Most cats do a great job with general hygiene maintenance, with their careful and thorough daily routine of self-bathing using their tongues and paws. Their rough tongues are effective at getting most of the day-to-day detritus that works into their coats, and frequent brushing by a doting pet parent is not only a pleasant bonding moment for most, it can also help them maintain their cleanliness with fewer hairballs to clean up in various nooks and crannies of your home. However, The National Cat Groomers Institute of America recommends that you bathe your feline friend with water and shampoo about once every four to six weeks, to get to the dirt and grime that can build up deeper under the surface and lead to skin irritation or unpleasant smells. [Read more…]
You may notice that your cat’s favorite hobby is sleeping a lot. Your cat finds the coziest spots, on top of a windowsill soaking up the sun, a comfy place on the couch, and sometimes on the pillow right by your head. Also, you may notice that your cat sleeps at odd times throughout the day and is wide awake right before you decide it’s time for bed. Your cat’s sleep cycle is complicated, but some of it is understood.
How many hours a day do cats sleep?
Despite all the cat naps, cats typically sleep between 12 and 16 hours each day. Older cats may sleep up to 18 hours a day or more to conserve energy. Cats sleep in a polyphasic sleep pattern; this means that they sleep in many smaller periods each day rather than the one long period we humans usually do—cats, on average, rest 50 to 113 minutes at a time.
Cat Sleep Cycle
Cats have a circadian rhythm or internal biological sleep clock that dictates their daily sleep-wake cycle. Cats sleep in a crepuscular process driven by predatory nature. This includes two peaks of activity, one before sunrise and one around sunset, to prey on morning birds or nocturnal rodents.
Like humans, cats experience sleep stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During REM, cats may dream as humans do.
Why is sleep important for your cat?
Cats need sleep for a variety of reasons to survive, including:
- Plays a part in memory formation
- Boosts their immune system
- It helps the body recharge
- Helps conserve energy
- Helps regulate emotions
- Helps with recovery processes
My cat is having sleep issues
If your cat seems to have unusual sleep patterns or seems to be experiencing excessive wakefulness – these could both indicate underlying health conditions.
- Too much sleep and lethargic behavior can indicate kidney disease, deafness, and hypothyroidism.
- Too little sleep and restlessness can indicate lack of stimulation, hyperthyroidism, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Other changes observed in addition to sleep issues can include changes in behavior, bathroom habits, eating habits, and signs of disorientation. If you observe unusual changes in your cat, you should talk to your veterinarian.
Black cats are synonymous with Halloween, but they are not a holiday decoration! Black cats are the most at-risk cats as rescues, strays, and those in loving furever homes. Black cats need extra consideration all year, but especially during Halloween. Let’s talk about why that is and how you can help protect black cats.
Why are people scared of black cats?
Historically, many stories and rumors spread that created superstitions and naive beliefs about black cats. This caused many people to fear them over a long period. From bad luck to a witches’ familiar to satanic worship – black cats get a bad rap.
It wasn’t always this way many black cats were worshipped:
- In ancient Egypt, they worshipped a cat goddess named Bast that was often a black cat, and people kept them in their homes hoping to be blessed by Bast.
- In Celtic mythology, a black cat form of a fairy was called Cat Sith – people believed if you left a saucer of milk on Halloween, also known as Samhain, the household would be blessed with an entity.
- Scottish people peopled a black cat in a house meant prosperity for the household.
- In Britain, black cats are considered good luck, and in fact, King Charles I gave his black cat credit for his good luck.
- In Japan, they also believe black cats are good luck, especially with finding love.
So when and why did people start thinking that black cats were bad luck?
- There was a horrible mass killing of black cats in the middle ages because they were associated with Satan, witches, and the supernatural. They were also associated with bad luck and death.
- Puritans in America thought black cats were associated with witches or witches’ familiars. They also believed that witches could inhabit a black cat.
- In Italy, during the 16th century, people believed that if a black cat lay on a person’s sickbed, death was imminent.
- If a black cat crosses your path, it is bad luck – another widespread myth along with a black cat walking away from you, seeing one from behind, or they are spotted during a funeral procession.
What is Black Cat Syndrome?
Black cats are adopted at lower rates than other cats and are more likely to be euthanized – this is a long-held belief in the cat rescue community. However, according to a recent study, this is a myth, and the reason people believe this is because there are more black cats overall.
Black cat syndrome is a term coined by cat shelters. Of course, this phenomenon has more to do with ignorance or superstition than something wrong with black cats. October is black cat awareness month to dispel these beliefs. However, many shelters and rescues are hesitant to allow black cat adoptions during October, as they must be cautious of adopters that do not want to adopt for the right reasons.
How to protect black cats during October
Halloween isn’t the only day your black cat is in danger; it is the entire month leading up to it.
- It is a good idea to keep your black cat inside during the month to avoid someone snatching your cat and doing something horrible – some people sadly play tricks with black cats and hurt or kill them in the process
- If you are at a rescue or adoption center – be wary of people asking for a black cat before Halloween – many people adopt them just before as a party prop and then abandon them on November 1st
- All cats are safer inside on Halloween night and far from trick or treaters and candy that may be toxic to them – for more about Halloween safety tips – click here.
Halloween is fast approaching, and there are signs of it everywhere you go. That’s because it is a fun autumn holiday full of tricks and treats. However, your cat may not be fair as well during the Halloween season. Here are some Halloween safety tips to get through the spooky season.
1 No candy!
That may seem like a funny thing to say during Halloween – but to your cat (or dog), candy can be a toxic indulgence – especially chocolate. Keep candy and the wrappers out of your cat’s reach. If you suspect your cat has eaten something dangerous – contact Animal Poison Control – 888.426.4435
2 Give your cat a safe space
Trick or treaters at your door is fun, but they can stress out your cat. If you have a cat that is scared by strangers and constant bell ringing, it is best to put them in a safe space in a room where the noise is at a minimum, and your cat can relax.
3 Microchip your cat
Opening your door all night to hand out candy can welcome an escape artist – your cat can slip out the door and get lost. Microchipping can help you find your cat.
4 Decorate with your cats in mind
- Don’t use candles for a spooky vibe because your cat can knock them over accidentally – battery-powered candles are a better choice
- Stay away from decorations with tinsel as your cat could ingest it and have intestinal issues
- Edible decorations such as candy corn, pumpkins, and corn can cause your cat tummy troubles
5 Skip the cat costume
You may think that your cat is the cutest trick-or-treater on the block, but most cats do not enjoy dressing up. If you dress up your cat, make sure that they can breathe, move and smell easily while in a costume.
Feeling anxious and stressed? Your cat can help; spending time with your cat can benefit you emotionally. Research shows that spending time with your cat can reduce their owner’s heart rate and lower their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In fact, “a study by the University of Minnesota found that cat owners are 30 percent less likely to die from a heart attack'”.