When we first adopt a cat or kitten, its a joyous occasion (well, usually!) and we work hard to help her adjust to all that her new home brings with it.
Just how old do you think my cat is in human years? This is a question that is asked by people on a regular basis. People love to anthropomorphize pets, attributing human characteristics to them. And most of us want to extend our animal friends healthy lives for as long as possible. Fortunately, researchers have spent some time in the analysis of this age-old question.
Theres an abundance of kittens right now. Go visit the local shelter and have a look. Or peruse Craigslist or other Internet sites and see how many unwanted litters are out there.
We already know that owning a pet is good for our health. Purring especially continues to fascinate experts and cat lovers alike, and it further adds to the mystique of cats and their healing powers. And now, theres an opportunity to listen to a virtual kitty even when you dont have your own cat kneading away in your lap.
Over the years, Ive volunteered at a number of animal shelters. Sure, the locations and people varied, as did the type of facility. But the one thing that was consistent - and consistently upset me the most - was the presence of cats relinquished because their elderly owners needed to move into a long-term care facility of some sort.
When I was a little girl, my dad brought me to a local animal shelter to adopt a kitten. The shelter worker reached into a cage full of kittens - how delightful! - and pulled out an especially tiny white kitten, who was literally lost in the crowd of furry playfulness.
Most mornings, I like to start out at my computer to catch up on emails, read some news (thats a bad idea, many days), enjoy my cup of coffee and plan the rest of my day.
Many readers of Catnip followed my chronicle last winter of raising a litter of six newborn kittens (with a lot of help from their young mama, thank goodness!). All seven moved into their new homes by Christmas time, with the kittens at the ideal age of three months old.
It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of American cats may be overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. This excess weight can lead to a variety of health conditions that are reversible with weight loss.
When you adopted your cat (or cats), did you have the opportunity to select her based on her age, personality or temperament? Over the years, I did choose a few adult cats from a shelter environment - and had the opportunity to make a choice of, say, a cuddly, interactive cat over a more fearful one.
Following the winter holidays and the New Year, theres that inevitable lull during the several months we wait for Spring to unfurl its green splendor. Thats a time I like to reflect on the many blessings I have in my life, including the affectionate, funny and loving cats that I live with.
This months Short Takes makes me particularly happy, and I really hope it sparks a trend in the animal welfare community. Researchers at the University of Georgia are matching senior citizens who live alone with shelter cats - to see if the relationship is helpful at making the person feel less lonely and with more purpose.