Let’s talk about cats - Guest Blog by Sandra Lindstedt

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are 86.4 million cats as pets in the US, with 52% of households having more than one (I am in this statistic with 4 cats of my own). Each year we spend approximately $175 on routine vet care for our cats, not to mention additional costs of toys, treats and grooming.

It’s a well known fact that pet ownership provides a wealth of physical and psychological benefits to humans. Having a pet in the household (and having a strong bond with your pet) lowers blood pressure and heart rate; a friendly, loving cat can help you fight depression and loneliness (how do they know when we are feeling blue?) and they can provide us with hours of entertainment and amusement.

Jay, the Big Guy
Many people think cats are aloof, independent creatures that don’t need their humans around much. While some cats fit that description, not all do. Two of my four, for instance, need quite a bit of attention and love and are lonely when I am not around. Some cats don’t do well physically or emotionally when left alone for long periods of time; inappropriate indoor spraying or urinating is a common problem for cats left alone for longer than a day or two. Some cats will refuse to eat which can cause a serious liver problem, hepatic lipidosis.

Cats are prone to obesity more so than dogs, as they typically get less exercise. It is a good idea to provide your cat with 10-15 minutes of exercise each day. You don’t have to purchase a leash and harness and take Kitty for a walk, though some people do, you can simply purchase some inexpensive interactive toys. In the wild, cats hunt and stalk their prey and domestic cats are no different. “Teaser toys”, wands with some type of string and a toy at the end, are very popular with cats. They love to chase, jump and attack the feathers or toy at the end. A simple laser pointer or flashlight beam can provide entertainment and exercise for your cat (Jay and China Cat Sunflower love to chase the flashlight beam up the wall!). All pet stores carry little fake mice with fur, some with beads inside to make noise. Toss the mousie and see if your cat will bring it back to you (Jay will return his bouncy ball so I can throw it again). Don’t want to spend money on toys? There are many household items that cats enjoy playing with – tin foil balls, ribbon, shoelaces or string (be sure that your cat does not ingest these items), the plastic pieces from a milk jug cap to name a few.

There are 41 pedigreed breeds registered with Cat Fanciers Association, and while not recognized by the CFA, the domestic short and long haired cats are the most popular. They are considered feline “mutts”. I admit, I have 3 of those mutts myself. Gemini is a tabby and Jay and China Cat Sunflower are tuxedos. Persians are the most popular breed registered with CFA and while beautiful, they require a lot of attention to grooming.

The average lifespan of a cat is 12-15 years. This depends on diet, whether your cat lives indoors or outdoors and genetics. If  your cat is allowed outside unsupervised there is a higher chance of it being injured or killed by wildlife or vehicles and coming into contact with diseased animals. It is best to leave Kitty inside where she will be safe, warm and under your watchful eye.

Doggie Cakes would like to thank Sandra for being our guest blogger.  She is a pet lover and owner of the Pet Nanny of Trinity. She offers dog walking, vacation pet sitting, overnight care and pet taxi service to to loving pet parents in Trinity, New Port Richey and portions of Holiday, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. Their professional staff is bonded and insured and certified in pet first aid/CPR by the American Red Cross.  Please follow her on facebook: The Pet Nanny of Trinity