Keep Your Cat Cool in The Hot Days of Summer! Updated.

August 28, 2015

Cat cooling offUsually the hot days in the Southwest come in late summer. But sometimes a heat wave will surprise us, such as the upcoming week of 100+ temperatures!  I try to believe that outdoor cats are “street wise” and find shady spots to nap out the day hours and know where to find some water to drink.

Meanwhile, as the temperatures rise your indoor cat can be susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke. Cats don’t sweat by panting- they have sweat glands in their paws. On a hot day you might see them grooming more than usual. By licking they leave saliva on their fur and when it evaporates they will cool down. Cats will also seek a cool spot to lie down such as a sink, bathtub, potted plant or tile floor. (Haven’t you seen your cat stretch out completely flat on your kitchen floor?)

Here are a few other tips to help your kitty keep cool:

  • Make “Catsicles”. Put some wet cat food or dry food mixed with water in a plastic cup in the freezer overnight. Pop out and put in your cat’s bowl for a special treat!
  • Keep your cat out of your car if possible. For short trips, bring plenty of cold water for it to drink. Never leave your cat in the car unattended!
  • Brush daily to avoid matting and allow the air to flow through the fur.
  • Refresh the water dish often to keep cool water for your cat.
  • Create cool play such as chasing ice cubes on the floor
  • Keep a shady spot available for your kitty to nap in.

How can you tell if your cat is nearing a heatstroke? Symptoms include agitation, extreme distress, stretching out and panting heavily, vomiting, glazed eyes and drooling. If you notice any of these signs get your cat to a veterinary clinic immediately. Untreated, he could collapse into a coma and die.

If you can’t get to a clinic right away get your cat in a cool environment and keep him calm. Spray or pour water over him very carefully. Cover with wet towels and keep his head wet and cold to protect the brain but do not immerse your cat in water. Get to a vet as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading these reminder tips from Georgia’s Gifts.  We know keeping your cat cool will insure that you’ll both enjoy a safe and happy summer!

Cat with Sunglasses1

 


Feline Philately

May 29, 2013

Cat Stamps from Nicaraqua

feline [fee-lahyn] noun 1. an animal of the cat family  adjective 1. belonging or pertaining to the cat family, Felidae. 2. catlike; characteristic of animals of the cat family: a feline tread. 3. sly, stealthy, or treacherous ( I don’t care for this one)

philately [fi-lat-e-li] noun 1. the collecting of stamps and other postal matter as a hobby or an investment. 2. the study of postage stamps, revenue stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postal cards, covers, and similar material relating to postal or fiscal history.

In the last few months I’ve become a sort of “feline design philatelist”. My new hobby is in the beginner stages, mainly just seeing cat stamps that I like and collecting them. Then of course I realized I needed a place to put them and had to learn about albums and pages sizes and page protectors…and so on. Right now I’m content with the basics, one page size and a protective cover. But as I’m learning more I know that will soon change.

Cat Stamps from Guyana

I have been amazed at the quantity of feline stamps! So many values, sizes and designs from so many countries. And as you see in the above description #2 for philately, there are also many more types of postal material besides stamps. There are even cat stamp organizations such as Cats On Stamps. This could involve much more time & study than I ever imagined.

For the mean time I think I’ll just enjoy my new interest. To me these stamps are mini works of art and I’ll display them in a pretty album for browsing.

Below is one of my favorite finds so far. I love the colors and the backgrounds for each cat.

Cat Stamps from Kyrgyzstan

Are you a cat stamp collector? I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for my collection!


Do You Remember Orangey The Cat?

April 27, 2013

A few nights ago I watched the 1957 movie The Incredible Shrinking Man which is one of my old-time favorites.  If you have not seen it, there is a scene where the shrinking man is small enough to live in a doll house.  This works out okay until his cat gets left inside the large house with everyone else out for the evening. I think you can guess what happens next. (Don’t worry, after a great “cat & mouse” battle the man gets away).

Orangey looking fierce in The Incredible Shrinking Man

Orangey looking fierce in The Incredible Shrinking Man

I started wondering about the cat in the movie and decided to do some research. Turns out this orange tabby is an award-winning feline actor!  He is the only double-winner of the Patsy Award, the animal kingdom’s equivalent of the Oscar. (PATSY stands for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year).  Orangey won his first award for his debut in the 1951 movie Rhubard, playing a baseball team-owning cat.

Movie poster for Rhubarb featuring Orangey the Cat.

Movie poster for Rhubarb featuring Orangey the Cat.

Orangey won his second Patsy ten years later playing “Cat” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  His role was a homeless feline who visits Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn).  Here is a great You Tube video by Alex DeCosta showing all the clips from the movie that feature Orangey the Cat. It might be hard to believe but I had not seen this movie so the ending clips with “Cat” and Holly in the rain brought on some tears.

Scene from Breakfast at Tiffany's with Orangey the Cat.

Scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Orangey.

Orangey was trained by the famous animal trainer Frank Inn, known for many famous critter actors including Arnold the Pig on Green Acres and Higgins the Dog on Petticoat Junction.  As a single cat can only master a few tricks, Frank trained a crew of look-alikes to work as a group under the Orangey name. This is a common procedure for cat actors.

In his 15 year career Orangey the Cat also appeared in Gigot, Village of the Giants and had a recurring role as “Minerva the Cat” in the TV series, Our Miss Brooks.  You’ll now find Orangey properly memorialized at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills with other successful actors.

Next time I see Orangey in a movie I’ll definitely pay more attention to this veteran actor! Which is your favorite role by Orangey the Cat? We’d love to hear your comments.


Springtime Cat Shedding

March 27, 2013

All of a sudden I’m seeing little tufts of grey hair here & there on the carpet.  Following them like a trail of crumbs from Hansel & Gretel they lead me to my Dessa’s favorite sleeping places. Now I know! It’s spring and the time for cats to shed their winter coat.

Shedding is normal and healthy for cats. It helps them get rid of dead and loose hair which can irritate their skin. Being a Russian Blue our cat has a thick, dense double coat of fur.  She has a lot of fur to shed!  (This can also mean a lot of hairballs).

We know it’s time to step up the brushing and grooming to help her out.  Some cats love this attention and Dessa tolerates it fairly well when she is in a mellow mood. It’s also a good “bonding” time but when she has had enough she definitely lets us know!  After a brushing her coat feels so soft and sleek when you stroke her.  And I bet she feels refreshed.

Cat hair

A thick pile of cat fur. A couple of days brushing.

"This smells familiar!"

“This smells familiar!”

Some people make good use of this fur.  They might spin it into a soft yarn for knitting or crocheting. Or transform it into handicrafts as seen in the book, Crafting with Cat Hair.  We use the fur and hair from other animals for miscellaneous things so is this so different?  It’s your call!

There’s no items made of cat hair/fur at Georgia’s Gifts, but we have whimsical gifts & decor for cat lovers everywhere. We invite you to check us out!


Cat Road Casualty- What Would You Do?

February 1, 2013

This is not a fun topic, but it is reality.  This week driving to work I came across a dead cat in the road.  In the past I have stopped and pulled a cat’s body to the curb so it would not get run over again and possibly the owner could find it.  This time I did not have the heart to do it and drove on after looking to make sure that it was indeed a casualty. But it has been weighing on my mind ever since.

I know everyone has seen cats in the road. What should you do?  Should you call animal control? Knock on doors to try & find the owner? Take it to a vet?  I do think if it was still alive I would do this, IF it would let me near.

I go through a lot of emotions when I find a cat like this. My first reaction is a deep sadness for the poor cat.  I say a little prayer for his soul and hope that he went instantly.  Next I feel anger that the owner let the cat outdoors. I am a definitely advocate for keeping your pet indoors.  How many thousands of cats have to die by cars, coyotes, snakes, poison and more before people see the good sense of this?

I’m planning to make sure I stop next time there is a poor kitty in the road. But I would like to hear from you.  What would you do?  Tell me your stories.  And go give your kitty a kiss and scratch and be glad it is safe and sound with you, INDOORS.

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Me and our lovely Dessa.


Heartbeat Of A Cat

November 14, 2012

I have a secret favorite thing to do. I like to hold my kitty in a certain way so I can feel her heartbeat. There’s something about that soft but constant beat that assures me that my beautiful girl is healthy and happy. Plus it reminds me that this is a warm, furry creature of nature that’s allowing me to be in its world for a moment before struggling to get free from my firm grasp.

I did some research about “cat’s hearts” online. Below is a diagram of a cat’s anatomy just to show where a cat’s heart is located to make it easier for you to find the spot to feel the heartbeat.  Did you know a cat’s beat is almost double that of a human’s?  The range is from 120 – 220, depending on how excited your cat is.  A relaxed cat should be around 130.

I also watched a few anatomy dissections which I prefer not to even think about again. And I read about heart disease in cats and what to look for and do but that’s not the purpose of this post.

I’d rather think about that sweet heartbeat in my kitty as a confirmation of life and appreciate her for just being the wonderful creature she is – a cat!

Dessa cat washing paw


Tales of Cat Tails

August 29, 2012

Our cats have very distinct ways of communicating with us.  There are the variety of “meows” ranging from a soft sweet mew sound to an annoying “feed me now” MEOWWWW!

And of course their eyes send us subtle messages.  The slow closing and opening eyes which seems to show contentment; the wide-eyed stare when watching prey (even if it’s a feather on a long stick); or a loving look which melts your heart.

But the cat’s most expressive method is it’s tail- the perfect barometer of its mood.  Before I elaborate on that, I’ll tell you about my internet research on cat tails.  After wading through a mix of “cat’s tails” and “cattails” there seemed to be a lot of mis-information about the anatomy of cat tails.  To set the record straight, here is a short lesson from a medical center:

The tail consists of a varying number of vertebrae (called “caudal” vertebrae), voluntary muscle, and ligaments and tendon to hold it all together. The tail attaches to the body at an area called “the tail head.” The first caudal vertebra attaches to a special backbone called “the sacrum” which connects the tail and lower back (“lumbar”) vertebrae. Injuries to the tail can cause serious nerve damage.

The number of vertebrae is 19-28, and varies from cat to cat. (Our tailbone has only 4, in case you are interested).

Now that that’s out-of-the-way we can talk about the fun stuff, the wonderful and delightful way a cat really tells us what is going on. I’m sure you have all witnessed most of these.

The Erect Tail- My cat will meet me at the door with a straight up tail which I think means she is content and glad to see me. (Plus she knows a treat will soon be coming). A slight curve at the tip lets me know she is in a playful mood.Question mark tail on cat shows contentment

The Curl– Sometimes, walking between my legs, my cat will let her tail curl gently around my leg or foot. I take this as a loving touch letting me know that she approves of me, at the moment anyway.

The Wagging Tail–  This lets you know your cat is not really sleeping but is content and partially alert.

The Swish–  A very focused cat, watching birds out the window or about to pounce on a toy.

The Whip– “I’m annoyed” is the definite message. And if my cat almost beats her tail back & forth I know she has had enough!

The Bristle– If your cat’s tail suddenly looks like a fat caterpillar you know it’s frightened or feels threatened.

Do you have some more to add to this list? I bet your cat has some special moves all it own and I’d love for you to share them! Cat cartoon with twitching tail