How can I stop my cat meowing?

On the Internet some cat owners ask: “How can I stop my cat meowing?” and I find the question rather strange to be perfectly honest. It implies that their cat is making too much noise. Although the question is about meowing which is a specific vocalization of the domestic cat.

Meowing is normally used by a cat to make a demand upon their human owner. So if a cat is meowing too much it may be that his or her demand is not being met which means the solution to the so-called problem falls at the feet of the cat owner in satisfying the cat’s demand.

How can I stop my cat meowing?
Photo: FreeUsePhotos

Attention Seeker

Some say that domestic cats can be attention seekers. They meow ‘unnecessarily’ at their owner. They say that the way to stop this is to ignore your cat. I have never ignored my cat if he meows at me. I like it. It is part of the relationship. If anything I would suggest that most cat owners don’t get enough meowing from their cat because normal cat owners like it. You have a domestic cat to interact with him or her, to be friends, to make you happy, to entertain you and you can’t achieve those objectives without interacting with your cat which can lead to meowing.

Surprise

So my initial reaction to the question is one of surprise. If you extend the meaning of meowing to other vocalizations then it widens the scope of this article. For example, some elderly cats can become confused and howl at night perhaps seeking their owner’s reassurances. The me the answer to that particular issue is to respond positively and if at all possible to go to your cat even if it is in the middle of the night. After all you are awake because you heard your cat therefore why not get up to see whether you can stop the howling. Some cats howl at their water bowls.

Punish

One thing you cannot do to stop howling or any unwanted vocalization is to punish your cat. This is a complete no-no. It doesn’t do any good and simply distances the cat’s owner from the cat emotionally.

Sometimes a cat might meow a lot for an obvious reason such as he or she is trapped in a room or wants to come inside the house and there’s no cat flap. A cat owner cannot complain about that because the solution is straightforward: let her in.

Caterwauling

Caterwauling is a very distinctive sound made by courting cats as its primary function is sexual. However, it is an aggressive threatening sound made by sexual territorial rivals. It can be heard at any time when two or more cats are fighting so sometimes it is not associated with sexual encounters. The sound is disturbing and discordant. I would suggest that this sound is made quite infrequently and as such it shouldn’t disturb any cat owner who likes a bit of peace and quiet.

Stress?

A stressed cat might become more vocal than normal. The solution in this instance is to discover the source of the stress and remove it. Humans create the environment under which cats live and therefore if a cat is stressed it will be because of his owner and the solution lies with the owner.

Loneliness

Loneliness might be a cause of excessive vocalizations in a domestic cat. Personally I have not experienced this and I doubt whether most cat owners will because if the cat is lonely he or she is alone and therefore the owner is not around to observe the vocalizations. The answer will be to ensure that your cat is less lonely if at all possible.

Greeting

If a cat owner is disturbed because their cat meows when they return home then they should not own a cat. This is one of the great pleasures of owning a cat.

Demand

As mentioned, the classic circumstance under which a cat meows is when they demand food. It is quite normal and to be expected. It is said that the meow has been developed by the domestic cat as a means to speak to their owner and the primary reason why a cat speaks to their owner is to make a request. No owner should dislike this. It’s a good thing and the owner simply asked to respond positively.

Ill?

An important aspect of excessive meowing or vocalizing is that the cat may be ill. Normally, in my experience, when cats are ill they go quiet and find a place to hide so the opposite happens. However, a cat might cry in pain and discomfort and I’m told by a veterinarian that an overactive thyroid or kidney disease can result in excessive meowing.

Siamese

I’m sure most cat owners will know that the Siamese cat and associated breeds such as the Oriental Shorthair are known to like using their voice. And their voice is very particular in its tone. No other cat is quite so noisy. The voice can sound raucous and persistent. The volume is loud. This may irritate some cat owners. Others might find it charming. A person who adopts a Siamese cat should be aware of this trait. If you are the sort of person who might dislike it then the answer is obvious. It’s a question of doing your research before adopting a cat.

Silent Meow

Conversely, there are some cats that are almost silent such as the silent meow of the British Shorthair. It doesn’t have to be a breed of cat because some individual cats meow quietly or even silently. Once again this is a question of taking proactive action and adopting a cat which you believe is not going to meow too much or too loudly.

Acceptance

The ultimate solution is for the owner to take a mindset which allows them to accept their cat’s traits and characteristics. And they should know those characteristics before adopting.

I suspect that the question in the title comes from cat owners who are not ideally suited to looking after a domestic cat. I don’t think the question comes from Siamese cat owners because these people know Siamese cat characteristics before adopting. It’ll be the cat owner who lacks knowledge, who doesn’t really understand domestic cats who complains that their cat is too noisy. They shouldn’t have a cat.

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Can I catch a cold from my cat?

Can I catch a cold from my cat? No, you can’t. Most infectious diseases are species-specific. They only affect a specific species and cannot jump between species.

 I catch a cold from my cat?
Photo: Pinterest.

When a cat catches a cold it is a viral infection. Veterinarians call it: Feline Viral Respiratory Disease Complex. They are highly contagious between cats and can spread quickly in a multi-cat home, shelter or boarding cattery. But they cannot infect humans which means they are not zoonotic. Viral infections can develop into bacterial infections (e.g. pink eye) and vets can sometimes struggle to distinguish one from the other which is why they dish out antibiotics liberally.

It’s also worth saying that cats cannot catch a cold from us. These viruses are very much species-specific.

The two main “viral groups” which cause the cat cold are the herpesvirus group and the calicivirus group. The other viruses account for a relatively small number of cases.

I have written about these viruses on other pages on this website and therefore I won’t go over them again here.

You can click on this link if you want to see a selection of articles on the ‘virus’ in relation to cats.

Feline Herpes Virus

A zoonotic disease

An example of a disease that does transmit from cat to human and vice versa is ringworm which I recently written about again. This is not a virus but a fungus.

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What is a leopon?

What is a leopon? A leopon is a cross between a male leopard and a lioness. These hybrids have been bred on a number of occasions in zoos. There are records of them being in zoos in Italy and Japan. In Japan they have been exhibited at the Hanshin Park Zoo and the Koshien Zoo.

The best website to find out about this rare wild cat hybrid is messybeast.com. Sarah Hartwell is the world authority on these hybrids. I will therefore use her expertise as the source for this page.

What is a leopon?
Photos: Koshien Zoo. I have taken the liberty of publishing these photos here under fair use for educational purposes. If you click on the image you’ll be taken to a larger version.

In addition being in zoos in Japan they have been bred in zoos in India and Germany. A leopon was apparently exhibited in Regent’s Park zoo, London which was more like a leopard than a lion. There is a report of this hybridization occurring naturally in the wild when a lioness was expelled from a pride. She formed an alliance with a male leopard. The leopard mated with her when she was in heat.

The best-known leopon breeding program was at Koshien Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya City, Japan. A lioness whose name was Sonoko mated with a leopard, Kaneo. The leopon hybrid was popular with the public but the breeding program was criticized by other zoos and by animal welfare advocates.

A lot of preparation went into the mating between these two cat species including carefully choosing their food with added hormones. The size difference in these cats presented a barrier and almost caused the program to be abandoned but three matings were witnessed in March and June 1959. The lioness became pregnant in September and the cubs were born after 97 days gestation which was several days earlier than expected.

Jaglion – a lion, jaguar hybrid

Appearance

The leopon is larger than the leopard and takes after the lion in terms of size (almost as large as the lioness mother). They have shorter leopard-like legs and “stout lion-like bodies”. They like water which is more a leopard characteristic and they also climb like leopards. The leopard is a better climber than the lion. The adult male leopon has a sparse mane about 20 cm in length. The female leopon’s personality lies between the solitary nature of the leopard and the social nature of the lioness (they live in prides). The Japanese leopons were sterile. The last one died in 1985.

They were stuffed and displayed at the zoo but I believe it has since closed. Sarah Hartwell says that two stuffed leopons are currently at the National Science Museum in Tokyo for scientific research. Others are displayed in Nishinomiya City (located in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, between the cities of Amagasaki and Ashiya).

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Cat shooting at Christian chapel exposes ungodly behavior

The shooting of a domestic cat by a chapel maintenance worker exposed many ungodly wrongs. The Bitterroot Valley Calvary Chapel Church declare on Facebook that “we believe that God’s rule and reign came to earth expressed in the life and ministry of his son…”. This is a Christian church doing their best to live by the morals and code set by the Bible. A catalogue of wrongs followed by a nice apology tells us that on this occasion they failed in that objective.

Cat shooting at Christian chapel exposes ungodly behavior
Photo: Facebook

Although the church had a legitimate problem in that community cats were defecating in a sand pit used for sand volleyball, they recklessly put out traps to catch them. Unsurprisingly they trapped someone’s pet. Sheila Fallows’ cat was caught in the trap. Lee Maxey, 65, the chapel maintenance employee, shot Sheila’s cat in the trap. It was an act of so-called euthanasia. This was not euthanasia because the cat was healthy. It was a killing. I would argue that the cat must have felt pain and certainly a lot of distress.

Subsequently, Mr Maxey has been charged with discharging a firearm in city limits. He has not been charged with animal cruelty under animal welfare laws. I don’t know whether the police and prosecution service discussed the potential of a crime under animal welfare laws. I sense that they did not. This is the second ungodly mistake in this saga.

The initial mistake was that they put down traps with a disregard for the possibility that they would trap someone’s pet. I’m surprised that they failed to understand the possibility.

Maxey admitted that he killed the lady’s pet. The chapel dug a big hole for themselves in terms of morality and in doing God’s work. And the prosecution services have failed as well in my opinion.

On the upside, the chapel has demonstrated great contrition and have done all they can to remedy the matter. They adopted a new cat for Sheila Fallows and Maxey apologized profusely and asked for forgiveness. Of course she is very distressed, “it was heart-wrenching, it really was heart-wrenching” she said. Maxey is also distressed but in all honesty his attitude towards animals is ungodly.

Lessons

She also said that she hopes that the people involved have learnt a lesson. The police say that there is no law preventing the use of live traps but anybody contemplating putting down traps should contact the Humane Society on how to do it. The great danger is the one that this story highlights: you trap someone’s pet. In this instance the pet was shot but an alternative scenario is that the animal is taken to a shelter where it might be euthanized.

There is also the added complication that Sheila has an action under civil law. She is not taking that course of action but her cat was stolen from her and killed. This was ungodly behavior by people who should know better.

Source: Faceook and 8KPax.com.

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Nineteen-year-old cat is about to be re-homed on Facebook

This is a minute by minute development. A 19-year-old cat whose name is Tikki had to be left behind by her lady owner. We don’t know the reason but her daughter is appealing to people on The Cat’s Whiskers a Facebook group for people to adopt Tikki.

Tikki
Tikki

She posted the request 13 hours ago and the last comment was several minutes ago. At that time Tikki had not been adopted but there was an offer from somebody in San Antonio Texas. Tikki is currently in an area described by the lady’s daughter, Jenny Macias, as “Central Texas Big Country Area” and possibly “North Texas DFW Area”.

Tikki is a gray cat. She is 19 years of age but almost 20. She is an indoor/outdoor cat but has mostly lived indoors throughout her life. She is quiet and can get along with other cat provided they are not too rough with her. She gets along with dogs as well.

At the moment Tikki is staying with one of the lady’s daughters. For a while she was in the bathroom but it seems that she has more space at the moment. The reason is that the daughter has dogs so she needs to be protected.

As mentioned a woman in San Antonio has offered to adopt Tikki but transportation needs to be arranged. This offer has not be accepted on FB at the time of writing this.

Click this to go to the FB post. The FB ladies do a great job in re-homing.




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How do you get rid of ringworm in humans?

If you own a domestic cat you might get ringworm from him/her. It is highly contagious and zoonotic (cat to human). Shelter cats can get ringworm very easily. If you adopt a shelter cat with the disease it is likely that you will acquire it. Unless it is pronounced it is hard to see on a cat.

How do you get rid of ringworm in humans?
Photo and words: Michael Broad

I have personal experience in this matter as I acquired ringworm from my mother’s rescue cat. I adopted her cat when my mother died.

My doctor prescribed a topical antifungal cream. This is a generic cream for various skin conditions. It worked but very, very slowly. In fact, it hardly worked at all.

I bought a UV-B lamp in order to cure another minor fungal skin condition that I had, and used this lamp on the ringworm on my leg. I applied four sessions of 30 seconds each which is not much. The ring worm disappeared completely after this very short treatment. The inflamed ring of skin dried up and the flaky skin disappeared. You acquire a slight sun tan too! Warning: be cautious and don’t overdo it. Stick to very short sessions and build up if needs be.

I can wholeheartedly recommend a UV-B home treatment lamp to cure ringworm. The one I have is a Dermfix handheld lamp bought on Amazon. It is not cheap but highly effective.

Ringworm on person's arm
Photo: Al Reheem Homoeopathic clinic. This photo is taken from Facebook.

Do doctors recommend a UV-B lamp?

If you have other skin conditions then this will quite probably fix them. Of course you should see your GP but judging by the results on the Internet doctors don’t recommend a UV-B lamp to cure ringworm. The top search result in Google recommends: a topical antifungal, to let the ringworm breathe, to wash your bedding daily, to change wet underwear and socks, to use an antifungal cream and take a prescription antifungal. Not a sign of UV-B lamps.

I urge people to try one of these lamps; you may be happily surprised. Ringworm tends to come back and is hard to eradicate completely. This short quick and easy treatment can keep it at bay.




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This is How to Lower Cat Stress at Shelters

According to a study more cage space can reduce cat stress at shelters, and as URIs are are linked to feline stress, lower the prevalence of upper respiratory infections (URIs). It is believed that the incidence of upper respiratory infections among cats at shelters is as high as 30%. These infections are one of the prime reasons for feline euthanasia at shelters. It would help to know how to reduce them as it would save lives.

This was a large study conducted over the period 2008 to 2009 which included 18,373 adult cats. The average space allocated to each cat is typically 4 square feet at animal shelters in the US. The researchers concluded that to minimize stress at shelters cats should be given about eight square feet of floor space in their cages. As you can see this is twice the current average amount of space. The researchers suggested that further studies would clarify the minimum amount of space required to see a beneficial effect.

This is How to Lower Cat Stress at Shelters
Photo: Cris at Flickr published under a creative commons license.

Another stress factor was moving cats within the animal shelter. If cats are moved less than two times in the first week after arrival they are less likely to contract upper respiratory infections compared to shelter cats that are moved more often. This is in line with what cat owners know about domestic cats moving home. They find it stressful and take a long time to settle.

Another stress factor for felines at shelters is that they’re not always provided with double-compartment cages. Double-compartment cages allow one side of the cage to be cleaned while minimizing the disturbance to the cat who remains in the other side. These split compartments also allow for the separation of bedding, water, food and litter box. This, too, reduces feline stress.

Of these factors to most important is the size of space available. The study author, Kate Hurley, DVM, said that the study demonstrates that URIs are preventable by simply providing more space.

Benefits for staff too

The knock-on effect from preventing URIs in felines at shelters is that the cats are happier and therefore the staff are also happier and less stressed because the job is made easier. Adoptions should increase, the shelter should be more successful and employees have to euthanize cats less frequently. Euthanizing cats is automatically stressful and unpleasant and if it is not something is wrong.

I wonder whether any shelters have taken on board these findings. As mentioned, the study was conducted 10 years ago. This is sufficient time to expect to see shelters with larger cages for their cats. I don’t know of a follow-up study. Dr Hurley wanted to see changes among shelters with respect to their cage configurations for cats. She agreed that there would be a cost in modifying the shelters but this would be recouped in saving money through lower veterinary bills in dealing with high numbers of URIs.

The study was funded by the Morris Animal Foundation. About 3.2 million cats enter US shelters each year.




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Canadian Veterinarians Shame Their American Counterparts

Canadian veterinarians have shamed American veterinarians by issuing a firm statement through their association, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, that they oppose the declawing of cats. It is an unqualified statement unlike that made by the AVMA which leaves the door open to declawing for non-therapeutic reasons because they leave the decision-making in the hands of unscrupulous veterinarians.

Canadian Veterinarians Shame Their American Counterparts

Their position statement is:

“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing or onychectomy, of domestic cats.”

The CVMA’s unequivocal stance against declawing shames the veterinarians of America who hang onto this barbaric mutilation of domestic cats having lost all credibility in their justifications for doing it.

The CVMA regard non-therapeutic declawing as ethically unacceptable “when performed without comprehensive client education including a thorough review of available alternatives”.

There is a heavy stress on educating cat owners. And there is a stress to on the need for veterinarians to go over available alternatives. They state that “the surgery has the potential to cause unnecessary and avoidable pain and alternatives to PDA are available”.

The CVMA also make the strong statement that “veterinarians should educate clients about strategies that provide alternatives to PDA”. They place an obligation upon their veterinarians to educate their cat owning clients. This is simply something that American veterinarians often do not do. Many American veterinarians dress up the declawing operation with euphemistic statements and discount services. It is quite objectionable to any decent minded person.

It is truly time for the American veterinarians to change their attitude towards declawing and follow the lead set by their neighbors.

The revised Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s oath includes the following statement “prevent and relieve animal suffering”. Declawing achieves the opposite.

They restate (and I think it needs restating) that scratching is a normal feline behavior. A cat’s claws are an essential part of the domestic cat’s anatomy. The CVMA admit that non-therapeutic PDA is normally performed for the convenience of the owner. It is not the job of a veterinarian to carry out substantial amputations simply for the owner’s convenience. That obviously goes without saying and yet it happens millions of times every year in America.

The CVMA view cat declawing as unacceptable because “it offers no advantage to the feline and the lack of scientific evidence leaves us unable to predict the likelihood of long-term behavioral and physical negative side effects”. Note: There are considerable complications from declawing and a substantial number of the operations are badly carried out.

The association also says that the surgical amputation of the third phalanx of the digit “alters the expression of normal behaviors in cats, causes avoidable short-term acute pain, and has the potential to cause chronic pain and negative long-term orthopedic consequences”.

The association also says that as the third phalanx is removed by declawing cats must bear their weight on the second phalanx. This can result in lameness. They admit that lameness in cats is difficult to diagnose and detect and for this reason the “long-term orthopedic effects of PDA are poorly understood”.

The CVMA refer to a recent long-term study which assessed cats six months after declawing. The study found no significant differences between cats that had been declawed those that hadn’t. However, they imply that the study is flawed because it only considered cats with successful surgical outcomes. Therefore the study has limited application and “generalizability”. As mentioned above, many declawing operations do not have successful outcomes and many are blotched.

Another point that the CVMA make is that when a cat is an acute pain because of declawing they may engage in what humans call “inappropriate elimination”. This is because the cat litter is too painful to bear on the damage paws. Domestic cats who have been declawed may also demonstrate increased aggression and excessive vocalization (they may bite and they may cry out more often). Perhaps they are crying with pain.

Frequently, the AVMA say that declawing is necessary to protect people with weakened immune systems. The CVMA counter this argument by saying that the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not list PDA as a means of preventing disease in either healthy or immunocompromised individuals.

Another argument that the AVMA wheel out in defence of declawing is that it stops people relinquishing cats to shelters. The counterargument from the CVMA is that there are no current peer-reviewed studies which support a higher rate of relinquishment of cat with intact claws versus cats those that have undergone PDA. In other words declawing does not prevent relinquishment to rescue center or abandonment of any sort.

An alternative to declawing (scientifically referred to as “onychectomy”) is an operation described as “tendonectomy” which is supported by the AVMA as being less invasive or damaging. The CVMA counter this argument by saying that the alternative operation is unacceptable because it causes similar pain post-surgery. It can also lead to increased complications.

The CVMA’s stance against declawing is far stronger than that of the AVMA and as such they shame the AVMA which has a dinosaur approach towards this outdated and damaging operation. The CVMA are taking a more moral stance which is correct.

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