10 Ways to Keep your Kitty Fit

Ever wonder if your cat is getting the proper fitness it needs? It’s easy for cats to get out of shape if they don’t have enough physical activity. Here are 10 tips from Animal Wellness for keeping your cat fit.

Cats are popular because they’re “easy” to care for. They don’t have to be walked or trained like a dog does. But that makes it easy to forget that they have the bodies of athletes. They aren’t meant to spend all their time sleeping or lying around, but that’s what many end up doing, especially if they’re indoor cats.

Because of this, a large number of kitties today are on the chubby side. In fact, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 57.6% of cats are overweight, and that can lead to diabetes, respiratory and heart disease, joint problems, some forms of cancer, kidney disease, and overall decreased life expectancy.

Keeping your cat fit shouldn’t be limited to kitten-hood. Many people assume that cats slow down once they mature, so they don’t need to play or exercise as much. But exercise and fitness should remain a priority throughout the cat’s life. Some may play and run on their own, but more often than not, you’ll have to take responsibility for keeping the wiggle in your kitty’s butt by initiating a play routine. Think of it as spending quality time together!

GET HER OFF THE COUCH

Short of enrolling your cat in a gym membership, what can you do to keep her fit and healthy?

1. Nutrition is a foundation. We often equate food with love, and grab the treat jar or fill the bowl at the first pleading meow. A high quality, species-appropriate, whole meat-based diet is essential to maintaining optimum health, as well as good muscle tone and body condition. Avoid free-feeding – cats allowed to nibble 24/7 soon gain weight, especially if they’re given cheap carbohydrate-laden kibble.

2. Make your cat work for his treats by using puzzle toys – it’ll bring out her prey drive, keep her moving and stimulate her brain. Much better than simply camping out at the food bowl.

3. Cats are designed to hunt, and play is the best way to hone that skill. Fishing pole toys are a good way to start; they’re a dime a dozen and the permutations are endless. Learn how to make the toy act like prey and watch your cat leap and soar.

4. Laser toys can also give your cat a workout, but they can be a source of frustration if not used properly. Every hunt should end in a capture, so be sure there’s a reward for the workout – catnip or a treat. Keep in mind this mantra from cat guru Jackson Galaxy: “Hunt, catch, kill, eat.”

5. Boxes and paper bags are universally adored. Add a ping pong ball and let the fun begin!

6. The Turbo scratcher has been around for ages. It combines a ball in a track with a replaceable cardboard scratching pad. They last forever and kitty gets a great workout by batting the ball around and using the scratcher.

7. Although it’s essential to have at least one good, tall, sturdy scratching post, a few extra inexpensive cardboard scratchers, placed all around the house, are great for working out (and saving your furniture). Look at your cat when she stretches: her back is elongated and her butt elevated. The muscles in the front legs are being exercised while the rear legs are extended to support the back and butt.

8. If you have a treadmill, see if you can get your cat interested in it. Just be sure to supervise her while she’s on it, for safety’s sake, and don’t force her to get on it if she doesn’t want to. Cat exercise wheels are also becoming available, but again, there’s a need for supervision.

9. It’s no secret that cats need vertical space as well as horizontal surfaces. Nice tall cat trees and kitty condos allow them to stretch and jump.

10. If you’re thinking of adopting a kitten, adopt two. Kittens have boundless energy and a pair is sure to be active and self-amusing. And when added to a family of one or two adult cats, a kitten can add new life.

It goes without saying that kittens are natural athletes. They have limitless energy and their activity is non-stop. The key is to sustain that energy through adulthood by maintaining a regular routine of play along with proper nutrition.

Come on by the Barkery and get a few new toys to help with your cats fitness!

How to Properly Pet a Cat

Ever had a non-cat guest come over and attempt to pet your cat as if it was a dog? Yeah, probably not going to end well. Dr. Marty Becker from Vet Street explains. 

Feline Love: Breaking the Code

I’ve spent my life caring for and about animals, and I’ve always been a careful observer of what makes them happy. I know the “sweet spots” on every pet I’ve ever met, but I also know if you hit the wrong note on many a cat, you won’t be singing a happy song for long. And while most cat owners eventually figure that out on their own, you could be one of those people whose current cat tolerates pretty much anything. Your next one, though, could be scratch-happy if you don’t know where to go.

Which is why I love sharing about caring, and in cats that means sticking to four top spots for heavy petting, and ignoring one spot that dogs love but that most cats never will.

Do Not Touch!

Are you ahead of me on the one spot most cats don’t like but most dogs do? If you guessed “belly rub,” you’re right! Why the difference? While dogs are generally pretty secure in their identity as a predator — even tiny dogs seem to imagine that they’re really big, scary wolves — cats have to be more careful when they’re on the prowl. That’s because they are very aware that they are both predator and prey. To a mouse, a cat is an effective killing machine. To a coyote, a cat is lunch.

What this means for a cat is that he’s always looking over his shoulder at what might be coming up behind him. When a cat is in a fight for his life, there’s no territory as important to protect as the belly, since that’s where all the vital organs are readily accessible. A touch there from a cat who hasn’t learned that you don’t mean any harm will trigger a defensive maneuver. Claws and teeth come out, even if they’re not fully engaged.

While some cats can learn to accept gentle belly rubs, others never will. Honestly, it’s probably better to stick to the spots cats do enjoy, even if your cat shows his belly all the time.

Scratch Here, Please

The places cats enjoy being petted are those where their scent glands are concentrated. When your cat rubs on you or the corner of your couch, it’s his chin and the head that make the contact. When a cat does that, he’s leaving his scent on the item (or person). Spreading his scent makes him happy and content, since it makes his environment smell familiar. (Synthetic versions of these pheromones — Feliway is the feline version — are great for helping cats get through stressful events such as moving or going to the veterinarian.)

When you pet a cat in these areas, you’re making him feel wonderfully content. And you’re also helping him to mark you with his special scent, which makes him even happier. So what are these hot spots?

  • Base of the chin. Rub your cat gently along the underside of the chin, especially where the jawbone connects to the skull. You’ll likely get the purr-motor running hard, as your cat pushes into this pleasant caress.
  • Base of the ears. Like the area underneath the chin, this spot is great for scent-marking. When your cat bumps his head against you — this is called “bunting” — he’s marking you as his own.
  • Cheeks behind the whiskers. Hit this spot right and you can often get your cat to show his pleasure keenly by rotating his whiskers forward, as if to say, “More! More! Yeah, right there!”
  • Base of the tail. I call this “Elevator Butt.” A gentle caress down the back with pressure at the base of the tail. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Work your way through these kitty hot spots, and the love you share will only grow. You’ll have earned your tabby stripes as a cat whisperer, and your cat will love you for it.

10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers this year by following these 10 easy tips. From Pet MD.

1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets.

All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.

Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.

3. Keep pets confined and away from the door.

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

4. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.

Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.

Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins …

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.

Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach.

If chewed, your pet could cut himself or herself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

8. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.2015-10-08_1029

If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow.

9. Try on pet costumes before the big night.

If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”. Festive bandanas usually work for party poopers, too.

10. IDs, please!

If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet does have one of those fancy-schmancy embedded microchips.

Pumpkin Benefits for Your Pup or Kitty

Share the health benefits of this favorite seasonal food with your four-legged friend.

Spicy pies and jack o’lanterns…this time of year, these are the images pumpkins conjure up. But this fat orange vegetable is more than just a Thanksgiving and Halloween staple. It’s actually one of the world’s healthiest foods – both for us and our companion animals. From Animal Wellness Magazine.

Pumpkin has a colorful history, dating all the way back to the Aztec civilization of 1300 to 1500 AD. Throughout the ages, many cultures – including Native American, Eastern European, Mediterranean and Indian – have prized pumpkin as both a dietary staple and for its medicinal properties.

pumpkin_for_dogs_catsHEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, pumpkin has a Cooling nature. It helps relieve Damp conditions, including dysentery, eczema and edema. Pumpkin supports the spleen and the pancreas. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes the discharge of mucus from the lungs, bronchi and throat.

Pumpkin is great for diarrhea – and amazingly, it’s just as good for constipation. There are seven grams of soluble fiber in each cup of pumpkin. It helps coat and soothe irritated gastrointestinal systems, and is an excellent source of potassium, which is so critical when valuable electrolytes are lost due to diarrhea.

Pumpkin is packed with many other nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin and thiamin – and, from the rich bright orange color, beta carotene.

SEEDS, EXTRACT AND OIL
Pumpkin seeds also are mini-powerhouses of nutrition. They are a valuable source of zinc, which is concentrated in the very thin layer found underneath the shell, called the endosperm envelope. Pumpkin seeds also contain vitamin E, including alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alphatocomonoenol and gamma-tocomonoenol, as well as manganese, phenolic antioxidants and antioxidant phytonutrients like lignans, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and iron.

Pumpkin seeds, extract and oil, have been found to have anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. Cooked pumpkin is a good remedy for intestinal worms, though the seeds have been found to be more effective than the flesh. Pumpkin seeds are not commonly allergenic, and do not contain measurable levels of oxalates.

Preliminary studies have demonstrated that pumpkin seed extract and pumpkin seed oil improve insulin regulation in diabetic animals, and support kidney function. A decrease in oxidative stress was also observed.

By incorporating pumpkin into your recipes, you can harness the power of pumpkin for your dog or cat!

Is Your Dog Walking YOU?

No matter what you do, you can’t get Nibbles to stop pulling on the leash when you walk him. PetMD has some great tips on how to walk your dog without all the tug-of-war.

We all have that friend, relative… or rival who walks their dog with expert leash-wielding skills. They aren’t being pulled down the block, tied round trees or tangled up with the friendly neighbor dog who’s also out for an afternoon stroll. I don’t know about you, but I silently envy the person and pet that can walk side-by-side without breaking a sweat.

And, I have to admit, good leash walking skills are important for more than just showing off your pet-parent talents. “From a relationship perspective,” explains Sarah Fraser, a certified professional dog trainer and co-founder of Instinct Behavior & Training in New York City, “if your dog is walking nicely on a leash, it likely means that your dog is paying more attention to you, making it easier for you to provide direction and guidance as needed along your walk.”

A leash-puller can also run the risk of accidentally breaking away from your grip, which can pose multiple dangers to your pet if he or she continues to run, not to mention yourself if you end up face-first on the sidewalk. “Teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash allows you to take her more places and for longer walks, because it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for the both of you,” Fraser says.

Being tethered to someone by a piece of rope is just plain weird,” notes Fraser. Having proper leash manners minimizes the risk that you will be pulled over in a moment of overzealous leash yanking and will make the time more about walking and less about tug-of-war.

Tips for Better Behavior

Whether your dog is big or small, here are six ways to improve your dog’s behavior on a leash:

Adjust your attitude. First, ask yourself: “What would I like him or her to do instead?” Instead of teaching a dog tostop pulling, think of it as teaching your dog how to walk nicely beside you.

Remember it’s all about the rewards. One of the easiest and most effective ways to start teaching a dog to walk properly on a leash is to reward the dog for paying attention to you, and for being in the desired position (next to you or close to you) when out for a walk. “As the dog learns that walking next to you is a pleasant, rewarding experience, she’ll spend less time pulling and more time walking nicely beside you,” says Fraser. Try using very special treats in the beginning, like small pieces of boiled chicken or roast beef to really get your dog’s attention, she advises.

Play the “follow me” game. Hold on to your leash and take several backward steps away from your dog. The backward movement is inviting, so your dog is likely to turn and follow you. Say “yes!” as your dog approaches you, then immediately reward him or her with a treat. “The game helps your dog focus and move with you,” says Fraser. Then back away several steps in another direction. Once again, says “yes!” as your dog approaches and reward him or her with a treat. Repeat this pattern eight to 12 times, until your dog is actively pursuing you when you move away.

Practice on your regular walks.  Once you’ve started your stride, each time your dog looks up at you or walks next to you, says “yes!” and immediately reward him or her with a treat.

Reward often. Frequent rewards help the dog figure out more quickly what behavior you’re looking for and make the learning process easier for her,” Fraser explains. “The trick to making this work,” she says, “is using very special treats at first, and keeping your rate of reinforcement high, which just means that you are marking and rewarding often—maybe every 4-5 steps at first—for any and all ‘good’ leash behavior.” Over time, you can thin out your rate of reinforcement, rewarding your dog less frequently throughout the course of the walk, Fraser adds.

Consider additional assistance. “If your dog is already a practiced puller, consider purchasing a quality front clip harness to provide extra control on walks,” Fraser recommends. But if your dog already pulls hard on a front clip harness, consider working with a certified, positive reinforcement-based trainer.

Finally, remember that walking on a leash is a skill that takes time and practice for both the pet parent and dog, so celebrate incremental improvements and successes!

The Top 10 Most Common Cat Health Issues

Cats are experts at hiding illness and injury – that’s why it’s important to pay attention to small signs that something may be wrong. On the other hand, sometimes symptoms are present but we are baffled as to what is actually wrong. Cats may have nine lives, but you want to make sure kitty hangs on to all of them for as long as she can. No matter how much love and care you give your furry companion, things happen. But by knowing how to recognize the most common health issues affecting cats, you may just be able to save your pet’s life.

 Here are the top 10 most common conditions in felines – from Pet 360.

Please note that when in doubt, always consult with your vet. Click here to see our recommendations on holistic veterinarians.

10. Hyperthyroidism The most likely cause of hyperthyroidism is a benign tumor on the thyroid gland, which will cause the gland to secrete too much of the hormone. Take your cat to the vet if it starts drinking and peeing a lot, shows aggressive and jittery behavior, suddenly seems hyperactive, vomits and/or loses weight while eating more than usual.

9. Upper Respiratory Virus If your kitty is sneezing, sniffling, coughing, has runny eyes or nose, seems congested and has mouth and nose ulcers, chances are it has an upper respiratory virus. The two main forms of the virus are the feline herpesvirus and calicivirus.

8. Ear Infection Ear infections in cats have many causes. These might include mites, bacteria, fungi, diabetes, allergies and reactions to medication; some breeds are also more susceptible to ear infections than others. So it’s definitely a good idea to have your kitty checked if it’s showing symptoms such as ear discharge, head shaking, swollen ear flaps, stinky ears and ultra sensitivity to ears being touched.

7. Colitis/Constipation Colitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the large intestine. While the most obvious sign of colitis is diarrhea, sometimes it will hurt the cat to poop. Thus, in trying to hold it in, the cat may develop constipation. There are many causes of colitis, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, allergies and parasites, among other diseases. Signs include straining to poop, lack of appetite, dehydration and vomiting. Your vet will test for the underlying cause and treat it accordingly.

cat-566691_6406. Diabetes Like humans, cats suffer from diabetes, too, though this is usually seen in older, overweight cats. Symptoms include increased thirst and peeing, peeing outside the litter box, lethargy and depression. While causes of feline diabetes are not really known, there is a link with diabetes and being overweight.

5. Skin Allergies Kitties, like you, are known to suffer from allergies, although their allergies show on the skin. If your cat scratches, or chews on its skin a lot, has a rash or loses hair in patches, a trip to the vet is a good idea. Causes of skin allergies vary from reactions to food, fleas, pollens, mites, and even mold and mildew.

4. Intestinal Inflammation/Diarrhea Diarrhea is a sure sign of an intestinal inflammation. It affects either the cat’s small or large intestine and may due to a variety of factors, including diet changes, eating contraband foodstuffs, allergies, bacteria overgrowth, worms and even kidney disease. Symptoms include diarrhea, lack of appetite and vomiting. A visit to your vet will sort out the cause.

3. Renal Failure This is a serious condition, which is common in older cats. While the underlying causes are not yet understood, recent research suggests a link with distemper vaccinations and long-term dry food diets. Make sure you request blood tests on your regular wellness checkups, since symptoms often don’t show up until 75 percent of the kidney tissue is damaged. The main symptom is excessive thirst and peeing, but the cat may also show signs of drooling, jaw-clicking, and ammonia-scented breath.

2. Stomach Upsets (Gastritis) An inflammation of the cat’s stomach lining is simply referred to as gastritis. This condition may be mild or severe, but regardless of its type, make sure you bring your cat to visit the vet if it doesn’t show improvement in a day or two, or if the symptoms are severe. Gastritis has many causes, from eating spoiled food to eating too fast to allergies or bacterial infections. If your cat is vomiting, belching, has a lack of appetite or bloodstained poop or diarrhea, a visit to the vet will help straighten things out.

1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease Coming in at No. 1, lower urinary tract disease can turn very quickly into a life-threatening illness for your cat, especially if there’s a blockage caused by crystals, stones or plugs. When total blockage occurs, death can occur within 72 hours if left untreated. Therefore, whisk your cat off to the vet or emergency center ASAP if you see any of the following signs: peeing outside of the litter box, straining, blood in urine, crying out while attempting to pee, not being able to pee, excessive licking of genitals, not eating or drinking, yowling while moving and lethargy. These signs will generally occur regardless if the urinary tract disease is due to stones, infection or urethral plugs.

 Try giving your kitty a close once-over each month to make sure he’s thriving and not just surviving!

Help Your Dog Have a Good Experience at the Groomer’s

It’s time to take Fido to the groomer. Between his anxiety and yours, it can be a stressful situation. Here are 5 tips from moderndogmagazine.com to help your dog have a good experience at the groomer’s:

1. Take him to go potty before going in. Your dog will be in a different or new environment for possibly several hours. Do him (and your groomer) a favor by letting him go potty before you get there.

2. Walk confidently with him from your car into the shop. Don’t keep telling them, “I know this is scary, but you’ll be ok.” Dogs pick up on your nervous-ness. They read your body language. That is often why they become nervous themselves. Take a deep breath and release a long exhale, relax your arm if you have them on a leash. Most groomers became groomers because they love animals. Find a groomer that you feel cares about you and your dog and connect with them a little before and after grooms so that you feel comfortable leaving your dog in their care for several hours. Initiate a feeling of calmness (not necessarily excitement) within yourself and I guarantee your dog will feel that.

3. If he is nervous, do not coddle him. (i.e., hugging to your chest, holding them and telling them it’s going to be alright, giving them treats) This one is the hardest to do. I see owners doing it all the time and even I find it tough to do with my own dogs. But I have to see it as leading by example and doing the best for them. It’s like leaving a child at daycare. If you start to cry when they cry, they will only feel more scared and panicked. When a dog shows he’s nervous at the groomer’s (i.e. trembling, not wanting to go inside), by coddling and hugging and giving treats, in a dog’s mind, you are rewarding this behavior. You are telling them that this is how you want them to act. They are thinking, oh, if I shake a bit, I will get a treat or a pet and this must be what my owner wants. Act calm and confidently hand the dog (or the leash) over to the groomer. Show the dog that you are comfortable with this. Give any treats you may have to the groomer to give to the dog once he is in a calm state.

4. Bring some of his treats from home. Which leads to my next tip. In my shop, I always have treats for dogs. I love to give positive reinforcement, especially for dogs that are very food motivated and are nervous about nail clippings. I also like to give every dog a treat (if they’ll accept) when the groom is finished. That way they have a positive association with the grooming and with my shop before they leave. Many dogs are excited to come back here. If your dog is a picky eater, or has dietary restrictions, try to bring some of their own treats from home. If you know your dog has an affinity for a certain type of food, such as chicken thighs or carrots, cut up a bit of it and put it in a baggie to hand to the groomer when you get there. I’m a big fan of positive associations and reinforcement.

5. Give him a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets. Also, a drop of lavender oil placed on the pad of the paw or the inside tip of the ear. These can be administered at home before getting in the car to go anywhere, so that by the time you get to the shop, they have had time to take effect. Both of these are options I offer at my shop; they are all-natural ways of lessening stress and anxiety for your pet. I have seen amazing results with just a few drops of the Rescue Remedy and if I know a nervous dog is coming in, I’m sure to put a few drops of lavender oil in my aromatherapy diffuser and on my grooming table.

Just remember to do what’s best for your dog and find a groomer that you and your dog connect with. Good luck!

 

5 Ways to Help a Semi-Feral Cat Adjust to a Domestic Home

There’s a lot of time (and patience) that goes into helping a semi-feral kitty adjust to a new home—but it’s all worth it! Moderncat.com shows us how to succeed where others have failed.

Helping a semi-feral cat adjust to her environs can be time consuming and challenging—because of this they are more likely to be sent back to their adoption agency and have a harder time finding good forever homes—but this doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort; to the contrary. While it can seem like a battle (one that sometimes threatens to verge on stalemate or out and out loss) there are a few key things you can do to make your new cat’s transition to a happy domestic life easier. And trust me, from personal experience, your time and love will definitely pay off, as once semi-feral cats who have adjusted into their new lives are some of the most loving, affectionate, and appreciative cats you could ever hope for. These five easy steps will help make your feral cat’s adjustment as quick and problem-free as possible.

1. Have a Dedicated Cat Room

When you bring your new cat home, have a safe room ready with all of your new cat’s amenities ready and waiting for her. It should have scratching posts, a few toys, food, water and a litter box (ensure the food and litter are on opposite sides of the room). This room should be quiet and, for the time being, not for human use. This space should also have some small and safe hiding places, like a cat house or a blanket draped over a chair, but no places that are completely inaccessible to you, like under a bed, to prevent serious hiding as that allows the cat to completely remove herself from her new environment. You should spend time in this room every day to help the cat acclimate to your presence. While in the room read out loud, or call someone, and just talk. This lets the cat learn the sound of your voice and become comfortable with it.

2. Put Food to Use

Food is the initial key to your new cat’s trust and eventual affection. Cats domesticate themselves for a steady food source. For the first little while, it is crucial that you stick to a regular feeding schedule so that your cat learns that you are, without fail, the bringer of delicious food. Once the cat is comfortable enough to eat (it shouldn’t take too long), begin sitting in the room while she eats. Do not interfere with her or the food during this time; this assures the cat that they are safe with you. If the cat is difficult to convince, you may have to start withholding food unless you are in the room. Food is also a great way to get your cat to do new and scary things. Keep special food (“chicken in gravy” baby food is pretty much a guaranteed hit) to encourage new steps to becoming more comfortable with you. The offering of delicious food will help your feral cat come to you and become more and more used to her new domestic life.

3. Avoid Eye Contact

If you find your cat staring at you, do not engage. Eye contact is an aggressive act to feral cats. If you accidentally find yourself in a staring contest, the best thing to do is to calmly blink, keeping your eyes closed for a few seconds and turn your head away. This shows your cat that you do not mean to threaten them, and are taking a submissive role, which helps them feel safe and confident in the new space.

4. Don’t Force Physical Contact

Your cat will come to you when she feels safe to. This can be encouraged with food once the cat is more comfortable. Put a bit of the special baby food on your finger and have them lick it off. This initiates contact and allows the cat to have positive associations with you. To begin petting, extend a closed fist while you look away, and let the cat come to you and initiate any contact she feels comfortable with.

5. Have Patience

Finally, the most important thing when adopting a feral cat is patience. These things take time, and cats are notoriously guarded. You need to let them have their space and learn that they are safe in their new home. This can take much longer than you would like, but your patience will be rewarded with such love and affection as will prove all the effort worthwhile.

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