Caring for Mature Cats

The lifespan of cats can be quite varied, their average life expectancy is 15 years, although in rarer cases they may even survive into their twenties. Recognising that your cat is moving into their final years is important, so that you know when to start catering for their changing needs.

The most obvious sign that you can look out for is that your cat will move considerably less. Their mobility will decrease, meaning that access to areas they may have previously favoured, e.g. on top of a cupboard or on the window sill, will no longer be possible. You may also find that your cat sleeps a lot more than they once did. As a result of these two symptoms of ageing, you may notice your cat start to gain weight.

A further result of maturing is the slowing down of the digestive system. It is important to alter what they’re eating to ensure they’re comfortably getting everything they need from their diet. The quality of the food being fed to pet cats is important throughout their lives, but in their more senior years when their digestive system is slowing down it is even more so than usual. High quality, easily digestible meat content is essential, without any waste ingredients.

As well as a high quality diet, additional vitamin intake is advisable to help with their slow-moving digestion. The vitamin intake can also help support the immune system which can decline in older cats.

The coat of elderly cats can become dull and dry. The AniForte Omega-3 Salmon Oil provides a number of health benefits for animals, it promotes strong bones and good constitution and can even prevent loss of fur. A healthy nutritious diet should show itself in your cat’s fur.  Salmon Oil promotes a glossy coat, which can help improve the appearance of ageing cats.

Ageing can take its toll on the teeth and gums of our feline companions. Inflammation can occur and will need dealing with before the problem worsens. Look out for mouth odour and redness or bleeding in the gums, in more severe cases cats may even suffer from a loss of appetite

If any of the above symptoms are recognisable in your pet, it means that their age is starting to show and their joints may well be suffering as a result. Just like humans, old cats can suffer from joint wear and tear and arthritis and should be treated accordingly. It is best to do so with natural remedies, the AniForte Joint Perfect Devils’ Claw consists of 100% natural African devil’s claw. It supports the metabolism in ligaments, tendons and joints, improving the overall joint mobility and movement.

As well as the above, there are a number of conditions that your cat may encounter as they get older. Most notably blood sugar disorders and issues with the thyroid. As a general rule, it is key to pay attention to whether your cat’s water intake has increased, if their eating habits have changed and whether they are suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting. By being observant and spotting any issues early on, you can give cats the best chance of living out their later years in comfort.

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Taking care of your cat while travelling by car

You may come across many dealers and car companies, saying “We know cars, cats in cars”, but taking care of cats in the car can be a daunting task. While your cat might enjoy the ride, you have to be very careful about taking the right care your companion while driving to ensure that they don’t hurt, sick or feel trapped.

Here are the top ways to take the right care of your cat, when you regularly take your cat out for a drive.

Talk To Your Cat’s Vet

Before taking your cat for a journey in the car, it’s vital that you talk your cat’s veterinarian and learn some basic tips to travel with a cat in the car. Also, check out what to do if the cat becomes carsick.

One of the best ways to get your cat used to the car travel is by taking the cat out for small drives. Practice driving short distances with your cat to acclimate them to the car.

Acclimatize Your Cat To a Cat Carrier

If you are planning to use a cat carrier for your cat, then it’s important that you acclimate your cat to the carrier. Take the carrier out well in advance, clean it up and put it in the living area.

Place a clean towel in the travel carrier, which smells either like you or your cat. If you leave the travel carrier open, and allow your cat to explore it, your cat will become a little acclimatized to it, and won’t be too stressed during the travel period.

Disposable Litter Trays

As it’s not practical to take your cat’s usual litter box with you we would recommend to take a few disposable litter trays with you.

Don’t Leave Your Cat Should You Park Your Car

During hot weather, the temperature in a parked car can skyrocket within seconds, even when you have parked your car in the shade. A car can get hot enough to cause a heat stroke or worse to your cat. And don’t forget that while your cat might have been fine travelling in the car with you that may not apply without you as it no longer feels safe without its companion.

Even during winters, the temperature can plummet enough that your cat feels the freezing cold inside the car.

Feed Your Cat Before the Journey

Ensure that your cat has eaten a light meal four to five hours before you start the journey. This should hopefully mean that your cat will have used the litter box prior to starting the journey thus making the journey more comfortable for yourself and your cat.

If you are going for a long ride one of the disposable litter boxes as well as feeding sessions will of course be necessary. If you are only travelling for a couple of hours or less it’s best not to feed them during the journey as this could lead to motion sickness and vomiting.

Five Hundred Years of The Kitchen Cat

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Minette, Julia Child’s first kitchen cat

“Cats gravitate to kitchens like rocks gravitate to gravity.” – Terry Pratchett

For as long as there have been kitchens, there have been kitchen cats: rodent hunters, defenders of the pantry, guardians of the warmest spot by the hearth, always on the look out for a stray piece of meat or fish. Any good kitchen cat can be cosily asleep one minute and slinking stealthily the next. They introduce surprise, playfulness, and the unexpected into any situation. It comes as no surprise then that the kitchen cat has always been a favourite of artists; representing vitality, grace, and a certain joyful rebelliousness. Here, picked out from across five centuries, are a few of my favourite kitchen cats in art and culture.

1. Joachim Wtewael Kitchen Scene (1605)

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The earliest painting I’ve chosen, from 1605, is by Dutch mannerist painter Joachim Wtewael. It shows a busy kitchen, preparing what looks like a feast of fish, fowl and vegetables. Of course, a kitchen wouldn’t be a kitchen without a resident cat, preparing to fight a dog for a forgotten fish…

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It’s the tiny details like the cat’s outstretched paw and pinned back ears that give this scene its vibrancy, its sense of bustle and life.

2. Louis Le Nain, A peasant family inside (mid-1600s).

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From a grand kitchen to a humble one. Le Nain’s 17th century work depicts a peasant family, seated in their kitchen, surrounded by the paraphernalia of their everyday lives; pots, pans, jugs, baskets… and an opportunistic kitten, peeping out from behind a tureen, waiting, once again, to beat the dog to a scrap of food.

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3. Jean-Baptiste Chardin, The Ray or The Kitchen Interior (1728)

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Moving on the next century, we encounter master painter Jean-Baptiste Chardin. This strange, visceral painting astounded the artistic establishment of the time, and has enthralled artists ever since, from Matisse to Proust. The figure of the kitten, caught in the act of hissing or leaping onto the spilled oysters, brings the element of movement and alarm to the static meat and utensils of the kitchen, and is part of what makes this painting truly remarkable.

It’s a trick Chardin repeated twice more in different paintings from around the same time; in each, the bright-eyed, feline quickness of a cat breaks the still life, and contrasts with the vivid, immobile flesh of a half-butchered piece of fish.

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Chardin, Cat with Ray, Oysters, Pitcher and Loaf of Bread, c.1728

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Chardin, Still Life with Cat and Fish, c. 1728

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4. Théodule Ribot, The Cook and the Cat, late nineteeth-century

Whisking forwards over a hundred years we encounter another French realist painter, Théodule Ribot, and his depiction of a sneaky ginger Tom trying to nab a fish from an unsuspecting (or kindly) chef. Again, we see an artist choosing to use a kitchen cat as the active, driving force of a painting; we get the impression that the chef is pausing in his work, looking out of the corner of his eye as the cat’s paw extends slowly towards the fish.

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5. John Sloan, Chinese Restaurant (1909)

Sliding into the twentieth-century, we encounter John Sloan, an artist who was part of the “Ashcan” painters, so called because they often chose to focus on the everyday lives of the lower classes. Setting a painting in a Chinese restaurant was a political as well as aesthetic choice that would have been unthinkable to other more traditional painters. But Sloan, witnessing a woman playing with and feeding the restaurant’s cat, was so enthralled by the scene he chose to paint it from memory. Sloan’s choice of subject and setting not only creates a compelling, multi-layered image, but succeeds in capturing a moment of everyday life in New York City that might otherwise have been lost.

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6. Kit-Cat-Klock (1932)

From the everyday lives of early twentieth-century New Yorkers, to one of the most commonplace objects of the mid-century. The Kit-Cat Klock first appeared in 1932, and over the years this art deco-style gadget hasn’t changed much. Here is yet another kitchen cat who has made the history books; this time as an enduring symbol of pop culture kitchens.

7. Julia Child and Minette’s Feast (2012)

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As we’ve seen, the presence of a cat in the kitchen is often symbolic of down-to-earth domesticity, everyday life, mischief and unpretentiousness.

All of which could describe Julia Child, who found herself adopted by her first cat, Minette, when she moved to Paris. Far from being shunned from the kitchen, Minette became a fixture there, and soon grew fat on all the tidbits that Julia slipped her. She even had her own personal stool to sit on while Julia worked. And so, the final depiction of cats in kitchens that I’ve chosen to share is not a painting, but a book: Minette’s Feast by Susanna Reich and Amy Bates (2012).

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This beautifully illustrated story tells us of Julia’s time in Paris, and Minette’s time as her kitchen cat. It features some truly lovely illustrations that, like the previous paintings, capture the essential verve, life and joy of the humble kitchen cat.

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Laura Madeleine is an author and baker from Bristol with two kitchen cats: one who is partial to butter and drinking from the tap, and another who prefers to get underfoot and sing for her supper.

Laura’s latest book, Where the Wild Cherries Grow, is a sweeping love story with a delicious foodie twist, set between the wilds of the English coast and the sun-drenched shores of French Catalonia. It is published on 15th June by Transworld.

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Relaxing with the Friday Art Cat

Welcome warmness! Welcome green! Welcome all the flowering things! It may already be sweltering where you are, or maybe you are heading into winter, but the cats are reveling in dappled sun puddles and cool nights. That’s because your Art Cat resides near the 45th parallel, where, on the date of the summer solstice, we will experience almost 17 hours of daylight!

Watercolor painting of cat sniffing a flower.

All of that pending luminescence inspires love and gentleness in the usually persnickety Art Cat. It’s quite possible that she requires a healthy dose of vitamin D to feel happy, just like her human. But, whatever your coordinates on the globe, the Friday Art Cat hopes you can take some time to smell the flowers.


Carol Parker Mittal is an artist and teacher living in Northern Michigan who goes completely crazy with happiness when the sun is out and warmth returns to the north. You can check out her blog about art and cats at Art is Not for Sissies. 

Bruce the Cat finds a Home by Kathryn van Beek

Hi everyone,

Today we would like to introduce you to the story of Bruce the Cat and the new children’s book about him by Kathryn van Beek.

Bruce the Cat is an internet sensation who was found on a footpath and hand-raised from one day old. He has also changed colour (from grey to black) and now he’s releasing his very own book.
More videos of Bruce can be found in his YouTube channel.
Bruce the Cat is about to release his very own children’s book… but his own tale very nearly didn’t start at all.  A year and a half ago, Kathryn van Beek discovered the bedraggled one-day old kitten alone on a footpath.

She fed him around the clock and named him after that other famous orphan, Bruce Wayne.

The tiny kitten’s story went viral; he now has over 30,000 Facebook fans from all over the world who hang on his every photo and exploit.

Kathryn has now written and illustrated a children’s picture book Bruce Finds a Home. A Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign kicked off on Wednesday 24 May.

The Kickstarter campaign will allow people to pre-order copies of the book. There’s a range of rewards for those who pledge, including custom illustrations and even Bruce’s paw print! People can also choose to donate copies to The Animal Rescue Network, a charitable trust dedicated to helping stray and abandoned cats and kittens.

About Bruce the Cat
Bruce has almost 30,000 fans on Facebook and is also on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and of course YouTube. He appeared on TV1 News and featured in local and international media. Find out more about Bruce by visiting his website or his Facebook page.

About Kathryn van Beek
Kathryn has a master’s degree from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters. She won the 2015 Headland Prize for a short story and Best of the Auckland Zinefest 2015 for her collection of illustrations. Find out more about Kathryn on her website: kathrynvanbeek.co.nz.

Ni-Cat ™ Chapter Two Of Three

Missed Part 1? Click here!

“She has an ID chip, her name’s Veronica, here’s the phone number,” said the vet entirely too happily, quick-marching out of the back of the clinic with a torn sheet of notebook paper.

Dr. Cohn, who is fairly young, wears light-colored oxfords and quiet ties, and has a translucent complexion that you usually only see on mannequins. He is about the nicest guy I ever met in the vet business. I think he noticed I wasn’t overjoyed.

“I thought you might like to be the one to tell them you found their cat,” he added rather gently. “One of the techs will have the carrier out in a minute.”

Veronica — Veronica for pity’s sake? — didn’t screech coming back into the house the way she had going out, jolted by the sight of my two ginger boys into a horripilating (for her and for me) dominance display behind the wire mesh of the sturdiest carrier. The more people handled her the quieter she got. You could tell from that alone that she was a breeder cat. She weighed seven and a half pounds (not five) and seemed to ail for nothing, except the possibility that her roundish tummy might mean worms. She had been wolfing food nonstop for three days, of course.

A few hours later “Dana” returned my call. Oh, unbelievable. They had put out three hundred flyers and signs and called all the shelters. They were sure Veronica was a goner. In fact her son was just desolate and they had gone to the breeder to get another cat so now they were going to have three…. “If you’re stitched up with cats I’d happily keep her,” I said. I didn’t laugh very convincingly, I suspect, and quickly asked “Is she an Oci or a Bengal?”

“Aren’t they just works of art???” said Dana. “We actually have another one from her litter. He’s a marble Bengal…” I gritted my teeth. I mean, if you want a work of art, go visit a gallery.

“I’ll bring her over this evening,” I said.

“I’ll let it be a surprise for my son,” she said. “He’ll be thrilled.”

***

The kid was at the dining room table when I arrived with the carrier. He looked about nine. Besides the two other cats, there was a great loutish English setter woofing and goofing around the dining room.

“Paul! Look!”

“Is it Veronica?” the kid said without getting up and with what seemed a consciously blase smirk. I took an instant dislike to him. I hated him even more a few minutes later when, showing a little more animation, he reacted to Miss Nickel’s release from the carrier by seizing a “kitty fishing” pole and poking it at her. Confronted with two other cats, a dopey dog, and a rotten insensitive little kid with a fishing pole, she did the only thing I would have done: she zoomed out of the tiny house’s living room and down the cellar stairs by way of the kitchen.

It looked like “Veronica” had covered about three miles, along the path of a local creek, before hitting the road that ends up at my gym. “Paul put the dog out in the yard New Year’s Eve and didn’t get the screen door shut tight,” the woman explained, “and I guess that’s when she got out. He was heartbroken. I can’t believe you found her.” The kid actually didn’t seem to be experiencing any strong emotion, except to want to break out some catnip, any excuse for commotion, it seemed.

“She’s probably up in the ceiling,” said Dana. “She always goes there.” She led me down to show me the little joist space over the laundry room and, sure enough, there was Nickel peering out nervously. “Let me go put the dog out back.” The punk kid remained, with his verfluchte fishing pole, and poked it up at the poor beleaguered cat. As gently as I could make myself I pushed it out of the way.

“Don’t do that,” I said. “She’s scared. I know because I Am The Cat Lady.” I couldn’t tell if it had sunk in or not. “Bring tuna,” I commanded.

He trotted upstairs and, shortly, reappeared with tuna in a cat dish, which I put up into the joist space. Nickel began gobbling.

I told him to leave the toys and the catnip alone for three days. On the way out I noticed a furniture-quality cat tree, higher than my head, that must have cost about four hundred bucks. Bengals themselves are in the five hundred dollar range around here.

Go figure.

**

Two months went by. After a few e-mail exchanges I heard no more news from Dana. I was profoundly bummed.

**

The message showed up about ten on a May morning.

Veronica is not adjusting to being back home.  I am thinking about finding her a new home.
Dolly stalks her, and she hates everyone.  She is also peeing and pooping out of the box, and I can’t deal.
Are you interested in rehabilitating her?
“I’ll be right over,” I replied.

Your Friday Art Cat is Blue

Humphrey was a muscular gray-blue kitty with haunting eyes, and he was angry. He was taken in by a local no-kill shelter because his owner of 9 years passed away.  There was no consoling or petting Humphrey. His behavior was unpredictable. He was not good around other animals. He needed an understanding home where he would be the only pet. He got adopted once, but was returned because of inappropriate marking. Oh, Humphrey.

Watercolor Cat

I can’t imagine all the feels of having your predictable cat world ripped out from under you, then being contained in a cage where well-meaning strangers stare and poke at you all day. If I didn’t have other cats (including your Friday Art Cat,) I would have taken Humphrey and tried to help him love again. Instead, I could only pay him respect by capturing his image as a reminder of feisty suffering.


Carol Parker Mittal is an artist and teacher living in Northern Michigan who wonders if Humphrey ever found a happy home. You can check out her blog about art and cats at Art is Not for Sissies.