Meet the Abyssinian

RuddyAbyAlthough the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. In appearance, Abyssinians resemble the paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, which portray an elegant feline with a muscular body, beautiful arched neck, large ears and almond shaped eyes. Abys today still retain the jungle look of felis lybica, the African wildcat ancestor of all domestic cats.

The breed is permitted four coat colors by CFA: Ruddy, Red, Blue and Fawn. The shape of the head forms a modified wedge with eyes curved like almonds. The Abyssinian has large, slightly pointed ears. The head, eyes and ears all fit together in a complimentary fashion favoring neither extreme length nor extreme shortness.

RedAbyThe personality of the Abyssinian is best described by one word: busy. These are incredibly intelligent cats, good problem solvers with an insatiable curiosity. Add to this their natural athleticism, which comes with their muscular bodies , and you have a potent combination. Abyssinians want to do everything on their own terms. Unless you understand their unique personality these fascinating cats can be a great challenge when living with one as a pet. They are incredibly playful even into adulthood. Everything they do seems larger than life. When they play, they seem to have no concern for life or limb and commit all of their energy and concentration.

BlueAbyFor the most part, these are low maintenance cats although they do enjoy being rubbed affectionately and require a bath at least once during the shedding season. Washing them with a good cat shampoo, quick towelling, and drip-drying is all that is needed. Bathing should be started when they are young and so should clipping their claws regularly and before each bath.

FawnAbyFor those who want a portion of the wild kingdom, who want an active, independent, loving cat, this very ancient breed may be just right. These mischievous, highly animated shorthaired cats, with their iridescent, colorful coats, can provide years of pleasure for any household. It is not a mystery to see why those who have had an Aby, usually have no other breed as a pet. It has become one of the most popular cat breeds of modern time.

 

Tips For Keeping your Cat Safe During a Disaster

Whether you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes or floods, you can’t wait until Mother Nature comes knocking at your door…   The time to be prepared is now, and advance planning could save your pets’ life and make yours easier.

  • June1Take several pictures of all the animals in your household and keep these pictures with your important insurance papers (include vaccination records, too). Be sure to include in the pictures any distinguishing marks. These pictures can help reunite you with a lost pet. Store the pictures in a resealable plastic bag in case you have to post them during rainy months.
  • Have at least a minimum two week supply of pet food and water on hand at all times. Store the dry food in air tight/waterproof containers. If you use canned food, buy the flip top cans or have a can opener in your airtight disaster supply container. Keep some of your pet’s favorite treats on hand – they get stressed, too, and a treat provides them some comfort. Also keep a supply of cat litter, a clean litter scoop, and litter pan in your disaster kit.
  • Put a collar and tag (with address and phone number) on your pets. This will increase your chances of reuniting you with your pets if they escape.
  • If your dog rides in the car, always have a leash in the vehicle to be able to keep your dog safely controlled if you have to leave your car. A disaster may occur while you are away from home.
  • Always keep a back-up supply of your pets’ medications. A vet may not be open for some time following a disaster. Prepare to ice down medications that need to be refrigerated (ice is available from the Red Cross). Ask your vet is he/she has a disaster plan. Your pets may need medical attention after a disaster and you need to know where to take your animal. Keep a first aid kit in your disaster kit for your pet (check with your vet on what to include).
  • Have a cat carrier or evacsack to evacuate each cat in your household. If you have to confine the cat(s) for a long period of time, have a carrier large enough to hold a shoe box sized litter box, a water/food dish, and room for the cat to comfortably lie down. Ensure the carrier is not left in the sun, and, if it is warm, that the cat gets good ventilation. If you must take the cat out, do so in a confined space as the cat may try to run away.
  • Start a buddy system with someone in your neighborhood so that they will check on your animals during disaster in case you aren’t home. Agree to do the same for them. Exchange information on veterinarians and have a permission slip put in your file at the vets, authorizing your buddy to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet in case you can’t be reached. Talk with your pets’ “babysitter” about a disaster plan to be used to evacuate and care for your animals in your absence.
  • Comfort your pet during a disaster – they are frightened, too. Having you near to give them a hug will help. Do not force this – let them come to you when they are ready.
  • Continue to feed your pets the food they are used to and put it out as close to the normal time as possible. If you feed canned food, reduce the normal amount by half (supplement with dry food) to reduce the possibility of diarrhea. Be sure to provide your pets with fresh water at all times.
  • Know where the animal shelters are in your area. You may need to visit them after a disaster to look for a missing pet. Also call the National Lost Pet Hotline, 1-900-535-1515 (this is a charge call) to report a lost pet. Call the National Found Pet Hotline, 1-800-755-8111 to report a found animal.
  • Check with local news media for facilities offering disaster animal rescue and relief. Also, you may call (800) 979-0241 and leave your phone number for assistance.
  • Microchip Your Pet!

PLANNING AHEAD COULD SAVE YOUR PETS’ LIFE!

 

New pet stamps coming this year

Good news for pet lovers!  2 new cat stamps will be included in a pet lovers set that will be available later this year!!

According to the USPS website:

To celebrate America’s love for pets, the Postal Service will issue a booklet of 20 Forever stamps featuring photographs of 20 pets. Each photograph represents an animal we love from these groups: puppies, betta fish, iguanas, hamsters, goldfish, parrots, guinea pigs, tortoises, rabbits, kittens, corn snakes, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs, parakeets, horses, cats, and geckos.

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Training Your Kitten to Enjoy her Carrier

Cat in Soft CarrierMost cats learn to hate carriers because they associate the carrier with a bad experience – it comes out once a year or so, and means a trip to the vet’s office!

But a carrier is an important part of life for our feline friends, so here are some tips for helping your cat learn to like the carrier:

 

  1. Start by just leaving your carrier out in the house, so your cat can get used to it. Open it up, and block the door, so that your cat can investigate if they want to.
  2. Cat in Hard CarrierMake the carrier attractive to your cat – add some comfy bedding, and then a favorite toy or some catnip.
  3. Once your cat is feeling comfortable with the carrier, try closing the door for a few minutes while she is inside – leave the room, and come back and give her a treat when you open it back up.
  4. Once she is feeling comfortable with that process, try walking around the house for a few minutes once you have closed the door. Then, set it down, and give her a treat again when you open it back up.
  5. When that part is going well, try taking for her a short drive – even just around the block – and reward her again with a treat once you’re back inside. Your cat will learn that the carrier and the car don’t always mean a trip to the scary vet.

 

Kitten Proofing Your House

Devon Rex Kittens in WindowBefore you get kitten home, there are a few things you will want to do to make sure your home is safe and secure for your new addition.

  1. Close off all areas that a kitten can get into. Many kittens have been lost for a time because they are afraid in their new surroundings.
  2. Designate one room where your kitten can stay to get acquainted with her new surroundings. Make it a fun place with new toys, a new bed and litter box so that he understands that this is his room. Once acquainted, usually after a week, let your kitten begin to explore other areas with your supervision.  If there are other pets, gradually introduce them to your new kitten.  Wait a few weeks so that your kitten gets confident and comfortable in his new surroundings.
  3. Get your kitten on a schedule as soon as possible. Regular feeding, grooming and play time gives your kitten a sense of order and security.  Refrain from over-handling.
  4. Be sure to kitten-proof other areas. Just like babies, they love putting things in their mouth.  Make sure that electric cords are unplugged and that there are no other hazards in the vicinity. You may have to get on the floor to “see” what your kitten sees.  Having plenty of appropriate toys around will focus your kitten on the right things.
    Persian Kitten with Flowers

Have fun as you introduce your kitten to his new surroundings and he will soon realize that this is his forever home where he can grow and have comfort and support for a lifetime

Things to Consider Before Bringing a Kitten Home

Sunday, March 20 was the first official day of Spring 2016 and a perfect time to bring a new kitten home.  Here are five things to consider when you are considering a kitten for your forever home.

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  1. Make sure that your kitten is at least three months of age. By then, mom has socialized and weaned the kitten so that it can survive.
  2. A healthy kitten has a muscular body, firm to the touch, clear eyes and will move with confidence and strength.
  3. Whether buying from a breeder or whether you get your cat from your local rescue, be sure to find out all you can about the kitten. For a pedigreed cat, talk with your breeder so that you can understand the temperament and pedigree behind the kitten.  For a rescue kitten, be sure to get as much information about the conditions which the kitten was found.
  4. Choose your vet in advance and talk to her about how to keep your kitten happy and healthy. Your vet is the best expert to guide you about proper nutrition and care.
  5. Have fun bonding with your new kitten that will build over time and so that you can become pals for years to come.
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Easter Hazards

Photo: bob in swamp / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo: bob in swamp / Foter.com / CC BY

It’s that time again when Spring is upon us and we look forward with great anticipation to the upcoming Easter holiday and nice, long days of summer ahead.   With 10 to 12 million lily plants produced annually, the lily is a very popular plant to receive as a gift, especially during this time of year.

Cat owners must be aware when bringing lilies into their homes. The following species are known toxins to cats: The Easter lily, Tiger lily, Day Lily, Rubrum lily, Japanese Show Lily, as well as other members of the Liliaceae family can all cause kidney failure in cats. In most plants, the leaves are known toxins along with the stems and flowers in certain species. With some species, cats can eat as little as two or three leaves which can result in liver failure and, if left untreated, can cause death if not caught in time.

Photo: flores do meu jardim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo: flores do meu jardim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

If you catch your cat eating a lily plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Should your cat ingest lily plant material, he may vomit, have diarrhea, became dehydrated and lethargic and develop a lack of appetite. As internal damage progresses, symptoms can become more intense without prompt, appropriate treatment by your veterinarian. Take the plant along when you take your cat to the veterinarian to make it easier for your veterinarian to prescribe the proper care and treatment.

If you receive a lily plant, take extra caution to make sure that the plant is out of reach and kept away from your cat, especially if he likes to nibble on things. Rather than struggle with the problem of where to put the plant, you may decide that cats are more fun and more decorative than a plant and just ban them from your home.

Training Your Kitten to Enjoy the Grooming Routine

3-7 cat with brushRegular brushing and combing are important to make sure that your cat has less hair balls and will leave less hair around the house. For long-haired cats, daily grooming is essential.

The best conditions for training your kitten to get used to the grooming sessions is to gently comb or brush him when he is relaxed or sleepy. Using a gentle approach, don’t insist that grooming take place when the cat is nervous or wanting to play.

Grooming is done the right way of the fur, with the exception of the neck area. Position the comb in a slanted position, and make sure that the teeth are not too sharp. You may take several tries to find your cat’s favorite grooming place. There are plenty of combs on the market, find one that is recommended for your cat’s fur length and texture.

3-7 Robert Groppi1Also, during the grooming process, be sure not to overstimulate your cat so that he becomes rambunctious and aggressive. You want to associate the grooming routine for your cat is time for the two of you to bond and relax.

For some cats, daily grooming may take place several times per day or on a regular basis. Take notice of any “sensitive” areas on your cat and try to avoid those areas. One of my cats does not like having his stomach combed more than a few times.

Grooming is not only essential, but can be an enjoyable activity that you and your cat can share for his entire life.

Fact vs. Myth Cat Show Perception

If you have never been to a cat show, you may not know what to expect as you may have heard some rumors that cat shows are only for stressed out, pedigreed cats.  However, that notion is far from the truth!

There are many things to do at a cat show, let’s take a look at what kinds of things go on:

  1. Judging: Cats are judged within their respective breeds and then the top ten cats are chosen from the best and second best of breeds.  Cats are kept in a benching area away from the judging rings and are held in cages or “show shelters” until they are called to the ring for judging or a final. At the conclusion of class competition, the judge will call his top ten final and award rosettes to the top cats in Kitten, Championship and Premiership.
  2. Benching Area: This is a great place to have a conversation with a breeder.  It’s where you can learn about the breed of your choice and ask questions about the breeder’s expectations and preferences for placing cats. Many times, you can find out about whether the breeder has a retired show cat available to a forever home.  That forever home can be yours!
  3. Feline Agility Competition: feb 29-2Cats can compete in a timed, enclosed feline agility course. It is fun to watch them as they compete against the clock.  If you are at a show which has feline agility, you will spend several minutes at a time just mesmerized watching the cats jump through hoops and climb stairs.
  4. Vendors and more! You will love shopping for all things cat: from teaser toys to scratching posts, you will find all the latest in cat products! Of course, you may find “people” vendors as well.
  5. Family-friendly Activities: Feb 29
    You will find that several shows have additional activities for the whole family such as Breed Showcase where you will get to see and learn more about the different breeds or a stuffed animal judging competition for kids or coloring contests and more.  Show flyers list activities that each club is planning.
  6. Animal Rescue Adoptions:  Many clubs have animal rescue groups participate.  The mission of CFA is to promote the welfare of all cats.  You can choose a homeless animal to add to your family and so the cat can have a forever home.

There is a myth that cats are stressed out at shows and it is an unnatural place for them to be.  While there are cats who do not like to show and they are “retired” quickly from showing if they act up and are cranky, many cats love the attention from their owners and like to be admired by strangers.

Check out CFA’s list of upcoming shows at go to www.catshows.us

CFA’s Most Popular Breeds

Feb 22

The Exotic is CFA’s Most Popular Breed for the second year in a row.  The top ten CFA breeds are:

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  1. Exotic
  2. Persian
  3. Maine Coon Cat
  4. Ragdoll
  5. British Shorthair
  6. American Shorthair
  7. Scottish Fold
  8. Abyssinian
  9. Sphynx
  10. Oriental

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Rankings are based on registration 2015 figures.  While not a breed, this is also the first year the household pets are able to compete for regional wins.  Household pet recordings increased by 300% in 2015.  To learn more about cat shows, go to http://www.cfa.org/Shows/AboutCFAShows.aspx