Necessary Skills for Cat Lovers

by Suzanne Fisher

Being owned by a cat takes some getting used to. You have probably heard the saying, “You own a dog, but you feed a cat.” Roughly speaking, this means the ownership part of a relationship with a cat always resides with the cat. Here are some ways you can adjust to your new cat-owned status.

Learn to understand Cat Talk

Acquiring a thorough understanding of Cat Talk requires studying a cat’s body language, as demonstrated by its tail, and becoming familiar with the cat’s facial expressions.

Here are some important things to learn about tail talk:

  • When the tip of the tail is moving, it means that the cat is aware of what you are saying and is relaxed with the fact that it can ignore you for as long as you can talk.
  • When the cat’s tail movement has taken over one half of the tail, it means that you have just said something disagreeable to the cat.
  • If this is followed by the whole tail moving back and forth, it means you would do well to shut up soon.
  • If the tail switches back and forth fast, bumping against things with a loud thump, it means it is time for you to not only shut up, but to think about leaving fast.
  • When the tail thrashes around and the eyes turn to glare at you,  you may as well get your Nikes on and run for your life as you have just offended your feline friend.

Facial Expressions:

Cats have a wide range of facial expressions.

  • Mouth open and neck extended means a hair ball is imminent.
  • Mouth open and teeth bared often means something stinks and the cat is trying to determine the origin of the stench – better hope it isn’t you.
  • The intent stare is a pre-pounce mechanism to mesmerize and disarm prey. This is often seen when your toes move under the bed covers.
  • Forehead furrowed means you have said something not quite believable to the cat.
  • Once in a great while, the sides of the mouth curve upward in a smile.

Teaching your cat to play Fetch

First, find the cat. Then get you, your cat, and your cat’s favorite wand toy into the same room.  Tell the cat that you want it to learn to play Fetch.  Ignore comments from the cat such as “Are you possessed?”

Engage your cat in active play with the wand toy.  Then throw the toy across the room. Your cat will look at you and then at the toy.

Encourage your cat to go get the toy and bring it to you.  Tell the cat that play time is over unless it gets the toy. Direct the cat’s attention to the toy by pointing to it and saying things like, “Go get the toy.  Fetch the toy.”  Ignore the cat’s unsettling stare which, roughly translated, means “You silly human, what IS your problem?”

Continue to encourage your cat to fetch the toy.  Promise your cat treats for getting the toy and bringing it to you.  Promise to scratch or rub a favorite spot on the cat if the cat complies. Then go get the toy yourself.

How to Give a Cat a Pill

Successfully giving a cat a pill requires determination and a little advance preparation.

  • Fill an eye dropper with water.
  • First find the cat. Since cats read our minds, they usually evaporate before we convert the ‘give the cat a pill’ thought to action.
  • Place the cat on a chair or bed.  Open the cat’s mouth and pop the pill in, getting it on the back of the throat.  Ignore the growl coming from the cat.
  • Empty the eyedropper filled with water into the cat’s mouth.  Ignore the louder growl coming from the cat.
  • Hold the cat’s mouth closed and massage the throat until you feel a swallow.  Ignore the thrashing around by the cat and the louder growl.
  • Pick up the pill from the bed, mash it together and try again, beginning with finding the cat.
  • When the pill is ptuied a second time, take the pill yourself.  If the pill is an antibiotic, you probably need it at this point to counteract all the cat scratches you have gotten giving your cat a pill.

These simple suggestions will hopefully make your life with your feline friend go more smoothly.


Redecorate Safely Even With Allergies or Sensitivities

People with allergies or sensitivities often have trouble redecorating their homes with products that do not trigger their health issues. The good news is that when it comes to redecorating or rehabbing a home, there are many newer options for people with allergies or sensitivities to formaldehyde, petroleum, and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).

Suggestions for healthy building materials

The building industry, recognizing that many people have problems being around formaldehyde, VOC’s, and petroleum products, has created wonderful solutions for people with allergies or sensitivities:

  • Carpets and carpet padding

People with allergies or sensitivities have for years been advised to avoid carpets in their homes. Carpets used to have a very toxic mixture of 4_PfCH (4-phenylcyclohexene), as well as formaldehyde and a host of the toxins. Now you can find carpets made from wool, jute and natural latex that are well tolerated by people with allergies and sensitivities. Some chemical-free brands of carpeting include: Earth Weave, Bloomsburg Carpet, Woolshire and Helios.

Carpet padding has always contained urethane (a possible carcinogen), rubber (a sensitizer for many people), or a recycled content mix. But now there are brands of non-toxic padding made by DeciBLOK, Nova, U. S. Floors, Nature’s Carpet, and Earth Weave.

  • Paint

Paints have traditionally contained a wide array of VOC’s that offer negative short-term and long-term health effects, and cause many problems for persons with allergies or sensitivities. Now there are paints with low VOCs and even paints with no VOCs. There is a great list of these paints in Apartment Therapy. Not included on the list, but one of the first to put out non-toxic paints, is AFM Safecoat of California.

  • Building materials

Plywood is often used to create kitchen islands, cabinets, closet systems, furniture and space-altering areas while redecorating. PureBond is a hardwood plywood made by Columbia Forest Products that has no formaldehyde, and whose glues are soy based.

Air purifiers make a difference in the air in your home

The wonderful air purifiers available today can help you avoid problems from even the greenest redecorating materials. From the little workhorse made by Aireox to the HEPA and carbon air purifiers made by Austin Air and Airpura, having an air purifier can give you clean air to breathe. Check out our fun YouTube video on air purifiers!

From now through the end of the year, use these coupons with your Aireox Air Purifier orders. Just type the coupon in your shopping cart as you are checking out:

  • Aireox Room units – to get $20 off, type in Aireox45Savings
  • Aireox Car units – to get $20 off, type in Aireox22Savings