Cornish Rex Cats 101

Cornish Rex Kittens

The Cornish Rex cat is a study in contrasts. Its fine, delicate-looking bones give the impression of a fragile animal, but the Cornish Rex is generally very playful and active, even behaving (and sometimes looking) more like a dog than a cat. Its whip-like tail and large, pointed ears have earned it comparisons to dog breeds like the whippet, and the Cornish Rex is happy to accommodate with its fondness for games like fetch and catch. How did this striking breed develop? What is it like as a pet? And where on Earth did it get such a distinct appearance?

 
 

The First Cornish Rex

 
Even though the Cornish Rex looks like it might have been among the first domestic house cats, it's actually a relatively new breed. In 1950, a cream-colored male kitten was born to a barn cat in Cornwall, England. This kitten was not like its siblings, though, as its tightly curled hair and long, thin legs made it look more like a Rex rabbit, hence the name. Kallibunker, as he was called, became even more unique as the weeks passed and he developed his thin, whip-like tail, giant ears that appeared to have been stolen from a bat, and a narrow, egg-shaped head with high cheekbones and a slender nose.
 
Kallibunker was bred with his mother and produced two kittens with the same features (try not to think about that too much). Accordingly, geneticists determined the proud new father's unusual appearance was the result of a naturally occurring mutation caused by a recessive gene. Essentially, this means both parents must carry the gene to produce offspring that express that genetic trait. After some trial and error involving mating with other breeds like Russian Blues and American Shorthairs, the cats developed a gene pool diverse enough to support the new breed.
 
 

Physical Traits of the Cornish Rex

Cornish Rex Cat 
As mentioned above, Cornish Rexes are visually stunning with their rows of short, curly hair, thin tails, oval heads, and comically large ears. They typically weigh between 6 and 10 pounds, and their short hair means minimal shedding and grooming that usually takes no more than simply running your hand gently over the cat's coat. These cats usually have gold, green, or hazel eyes, and their coats can be as varied as nearly every other breed. They can be white, black, brown, cream, reddish-brown, and have patterns like tabbies and tortoiseshells, among others.
 

Personality Traits of the Cornish Rex 

True to their dog-like nature, Cornish Rexes are notoriously friendly and outgoing, even around strangers, making them excellent choices for families with young children or people who often have visitors over, as this intelligent, inquisitive cat is a natural entertainer and will be among the first to greet newcomers.
 
Because Cornish Rexes are so playful, even well into old age, they are best suited for pet parents able and willing to keep them stimulated. Having other pets around that can keep up is a good idea.

Cornish Rex Facts:

Cornish Rex Kitten in Blanket

  • Learns quickly and can be taught tricks and games like fetch and catch.
  • Is usually fairly quiet and has a soft, sweet meow.
  • Affectionate and usually happy to accept a cuddle.
  • Develops strong attachments to its human family and will follow them around the house.
  • Its long toes and adept paws are well-suited to opening drawers and cabinet doors, and its intelligence means if it sees you hide something in a cupboard, it's probably going to figure out a way to get the door open.
  • Its short, thin coat makes the breed particularly vulnerable to sunburn, so the cats must be kept from spending too much time outdoors or in direct sunlight.
  • That same short coat also means the cat gets chilled easily, so consider a small pet sweater during cold weather to keep your feline friend nice and toasty.

Cat Scratches: How to Avoid, Treat, and Care for Them

Kitten Biting Hand
Anyone who's ever owned (or likely even been around a cat) has been scratched at some point. It isn't always intentional. You might have been holding Fluffy when she suddenly jumped from your arms. Maybe you were playing and got a little too close. Sometimes the scratches are purposeful. You might have misread a cue and gone in for a friendly scratch behind the ears, only to end up with a cranky swat to the hand. Maybe your cat was sick or just in a bad mood and decided to take it out on you.
However it happened or however it may happen in the future, here are some basic tips you can follow to try to avoid scratches in the first place and tend to the ones you aren't able to dodge.

Cat-Scratch Disease Is Real

Cat Scratching Hand
A cat scratch can be anything from a barely-there mark on the surface of your skin to a deep gouge requiring medical attention. Why are cat scratches especially dangerous if they break the skin?
Besides the scratch providing an opening for germs to enter your body, cats sometimes carry a bacterium called Bartonella henselae, even though most of them don't actually show signs of illness. B. henselae is transmitted by fleas, and when cats scratch at them, this bacterium can get trapped under their claws. When the cat scratches you, there is a chance that same bacterium could enter your bloodstream, potentially causing enlarged lymph nodes near the infection site, fever, headache, and more.

How to Prevent Cat Scratches

If you own or are near cats often, you'll probably be scratched at least once. To help limit this (and the resulting damage), try the following:
  • Observe the cat's mood. If it seems irritated or angry, don't attempt to pet it.
  • Engage in gentle play. If your cat tends to play rough anyway, consider wearing gloves and long sleeves.
  • When playing, opt for toys you can use from a distance, such as a laser pointer or a feather toy.
  • Keep your cat's claws trimmed (but see below for a special note about declawing).

How to Treat Cat Scratches

So Fluffy got too close and you got clawed. It happens sometimes. Follow these steps to get yourself on the mend:
  • Assess the wound. If it's a mild scratch, washing it with soap and water should suffice. If necessary, a clean, dry gauze pad can be held to the wound until it stops bleeding.
  • Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the wound, over with a dry, clean bandage, and allow to heal. Keep an eye out for unusual swelling, redness, soreness, and other signs of infection.
  • Pay close attention to wounds on the hands and feet. They come into contact with more surfaces than other areas of the skin, so wounds here are prone to higher rates of infection.
  • Likewise, if the person scratched is very young, elderly, and/or has a weakened immune system, monitor the wound closely to head off infection.
  • If a cat scratches your eye, seek immediate medical attention.

Declawing Solves Scratching, Right? Wrong

Cat at Vet
Some pet owners choose to fix the problem of scratching by having their cats declawed, but this is an outdated, even cruel practice that permanently maims and even endangers cats. When cats are declawed, the last bone of each toe is amputated, the equivalent of a human having each finger amputated at the last knuckle. The procedure can cause nerve damage, bone spurs, lameness, and back pain due to the changes in the cat's gait. If the cat ever escapes outside and has to face a predator, it's put at a serious disadvantage due to being unable to scratch to defend itself.
Instead of subjecting your cat to this painful and unnecessary surgery, follow the tips listed above to minimize scratches without maiming your furry friend.

The Absolute Essentials of Cat Care

Woman Holding Cat with Green Eyes

So, you’ve got a cat. Or you’re thinking about getting a cat. That’s great! Cats are affectionate, loving pets who will bring any years of happiness. But do you know what cat care is all about? According to the charity International Cat Care, many cat owners and prospective cat owners don’t understand all the basics of cat care. Thankfully, there’s plenty of information available. Let’s have a look at the essentials of cat care to help you down the right path towards a happy and healthy feline.

 

Cat Care: Exercise and Playing

 Kitten with Pink Mouse Toy

Cat’s crave interaction and attention. They are hunters by nature, and love to keep their instincts honed by chasing anything they can find. String, your shoelaces, insects; anything is fair game. The good news is this is great exercise for your cat, and keeps them toned and healthy. What you might not realize is playing also keeps your cat’s brain healthy too. A bored cat is an unhappy cat, and cats can even lose confidence and become withdrawn if they don’t play enough. A good cat care regime should include some playtime every day. Try a few different types of toys to find out what your cat’s favorites are. Keep them away from dangerous ‘toys’ such as plastic bags; cats may be clever, but they often can’t resist the rustling temptation of a bag to pounce on!

 

Cat Care: Diet and Food

 Person Feeing Cat

There’s a recurring myth that cats will never over-eat. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you ‘free-feed’ your cat, they may simply eat all that is available then con you into putting more food down. This stems from natural instincts that tell the cat that food might not be available for a long time, so better eat fast while the going is good! Not all cats behave in this way, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your cat’s food intake. The Nest recommends that healthy adult cats feed once or twice a day, and advises not to refill the bowl every time it’s running low. Cat obesity leads to health problems and even early death. Most high-quality cat foods have a guide on how much to feed your cat, so have a read and ensure you’re not over-feeding. Cat food should be high in protein, Complement wet food with dry kibble to help keep your kitty’s teeth in good condition.

 

Cat Care: Grooming and Hygiene

 Happy Cat Being Brushed

Cats are often seen as very clean animals, but they can still do with a bit of help from you. For excellent cat care, it’s good to get involved with your cat’s grooming. Cats groom each other to show affection, and when you groom your cat, you are forging an unbreakable bond with your pet. Groom your cat’s fur with a good quality brush, or a specialist glove. This helps remove dead skin and particles, keeping the fur healthy. This is especially important in long-haired cat breeds. Plus, your cat will love the attention.

Other cat care basics include flea and worm treatment, which is best done regularly and on the advice of your vet. All pets are susceptible to parasites, but a good treatment regime keeps them healthy. A clean and easily accessible litter tray is essential. A good quality litter such as PrettyLitter can help you with your cat care regime by keeping the litter area hygienic and helping alert you to any potential health issues.

So, now you know the basics of cat care. Take time to play with your pet, don’t over-feed them and keep them groomed and clean. And above all, enjoy the company and fun a pet cat can bring into your life!

Cat Playing With Feather Toy

You’ve seen your cat playing with some surprising things. A sock from the laundry basket. Your favorite pen. You’ve probably lost items only to find them later under the sofa where your feline friend has stashed them! But why do our cats play? And what are the best ways for cats to play and stay healthy and happy?

 

Is Your Cat Playing or Hunting?

Cat Hunting Feather Toy

Cats are hunters by nature. If you see your cat playing with a toy or some leaves in the yard, the chances are your cat is actually honing its instinctive hunting skills. Cats often play by hunkering down and stalking objects, sometimes even our hands or feet. And when they get those claws into us, well, love hurts! If your cat decides to play with you, it’s a sign of affection and trust. Social wildcats play with each other to keep their reflexes (and claws) sharp, and your pet cat is no different. See if you can stimulate those hunting instincts by dragging a piece of string around near your cat. Most cats can’t resist the urge to chase and grab a moving object. It’s great exercise, good fun and the perfect bonding exercise between pet and owner.

How Your Cat Playing Keeps its Mind Active

Cat with Carrot Toy

Cats play at all ages, even when they become less physically mobile. This is because play isn’t only for exercise and physical training; it keeps cat’s brains in good shape too. Just like humans, cats crave mental stimulation. In fact, cats are very susceptible to boredom, and can even lapse into anti-social behavior if not given enough stimulation. Your cat may scratch furniture, be moody or lethargic if they don’t have enough to keep their mind occupied. Toys such as a ball in a circular half-open tube that cats can bat with their paws are ideal. A scratching post with a catnip mouse attached is another great alternative. Toys like this provide a never-ending source of stimulation. You should keep your older cat playing too, even if this means they simply lie down and try to catch a toy that you wave around for them.

Keep Your Cat Playing Healthily

Tired Cat Playing

Lethargy and poor mood in a cat might indicate something more than boredom. Cats are notoriously bad at telling you when they are in pain or sick. Cats like to ‘tough it out’, another natural instinct, but one that’s less beneficial than their hunting and playing instincts. If you normally see your cat playing, climbing, running and generally being energetic, you might be very worried if they suddenly have no energy or seem disinterested in play. PrettyLitter could help in this regard. The color changing litter indicates changes to the alkaline and acidity levels in the cat’s urine, and also can or show if there is blood in the urine. As always, if you worry about your cat’s health or behavior, speak to your vet as soon as you can.

Watching your cat playing can give you hours of fun. Your cat is a hunter, a curious genius and loves to show you their affection by involving you in their games. Have a look at what your cat plays with, see what they enjoy the most and try and take a bit of time every day to have fun with your cat. They will thank you for it, and it will help keep them happy and healthy for many years to come.

Manx Cats: Tailless Hunters

Manx Cat Hunting
Manx cats come from the Isle of Man, a somewhat independently governed island of the UK. They look like a typical house cat with round eyes, a round head and thick fur in many different patterns - until they turn around that is. The main characteristic of a Manx is the complete lack of a tail. Manx cats are short-haired, but there is a long-haired version, the Cymric. The latter is fully identical to the Manx, except for hair length.

The Lore of the Manx 

Kitten With No Tail
Those with a scientific mind would agree Manx cats lost their tail due to a genetic mutation caused by inbreeding. However, there are other legends that suggest otherwise. Religious folks may believe they were late getting to Noah's Ark and the door got shut on their tails. In another myth, Vikings would take the kittens for good luck (everyone loves kittens, let's be honest.) As a deterrent, the fable suggests mother cats bit off the tails of their babies to make them less desirable. Other lore suggests that Manx cats have some help from magical "little people" to perform sneaky tasks.

Manx Personalities

Kitten Biting Finger
The Manx cat is a spunky type who can get into just about anything. They often learn to open cabinets to find whatever it is they are looking for - usually treats. They are also quite loving and make great family cats. Some say a Manx has a personality more similar to a typical dog than a cat - loyal, playful and interactive with their owner or family. They love to stay warm in your lap and curl up for long periods of time. They get along well with children and other animals. Manx are excellent hunters and are a great help on farms and ships to help with pests - tail or no.

Physical Characteristics: A Manx With a Tail?

Manx with small tail
www.vetstreet.com
The "rumpy" cat can actually have a full tail, a partial tail or no tail. However, only tailless or nearly tailless cats can present in a cat show as an official representative of the breed. Otherwise, they are sturdy cats with powerful back legs that help them to run after prey in energetic bursts and jump high. They can have almost any pattern and color common for a house cat including tabby, single and bi-color.
Since Manx are short-haired, grooming is easy. Just brush them and trim their claws about once a week, and use vet approved toothpaste for a tooth care regimen.

Health Issues to Watch For

Woman Holding Manx Cat
Some might consider a cat without a tail to be worse off than other breeds, but the Manx does just fine. They have no problems balancing in general. However, when buying from a breeder, beware of tailless kittens that have may more serious neurological problems. Signs include trouble walking, and problems going to the bathroom. When buying from a breeder, be sure to get a guarantee of health in writing because purebred Manx cats can have issues that don't show up until 4-6 months of age.
Manx cats are also prone to overeating and obesity. To avoid this, keep your kitty on a healthy diet and watch their weight so they can have a long and healthy life.
Manx cats are like a classic house cat with a twist. Their lack of a tail makes their charming personalities that much more lovable. They are perfect as a family pet who will be just as loyal as Fido, and have the additional talent of hunting pests around the house or farm.

Two Sleeping Kittens

While most of us refer to this time of year as “summer” -- or just lament the heat and wait for fall to arrive -- it’s a difficult season for our feline friends. This is “Kitten Season,” the time of the year when virtually all cat babies are born, flooding shelters and rescue groups. With so many arriving at the same time, it can be challenging to find each precious kitten the perfect pet parents.

How do millions of cats “synchronize” the arrival of their litters? We already know our furry companions are amazing creatures, and Kitten Season is a great example of the complex, magical lives they lead.

Cats and Calendars

Kittens Next to Window

Cats become receptive to mating -- know as “going into heat” -- after the passing of the Winter Solstice, the day of the year with the least amount of daylight and the longest night. (In case you were wondering, this year’s Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere falls on Friday, December 21.)

As the days start to get longer in January, those cats that have not been spayed or neutered become more active, heading outside in search of mates. Pregnancies spike in late February and early March. Kitten season doesn’t wind down until September when all the babies from this mating period have been born. In parts of the country with significant seasonal differences, virtually all cats follow the Kitten Season calendar. But in more temperate climates, this pattern is much less pronounced, as cats don’t have to wait for it to be warm enough to venture outdoors.  

Babies on Board

Cat Mom Nursing Kittens

After mating, it’s not long -- about 66 days -- before the kittens begin to arrive. And like rabbits, cats are prolific parents:

  • They can start having babies when they are only 5 months old, although most are not ready before 6-8 months
  • While females usually have one to two litters a year, they can have up to three. Not to waste any time, cats can become pregnant again while still nursing a previous litter
  • There are usually three to five kittens in each litter, although a cat’s first litter tends to be a bit smaller.
  • A single litter could include kittens from multiple fathers, generating thousands of hours of entertainment and speculation as people try to figure which baby came from where.

Counting Kittens

Woman Holding Kittens

When we discuss Kitten Season, we aren’t talking about a phenomenon involving a few hundred animals. It’s something much more extensive. The Humane Society of the United States (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/pet_ownership_statistics.html) estimates that a whopping 30 to 40 million cats live on the streets in this country, and of those animals, only 2 percent are spayed or neutered. But gathering the data to make even an educated guess at the number of litters born each Kitten Season is not as easy as it first appears. It’s much like the ongoing debate over how to count all offspring from one mom cat over a period of time.

Some experts argue that, at least theoretically, a single cat could be responsible for the births of 420,000 kittens over a seven-year period. Today, many people considered this figure outlandish, arguing it’s based on unrealistic assumptions rather than the realities of daily cat life. It assumes all female cats start reproducing at about six months old and have two litters each year.

But these assumptions are wrong, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Numbers Guy” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1160580751618894420). Many cats fending for themselves outdoors do not survive to reproduce at all; others have far fewer litters. Using more realistic information, experts today contend that an unspayed female is responsible for the birth of between 100 and 5,000 offspring in seven years. Even using the lower end of this range, the number of kittens born during a short period of the year can strain many community’s animal care resources.  

Wish Kitten Season Goodbye?

Girl Kissing Kitten

While everyone agrees there’s nothing cuter than a kitten, many people who work with homeless animals dread this time of the year. With hundreds or even thousands of kittens born in a short window of time, finding all of them the great homes they deserve can be difficult. Luckily, this cycle of cat overpopulation and homelessness can be stopped using two simple tools: Spay/neuter and Adoption. As more cats are “fixed,” fewer homeless kittens will be born. And for those that do end up at shelters, caring adopters will be there to take them home, love them, and care for them for life.

Kitten Season can then fade into memory, and we can go back to enjoying or complaining about summer!

How Old Is That Kitten

Kittens are born blind, deaf, unable to get up and completely reliant on mom for survival. During their first few weeks of life, their eyes open and their tiny ears, which have been tucked away since birth, unfurl like the sails on a ship. While these babies start off small and vulnerable, they grow up fast. Ten weeks after birth, they are ready to leave for their loving adoptive homes.

Check out this chart (http://4fi8v2446i0sw2rpq2a3fg51-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Kitten-Progression-FINAL.pdf) and read more from Alley Cat Allies on the daily growth and development of a new-born kitten (https://www.alleycat.org/resources/kitten-progression/)

Tell us about your kitten adoption story in the comments below.

Sleepy Orange Kitten

You’re a good cat parent, so naturally you want to stay on top of the latest cat health news and tips.

But maybe your devotion goes beyond that.

Maybe you just have so much cat love to give, you want to know all there is to know about your feline friends.

Beyond providing hours of entertainment, these cat-lover resources will equip you to be the very best cat parent you can be.

So sit back, relax, and dive in to one of these awesome finds any cat devotee is sure to love.

TED Talks

TED Talk

Who doesn’t love TED Talks? It seems like every time one of those wonderfully produced videos starts to play, you’re greeted with the most charismatic speaker with the most interesting things to say.

Well now TED has taken it up a notch - to our level.

The brilliant minds at TED Talks have put together a playlist of talks just for the cat-obsessed among us. And we’re betting that means you. (Us, too!)

From “Life Lessons From Big Cats” to “Depressed Dogs, Cats with OCD - What Animal Madness Means for Us Humans,” these 7- to 20-minute videos are sure to enlighten and entertain you.

Check out the full playlist over on the TED Talks website.

Podcasts

Podcast

Podcasts are one of the best new media inventions of our era. Not only are the vast majority of them free, but also you get to turn long, boring drives or flights into fun, entertaining, and educational jam sessions!

These are our favorite cat-themed podcasts any kitty-lover is sure to appreciate.

Cattitude

For the cat lover who’s obsessed with each fur baby’s unique personality.

Hosted by Tom Dock, the Cattitude podcast covers a wide range of topics, including product reviews, interviews with cheetah documentary-makers, and organic options for common ailments (like fleas!).

Dock also dives into the world of cat personalities by featuring profiles on various breeds and what cat-parents can expect. Whether you’re trying to decide which cat will be the next addition to your family or you’re still trying to figure out the puzzle of your current cat’s personality, the Cattitude podcast may help you find the answer.

The Community Cats Podcast

For the cat-parent with a heart for helping.

With 257 episodes as of today - and no signs of stopping! - The Community Cats Podcast is one of the longest running cat-themed podcasts in existence.

Featuring interviews with cat-focused non-profit organizations, veterinarians, pet therapy providers, and rescuers, the Community Cat Podcast opens up a huge world of cat philanthropy and passionate advocacy that most people never knew existed.

This podcast will surely fill your MP3 player to the brim and may just inspire you to get out there and help your local strays and rescues.

Meowster

For the feline fanatic who loves to laugh.

If you’re looking for a cat-themed pick-me-up, tune in to Meowster. With 116 episodes, hosts Rebecca Zisch and Tim Black cover the most entertaining aspects of the cat world.

From dishing about the best cats in pop culture to commentary on Kitten Bowl V, Meowster delivers hilarious show after hilarious show.

Tacoma Cat Hospital

For the cat-parent who asks a million questions during every vet visit.

This podcast is no longer running, but you can listen to all 22 episodes of Dr. Craig Smith’s info-packed recordings on the Tacoma Cat Hospital website.

Dr. Smith is a veterinarian who specializes in just cats. And he sure knows his stuff. From ringworm to allergies to how to best board your cat, Dr. Smith does it all.

Magazines

Magazines

Prefer things in print? No problem.

Magazines are still in vogue and we’ve found the best cat-themed publications for you:

  • Catster (formerly Cat Fancy) - For the cat-parent who loves wishes there was a Parenting magazine for cat-parents.
  • Modern Cat - For the kitty love who likes to stay on the cutting edge of modern trends.
  • PUSS PUSS - For those who only love their fashion with a side of cat hair.
  • Your Cat - For the cat lover who prefers cats with British accents.

Blogs

Blog

Blogs are one of the greatest things to hit the internet since email. Not only do they deliver info-packed quick reads that just may delight and entertain you, but also they’re free!

There are some of the best blogs cat parents should subscribe to in order to stay in-the-loop on all things cats:

  • Katzenworld - If you love literature, poetry, and diving into a good story, this cat-themed literature blog is for you.
  • Love Meow Cat - This blog is run by humans who love cats so much, they spend their days rescuing little ones in need. Plus, they have a fun video section for your enjoyment!
  • The PrettyLitter Blog - Of course! We love our customers, cat-parents, and anyone who has ever said “Awwwwww!” to seeing a cat chase a laser pointer. That’s why we strive to deliver a well-rounded selection of cat-obsessed posts to you every month.
  • Simon’s Cat Logic - Ever wonder why your cat does the weird things she does? So has the internet. That’s why Simon’s Cat Logic tries to explain it to us. But more often than not, we get a good laugh and still don’t understand our crazy kitties.

Check out these awesome cat resources and let us know which one’s your favorite in the comments below!

Cats Sitting Next to wooden fence

It's a dilemma every cat lover faces: Do I feed the poor feral kitties or do I call animal control so they stop destroying my yard?

As much as you may want to be the Mother Teresa of cats, it’s just not feasible to feed and care for them all.

If you try, you’ll likely notice that the cat population around your house will explode. And we don’t want you to bankrupt yourself for the sake of those cute strays.

Don’t worry: there’s a better way!

Here’s what you need to know about feral cats and how to best deal with their cute, pleading Oliver Twist-like faces.

What Are Feral Cats?

Cat in Alley

Feral cats, stray cats, neighborhood cats, alley cats – each of these terms describes the same scenario:

Cats without human homes.

Now, before you start getting teary eyed and pledging to adopt every feral cat you find, we have some news for you: cats are meant to be wild.

Don’t get us wrong: we love our dear, adorable, pamper-worthy domesticated cats! We love them so much we worked some scientific mojo to make sure you have a heads up when your kitty’s not feeling quite right.

But the truth is that your cat’s DNA is all about the wild life. And feral cats have that same wild DNA.

When your cat sits in the window eyeing the birds and other critters scurrying around outside, his predatory instinct is at work. Feral cats thrive on that predatory instinct and use their natural abilities to dash, dart, jump, and capture their prey in the wild.

They’re also masters of conserving energy, which means they can go longer than your full-bowl-demanding cat can without food.

Feral cats are also geniuses when it comes to finding safe places to live outside. Just like your fur baby who likes to hide in boxes, under the couch, and in the back corner of your closet, feral cats tap into that primal survival instinct to find the very best outdoor homes that protect them through chilly winters and harsh summers.

So What’s the Problem?

Aggressive Cat Hissing

Unfortunately, feral cats are like kids who never learned table manners. They tend to fight with other cats, leave their food scraps in the yard for you to step on, and leave their droppings in the flower box that you only want to smell good things in.

Cat lovers who exercise their good intentions by trying to adopt feral cats often find that their new addition to the family doesn’t want to be an indoor cat – and he may show it by being aggressive.

Adopted adult feral cats tend to get in fights with other pets, scratch children without provocation, and don’t fully grasp the concept of the litter box.

In other words, feral cats like to do their own thing and they don’t care whose house or yard they mess up in the process.

Feral cats that hang out around your home can also cause problems for your domesticated fur babies. Some domesticated cats can feel threatened and get extremely stressed out when they sense another cat encroaching on their territory. Even if there’s a wall and a window between them and their perceived foe.

To avoid any problems with your home, your yard, other animals, and especially your precious pets, it’s best to deal with the problem as soon as it begins.

How to Help Feral Cats?

Cat in cage

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The Humane Society of the United States agree, the best way to help feral cats is to use the trap-neuter-release method.

TNR, aka Trap, Neuter, Release

The TNR method of dealing with feral cats is the safest and most humane option for several reasons.

First, trapping and turning feral cats over to shelters or pounds means they will likely be euthanized. Feral cats are not socialized to be pets; they grew up in the wild and it’s pretty dang hard to train them otherwise after that life. Cats that are unsafe to be adopted out are often put to sleep, which no cat-lover wants.

Second, feral cats love their life! They want to stay outdoors, hunt, run, and nap in the sunshine. Let them live their lives outdoors – just.... not where they can ruin your gorgeous garden.

Also, by trapping, neutering, and releasing feral cats, you can solve many other problems at the same time, including:

  • Reducing flea infestation problems
  • Reducing the number of feral cats by limiting reproduction
  • Limit children’s exposure to unsafe or ill cats while they’re playing outside
  • Reducing the number of unsafe animals that may lurk around your neighborhood to prey on feral cats, such as coyotes
  • Reduce unwanted and unpleasant noises such as late night tomcat fights

How to Trap, Neuter & Release Feral Cats

The TNR method is exactly what it sounds like. First, you trap the cat using a humane cat trap stocked with some appealing kitty chow. Then, you take the feral cat to a local TNR program to be spayed or neutered. Lastly, you release the cat back into the wild.

If you’re about to embark on the TNR journey with your local feral felines, here are some tips to follow:

  • Wear thick gloves at all times.
  • Place an old towel in the bottom of the trap to protect the cat’s feet from injury on any of the metal parts.
  • Place the trap on firm, flat ground so it doesn’t wobble.
  • Don’t put the trap food in a bowl. Just place it carefully in a little pile.
  • Always keep an eye on your cat trap. Move out of sight, but stay close. A trapped cat can become an easy target for other cat bullies and prey.
  • Trap at night or in cool weather only.
  • Once the cat is trapped, move gently and quietly to cause as little stress as possible.
  • Cover the trap with a blanket or towel to keep the cat calm.
  • Once you transport the feral cat to the TNR program, let the professionals handle the cat as much as possible.
  • Use care when returning the cat to the wild as he or she may be sore from surgery. Feral cats know how to take care of themselves once released, but while they’re in your custody, try to keep them as calm and safe as possible.

Thanks to the Humane Society of the United States, there is a database of TNR programs around the country. Stop by their website to find one near you.

Have questions about feral cat problems? Ask is in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help!

Orange Cat in Plastic Bag

It can be scary to see your fur baby nibbling on something that has child safety hazards printed all over it.

After all, plastic isn’t exactly a nutritious feline snack, right?

Actually, plastic pica - a recurring behavior of eating or chewing on plastic - is quite common in cats.

If your cat is nibbling on grocery bags, packing pillows, and shrink wrap, there may be an underlying reason - other than that your cat is just weird.

Here’s what could be causing your cat’s odd plastic habit.

Why Cats Eat Plastic

Cat Eating Plastic Toy

Cats are enigmas. Why they do anything is a mystery cat-parents love to ponder, mostly because the majority of your cat’s quirks are ridiculously cute. But eating plastic?

Not so cute.

In fact, it’s downright hazardous.

That’s why, as a good cat mom or dad, it’s up to you to get to the root of the cause and help your fur baby choose healthier options.

A Poor Cat Diet

Cats are highly instinctual animals, which means if they’re not getting something important in their diet, they’ll track down ways to get it - even it it means munching on a Mervin’s bag.

The best cat diet is one that is high in protein, moderate in fat, and super low in carbohydrates. Cats that are fed manufactured cat food that’s lacking the proper balance may seek out other sources of nutrition.  

What to do: Take a look at your cat’s food. Look at the ingredients and make sure the first five are things you recognize. If you see the words “grain,” “byproduct,” or any other harmful pet food ingredients, toss it. Opt for cat food that lists healthy protein and fat sources - like chicken, fish, turkey, liver, and eggs - in the first 5 ingredients. Also, as a general rule, the fewer ingredients, the better.

Stress

As cool as they come off, cats really don’t handle stress well. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can stress your cat out, too.

Like too much attention from the kids, not enough attention from you, being bullied by another cat in the house, not having enough stimulation or play time, or hidden illnesses. This can lead your cat to seek out anything soothing, which may include hiding in dark, quiet places, scratching your favorite curtains, or eating things she shouldn’t.

What to do: Start by reading our guide to cat stress. Rule out any possible stressors in your cat’s environment and do what you can to make your kitty feel at ease. If your cat continues to pursue the plastic, get your cat a checkup. Many cats will experience stress due to a health problem, even if they don’t show any other signs of being ill.

Curiosity

If you just started noticing your cat nibbling on plastic, it may not be cause for concern yet. Cats are naturally curious and, like kids, they’ll lick, bite, and chew on just about anything.

What to do: Keep an eye on it. If your cat and plastic end up in the same frame multiple times, or if you start finding kitty tooth marks on your plastic goods, then it may be time to rule out other options.

Also, give your cat toys and other places to explore in the house. Some cats have a strong predatory drive and just need that itch scratched with fun toys and laser beams that make them feel like they’re on the prowl.

An Underlying Health Problem

Cats are self-soothers. They prefer to try to make themselves feel better before letting anyone else know that they’re unwell.

Nibbling on plastic may be your cat’s way of trying to make herself feel better when an underlying cat health problem has her feeling under the weather. Cats suffering from anemia, dental problems, diabetes, brain tumors, hyperthyroidism, and immune system deficiencies can exhibit pica behaviors.

What to do: Make an appointment with your vet. Many cat health conditions can be treated or even cured if they’re caught early. If you’ve ruled out other possibilities for your cat’s bizarre behavior, let a vet take a look.

If you’re using PrettyLitter, make sure you’re checking the color of the litter every day. While PrettyLitter can’t detect every cat health problem under the sun, it can point out when something’s not quite right and is an excellent tool for keeping tabs on your kitty’s internal health.

Why Plastic?

Grey Cat in Plastic Bag

Of all things, why plastic? It seems as though cats could seek out any other substance - cardboard, cloth, even human food - to munch on, but no. They choose to go for the plastic.

Why?

This question remains a mystery, but there are a few theories floating around.

Craving Crinkles

Some cats really enjoy the sound of crinkling. Whether it’s crinkling paper, crinkling foil, or crinkling plastic, they just love that particular sound.

To see if this is what’s driving your cat’s mad munchies, give her something else (read: safer) to chew on that crinkles. We like this crinkle stick that your cat can cuddle, carry, chase, or chew to satisfy that crazy craving.

Craving Animal Products

If your cat prefers flimsy plastic, like what your grocery bags are made of, she may be craving some animal fat. Some grocery bags are made with animal by-products like gelatin. Your cat may be looking for something to satisfy that primal carnivore craving.

Something Else

Full disclosure: this puzzle has yet to be solved. We may never fully understand why cats seem to prefer plastic over all other substances. But we highly recommend you keep asking her.

And let us know if you get an answer.

If you’re like us and you’ve been stumped as to why cats eat plastic, we hope this has cleared up some of the confusion.

Have you discovered the root cause to the love affair between your cat and plastic? Tell us what you learned and how you or your vet helped your fur baby break the habit. See you in the comments!

Cat Stretching In The Sun

Catios are all the rage right now - and we’re so thankful!

With the overwhelming obesity rate for domestic cats, we say “Hooray!” to anything that gets our furry friends active and moving.

No idea what we’re talking about?

That’s OK.

Here’s the scoop on everything you need to know about catios, whether or not your cat needs one, and how to DIY your own fabulous feline playground.

What Is A Catio?

CATIO

https://www.ebay.com

A catio is a cat patio! And they’re the coolest hangouts for the coolest cats.

Catios are ideal for pet-parents who want to keep their fur babies safe as indoor cats while also letting their feline friends enjoy all the wonders of the outside world that cats crave.

Many people position their catios just outside a door or window that their cats like to frequent. The idea is that your cat can go outside, get some fresh air, and watch the birds all while being protected from predators – or her own curiosity.

You can get creative with your catio and customize it to fit your cat and your home. Give your cat a small but safe window box mounted just outside a favorite window, or build an enclosure big enough for you to explore, too!

Does My Cat Need a Catio?

There are very few scenarios in which we’d say “no.” Catios are the bomb. If your cat suffers from stress or any stress-related illnesses, a catio can be the perfect cure.

Also, if your cat is overweight, a catio can help your fur baby get the exercise she needs to shed a few pounds.

Not only are catios hip and happenin’ right now, but also they’re a great way to keep your feline friend happy and healthy. Cats get fresh air, mental stimulation, and a chance to daydream about being a hunter in the wild wll while you get to snap the most Instagram-worthy shots of your cat enjoying the great outdoors.

Bottom line: Catios keep your little one safe and confined while offering countless health benefits.

If you have the space, there’s a catio options or any budget.

DIY Catio Projects

Interested in building your cat a catio? We thought so.

There are many ways to do it, depending on your unique home. Here are our favorite options for giving your fur babies a fun, exciting playhouse without having to call in a contractor.

The Covered Catio

Covered Catio

https://www.houzz.com

If you already have a covered patio, you have a leg up. Simply attach chicken wire to the eaves of your covered patio and any vertical support beams with a staple gun to close off the area from unwanted outdoor guests.

Chicken wire has smaller holes, is lighter, and is often cheaper than other options like chain-link fencing. Make sure your chicken wire goes all the way to the ground and all the way to the ceiling of your covered patio before letting your little ones roam around.

For their first day out, keep an eye on them and limit their time to about an hour. This will give them a good taste of what they get to enjoy, without overstimulating them. You can gradually increase their time on the catio as you see fit.

Pay special attention to any gaps or weak spots in your workmanship that your fur babies might find and be sure to secure them right away.

In no time, you’ll have a great catio that your cats can enjoy.

The Window Box

Window Catio

http://seattlerefined.com

If your cat prefers to hang out in your kitchen window or if you have an apartment, a catio window box may be just the thing.

Start by measuring your cat’s height at standing and sitting. Make sure you build a box that will be comfortable for her in either position.

Then measure your window. Your catio will need to fully cover the window opening so your cat can’t escape through any gaps and get herself into trouble.

Get great construction and mounting instructions specific to the dimensions of your cat and window from Catio Spaces or purchase a custom one if wielding a hammer and nails isn’t really your thing.

The Mansion

Mansion Catio

http://www.readersheds.co.uk

How much do you love your cat? If your answer is anything other than, “More than anything in the world!” then a mansion catio may not be for you.

The mansion catio is a structure big enough for you and a few friends to hang out in when your cat hasn’t claimed the space.

The easiest way to create a mansion catio is to repurpose a pre-built greenhouse or chicken coop from a local home improvement or specialty animal store.

As if you needed more convincing that catios are a thing, many mainstream stores are beginning to sell pre-made catios that are stunning additions to any yard.

All around, catios are a great idea. They’re gorgeous to look at, make your cat insanely happy, and can help your cat maintain a healthy weight.

Other crafty cat-parents have transformed inexpensive Ikea bookcases into catios or constructed their own from two-by-fours. Whichever way you decide to go, just know that you’ll win Cat-Parent of the Year.

For more ideas or to purchase blueprints for building your own cat patio, check out Catio Spaces.

Have a catio of your own? Snap a picture and tag us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats to show of your gorgeous kitties enjoying the great outdoors.

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