Happy New Year! And, to our feline friends, a Happy Mew Year. (Fluffy actually celebrates the new year on January 2nd.) As we toss our old calendars out and hang 2024 ones, many people are thinking about what they want to achieve in the coming months. As it turns out, our feline friends also have a few tasks on their to-do lists for this year. A local Salisbury, NC veterinarian goes over some of them in this article.
Figure Out New Ways To Boss The Humans Around
Kitties are very, very good at meowpulating us. In fact, they may have started meowing specifically to boss us around. Cats don’t usually meow at one another: they usually communicate with each other using facial expressions and body language. It seems our feline pals figured out that having a meow that resembles a baby’s cry is very helpful at getting us to, well, spoil them.
Modern technology may lend a helping paw here. You can now get Fluffy programmable paw pads. These speak specific words when Fluffy steps on them. Some cats are remarkably adept at picking this up! (Your mileage may vary.)
Be More Affectionate
It’s hard not to melt when a cute kitty shows affection. Even kitties that are more aloof usually like to hang out with their humans. Of course, cats have some pretty interesting ways of showing their love. Fluffy may curl up on your lap, follow you around, rub against your legs, meow at you, or sleep on your pillow. Then again, she may also bite you, scratch you, try to trip you. You just never know!
Consider Coordinating With Researchers
We’ve learned a lot about our feline pals in recent years. For instance, we’ve found that cats can make nearly 300 different facial expressions, and that they actually get much more attached to their humans than many people give them credit for. We also discovered that our feline pals prey on a wide variety of animals and insects. There were a whopping 2,084 creatures on Fluffy’s menu, including 347 that are listed as threatened. Another recent discovery? Our furry pals make a mental map of their surroundings, and track their humans’ locations. Think of it as a kitty GPS. While our feline buddies will never give up all of their secrets, they do benefit from us having a better understanding of them. Of course, cats, being cats, often flat out refuse to cooperate with researchers. Perhaps Fluffy will have a change of heart this year.
Work On Hairball Placement
Hairballs are an unfortunate side effect of one of Fluffy’s best features: her cleanliness. Kitties are very diligent about keeping their pretty coats soft and shiny. Your furry little diva will spend as much as a third of the time she’s actually awake grooming herself. (That works out to as much as a whole ten minutes a day!) Unfortunately, in the process, your pet will swallow some of her own fur.
There are ways you can reduce the number of hairballs Fluffy gets. Brushing your cat can go a long way here, as you’ll capture that dead fur in the brush before it ends up stuck to your clothes and sofa.
Back to the hairball placement. Fluffy has a way of leaving her hairballs in the most inconvenient spots possible. She may very well want to work on those skills this year. However, this is one goal you want to nip in the bud. If your cat seems to be getting too many hairballs, talk to your vet. Hairballs can actually be dangerous, as they can occasionally cause blockages. Your pet may also benefit from hairball formula.
Take Over Scotland
This one may seem like a lofty goal. While Fluffy probably won’t be gaining control of Scotland, she may very well make a mark. Researchers involved in a rewilding program have successfully released 19 Scottish Wildcats into the wild. The breed, which was formerly declared ‘functionally extinct’ is poised to hopefully make a comeback. In addition to the cats that were freed, another 13 kittens are being prepared for their own release. We’re hoping that next year we’ll be able to announce that even more kitties are returning to these lands.
Assume Control Of The Humans
You’ve likely heard of the Crazy Cat Lady syndrome. Believe it or not, there is a bit of truth to this. As it turns out, some cats do carry a parasite, toxoplasmosis. This particular parasite affects its victims’ brains … by making them more amenable to cats. This, in turn, makes hunting a bit easier for Fluffy. While most cases resolve on their own, there is a risk to pregnant women and those with immune deficiencies. Fortunately, taking a few simple precautions, like having someone else clean the litterbox and washing hands thoroughly, will mitigate the risks. Keeping your cat indoors will also do it, as most cats contract the parasites when eating freshly-killed prey. Ask your vet for more information.
As to Fluffy? Well, she may be working on other ways to take over the universe. Cat World Domination Day is coming up on June 24th: we’ll check back then.
Finally Get That Red Dot
Kitties are always adorable, but they are really never cuter than when they are hard at play. Fluffy may be a cold, efficient killer, but she’s also pretty comical when she’s on the prowl. It’s important and beneficial to play with your feline pal. Interactive play is both more fun and more challenging for cats than just batting a catnip mouse around. Laser pointers are an easy way to do this: just keep one near your favorite chair or sofa spot, and play with your pet as you watch TV. (Note: never shine the light directly into your cat’s eyes.)
Get More Sleep
Fluffy is very, very tired. Kitties can sleep up to 20 hours a day, though most of them somehow manage to scrape by on about 12 to 18. (We aren’t entirely convinced that our feline pals actually need that much rest, but that’s another topic.) Help your drowsy little pet out by offering lots of comfy spots for her to choose from for those 43 daily naps.
This is a pretty good resolution for people as well. Making sure that you’re getting suitable rest is very important for your health and well-being! Fluffy will be more than happy to help out by snuggling up with you.
Soak Up More Sun
Kitties are always looking for warm napping spots. (Fluffy isn’t actually cold blooded, and she doesn’t actually utilize solar power, but she apparently never got that memo.) It’s probably safe to say that at some point in 2024, you’ll find your kitty peacefully snoozing in the sunlight. Make your pet a comfy spot in a window, where she can relax and watch birds and squirrels in between naps.
Make The Humans Laugh
Cats are definitely worth their weight in gold when it comes to comedic relief. Fluffy’s adorable antics always put a smile on our faces. At some point this year, you’ll find yourself chuckling at your cute pet’s antics.
It’s quite interesting to look back at our history with Fluffy. We may have domesticated cats as far back as 9500 years ago. French archaeologists discovered an early burial site, in which human remains were interred with those of a kitty. The site, in the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, is estimated to be about 4000 years older than the earliest Egyptian art of cats. We’re looking forward to finding out what we can learn about Fluffy this year!
Take Over The Internet
Fluffy is already well on her way to achieving this goal. One thing that we have to chuckle at is the way cats have become internet stars. We’ll never tire of watching cute videos of playful furballs being silly and adorable. We’re looking forward to meeting next year’s social media celebrekitties! All of us at Small Animal Medicine & Surgery, your Salisbury, NC pet hospital, wish you a wonderful new year. Please reach out to us for all of your kitty’s veterinary care needs!