Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Adoption Series: Should I Adopt A Kitten, Adult, or Senior?

Hello kitty cat friends,

I want to preface this post that it is meant for first-time cat owners and/or people who do not have another cat or dog in their home. I will be writing posts on how to introduce a new cat to your home if you already have another cat or a dog in the future.

The age of cat you adopt is something you should be taken seriously into consideration. Working at the shelter 9 times out of 10 a potential adopter will come in and ask about kittens. Kittens are hands down the most popular choice in age for people looking to adopt, especially people who are new to cat ownership. There is nothing wrong with kittens, but they have their own set of challenges that many people new to cats may not understand or have the patience to deal with. Adult and senior cats make wonderful companions as well and may very well be better suited to a new cat owner than a kitten.
In this post, I will be discussing the benefits and considerations you should take into account when adopting a kitten, adult, or senior cat. What age of a cat you choose for your life or your family will be very dependent on your personal preferences and your lifestyle. I want this to be a guide to help you determine the right fit for you so both you and kitty can live happily together!

Kittens
Most everyone loves kittens. When you get a kitten outside of unforeseen circumstances you know you can have an average of 14-16 yrs with that cat. That's definitely very reassuring for a lot of people who are looking for a pet. They want to know they have many years ahead of them with that cat. Kittens are also fun, energetic, and absolutely adorable. It's hard to resist a tiny cuddly ball of fluff! The cuteness factor is a major draw for potential adopters when it comes to kittens. Kittens also are also going to be the most adaptable as far as comfort going into a home. They will adjust quickly to living in a home and being with people because they're so young and still developing socially and mentally. Most kittens are allowed to be adopted out of shelters once they are at least 2 months, 2lbs, and are able to be spayed or neutered.

That being said, kittens can really be a lot more than you bargained for. Across the board, by cat enthusiasts, experienced cat owners, and cat behaviorists it is really ideal for kittens to be adopted in pairs. Why? Kittens require a lot of attention, play time, and handling when they're young to continue to be properly socialized and for them to be well adjusted. If you adopt a single kitten and you cannot commit the time to play with and handle that kitten multiple times a day every day during its kittenhood and teenage years you're most likely going to end up with a cat a with behavioral problems. Cats don't reach social maturity until they're 2-4 years of age, so the type of interaction and attention they receive from humans and/or a sibling kitten during their early years is very critical to their development. This also means that when you adopt a kitten the temperament they may have at weeks old may not be the temperament they end up securing as they get older. The behavioral problem I hear most about with single cats adopted as kittens is they can turn into a very understimulated cat who turns either your house, you yourself, or both into their personal jungle gym.

The solution to this is to consider adopting two kittens, preferably a sibling from the litter. The kittens will often play with one another and entertain themselves taking a lot of the pressure off of you. That's not to say you don't handle or play with the kittens yourself, but you will not have to devote as much time to the process. Kittens learn a lot of boundaries behaviorally and socially from their mother at first and their siblings second. Kittens often play fight with one another and they will tell each other in their own cat ways what is enough. Without a sibling to play with you often become the punching bag and kittens learning boundaries from other kittens are far more successful than a human trying to teach them!

This all doesn't mean you cannot get a single kitten if you want one, but I would really strongly consider if you have the time and patience you would have to commit to in raising it properly so it's a happy and well-adjusted cat. Also, you should always consider your finances if you want two kittens. They will cost more long term than just one. If either the time commitment or the finance of having two kittens is a deterrent for you there are always adult and senior cats who need homes.

Adults
There are various age charts that will have different age ranges for adults, but I'd consider adult cats to be ages 2-9. The wonderful thing about adopting a cat in this age range is by these ages they will most likely have an established personality and temperament. When you interact with a cat at this age before adopting them you're going to get baseline idea if that cat is laid back, playful, affectionate, independent, or so forth. What qualities in personality you like most is all up to you. Some people love lazy lap cats (me!), some people love high energy playful cats,  and some people even love a sassy cat with some attitude. That's all up to you, but it's a good bet you're going to know what type of cat you're getting if you adopt an adult. Adult cats can have long lives too even a 9-year-old can have a couple years left in them!

The major consideration I find with adult cats is their adjustment level. A lot of adult cats you adopt have either lived in homes before or were strays. This can make adjusting to a new home difficult for them depending on their circumstance. They could have come from an owner who passed away or they could have come from a home that was a hoarding situation and never got a lot of attention. These are two vastly different scenarios that can make it difficult for a cat to adjust to new home and environment. It can take an adult cat weeks to months to feel comfortable and confident in a new home. They may do a lot of hiding at first, so it's great to set up a safe space for them. You will need patience but it is well worth it. These cats want to be loved even if they're not sure how to ask for it and will appreciate your love and respect for them.

Seniors
I'd consider a senior cat 10yrs +. We've even had 16yr old cats up for adoption at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando that go to find homes! Senior cats are definitely the most overlooked cats of any of these age ranges. The longer a cat is at a shelter which usually ends up being our older cats the more likely they are to become stressed, depressed, or stir crazy. These behavioral issues they develop from being in a shelter long term are definitely the most challenging cats I work with. That's a reason in itself to consider a senior cat. They need the homes the most!

A senior cat like an adult cat will also have an established personality and probably even more so. Also, they're probably going to be more interested in lounging around napping than running around your house requiring your undivided attention 24/7 like a kitten or a younger cat. Senior cats just want a nice kitty retirement home where they can find a comfy couch or even better your lap that they can snooze their days away on. Senior cats make excellent cats for someone who wants a lovey dovey lazy lap cat or an older person or couple who are looking for companionship. They will prefer a quieter home with a family or person who can respect their need for peace but will still provide them with affection and love.  Senior cats will be low maintenance when it comes to social and behavioral needs and will be easier to please because they are set in their ways.

The considerations with a senior are similar to an adult cat. They also will probably have an adjustment period coming from another home and from an unknown circumstance. Senior cats are also going to require more veterinary care. This is where a senior cat is more high maintenance. As cats age, they may have more health problems arise that may require more well-visits, medication, and sometimes long-term care for chronic conditions. The obvious kicker with a senior cat is you may only have them for a few years. Every day though I hear a new age of a cat that surprises me. The most recent is 23! I've heard well over a handful of people tell me they have 16-18 year old cats, so even if you adopt a 12-year-old you could still have a few years left in them. Senior cats make wonderful and loving pets and shouldn't be looked over because you're afraid of loss. Loss is a part of life, but the love we share and give is a powerful gift that we can give to a cat.

I hope this gives you some insight into what age of cat you might consider adopting. You really can't go wrong here if you consider your preferences and lifestyle. When I receive my certification I hope to add adoption counseling as one of consultation services I offer. I would love to be able to help match cats to families and individuals based on their preferences and needs (cats and humans alike!). Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions! Stay tuned in the future for posts on how to introduce a new cat to your home with other cats!

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Adoptable Cat Caturday

Happy Caturday 😺!


Here are some of the adoptable cats I got to know better this week at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. I've linked their adoption profiles to their information. I'll be updating this along with the other Adoptable Cat Caturdays as these cats get adopted!


Curly Wurly, F, 4yrs 
*Adopted 5/2017

Fancy, F, 1yr 
*ADOPTED 6/2017


Sweetie, F, 4yrs 
*ADOPTED 6/2017

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Protect The Paw! Don't Declaw!

Hello kitty cat friends 😺,

I want to discuss declawing cats today. I know most of the people reading this blog will be on the same page about declawing. Cat addicts are very impassioned on this topic and have a very strong stance, while a lot of the general public really do not understand it or take it seriously.
 What is declawing?

Declawing is a doctored up friendly name for what is really amputation. This is what many people do not know. There are many people who have concerns about their cats having claws whether it's being scratched themselves or ruining their furniture. They may believe that declawing simply is removing cats nails. Declawing would be the equivalent of humans having the last joint removed in their fingers and toes. It's the same for cats. It's amputating or "de-knuckling" actual fragments of their bone, not just removing nails.

What are the risks and long-term complications of declawing surgery?

In general there are always risks with any surgery with anesthesia, however, declawing surgeries can lead to lameness, bleeding, infection, and nerve/tissue damage in cats paws. Recovery from declawing surgery takes weeks and can be painful and uncomfortable for a cat. Long-term many declawed cats have sensitivity in their paws. This becomes evident in regards to litter box usage. Cats use their claws to dig through litter to help them find a desirable spot to eliminate and then cover up their waste. Declawed cats have sensitivity in their paws and may find digging through litter uncomfortable or even painful. This, in turn, leads to litter box problems which is one of the most common behavioral problems in cats. Declawed cats may eliminate outside the box because of this sensitivity. Litter box issues are one of the major reasons cats are abandoned, relinquished to shelters, or euthanized.

Why is this bad/inhumane?

If amputation and the complications are not enough to convince someone that this procedure is inhumane it's important for people to understand cat behavior. Amputating this portion of cats paws takes away their "catness". Cats are not dogs and cats are not people. Cats are cats. Cats need their claws for a variety of reasons

One of the most well known is for defense reasons. Cats without their claws are incapable of being able to defend themselves, so instead of a scratch, they will resort to a bite. If people are afraid of being scratched by a cat and choose to declaw they're more at risk of being bitten. A cat bite can be very dangerous as they're more likely to become infected than many other animal bites. While scratching has its own risks. I'd much rather be scratched by a cat than bitten.

The defense reason is only one reason that declawing takes away from a cat's "catness". Cats need their claws for other reasons. Cats need to scratch. It's part of being a cat. Scratching is a way cats mark territory, cover up their waste, and relieve stress. This is all part of normal and healthy cat behavior. People run into the problem of cats scratching in undesirable locations, but the scratching itself isn't the problem. It's getting cats to scratch in the appropriate places.

Should I punish my cat for scratching in undesirable locations?

Do no punish your cat. Yelling at your cat, squirting them with water, or swatting your cat are forms of punishment. Cats do not understand punishment. Punishing your cat can cause your cat to become fearful of you and/or lead them toward "owner-absent" behavior. Owner-absent behavior is where your cat may learn not to scratch your sofa when you're home, but when you're gone they'll scratch it. All your teaching your cat with punishment is that YOU are a source of negativity, not the sofa you don't want to scratched!

How do I get my cat not to scratch in undesirable locations?

Next, you need to train your cat away from the undesirable locations. You can use Sticky Paws to put on furniture, foil, or spritz furniture with a citrus scent (cats are not fond of citrus scents). The goal here is for those locations to actually become undesirable to the cat not just undesirable to you. Cats are not going to like the feeling of tape or foil under the paws, so they're going to associate that piece of furniture now as not a nice place to scratch. You see the difference? The cat is associating the furniture with negativity, not you yourself. Cats won't know you put the tape on the furniture πŸ˜‰. These are all humane ways to deter a cat from scratching in undesirable locations.

How do I get my cat to scratch on scratching posts?

Some cats like to scratch vertically (i.e. up and down on furniture) and some cats like to scratch horizontally (i.e. on the floor on carpet). I'd get some vertical scratching posts and some that lay on the floor. There are a variety of materials in scratching posts carpet, cardboard, rope, twine, and etc. Cats will have their preference so get a few to test out. A good way to attract a cat to these posts is to sprinkle some catnip on it or use a catnip spray. If your cat is food motivated you can positively reinforce them using the scratching post by clicker training. When you see your cat scratching on scratch post click and give them a treat. Your cat will soon realize when I scratch here good things happen to me!

I'm still having trouble. What else can I do besides declawing?

Another humane alternative to declawing is using Soft Paws or nail caps for your cat. These are little cat nail shaped vinyl caps that cover your cat's nails. They're comfortable for your cat to wear and will not impede them being able to retract their claws naturally. They do require maintenance and will need to be replaced every 4-6 weeks.

Overall, declawing is inhumane to our feline friends. It takes away part an important part of their natural cat instincts which isn't fair and is cruel to them. Declawing can lead to complications and behavioral problems with cats that are often uncomfortable and painful for them to experience. There are ways to help cats use their claws in a way that is beneficial and healthy for them without our homes being shred to pieces.

It's important to note though, that cats will be cats. If the idea of a cat scratching furniture or even you is an absolute dealbreaker for you I hope you would reconsider a cat as a pet and not resort to declawing one. We're guardians to our feline friends and it's responsibility to care for them that best benefits their well-being, not try to make them into something they're not for our own benefit.

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Adoptable Cat Caturday

Happy Caturday 😺!


Here are some of the adoptable cats I got to know better this week at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. I've linked their adoption profiles to their information. I'll be updating this along with the other Adoptable Cat Caturdays as these cats get adopted!

Cutie, F, 11yrs 
*ADOPTED 6/2017
Cutie

Lucy

Piper, F, 2yrs, FIV+
*ADOPTED 5/20/2017
Piper

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Monday, May 15, 2017

Adoption Series: Why Adoption Isn't Free & Shouldn't Be

Hello kitty cat friends 😺,

I get asked on occasion by potential adopters why there is an adoption fee? At the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, our standard adoption fee for cats is $50 for cats over 6 months old and $100 for cats under 6 months old. On occasion PAGO, offers adoption specials and even free adoptions. The latter, I'm not entirely keen on, but it's usually because our shelter is full and we're low on a space and resources. Thankfully, there is an adoption application and potential adopters must speak with an adoption counselor before they are approved to adopt so there is assurance they're going to a good home.

That being said, in most cases there is an adoption fee, but why? I have 2 main reasons to share with you.

1. Caring for shelter animals and running a shelter are not free! 

It costs a lot to not only run a shelter but to provide medical care for the animals. Here is a diagram PAGO made breaking down the cost of every adoptable cat.
As you can see for every cat that goes through our shelter they receive all of that medical care which is costly. The PAGO adoption fee of $50 or $100 that you pay for a cat or kitten also includes spay/neuter, core vaccinations, microchip, feline leukemia test, FIV test, and a free post-adoption visit. I'd say $100 or $50 is a great deal for all of those preventive measures and medical care you're receiving with that fee! That fee doesn't even cover what it costs for a shelter to care for each cat. That's why shelters rely heavily on donations. Shelters can't exist without donations and in order for there to be safe havens for cats in need, shelters need to exist! Fees and donations are how that happens.

2. Pets are not free!

This is the one that ruffles my feathers when people ask for a free adoption. Pet ownership isn't free.  I always worry when someone wants a cat for free how are they going to in turn provide for the cat? Cats are costly despite what some people say about them being so independent. The bare basic essentials people will say a cat needs are food, water, and a litter box. Yes, but cats need much more than.

Cats need cat toys, cat furniture (cat tree, scratching posts, cat safe spaces and etc), flea preventative, and most importantly veterinary care. Unfortunately, many cat owners don't see these things as priorities except the bare essentials. Your cat needs toys and cat furniture. Cats are hunters and need to have ways to exert their hunter instincts. They do this through play and toys are imperative for cats to have or else you'll end up with a bored, depressed, and under-stimulated cat that may develop behavioral issues. The same goes for cat furniture cats like vertical territory, safe spaces, and scratching posts. Cats like these types of items for enrichment, territorial reasons, stimulation, and for stress relief. Cats need to be cats and they can't be cats without these items!

All cats need regular veterinary care. This will be the most costly of expenses for a cat. An annual check-up dependent on what is required for your cat can easily run $250+. An office visit when your cat is sick can be anywhere from $30-$80, and that may not include medication. An emergency visit, surgery, x-rays, and hospital stay can run you thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. Some of these emergency scenarios you can't fully prepare for, but wellness visits, mild illnesses, and mild injuries you should always account for before you consider adoption. I recommend people have around $1,000 to $2,000 on reserve for your pet if the need arises. I would also recommend any pet owner also consider looking into pet insurance as a way to help with veterinary costs.

These are the main reasons adoption isn't free and I don't think it should be. Shelters need to be able to provide and care for pets in need and they can't do that without donations from the public and implementing adoption fees. Pet ownership is never free either, so if a fee deters people who do not understand responsibility and expenses that go into pet ownership, so be it!

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Adoptable Cat Caturday

Happy Caturday 😺!


Here are some of the adoptable cats I got to know better this week at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. I've linked their adoption profiles to their information. I'll be updating this along with the other Adoptable Cat Caturdays as these cats get adopted!

Cicero, M, 10yrs 
*Adopted 5/2017

Cletus

Leo, M, 13yrs
*ADOPTED 5/2017 
Leo

Red

Shelby, F, 8yrs 
*Adopted 5/2017
Shelby

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Microchips & Collars

Hello kitty cat friends 😺,

Today I'd like to talk about the importance of microchips and collars for your cats.

Does your cat need a microchip?

YES, your cat needs a microchip! I can't emphasize that enough.  Microchips are not GPS devices, but a teeny tiny chip inserted around your cat's upper back/shoulder region that has a code that when scanned will show that he/she has an owner. If your cat ever gets lost and picked up by a shelter or animal services they will scan to see if they are chipped and you can be reunited with your cat! Cats are 21 times more likely to be reunited with their owners if they are microchipped. Most cats adopted from shelters include a microchip as part of their adoption fee. If your cat is not microchipped they can easily do it at a vet office for usually anywhere between $25-$50.

You just need to make sure to register it!  The information on your cat's microchip initially will most likely only have the location you adopted your cat at or their vet office listed, not necessarily your personal information. You might also move or change vet offices, so it's important to register your cat's microchip so you can have complete and updated information.

I have Chara's microchip registered on the free database the Found Animals Registry. You will need to know your cat's microchip code which can be found on their adoption paperwork or in your cat's file from their vet. Through Found Animals Registry I have a complete profile for Chara. I'm able to add all of my contact information, emergency contacts, and Chara's veterinarian information. I'm also able to add information on Chara like her age, her health/medications, add photos, and her pet insurance.

All of this added information will not only help you reunite with your cat, but make shelters aware of any medical conditions, medications, or special diet your cat may require so they can better treat or care for your cat before you're reunited.

Does your cat need a collar?

Preferably yes. I can tell you when I'm home with Chara I don't keep a collar on her, but I really think I should have on one on her 24/7. I usually just put her collar on with her ID tag and my information when I leave the house. I live in an apartment so if there ever were an emergency where my apartment's  maintenance or emergency services needed to enter my apartment when I'm not there she would have her collar on in case she got out and so whoever there would be able to identify she was my pet.

The reason I now think I should have one on her 24/7 is because of emergencies. What if there is a fire and I have to quickly grab her and go? I might need to stay with a friend, board her, or take her to a hotel. Cats in unfamiliar environments and chaotic situations get stressed and could dart given any opportunity. If she has her collar and tags on and someone catches her a collar is an obvious giveaway that she is an owned cat before having to check for a microchip.

I know it's been under the assumption that cats don't like to wear collars. That's not true and was debunked by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association back in 2010.  I've found any cat I've encountered with a collar very agreeable to them. The most important thing about collars is finding a safe one for your cat to wear. You know the ones that have the same fastening device like a belt? You don't want those because if your cat ever got stuck on something with their collar it could strangle them. You want to purchase a breakaway collar only. Chara has one made by Safe Cat. This one is really cute as it has Peace, Love, Rescue on itπŸ’“.
Here are some more breakaway color types I spotted at Petsmart.
These snap together at the end with plastic tabs. If pulled too tightly this type of collar will "breakaway" from your cat so it doesn't strangle them. That's why it's imperative to have microchip also! These particular Whisker City collars are pretty cool too because they're reflective so it will glow when car lights shine on the collar which is obviously very important! The little bells can be annoying, but they're removable and not necessary. You can attach an ID tag to the collar or you can get an ID plate made so something doesn't have to dangle. Secondly, it's important that your cat's collar is fitted properly. It should not be too tight or too loose. The common rule of thumb is for you to be able to stick two fingers underneath your cat's collar once it is around their neck.

All in all, I think it's important that your cat is microchipped and preferably wears a collar too. It's better to play it safe because you don't know what type of scenario might pop up that may cause your cat to get out and lost. These are very simple and easy measures that only enhance the chance of you and your cat being reunited so why not do both?

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Adoptable Cat Caturday

Happy Caturday 😺!


Here are some of the adoptable cats I got to know better this week at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. I've linked their adoption profiles to their information. I'll be updating this along with the other Adoptable Cat Caturdays as these cats get adopted!

Bella

Oscar, M, 4 yrs. 
*ADOPTED 5/2017
Oscar

Tigger


That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Favorite Cat Parts

Hello kitty cat friends 😺,

It's time for a non-serious and silly post for today. If you're a cat lover like myself you probably have favorite parts of your cat. There are so many lovable and cute parts of a cat, their ears, paws, nose, and so forth! I'm sure some of us have even created our own terms for parts of our cat. I know I did. More on that later! I loved this video I watched awhile back and how it highlighted some of the best features of a cat with some of the silliest of terms!


These are my favorite cat parts! 

Boop Zone/Nose 
I refer to this area as the boop zone like the video above. It's hard not to boop a cat's nose. Chara has learned I'm a booper and no longer is keen on letting me boop her nose!

Moof Moof/Meow Maker/Snout/Muzzle
I lovingly call this area the "moof moof". I'm not sure why, but it's what I came up with years ago. It just so moofy looking, right?

Teethies/Teefies/Teeth
Teethies! Cat teeth are so cute and I love when they meow or yawn and you can see all those teeny tiny teeth. Beware though, they can be dangerous! Did you know up to 50% of cat bites can become infected? Watch out, you could actually lose a limb from a cat bite! If you get bit by a cat go get it checked out by a doctor to see if you need to start antibiotics.
Floof Floof/?
I'm not sure the scientific name for this region, but you know that little fluffy part of your cat's chest that sticks out a bit? I call that the floof floof. I don't know why, it's just floofy?
Toe Beans/Paws/Paw Pads
Who doesn't love toe beans? Cats little toes look like perfect little beans. In Chara's case little black beans!
Blum Blum/Belleh/Belly/Primordial Pouch
You know that saggy pouch on some kitty's bellies? I call that the "blum blum". I don't know why I came up with that term for it, but it works! It's actually called primordial pouch and you can read all about its purpose here.

That concludes my most favorites parts of a cat!

What are your favorite parts of a cat? Do you have silly names for their body parts too?

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie

Monday, May 1, 2017

"If I Fits, I Sits" aka Kitty Safe Spaces

Hello kitty cat friends 😺,

I recently shared a Washington Post article on my Facebook page explaining why cats love boxes and other small spaces. Cats like their solitude and can often feel overstimulated or uncomfortable in open space, especially if it's a new environment to them. Cats, in general, like to have places they can escape to and recharge their kitty batteries! This behavior also has to do with their hunter instincts. They like to hide so they can sneak up on their prey. Either way, cats like hiding places!

I know I wrote in a post awhile back comparing cats to introverts. This is a similar notion. Too much socialization makes me wish I could escape to my bed, get under my covers, and a read a book. Cats operate similarly, they need their space. The snugger the better too! I know when I have a place I can escape to that is quiet and safe I feel less stressed, and the same goes for cats.
"The cats-in-boxes issue was put to the test by Dutch researchers who gave shelter cats boxes as retreats. According to the study, cats with boxes adapted to their new environment more quickly compared with a control group without boxes. The conclusion was that the cats with boxes were less stressed because they had a cardboard hidy-hole to hunker down in." (Nicholas Dodman, Washington Post)
I always recommend to new cat owners or cats who seemed stressed with environmental changes (new home, new work schedule, new roommate, new baby, and etc.) to have a safe space for their cat. This safe space should be in a quiet area of your house and you can even create multiple safe spaces. Sometimes cats create their own safe spaces by hiding under the bed, in a closet, or claiming the laundry basket. Be mindful to close off areas that would be dangerous for your cat to hide like behind electrical appliances and the laundry room.

What I like to put in these kitty safe spaces is an enclosed/covered bed of some sort. A cat will feel safer in an enclosed box or bed than an open one. We have two kitty safe spaces for Chara, one in our dining room and one in a corner in our bedroom. This is the enclosed bed she has in our dining room.
Unfortunately, I've had this bed for awhile so I cut the tags off and don't remember the brand. That's ok because there are plenty of offerings of beds like these and in different styles in pet stores and on Chewy. You can even create your own if you're feeling crafty by making a DYI cat tent. The same can be done with a cardboard box, by cutting a hole big enough for kitty to get in and out of.

Whether you have a DYI enclosed bed or a one you bought at a store I recommend adding and towel or a blanket inside. This will make it more comfortable and warm for kitty. You can also put in a catnip toy or two that your cat loves. 

If your cat has chosen a tight space as their kitty safe space where you can't fit a bed you can add a blanket to that. I recommend still adding another safe space with an enclosed bed. Your cat may eventually find that more appealing than hiding under the bed if it's super comfy and quiet for them. Cats who likes to squeeze under the bed or other tight places isn't ideal for me as a cat mom because I can't really observe my cat or get to her easily in case of an emergency. I have encouraged Chara out of those teeny tiny spaces by adding other safe spaces and reinforcing her using those areas with treats. 

The kitty safe space is an area I tend to be hands off on around Chara. I give her her space there so she's comfortable knowing that it's hers and she won't be bothered. Sometimes, she'll welcome me with a meow and a purr and I'll come over and pet her over there, but only if I'm invited!

Kitty safe spaces are an excellent way to help your kitty feel like they have a space of their own in your home. Cats can easily be overstimulated and can be shaken up by small changes in your routine or their environment. A kitty safe space is a great place for kitty to know they can escape to when they need to feel more comfortable and secure. 
Do you have a kitty safe space in your home? If you don't, get to it! Your kitty will appreciate it. 

**NOTE: Please be observant about your cat's hiding behavior. If there are changes (i.e. hiding for extended periods of time, hiding more frequently, and/or avoiding eating and other normal habits) this could be an indication that your cat is unwell. Please take your cat to the veterinarian for a checkup before you'd address other behavioral concerns.

That's all for meow 😻!
Stephanie