happy kitten with open mouth
Kitty kisses – they come only once in a blue moon and seem to be reserved for fleeting moments when your cat is feeling extraordinarily affectionate. Or when you have some yummy dinner stuck to your face. Either one.
If you've been on the receiving end of the rare but wonderful kitty kiss, you've likely been struck with the peculiar question: why does my cat's tongue feel like sandpaper?
Oddly enough, the texture of your cat's tongue – and any subsequent kisses – is more complex than just a rough grit or unusually stiff taste buds.
In fact, your cat's tongue has a unique anatomy that lends itself to many useful tasks that are important to the health and positive mood of your feline friend.

Kitty Cat Anatomy

cat tongue
Have you ever taken a look at your cat's tongue? The next time you catch your kitty in a big, gaping yawn, take a look in there. You'll notice your cat's tongue is equipped with a few things that are foreign to us humans.

Papillae

The first and most noticeable difference between your cat's tongue and the rest of the animal kingdom are small, hook-like barbs called papillae. When you peek into your cat's mouth, these are the thin, backward-facing structures you see lining the surface of your cat's tongue.

Taste Buds

The papillae are not taste buds; your cat does have tastebuds, but not very many! Cats have far fewer taste buds than humans and they have none that detect for sweet flavors. Oddly enough, if your cat seems to like berries and other sweets, it's probably a learned behavior from being fed human foods.

Super Sensitivity

Despite not having many taste buds, cats' tongues are surprisingly sensitive to texture and size. If your cat is rejecting a new food, it may be because of the shape of the pieces or the sensation they create when they hit her tongue. Best to go with a cat food that is cat and cat-parent approved.

Why Does My Cat's Tongue Feel Like Sandpaper?

cat licking paw
The answer to the timeless question "why does my cat's tongue feel like sandpaper" is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that your cat's papillae create a grating sensation on the surface of your skin with every lick. These stiff, hook-like structures give your cat's tongue its rough texture.
On a more complex level, many pet parents often wonder why on earth our dear, sweet kitties have such a mean looking mouth. If you've ever taken a look at those sci-fi-worthy papillae, you'll surely notice they are nothing to be trifled with.
However, in your cat's world, grooming is right at the top of the priorities list, second only to napping and eating. The papillae on the surface of your cat's tongue help your modern day cat whisk away dirt, loose hair, and knots from her gorgeous pelt.
For your cat's ancestors, big cat cousins, and his brave feral friends outside, the papillae are useful for cleaning meat and fat from the bones of pray.

Parental Warning

cat sleeping with tongue out
Your cat's sandpaper tongue isn't just a weapon she can use in the battle against bad hair days. In fact, the papillae on your cat's tongue can cause serious problems in the wrong circumstances.
For example, many cats love to lick fabric or play with yarn and string. If this sounds like your cat: beware.
The papillae on your cat's tongue can easily get caught on foreign objects, particularly fabrics and fibers. If your cat is unable to spit it out, he may try to chew on it more or even attempt to swallow it, which can cause serious health problems.
The next time a fellow cat lover asks you the age-old question "why does my cat's tongue feel like sandpaper?" you'll be able to answer with a thorough, helpful answer.
Have other questions about your cat's curious anatomy? Let us know in the comments below!

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cat in present box
During the holidays, it can be oh so tempting to sneak a cute little kitten into a box and give it to your loved one. However, giving a pet as a gift isn't like giving a basket of bath salts or a gift card to the mall. If you're looking for gifts for cat lovers, you might not want to give an actual cat.
Reports from January 2017 showed that "more than half of the pets given as gifts end up being returned." But who would want to return a sweet little kitten after bonding with her on the holliest, jolliest of days?
The sad reality is many people are unaware of the time commitment involved in being a pet parent. Parents who give pets as gifts to their children often find that once the New Year rolls around and the excitement wears off, they are the ones caring for the fluffy new addition – and often they simply don't have the time.
Newlywed couples and first-time homeowners are also common recipients of these well-meaning, adorable gifts. However, it's difficult enough to adjust to a major life change; when you add becoming a new pet parent to the mix, many gifted pets end up being re-homed or returned, which is extremely stressful for both the pets and the gift recipients.
If you're thinking about giving a pet as a gift this holiday season, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Pet-Giving Checklist

cat in christmas present box
Giving a pet as a gift can be a wonderful, thoughtful gesture, or a traumatizing experience. To ensure it's always the former, make sure your gift recipient can keep the pet and is well equipped to provide a great forever home.
Before giving live animals as gifts for cat lovers, run through this checklist to determine if it's a good idea or if the recipient on your list may be better off with something of the inanimate variety.
Ask Yourself...
  1. Has the person expressed a desire for a new pet on more than one occasion? You should only consider giving a pet as a gift to someone who has been seriously considering the new addition.
  2. Does the person have the space for a new pet? Kittens may be small, but their big personalities and needs take up quite a bit of space.
  3. Does the person have the financial resources to provide care for a cat? We're not saying you have to go over their tax returns, but cats cost money and you'll need to use your best judgement. As a friend or family member, you likely know if your planned-gift-recipient has the resources to care for a pet.
  4. Is anyone in his or her life allergic? Pet allergies can be a source of serious heartbreak. If an important person in the cat lover's life is allergic, he or she may be forced to decide between the feline and the friend.
  5. Does the person travel a lot or will they be home enough to care for a cat? While cats are masters of solitude, they also require attention and affection. Make sure the person who will be caring for the cat is able to be at home enough to feed, water, play with, and clean up after a pet.
  6. Does the person have young children? While it's not a deal-breaker, many parents are uneasy about having a new pet in the same home as an infant or small child. Discuss this with the person casually before deciding to give a pet as a gift.

No Surprises

Lastly, giving a pet as a gift may be one of those rare times when you don't want the gift to be a surprise. Talk to the person or someone close to them to figure out if a live pet is the right move or if you should go with one of these other gifts for cat lovers.

Gifts for Cat Lovers

gifts for cat lovers

If you've come to the conclusion that maybe giving an actual cat isn't the right move for the cat lover on your holiday shopping list, there are some great alternatives.
If the cat fanatic in your life already has a menagerie of kitties, then the best gift may be something he or she can use everyday, like some fun cat toys or a few months of health-monitoring kitty litter.
Of course, if you really want to give the best gifts for cat lovers, there's nothing more rewarding and beneficial than gifting a donation in someone's name to a great cat charity.
How about you? What's the best cat-themed gift you've ever received? Tell us in the comments below or post a purrfect holiday pic on Instagram and tag us @PrettyLitterCats.

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By Emily Parker, Catological.com

If you’re looking for a solid foundation on which to build a successful life, what could be more important than your happiness and your health?

We’re blessed with almost limitless options when it comes to improving these two metrics, thanks to the incredible, modern world we live in, so it should be fairly simple to find ways to make life better.

Unfortunately, not many of us are good at slowing down enough to figure out what those things might be.
The same world that gives us amazing options to improve our lives, also distracts us with incessant social media notifications and 24/7 connectivity.

So how do you actually slow down and enjoy your life more?

Perhaps the best way of all to slow down and increase your happiness and level of health, is to get a cat.

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it?  

Luckily, science backs me up on this, as you’ll see below in the article and awesome infographic from Catological.

Cats Can Improve Your Heart Health

While having a kitty around will make your heart fill with love and joy, the kitty's presence may also make your heart stronger and healthier physiologically.

In clinical studies, scientists found cat owners to be 30 percent less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke, and individuals considered to be at high-risk for these problems lessened their risks considerably once they obtained a cat.

Not only do they positively impact the main driver of the cardiovascular system, but it’s also been found that people plagued by high blood pressure or cholesterol were found to have their problems lessened once a cat became part of their lives. In fact, some people had such dramatic changes to their blood pressure and cholesterol levels that doctors were able to decrease or even eliminate their medications, demonstrating the incredible healing powers cats possess.

 

Tell us about how your feline ones help keep you happy in the comments below 

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person holding cat
Obsessive compulsive disorder. Anxiety. Depression.
These aren't just human ailments. In fact, many cats suffer from these same psychological conditions.
Sadly, cat anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in the feline world. However, there are several things you can do as a pet parent to help your little one live a more stress-free life.

What Is Cat Anxiety?

Cat anxiety can take on many shapes and characteristics. For example, cats may show signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, nervousness, hyper-reactivity, or all of these at the same time.

Cat Anxiety

anxious cat
Cat anxiety occurs when a cat feels threatened or otherwise insecure in his environment. Sadly, it's quite common and can be caused by a number of factors, including:
  • Sensing another cat's presence
  • Feeling threatened by another cat or fearing a loss of territory
  • Experiencing physical pain, internally or externally
  • Suffering from a medical condition
  • Abrupt changes in environment
  • Being separated from you or another cat
  • Experiencing a psychological trauma such as abuse or neglect
  • Age-related dementia
Your cat may even develop anxiety if you suffer from anxiety. Cats often turn to the other creatures they live with for cues about their safety. When a pet parent feels anxious or nervous often, the cat will pick up those signals and interpret them to mean that something is wrong and there's cause to be frightened.

Feline OCD

ocd cat
Obsessive-compulsive disorder in cats occurs when a cat engages in repetitive or exaggerated behaviors without any clear reason. For example, a cat may groom himself over and over again in the same spot. If he has a tangle in his fur or is licking a wound, then clearly he has a purpose for his grooming. However, if there's no clear reason for the behavior, he may be suffering from OCD.
Oftentimes OCD cats will perform their specific behaviors again and again to the point where they actually do harm to themselves. For instance, OCD cats have been known to groom themselves until they are left with bald spots, or eating compulsively until they are overweight and unhealthy.
OCD behaviors are often a response to anxiety and are a way for your cat to cope with his persistent stress.

Are Some Breeds More Prone to Cat Anxiety?

Yes! In fact, Siamese cats and other breeds traditionally found in Asian regions are more likely to show OCD behaviors like repetitive meowing or chewing on fabric.
It's not entirely understood why Siamese cats are more prone to diagnoses of feline OCD, but veterinarians often assume the cause is heavily influenced by genetic factors. Since Siamese cats are often bred with other Siamese to ensure a pure pedigree, the condition is passed down through the generations within the same breed.

How Do Cats Cope?

cat hiding
Cats suffering from anxiety usually show several of the following signs:
  • Becoming less social
  • Becoming less active
  • Hiding, often without an obvious cause
  • Excessive scratching of furniture or surfaces
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore spots on the skin or in the mouth
  • Aggression toward people or other animals in the home
  • Trembling
Unless your cat finds some other way to alleviate his anxiety, or until the cause of his anxiety has been fixed, he will likely continue doing these behaviors. Cat anxiety can turn into OCD over time.
Cats with OCD will cope with their anxiety by engaging in their repetitive or exaggerated behaviors until they are stopped. OCD cats will usually exhibit one or more of these behaviors:
  • Compulsive grooming
  • Compulsive pacing
  • Repetitive vocalizations
  • Compulsive eating
  • Compulsive sucking or chewing on materials like fabric or plastic
If your cat is doing something over and over again, seemingly without cause, check in with your veterinarian. It may be feline OCD.

How to Reduce Cat Anxiety

person and cat
The best way to reduce your cat's anxiety is by figuring out exactly what's causing it and fixing that problem. For example, if your cat is feeling threatened by a new cat in the home, you may need to keep your two fur babies separate and gradually introduce them to shared spaces.
Some cats experience anxiety because they aren't getting enough attention. Make time to play with your kitty at least 15 minutes each day. And cuddles are encouraged, with your cat's permission, of course.
Oftentimes cat anxiety is caused by an internal health problem. Cats can often sense when they are ill or in a weakened state, which makes them feel vulnerable and stressed.
If you use PrettyLitter, keep a close eye on the color of your cat's litter. If it's anything other than yellow or olive green, your cat may be dealing with some internal health issues. Take your furry friend in for a check up with the vet if you suspect anything may be wrong.
Have you found a way to help your fur baby cope with cat anxiety? Tell us about it in the comments below and help other pet parents find what works for their little ones.

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cat and plant
If you love cats (like we do), you probably enjoy having other living things around your home (like we do!).
Other than an adorable kitty, nothing quite brightens up a home like a handful of plants.
While you might think that anything leafy and green can only be good for you and your feline roommate, there are some plants that are toxic to cats.
Before you visit the garden section of your favorite home goods store, check the list below to make sure none of your new additions are toxic to your furry friend.

Lilies

lilies
The first of many plants toxic to cats, lilies come in a variety of danger levels. Some are harmless, while others can cause minor irritations, and still others can be deadly.
Calla, Peace, and Peruvian lilies each contain oxalate crystals that can cause minor issues for your furry friend. For example, if your cat nibbles on one of these lilies, he may develop irritations in his mouth, on his tongue, and throughout his pharynx and esophagus, which can cause him to drool or exhibit other odd mouth behaviors.
At the worst end of the spectrum, there are lilies that are extremely toxic to cats, including:
  • Asiatic
  • Day
  • Easter
  • Japanese Snow
  • Tiger
Even nibbling on a couple petals or leaves of these plants can cause kidney failure.
Lilies of the Valley are another plant toxic to cats. However, this member of the lily family contains cardiac glycosides, which - if ingested by your kitty - can cause diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmia, lowered heart rate, vomiting, and even seizures.

Azaleas & Rhododendrons

Azaleas & Rhododendrons
These plants are members of the same family and neither are friends to felines. If your cat gets her mitts on even just a couple leaves of either of these plants, she could be in serious danger.
Azaleas and rhododendrons are plants toxic to cats that can potentially cause death if the symptoms aren't treated quickly. Symptoms of toxicity from these two plants include excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and coma.

Oleander

Oleander
If your cat is an outdoor adventurer, beware. The oleander plant is a common shrub that grows outside and is popular in many neighborhoods. Yet, despite their lovely looks, both the leaves and the flowers of the oleander plant are toxic to cats.
Keep an eye out for oleander plants in your neighborhood – or even in your own yard – and watch out for signs of oleander toxicity, which include severe vomiting and slowed heart rate. Left untreated, this plant can cause death in some cats.

Tulip & Hyacinth Bulbs

Tulip & Hyacinth Bulbs
Both of these plants toxic to cats produce gorgeous blooms, which makes them extremely popular in outdoor gardens. Both contain similar properties that are dangerous to our feline friends.
In tulips, it's the Tulipalin A and B lactones and in hyacinth, it's the alkaloids. These natural compounds are found in the highest concentration in the bulb of the plant, but the flowers and leaves can be toxic, too.
Signs of poisoning from tulip and hyacinth plants includes diarrhea (which may include blood), vomiting, depression, drooling, and tremors.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum
Another common household decoration and bouquet feature is the chrysanthemum. This lovely, delicate flower is toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses! Throughout the plant are several toxins, including lactones, pyrethrins, sesquiterpene, and other irritants that can cause diarrhea, dermatitis, vomiting, drooling, and lack of coordination.

English Ivy

English Ivy
Commonly used to cover the soil of potted plants and arrangements, English ivy contains triterpenoid saponins, an organic compound that's also found in other types of ivy.
The leaves of the English ivy are more commonly used for decoration than the berries the plant produces, and, unfortunately, the leaves are the most toxic to cats. Signs of toxicity include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling.

Sago Palm

Sago Palm
While many of the plants on our list grow outdoors, the sago palm is often kept in small containers indoors and is popular in tropical regions, such as Hawaii and Florida. Both the leaves and the seeds can cause internal bleeding, damage to the stomach lining, vomiting, liver failure, and - in severe cases or if left untreated - death.

Marijuana

Marijuana
With the growing popularity of legalizing marijuana around the country, more and more pet parents are finding out the hard way that marijuana is not safe for kitties (no matter what Bob Marley says).

Daffodils

Daffodils
Yes, daffodils, too. Daffodils, which come from narcissus bulbs, are another of the many plants toxic to cats because they contain lycorine, which causes severe vomiting if ingested. The substance is in the bulbs, leaves, and flowers of daffodils and will cause some serious abdominal discomfort for your little one if ingested.
Signs of lycorine intoxication include slowed breathing, abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmia, vomiting, and diarrhea.
I know what you're thinking: How can all the most gorgeous plants in your garden be so dangerous to your fur baby? Unfortunately, cats and plants are not the best of friends in the natural world.

Other Plants Toxic to Cats

The reality is eating any plant matter could upset your cat's digestive tract, especially if it's a new thing she's nibbling on. There are several more plants that are toxic to cats, so be sure to check out your new favorite foliage before adding it to a space your kitty calls home.
If you think your fur baby may have been exposed to one of these plants toxic to cats, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 right away. If you can, bring the plant in with you to the vet so your vet can prescribe the precise treatment for the specific plant your cat has ingested.
Now, on a more cheerful note, we'd love to see a snapshot of your fur baby getting along with the many non-toxic plant varieties! Snap a gorgeous #floraandfauna pic and tag us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.

Do you have a beautiful cat? Let us know in the comments!

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grey cat with yellow eyes
Boys and girls, guys and gals, chicks and dudes – no matter what you call 'em, they each have their own needs that we as pet parents must take into consideration. For your female cat, in particular, there are several special traits she'll need you to be aware of as she goes through life.
Whether you're already the proud parent of a female cat or you're trying to decide on the sex of your next adorable adoptee, here's the scoop on a few qualities unique to the ladies.

A Female Cat in Heat

cat meowing
First things first: yes, if your female cat isn't spayed, she will have a fertility cycle. In feline terms, this is called "heat" and a female cat in heat is referred to as a "queen."
While many pet parents neuter their male cats simply for the fact that neutered males are less aggressive and more hygienic (i.e., they're less likely to spray urine to mark their territory), deciding whether or not to spay your female cat involves many other factors.
If you decide against spaying, your female cat may be more prone to certain health issues, she will go into heat every three weeks in breeding season, and she may one day have a litter of ridiculously cute kittens, should she meet a handsome tomcat.
Even if the idea of being a cat grandparent makes you giddy, coping with a female cat in heat may not. Unspayed female cats will go into heat in the spring and the fall, for most breeds. During this time - which lasts about 4 to 5 days and occurs about every three weeks - your female cat will be:
  • Extremely vocal
  • Obsessed with rubbing against things in order to get her scent on as many surfaces as possible
  • Far more likely to attempt an escape, especially if she senses a male cat is outside
  • More likely to lick her genital area frequently, which may increase the risk of infection
A female cat can go into heat as early as four months of age and it signals that she's ready and able to have kittens. However, a cat who gets pregnant before she's at least 10 months old is far more likely to have health problems as her body is still developing.
According to the ASPCA, "Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases."
Of course, if you plan to breed your pretty kitty, consult with your veterinarian to ensure you can take as many measures as possible to keep her safe and healthy without spaying her.

False Pregnancy

cat at vet
When a female cat becomes pregnant and is awaiting her litter of kittens, it's referred to as "queening." (We'll pause for a moment to let you go hashtag crazy with that one on social media.)
However, like humans, a female cat who has not been spayed could present with signs of pregnancy, but not actually have a litter on the way at all. In that case, she's not actually queening; rather, she's showing signs of false pregnancy.
Much like women, a female cat can show signs of pregnancy such as abdominal distention (a growing or bulging tummy), enlargement of the mammary glands (breast tissue), and even morning sickness (vomiting and loss of appetite).
The best way to tell for sure if your cat is queening is:
  • To feel gently on your cat's belly
  • Visiting the vet for an ultrasound after day 16 of her possible pregnancy
  • Getting an x-ray of your cat's tummy
If your cat isn't pregnant, but she's showing several signs of pregnancy, then she's having a false pregnancy. It's not clear what causes this phenomenon, but vets believe it's most likely due to a hormone imbalance.
If your female cat experiences a false pregnancy, consider taking her to the vet for a check up to make sure everything is OK.

Birthing Issues

cat with vet cone
Being in charge of giving life to new beings is a doozy of a responsibility (am I right, ladies?). Understandably, then, female cats who have not been spayed often deal with problems during the birthing process.
If your female cat has been unable to birth kittens or, tragically, has birthed still born kittens, she may be dealing with one or more of these issues:
  • Fetal Reabsorption – If a fetus is not viable, the mother cat's body will reabsorb the fetal tissue into her body. It is common for pieces to be found in the afterbirth when this happens. This is far more common if the mother cat has the FeLV virus.
  • Uterine Cysts – Cysts that are attached to the ovaries or uterus can cause hormonal imbalances and disrupt the development of healthy kittens.
  • Endometritis – A female cat with endometritis will develop a bacterial infection in her uterus that can kill any unborn kittens growing in her womb. In many cases, cats with endometritis are unable to breed again in the future; though in mild cases of infection, breeding may be possible with treatment.
As any woman can confirm, it's not easy being a female cat. Understanding the special health issues female cats are prone to, especially if they are not spayed, can go a long way toward helping you be the best cat parent you can be.
Do you have a female cat? Tell us all about her in the comments below! Every queen deserves to be celebrated.

Do you have a beautiful cat? Let us know in the comments!

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cats in the ancient world

Cats are generally regarded as the human race’s second best friend. They’re part of families around the world, in almost every culture. According to Tuxedo Cat, the domesticated cat is actually the world’s most popular pet — beating the dog narrowly.

But how did this love affair with such a fiercely independent animal come about? It might surprise you to discover that humans have been keeping cats for around 10,000 years… far longer than they’ve been keeping dogs.

The story of the domestic cat probably began in Cyprus. While it’s impossible to be sure where and when cats first become domesticated, archaeologists have discovered human skeletons buried with cats. In some cases, these discoveries are believed to date back to around 9500 BC.

The evidence, however, is few and far between until you assess a major civilization’s relationship with its feline friends.

Cats in Ancient Egypt

cat in eygpt

It is widely believed that the first civilization to domesticate cats in large numbers was Ancient Egypt. As food stores became increasingly old and decrepit within the empire, rodent infestations grew out of control. In an effort to tackle the problem, vendors introduced cats into their business. It would appear that mice and rats have always made very tasty and nutritious cat food.

Over the years, cat populations grew quickly in all of the major cities in Ancient Egypt. While friendly to humans, cats remained fiercely protective of their territory — which was great news for food vendors. It’s therefore not surprising that children formed a bond with local cats, and it wasn’t long before ordinary Egyptian families began to keep them as pets.

Such was the strong bond between humans and cats at this time, domestication eventually spread to the nearby empires of Greece and Persia, and thanks to one Chinese Emperor’s love of cats, the animal became the number one pet for the rich and powerful in China.

If you want an indication of just how important cats were in Ancient Egypt, take a look at the Egyptian god Bastet — which was half human, half cat.

The Roman Empire

cats in ancient rome

Historians now believe that the Phoenicians were the first to introduce cats to the Roman Empire. Initially, domesticated cats in Rome were used to protect larders and food stores from rodents and other pests. At the time of their introduction (around 500BC), the ferret was actually the pet of choice in the Empire. However, once people realized that cats were less smelly and easier to look after, ordinary citizens started to invite them into their homes.

Very little of modern-day Europe was left unconquered by the Romans, and everywhere the conquerors went, they took their beloved pets and protectors with them. If you want to know why cats have such a large role in modern civilization, you need look no further than Roman history.

Modern-Day Cat History

modern day cat

The modern-day cat we all know and love is known as felis catus. After many years of interbreeding, today’s cats look very different from those kept by the Phoenicians. Thousands of years of evolution has made them more reliant on humans, and many of the natural hunting instincts that made Phoenician cats such good rat hunters have become less obvious.

Nevertheless, even the domestic cats of the 21st century like to hunt prey — even if it’s just a bit of fun. Perhaps this combination of hunting instinct, independence and playfulness is why Western society has grown to love its cats more than ever.

Fun cat fact: Queen Victoria was well known for her love of cats throughout her reign. She kept several at Buckingham Palace, and even held a lavish cat show — the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Today, cats are an integral part of most societies and communities. Whether they’re feral creatures scavenging in trash cans or pampered pets with their own quarters, domestic cats have a special place in the hearts of humans around the globe.

Got a great cat story to share? Or perhaps you have questions about the history of the domesticated cat? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

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sokoke cat
For pet parents ready to take a walk on the wild side, it doesn't get much wilder (or rarer) than the Sokoke cat, also sometimes called a Sokoke hybrid because it was originally thought to be a hybrid between a wildcat and a domestic feline. Turns out these exceptionally hard-to-find kitties aren't hybrids at all, but instead are simply a very rare breed of domestic cat originating in the Sokoke area of eastern Kenya in Africa. Despite their wild origins and exotic appearance, these bouncy cats are renowned for their friendliness and eagerness to hang out with their human families. What else stands out about these unique cats? Well, for starters . . .

Sokoke Cat Physical Traits

sokoke kitten
One look at this cat and it's easy to see why they are often mistaken for wildcats. While smaller than their wild cousins, they are still medium-sized cats with lean, muscular, athletic bodies that make them outstanding runners and jumpers. Their hind legs are just a bit longer and higher up than their front legs, leading to a pronounced arch in the back and a distinctive gait that makes them look as if they are walking on their tip toes. Don't mistake this for daintiness, though, as these kitties are rough and tumble and love to run around to get into whatever adventures they can find.
Further lending to their wildcat-like appearance, the Sokoke has a very short, thin coat that only naturally occurs in a blotchy, light brown to chestnut-colored tabby pattern that some have said resembles tree bark in appearance (though thankfully not texture).
Sokoke cats also have unique heads and faces. Their ears are more rounded at the tips compared to most domestic cats, and their heads are small compared to the rest of the body. Their noses are long and straight, giving them a distinctly regal appearance. Coupled with their wide-set oval eyes in shades of amber or green, these kitties will look every part the king or queen of the house from atop the high perch they'll undoubtedly claim as their own in your home.

Sokoke Cat Personality

sokoke cat outside
For pet parents looking for a feline friend to truly integrate with the family, Sokoke cats are a great choice. These playful cats have "dog-like" personalities, in that they form deep, lasting bonds with their human family members and generally adapt well to whatever life throws at them, including strangers, children, and other pets that might scare or annoy more timid cats. The Sokoke is a highly intelligent breed that can be taught tricks and be leash trained for owners who'd like to pop a harness on their furry friend and go for a trek in the wilderness (or just around the block).
Like all cats, the Sokoke's wild ancestry and evolution have made him a fierce hunter, and his strong muscles ensure he can leap to high points. Accordingly, pet parents shouldn't be surprised to find their Sokoke hanging out atop the fridge or some other high point in the house; they like to keep an eye on everything, and they like to be as far above the ground as possible to get a better lay of the land.
If you know anything about cats, it's that they generally prefer to stay out of water. Not the Sokoke! This breed loves water and might even go for a dip if given the opportunity. This can be a source of great amusement if you're prepared for it, but it can also be rather startling when your Sokoke barges in on you in the bathtub or the pool and starts swimming laps. You might enjoy having a new swim buddy, but if that's not quite your thing, you might want to give your kitty some quality play time if you find that he enjoys water; otherwise, he might decide to turn his water dish--and your floor--into a tiny swimming pool on his own!
Do you have a Sokoke? Is he a swimmer, or does he prefer to observe us mere mortals from on high? Let us know in the comment section down below!

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black german rex cat

When you want a beautiful, intelligent feline that bonds quickly with your family, turn to the German Rex cat. German Rex cats love nothing more than to curl up in your lap after a feisty play session. Before you decide to bring a German Rex cat into your home, though, you should learn more about the breed’s traits to make sure it will fit into your family.

Physical Traits of German Rex Cats

German Rex cats have medium-sized bodies. They also have long legs packed with strong muscles, so they can leap higher than you probably expect. Big, triangular ears will also help you recognize a German Rex cat.

When it comes to fur, most German Rex cats have short, thick fur that feels amazing to rub. If you let the coat grow out a bit, the hairs will start to curl, which makes the felines even more adorable. No cat lover can resist petting the thick, curly coat of a German Rex. You can try to resist, but you will fail!

German Rex cats come in a huge variety of colors. Some common colors include red, brown, frost, cinnamon, black, white, and chestnut. The blue ones look particularly amazing, especially in the right light.

Can’t decide which color you like most? You don’t have to decide because German Rex cats often have mixed colors, including calico and tortoiseshell.

German Rex Cats Have Serious Smarts

german rex cat

Don’t bring a German Rex cat into your home just because you love its cute looks. These cats have high intellects… compared to other cats, of course. They’re basically the Einsteins of the cat world.

A smart cat sounds great, right? Just make sure you have enough time to keep them stimulated. Without daily playtime, your super-smart kitten can turn into an evil genius that manages to invade your kitchen cabinets and escape from the house. Maybe they’re the Houdinis of the cat world?

As long as you set aside time to play with your German Rex cat, it will settle down for intense snuggles. The breed bonds quickly with its human family. Don’t feel surprised when this little fur ball demands to curl up at the foot of your bed.

Taking Care of a German Rex Cat

German Rex cats don’t require a lot of maintenance. The short hair doesn’t need much attention. Over a few months, though, the fur may get a bit greasy. When that happens, take your kitty to a groomer or give her a bath at home.

If you feel too lazy to bathe your cat, just think about how it will feel when the grease ball starts rubbing its head against your face. That should give you plenty of motivation!

Taking care of a German Rex cat gets easier when you choose PrettyLitter over conventional cat box litter. If you have one cat, you only need a four-pound bag of PrettyLitter per month. The company will even send the next bag to you on time to prevent any odd smells in your home.

Perhaps best of all, you don’t have to pick wet clumps out of the litter. PrettyLitter absorbs moisture and eliminates it. Other than changing the litter once a month, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Now that you know more about German Rex cats, do you think you should get one for your home? What qualities appeal to you most?

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grey raas cat

Raas cats get their name from Raas Island in Indonesia. If you want to find a Raas cat, then you have to travel to their place of origin. Nearly all of the world’s Raas cats live on the island. The few that don’t live there have been shipped from Indonesia to other locations where they live as pets.

Since Raas cats have been domesticated, you can technically keep them as pets. Their beauty makes them particularly attractive to cat enthusiasts. Unfortunately, they have strong personalities, so they don’t always get along with their owners. If you have one, treat it with respect!

Physical Traits of Raas Cats

Raas cats evolved in seclusion without interbreeding with other cat breeds. Living on an island makes it pretty difficult for animals to find new mates. Plus, you know how much cats hate water! Even the possibility of dating a new kitty won’t get them to put their paws in the sea.

The seclusion of evolving on an island gave Raas cats several notable traits.

You can identify Raas cats by their green, ovular eyes and large bodies. Look for bent ends on their ails, too.

Most have characteristics similar to bobcats. For example, they have squarish faces and triangular chins. They also have triangular ears.

Raas cats come in a variety of colors. Many even have multiple colors just like common housecats. Some of the most elegant Raas cats, however, have a dark black color with a blue sheen. If you find one like that, then you will fall in love instantly.

Training a Raas Cat to Live as a Pet

black raas cat

Technically, Raas cats fall into the domestic cat category. People on Raas Island and nearby areas keep them as pets. The cats, however, have strong personalities that don’t bend easily to human commands. They don’t like to take orders from anyone.

You can train a Raas cat to live as a pet, but expect it to take some time. In the meantime, protect your furniture from their sharp claws. If you find a rather feisty Raas cat, you should also keep your skin covered until it has been trained not to scratch or bite.

The cats don’t have a ferocious nature, but they can get quite rough when annoyed. Just watch where you put your hands and pay attention to the cat’s demeanor. When it hisses or arches its back, take the warning seriously and back off for a while!

Since it will take some time for a Raas cat to adjust to its new home, make life easier on yourself and the pet by choosing a hassle-free kitty litter. With PrettyLitter, you only need a four-pound bag of kitty litter for your cat each month. Plus, you only have to change the litter once a month. When the next bag of PrettyLitter arrives in the mail, just dump the old bag and replace it with the new litter. You’ll keep your house clean and your cat happy without invading its space more often than necessary.

Have you considered getting an exotic cat for your home? What will you do with the time you save by choosing PrettyLitter over conventional kitty litters that require daily or weekly cleaning? Please feel free to share your thoughts!

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