Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Therapy Cats

Ever notice that your cat seems to have a natural instinct for being there when you need comfort most? Whether you are feeling down, worried about something, broken-hearted over a bad romance, or simply feeling sadness for any reason at all, they just seem to know!

It is a well documented fact that merely just petting a cat, stroking their fur while they lie next to you purring, naturally lowers ones blood pressure. Is it any wonder that cats are being used more and more as therapy animals ~ both at home and in nursing facilities? Cats have proven to be wonderful therapy for nursing home residents and children with autism as well.

I'd like to share with all of you a true story I had read while researching the subject of therapy cats:

Cats as Therapy in the Home

By Franny Syufy, About.com Guide

"Much has been written about the role cats play as sources of comfort in our daily lives. One of the most inspiring stories I have read was about a cat who helped a boy with autism. The author, J. Manerling, is a widowed father of two children. His son, Richard, was four years old when his mother died, and lives with autism. By a strange coincidence, J. Manerling already worked in the field of neuroscience, with children who have neuropsychological disabilities. At four, Richard had no mental retardation, but still was non-verbal. Reasoning that a therapy pet might help Richard come out of his shell, he made every effort to expose his son to every kind of animal. Nothing worked until the day J.M. took Richard to an animal shelter. In his words:

'I walked past the cat room into the dog area. Again, I was disappointed that my son just stared around him at everything else, but not at the dogs. They seemed to hold his attention for a few seconds.

As we were leaving, once again we walked past the cat area doors. I figured, "What the heck? It's worth a try. Though I have no idea what he'll find interesting in there." We walked into the cat area, which was significantly smaller than the dog area. As we walked past the cages, there in a corner was a black and white tuxedo cat. Suddenly my four-year old non-verbal son pointed to the cage and said, "Cat!" That was it. That day we took the cat home. My son could not come up with a name for his new friend. My daughter, who has always been very protective of her younger brother tried to help find a name that he could pronounce. Finally, the name Clover was discovered.'

At the time of its writing, Richard was a college student, and had two other cats, Linus and Melody as his muses. You can read more of Richard's story at Cat Therapy for Autistic Children."

Is it any surprise that cats are great therapy for nursing home patients? Some nursing homes are even fortunate enough to be able to keep a cat in residence. Cats have even been known to be used as therapy for patients with alzheimers disease. These cats serve to stimulate both memory and forgotten emotions.

The health benefits cats provide are just astounding. They lower your stress level, they slow down your heart rate whenever you are feeling anxious or nervous, they comfort us in so very many ways. Although dogs are generally known to be used as therapy for humankind, cats are also now coming into their own!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Settling in ...

It would appear that our little, umm, I mean big guy, Mr. Gray is finally beginning to settle into our little fur family nicely! He, Tabby and Midnight are wonderful together. Kiki; however, is another story entirely. Let's just say that if she keeps hissing and carrying on the way in which she is, she is gonna find her nasty self in the "time out" cage for a couple of nights. LOL!!! (I'm not kidding either!)

At any rate, I do believe that he is going to be very, very happy here. His "other family's" (if he actually did have one) loss is definitely our gain!!!  :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Kitty Cat Classic ~ The Tale of Senor Don Gato (Mr. King Cat)

Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat.
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He was there to read a letter,
(meow, meow, meow)
where the reading light was better,
(meow, meow, meow)
'Twas a love-note for Don Gato!

"I adore you," wrote the ladycat,
who was fluffy white, and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty,
(meow, meow, meow)
in the country or the city
(meow, meow, meow)
and she said she'd wed Don Gato!

Oh Don Gato jumped so happily!
He fell off the roof and broke his knee,
broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
(meow, meow, meow)
and his little solar plexus
(meow, meow, meow)
"Ay Caramba!!" cried Don Gato.

All the doctors they came on the run,
just to see if something could be done.
And they held a consultation,
(meow, meow, meow)
about how to save their patient,
(meow, meow, meow)
how to save Senor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
poor Senor Don Gato up and died.
No, it wasn't very merry,
(meow, meow, meow)
going to the cemetary,
(meow, meow, meow)
for the ending of Don Gato.

But as the the funeral passed the market square,
such a smell of fish was in the air,
though the burial was slated,
(meow, meow, meow)
he became reanimated,
(meow, meow, meow)
he came back to life, Don Gato!

I actually learned this song in music class in fourth grade and always loved it so. Whenever my cats are upset, I sing this little song to them and they love it ~ seriously!!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cats are like potatoe chips ...

As the saying goes, "Cats are like potatoe chips, you can never just have one!" How true, how true. In the past six months, we have adopted two more cats in addition to the three we already have. Personally, if we could afford ten cats, we surely would!

That being said, we just picked up our last cat we intend to ever adopt (yes, yes feel free to laugh all you like) from the vets. He had his front only declaw surgery on Thursday morning but we were not allowed to bring him home until this morning. He was happy to be home and very hungry at that.

No sooner we brought him through the door, Tabitha ran over to his holding cage to greet him and then lied down next to it for a while. We must keep him as calm and mobile as possible for a couple of days as to allow his paws to heal completely. He is on a Fentanyl patch which will keep him pain-free for days. Never-the-less, it is great to have him back with us! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mr. Gray Update ...

Well, this morning was Mr. Gray's front declaw surgery at the vets. At around 10:05 this morning, I received a phone call at work from Dr. Veltri informing us that Mr. Gray's surgery went well and that we could pick him up on Saturday morning to bring him home.

We set up his large dog cage from downstairs in the middle of the living room so that he can be surrounded by his loved ones while he recuperates for a couple of more days ...

Tabitha misses him very much as do we! He has been at the vets since Wednesday evening and we can't wait to get him back where he belongs!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Another lazy Sunday ...

Last night, while snoozing on the couch after a day of cleaning, unbeknownst to me hubby snapped this pic of Mr. Earl Gray and I chilling. Gray is really beginning to show how sweet he really his!

Wishing all a relaxing and restful Sunday from me and my buddy Mr. Gray!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Catnip Alternative?

Everyone knows that cats go crazy over catnip. Well, most cats anyway. A third of the feline population does not. Midnight, for example, has never been affected by it. In fact, he merely sniffs it and then casually walks away.

Then I recently noticed that Auntie Judy's Christmas/Yule cat toys she gave to our kitties this year were getting a very good reaction from my Midnight. I knew that there was no catnip in these toys because I could not even get a hint of it. When I asked Judy about this, she said, "It isn't catnip. It's honeysuckle."

Honeysuckle? Whoa, really? Turns out that many pet stores are beginning to sell cat toys with honeysuckle in them as an alternative to catnip ~ mainly for cats such as my cat Midnight. And from what I have seen, it works pretty well! 

So exactly how does honeysuckle work? Well, apparently there are over 180 species of honeysuckle shrubs and vines. But, only one species, Lonicera tartarica or Tartarian Honeysuckle, seems to have an effect on cats. Cats who are stimulated by honeysuckle tend to act the same exhibiting uninhibited playfulness and antics as those who are under the influence of catnip. This is because Tartarian Honeysuckle contains a chemical that is similar to the active ingredient in catnip. Most likely, it is this substance that puts cats into a frenzy state.

How safe is honeysuckle for cats? There have been no reports of serious side effects from honeysuckle toys and spray. However, some species of honeysuckle, and possibly the berries from honeysuckle plants, may be toxic to cats. To be safe on the safe side,  you should only buy honeysuckle products from trusted vendors. Also, just as with catnip, some cats may be more aggressive than usual when under honeysuckle’s spell, so keep that in mind when giving your kitty anything with honeysuckle in it.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Growing Family ...

Since the addition of our newest fur baby, Mr. Earl Gray, we now have a need for another litterbox cabinet in the cat's room. These things are great! My dear friend and awesome cat-sitter, Auntie Judy, was kind enough to give us hers after her husband surprised her with a homemade oak litterbox cabinet for Christmas a couple of years ago. As you can see, there is a side opening to place the litterbox in and to clean all you need to do is open the cabinet doors, pull out box, clean and replace, There is even a top drawer for odds and ends stuff ...

I recently ordered another one from Petedge.com  ~ a wonderful site for pet products with fairly cheap prices on most items.
On the subject of Mr. Gray, he is doing very well. He is adapting rather quickly to his new enviornment and his new siblings as well. Hubby and I strongly feel that he and his long lost buddy and another new addition to our family, Tabitha, do indeed recognize one another. It is so sweet the way they stay close to each other while snuggling on our bed ...
As I have so often said, a house is not a home without our cats to share it with!!