Cats and Grass: A Love Affair

Many cat owners think, “My cat eats grass. Is that OK?” If you’ve witnessed your cat noshing on an outdoor salad, you might have also noticed that it can make your kitty throw up. However, some felines nibble on your lawn and aren’t subjected to any adverse effects at all. So, what’s the deal? Is it alright for cats to eat grass? Today, we’ll be explaining the pros and cons of letting your feline eat grass and tell you how to offer a more nourishing option for them.

Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

Experts have several theories to explain why cats like grass. Cats are predominantly meat eaters, so do they really need all of that green roughage to round out their diet? Should you be offering them kale on a regular basis? Some scientists believe that cats eat plant material to get raw nutrients into their diet. After all, humans are often told to eat their greens. But are cats supposed to do the same? (By the way, save the kale for your own salads.)

Purina Cat Chow explains that grass contains folic acid, a nutrient that felines need to survive. Folic acid helps cats develop properly and boosts blood oxygen levels. Cats that aren’t getting enough of the vitamin in their diet may nibble on grass as a supplement. Grass also contains niacin and fiber. Cats can’t make niacin in their bodies. Consequently, they must get it from an outside source. If cats are deficient in this nutrient, they can suffer from weight loss, a diminished appetite, inflamed gums, and hemorrhagic diarrhea.

The fiber in grass can help relieve an upset tummy, too. Over the course of an average day, cats spend a lot of time grooming, and their sandpaper-like tongues pick up hair while they’re doing this. They can’t digest the fur, so hairballs can develop in their stomachs, making them feel queasy. Grass can have a laxative effect when consumed, helping the cat to eliminate sluggish stool. It can also cause the cat to vomit, spewing up any hairballs that are causing them to feel sick.

Can Eating Grass Be Dangerous?

Many people treat their lawns with fertilizers and pesticides. Unfortunately, repeated exposure to these chemicals can be hazardous to your cat’s health. Even just letting your cat walk around on a treated lawn can cause them to ingest these compounds. Some experts recommend leaving your lawn untreated if you have a pet that likes to lounge outdoors.

Moreover, cats can pick up these dangerous chemicals on their paws and coats. When they lick themselves clean, they take in the poisons. This is unlikely to make your pet sick. However, a sensitive kitty might show signs of pesticide poisoning. Symptoms of fertilizer or pesticide poisoning include excessive drooling, seizures, anemia, unsteady gait, and difficulty breathing.

The desire to eat grass can also be hazardous for indoor cats. Have you ever noticed your kitty nibbling on your houseplants? She does this for the same reason that outdoor cats eat grass. However, many potted plants are toxic to cats. According to the ASPCA, aloe, amaryllis, lilies, bird of paradise, and tulips are some of the flora that can be dangerous for cats to eat.


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A Better Alternative

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can grow indoor cat grass that’s safe for your kitty to eat. How do you grow cat grass? The process is fairly easy. Many websites sell kits that include the pots, soil, and seeds. You can also grow a variety of different grasses for a cat-friendly indoor garden. Oats, rye, barley, and wheat grow into a type of grass that’s safe for your feline to consume.

How to Grow Cat Grass

Purchase seeds online or from a pet supply store. You’ll be planting them in shallow pots. You don’t want your cat to be able to tip the containers over easily. Some people plant cat grass in large trays in which their kitties can walk, sit, and lie down.

Fill the container about three-quarters full with potting mix. Make sure that the soil doesn’t contain chemical fertilizers. You might want to look for an organic option. Spray the soil with water as you add it to the pot. It should be moist but not dripping wet. When you’re finished adding the soil, sprinkle the seeds on top and cover the whole thing loosely with plastic wrap. Keep it out of direct sunlight until you see sprouts appear.

Do Cats Dream?

Your cat always seems to be napping. It curls up on the windowsill, the newspaper, the sofa, or your lap for a quick snooze at least a few times each day, and that’s perfectly normal. In fact, experts have found that cats are only awake for about five to nine hours a day. It’s obvious that your feline takes a lot of cat naps, but what is she doing while she sleeps? Does she have nighttime fantasies about mice and catnip? Well, you might be wondering for a long time. Experts say that cats dream, but they’re not exactly sure what they dream about yet.

Cat Sleep Cycles

The sleep behavior of cats is similar to that of humans in many ways. Just like us, cats go through various sleep stages. In stage one, they become dreamy and sleepy, but they’re still hovering close to alertness. Their ears may twitch when they hear sounds, and they’ll open their eyes if they hear something rustle beside them. In stage two, their brain wave activity becomes more rhythmic, their heart rate slows down and their temperature drops. In stage three, cats transition between light sleep and deep sleep. In stage four, they enter deep sleep. Stage five is rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep.

Cats may cycle through stages two through five repeatedly during a slumber. However, since most cat naps are short, they may not enter every stage of sleep. When cats enter REM sleep, they begin to dream. Scientists once called this stage paradoxical sleep. During this process, a feline’s vital signs become similar to those of an animal that’s awake. However, they’re very difficult to wake up during this time. Their paws and faces may twitch, their tails may flicker and their skin may look like it’s crawling.

Make no mistake, cats are deeply relaxed when they’re in REM sleep. Although the spasms may make it look like your pet is tense, he is actually so calm that he can’t hold his head up. Cats are usually curled up or lying on their sides during REM sleep. How is it possible for your cat to twitch its whiskers or run its paws if its muscles are completely slack? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works to regulate the activity of the large muscles. During the other stages of sleep, serotonin neurons are working to command muscular activities. In REM sleep, serotonin neurons don’t fire. And because serotonin doesn’t control fine movements, smaller muscles can still move.

Is your kitty notorious for sleeping with its head held up? We call that the bread box position. Cats often sleep in a somewhat upright position, with their paws tucked under their bellies. This happens during non-REM sleep when the muscles are still active. The same thing happens to you if you fall asleep in a chair. At first, you’ll stay upright. As you drift off into REM sleep, though, you might slump down. You might even fall off the chair as your muscles fully relax.

What Do Cats Dream About?

Although researchers aren’t completely clear on the topic of cat dreams, one researcher uncovered some clues about dreaming and cat naps. In the latter half of the 20th century, physiologist Michael Jouvet found that when cats didn’t utilize the part of the brain that helps muscles relax during REM sleep, they ran around, hissing and scratching as though they were attacking an animal. This led him to believe that cats might dream about hunting.


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This research also encouraged scientists to look at the sleep behavior of other mammals. It turns out that all mammals except the spiny anteater go through the REM stage of sleep. Predators spend more time in REM sleep than prey. That’s because they can feel confident that they’re not going to get eaten while they’re snoozing. Animals that have to watch their backs don’t fall into such deep sleep.

In the wild, felines are predators. Domestic cats are instilled with a natural propensity for predatory sleep behavior. They get a burst of energy early in the morning and as the sun is going down. In their native habitat, these are their hunting times. Felines tend to hide out and sleep in the middle of the day and night, a time period when other predators might be looking for them.

A Brief History of Cats

Humans have a deep and cherished relationship with our feline friends. But did you realize that this relationship may have begun in ancient times? According to journalist David H. Grimm, the first evidence of cat domestication comes from a grave that dates back to 7500 BC, where a human was buried with a cat. Smithsonian reports that archaeologists found an 8,000-year-old feline bone on the island of Cypress. This hints at domestication, because why on Earth would you bring a feral cat on a boat with you?

Most people assume that the story of cat domestication begins in Egypt around 1950 BC. Back then, cats were brought into homes to keep them free of pests. It didn’t take long for cats to be revered as gods. Although your own feline probably expects the same kind of veneration, you probably have a different relationship with your kitty than the ancient Egyptians did. So then, how did cats make it all the way from the Nile Valley into your lap?

Cats vs. Dogs as Pets

Dogs are a natural companion for humans. They’re smart, easy to train and have an innate desire to cooperate and serve, making them incredibly useful for hunting and scouting. Those are just a few reasons why these pack animal were domesticated before felines. Unlike canines, cats don’t have any of those subservient instincts or tendencies. They’re notorious for their autonomous nature. Just when you think you and your cat are on the same page, she does something silly like run around the house chasing an invisible bird. But make no mistake, felines were and still are incredibly useful to humans, and that’s not just because they’re cute and occasionally cuddly.

Rat Catchers

In ancient farming communities, harvests only took place a few times a year. In the off-season, grain had to be stored for long periods. In storage, it was susceptible to destruction by rodents. Farmers started to notice that when cats were nearby, they ate the mice and rats, and the grain remained intact. To keep the cats around, farmers started feeding them, throwing them scraps of food so that they would return and continue exterminating the mice. The cats simply showed up, and the relationship worked perfectly.

It’s interesting that these ancient peoples didn’t try to keep cats the way they kept livestock. Cats were able to leave the house whenever they pleased. Over time, the cats that lingered in people’s houses were the ones that weren’t kicked out for their wild or aggressive behavior. In other words, the sweeter, more docile cats were invited to stay. They adopted new lifestyles as they were given food, shelter, and attention in these man-made environments, and that’s pretty much how house cats behave today.

Cat Symbolism Through Time

Humanity’s attitude toward the cat has shifted drastically over the years. In ancient Egypt, you could be put to death for killing a cat. The Egyptians also mummified cats and buried them with bowls of food to take with them into the afterlife. Moreover, the Great Sphinx, one of the most important and iconic figures in Egyptian myth, has the body of a lion. The Romans admired cats almost as much as the Egyptians did. Some Roman soldiers even kept felines as mascots, and cats were the only animals permitted in their temples.

Although cats were greatly admired in Egypt and Rome, they were demonized in Europe in the Middle Ages. They were still kept in households to catch mice at the time. However, they were also associated with witches and religious ceremonies that were considered heretical. Some experts think that because people killed so many cats in the name of expunging evil, rats were more effective in spreading the plague. Perhaps if more cats were around to eat them, history would be very different.

Modern House Cat History in America

With the Enlightenment came more tolerance for cats. The first European colonists brought cats on their ships to the New World. According to Petcentric, scholars say that the American Shorthair breed is related to felines that traveled aboard the Mayflower. Although two dogs were on the ship’s manifest, no cats were listed. That goes to show that the relationship between humans and cats was still one of relative independence. As Sir Harry Swanson said, “You can’t own a cat. The best you can do is be partners.”

Can Cats Swim?

If someone told you that you could teach your cat how to swim next summer, would you die laughing? If your cat is like most felines, it probably turns into a chaotic mess of screeching fur when it gets near water. Cats seem to be able to escape water faster than they fall into it. If they could speak your language, they’d probably tell you that water makes them miserable. However, is this an innate cat quality, or has the feline aversion to water developed over time? You might be surprised by the answer.

It’s How They Were Raised

Wild cats hunted for their food. Those that stalked their prey on dry land never had to learn to swim. They might have only experienced water as a drenching rainstorm that left them cold and wet. Those cats would never have developed the urge to go for a dip.

However, wild cats that had to hunt for fish may have developed the ability to swim well. If you look at big cats in the wild, you’ll notice that many are strong swimmers. For example, tigers have no fear of the water, another example; the Fishing Cat. The fishing cat is an Asian wildcat that prefers to live near water, where it can find its favorite food. According to the San Diego Zoo, the fishing cat is one of the best swimmers in the animal kingdom.

Yet as time went on and cats became domesticated, owners protected them from the elements. Felines simply stopped being exposed to water. Your cat just might not be used to the wet stuff. If a cat has fallen into water by accident, it probably came as a surprise and left a strong (and negative) impression.

And yet, modern cats don’t necessarily hate water. They’re just not used to the way it feels. Have you ever seen your kitty play with a dripping faucet? She may shake her paw once it gets wet, but that’s just because it’s a new sensation. Just like some cats prefer tuna and others like chicken, some cats like water and some don’t.

The Anatomy Of A Swimming Cat Breed

Let’s look at the way that cats that love water are built. The fishing cat has a strong, stocky build. It doesn’t seem like it would be very streamlined in the water. However, webbed feet help it move faster in the water. They also act like snowshoes in the mud of the wetlands, preventing the cat from sinking as it hunts. Two layers of fur protect the fishing cat’s skin from wetness and cold. The short, dense underlayer keeps water out, and the longer outer layer provides the cat’s markings and camouflage.

Animal Planet describes the Turkish Van as a cat with a swimmer’s body. The Turkish Van is a fluffy white cat with a rusty color on the tail and ears which originated in the Lake Van region of Turkey. The athletic feline is one of the oldest known domesticated cats. Perhaps because it’s so active, this cat is also quite independent. Don’t expect to hold it down for a cuddle.

The Turkish Van is also fascinated by water. Legend has it that this feline was brought onto Noah’s Ark to help take care of any rat problems. Unlike the fishing cat, the Turkish Van doesn’t have an undercoat. Its fur is smooth, silky, and water repellant. Broad shoulders and a rounded ribcage change the cat’s center of gravity, creating an ideal posture for swimming.

What Other Breeds Of Cat Love Water?

If you have a Turkish Van or fishing cat, you might want to provide it with a kiddie pool to cool off in during the summer. According to Pawesome Cats, several other feline breeds like water. Bengal cats for example have been known to join their owners in the bathtub. Additionally, the Savannah cat is one of the other breeds that loves to be bathed. Both Bengal and Savannah cats are more directly related to wild cats than many other breeds.

Some additional, semi-aquatic cat breeds include Norwegian Forest Cats, Manxes, Japanese Bobtails, Maine Coons, and Abyssinians. First off, the Norwegian Forest Cat is adept at fishing and might swipe fish right out of your aquarium. Next is the Manx. Most Manx cats like water as they were originally bred on the Isle of Man in the UK. Some say that the first Manx swam to the island from a wrecked Spanish Armada ship, creating an instant love of water. The Japanese Bobtail is another tailless cat that’s notorious for stalking koi ponds and turning on faucets. Following the Japanese Bobtail is the Maine Coon; Maine Coons like to play with water and If you own a Maine Coon, you may have to keep the lids to your toilets down to prevent kitty from scooping water out onto the floor. Lastly, is the Abyssinian. these little tricksters might turn on the tap just to play in the running water.

How Your Cat’s Litter Box Could Be Affecting You

Does your cat’s dirty litter box seem like a chore to maintain? Although cats are relatively independent creatures that don’t need to be taken for walks, they do require a clean place in which to do their business, so to speak. However, can cleaning out the litter box put you at risk for health problems? And can ignoring the box be even worse?

Your cat will be the first to experience adverse effects from a dirty litter box. However, failure to maintain a clean cat box can pose health concerns for pet owners too. According to the Humane Society, you should scoop poop and clumps from a cat’s litter box daily and replace their litter completely about twice a week. The Humane Society also suggests that you scrub the container with a gentle dish soap every time you change out the litter. Meticulous litter box care should prevent you from dealing with the following cat litter health risks.

Urinary Problems in Cats

Most cats are germaphobes. That’s why they groom themselves frequently. Sure, they use their tongues to clean their butts. However, this is one of the safest ways to handle feces, according to this BBC Earth Unplugged video. We’re not recommending that you do the same thing, but grooming itself doesn’t put your cat at an increased risk for disease. Regrettably, avoiding the litter box because it’s too dirty could.

Your cat might hold in its urine if its toilet area isn’t clean enough, and this behavior can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder inflammation, and kidney problems. Urinary tract diseases can make peeing painful, causing cats to further avoid using the litter box. Because kidney failure is one of the primary causes of death for older cats, you don’t want to put added stress on your kitty’s organs.

Contagious Diseases

Cats can also get diseases from another cat’s feces. Feline distemper and feline leukemia virus are both passed along through infected litter. You’ve probably vaccinated your own cats for these diseases, and you keep an eye on their health. Therefore, these conditions aren’t usually a problem unless you invite other cats into your home.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause intestinal problems and blood infections. Almost 20 percent of healthy cats have salmonella as one of the millions of microbes in their intestines, according to Mercola Healthy Pets. It doesn’t make them sick because it’s part of their balanced gut environment. However, those bacteria are eliminated with feline waste and can make you sick.

Catching Parasites

In addition to bacteria, parasites can be lurking in your cat’s stool. Toxoplasma gondii is the most dangerous. Although it’s not commonly shed in cat stool, it can be especially harmful to pregnant women and their fetuses. You may wash your hands well after you handle your cat’s litter box, but this parasite can also be inhaled when you scoop the poop. Consequently, pregnant women are advised not to handle litter box duties.

Ammonia Poisoning

If you’ve ever let the cat box go for several days, you might have noticed that your cat’s urine seems to smell stronger than anything else in the box. If your eyes burn while you clean out the box, you could be exposing yourself to too much ammonia. Although it’s more common to experience ammonia toxicity from cleaning supplies, it’s possible to get it from a neglected litter box. Don’t let your litter box get to the point where it reeks of ammonia. This issue is particularly dangerous for people with respiratory problems, children, and the elderly.


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Tips for Keeping a Clean Litter Box Area

The mess from a litter box can spread beyond the boundaries of the container, especially if the litter box is uncovered. However, some cats don’t like using a covered litter box. You’ll have to determine which type of area your cat prefers. If you have more than one cat, you might want to leave the boxes uncovered so that cats don’t get ambushed while they’re in a vulnerable position. A covered box might work for a single cat.

Why Is My Cat Staring At The Wall?

Cats are intelligent, independent, playful, and amusing. At times, they can be snuggly companions, at other times, they act more like creatures from the great beyond. Some helpful hints on feline behavior include encouraging cats to engage in active play. Cats need to amuse themselves by pouncing, stalking, and chasing things. These cat habits are somewhat expected. You see the same behaviors when watching lion cubs at the zoo. Other feline activities seem to have no explanation. For example, cats may run frantically across the house right before settling down to stare at the wall. You might be wondering if staring at the wall is a normal behavior for cats. Could a cat staring at a wall be a sign of a medical problem? Could it be a sign of the supernatural?

Cats Have Keen Vision

We’re not sure whether cats can see ghosts. However, we do know that cats have a sharp sense of sight. They notice things that humans don’t. For example, your cat may notice the sun reflecting off of a dust particle or your cat may see a small spider making its way along the crevice where the carpet meets the wall. These sensory experiences may seem insignificant to you but they’re a big deal to your cat.

Cats can detect even the most subtle motions. A 2014 study found that cats can see some wavelengths of light that are invisible to humans such as ultraviolet light. Cat eyes have more light-sensing rods than humans, this gives cats the ability to see even when the light is dim meaning that they may perceive reflections and glints of light that you can’t see.

Cats Can Hear Things That You Don’t

Sometimes, you inspect the empty corner in which your cat has imposed himself voluntarily and don’t see anything moving. What may look like your cat staring at the wall may actually be your cat listening to something that you can’t hear. Many people have detected rodents in their walls or in their attics after their cats would sit in a specific spot and seem to stare through the plaster. Your cat isn’t necessarily a pest control expert, however. Cats can hear creaks that your house makes as it settles, or whistling noises within your air ducts.

Cats Have Mysterious Brains

Researchers don’t completely understand the cat brain. Experts know that cats are highly curious creatures. A sensory stimulus that causes a dog to simply sniff and look away may hold a cat’s attention for hours. So when your cat stares at a wall it might be trying to figure out what’s going on with the movement it sees or the sound that it hears. Cats may also stay still if they feel that they’re in danger. They’ll move again when they perceive that they’re safe from the threat.

Cats are also trained to focus on prey. Even though your cat is far from wild, it has inborn hunting instincts. In the wild, stalking prey helps a cat survive. Stalking allows felines to sneak up on their targets without being noticed. When your cat stares at the wall, it may be stalking a potential victim that you can’t hear or see.

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When Your Cat’s Wall Staring Is A Problem

Does your cat ever stare at the wall in between episodes of seeming mania? Your cat might paw at something in the air before taking off down the hallway, only to return an instant later and screech to a halt at your feet, skin rippling and tail twitching. This may be a cat or kitten behavior referred to as hyperesthesia.

Some other signs of this syndrome include the following:

  • The cat aggressively attacks its own tail.

  • The cat’s pupils are enlarged.

  • The cat meows or howls loudly.

  • The cat is sensitive to touch.

  • The cat frantically grooms itself, focusing on the base of the tail.

Experts aren’t sure what causes feline hyperesthesia. It could be caused by stress, abnormal brain waves, electromagnetic signals in the brain, seizures, or lesions along the spine. It also might be normal cat behavior. If this behavior accompanies your cat’s wall staring and is becoming a problem, you may want to have a veterinarian perform a complete examination. You can also minimize stress by maintaining a regular routine, playing with and exercising the cat regularly, and addressing any aggression between your cat and other pets.

When Will Your Cat Stop Growing?

Kittens are like cute, fluffy, weeds; they just keep growing! In fact, your kitten will grow so fast that you’ll find yourself wondering when on earth it will stop. PetPlace is here to help you understand your cat’s growth periods. As your kitten matures into a fully grown cat, there will be many exciting milestones to mark the journey, not to mention, as your kitten grows into a cat your bond will only grow. Each breed and individual cat can be smaller or larger than average based on their diet and early life. The weights and milestones listed below should function more as guidelines as opposed to set in stone facts.

Week One

Approximate Weight: 3-5 ounces

The first six weeks of a kitten’s life is when the most rapid rate of growth takes place. At birth, a newborn kitten only weighs a few ounces, and its eye and ear canals have not yet opened. Newborn kittens are not able to move much, but these little fuzzy jellybeans can make quite the racket while searching for their mom’s milk. If you’ve ever had the privilege of sitting next to a box full or newborn kittens, then you’ve heard their small cries as they hunt for dinner. At this stage of development, kittens don’t even have teeth, and they spend the majority of their days sleeping.  

The mother cat is incredibly important during the first few weeks of a kitten's life. In the first 48 hours, the mama cat will deliver much need colostrum to the kittens. The Colostrum is nature’s vaccine – this power combination of maternal antibodies, large protein antibody molecules, water, vitamins, electrolytes, and nutrients is everything a growing kitten needs to be safe and healthy. The properties found in a mother cat’s Colostrum will typically keep kittens healthy until it is time to get their first round of vaccinations.

In the first week of a kitten’s life, a kitten is liable to double its weight. Studies have shown that kittens who are handled 15-40 minutes a day during their first seven weeks of life are more likely to develop larger brains. Not that you need an excuse to play with kittens, but if anyone ever asked you could say that you are snuggling with baby cats to improve their intelligence.

Weeks Two and Three

Approximate weight at the end of week three: 7 ½ – 14 ½ ounces

Kittens will become a little more aware of their surroundings in this stage. They will begin to jostle for their favorite spot and suppertime, and their eyes will start to open. By the end of the second week a kitten’s eyes should be completely open, but just because a kitten’s eyes are open doesn’t mean that it can see very much. At this stage of the game, kittens may begin exploring the concepts of walking – to mixed results. Week three a kitten’s teeth will start to come in meaning that the kitten is well on it’s way to starting solid food.  

Weeks Four Through Six

Approximate weight at the end of week six: 16-24 ounces

During weeks four through six, you can expect to see another huge growth spurt. During the fourth week, kitten’s will somewhat master the fine art of walking and will begin to sort of jump and play between their cat naps and feeding. Here is when a kitten’s personality really begins to show. Additionally, by the end of week four, the ear canals have opened, and the kitten’s vision has cleared. It is during the fourth week of life that our veterinarians recommend you begin the weaning process with wet food as well as litter box training.

Week five is when your beautiful little bundle of joy becomes a Tasmanian devil. With developing motor skills and abundant energy, kittens will commonly be found zipping around while frequently running into stationary objects and each other. The huge growth spurts have ended, and now a more gradual growing process shall begin that will continue for many months. It is during this period of play that kittens will learn social structure and manners, this is a crucial step in the development of kittens. Kittens who are taken away from their mother and littermates too early can suffer from insufficient socialization – leading to numerous behavior issues down the road.

Why Does My Cat Drool?

Cats. They’re cuddly, cute balls of fluff that provide companionship and love. They have many odd quirks such as toy hoarding, sleeping in strange positions, and…drooling? That’s right – some cats drool. But when does this oddity become a genuine concern? At PetPlace we know that you want to keep your kitty happy and healthy, that’s why we’ve put together this quick reference guide for all things drool.

  1. They’re Happy!

Sometimes a little drooling is nothing to worry about. If your cat has ever been snuggled in your arms on a cold night, perfectly content, you may have looked down at your bundle of joy only to discover a small damp soft on your sweater from drool. There’s no reason to panic; this simply means that your cat is in cat heaven. The act of finding your cat drooling while purring can be compared to finding a small damp spot on your pillow in the morning after you wake up – usually it just means that you had an excellent night’s sleep.

Cats can also drool when sleeping if they feel completely relaxed and comfortable. The act of drooling is prompted by the same pleasure triggers that are responsible for cats purring and kneading. If your cat starts to get a little slobbery while cuddling or sleeping it may just be a sign that they’re happy! Each cat is different and may slobber different amounts. If you’re concerned about the amount in which your cat is drooling while happy, we recommend that you consult with your vet.

  1. Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus

Sadly, the rest of this list will not be as pleasant as “They’re Happy!” Some respiratory conditions can cause ulcers in your cat’s mouth which may be responsible for their drooling. One of the most common respiratory conditions for cats is the Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus, or more commonly known as Herpes-1, or Feline Herpes. Feline Herpes is spread through contact with bodily fluids between cats, usually by coming in contact with the eye discharge that is a common symptom of Feline Herpes.

Most cats who become infected with Feline Herpes will recover, but they will remain chronic carriers. Being a chronic carrier means that while your cat is no longer exhibiting signs and symptoms of Feline Herpes he or she can still spread it to other cats. There are several vaccinations that are popular to help prevent cats from contracting Feline Herpes. If you suspect your cat has Feline Herpes or if you wish to discuss vaccinations for your cat contact your vet.

  1. Cancer

While more uncommon, drooling can be a sign of cancer in your cat. Most commonly, if your cat is drooling due to cancer it is being affected by Gingiva Squamous Cell Carcinoma, also referred to as just Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). SCC usually develops either in the eyes, mouth, or ears in cats. When present in the mouth SCC can lead to the formation of tumors which can cause your cat to drool, refrain from eating, drop food from its mouth, or be unable to close its mouth.

Typically seen in older cats of ages 10 and up, cases of SCC have been reported in cats as young as three years old. As of now, there is no direct cause for SCC. Most cases of SCC are treated through surgical intervention or radiation treatment. If you suspect that your cat is suffering from SCC contact your vet immediately.

  1. Dental Disease

Did you know that approximately 68% of cats over three years of age have some degree of dental disease? The two most common culprits in the feline dental disease realm are Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis. We can not understate the importance of proper dental care for your cat; you wouldn’t let your child go years without brushing its teeth so why would you let your cat?

Gingivitis: You’ve probably heard of Gingivitis, it’s the thing that your dentist says will happen to your teeth if your don’t brush and floss; but did you know that your cat can get it too? Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that starts at the back of your cat’s mouth and moves forward. If your cat is drooling it may be due to Gingivitis, and it may be time for some teeth and gum cleaning.

Periodontal Disease: If Gingivitis is left unchecked it can lead to Periodontal Disease. Periodontal Disease is the next progression in Gingivitis and can result in the destruction of the bones and ligaments that support the teeth. This process can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss. Periodontal Disease has the ability to spread down into your cat’s tooth socket to cause severe problems. If you cat’s Gingivitis has progressed to the Periodontal Disease stage veterinarian intervention is vital.

Why Do Cats Like People Who Don’t Like Them?

Have you ever gone to a cat lover's house with a friend that couldn't care less about cats (or even outright dislikes them), only to see that the cat goes over to them and NOT you? Why DO cats like people who don't like them?

How annoying is that? After all, you're the one admiring the cat and looking to heap praise (and treats) upon her. YOU sincerely want to see and pet the cat, but it's the friend that gets the cat's attention. What do you and the non-cat person do differently when you go into that cat's home that makes the cat prefer them to you?

Here's the difference: the "crazy cat person" immediately looks at the cat and admires her unique beauty. While admiring the cat, they may even go over to the kitty and kneel down to pet her. That's usually when the kitty avoids you and goes toward the other person.

What does the non-cat person do? More often than not, they totally ignore the cat. They make no eye contact and they don't try to approach the cat at all.

Why Do Cats Like People Who Don't Like Them?

Most cats just love attention, so what gives? Why does this happen? If you think about things from the cat's perspective, this behavior actually makes a lot of sense. Direct eye contact is considered a sign of dominance and even aggression among cats, so your advances and eye contact can be considered threatening. The cat avoids this intimidating creature (you), and who does the kitty go to? The "safe" person that isn't making eye contact or challenging them. The cat doesn't feel threatened and, being the independent creatures they are, can make contact on their own terms.

If you hate it when this happens and want to make a good impression the next time you're visiting a cat, try this way to make eye contact with cats that is not considered threatening: once you briefly make eye contact, proceed with a nice slow blink. This is considered a non-threatening and even friendly behavior among cats that signifies a calm and trusting state. Some cat will even "blink" back to let you know that they are relaxed as well. Hang back a little and let the kitty choose to interact with you; you'll have their permission to admire you in no time.


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Selecting the Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat

Cats, especially indoor cats, need stimulation and recreation to maintain their good mental health. This is often referred to as “environmental enrichment for cats.” 

So, what does that mean exactly? It means that for some cats to be “happy” and to minimize behavioral problems of indoor cats or multi-cat environments, it is important that your cat have plenty of toys, places to hide, perch, sleep, places or things to “scratch”, things to “watch”, and opportunities to play. It is also important that cats have a place that they perceive as safe to eat, drink and eliminate.

This can be accomplished by providing an environment with cat trees, perches, bags, beds, toys, and trusted spots to sleep, eat and use the litter box.

The Keys to Environmental Enrichment for Cats

Refuge

Small refuges where cats feel save can be as simple as paper bags or cardboard boxes. Places to hide may be a favorite box under the bed, a pet taxi or carrier behind a chair, or on a towel on top of a dresser. Cats tend to prefer to be high were they can constantly assess their environment. They prefer to sleep and rest in areas where they feel safe and are comfortable.

In households with other cats or dogs, it is important that they cats be able to get away from the dog if they want to. This is especially true for litter box and food placement. They should be able to eat and eliminate without being bothered by dogs or other cats.

Cat Furniture or Perches

Some authorities estimate that cats need about 500 square feet per cat to minimize behavioral problems. One way to help make a cat’s environment richer, bigger, and safer is to give them some extra vertical places. Perches are simply a high area with a view or vantage point.

Cats love to climb and high places make them feel secure. From a high spot, cats can watch their environment and identify both prey and predator. Although your cat may be indoors only and out of reach of prey or predator, cats don’t loose this instinct. Cats feel most vulnerable when they sleep and generally prefer higher areas, such as a cat tree or perch, for their naps. Multiple perches or cat trees are ideal as some cats prefer to watch their environment from different vantage points. This is especially important in multi-cat households as more than one cat can “perch” at a time. Windowsill perches are also good and are discussed under “Visual Stimulation”.

Cat trees and perches come in a variety of sizes, styles and colors. The most common cat tree is made of carpet and some form of pegs to hold the horizontal surfaces. They can vary from a couple feet tall to 10 to 12 feet tall with lots of branches and spots to sleep, play, or rest. They can be combined with beds, attached dangling toys, and scratching posts. Perches can be in or on a cat tree, on a piece of furniture such as a dresser or bed, or on a table.

Scratching Stimulation

It is important to have places in your home where your cat is welcome to scratch. This is especially important in with claws, however, just because a cat does not have their claws, does not mean they don’t have the instinct to “scratch”. Scratching is a natural instinct for cats to sharpen their claws, stretch, shed old nails, and leave their scent.

Consider what substrates or locations your cat likes to scratch? Does he or she stretch out when they scratch? Does he scratch on furniture legs, the backs of fabric chairs or…along the carpeted floor. This information can help you determine which substrate your might prefer such as cardboard, fabric, carpet or wood and the surface type such as vertical areas or horizontal surfaces. If your cat stretches out when they scratch, make sure you choose a scratching surface that is tall enough to accommodate your cat.

Most scratching posts are made out of tree material, cardboard, rope, or fabric which can all work well. If you don’t know what your cat prefers, you may want to try a couple types to ensure your cat has a favorite. A good combination is a cardboard horizontal scratcher and a vertical carpeted post. Multi-cat households should have several scratching spots. Make sure the post is secure and can not be moved or knocked over either hurting or scaring your cat. Because scent marking is a part of scratching, cats often like to scratch in common places in the house where you or other cats spend time. This may include doorways, bedrooms, kitchens or living rooms and in areas where they spend their times, such as near favorite sleeping and eating areas.