More households have cats than dogs and most have multiple cats. Cats and dogs are the most common of household pets and yet they are so very different. Cats are carnivores, dogs are omnivores. Cats primarily need meat in their diet. Dogs do well on a diet of meat and grains. More people are allergic to cats than dogs. People tend to have stronger feelings about cats than dogs. If they like them, they really like them. If they dislike them, the poor cats had better stay out of the way.
Cats are clever and very intelligent. They are intelligent enough to convince us that they are not smart enough to learn tricks. Some are friendly and playful and want to be on a lap at all times, while others will stay off by themselves and be most content looking out a window for hours. Cats generally prefer being outdoors, but they do much better when kept indoors with toys and people to entertain and be entertained. Their lifespan is greatly increased when they are kept in the house, as coyotes and other prey find them rather tasty.
Cats are incredibly clean. They spend hours cleaning themselves resulting in problems with hairballs. Particularly with long-haired cats, regular grooming is important to keep them mat-free and reduce the likelihood of hairballs. They also need their nails trimmed regularly. Cat scratchers help with nail care and divert the cat's attention from the furniture. De-clawing is a popular concept among owners of in-house cats. Hopefully, they will consider the pain and suffering involved before deciding. Removing the cat's claws is the same as remove our toenails. Just imagine it.
Neutering, however, is vitally important, even for stay-at-home cats. Besides the benefit of population control, neutered cats tend to live longer, are more loving and better tempered, less likely to mark and spray territory, less likely to fight and wander and avoid messy heat cycles. Spayed females will not suffer from uterine or ovarian cancer and neutering males greatly reduces the chances of prostate difficulties.
Kittens take readily to the litter box, and as long as it is kept clean, they will use it. If it gets unpleasant, they will stage a protest and relieve themselves any place that suits them.
Cats are prone to urinary tract infections. These are very painful and can cause death. If your cat has been good about using the litter box and suddenly is not using it, first make sure that the box is clean. This sudden change in behavior demands a visit to the veterinarian for a check-up. When the urinary tract becomes blocked, the cat will die -- but not without terrible suffering.
Proper diet is the best way to keep your cat healthy. A high quality cat food with a properly balanced ratio of essential ingredients and nutrients will help him live a long and healthy life. Dry food helps to keep teeth and gums healthy. Most house cats are overweight which will shorten their lives and can lead to many other health problems.
Feral cats are a huge problem in this area. Cats are dumped and must quickly learn to fend for themselves. Cats multiply quickly. Only one out of every 12 cats ever finds a permanent home. Individuals and groups are dedicated to capturing feral cats, neutering and then releasing them. Onto another subject, here are the results of the "People and Their Amazing Animals and Talent Show" which was held at Payson Feed Aug. 21. The 25 great entries made judging difficult. Judges were Gretchen Richards of Purina Mills, Suzanne Michaels of KMOG Radio and Gary Halley, a Payson dog breeder and handler. Our local Channel 4 took photos which will air soon.
The categories and winners were as follows:
- Cutest contestant and pet, (12 and under) was Emily Daniels of Payson with Jake, her Chihuahua puppy. Blond Emily, age 4, wore a yellow dress and pigtails to match Jake's yellow and white coat. They made an irresistible team.
- The most unusual pet was Rocky, a Mini Rex rabbit shown by Alisha Makns of Payson. Judging was based on the uniqueness of the pet and the uniqueness of the owner/animal relationship.
- Linda White and Chip, a border collie, won the talent category. Chip wore a red, white and blue bandanna and Linda wore a matching shirt. Chip played volleyball, flew to catch the frisbee, did sit ups and circling maneuvers and then displayed his math skills with an amazing counting trick.
A tape of these winners will be sent to Purina, along with winners from throughout the country. Purina will select the best to be included in the national contest. We wish them luck.
It is great to see people enjoying and having fun with their pets. You can be sure the pets love it too. Let's start training for next year's competition.