the Egyptian Mau is, they love to play in water…yes so don’t be surprised if you find a paw in your backyard pool or pond!

They are quite friendly but prefer their owners to anyone else.  If you have kids they will be ideal to play with and will have hours and hours of entertainment.

They weigh anywhere between 6 to 15 pounds and are a generally healthy breed.  But with most pedigreed and mixed breed cats there have been incidents of health related problems.

Daily dental Hygiene is best to prevent Gingivitis and other gum diseases. Combing or Brushing of the coat at least twice a week is required to remove dead hair and to distribute natural skin oils evenly. Clean ears with a cotton ball or a soft damp cloth using a mixture of half cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs as this can cause damage to the interior of the ear.

These cats are best if kept indoors, be sure to keep their litter box spotlessly clean as they are known to be very particular about their bathroom hygiene.

Travelling with your cat

Travelling With your Cat

If you are an outdoor person or someone who likes to travel for leisure or even workwise, you may not think of carrying your cat with you but sometimes we may not be as fortunate to have a cat-sitter and then there are some of us who consider our cats to be part of the family and will not want to leave them out!!  If you are thinking about travelling with your cat, it is possible and here you will find a few tips on how to go about doing it.

Choosing an Airline

If you are travelling by air your first step would be choosing an airline that will allow you to travel with your pet.  Once that is done then you will have to find out that specific airline’s pet policies, restrictions and so forth.  Pets are allowed to travel on a commercial airline as checked baggage cargo, as manifest cargo or in-cabin.  In-cabin is the best option for you and your pet, this way you will be able to keep an eye on them throughout the flight.  This option allows for you to stow the carrier under your seat.

The carrier in which is to be used will be specific by the airline, size may vary so make sure to find out the correct dimensions.


Checked Baggage cargo or Manifest cargo

Again you will need to find out which airline accepts Checked Baggage cargo.  Most airlines accept Manifest cargo where your cat will be stored in the cargo hole in a special sized crate. This option is mostly used when you are not accompanying your pet.  We will learn more about this in another article.  When you choose your carrier you will then have to get your cat used to going into it.  This is where planning in advance comes in, by training your cat to go into the carrier even when you are not actually going anywhere will make it a lot easier on the actual day of travelling.  Some ways to do this are:

Give them treats when they go into their carrier without a fuss
Put a catnip toy in the carrier so they will be encouraged to go in
Try putting something belonging to you in the carrier so that they will get your scent and feel more comfortable.
If your cat still doesn’t want to go in, the last alternative would be to use a cat calmer on the day of travelling. Cat calmer is a natural relaxer which will keep your cat calm for several hours.  Perfect if you have a long flight.


After choosing your airline and getting your right size carrier the next step would be to find out what is your destination’s requirements for pets.  Where will you be staying? Is it pet friendly? Do they allow pets?  These are questions you need to find answers to, a pet friendly hotel or bed and breakfast or whatever you choose to stay at.  Next, wherever your destination, there will be certain requirements specific to that country.  Documents will be needed which will have information about the health of your pet.  The most serious of health cases in most countries is rabies so most likely your cat will need to be vaccinated.  These documents also known as a Pet Passport which is attainable by any veterinarian will have to be handed over to officials at the airport.  Best way to keep your documents are in a waterproof pouch or case.
Okay! So now we are all set with where we are going and how we are getting there.  The next step would be packing!

What to Pack

Your cat is part of the family so just think of it as packing for an extra member.  You will need the basic essentials like:

Food and water. It’s always better to be prepared.  Choose what is easier and more convenient for you.  You will need to do more research on where you will be staying if there are any nearby pet stores available for you to purchase food there and be sure they have the same pet food your cat eats.  We don’t want to be changing your cat’s diet because there will be a chance that your cat will refuse to eat.  If it’s not available then you will need to pack extra food.  Bottle water is recommended to be used both for you and your pet.  This can be purchased to limit the weight of your baggage.  Food and water bowls is a must.  Try to keep the feeding routine the same as when you are home because cats on the hold just doesn’t like it when things change.
Litter Box. You will need to pack a litter box as well, because your cat will already be used to it.  A folding travel/portable litter box will be ideal and again don’t change the litter to anything other than what he is used to.  This is also perfect to use if your cat needs the toilet at the airport.  Just put some cat litter in a few Ziploc bags, go into the washroom choose a corner, the litter box doesn’t require a lot of space, put the litter in and your cat will be comfortable to go off when he needs to.  Please discard litter into trash and wash the tray out.  Be considerate to other travellers and don’t wash the litter down the sink.Disposable litter pads will also be useful when your cat is in his carrier.  It will keep the carrier fresh and odor free.


Identification Tags. We all need to keep ourselves and our pet safe, so we need to also be prepared.  If for some reason your cat gets lost an identification tag will be very helpful.  Information like your cell phone # or the # at the hotel you will be staying at will be best if someone should find him.


Cat Harness. You will need a harness if you want to do outdoor activities with your cat, remember this is a vacation for everyone so you can’t exclude him and leave him at the hotel!    Also, do more homework on the different restaurants and café’s that are nearby to make sure they will allow pets to enter their institution.


Cat Bed. This is optional, if you don’t want your cat sleeping on the same bed as you and you want to limit the amount of cat hair on the furniture to make cleaning easier, a cat bed would be a good choice.  You may want to get a small cat pad or bed to take up little space because most rooms in hotels and bed/breakfast are small.  If you already have a cat bed at home it will be wise to get a smaller one that is easy to clean.


Toys.  Your cat will need some toys to keep him occupied while you are engaged in other things, or if you want to have some bonding time with your cat.  Just pack one or two, you don’t need a lot.


Medication.  If your cat is taking any medication do remember to pack it.
Extra sheets and towels. This will be needed just in case of any mishaps your cat may have in the hotel room.  Always better to be prepared.  You may want to cover the furniture with the sheets to keep it clean.
A brush. Your cat will need to be groomed during your stay.
How to keep your cat safe and happy.

Travelling with your cat can be a task, but if you prepare in advance and follow the right procedure then things can be easier.  If you are travelling in a car with your cat be sure to not leave your cat locked in the car even if you think it’s for a short period of time.  Always make sure that the temperature in your vehicle is not too cold or hot, if you are feeling comfortable then sure enough they will be too.  Always keep an eye on your cat at all times, there may be others looking at your cat and they may want to snatch him away.

Keep feeding schedules the same as home as I mentioned above.  Once your kitty has the same routine of eating, sleeping and playing, they will adapt better to the surroundings.

Find the nearest veterinary clinic and keep the contact numbers on hand in case of any emergency.

By following these simple steps I hope it will make it easier for you to travel with your feline friend.

Anyone who has travelled with their cat and would like to share pictures and their experiences I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment in the comment box.

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Caring for your cats

 

Caring for your cats

If you have a cat or cats and you think of them as part of your family then you would certainly not want to see them unhappy.  Having an unhappy can be both physical and emotional and this can lead to health problems if your cat is not taken care of the right way.

In this article I will touch a little on the areas that are considered to be important when it comes to keeping your cat healthy and living a longer life.  By following this guide it may also save you a few visits to the vet.

 

FEEDING

Cats need to be fed daily, times and quantity varies with kittens and adult cats. Obesity is one of the major factor of heart disease in cats as they get older so they need to be fed according to age and they do need extra supplements and nutrients just as us humans to prevent any health issues.  You can check with your veterinarian for advice on what to give them.

Kittens should be fed 4 times a day, small quantities of food per meal.  At 3 months old they should be fed 3 times a day, then from 6 months, 2 meals per day (morning and evening).     For Kittens wet food is preferred over dry, the softer the texture the easier it will be for them to swallow.  Adult cats will eat both but do make sure to always have water available to them.  Recommended for kittens are:


For Adult cats:


Dental Hygiene

A recent study shows that cats with poor dental hygiene and common forms of oral diseases have a higher rate of testing positive to other serious health problems.  Proper care should be taken to prevent diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is the feline version of HIV and Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV).  Both FIV and FELV are highly contagious and could be spread from one cat to the other but humans cannot contract these diseases from cats.  By preventing this type of disease your cat can have a longer, healthier, happier life.

You should brush your cat’s teeth at least once a day.  If this cannot be done then at least once per week, but nothing less than that.  Apart from brushing your cat’s teeth, it is advisable to have your cat see the vet at least once a year for an annual cleaning to prevent tartar build up.   Certain types of toothpaste are available on the market.


Grooming

Cats are known to clean themselves by licking their coats.  Cats have a need to always be and stay clean, if any dirt gets on them you will see them quickly trying to lick it off.  As cat parents we need to do our part in helping them stay clean, trust me they will love you for it.  It’s also a time for bonding with your cat.   To get started you will need to get your cat relaxed by first petting her and stroking her on the head, behind her ears and especially on their cheeks which they love very much.  They will eventually get very calm and then you can start the grooming.  At first only set 5 to 10 minutes a day for a session and then gradually increase the time as your cat gets used to it.

Brushing or combing your cat’s coat will not only leave it clean but will also remove loose fur, dirt and will help in spreading natural oils evenly and will leave your cat tangle free and her skin clean and irritant-free.

For short-hair cats, brushing once a week should suffice and for long-hair cats you will need to brush every day.


Baths

Cats are not too fond of water but they can be trained and grow to like it if you start bathing your cat at an early age.  Older cats will be a little more of a struggle to get them into the water but with some patience you will get there.  Baths should be given when your cat’s coat becomes too oily or if they get themselves into something dirty by being outdoors.

Always use a shampoo that’s mild and safe to use on cats.


Follow these steps to give your cat a bath:

Brush your cat’s coat, to get rid of all loose and matted hair.
Place a rubber mat on the floor of your tub, bath or sink to prevent skidding.
Fill tub or sink with 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water.
If you have a spray hose that will be better to use if not then an ordinary plastic cup will do, make sure you don’t get a lot of water in your cat’s ears and nose.
Use a cotton ball to wipe each eye to remove any discharge from the corners of the eyes, use separate cotton balls for each eye.
Gently massage in shampoo from head to tail.
Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.
Pat dry your cat with a soft towel.
If you have a cat who refuses to let you bathe him then another alternative would be to use a Water-less cat shampoo.


Nail Clipping

This is not only done to keep your cat from ruining your furniture and clothes but will also help their sharp claws getting stuck to the carpet or elsewhere.  This can be very painful for them if the claws break.  Also nail clipping is a good idea if you have a cat who loves to knead you, am sure it will be more enjoyable for you if their claws weren’t so sharp! Before clipping your cat’s nails you have to make sure your cat is comfortable with you touching their feet.  So first you will need to do daily foot massages and gently rub their paws so that they can get accustom to this feeling.  After a week or two the chances are your cat will allow you to clip their nails with little to no fuss, here’s how to do it:

Gently apply pressure to the top of the paw, this will cause her to extend her claws.
Use sharp nail scissors or clippers to remove the white tip of the nail, just before the point where it begins to curl.
Extra care should be taken to avoid nipping the quick, which is the vein that runs through the nail. This is the pink area that can be seen through the nail.
If you do happen to cut this area it will bleed, you should have styptic powder on hand to apply to the area.



Nail clipping is highly recommended instead of declawing, which is a very painful procedure and sometimes do end up in your cat having other side effects.  More of Declawing can be found in another article.

Fleas and Ticks

By following these few guidelines you may be able to prevent fleas and ticks as well but if your cat is an outdoor cat they may be more prone to picking up these parasites.  It’s easy to know whether your cat has them or not, you will notice your cat scratching more than usual.  If this is the case you should use a flea comb and check at the back of the neck for any black dots.

Fleas and ticks can be treated with ointments, medication or special collars made for this purpose.  There’s a lot of choices on the market, whichever you choose to use, follow the instructions carefully and you should have no problems getting rid of them in no time.


Last but not least

Visits to the Vet

Please make sure to always have your cats vaccinated and be sure to take them to get a general check-up at least twice a year.  By doing this it will save you from spending more money for treating illnesses that can be prevented and/or detected early.

Being a cat parent is a big responsibility and we need to own up to this by making sure our cats are treated well, they are part of the family and they give us love, friendship, and even good health so we need to give back as well.  By following the basic steps above you should be able to keep a healthy cat for a number of years.

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How to stop your cat from clawing the furniture

 

Abyssinian

Abyssinian

The Abyssinian is a well built medium sized cat. Each strand of hair on their coat is beautifully colored with contrasting light and dark bands. Their coat is silky smooth and they are just stunning to look at.

These beauties are full of energy and is no show cat. They will keep you on the go with their high spirit and natural curiosity. They have an independent mind but still love to be a part of everything you do by following you around and leaping on your lap when you least expect it.

They love to play so make sure to always have some toys and puzzles for their enjoyment and entertainment.  They do pretty well with kids but make sure to keep an eye on other pets such as dogs.

Abyssinians are generally healthy but are known to suffer from Amyloidosis (a renal disease) which is thought to be hereditary. They are also susceptible to tooth decay and Gingivitis so daily dental hygiene is recommended.

Regular brushing of the coat is required to evenly distribute natural skin oils and to massage the skin.

Clean ears with a cotton ball or a soft damp cloth using a mixture of half cider vinegar and half warm water.  Avoid using cotton swabs as this can cause damage to the interior of the ear.

The American Bobtail

The American Bobtail

These adorable felines have the most luxurious fur, which is naturally water resistant. They are medium built in size and they share the same features as a bobcat. They may have the “look” of a wild cat but their personality says otherwise. The American bobtail is known for their short tails which is usually one-third the size of a normal sized cat’s tail. No two tails are alike.

American Bobtail cats are very smart, gentle, loving, caring cats who will do very well with kids and other pets. They adapt to their surroundings very easily and will keep you and your guests entertained. They love playing puzzle games and they like to be occupied.

They are generally a healthy breed but care should be taken nevertheless. Daily dental Hygiene is best to prevent Gingivitis and other gum diseases. Combing or Brushing of the coat at least twice a week is required to remove dead hair and to distribute natural skin oils evenly. Clean ears with a cotton ball or a soft damp cloth using a mixture of half cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs as this can cause damage to the interior of the ear.

American Bobtails have sharp nails and require frequent trimming or filing. Declawing is not recommended.