Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Simba wants to thank everyone for all their great gifts from Amazon. If you would like to send
something you can use the link :Amazon Wish List

Thank you Amanada Green for the food and toys!
Thank you Shannon Wallis for the collar and gift card!
Thank you to several unnamed people for all the food!

Thank you to the unnamed people for the crystal litter, Peroxide, and kleenex!
Thank you nancy Damrow for the food and laundry soap!
Thank you Amanda Green for the food!
Thank you to the several unnamed people for all the food!

Thank you Linda Carden for all the coffee, sugar and creamer!
Thank you Beverly Colini for the foods and litter!
Thank you Ngayan Latham for all the litter and paper towels!
Thank you unnamed for all the bleach!
Thank you for all the toilet paper!

Thank you Davis family for the medical supplies!!
Thank yoU Laura Maguire for all the food and laundry soap!
Thank you Suzanne Coholic for the food!

Thank you Heidi Lepisto for all the dryer sheets!
Thank you Nancy Ward for the acid reducer!
Thank you Hummingbyrd37 for all the food, litter and gift card!!
Thank you Christing Gangley for the gloves!

Thank you Linda Carden for the bird seed!
Thank you unnamed for all the laundry soap!
Thank you Roger and Kirsten Chang for the litter, food and acid controller!
Thank you Sandra Shaffer for the bleach, bleach cleanup, kleenex, purex and cat litter!

Gallie says thank you so much for all your support. 
Please remember to do your daily click here:

Also please don't forget to sign up for our newsletter
and updates from our blog which you can do right here on the blog.
Also please share with your friends. We spare
no expense in helping these kitties so every
click, share, like, all the paw points for Fresh Step cat litter
 all the food you send helps us take the best care that we can for them.
Without your help we could not do it. We can never say enough
 how much you all mean to us and the kitties here at BCR. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What to do when your new kitty comes home with you

This is the 2nd part of our series in Adopting a kitten or even a older cat. 

Please remember that BCR is a lifetime Sanctuary and we do not adopt out our babies. Once they come to us they are here for life.  The pictures I am using are from the internet because we do not have any kittens at the moment here at BCR.

Mandy Cooper

Bringing your new kitten home, Kitten proofing, vaccines and Introducing them to another cat or children

Helping your kitten settle in

Experiencing a brand new home is very scary for a new kitten. Every kitten is different where some are shy and others are more confident. Whatever their character, it's important to bear in mind that your kitten is leaving their mother and siblings for the first time. With this in mind, it's best to choose a room where your kitten can be kept for the first few weeks to be able to adjust gradually to their new surroundings. This also aids toilet training and avoids the risk of accidents elsewhere in the house. There are some helpful things to bear in mind when bringing your new baby home, for example:

       Avoid a room with full length curtains because a kitten will run up them and perch at the top.
       Check the room for potential hazards such as fireplaces or poisonous plants and make it as safe as possible. Kittens can get into very small spaces.
       Make sure any hazardous substances are out of harms way and cupboards where they are kept should not be accessible to a curious kitten.
       Remove all breakable objects from shelves and windowsills and secure all cupboard doors.
       Keep windows securely fastened.
       Position the litter tray in a discreet corner of the room out of reach from the food and water bowls.
       Place a cardboard box on its side with a thick blanket inside so the kitten has somewhere to hide if it feels shy or insecure.
       Position a padded, washable cat bed in a quiet area away from the food, water and litter tray areas. Line with a padded fleece blanket.
       Place a kitten scratching post nearby (replace with taller ones as they get older)
       Have a couple of toys ready for play time but don't leave any toys out with string attached. Only use these with supervision as kittens can be easily harmed.

You might want to purchase, borrow or hire a kitten pen. They are quite secure and have plenty of room for a bed, food, toys, water and litter tray. These can be very useful if you want to keep your kitten feeling safe when introducing them to other rooms when they start to settle in. It also gives you somewhere to put the kitten safely at night or when you aren't around to watch them. This is not for just leaving your kitten in it like a cage. This is only for them so they can get used to their new environment. There are many styles and sizes and ones you can put outside if you have a backyard and what to have a type of cat enclosure so your cat can go outside with you but not be loose. They usually are wire with no bottom so you cat can feel the grass beneath its feet. 

Basically it is like baby proofing your house when your child starts to crawl around. Also you will want to buy those wire covers because baby animals will chew on all power cords which could be very hazardous.  There are many sizes, and shapes depending on what you need and where. 

The first few days

It is advisable to bring the kitten home with some bedding. This will act as a familiar object when everything is new. The initial 24 hours should be a calm period of adjustment so it's probably best for any children in the house to understand that the kitten should be left alone for a while. The kitten room should be prepared in advance to enable the new kitten to settle in comfortably with very little disturbance. Place the cat basket on the floor gently and open the lid. Allow the kitten to explore in its own time. Your kitten will want to experience the room's sights, sounds, smells and textures for a the first time so be patient and allow time for investigation.
Offer food, water and a freshly prepared litter tray to the kitten within the room or the pen should you decide to get one. It's safe to leave the room for a while.

It's also fairly common for new kittens to show little interest in food at this stage. The blanket with a familiar smell can be placed inside a cardboard box or cat bed to help your kitten feel safer. It may be helpful to use the same litter that the kitten has been used to during the initial period making any changes gradually once your kitten is completely settled. Kittens need their sleep when they are young but in-between naps, they show massive bursts of energy. Kittens love to climb so be prepared to go to the rescue. Getting to know the kitten is really important to enable a bond to be created so interaction should take place during times when your kitten feels naturally active and appears responsive.

No matter how cute a kitten is, they should never be woken for affection or playtime. If your kitten seems receptive by all means, play with them but don't push it if the kitten seems disinterested or anxious. It's a lot to take in for a new kitten. Don't coax your kitten out of their hiding place. Spend time in the room reading or listening to music with headphones for example, instead of forcing the relationship to develop. If you want to appeal to your new kitten, spend time on the floor at their level and allow family members and friends to visit individually rather than crowding the kitten all at once.

During the first couple of days, any handling should ideally take place when the kitten initiates it. After the first 48 hours, handle the kitten throughout the day for short periods of time rather than providing continuous physical contact. If you have young children, allow them limited, supervised contact initially to avoid the kitten being handled too much. At this age, the kitten needs plenty of rest so always allow the kitten to sleep uninterrupted. The kitten also has a tiny tummy so offering 4-6 small meals at regular intervals throughout the day will avoid any potential tummy upsets. It's important from day 1 to set the routines that you intend to establish in the future.

Cats are naturally active at dawn and dusk but your kitten will soon adjust it's sleeping patterns to fit in with you. Try to avoid keeping the kitten too close to you at night to avoid continuous play and excitement and no sleep for you. There is nothing wrong with putting a kitten to bed in a cosy, warm and secure environment (such as a kitten pen) until you wake up in the morning but the location and type of bed is important to ensure a stress free night. Any bed provided for a kitten should have high sides to keep out drafts and a low front for easy access. 

The lining material should be thick and thermal to keep the kitten warm. When you first take a kitten home, feed them the same food they have been used to. A sudden change in diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause tummy upsets and diarrhoea. Change the diet gradually by mixing it with the kitten's usual food if you want to change it. Kittens should be fed little and often, like babies. Feed the kitten a special food formulated for kittens. Read and follow the feeding instructions carefully. If a food is marked “complete” it contains everything the kitten needs to stay healthy. If a food is marked “complementary” it does not supply all the kitten needs and should be fed with other food.
We have an excellent article about cat food here:

Kittens aged 8-12 weeks need 4 meals a day, 3-6 months need 3 meals a day and kittens over 6 months should get 2 meals. You may want to provide some dry food too if you are away from home or working. Do not give your kitten cow's milk as it can cause diarrhoea. Use a milk that is specially formulated for kittens. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times. Diarrhoea that persists for more than 24 hours requires immediate vet attention. Kittens will usually have learnt to use a litter tray by copying their mother. You may need to show your kitten where the litter tray is and place it on a tray when the kitten wakes from a sleep or after meals or when the kitten is sniffing or looks as if they are about to go. Make sure the litter tray is nowhere near the food or water bowls.

Place the kitten on the litter tray a short time after they have eaten and generally showing signs of looking for a suitable corner to use. There are may different types of litter boxes, open and closed, big and small. Whatever works best for your space. Its recommended that you have one litter box for each kitten and or cat you have in your home. 

It is important that your kitten can be identified should they become lost or injured away from home. 
Microchipping is the best form of permanent identification and some people like their cat to wear a collar as well. Never put a collar on a cat without having a good reason because some do not like them. Remember to change the collar fit as your cat grows. Also use break away collars just in case they would get caught on something. Kittens are very playful. Give them an assortment of toys to keep them occupied and exercised. Every kitten loves a cardboard box to play in. Play is also a great way for you to get to know and trust each other. Provide a scratching post.

 It is a good idea to get your kitten used to being groomed from an early age particularly if they have a long coat. Grooming removes excess loose hairs which can cause fur balls to build up in the tummy. Grooming also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on your cat and help to develop the bond between you both. Always be gentle and make grooming a rewarding and pleasant experience. A new kitten will need a health check-up shortly after arrival. This will give the vet the opportunity to give any vaccines necessary and advise on flea treatment, worming, neutering, microchip identification and other general care.

Kitten proofing your home

Kitten proofing your home helps ensure your kitten's safely as well as your own. Kittens are lively and curious which can lead to trouble unless you take preventative measures to keep them safe. Remember that a kitten has a lower vantage point than yours (like a baby who has begun to crawl) and may be attracted to things you do not see when standing. Here are a few suggestions to help keep your new baby safe.

       Secure screens on all windows to help prevent falls and keep your kitten off balconies, upper porches and high decks.
       Securely store cleaning supplies, washing powder, bleach, paint and paint thinner, pesticides, fertilizers, disinfectants, moth balls, medication and antifreeze (which is very deadly and very dangerous for cats and kittens because of the sweet taste). Make sure you keep these in tightly closed areas so your kitten cannot gain access. Kittens are clever little creatures and can usually figure out how to open cabinets.
       Remove poisonous house plants or place them in hanging baskets that you are sure are completely out of the kitten's reach.
       Keep toilet lids down. Small kittens may fall in and drown. Bigger kittens or even adult cats may play in the water and the lid could close, injuring or trapping them. Also, toilet bowl cleaners are harmful when swallowed.
       Store plastic bags where your kitten can't get inside them and suffocate or chew and tear them and swallow bits of plastic. If you let your kitten or cat play with any bag, be sure to cut the handles. A kitten can get tangled in the handle of the bag and become frightened. In trying to free themselves, they could be seriously injured.
       Kittens can get tangled in the plastic six pack holders used for packaging beverages. Cut the holders apart to prevent this problem.
       Keep exposed electrical cords as short as possible or tack them against a baseboard so your kitten can't play with them or chew on them. There are also tubular cord covers available at hardware stores to help protect your pets and hide unsightly electrical cords.
       Never give your kitten any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. Drugs dangerous to kittens are aspirin, diet pills, sleeping pills and tranquillisers. Make sure these and any other medications labelled “keep out of reach of children” are kept out of reach of your kitten as well.
       Kittens love to explore and sleep in warm, dark places so keep dresser drawers, trunks and cupboards closed. Check to see where your kitten is before closing the door of the fridge, dishwasher, oven or clothes dryer. Also, before leaving home, always conduct a kitten check to make sure that your kitten has not been accidentally locked in a cupboard or empty room.
       Keep sewing supplies out of your kitten's reach. Buttons, needles, pins and thread can hurt your kitten's mouth or internal organs if swallowed. The same goes for nails, staples, screws, beads and aluminium can tabs.
       Never leave a turned on oven unattended. Also, do not use electric blankets to line your kitten's bed. They could be burned or even electrocuted if they chew on the wires.
       Use only safety collars made specifically for cats on your kitten. They are designed to break if the kitty catches the collar on something. Collars not designed to break can strangle your kitty. Take with your vet about having your pet micro chipped. Even if you are vigilant about keeping your kitten indoors, accidents can happen. A fire, earthquake or a careless visitor could be responsible for your kitten getting outside and lost. If they are micro chipped, they can easily be identified and are far more likely to be returned to their owner.
       To avoid accidents, some cat toys should be used only when you are playing with your kitten. You should not give your kitten balls of string or wool, spools of thread, rubber bands, cellophane, corks or wire twist ties. Also, avoid anything with hard, sharp points that can break off. Be wary of toys that can break (Christmas tree ornaments for example) and be careful not to allow them to play with anything small enough to swallow, like buttons, beads or paper clips.
       Keep them away from children's toys made of soft rubber, fur, wool or sponge. If your kitten swallows a small particle of any of these, it could cause problems with their digestive system. Avoid all toys with squeakers which might be swallowed.
       Keep your kitten inside at all times. Remember the many dangers animals face when outdoors. Make the indoor world interesting with a variety of toys and give them plenty of loving attention.
       Unplug electrical cords when they aren't in use.
       Keep blind cords and curtain cords out of reach. Your kitten could strangle themselves by getting the cord wrapped around their necks.
       Remove tablecloths from tables unless you are about to use them. New kittens jumping up on the table could result in broken china or crystal which could seriously injure your kitten.
       Cover rubbish disposal switches. Special covers are available from hardware stores to avoid disaster.
       Keep the kitten's claws clipped. Untrimmed claws can grow into a kitten's paw pads leading to infection, pain and difficulty walking.

Remember to treat your new kitten as a new baby starting to crawl and getting into things that might be dangerous.

International Cat Care

Our next part will be about vaccinations and how to introduce your kitten to children.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Adopting/Rescuing a kitten

We are doing a series of articles about kittens since it's spring and there are kittens everywhere. Our first articles covers if it's the right time to get a kitten and where to get them from. Adoption is always the way to go.

 In saying this I want to emphasis BCR is a lifetime sanctuary.  We do not do adoptions or foster.  We get our cats from animal shelters, mostly high kill shelters and sometimes from our local vet and occasionally from someone that might have found a FELV or FIV cat and can not keep it. Many of our cats have had more than one home or their owner after several years decided they did not want them anymore and just dumped them. When they come to BCR, Alana promises them a forever home and that is what they get. So again we do not adopt our cats. They live here even when they go to the rainbow bridge. We have a outside memorial garden where they are laid to rest.

The photos I am going to use for this article are actual kittens that came to us at BCR. I am going to post a picture of them when we got them and a picture of what they look like today. In doing so I hope to encourage you to always *Adopt don't shop* even if you are looking for a dog and not a kitten. Call your local animal shelters in your area or look online. Most have online sites now which they update with pictures of their new kittens and cats.
We only take 90 cats. That is all we are have space for and Alana is very adamant about this. This is what NC law says we can have per the size of our 2 buildings.   

Mandy Cooper 
Rescuing will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do but think carefully first. It is a long term commitment, much like a marriage, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. The average life span for a cat is 12-16 years but many reach 20+ years.

Vet bills and cattery fees should be considered. Taking out a good pet insurance plan is also a good idea. It is also a wonderful way to support your local rescue. Adopting a rescue will save their life and give them the much needed TLC to help them overcome any issues. Imagine how great it would feel to know you have given a pet a 2nd chance, a chance of a happy, safe and comfortable life? I personally can't think of anything better.

For some reason, pets that are adopted know that they have been given a 2nd chance and they return that to you in bundles of unconditional love. Any time you adopt, you are saving lives and giving other animals a chance who need rescuing. All they need is your love and patience to adapt and adjust to their new life and once they do, you will see the benefits of your patience and unconditional love. Your cat will be eager to please you and will cherish you always.

Through adoption, you can find the perfect fit and some shelters may offer options to return if your chosen pet doesn't work out and are then rehomed. Everything is in the best interest of the animal. Adoption is very cost effective as they have had all the necessary checks prior to adoption. The adoption fees are nothing in comparison to the price of buying a pet. The adoption fee is also to help other rescued animals so your money is used for a good cause. There is nothing more important for shelters than happy adopters and happy pets. They will go the extra mile to keep you together. Adopting also serves as a great example to kids.

You are teaching your kids about compassion and there is nothing better than the feeling of having saved a life. It could be the last chance these animals have. Not only can you fulfil your new pet's needs but they can fulfil yours as well. It's about encouraging people to adopt so they can have the amazing feeling of seeing the change in their new pets and how they were before and after adoption.

Top 10 reasons to adopt/rescue

• Rehoming centers put the animal's health and welfare first, not money
• Kittens and cats will have already been vet checked
• Rehoming centers take a lot of care to match the right animal to the right home
• A rescue centers will offer you cat care advice and support even after adoption
• If the home doesn't work out, the rehoming center will take the kitty back for rehoming
• Many rehoming centers help with neutering costs if you are on a low income or include it in the         price of the adoption fee

• Kittens will only be homed when they are weaned and old enough
• Rescuing helps ease and not add to cat overpopulation
• You are helping 2 cats by freeing up the rehoming center for another cat in need
• By rescuing, you are giving a home to an animal who really needs it

Adopting in the UK
Adopting in the UK can be a lengthy process but it's necessary to ensure that both kittens and caregivers know all the right things to do to ensure that the bond and relationship between cat and owners is a long and healthy one.

There is a fee to adopt a kitten in the UK but this is so they can get all their checks and their 1st lot of vaccinations as well as the best possible care before and after they are adopted. Most rescues offer free pet insurance for the 1st month until you can get something sorted. The fee also makes sure that the rescue you adopt from can carry on caring for cats and kittens in their care.

There are various shelters, rescue centres and adoption centres to choose the right rescue kitten for you. In the UK, kitten season is from April to November so this is the best time to consider adopting. Most rescues in the UK carry out home visits to make sure your home is suitable for a new kitten. A rescue centre's main priority is the health and well-being of each animal. Kittens from rescue centres are vet checked prior to adoption, de flead and de wormed.

You are also offered advice and support after the adoption to make sure everything is going well. In the UK, the best places to go to for information on adopting, support and advice are the RSPCA, Cat's Protection and the Blue Cross. You can search for local shelters in your area for ways to adopt, foster or help out too so they are very informative.
*Always be sure that you get your new kitten spay or neutered. Female kittens can have kittens at 4 months of age. *  

Rescue and shelter guidelines in the US
You can rescue from a shelter or a rescue such as the Humane Society and local rescues or animal controls near you. Pets adopted from shelters and rescue groups typically cost less than pets purchased. Once you add in the costs of vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, microchip, de wormer and other extras included in the adoption fee, you'll be amazed at what a bargain an adopted pet really is.

Most shelters and rescue groups conduct thorough behavioural checks of each pet to make sure they are the right fit for your family. Shelters and rescue groups can provide advice on making your relationship with your pet the best it can be for the rest of their lives.

A typical process of a humane society adp├ątion includes filling out an adoption questionnaire to find out your family's situation as well as specific questions about the care needs of the pet you are adopting. This is to make sure that you are a match to your chosen pet. You will then speak to an adoption counsellor to find out a little more about you and about care and behavioural training as well as seeing if you and the chosen pet will be happy together. If you are a good match, you are then introduced to the pet and if everything goes well, they will finalise the adoption. Remember that adopting is the perfect way to support your local shelter. Good sources of information include the Humane Society and the ASPCA. I have included links for your reference.

From May to October (or even later), shelters are inundated with unwanted kittens. Find a local shelter through the APSCA's directory or Pet finder. Pet smart and Pet co also support local shelters by sponsoring adoptions through their stores.

There is a unique way that some shelters help their kittens get adopted. They live stream their mums and kittens from birth to the time they are ready for adoption and it's a great way for people to watch them, support their work and fall in love with the kittens. Who wouldn't? You get to know their personalities and quirky ways through the camera and it's a great way of getting to know them before they are ready to go home. 

Sometimes seeing the kittens every day and watching them play and sleep helps raise awareness to the viewer and they can see how that kitten will be around other cats and human interaction. They still go through the same process of adopting and they have everything you need to know on their websites regarding adoption and other useful information. The links to those are just below for your reference.

In the US every state has their own rules regarding how they handle the animals that come into the animal control facilities. Sadly N.C states that any animal that is sick can be put down upon arrival. Many of the kill shelters have volunteers that work hard in trying to place any of the animals that can be treated for their injuries or sickness. That is how BCR got many of their kittens when they first started through volunteers trying to save their lives before they were euthanized. 

Today since we do not adopt we rarely have a spot for a Blind cat and if we do we take a older cat because people do not usually want older cats. Our FELV/FIV rooms however sadly do see more kitties go to the rainbow bridge, because of FELV. This does give us the opportunity to help another kitten/cat for as long as they have.
Again let me stress we do not adopt or foster. We are a lifetime care sanctuary. 

Also once again please make sure you spay or neuter your kitten which can be done as early as 4 months old. We will cover this in a later article.
BRC runs several fundraisers each year to help spay and neuter cats in their area.

I have also included links to other places with informative information from other countries that you may reside in so you know where to go to get help and advice if you wish to adopt.














South Africa




The danger of buying kittens
Some people advertise on the internet with no details of previous history, current medical conditions or the parents background. The details are being falsified. Some cats or kittens that are bought from unreliable dealers are often ill, ignored or poorly socialised. Some other risks include health issues caused by poor welfare, kittens being taken too early from mum to early leading to behavioural problems. Some cats are bred over and over until they can't take anymore and no support is offered following a sale like you would get from a rescue.

You could be buying a kitten from a mill where cats are confined to cramped, dirty cages with no human interaction or the proper care. They are often malnourished and are bred over and over for money. Kittens are taken from their mums too early causing severe behavioural problems.

You could be buying your kitten from a backyard breeder where cats are continually bred to make money and the cats are left emotionally and physically damaged.

You could be buying a kitten with bad health, severe behavioural problems, no socialisation and you may not get what you see.

Monday, April 10, 2017


New kitties are really happy to be here at BCR.
They ask that if you want to send goodies
to them please use the Amazon link below:

Thank you Roger Crawford for the amazon gift card and treats!
Thank you Linda Carden for all the bird seed!
Thank you Suzanne Coholic for the food and treats!
Thank you Doug Hullett for the walmart gift card, food and wipes!!
Thank you Lynn Tapella for the amazon gift card!
Thank you unnamed for the food!

Thank you Suzanne Coholic for the food!
Thank you Heather, John & Stuebs Kitties for the food!
Thank you Christy Vertrees for the gift card and food!
Thank you to the several unnamed people who sent food! There were several with no packing slips!

Thank you Eric Laskowitz for donating cats litter!
Thank you  Christy Vertrees for the food!
Thank you Patricia de La Bretonne for the food!
Thank you Nancy Ward for the litter!
Thank you Rosalyn Green for the amazon gift card!
Thank you to the several unnamed people for the food!

Thank you Linda Carden for all the candy for the humans!
Thank you Dawn for all the food and dryer sheets!
Thank you Melissa Strange for the food!
Thank you Sharon El-Saadi for the food!
Thank you to the several unnamed people for the food!

Thank you Nancy Ward for the cat litter and foods!
Thank you Ruth Groff for the litter, food, laundry soap, dish soap  and magic eraser!
Thank you Debbie Wass for all the food!

Thank you to everyone that sent food and goodies to the kitties. 
Also thank you to Dawn for letting me use her pictures she has been taking. 

Remember to do your daily click here :
Daily Click

Also thank you to everyone that is sending 
in their Fresh Step Paw points.
You have no idea how much that helps us considering
we use about 70 boxes of litter a month.
To send in your Paw Points you can do so here :<

Please check tomorrow as we have another article being
posted from Mandy about Adopting a kitten.
We are doing s series of articles on kitten adoption
since its kitten season.
Please be sure to subscribe to our newsletter which
you can do here, subscribe to our blog, and 
please like and share our posts and tours.
Thank you so much :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cat Behaviors Part II

Mandy Cooper

Understanding fear in cats
Fear is a natural, primal emotion. In the wild, fear serves as a protection that allows an animal to avoid predators or other perceived threats. Older cats can become fearful as they age because their senses aren't as sharp as they used to be. Imagine as you get older and your hearing and eyesight isn't as good as it used to be? You might be easily startled too. When cats experience fear, they will try and reduce the feeling of fear by either fleeing, freezing, fiddling or fighting.
  1. Fleeing is usually a cat's 1st response to fear. Most cats will try to escape from whatever is scaring them.
  2. Freezing is an opportunity for the cat to try to use another response.
  3. Fiddling is when the cat engages in a displacement behavior, a type of self distraction. For example. Instead of running away, your cat my begin to groom. It's a type of self soothing when your cat feels scared.
  4. Fighting is another way of trying to escape. If a cat is unable to leave a scary situation, fighting may be their only option.
The choice to engage in these behaviors depends on the situation. If a senior cat displays or has fearful behavior, this could indicate an underlying medical condition. Contact your vet right away to rule this out. If your cat hasn't got a medical condition, to help them feel less scared would be to adjust the environment and your actions to meet your cat's changing needs.

Comfort your cat. Whatever your cat is sensitive to (causes them to run and hide or hiss) can be helped with desensitization. This is a structured process that gradually exposes a cat to the thing that frightens them but at a much less intense level. Slow desensitizing allows a cat to learn at their own pace that the scary thing isn't so scary.

Tip: Never force your cat to confront their fears. It can be traumatic and make the issue much worse.

A trigger is something your cat sees as a threat. Triggers follow a pattern. If something happens in your cat's environment, it triggers fear in your cat (they may flee or fight). It could be multiple triggers or something the cat sees or smells. To help understand your cat's behavior, you should create history for each episode (like a diary) as this will show a pattern and triggers.
What are your cat's triggers? Is it a person, place, sound, smell, object or situation? Pair the trigger with what your kitty enjoys (a favourite toy or a treat). You can create positive associations with whatever triggers your cat into a fearful response. Cats give subtle signals when they are afraid. The position of a cat's whiskers, tail and ears all give clear indications when they are anxious or afraid. Remember that cats do things on their own time. Cats are no different to us humans when it comes to fearful behaviors.

Understanding hiding in cats
Most cats like to sneak away to quiet corners for nap time however, there may be other reasons for your cat doing this.
  1. Shyness – This could play a part if your newly adopted cat is shy and not yet comfy in their new home. Kitty may have come from an abusive or neglectful situation so it will take time and patience before kitty is able to relax.
  2. Separation Anxiety – This could happen in cats who are very bonded with their owners and feel their absence.
  3. Playtime – Kitty may like to hide and jump out at you or another cat.
  4. Nap time – Hiding while napping is pat of your cats preservation instinct, making it harder to be spotted by predators. You may notice your cat napping more in quiet corners as they get older.
  5. Neglect – A bored or ignored cat may spend time hiding away. If a cat is left to their own devices without play time or cuddle time, you will soon have an aloof cat who shies away from human contact. Daily interaction is essential to your cat's emotional well being and to create a deep and loving bond between owner and cat.
  6. Stalking/hunting – In nature, cats hide to quietly sneak up on their prey as well as to hide from potential predators. You may notice this more with multiple cats and it can be a form of play between them. Cats that spend time outside may use this behavior more as their natural hunting and protection instincts are more engaged.
Should you be worried
If hiding behavior is a usual behaviour and not accompanied by other behaviors, there is no need to worry. Any change in your cat should be investigated if it's new. Some changes to watch out for are:
  1. • Loss of appetite
  2. • Changes in litter box habits
  3. • Aggressive behaviors
Changes in appetite and litter box habits could indicate a medical problem but all 3 of these behaviors could be a sign of fear or stress. Major household changes like moving or adding a new pet can bring on hiding behaviors. Some cats hide away and become scared or they become aggressive. Knowing your cat and natural tendencies, personality and history are the keys to understanding the difference between a cat that hides through fear or a cat that is just getting away for some quiet time.
How do you know if your cat is in pain
Cats are challenging to find out how they really feel because they tend to hide things very well. This comes as a survival strategy.  However, if you know your cat well, chances are, you will know when they are in pain. Signs your cat may be in pain.
  1. • Look for changes in behavior
  2. • Kitty wants to be left alone
  3. • Kitty has a strange new grooming routine (only grooming in 1 place)
  4. • Moving more or less than normal
  5. • Sleeping more and in odd positions
  6. • Appetite has decreased or stopped altogether
  7. • A constant purr for self soothing
  8. • Acting more hostile than normal
    *Always take your cat to the vet if you notice anything different*
Causes of pain in cats
• Acute pain (easy to spot like a broken bone or a bite wound)
• Chronic pain ( this comes on slowly and over time. Chronic pain includes arthritis, some cancers, pancreatitis and some types of trauma. Chronic pain is more subtle but just as real as acute pain)
Always consult your vet if you think your cat is in pain.

To end, I would like to add 5 things your cats would tell you if  they could tell you.
1. You are terrible at being a cat. You are a big clumsy cat who has no idea how to be a cat. I need to take care of you because you clearly can't do it yourself.
2. This meow is for you (meowing is a method of communication that only exists between cats and adults in the cat world. Cats do recognize us as individuals and crafty kitties quickly learn that meowing gets our attention so they use this method to let us know that they want or need something.

3. Just because I'm purring, doesn't mean I'm happy (most people think that a purring cat is a content cat but it can also be a nervous tick or a way to cope with pain or illness. There may be a message your kitty is trying to get across to you.

4. I miss you (cats are often described as independent but they don't like being left alone all the time. Some cats may start howling, soiling and self mutilating when left alone too often and for too long.

5. Our time together will be short (sadly, the average feline lifespan is only 12 – 14 years and even if you're lucky enough to get more time with your cat, it will never feel like enough in the end. Evidence shows that cats form a deep attachment to their owners and tend to be healthier, slimmer and more content when they have lots of quality time with their humans so snuggle up together and cherish each day with your cat.
Make a point of observing your cats behaviour. Often, it is not what it seems.

Again always take your cat to your vet if you suspect anything might be different or wrong. 

Since it is spring and there are going to be alot of kittens coming, our next series is going to be about kittens, if and when its right to get a kitten and what to do when you get one.
Please remember to go to your local shelter or look online at shelters near you as they are going to 
have tons of kittens now. Please adopt a kitten or maybe 2 as they do better together and keep each other company and play together ect. 
Remember Adopt dont Shop! and also be sure to spay or neuter your kitten as a female kitten can actually get pregnant as early as 4 months. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cat Behaviors


Part I

Face Rubbing 

Mandy Cooper

What does it mean when your cat approaches you and rubs their face on your arm, face or leg? It means that kitty likes you and is pleased to see you. Cats have scent glands in their faces so it's like mingling their scent with yours. Faces are the most polite place to rub a cat. Many cats don't like to be rubbed in other places until they get to know you better.

Head Butting
Head butting is an over the top version of face rubbing. A bit like when a friend goes in for a hug instead of a hand shake. Some cats head straight for a snuggle by butting and twisting their heads against you encouraging you to pat and stroke them.

The sudden nip/bite
Some cats manage their excitement quite well. If you reach a point where stimulation is too much for them, they could cut you off with a swat or a bite. Others enjoying the petting can lead to play nipping or “love bites” (gentle and sometimes not so gentle) biting of nearby hands and fingers. This is likely a response that comes with hunting and playing.

Tail Twitching
The switch from interest to annoyance can happen quickly. When do you know when to back off from petting? One thing to look out for is a twitching tail. The tail may belong to a cat who appears to be comfy or catnapping. The tail of a relaxed cat might perform a slow, swaying motion but if you see a tail speed up or begin moving in a twitchy way, it's usually and outlet for something getting on the cat's nerves. It may be followed by ears moving to the side and back and sudden exit.

Kneading or (making biscuits)

This behaviour is a leftover from the cat's days of nursing on mum using their paws to manipulate production of milk. It may also be a calming or enjoyable behaviour that makes your cat feel relaxed or sleepy. Lap cats will often knead as they climb up for some attention. It is likely the kitty is scent marking you or their beds, blankets, toys, etc as the cat has scent glands in their paws as well. Some take it to a real art form by pawing, purring and drooling altogether.

This is the most recognized cat behaviour. Kittens begin to purr at 2 days old. Something in the cat's brain triggers the cat's larynx to vibrate. Interestingly, the purr happens both when kitty breathes in and out. Most of us think cats purr when happy or contented but cats also purr at times of fear, stress and pain. It is possible that a cat purrs when scared in an attempt to self soothe themselves.

Staring with their mouths open
Have you ever seen your cat with their mouth partly open looking like they have smelt something bad? They are probably showing what is called a “flehmen response” (drawing in air, captioning the scent and transferring it to a specialized sac located high up in the roof of the mouth and has a large blood supply). This most frequently happens when a cat smells urine. Many male cats show this behaviour when they smell the genitals or urine of a female cat in heat. The expression could also look like the cat is chuckling about something.

Sitting in boxes
Cats of all types are drawn to cosy enclosures. Being in a box helps the cat feel more protected than being out in the open especially when the urge to nap comes along. Another reason cats may like boxes is that it catches and reflects body heat which cats love. 

Transforming into a cat loaf
We like to tuck our hands and feet under the covers when we are cold and cats are no different. They tuck their paws, tail and sometimes their noses under the cover of their own bodies. A cat's normal temperature is about 100 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit so the average winter house may not be warm enough comfortably for our cats. Luckily, they can tuck all their bits under them because of their flexible bodies. 

Trying to bury their food
If a cat doesn't like a dish, they may just walk off in protest. Some cats though display an ineffective instinctual behaviour (they try to bury their food). The cat may have been taught to cover the carcass of a dead animal to avoid attracting other predators. Whatever the thought process, something in the smell of the food sets off similar actions to covering their pees and poops in the litter box. In a kitchen or clean environment, there isn't leaves or soil to cover up the food so kitty looks like they are sweeping around the bowl.
Howling at night 
Whether your kitty spends nights in a home or out in the neighbourhood, most cats do some nocturnal hunting and prowling. Cats are usually most active at dusk and dawn. We should keep in mind how a cat's appetite affects their behaviour. Cats hunt and eat quite small prey. One of the challenges to indoor cats is that their sleeping, hunting and eating patterns may be quite different to us humans. If you give in to night time yowling and feed the cat however, they realize their power in waking you and keep doing it. Hide some treats or kibble around the house for cats to find. If you notice sudden changes in a senior cat though, it might be a reflection of cognitive changes going on. Older cats need to go to the vet for more check ups than younger cats.

Why are cats attracted to people that are not 'cat people'
It's all about body language. When a person tries to remain invisible to a cat, they see this as non threatening so might move towards the non cat person to explore further.

Why do cats chatter their teeth
This is usually heard when there is a bird about that a cat is watching but can't get to. This could also be a sign of frustration, excitement or both.

Why do cats roll over and show their tummies 
When a cat greets its human, it makes a display of trust by exposing its belly. When a cat does this to us, it's either a sign of trust and any contact at this time could look threatening or it is a request for a rough and tumble.
(My cat Molly laying over on her belly. She loves her belly rubbed)

Why do cats have sudden bursts of energy
The day in the life of the average cat doesn't include anything dangerous so energy may not get used up. Often without warning, all of a sudden, this energy will burst out and your cat will act out a little fantasy role playing switching between the hunter and the hunted dashing around with a flicking tail and widely dilated pupils. This often occurs at dusk when cats are more active. It can be triggered by a loud noise or a visit to the litter box.

Why do cats dislike riding in the car 
Cats don't like to leave familiar territory. In a car, cats can't predict what might happen. Cats may also be more sensitive to the movement of the car because their sense of balance is very acute and they may not feel in control. The car will also sound and smell very strange. Cats between 2 and 7 weeks of age tend to tolerate it much better.

What does it mean when your cats tail gets bushy looking 
A cat has the ability to fluff up their tail and the fur along its back to stand erect at a right angle to the skin (pilo-erection). This is used together with an arched back and a sideways stance to signal defensive behaviour to other cats. Some cats that experience sudden fright will puff up their tail before investigating the perceived threat a bit further.

Why do cats like to drink water from the faucet
Some cats may find having their water bowl next to their food bowl confusing. Some cats adapt to this setup easily whereas others seek more acceptable sources. Taps, glasses of water, vases and goldfish bowls are all appealing but the best option is to provide their water well away from the food. Some cats prefer running water so pet drinking fountains can be purchased and be more practical than a running tap.

Why do cats hate aerosol spray
When cats are feeling threatened or pushed into a corner or if they are startled, they may hiss. It's an explosion sound to cats so when an animal or person has provoked that response, they can feel the air passing and they hiss. It's understandable that they don't really appreciate the equivalent of a hiss from an aerosol so close to them. They have very sensitive hairs on their body so a spray will set off these touch receptors very suddenly and the cat may not enjoy or understand the sensation. Chemicals in sprays may also smell very strong to the scent sensitive cat.

Why do cats like to eat grass
Eating grass is a normal behaviour in cats. It's thought that it helps to move food or hairballs through the digestive tract (grass eating often results in vomiting). It could also provide them with essential elements in their diet. Indoor cats without access to grass may chew other plants which they would usually ignore and which can be poisonous.
Please read our article here about poisonous plants:
Toxic plants to your cat 
You can buy cat grass and grow it inside for your cat to eat if they do not go outside at your local pet store.

Why do cats like to play with your hair
Cats groom each other in order to bond and show affection. Your cat thinks you are cool if they chew your hair. Unless your cat is obsessive about grooming your head which could indicate stress and they are trying to self soothe, there is nothing to worry about.

Why do cats like to bite your hands
If your cat grabs and bites your hands when all you want to do is pet them or play with them. It can also be satus induced aggression where they want to control the situation while playing.

Why does your cat like to lick you
Mother cats groom their babies and all cats groom themselves. We know that licking is the way that cats care for their coats and even though we don't have fur, cats lick us too. For cats, grooming is a health necessity but it's also a bonding behaviour. When your cat chooses to lick you, they are indicating not only their desire for you to be healthy and clean but they also want a bond with you. Cats licking you is just a cat's way of saying “I love you”

Why do cats trill
Cats can communicate verbally in many ways. They can meow, purr, chatter and trill and chirp. Unsocialized cats might hiss and growl at one another but seldom meow and almost never trill. We can recognize the meaning of hisses and growls but hopefully rarely experience them as they are associated with threat and aggression. Cats are usually seeking something with a meow and purring is generally perceived as contentment. A trill sound is more like a meow and purr and is frequently used by mother cats to communicate with their kittens so they get used to the sound and are able to recognize her. When your cat trills to you, it's a positive sound. She is calling you to her just like she would her kittens. It's a friendly behaviour reserved for close family.
( I have Norwegein Forest Cats and they trill all the time. I did not realize that is what it was called. I just called it mrrping) -Gena 
One of our cats at BCR chirps when he purrs. His name is Mack
Mack chirp purring

International cat care

To be continued. Part 2 to come later this week.