Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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The first Let’s Talk About Your Cat of 2017 is sure to help get your new year started off on the right paw. It features one of Purr and Roar’s followers, and fellow blogger’s, cats from San Diego, California. Thanks to Lisa for sharing the story and photo’s of her beautiful cats Dimitri and Milo!

Dimitri is a 4 years old, classic tabby and white Norwegian Forest Cat and, Milo is a 4 years old, black and white Norwegian Forest Cat.

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Dimitri (left) and Milo (right) hanging out on the kitchen counter

Describe your cats personalities

Milo is Dimitri’s “brother from another mother”—literally! They have two different moms, born 3 months apart, but they have the same father. Milo looks just like their dad. Norwegian Forest Cats are a naturally large breed, and Dimitri is a perfect example of this at 15 pounds.

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Milo (top) with his paw on Dimitri (bottom)

Milo is a little more petite and dainty at 12 pounds. My husband and I forget how big they appear to people (especially Dimitri) because we are so used to their size after living with them for 4 years. The other day at the vet the parents of a little Shih Tzu couldn’t believe the size of Dimitri…he was way bigger than their dog! We’ve also noticed that “regular” cats seem very small to us now. I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to all that fur…especially when they “molt” their winter coats in the spring!

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Dimitri in full winter coat

In addition to their size differences, they definitely have different personalities. Both are very sweet and gentle, but while Dimitri is more independent, Milo is very people-oriented. Dimitri is content to go off and sleep in a quiet spot for hours. He always wakes up in a happy mood and comes looking for rubs and pets. He carries his fluffy tail high like a plume when he walks around. He also likes to sleep flat on his back and curl his paws. All that fluffy white belly fur is pretty irresistible, but he’s likely to flip over and go “brrr” if you try to pet it.

While Dimitri is a cat’s cat, Milo is more like a puppy. He’s very vocal and affectionate…if you talk to him he’s likely to talk back, and if you pet him he’ll start purring. He loves getting pets while he eats his food, and jumping onto laps for a cuddle session…whether it’s a good time for us or not. He’s not shy around strangers, and many workmen who have come to the house have been totally charmed by Milo. He will follow them around, lie on their stuff, and just generally make a cat person out of everyone he meets.

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Milo relaxing in his chair

We live in a warm climate and have a sun room at the back of our house (renamed “the cat room”) where we put their cat trees and a toy basket. They love to sit in the tops of their trees and enjoy the breeze from all the windows. Our back yard is home to lots of little lizards and we’ve planted flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so they keep busy watching the wildlife all year-round. San Diego is not exactly Norway, but they seem to enjoy the Southern California lifestyle!

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Dimitri (top) and Milo (bottom) checking out the view from the “cat room”

How did your cats come into your life?

All of my previous cats have been rescues, but Norwegian Forest Cats have been my “dream cat” ever since I first learned about them many years ago. I was fascinated by their story…an old, natural breed literally from the forests of Norway. They were always somewhat rare and in danger of vanishing due to interbreeding with domestic short hairs in their surroundings. Cat lovers in Norway began making a concerted effort to save the breed from disappearing, beginning in the 1970s. They’ve been around for centuries (they’re said to have traveled the world with the Vikings on their boats…maybe even to North America, becoming the Maine Coon) but have been an officially recognized breed for only a relatively short time.

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Dimitri as a kitten

It’s very hard to find a rescued Norwegian. They’re rare to begin with and many breeders ask that owners return the cats to them if they can no longer care for them. As much as I admired them, I never thought I’d ever actually have one. After my last rescue kitty passed away, I began looking into the feasibility of getting one…or as it turned out, two. Careful research led me to a highly regarded breeder who was just as discriminating as I was. We flew cross-country so she could meet us and—just as importantly—we could see her home and meet her cats. Then we got on the kitten waiting list. Then we flew cross-country again two more times to pick up each kitten in person (many reputable breeders won’t ship). Getting our boys was definitely a labor of love. It pays to do your research, be patient, and yes, spend a bit of money to work with someone you’re comfortable with and get the cats you want. You kind of have to be a little obsessed to go this route, and while it’s not for everyone, the stars really did align for us.

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Milo as a kitten, with Hello Kitty

What is your first memory or experience with cats?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crazy about cats. I’ve loved them ever since I could remember. When I was around 5, some of the neighborhood kids came around asking if my family would take in a little kitten. They said his mother had been hit by a car and he was by her side when they found him. I begged my parents to keep him but they said no. The kitten ended up at another house down the street and my mom and I saw him in the yard one day, looking even scruffier than before (I think he had some bubble gum and grease stuck in his fur). He looked pathetic enough for my mother to change her mind and agree to take him in. He was our only family pet and my close companion all through my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. I’d do my homework on my bedroom floor and he’d always sit on my books and papers…or if I was lying on my stomach, perch on my back. He passed away not long after I graduated from college, as if his death marked both an ending and a beginning.

Anything else people should know? 

I proudly admit to being a cat person, and those “I like cats more than people” t-shirts were definitely made for me! Talk about stereotypes, I was even an academic librarian for many years before switching to freelance writing. Cozying up with a good book and a cat or two is my idea of heaven.  I do love all animals though, and have been known to act like an excited kid when I see a cute dog out for a walk or pass by the hamsters at the local pet store. I’ve volunteered for several animal welfare organizations over the years, some that worked with all animals and some that were specific to cats.

Cat rescue work is important but I’ve taken a bit of a break from it as I have to admit I find it emotionally draining sometimes. I used to work at a small cat shelter and found myself getting a little too upset at some of the things I saw, mostly related to what people are capable of doing to innocent animals.

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Dimitri looking handsome

A move from Colorado to California two years ago offered the opportunity for a fresh start. I heard about a local non-profit called the Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) which provides financial assistance to pet owners who are unable to pay for all or part of their animal’s emergency or critical veterinary care. Urinary blockages are among the most common feline health problems that FACE helps people with. I’ve been writing the FACE Foundation blog on a volunteer basis for a couple of years now…just a small way of contributing to such a worthy cause.

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One of Lisa’s favorite pictures of Milo

Having faced an expensive kitty health crisis or two in my own life—including the dreaded urinary blockage—I can certainly appreciate how overwhelming costly veterinary bills can be while you are in the middle of making very important decisions about your pet’s medical care.

If you would like to have your cat/s featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, feel free to contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com

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Cats In Trouble

Fun, catchy and educational, Cats in Trouble is a music video brought to you by N2 Cat Crew and some famous internet cats in support of The Paw Project – an important initiative to educate people on the painful and detrimental effects of declawing.

Declawing is banned in 38 countries but still legal in many places in the U.S. and Canada. While many individual veterinarians and clinics are opting to no longer offer this surgery there are lots that still do so please educate yourself and others, support bills and bans on declawing where you live and be sure to visit share this video! For more visit The Paw Project and for those in Canada you can also follow AdoptMe Canada a group dedicated to helping ban declawing.

Left or Right?

Here is a fun experiment that you can do at home which will determine whether your cat is left or right handed…or pawed. Just like humans cats tend to favor either the right or the left and, the more complex a task the more prevalent the favored paw becomes.

To perform this at home you will need treats, a glass and a willing cat. Maru and his sister Hana demonstrate in their video how to carry out the experiment.

In case you were wondering a genuine, controlled experiment by real scientists was carried out and they found that out of 42 cats studied preference was linked to gender “females had a greater preference for using their right paw; males were more inclined to adopt their left paw.” Some cats were even shown to be ambidextrous, switching from paw to paw, when the task was repeated over a few times. Besides the treat jar test they had the cats reach for a toy suspended overhead as well as moving along the ground.

Do try this at  home I tried this with Spinner, see video below, who used his right paw on all attempts, after he tried to stick his head in the glass. He clearly favors his right not even attempting to lift his left which is not quit in line with the study. However, I am not sure if right pawed male cats are more prevalent outside of the original study group or, that it has something specifically to do with the fact that Spinners has Vestibular Syndrome.

If you try this at home please leave a comment below letting me know the gender of your cat and outcome of the test.

New Ride

Cassidy the two-legged miracle cat has come a long way since being rescued last year by TinyKittens, a non-profit rescue located in Fort Langley, BC. He continues to get around in his custom-built wheelchair while receiving daily physical therapy in hopes that it will help make him a candidate for prosthetic legs one day. Recently Cassidy has changed it up by  enjoying a new ride, one that has become a favorite with internet cats and viewers.

Most kittens aren’t as lucky as Cassidy, which is why it is so important to help your friends, neighbors and co-workers understand how important it is to spay and neuter. Only 1 in 12 kittens born ever finds a home, and only 25% of kittens born to unowned cats will survive longer than 6 months. The rest will die from starvation, disease, predators or cruelty. Here’s more about our work with feral cats, and some of the shocking things we’re learning.” – TinyKittens.com/ferals

TinyKittens is doing amazing work to help cats including fostering, education, TNR, research, and Feral Cat Mapping. They are always looking for volunteers, foster parents or donations to help them continue to help cats like Cassidy. If you aren’t in a position to volunteer or donate you can be a voice for cats everywhere by simply sharing his story.

Important Cat Jobs

This is why your cat sleeps so much. They are busy, very busy.

Out of The Mouths of Cats

Comic relief because I needed this and…you do to. Out of the mouths of cats your Monday dose of ridiculousness. Meow.

Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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Let’s Talk About Your Cat is back and features two ‘little Lions’ from Toronto. Thanks to Kay for sharing her story and beautiful photos!

Q What are your cats/names/age/color/breed

K The last name of the boys is ‘Singh’ which is derived from the Sanskrit for “Lion”. It’s widely used in various parts of India and for my particular family ancestry it’s the last name given to males in the Sikh religion.

Sahib-Puppy Singh, or Sahib, is a 6-year-old domestic short hair. He is all black with some white spots and green eyes.

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Sahib-Puppy Singh means ‘Sir Puppy Lion’

Niku-Monster Singh, or Niku is a 4-year-old domestic short hair. He is also black with some white spots and yellow eyes.

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Niku-Monster Singh means ‘Little Monster Lion’

They are “Two Singhs from Toronto” aka Two Lions from Toronto!

Q Describe your cats personalities

K Sahib is my big boy, a conversationalist, a hide-n-seek player who likes to tell me how his day is going and what he wants and when he wants it. For example when its time for me to open the door and let him roam the building corridor and visit the neighbor or, when he would like dinner to be served. He also has a cuddle schedule whereby around 7:30pm each night he walks out of the bedroom and announces his arrival into the living room and proceeds to sit on my lap positioning himself such that his head is tucked into the crook of my left arm. During daylight savings it takes a few week to adjust his schedule to the new 7:30pm but it does happen. Sahib prefers to eat spider plants over cat grass and patiently waits for me to bring home each new spider plant for my coffee table or shelf decoration and then he requests it for his dietary enjoyment instead of my aesthetic needs.

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Sahib requests about 15 mins of a neck massage while he drools onto my arm. If I stop short of the 15 minutes he lifts his head up and lets me know we aren’t done with a short chirp.

K Niku is a funny little guy with a funny way of doing just about everything. He opens the door of the bedroom closet and hides when someone buzzes my apartment, he bathes his face and front paws in the water dish, he sleeps under blankets and in boxes, he stands up on his hind legs for tricks and treats, he chases reflections of light up and down walls and will go from restful nap to 60 mph in 2 seconds for the right bright light reflection.  Niku must sit inside every gym bag, suitcase, laundry basket, tote bag that enters and leaves my home. Although Niku prefers to not be lifted off the ground or picked up in general, he does like to always be near me and frequently sits next to me and extends one leg so his paw is lightly resting on my leg or shoulder or foot.  When its time for Niku-Monster’s cuddles it’s a fun performance, he comes over to me and puts his face into mine and I scratch his chin and cheeks and around his ears, then he stumbles away from me and goes to his big brother Sahib and gets some brotherly face grooming for a minute or two. Then he staggers back to me for more scratches around his neck and then back to his brother again for more. This goes on for a few minutes until eventually he topples over into a drunken stupor of purring and mouth breathing cuteness.

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Niku the vampire kitty his top canines stick out just a tiny bit and can be seen over his bottom lip when his mouth is fully closed.

Q How did your cats come into your life?

K Sahib was a feral cat from a rescue agency and Niku is from my next door neighbor. I did an enormous about of research before I adopted Sahib to ensure my lifestyle was suitable for a pet and also so I knew how to be prepared.  Everyone around me knew I was researching.  At my office my coworkers and bosses acknowledged my cat adoption alongside other employee family child births and child adoptions which was really fun and nice.

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Cat research!

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Sahib on adoption day

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First day meeting Niku

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

K I grew up on a farm and had a few cats as pets. Because it was farm life I wasn’t able to form much of a bond with them and was always afraid of getting scratched as a child.  Then in primary school I had friends with cats but unfortunately learned only negative superstitious ramblings about black cats. As an adult I learned from a Temple Grandin book that black cats actually tend to have the mildest and friendliest of temperaments among the domestic cat breeds. I cannot remember the exact details except there was some evolutionary theory behind it supported by black cat population patterns and domesticity research.

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Niku left, Sahib Right

Q Anything else people should know? 

K I held a birthday party for my cats one year which turned into the best indulgence for a cat owner. It was heaven for me, I designed all the games, and I used prizes and treats for the humans to keep them interested!

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Birthday celebrations an afternoon of cat talk, cat trivia and a cat slide show.

K Adopting cats and living with animals increased my already sensitive nature to a new level. I had to use more intuition and grow a sense of ‘felt knowing’ with my two cats to understand their needs and requests. I learned, adjusted and became even more aware of non verbal temperament and tonality not only in them, but also in the others around me. It’s hard to explain, some will understand this and others might laugh at it, but this is what happened and as a result I think much more deeply about the effects of my actions and behaviors because I’ve seen how little it takes to impact others in my environment.

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Sahib Top, Niku Bottom

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Sahib left, Niku right

Sahib the conversationalist, has a short discussion with mom 

If you would like to have your cat featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com