An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cat Grief

Dear Readers,

Bailey Showing Concern
From time to time, one of my colleagues alerts me to a need that I've yet to address. For this topic, I thank Bailey who is concerned about a cat of her acquaintance who is dealing with the death of his feline companion.

Just like purrsons, each of us grieves differently. Sometimes the disappearance of a fur purrson or a beloved human from our lives seems to make little difference. Some of us go on as if nothing has happened. Other times it is a BIG deal. According to veterinarian Bruce Fogel in his book The Secret Life of Cat Owners, we can take up to six months (or so) before we adapt to the changes that loss brings. Exactly how long it takes and the nature of the process is very individual.

If you are fortunate and your purrson was able to thoughtfully prepare in advance, s/he may bring the body of your companion home after euthanasia. This can be a kindness, for it gives you the change to sniff and explore the physical form of the lost one and recognize that s/he is well and truly gone.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hissy Cat Becomes the Victim of Fights in Multi-Cat Household: Felice

Dear Greyce,

Raisin, Felice and Schatzi: When Times Were Good
I am a stunning, nine-year-old spayed Sphynx (that's me in the top right corner of the photo) who is terribly insecure and is being picked on by other cats in the household. This can occur at any time of the day or night and in any place in the house!  On Herself's bed. In 'my' room (the spare bedroom). In the kitchen near the food dishes. On the scratching post. On the stairs. You name it, I'm fair game. Both of the other cats have scratched me and I don't have much protection in the way of fur. Believe me, I don't like them being around me! 

A few weeks ago, things escalated. In the middle of the night, Raisin attached me viciously. And now the other cat, Rufus, is back at it, too. 

It got so bad that Herself separated me from the rest of the group - and then felt guilty about that. (I also detest not being on the bed with her at night - because the bed is where everyone else congregates. That meant it could be the scene for fights. Or, if I were separated out, she could hear my incessant cat opera at the indignity of it all. Somehow this doesn't seem to mix well with her need for sleep.)

In the interests of keeping me protected I'm living with a neighbour as an only-cat, until a new plan of action can be developed.

So Greyce, why does everyone pick on me so much especially since I don't ever attack them? Do you think I might just be one of those cats who should be an only-cat? What on earth happened?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Book Review: Playtime for Cats

Purrhaps you are told that you are being a pest, when all you want is some interactive play. You may be tired of hearing your purrsons say that they have better things to do than pull out your favourite fishing-pole toy for a quick game. Or maybe you live with someone who is so unimaginative that s/he can barely dangle the darn thing in front of you and you are bored, bored, bored.

There is hope for you yet!

Reach into your catnip allowance savings and get a copy of Playtime for Cats (Activities and Games for Felines, by Helena Dbaly and Stefanie Sigl).

These authors know cats. Helena Dbaly is based in Switzerland, has worked in cat protection and has bred Burmese. Stefanie Sigl, a companion animal behaviourist, lives in Germany. So it is no surprise that this book is well-written and in sufficient detail to enable your purrson to become competent in feline play and in making (or purchasing) the right kind of toys for you.

What's in it for you? Lots of different kinds of imaginative toys and games suitable for a wide array of felines. And a chance to educate your purrsons about feline play. Believe me, they could use an education if they are anything like Herself.

What's in it for them? Ways to keep you stimulated and occupied many of which do not, I repeat, do not, involve their participation! There are photos and instructions for making and using really worthwhile homemade toys, in addition to those you can purrchase.

Game Box in Prep
My friends Raffiki, Black Berry and Lucky Little Guy started by saving their empty toilet rolls and a shoe box. According to the book, the Game Box (as I call it) gets mounted on a stable chair or table so it is upright. (Read the book to find out how). Your purrson hides treats in some of the cells and your job is to reach in and find them.

Well Lucky couldn't wait. So before if could be mounted, he was reaching in and even wearing a roll like a bracelet as he searched for his treats.

The book begins - as any good book on this subject must - with the rules of play, to educate your folks. And then the treasures are revealed: chapter after chapter contain items on
- the use of scent,
- the lowdown on hunting toys,
- search and unwrapping games,
- how to use water as entertainment,
- ways to bring the outdoors in (for you indoor-only types),
- training,
- obstacle courses,
- acrobatics, and my soon-to-be favourite - 
- strategy boards.

So start saving your used toilet rolls, shoe boxes, bottle caps, beer mats, wrappers from individual tea bags, and cardboard boxes for transforming into really great toys for you.

Black Berry's Egg Box
My colleagues Lucky Little Guy, Raffiki and Black Berry give this book 12 paws up. And that really has to count for something, because Black Berry is polydactyl. And so she cannot really use the Game Box I showed above, because her paws are too big to fit. BUT she loves this box of plastic eggs, within with treats are hidden. She started out simply: just one level of eggs until she got the hang of it. Now she is an accomplished master of many layers of eggs -- all in search of a treat!

Purrs of thanks to all three of them for this refurrence. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cat No Longer Sprays! Indy Checks In

 Hi Greyce,

Blissed Out on the Deck
As you can see from this stunning photo, I am a very happy guy these days! It's warm enough to go outside, though I still don't like it when anyone comes in my yard (cats, deer, squirrels - you name it). I brought a nice, fat robin - live - into the house for Herself. She didn't appreciate it; but what's a guy to do when Mothers' Day is so close at paw?

Humans! Will we EVER understand them?

I AM behaving myself in the house. I get my medication (Clomicalm) every day and I am so much happier. I do not spray indoors anymore. 

Okay, there was a brief relapse one week when the folks were out of town. I will only take the pill from Himself so my caregiver delivered my medication by transdermal gel rubbed on my ear, instead. It doesn't work as well as my pill.

Thank you for all your help. Themselves thank you, too, for training them how to meet my needs properly.

Yippee! It's Spring!