By today I hope you were able to take a few moments to watch the segment about CH cat Pip on Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell.” (If not you can watch it online here.)
While the episode was certainly very educational, I was absolutely blown away by the ways the roommates found to amuse their cats, and I wanted to share those ideas with you!
When Jackson Galaxy, the show’s cat behavioralist, came to visit Pip, he realized right away that Pip was having a difficult time getting around. The home had hardwood floors, which made it nearly impossible for Pip to get traction and move around.
To solve this issue, Galaxy recommended that the roommates invest in some floor coverings – area rugs of different textures – to see which helped Pip the most.
The next time Galaxy stopped by it was obvious that the roommates took his suggestion seriously. Viewers can see a number of different rugs laid around their home, and one type of rug actually inspired a brainstorm!
You see, one of the rugs that they bought was made up of fabric loops (see the photo above). They then took several of Pip’s toys and stuck them through the loops, creating an instant playground! Pip absolutely loved it and can be seen playing with his toys in the video.
This simple solution was actually great for Pip because he could hunt his toys without running around his home. Instead, he could swipe, kick, and bat at them as they laid in the rug.
The other solution amused the roommates’ other cat, Red – and it was equally as cool.
Prior to Galaxy stopping by, the roommates had a small terrarium in their home that housed plants and butterflies. Red absolutely loved to sit and watch his “kitty TV.” Galaxy thought the terrarium was a great idea, and recommended that they build an even larger one for Red to watch.
And again, the roommates came through! They actually put tiny frogs in the second terrarium, which was great because the frogs would get very active at night – which is perfect for cats! Red appears to love his new kitty TV, something I think all of our cats could use!
Have you come up with innovative ways to entertain your cats? Please share in the comments or email me. I’d like to feature a few of the ideas on this blog!
Cerebellar hypoplasia cats recently received a huge national plug.
In case you missed it, last week a one-eyed CH cat named Pip was featured on Animal Planet’s show “My Cat From Hell.” If you’re unfamiliar with it, the show features cat behavioralist Jackson Galaxy, who helps cat parents solve all sorts of cat behavioral issues.
In the most recent episode we see Galaxy fly out to San Francisco, where he learns that Pip, despite his moderate CH, often bullies the other household cat, Red. And we’re not just talking about one cat being an alpha cat. There was footage of Pip quite literally flying at Red in anger – and not just every so often, but always.
Pip’s behavior was so unsettling that the cats’ owner’s roommate was considering moving out. The roommate said quite frankly that she didn’t feel comfortable around Pip because of his vicious behavior toward Red – not to mention that the cats’ nightly fights would often wake her up.
So this is where Galaxy steps in. He takes the time to learn about the situation, analyze the roots of the behaviors, and come up with solutions that usually involve modifying everyone’s behavior. In the end, he’s left with happy cats and relieved people.
But to be honest, even I wondered how much of an impact he’d make with these two cats!
The episode is definitely worth a watch (you can view it online here). I was thinking of drafting up a quick synopsis, but I think it’s worth your time to watch the 20 or so minutes of Pip’s segment on the show.
After watching the segment a number of things stuck with me. First and foremost, Pip’s owner said she would absolutely not give him up. What a tremendous testament that is to cat owners everywhere! Even though he was creating quite a bit of trouble, she was devoted to Pip and wanted to find a solution.
Secondly, the roommate was willing to not only help work toward solutions to improve Pip and Red’s relationship, but she took the initiative to improve her relationship with the cats too.
Lastly, Galaxy did a great job explaining the roots of each cat’s behavior, and he found great solutions that – by the end of the segment – left both cats happy, and actually co-existing without any trouble whatsoever!
I’m so glad that folks like Galaxy can show that cats – even little one-eyed CH bullies – are often misunderstood, and that with a little love and effort, a stressful situation can turn into a fantastic relationship!
Did you watch the Pip episode? Do you have a cat behavioral issue that you live with? Please share in the comments!
Google “people who look like their pets.” Hundreds of millions of results will pop up. No matter whether or not you believe it’s true, research has proven that our cats may be more like us than we’d care to admit: Over time, our cats take on our habits – good and bad – and adapt their lifestyles to ours.
The study’s researchers figured this out by looking into how much captivity can play a role in a pet’s life. They studied two groups of cats: One group lived in smaller homes and stayed close to their owners. The other group lived an indoor/outdoor lifestyle on larger property and were kept outside at night. Other than those differences, all cats received excellent care when it came to food, medical attention, and grooming.
So what did they discover?
Their findings revealed that the cats in the first group mirrored their owners in many ways. They had very similar eating, activity, and sleeping patterns as their owners. But that wasn’t the case for the second group. Those cats became more nocturnal with more feral behaviors.
The cats in the first group were so much like their owners’ that even their food and bathroom habits were similar. Consequently, the researchers wondered if that’s one explanation why human and cat obesity rates tend to match.
“Cats are intelligent animals with a long memory,” said Jane Brunt, DVM, and the executive director of the CATalyst Council. “They watch and learn from us, (noting) the patterns of our actions, as evidenced by knowing where their food is kept and what time to expect to be fed, how to open the cupboard door that’s been improperly closed, and where their feeding and toileting areas are.”
Similarly, another study revealed that we can influence our cat’s personality, and vice versa.
“While it’s commonly thought that cats are solitary and aloof and can take care of themselves, studies have shown that cats are social animals and when people are their main social group, it’s important for owners to understand that they are the role model and we have to encourage their activities with proper play/prey techniques,” Brunt said.
For example, when owners take the time to play with their cats, their cats become motivated to stay active, she said.
That said, our cats can also influence our lifestyle and habits (like when we adjust our schedules to feed them or respond to their needs), but odds are you may have already known that.
All in all, there’s a great deal we can learn from our cats, Brunt says:
“When they sit on our lap softly purring with rhythmic breathing and half-closed eyes, the sense of serenity and calm that comes over us is like a private lesson in inner peace and meditation.”
Natalie has been gracious enough to show us all how she manages to diaper her CH cat, Dimity Jane – and Dimity Jane has been gracious enough to be photographed during the entire process!
Here’s a look at their daily routine, according to Natalie:
Because my Dimity is a very sweet girl, I was able to take a series of pictures of how I diaper her one-handed while she laid on my lap. One of the reasons Dimity is so good about it is that I’ve been diapering her since I got her at 3 months. I don’t know that an adult cat would be so easy, but they might be able to get used to it.
One of the things I wanted to mention is that I buy human size 1 diapers for her, and have figured out where to cut the tail hole, and roll up the excess in the front. Then I tuck in the sides of the roll and pull the tabs all the way around to the back.
She has only wiggled out once, and I figured out why – the tab was too low. I also make sure that I pull up the legs so that she has plenty of room to move, and that her back legs aren’t restricted in any way.
I’ve had people who can’t understand why I take the 5 or 10 minutes to clean her up and diaper her every morning, and change her when necessary, but I just think that this little cat deserves a chance to live – she’s VERY happy, curious, and affectionate, and so what if she’s a bit clumsy – she does everything a kitten is supposed to do, except use the litter box. Hey, I’m not perfect, either, and it seems a very small addition to what I would do for my cats anyway.
Warmer temperatures have finally arrived in Chicago, which means we can finally enjoy spending more time outdoors. However, as nicer weather approaches, we may tend to spend more time outside of or away from home, which may mean that we spend less quality time with our cats.
That’s why it’s essential to make playtime a priority every day. I know this can be a big commitment, especially if a cat isn’t especially physically fit, but the daily activity can result in several benefits including the obvious one of being good for your cat’s health.
According to pet360.com, “Boredom, loneliness, and a lack of challenge can be extremely stressful to cats.” The author continues by saying that cats are naturally inquisitive, social, and playful, so playtime and general interaction can help keep their spirits up and give them a sense of purpose. Not only that, but daily activity prevents our cats from becoming lethargic; it can also make them less susceptible to illness.
But that’s not all. There are a number of other benefits that stem from playing with your cat, including:
First and foremost, our cats are hunters. I know they can be all “snuggly-wuggly” at times, but at their core, in their DNA, they were built to be predators.
Playtime allows them to act on their natural instincts; it gives them a release. Even a few minutes of playtime each day can help your cat tune in to that predatory nature and release some energy constructively. Read more…
Sometimes the greatest blessings in our lives don’t appear that way to the outside world. That said, as any CH cat parent will attest, CH cats can be tremendous pets.
Natalie learned that first-hand when she adopted her kitten Dimity Jane from a friend. Although Dimity Jane didn’t meet the world’s standard of perfection, Natalie has found that Dimity Jane is so much more than that. Here’s their story:
“[Dimity Jane] is a pedigreed Japanese Bobtail, and her breeder, who is my friend, contacted me because she knew that Dimity would not be suitable for showing, and she could not sell her. All I knew about Dimity when I agreed to adopt her was that she did not use the litter box, and that she was clumsy.
She’d had a rough birth, and did not nurse at first; my friend is a vet tech and tube-fed her for her first two days of life. Then she started nursing on her own. But she was developmentally slower than her litter mates. She is still very tiny (2 lb.) and the vet said that her teeth were those of a younger kitten. When I put her on the floor, to show him her clumsy gait, he immediately said she had mild cerebellar ataxia (good, knowledgeable vet!), and that she wouldn’t get any better, but she wouldn’t get any worse.
Her biggest problem is that she shows exactly no interest in the litter box – I tried putting low-sided pans all over the house, and also some doggie piddle pads, but while she has looked at them, she hasn’t tried to use them at all. I don’t think standing is the problem, because she can stand, even if she is a bit wobbly. So I decided to diaper her. I’m using newborn size diapers, and folding them over to fit. She doesn’t mind the diaper, and although it took a while for her to figure out how to walk in them, she’s doing fine with it. Read more…
I love visiting the Facebook CH Cats & Kittens page, because there are always great conversations going on. A while back, Caryl prompted a great one by asking:
“Do other people find that their able-bodied cats are scared of their CH cat? My other cats are scared and hiss and spit at her… Thankfully she is feisty and sticks up for herself!”
The responses were all very interesting and varied – just like our cats themselves. In the end, it really seems that the cats’ personalities will dictate the relationship, which seems to fall into one of a few categories:
Doting & Helping
In some households, it sounds like the non-CHers are open, accepting, and perhaps most interestingly, protective and/or considerate to the CH cat’s needs.
Perhaps Danita put it best:
“I have four cats total, but Penney is my only CH kitty. They actually seem to sense her needs. When one of the boys plays with her he is gentle, and my other boy will snuggle with her. My fourth is a female and surprisingly enough she is very tolerant of Penney. Normally she would not be with another female cat.”
And that sort of testimony doesn’t end there. Several other CH cat pet parents shared similar stories.
Megan said her non-CH cat likes to dote on her severely disabled kitty and is always by his side. Similarly, Paula said her male kitten looks after her female CH kitten and is always grooming and helping her. How cute!
Christina has two non-CH cats who are about the same age as their CH kitty, and she says they all adore each other. “We find the boys playing and cuddling on the bed bathing each other,” she said.
In all of this, it’s interesting to see how our cats take the initiative in the relationship.
Hannah shared this story:
“I had trouble finding a friend for my oldest cat, who is nearly blind and walks funny. Foster cats were scared of him. Then I fell for a kitten my parents were fostering. I brought her home, and they bonded well. It was that same, precious girl who, a year later, decided my newest foster, CH kitten Flip, had to stay with us forever. Now I have three cats.” Read more…