5 Tasty Herbs That Are Safe To Feed To Your Cat

Feeding fresh herbs to your cat can be a tricky business. While your cat might seem like she’s fine snacking on all sorts of greenery, there’s a very long and very precise list about what plants in general cats can and cannot safely ingest.

Ahead of August 29 being officially known as More Herbs, Less Salt Day, let’s dig into the field of five cat safe herbs that you can feed to your cat without worrying.

1. Valerian

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You might have come across valerian at your local health food store. In either tea or supplement form, the exceptionally stinky herb is meant to help us humans relax and sleep better.

Guess what?

When it comes to finicky felines, the opposite effect is true and valerian becomes a stimulant.

2. Wheatgrass

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You might shy away from adding wheatgrass to your smoothies or juices due to its overly-earthy taste, but cats love to chow down on fresh wheatgrass leaves. You can buy wheatgrass plants cheaply from your local farmers market — just leave the plant out and let your cat enjoy its digestive benefits.

3. Catnip

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The most classic cat safe herb of all is catnip. Pick up a fresh catnip plant and leave it out for your cat to snack on. When eaten, catnip acts like a sedative in cats — which can be why some people say it causes cats to get high.

Alternatively, if you serve up some dried catnip and your cat decides to sniff it, she’ll go into more of a fun and crazy state of mind.

4. Cat Thyme

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Warning: Cat Thyme comes with a very distinctive smell that many humans find totally off-putting. If you can tolerate the whiff, it’s a great herb to let your cat enjoy as it helps relax and soothe her.

5. Dandelion

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Dandelion greens aren’t just a classic side dish offered up at Greek restaurants — they can also make for a small salad snack for your feline. Dandelion packs a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Just make sure not to overfeed your kitty because cats are carnivores at heart.

What’s your cat’s favorite herb?

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Bronson, the 33-Pound Polydactyl Cat, Finds Purrfect Adopters To Help Document His Weight Loss!

The amazing cat loving couple of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman have happily accepted a very large undertaking to save one cats life.

Meet Bronson; A 33-pound polydactyl cat that has as much heart as he does extra weight and toes!

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Bronson

Mike and Megan have built a successful business from their love of cats and desire to keep them healthy. Catastrophic Creations, founded in 2013, enhances feline enrichment through cat-tested, functionally beautiful furniture that is a “space conscious alternative to the traditional cat tree.”

Bronson will be joining their other 2 family felines, Lylah and Ickle, as the “offurcial quality control and product testers” for the company.

Photos courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations

But first, he must focus on losing the extra weight he carries.

This is not as easy as just changing his diet and must be done slowly to avoid fatty liver disease. This can be caused when abrupt weight loss occurs, forcing the liver to convert body fat into usable energy. Fat then builds up in the liver cells and can be deadly.

Knowing this didn’t stop the couple from adopting Bronson though. Visiting their local Humane Society before work a few months ago, they were immediately drawn to Bronson.

The funny thing is that with the limited time they had that day and a busy shelter, they didn’t even see his face, only his shapely backside! But they returned bright and early the next day, determined to be the fur-ever humans that would help Bronson lose the weight and live his best life.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations

 

Not much was known about the 3-year-old male except that his last owner was an elderly person who sadly passed away. With the size of Bronson, it was believed that he had been fed table scraps with likely no real exercise to combat the overfeeding and unhealthy human food.

With their company focusing on helping cats get exercise through their unique designs, Mike and Megan are the purrfect fit for Bronson.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – The happy couple pose at the Catastrophic Creations furniture business

The big boy immediately accepted them as well, purring and kneading his bedding like crazy when they first met. That is when they noticed that he was a polydactyl. They believe that fate brought them the loving cat with the paws shaped like their home state of Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Michigan “mitts”

On his first vet visit, they quickly learned that not only was Bronson happy to open his heart to them, he was quite the flirt in general. The entire staff at the vet clinic took turns coming into the exam room to admire the big lover and shower him with praise and snuggles.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Vet visit winning over the staff

So far, with his new dedicated human servants, Bronson is slowly but surely conquering his weight loss. His diet and caloric intake must be very closely monitored and adjusted to ensure he remains healthy and safe. He is transitioning from a kibble diet to a grain free, wet food regimen.

Exercise is a very important step for Bronson as well.

Play time with toys and his purrents is broken up with restful pauses so he does not over-exert himself. Fortunately, their home has a 2nd story so he can use the stairs as a workout too. With his size though, they were also concerned with his joints and want to limit the stresses put on them for now.

Mike and Megan laughingly joke that “Currently, his exercise routine is made up of moving his food dish around the room to promote walking, I feel like we’ve lost points with him on that one”. Tough love!

Being a 33-pound cat, they realized it is probably pretty uncomfortable to be carried with the amount of weight in his chest and upper body, so they came up with another great idea to help him. Bronson has a favorite pillow, and now they can comfortably move him on his fluffy bed, nicknaming it his “transportation pillow”! Who is training who?!

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – “Transport Pillow”

Bronson’s favorite toy is a catnip stuffed tomato which he can roll around with while laying down and bunny kick, working out those furry legs.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Favorite Tomato Toy

As with many cats, Mike admits “He also isn’t shy about taking up too much bed real estate. We’ve pretty much split the bed into thirds and Megan and I have each taken turns at the end of the bed.”

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Bed Hog Bronson

The goal they have set for Bronson is to lose one pound per month. So far he has lost 1.6 pounds so everything is on track for ameowzing success. We can’t wait to see Bronson conquer this, eventually scaling the “catified” creations with ease!

Photo courtesy of Mike Wilson and Megan Hanneman; Owners Catastrophic Creations – Bronson’s #LifeGoal

Catastrophic Creations followers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have been amazing in sharing tips and success stories about their cats who have undergone weight losses. They are all deeply invested in the story of Bronson and so he now has his own Facebook and Instagram pages for everyone to follow his progress and send pawsitive support to the whole family. Be sure to follow them on this journey!facebook.com/IAmBronsonCat

You are sure to get a kick out of Bronson’s antics and loving purrsonality as it emerges within his new life. 

 

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Pool Safety For Cats: Outdoor Summer Fun

Summer safety! If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your backyard, there are some safety tips you should know on how to keep your cat safe. Even if your cat is a strictly indoor cat, a well-timed escape and slip into the pool can quickly become tragic. Or maybe you have an adventurous cat that loves to take a dip! Whatever the case, here is everything you need to know about pool safety for cats.

Pool Safety: Teach Your Cat To Swim

dog and cat sitting by the pool

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For some cats, the idea of even toeing a body of water is nothing short of a nightmare. Still, if you have a pool, it might be a good idea to teach your cat to swim just in case they slip. Introduce your cat to the water in a calm, quiet manner. You can slowly loosen your grip on your cat (but still hold her!) as she gets used to the water. Eventually, her instincts will kick in.
It is important to not just put your cat in the pool and expect her to swim, though. Being near your cat and reassuring her she is safe and secure will make this an easier experience – for everyone. Even once she is comfortable swimming, you should always be in the pool when your cat is, just in case something happens.

Understand The Symptoms Of Near Drowning

If your cat falls into the pool and is submerged for some time and you grab her, you may think you are in the clear. Cats can experience near-drowning, or a form of asphyxiation even 24 hours after the initial event. Symptoms of near drowning in cats include bluish gums, red and frothy spit-up, and a gurgling sound in the chest. If you suspect your cat is experiencing near-drowning, get her to your vet ASAP. If left untreated, the potential water in the lungs can collapse the organ.

Know That Some Pool Chemicals Can Irritate Cats

cat drinking from pool

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While a short dip won’t hurt your cat, prolonged exposure to common pool chemicals like chlorine can irritate your cat’s skin. It can also hurt your cat internally if she decides she is thirsty and tries to take a sip from the pool. If your cat is hanging out with you by the pool, be sure to have a fresh, clean water bowl available to her so she isn’t tempted to drink a chlorine cocktail.

Invest In A Water-Detecting Collar

If your cat is particularly clever and finds a way to constantly escape, a water-detecting collar will alert you if she accidentally slips into the pool. When these types of collars get wet, they send out a sound to alert you.

Be Sure To Dry Your Cat’s Ears If She Does Go For A Dip

If your cat is secure being in the pool (while you are always supervising, of course), it is important to make sure her eyes are nice and dry once she is out. Just like with human swimmers, bacteria can start to grow in your kitty’s ear and cause a nasty ear infection.
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Cats And Conjunctivitis

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(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

This article courtesy of PetMD.com.

Conjunctivitis in Cats

Conjunctivitis refers to the inflammation of the moist tissues in a cat’s eye, which are the portions of the eye located near the globe and up to the edge of the cornea — the front part of the eye. It can cause the cat’s eye to discharge fluid and other uncomfortable symptoms for the animal. Treatment, ultimately, is based on the underlying cause of the condition.

Symptoms and Types

There are several common symptoms of this disease, including:

  • Persistent squinting
  • Regular and excessive blinking
  • Redness of the eye tissue
  • Eye discharge
  • Fluid build up in the eye
  • Upper respiratory infection

Causes

There are several viruses that can cause conjunctivitis, one of the most common being the herpes virus. Cats that are regularly exposed to other cats with viral infections are more prone to develop the disease. There are also bacterial causes, one of which is commonly referred to as “dry eye.” In addition, allergies can cause the eyes to react as an external response to the allergen, or it may be as simple as a foreign particle lodging in the eye. Finally, purebred cats are more likely to develop the disease than other cats.

Diagnosis

The veterinarian will explore the different potential causes to determine the root cause of the eye infection so that it can be properly addressed. There may be seasonal allergies to things such as grass and pollen, or to environmental pollutants like smoke or chemicals. Viral and bacterial infections will also be considered.

Treatment

This condition is commonly treated on an outpatient basis. If there is a suspected food or environmental allergen causing the infection, the issue should clear up when the identified allergen is removed from the cat’s environment. If the infection is due to a virus, there are some commonly prescribed medications to manage the inflammation, including oral and topical (external) antibiotics. Vaccination is also a common treatment option to prevent against other viral outbreaks in the future. In serious cases, surgery may be required to remove any blockages that are found to be present in the eye.

Living and Management

Once the diagnosis has been made and a treatment plan has been prescribed, it is important to follow up with the animal’s progress. The first step in the treatment plan will be to address the underlying medical cause if there is one present. Next, it will be important to isolate the cat so that it does not infect other animals.

Prevention

Limiting exposure to other animals that are possibly infected can prevent recurrence of conjunctivitis. Also, some vaccinations have proven effective at minimizing the risk of developing this condition.

This article originally appeared here on PetMD.com.

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Boarding Your Cat – How To Feel Confident While You’re Away

Due to their independent nature, cats are fine to stay at the house alone during the day. However, if you’re going on an extended vacation or you have a cat with special medical needs, you may find that a stint in a boarding facility is unavoidable. Use these tips to make sure you’re choosing the right one.

Tour the Facility

Start your search well ahead of your vacation so you have time to tour any prospective boarding facilities. Stop in to see where your cat will be staying. Look for a facility that’s clean and quiet, with spacious accommodations for your pets. Consider things like the proximity to other animals, both cats and dogs. Is there room in the cage for your cat’s favorite bed? Will she be released for portions of the day to play? Don’t leave your animal in any situation that you don’t feel comfortable and optimistic about.

Talk to the Staff

Speak with a few members of the staff about what their daily routines are and how the animals are cared for. If you hear different information in person than what you obtained on the phone or you find that the caregivers aren’t consistent in their answers, you may want to look for another facility where care is better organized.

Ask the staff how they handle problematic situations such as frightened animals. They should be knowledgeable about the best way to calm a cat and how to interpret their behavioral cues. If the staff doesn’t understand something like how a cat says “I love you,” you may want to seek a facility where the employees are better educated and more enthusiastic about their work.

Check the Rules

Read the fine print and check all the rules at the boarding facility. Always go to a boarder who requires current vaccinations for its pets. While it may seem convenient not to have to rush out to update your cat’s shots, keep in mind that if your pets don’t have to be vaccinated, neither do the others in the building. This creates a potentially hazardous environment for your cat.

Get Recommendations

Ask for recommendations to help you find the best boarders in your city. Consider questioning:

  • Family and friends
  • Your veterinarian
  • Pet owners in local cat-related Facebook groups
  • Cat owners in pet-focused forums
  • Other customers picking their pets up when you tour the facility

Look for a boarder that gets strong referrals from cat owners in particular, as our feline friends have different needs from canine counterparts.

Consider Your Cat’s Needs

Every cat is unique, so it’s important to find a facility that fits your pet’s distinct personality. If you have a cat and dog that are close friends, look for a place where they can stay together. If your cat is aggressive toward other felines, you’ll want a place that offers isolation from this stressor. Active cats need more room to run, and snugglers want that extra attention.

With proper research, you can find a safe and reliable place to care for your cat. Give your search plenty of time to make sure you’re in the right spot.

 

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How to Make Sure Your Senior Cat Is Comfortable

Your senior cat may be newly adopted or has been your companion for a large part of your life, and you want to make sure your kitty is as comfortable as possible during the golden years. It’s hard to see your cat suffer in pain and struggle to move around the home. Follow these five tips to make sure your senior cat is happy and comfortable for the remaining time in life.

Set Up Soft Spots Around the House

Your feline friend likely wants to spend time with you wherever you are but may feel pain sitting on hardwood or linoleum floors. Even thin carpeting can be hard on arthritic cats.

Set up kitty cushions around your home in areas where your senior cat likes to follow you. You might place a small cat bed and blanket in your office, kitchen, and den so your cat can join you in multiple parts of the house. This ensures there are comfortable spaces everywhere so that kitty can continue to be a regular part of the family.

Make Sure Kitty Doesn’t Have to Jump

A young cat might not have a problem jumping onto a counter or shelf to access food and water, but your senior cat might not be able to make it. As your cat gets older, move more items closer to the ground. This includes food, water, litter, and toys.

Also, make sure your cat doesn’t have a high barrier to get into the litter box.

Invest in Ramps and Kitty Steps

Just because your cat is older doesn’t mean the drive to explore has gone away. An older cat just might not be able to get where he or she wants to go.

Buy or make a few padded ramps or steps that make it easier for your cat to snuggle with you on the couch or explore the outdoors on the window sill. You can also attach steps along the way to create a highway for your senior cat to walk along. This gives your cat elevation without risking a bad jump and subsequent painful fall.

Change Diet As Your Cat Ages

Talk to your vet about your cat’s dietary needs as the cat gets older. Softer food or treats with extra nutrients might be needed to protect aging bones. Your vet should be able to recommend brands that accommodate senior cats to make chewing and digestion easier.

You should also ask about portion sizes. Your cat might need to eat less as activity slows, and proper dietary consideration can prevent obesity-related health problems.

Increase Your Regular Vet Care

Younger cats only have to visit the vet annually for check-ups and shots, but older cats benefit from seeing a vet more often. Ask your vet about scheduling appointments twice a year as your cat ages. If your vet can catch any problems early on, the treatment should be less involved and have a greater chance of success.

All cats have unique needs as they age. With regular care and adjustments in your home, you can make sure your senior cat lives a healthy, comfortable life.

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5 Easy Ways To Exercise Your Indoor Cat

There comes a time in most indoor cats’ lives when the vet kindly points out that they could do with losing a little weight. Hey, it happens to the best of indoor cats — but that doesn’t mean that you, as your cat’s guardian, can’t take your share of the responsibility and step up and add a few easy exercise-based activities to the daily routine.

1. Treat Sprints

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It’s trust building and engaging to have a cat eat treats directly out of your hand — but when you’re dealing with an indoor cat that could do with slimming down a little, it’s best to turn treat time into cardio time.

Find the longest stretch in your house or apartment and slide treats as far as you can along the floor. Do this one by one, shaking the bag in between so that your cat returns to you. This will maximize her running distance. (Also, throw in a few feints as you pretend to throw treats to keep her mind alert.)

2. Meal Marathon

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Most cats instinctively know when it’s meal time — and they will follow you around as you prepare their feast. So why not use that dedication as a way to get them to up their daily step count?

This works particularly well with wet food: Once you’ve placed the grub in the cat’s dish, walk around your abode, enticing your cat along as she smells the food while engaging in a sneaky little pre-meal walk. With my own cat, I’ve currently settled on five laps up and down the living room before she gets to chow down.

3. Toy Placement

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We all know that cats can have finicky relationships with their toys. But if your feline loves to bat a certain type of ball or small toy around, you can up their exercising by strategically placing the toy on higher up surfaces.

The back of the couch, on the corner of a desk, or perched on a chair are all great spots. Not only will the cat be enticed to hop up and grab the toy once she notices it, but once it’s been batted onto the floor, your cat has to drop down and continue the play session.

4. Use The Cat Tree’s Levels

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If you have a cat tree in your home, you can easily exercise your feline by making her climb up and down the carpeted monstrosity as she chases and stalks her favorite toy. This works best with toys that you can dangle along, like a Cat Dancer or one of those fishing pole-style toys that come with fake birds or feathers on the end of it.

The key here is to get your cat climbing up and down the cat tree as much as possible — although don’t forget to let her “catch” the toy from time to time so that she doesn’t lose interest. Remember: Cat trees aren’t only just for lounging.

5. Smart Furniture Hacks

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Finally, take a look at your furniture set up and see if you cannot move a few items to create some natural steps and levels that your cat can climb up and down. An easy hack is to clear some space on a shelf on a bookcase to fashion a nook that your cat can spot and aim to check out. Tap into your cat’s curiosity to prompt them to exercise while exploring.

Do you have any indoor exercise tips for others? Please share!

Ways To Help Your Cat Live Longer

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