Home For the Holidays – With Your Cat

Sage ready for travel. (Photo courtesy of Liz Tobey)

This article first appeared on the FearFree/HappyHomes website.

Cats are devoted homebodies. They like their routines and comfy naps in the sun, and if they do go out, it’s for a quick trip to the veterinarian’s office or maybe a secure outing with leash and harness.

However, sometimes you have to take them on a Big Journey. Holidays may be that time – perhaps the pet sitter fell through, special medication is needed, or you don’t want to face a family gathering without purr therapy.

Preparation is key to minimizing stress and making your cat a fear-free traveler. Read more of this post

Where to put your cat’s ‘stuff’

This article first appeared in Animal Wellness magazine and at animalwellnessmagazine.com.

We all know that cats can be particular, but did you know that his happiness and well-being can be affected by where you position his bowls, bedding, litter box and other items?

Would you want to eat near your toilet? Or sleep in a drafty hallway? Neither would your cat. Where you locate your kitty’s items, from bowls to bedding to litter boxes, can have a profound effect on his happiness and well-being. In a multi-cat family, it can even make or break the harmony in the household. So it’s important to use some forethought when deciding where to situate your cat’s “stuff.”

Continue reading at animalwellnessmagazine.com.

May-December Cats: How to Make the Relationship Work

Sofiya, Tekla, and Mollie range in age from 1 to 16 years old.

This article first appeared in FearFree/HappyHomes.com.

There’s nothing like the joy of a living with a new kitten: the wide-eyed wonder, the playful antics, the unabashed energy. We love our older kitties, but every so often, there’s the siren call of kittenhood.

So how do you integrate a high-energy kitten into a household with a more sedate senior cat (or two)?

There’s no simple answer, but the process can be successful with some forethought and planning.

Read more at FearFree/HappyHomes.com.

Want a pedigree cat? Here’s what to know

Originally posted at FearFreePets.com.

More than 30 years ago, I said to my husband, “Someday I’d like a gray kitty – a Russian Blue.” Armed with an issue of Cat Fancy, he found a breeder in New Jersey and we traveled two-plus hours to pick up Ashley, my first Russian Blue. Thus began a love affair that continues to this day and recently culminated with Sofiya, who hails from the Netherlands.

The question arises: Given all the cats in shelters, what attracts people to a pedigree cat? All cats are wonderful, but there can be good reasons to purchase a cat of a specific breed.

Read more here.

Sofiya Comes Home – Part 2

At Amsterdam Airport. Screenshot from video by Maartje Schoenmaker.

Maartje sent a short video of Sofiya at the airport – Pawel’s flight from Warsaw to Amsterdam was late, so the handoff was quick. Then Pawel messaged me from the plane with a photo that all was well. I spent the afternoon tracking the flight on Flight Tracker. We packed for an epic journey – food, water, various kitty supplies including litter box, some food, an extra blanket for the carrier, paper towels, and cleaner.

We left about 5:30 p.m., allowing at least two hours for the drive and finding our way around the airport; the plane was due in at 8:30, and was even running a little early. Turned out the airport and Terminal 4 was a clear shot. Our research had paid off and we found decent parking right near the terminal. Read more of this post

Our Little Dutch Girl – Part 1

Sofiya at 16 weeks. Photo by Maartje Schoenmaker

When you love cats, there comes a time when you feel the siren call, even after a loss. Friends post photos on Facebook. Litters of adorable kittens are born. There’s this tugging on your heartstrings.

More than two years after losing Celica Blue, I felt that tug. There was Stormy, who was a sweet older kitty with various health issues, and yes, an unlimited number of adorable shelter kitties who paraded across my Facebook pages. But my heart longed for one last Russian Blue. Read more of this post

Choosing and Caring for a New Cat


This article first appeared in Fear Free Happy Homes, April 22, 2019.

When I graduated from college a few centuries ago, I wanted an apartment, a car, and a kitten. (I was lucky enough to have a job lined up.) While cats were a part of the family when I was growing up, this would be my very own cat. I adopted a kitten from a college friend, whose cat had a litter. Alfred – named after a college dean – was with me for many years and was key to my education on cat care.

Cats are often considered to be easier to care for than dogs, and in many respects that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you can just pick up the kitty and deposit her into your household. A new cat’s homecoming should be fun for members of the family and welcoming and stress-free for the kitty.

Continue reading at Fear Free Happy Homes.


Why Is My Cat Eating Litter?

Black white  cat uses toilet

w-ings / iStock / Getty Images

Reprinted from my article in The Spruce Pets.

Cats may eat litter—and other undesirable materials—for a variety of reasons. This behavior is referred to as pica, the eating of non-food items.

Continue reading at The Spruce Pets.


Is your cat’s litter box stressing him out?

Pulitzer, looking so innocent.

Published in FearFreeHappyHomes.com Jan. 14, 2019.

A mantra for cat caretakers: You can’t scoop the litter box too often.

While there’s a litany of tips for successful litter box training, if the box isn’t scooped often, the prettiest setup is useless.

Cats have extremely sensitive noses, and while they find comfort in familiar scents, a box full of urine clumps and poop is guaranteed to be off-putting. Not only is it smelly, it translates into stepping among feline land mines.

Pulitzer was my problem child when it came to using the litter box. He had a mild case of cerebellar hypoplasia and was a bit of a doofus. As a result, his litter box habits were erratic, but with vigilance we managed the problem. He was my biggest lesson in the importance of maintaining a clean litter box.

Read more here.

Zoom, Zoom! Agility Training Gets Cats Off The Couch

From FearFreeHappyHomes.com

A video circulated around the internet of a little girl leading her kitten through an agility course in her backyard. The girl’s energy and the tails-up, fearless enthusiasm of Suki, the kitten, were endearing.

For most of our cats, their best sport is competitive napping. But the Suki video shows that cats can indeed be trained and love it. Cats need a job, and agility training is just that. Not only does it build confidence, it also encourages them to hone their natural athletic skills.

Continue reading here.

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