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When Your Cat Has More Energy Than You; Toys For An Energetic Cat

I am a cat lover, no question about that.  I love my cats, however, when we brought home our sweet little Gherkin, we had no idea what we were really in for.  Perhaps it’s because it had been 6 years since we had a kitten or maybe it was because he had more energy than a nuclear power plant.  Seemingly, the only way to cope was to have a few toys for an energetic cat.

Mind you, I played and snuggled with Gherkin a LOT because he’s a kitten (and because that’s just what I do with kitties) and needs the extra love and attention.  Since I have a job, I can’t be with him all day, every day so I had to find some solutions to his endless amounts of energy.  This is how I dealt with an energetic little boy.

Toys For An Energetic Cat

Go Cat Teaser Wand – Our cats have had all sorts of teaser wands, feathers, plush, etc.  The kitty crew will play with them all but there is something about what’s at the end of this teaser wand.  There are a couples options; a bee or mouse and my cats love both.  They will play with the bee all by itself.  This is by far their favorite teaser wand!

Window Perch – This is great for even the laziest of cats.  All three of the cats thoroughly enjoy lounging on the cat perch.  They also like sitting on it to watch the birds or whatever else it is that they watch outside.  If you have the window space, you have to get one of these!

Feeder Ball – This is less of a toy and an interactive way to feed your cat.  This also slows your cat down from gobbling up food, so this too would be good for a larger or lazier cat.  The ball has a removable lid which makes it easy to fill with food.  The outside of the ball has holes that can be adjusted for the kibble size and to adjust the level of difficulty for your cat.  I advise making the feeder ball as easy as possible for the first few go arounds and increase the difficulty after your kitty has the hang of it.

Kick Stick – I was hesitant about this one but I gave it a try and bought a few kick sticks.  Their favorite kick stick, that gets a lot of attention, is a large durable denim kick stick with a pocket for catnip.  We tried microfiber and plush but it’s this denim kick stick that won them over.  Try different materials and see what works best for your kitties.

Automated Toys

Interactive Laser – Again, this is like playing laser with your cat without having to actually be there to play laser.  Hit the button, the laser turns on and after a while it automatically shuts off.  It also requires batteries but, they last a while.

Interactive Butterfly – Another automated toy that has the appeal of a fluttering butterfly going around in circles.  This one is pretty engaging and fun to watch the kitties play with it.  This model is nice because the base is wide enough that they can’t tip it over and you can turn it on with the tap of your toe. This toy doesn’t shut off on it’s own so you’ll have to stick around to turn it back off.

Mystery motion toy – This is a cute toy but you’ll need a hard surface, it won’t work as well (if at all) on carpet.  It has an arm with a feather at the end that rolls around under a piece of fabric, using random motions.  When Gherkin was a kitten he loved this toy so much that as soon as we woke up in the morning, he would run over to the toy and start crying until we turned it on.  It’s still a big hit to this day.  Yet another toy that could use an auto shut off feature but until they improve it, I will have to deal with it.

Flik Automatic Teaser – This is essentially like playing string with your cat minus the human element.  Most important, the cat actually plays with it!  You turn the toy on and the string flicks out at random times and has an automatic shutoff.  It requires batteries but they last a while so it’s worth it.  This is one of our favorites!

Other Strategies

As you can tell, my strategy is play as much as you can and in between distract, distract, distract!  I also rotate all their toys and put them away for a little while before bringing the toy back out for play.  This helps prevent boredom with any one toy.

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How to Make A Bed; A Cat Bed

Occasionally, in my spare time I enjoy a little knitting and might make myself or my husband a scarf or hat.  My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young and then a little later taught me to knit.  (Her first attempt at teaching me to knit was a total failure because I just wasn’t catching on!)   I am by no means nimble with yarn and patterns are like reading Greek for me.   I can count on my hands the number of things I’ve ever knitted or crocheted.

With that said, every time I go to the craft store I see the over sized yarn and think ‘it’s so cool, what could I ever do with that?’  Then I saw a cat bed made from jumbo yarn, I had to make one too!

What You Need

I watched a number of YouTube videos and settled on this video.  The woman in the video is thorough and goes at a good pace.  Don’t feel bad about watching and re-watching the video, I did too!  I used two bundles of this yarn.  This is “arm crocheting” so no additional crocheting tools are needed.  I also used a binder clip to keep track of my beginning stitch, I found this extremely helpful in minimizing the confusion.

Ultimately, below is the “pattern” (using the term loosely since I can’t read patterns, I certainly don’t know how to write one) I used, consider them my notes, after using the video as a guide.  I made the bed larger to accommodate my bigger kitty, ~13lbs and possibly still growing.  The first version of the bed was way too small for Gherkin, luckily this is easy to unravel and try again.  Last thing anyone wants is a cat bed that no one can fit in!

The Pattern

  • Row 1 – 3 straight stitches
  • Row 2 – 3 double stitches (total stitches: 6)
  • Row 3 – 6 double stitches (total stitches: 12)
  • Row 4 – alternating 1 single stitch, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 18)
  • Row 5 – alternating 2 single stitches, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 24)
  • Row 6 – alternating 3 single stitches, 1 double stitch (total stitches: 30)
  • Rows 7+ – single stitch until desired completion

The whole bed took maybe 45 minutes and that includes starting over once to make the bed larger.  Once it was done, Gherkin could not wait to hop in and do what kitties do best, take a nap!  Tinkerbell and Tidbit also enjoyed the new nap spot!

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What To Do On Giving Tuesday

For most of us holidays are filled with the hustle and bustle of trying to see all your family, shopping, eating, drinking and generally being merry or at least giving it your best shot!  It starts on Thanksgiving, maybe even the day before for some, and the holiday marathon goes straight through until New Year’s Day recovery.  With the hustle and bustle aside, let’s talk about Giving Tuesday.

I personally like the holidays, I love seeing all the lights and decorations and I appreciate getting into the spirit of things with holiday activities and a few traditions.  Most of the time I don’t even mind shopping.  This year I think my favorite activity will be participating in Giving Tuesday.  Although Swanky Kitty donates a portion of proceeds all year round, I will be participating in Giving Tuesday as well.

There are a number of organizations that I wholeheartedly believe in.  I wanted to specifically mention the organizations that Swanky Kitty supports.

Organizations we support:

This year I am choosing HEART Animal Rescue because they gave us our little Gherkin!  What a great job they did raising this little boy until we were able to give him his forever home.  These are all great organizations and I hope you too participate in Giving Tuesday!

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What To Do When Your Cat Won’t Listen To You; Cat Training

The argument of cats vs dogs is always a lively debate between the two populations.  No secret to my friends and family, I’m a cat person through and through.  Why are cats awesome?  Well, they don’t bark, jump on you, track mud through the house (my cats are indoor cats) and generally smell better, no one ever said “that smells like a wet cat,” amongst other things.  One of my favorite rebuttals is “you can’t train a cat!”

To that I would had to admit defeat.  They seem to be trained when they hear the refrigerator open or the crack of the cat food can opening but other than that I struggled with some ongoing behavioral issues.  Tinkerbell, my first and fabulous kitty (and you’ll notice, my sole problem child) had a bag of tricks that I couldn’t break her of.  Some of her favorite antics: scratching the couch and walking on the counters despite knowing only she found this acceptable.

After YEARS of cohabiting with my furry darlings, I have pain painstakingly tried a number of behavior modification tactics.

Tried (and failed) cat training strategies:

  • Repetition.  Where I say “no” (without yelling because that apparently hurts a cat’s ego and makes them act out more) and to stop the unwanted behavior.  Result:  A LOT of effort on my part, not a lot of results.
  • Water bottle.  After sweet, sweet Tinkerbell was well on her way to destroying couch #1, I tried spraying her with water.  Result: This worked exactly three times, after that she sat there and let me spray her with water.  There was also the constant worry that I may accidentally spray her face or eyes.
  • Deterrent sprays.  There are products out there that use scents to deter cats from scratching your furniture.  I sprayed this on my couch.  Result: Money wasted.
  • Tin foil.  This was used to keep adorable Tinkerbell from walking on the counter.  I would line the edge of the counter with foil.  Result:  She would jump over the tin foiled area.  So unless I was willing to live in a tin foil kitchen, this was not helping anything.
  • Loud Noises.  I read that making loud noises will act as a deterrent.  Result:  You can’t believe everything you read.

Then one day, while I was at work, on the phone with a coworker whose spouse is an animal behaviorist, she tells me that there is a gadget that is motion activated and will give out a puff of air when the cat jumps on the counter.  This supposedly scares the cat.  I think, is it really that simple?  My cats do not like when I clean my keyboard or my husband lets air out of his bicycle tire.  Will a regular can of air work?

Successful cat training strategy:

Can of air.  Whenever my kitties are acting out, I pick up a can of air and shoot air into… well, the air.  Result:  They immediately stop, drop and disperse.  This has been a life changer in our house.  I can use this tactic regardless of behavior, scratching, counter walking, in fighting and not worry about shooting water at their eyes, all my furniture smelling weird or covering all exposed surfaces in foil.  I don’t have to yell or be disruptive or rush over to stop them, I just calmly pick up a can of air (which I have a half dozen strategically placed throughout the house) and press the nozzle.  It has become so effective that most of the time I just pick up the can and they stop, proving that you can, after all, train a cat.

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What To Say When The Furballs Are Getting Bigger; Cat Fur Management

Let’s talk cat fur management, often a losing battle!  Luckily, I found it in the form of the Roomba!

At first, I hesitated to buy a “gadget” that vacuums my house at the touch of a button.  Luckily, we have wonderful neighbors that not only lend us a cup of sugar when we need it but let us take home and test drive their Roomba, who they’ve named “Sonny”, for a week.  It may be true that we kept “him” for longer but that is unconfirmed.

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Cat In The Hole; A Cat Door For Everyone!

When we recently moved into our new home and we knew that we wanted to put the litter boxes in the basement.  Not that we don’t love our furry girls, we just don’t love seeing the boxes, plus they get a little added privacy while doing their business (and who doesn’t want their privacy).  The new house has a door at the top of the basement stairs and obviously, our kitties (usually) can’t open doors for themselves, despite their best efforts (if they could, then I’d be writing a different story!).  I scoured the web for a solution finding a plethora of exterior pet doors.  Finally, I found the cat door by Cathole.  Reviews on a few websites only sang praises for this product, so I immediately added it to my online cart and within a few days, it was at my door.

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat; A Cat Book Review

One night at dinner one of my favorite cousins, knowing that I am a cat person (but really, who doesn’t know), suggested I add The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie to my reading list.  Fortunately, I was just about to leave for vacation and was looking for a page turner for the plane so I immediately downloaded the book.

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What To Do When It’s Hotter Than Hot; Keeping Your Cats Cool

During the summer months, keeping cool isn’t only a priority for us but also for our furry loved ones.  Since I currently don’t have AC, (gasp!) I do get a little worried for my girls when the temperature starts to creep up.  So, a few things that I found helpful for keeping my cats cool and comfortable:

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When Cat Food Is Fresher Than Fresh; Refrigerated Cat Food

One ordinary day, during an ordinary shopping trip to the local wholesale club, I found something interesting; refrigerated cat food!  It caught my attention because, well, anything cat related catches my attention, but will I deem it good enough for my girls?  They’re on a grain free diet, for no reason other than it seems to be the healthiest choice, so my first reaction is always to read the ingredient list.  Holy tamole!  Not only is it grain free but everything on the list is ‘real’ food and the ingredient list is broken down by ingredients and vitamins &minerals and claims to be lightly cooked and not processed to preserve the integrity of the nutrients.  Let’s give this a try!

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How To Know If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You; A Cat Book Review

This cat book review is near and dear to me.  As I’m a big fan of the creator and his illustrative work.  How To Know If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You has an alarming title but is a delightful read for the feline obsessed!  This is brought to you by the creator of the hilariously awesome website; The Oatmeal.  Matthew Inman takes his insights and factoids about cats and makes them entertaining.  He captures the true essence of quirkiness that is typical feline behavior.  He undoubtedly has an affinity for cats, hence the book and the numerous blog posts that center around feline antics that are sure to you giggle!  He may be as obsessed with his cat as the rest of us are!

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