Category: Looking after cats

grey persian kittens

Persian Cats

Charlie ShortTail

About Persian Cats

Persian cats are one of those instantly recognisable cat breeds that command both love and respect.

They are both pretty and beautiful, with long coats and expressive eyes.

The Persian is the most popular pedigreed cat in North America, if not the world.

Persian cats are thick-boned, short and cobby with a short back and legs and short, balanced tails.

They have wide-set, small ears and their big, bold eyes which are usually a stunning, orange colour.

Their wonderful, expressive eyes are also available in blue, green or bi-colour blue and orange, depending on their coat colour.

The Persian cat comes in two types: show and traditional. The show Persian has a round head enhanced with a thick ruff, small ears, a flat nose, big round copper eyes, a broad, short body on short tree-trunk legs, and a thick, flowing plume of a tail.

The traditional Persian, also known as the ‘Doll Face’, does not have the shorter features of the show Persian, and his/ her nose is of a normal length, giving a very sweet expression.

Persian Cats – personality

Persian cats have quiet, chilled-out personalities and sweet, slightly aloof facial expressions.

Persian cats are generally placid cats and very easy to live with.

They are lazy cats and are quite happy chilling out with you. Persian cats make great ‘lap cats’.

Don’t be fooled by the Persian’s docile character though. These gorgeous cats are far more intelligent than they’re often given credit for; they are very good at training and will pick new things up very quickly.

two persian kittens

Persian cat – colours

Although the majority of Persians are solid blue, black or white, the breed is now available in a broad spectrum of colours and patterns, including cream, red, blue-cream, chinchilla, smoke, brown, colour points, tortoiseshells and tabbies.

Persian cats – grooming and bathing

These cats have beautiful coats which need daily grooming; although this should not take up more than about 5-10 minutes each day.

The Persian needs regular baths to stay clean and sweet-smelling.

Introduce your kitten to bathing as soon as you bring him/ her home so that the kitten will hopefully learn to accept baths without drama.

Persian cat with orange eyes

Persian cat- breed history

In 1871 Persians were exhibited at the world’s first all-breed cat show, and in 1887 official standards for longhaired cats were issued by the National Cat Club.

The Persian breed standard has always called for a short face, but early Persians had a much longer face than is seen today.

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offering a grey cat food

A good diet for my cat

Charlie ShortTail

A healthy diet for your cat

What should I feed my cat? How can I give my cat a good diet?

We all want to our best for our cats and kittens, learning a little bit about your cat’s dietary needs will help you keep your loved one healthy and happy.  Read our simple guide about how to give your cat a healthy diet. Cats need a good diet to maintain a healthy body, coat and good dental health. A good diet will help your cat live longer and avoid unnecessary health problems.

Cats need meat for a good diet

Cats are carnivorous, this means they eat meat and have little need for carbohydrates (cereals and vegetables). Hunting cats will eat a variety of prey – mice, voles, birds, rabbits etc. Cats eat the muscles, organs, skin and bones of prey; this is a diet high in protein and fat. Cats need three times more protein than dogs. Cats must not be fed a vegetarian diet.

ginger cat with prey

Cats and cereals

Cats have little need for cereals and vegetables (about 2-3% in a natural diet).

Many dry cat foods contain up to 35-50% starches. Your cat does not have the metabolic adaptation to digest all this carbohydrate and so it is turned into fat. Feeding a lot of dry food may mean your cat is more likely to get overweight. Buy a high quality dried cat food as this will contain less starchy ingredients.

Cats with a history of urinary tract infection may be best fed with wet foods, although some premium dry foods containing cranberry are good.

Cats with diabetes should avoid dry foods that have a high carbohydrate (starchy) content; starches are converted into sugars as part of digestion.

Always get specialist advice if your cat has diabetes.

What should I feed my cat?

Prepared wet cat foods are a reliable way to give your cat a balanced diet, but can cause tooth decay if they contain sugars.

Commercial canned cat food and sachets are higher in protein than dry foods and therefore can be a convenient option; although quality varies a lot between brands.

Varieties with gravy will contain more starchy stuff (and probably more salt and sugar) than the jelly type (jelly is made from the bones and ligaments of animals). Jelly varieties are generally better for your cat’s teeth and dental health.

Canned foods usually contain around 8-10% carbohydrate and so this is nearer to a natural diet; canned foods do though contain a lot of water and so your cat will need to drink less water than on a dried food diet.

Cats eat a variety of prey in the wild, so your cat can quickly get bored with the same flavours of cat food.

Add variety to your cat’s diet with some:

  • Cooked meat (beef, lamb, pork, rabbit, turkey, chicken), be careful to remove all the bones though and cut the meat into small chunks or use minced meat. Cats do not chew!
  • Canned sardines, herring or mackerel make a good, nutritious treat.
  • Lightly scrambled egg is good as a light meal (never give cats raw egg white).

Don’t feed your cat

  • Too much liver – this can upset the bowels.
  • Too much fish – can lead to vitamin B1 deficiency.
  • Too much lean meat – cats need fat too.
  • Raw egg white –it contains avidin which can affect vitamin B absorption.
  • Dog food- it is too low in protein and too high in carbohydrates.
  • Anything salty.

Dry cat food and your cat’s diet

There are some good quality complete dry cats foods on the market which do not contain high levels of carbohydrate; look for products which are grain-free.

High-quality dry foods will be easier to digest than brands containing more starchy material. Dry foods containing a lot of starch can cause bowel problems as cats are not designed to eat grains.

Cranberry extract often added to dry food is good for your cat’s urinary tract health.

Dry food may be less likely to cause tooth decay.

An obese or overwieght cat

An overweight cat has a shorter life expectancy and is more likely to get diabetes. Feeding your cat two large meals a day can encourage obesity so if you can put out small amounts throughout the day.

Cats usually prefer a number of smaller meals, rather than one or two large meals. Research shows that cats prefer many (up to 20) very small meals a day.

Wet foods may better than dried food for heavy cats as they contain a lot of water, although there are specialist dry foods for older and overweight cats.

Lazy cats will need less food than active cats.

Ask your vet for advice; weighing dried food will help with portion size.

Safe human foods for snacks and treats for your cat – all part of a good diet for your cat

Occasional treats are fine:
  1. Hard cheese (in small amounts)
  2. Cooked scrambled egg
  3. Poached fish (bones removed)
  4. Canned tuna (not in brine –salted water)
  5. Cooked broccoli, pumpkin and carrot

Human foods toxic or likely to cause stomach upset in cats

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot, cherry, peach
  • Avocado
  • Cooked bones
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, tea, alcohol
  • Grapes, raisins
  • Mushrooms
  • Salt

Foods to avoid:

Milk can cause tummy upsets as cats are often lactose intolerant, so maybe best avoided. There are special cat milks available which are lactose-free.

Don’t feed too much tuna (excessive amounts of this can lead to ‘yellow fat’ disease).

Food allergies in cats

Some cats may develop an allergy to something in the content of their food.

  • Itchy skin is a common symptom of food allergy or intolerance.
  • A diet free from wheat and added carbohydrates may benefit your cat.

Check the labels on cat food carefully.

If you have any concerns about your cat contact your vet for advice.

Case study

Chaos had itchy skin and was constantly scratching, she was also underweight.  A grain-free diet has improved her skin and coat and she is now a healthy weight.

Charlie’s furriends and Pawtraits – introducing Mz. Chaos

And finally..

Of course, your cat may be guilty of visiting other homes for an extra meal!

Charlie says:

the big meow by Charlie Shorttail

  • Cats like small mouse-sized meals several times a day.
  •  If you have more than one cat each cat should have its own bowl.
  •  Cats like variety so don’t always feed the same foods.
  •  Always leave fresh water out and if you have more than one cat leave several bowls in different locations.

You may also like:

House plants that are toxic to cats

 

 

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Cat Behaviour – understanding your cat

Charlie ShortTail

Understanding your cat’s behaviour

Why does my cat behave like this?

Watch and observe your cat:

Kissy eyes – cats squeeze their eyes shut when they are happy.

kissy eyes

Happy cats will greet you with the tail held high and the tip slightly bent.

happytailsillouette

Cats thrash their tails when they are annoyed or in a bad mood.

A flicking tail indicates that your cat is feeling tension.

An aggressive or nervous cat may pull it’s ears back and show the teeth and claws.

earsback

Cats scratch to release a scent from the pads in their paws.

scratchpaw

Cats brush up against you to release scent.

They have glands around the face and also on the tail area and paws.

Cats purr

Purring for pleasure – a low frequency sound that is made from the cat’s chest, not from the vocal chords.

Whilst cats usually purr when relaxed and happy they can purr when in pain to try and comfort themselves.

shorthair cat sleeping

Loving cats

A cat’s affection has to be earned, but they are loving and once trust is established they are loyal and can make devoted companions.

Cats have helped many children, adults and other animals.

 

Playing with your cat

Playing with your cat will continue to strengthen the bond between you.

cat playing with toy mouse

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charlie shorttail ginger cat meowing

The big meow – hello

Charlie ShortTail

The big meow with Charlie ShortTail

Hi I’m Charlie ShortTail and I have a lot to say.

Welcome to the big meow  – this is where I get the chance to speak. Although Mama would say I never stop!

I talk to my furriends on twitter and sometimes use my banana phone for private cat chats… He He.

Lando my big brofur, is a connoisseur (cat who knows a lot about certain stuff) on banana toys, and in fact cat nip toys in general.

 He likes to give all toys a good product testing, including biting, kicking, slobbering and a general good beating up.

I’m a little more relaxed with my toys and life in general. Sleeping is a speciality mine, I love to nap and chill out in my bed.

I like to write about my adventures and fun times in a bit more detail sometimes ; such as my awful experience with tar.

Charlie and the awful tar episode

 

Cats are amazing, we are cuddly, fun and have so many talents. These are a few of my favourite cat facts:

Us cats can make over 100 sounds and dogs only about 10… Oh dear!

laughing-cat Cats laugh!

I can run faster than Usian Bolt ( but only when I feel like it).

walking-charlie

People who own cats live longer and are less likely to die of a heart attack and stroke.

cat-with-heart

My purrs are healing…

 

There are lots of posts about looking after your cat – diet , fleas, first aid and how to look after us as we get older. Read about the amazing skills and powers we cats have. Test your cat – how clever is your furry friend? Find out about all the different and gorgeous breeds of cat and their personalities too. There is also a ‘why does my cat?’ section with some very interesting questions answered.

I hope you enjoy reading…

Charlie.

Charlie ShortTail
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friendly personality Maine Coon cat

Which cat breed to choose – cat personalities

Charlie ShortTail

Which cat breed to choose based on personality

Which breed of cat will be most suitable for your family and lifestyle?

Lively, active and needing a lot of attention

Abyssinian, Balinese, Burmese, Cornish and Devon Rex, Egyptian Mau, Javanese, Oriental Short and Longhairs, Russian Blue, Siamese, Somali and Tonkinese.

These intelligent cats needs stimulation, company and the opportunity to play and exercise.

abbysinian cat
Abyssinian
rex-cat
Rex
Siamese cat meowing
Oriental

Vocal Cats

Balinese, Japanese Bobtail, Javanese, Oriental Long and Shorthairs, Siamese and Tonkinese.

These cats are opinionated and have plenty to say; they are beautiful and respond well to lots of attention.

siamese
Siamese
hairlesscat
Oriental

Lap cats – friendly and a little less active

American Wirehair, Birman, British Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan,

Persian, Ragdoll, and the Snowshoe.

They love a nice quiet cuddle and do not need constant attention and play.

persian-cat
Cream Persian
birman
Birman

Quiet and watchful cats

American Wirehair, Birman, British Shorthair, Korat, Scottish Fold, Havana Brown.

grey british shorthair cat
British Shorthair
korat cat
Korat

Cats that need a lot of Grooming

Maine Coon (also very friendly), Norwegian Forest cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Longhaired Scottish Fold.

himalayan-persian-1278196_1280
Himalayan Persian
3coonnies
Maine Coon

Choosing a cat

Choose a cat wisely to fit in with your lifestyle and family.

Kittens need a lot of attention and care, so it may be that an older cat is more suitable.

Always take care to get a cat from a registered breeder, cat shelter or from a known and trusted source.

Charlie says “cats make great best friends”.

 

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Wow- 10 more facts about cats

Charlie ShortTail

10 more great facts about cats

1. Cats use their lips and nose to sense temperature.

Their bodies have low sensitivity to temperature which is why your cay may sit so close to a fire it may singe its’ fur.

catsface

2. Cats can see in light so dim that scientific instruments struggle to detect it.

 catincollar

3. Cats sleep for 70% of their lives.

Ginger babies
Ginger babies

4. The world’s largest cat measured 48.5 inches long.

large maine coon cat
Not me, but a Maine coon just like me.

5. Owning a cat can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by a third.

cat-with-heart

6. Female cats are typically right-pawed while male cats are typically left-pawded.

cat-holding-paw-up

7. Cats have a longer-term memory than dogs; especially when they learn by actually doing rather than simply seeing.

Basically, cats have a lower social IQ than dogs, but can solve more difficult cognitive problems when they feel like it.

readingcat

8. Cats have 1,000 times more data storage than an iPad.

 shutterstock_290596190

9. Cats only sweat through their foot pads.

cats paw hi five

10.The Egyptian Mau is the oldest breed of cat.

egyptianmau

Charlie says “are gingers the friendliest type of cat?”

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ginger cat at the vets

First aid for cats and kittens

Charlie ShortTail

Simple first aid for cats and advice on looking after your cat or kitten

First aid kit for cats and kittens

If your cat is injured, then it is best to seek medical attention from your vet.

Phone your vet for immediate advice on whether to take your cat to the vet or treat at home.

Many pet insurers have a free helpline for advice which may also helpful.

Keep your pet warm and in a safe place.

If your pet is unwell always seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.

 What to keep at home – first aid for cats

greywhitecat

Minor injuries in cats

A clean blanket

If you need to give first aid to your cat it can be easier to wrap your cat in a blanket, as no matter how docile and friendly, if hurt the cat may be scared and so be unwilling to cooperate.

Minor cuts and abrasions

Minor cuts and abrasions should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid the risk of infection.

For small cuts, stings and general care you can help your cat by knowing some simple and safe remedies.

Cleaning cuts – saline solution

Use a simple saline (salt solution) – 1 teaspoon of salt to 500ml of water. Cooled boiled water is ideal. This saline solution is as good as any antiseptic cream or lotion.

This solution can also be used to clean your cat’s ears, though you should never poke or push

near the ear canal.

If you use cotton wool dampen it first otherwise it will stick to the wound.

 Re-hydration fluid for a cat

Re-hydration fluid for a cat who has been ill can be made from one litre of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of table salt and 1 tablespoon of glucose powder (available from your pharmacist).

 Tweezers

Tweezers- to remove foreign bodies. These should have rounded points so avoid injuring your cat. Do not attempt to remove ticks with tweezers.

 Surgical spirit

Surgical spirit can be used to remove ticks.

Ticks can look like swollen grains of rice and may be difficult to spot in long fur.

The most common tick to affect cats is the sheep tick. Ticks carry harmful bacteria and a range of diseases. Ticks may be caught from other cats and dogs or from vegetation which is infested with ticks.

Ticks attach themselves by their mouthparts to feed on your cat and so care must be taken to ensure the mouthparts are completely removed otherwise infection can occur.

Never pull a tick out.

Apply surgical spirit to the tick itself by painting it on with a small brush (a child’s paintbrush works well). This should kill the tick and it should fall off within 24 hours. You can alternately take your cat to the vet where the tick can be removed using specialist forceps. If there are many ticks, then you should seek medical care from your vet.

Some flea treatments give protection against ticks. Ask your vet to recommend a reputable product to use on your cat.

tick that attached and feeds off a cat

 

Fleas

Fleas bite your cat to feed on the blood. They secrete saliva to stop the blood clotting.

A nasty flea infestation can cause anaemia, especially in small kittens. Some cats are also allergies to the saliva from the fleas, this is called ‘flea allergic dermatitis’. Regular treatment with a recommended product (ask your vet) can prevent fleas.

Wash your cats bedding on a hot wash. You may also need to treat your carpet or home with a flea spray.

Fleas can become immune to some flea treatments so always check your cat for the evidence of fleas or flea dirt.

flea

Eye injuries

Eye injuries – never try to treat an eye injury yourself always seek help from your vet.

Dirty areas around the eye can be cleaned with saline solution or cooled, boiled water.

Fur balls

Your cats self-grooming can cause an accumulation of fur in a packed ball shape to form in the stomach; the cat may cough or vomit it up. Sometimes fur balls can cause a mild blockage in the cat’s intestine. If your cat has a long coat or has been moulting a lot a teaspoon of liquid paraffin may help to prevent blockages. Always seek advice from your vet.

friendly personality Maine Coon cat

Cats with long coats should be rushed daily to help prevent a build of loose fur and also to stop matting of the fur.

Vomiting

This may be due to a change in diet or bacterial infection. Occasional vomiting is normal, however if it is recurring you should seek medical assistance. Diabetes, liver problems, high worm infestations and blockages are some causes of vomiting.

It may just be down to your cat hunting or savaging food. Ensure your cat has clean water to drink and introduce a light diet as your pet improves.

Small portions of boiled chicken or scrambled egg may be given. If you are worried about your pet or your cat is not drinking do speak to your vet.

It is vital that your cat does not get dehydrated.

Sometimes your cat may eat grass to help an upset stomach and to induce vomiting.

Broken teeth

Broken teeth must always be treated by your vet.

cats mouth open to show the teeth
Open wide!

Cat bites

If your cat has had a fight with another cat and has been bitten these bites often get infected.

two cats jumping and playing together
Just playing…

Clean the area with saline solution. You may need to snip away some fur (remember to dip your scissors, cotton wool in water first to stop them sticking to the fur), after cleaning apply some antiseptic cream to the wound. If it shows signs of infection speak to your vet.

Your cat may need an anti-biotic as cat bites can sometimes be serious  – remember always check and get advice fr0m your vet.

sleepycat

And finally:

Ensure your cat is regularly wormed and treated for fleas.

Keep up vaccinations and have your cat neutered; these cats are less antisocial and also suffer from less disease than full ‘toms’ and ‘queens’.

Charlie says “If your pet is unwell always seek advice from your vet as soon as possible.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ginger cat grooming itself

All you need to know about cat fleas and how to get rid of them

Charlie ShortTail

Cats and Fleas

You can prevent fleas becoming a problem by regularly treating both your cat and your home.

Basic facts about cat fleas:

flea

Fleas have four life stages: egg, lava, pupa and finally biting adult.

Fleas feed on the blood of their host – cats, dog, humans, birds and reptiles.

About 95 per cent of flea eggs and larvae live in the environment; your home – on beds, rugs, carpets and sofas – not on your cat.

The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.

A flea can live more than 100 days without a blood meal.

Female cat fleas can lay 20 to 50 eggs per day, which hatch in 2 to 5 days.

A flea can live up to one year.

Female cat fleas can lay 20 to 50 eggs per day.

The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.

A flea can jump up to 8 inches high, or approximately 150 times its own height.

Under ideal conditions, a cat flea can complete its entire lifecycle in just two weeks.

Cat Fleas and your home

Cat fleas like warm and humid environments, so your nice, warm home is ideal.

Adult fleas spend their entire lives on your cat; eating, living, and mating before the female produces eggs.

The eggs fall off into the environment, where they hatch into larvae.

Has my cat got fleas?

Cat fleas love the warm, moist, safe home that is provided in a cats soft, furry coat.

The main way to tell if fleas are making a meal out of your cat is to take note of whether they are scratching or biting their skin and fur.

If you think that your cat has fleas, check the skin around the base of its tail or under the legs for tiny, moving black dots.

Using a flea comb is the easiest way to check for fleas – comb the fur and wipe the comb on a damp piece of kitchen towel; any reddish marks are from the flea dirt.

Preventing Cat Fleas and Treating Your Home

Stop cat fleas from taking over your home or pet by not giving them a chance in the first place.

In your home and garden you can help prevent a cat flea infestation by regularly cleaning out the areas where your pet rests.

Wash all pet bedding on a hot wash.

Vacuum regularly.

Treat your cat each month with a product recommended by your vet.

Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Cats

Flea allergy dermatitis

Some cats may develop an allergy to flea saliva, which causes severe irritation and itchiness.

Fleas regurgitate digestive juices onto the skin of a bite site while they suck blood from their host, and sometimes cats can have serious allergies to this juice.

This allergy is called fleabite allergic dermatitis and can be developed over the course of a cats lifetime.

Cats that are allergic to flea bites (flea allergy dermatitis) can show excessive grooming and scratching from even just a single bite.

Flea bite hypersensitivity or flea allergic dermatitis causes severe itching.

This condition is called pruritis.

As only one or two flea bites a week can cause pruritis, symptoms will often persist even after some form of flea treatment has been applied to your cat.

Most cat owners will first notice frequent and severe itching and scratching, hair loss, and scabs on their cat’s skin.

Fleas or flea dirt may not be easily visible.

Only a few fleas can cause problems to sensitive cats.

Only ever use products made for cats –dog flea treatment can be highly toxic to cats.

Flea anaemia

Tiny ginger kitten

Fleas feed on blood, so young kittens, frail or older animals can become weak and even die as a result of blood loss. This is called flea anaemia.

Lethargy, disinterest in food, pale gums and low weight are some of the symptoms.

Flea larvae can become infected with tapeworm eggs. If your cat has fleas you should also make sure he/she is treated for worms.

A bad flea infestation can cause a lot of distress but is easily treated:

homeless cat with fleas

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