By Jackie Kellum
Many times articles in this column pertain mostly to dogs, but cats, that certainly bring joy to our lives in their own unique ways, also deserve some recognition. Did you know that cats were music lovers? There is scientific proof that some cats like music. However, what type of music is debated. Some people say their cats prefer very rhythmic tunes while others say their cats like to rock out and others think classical music is the best. Some music has been written specifically for cats, with high pitches and sounds similar to those in the wild and nature.
Like humans, cats have different tastes based on what they were exposed to in their early days. Cats have tremendous hearing and their elegant whiskers can detect even subtle vibrations. Your cat may be enjoying a sensory treat as well as melodies. Keep playing music for your cat, although keep the volume low—their ears are sensitive—and let her enjoy it with you.
A very serious topic about cats is declawing. For those who do not know this, declawing a cat is the equivalent of cutting a person’s fingers off at the first knuckle. Human toes are crucial to our balance, the same for cats! Declawed cats have to relearn how to walk, much as a person would after having his toes cut off. Cats are in pain when they awake from the surgery, and the pain continues afterward. Nails can grow back inside the paw, causing extreme pain that you can’t see. Many countries have found this procedure to be so barbaric that it has been made illegal. Also the lack of claws may make many cats feel so insecure that they tend to bite more often as a means of self-protection.
One hopes that a declawed cat remains safely indoors at all times, but if he should ever get outside your cat would be far more vulnerable to predators and abusers. Several feline studies have shown a critical side effect caused by this surgery - Arthritis. In the post-operative period, newly declawed cats shift their body weight backward onto the large central pad of the front feet and off the toes. This effect was significant even when strong pain medications were given. When this altered gait persists over time, it caused stress on the leg joints and spine, and frequently it leads to damage and arthritic changes in multiple joints.
There are simple things you can do to help your cat not use your furniture as a scratching post. First, clip the tip end of the toenail on a regular basis or have your Vet do this. Get a “cat-tree” so they can exercise, stretch, strengthen their muscles and get their ‘scratching fix.’ Encourage your cat to use the posts by sprinkling catnip on it regularly. You can discourage your cat from scratching furniture by using a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratch.
Try using a sprayer bottle with lukewarm water aiming the water stream at your cat’s back. Also try spraying Bitter Apple on the furniture. You can buy this from your vet or pet store. Another solution may be a container of citrus air freshener that you can set on a table near the furniture or mist the furniture. Cats generally do not like the smell of citrus.
Anita’s Animals at any given time has available for adoption, kittens and adult cats of various colors, pure-breeds, mixes, sizes and personalities. The right one [or two] is waiting for you. Anita is open Friday thru Tuesday, 9AM – 2PM and 4PM – 6PM; Wednesdays at the tianguis; closed Thursdays.