Cat Treats Help Make Cats Friendlier!

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Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

HOW CAN I MAKE MY CAT FRIENDLIER?

What does cat food and cat treats have to do with making your house cat more friendly? One the most common questions I get as a cat behavior consultant deals with the evolving c’attitude of maturing kitties. Pretty much all kittens are in-your-face clueless (and confident!) spit-fires that never met a stranger. They gallop and pounce through life, love to play until they collapse–and then snuggle and purr themselves to sleep on your lap.

But the baby cat grows up and then OH NO! What happened to the snuggle-puss? Well, sometimes they stay cuddly throughout life. But very often, the baby grows up to be a bit more selective in how he or she wishes to interact. That can put the human’s nose out of joint when suddenly Junior-Cat disses the person who brought them into the house. So–what can you do?

TREATS & TIPS FOR TABBIES

People readily think about treats with dogs, but not so often with cats–and in fact, cats relish not only the tastiness but also the special interaction that comes with any food “extras.” That can encourage your cat to act friendlier and interact with you.

The key to treating cats, though, is to remember they are “grazers.” A full meal for a cat tends to be 4-8 individual kibbles. That’s all! They’re not going to belly up to the smorgasbord and gulp mouthfuls or handfuls the way Shadow-Pup does. So a teeeeeny tiny amount is enough–the smell as much as the taste and the attention–that associates something positive for the cat with your presence.

The human with the pocketbook decides the treat choice, but ultimately it’s in the cat’s paws whether or not s/he will indulge. Of course, we don’t want over-nutrition to create tubby Tabbies so it’s best to choose a treat that compliments the cat’s existing diet. Most pet food companies offer a “family” of products that go well together.

Treats that make kitty sit up and purr tend to be very different than what s/he eats on a regular basis. Reserving a very unique tasting/smelling food–a canned ration, for example–can be a great way to make your cat feel special without potentially upsetting the nutrition.

POSITIVE TREATING FOR FRIENDLIER CATS

How should you treat to help your cat be friendlier? Establish a routine. That could be every morning while you’re eating breakfast, or while you brush your teeth–or perhaps every evening while watching the evening news. Cats love routine, and once Kitty figures out the time and place that TREATS get delivered, you won’t have to remember–she’ll remind YOU!

Tiny bits are enough. You don’t want cats to gobble and spoil their appetite. Maybe dip your finger in the canned food. My Karma-Kat comes when called, sits up, waves, and (we’re working on) speak! with just me holding up my finger–he EXPECTS a tasty treat whenever I call. Eventually, you don’t need to reward every time. Intermittent rewards (reinforcement) works better, because Kitty never knows when he’ll get that reward, so he’d better come when called every time, just in case!

By rewarding your cat for a natural behavior, you also reinforce the interaction and teach the kitty there’s a benefit to paying attention to you. If the cat still won’t come near…use dry treats you can toss to him. And the next time toss it closer to you…and the next, closer still. Do this in cat-size steps, not all at once, and your cat will become friendlier without even realizing it!

FEEDING DIFFERENT FOODS?

Well, yes. Some cats do very well on the same old food all the time, but others relish variety. If your cat won’t eat, refer to this post. And let’s face it, PEOPLE love variety, So even if cats could eat MOUSE every single day, it makes us feel good (rewards US!) to offer variety to our beloved cats, too.

For instance, you could choose to provide a dry kibble in puzzle toys for “hunting” throughout the day, and then give a bonus wet food for the evening or morning meal. If your cat is a bit tubby, try putting treats in a cat puzzle toy for added feline enjoyment (and exercise).

For more tips on making your cat friendlier and having a great relationship, refer to this post on environmental enrichment. Be sure to check out the video, below. What are some other tips you have for helping cats act “friendlier?”

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Ask Amy: Pets Pester When I’m On Computer

MagicOfficeI’m head-down crazy in the middle of revisions on HIDE AND SEEK. If you missed the NAME THAT DOG/CAT contest and want in on the fun (and get you and your pet name in the book) be sure to check out Monday’s blog. Add your suggestions for names in the comments.

Just because I’m at deadline doesn’t stop the fur-kids from demanding quality time. Even when they’ve had lots of one-on-one attention, though, they often decide that the best time to pester is…

SerenComputerWhen I’m on the computer. Usually in the middle of a tricky plot point. Or at deadline on something. Seren-kitty simply walks across the keyboard, and Magical-Dawg becomes a lap dog (all 90 pounds of him!).

This was one of several questions I got over the past several months, and since many of my readers also are writers (and pet lovers), it seemed the perfect topic for this most recent Ask Amy. How about your pets? What do they do when you’re head-down busy on the computer? And…what do YOU do?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cats, Books & Litter-ary Tastes

typwriterAs you read this, I am in New York at Thrillerfest, celebrating the best writing in thrillers around. It seemed appropriate to offer a post today about the relationship between cats and books–since felines figure so much in my own writing. What’s the deal with cats and reading material, anyway?

In my line of work, my most successful autograph parties happen at dog or cat shows. Invariably I end up with kitty kibitzing in terms of the felines choosing their own pick-of-the-litter-ary selection. How about you?

Do your cats enjoy books? What’s their relationship with reading material? Even with my Kindle, Seren-kitty insists on planting her furry nether regions on top of the screen. Why do cats like to SIT on books? For my answer…scroll down to the video Ask Amy, below. Enjoy!

Wall-E-2cat-bookkitten and booksserenbooks

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Seren’s 16th Birthday Catnip Bash!

Today’s Seren-kitty’s birthday! Well, it’s the day we’ve chosen to celebrate, anyway. It’s been a week long celebration, though, and she’s never at a loss for toys when terrific companies like Nekochan Enterprises sends kitty fun for a review.

I’ve been bad, they sent the Neko Critter toys back before Christmas and I’ve been so covered up the review was late. Actually I’ve reviewed some of the Neko Flies before here, where they got a 5-star rating. This time around I’ll give a 5-star rating to the Foxifur Kittenator (Seren’s fav!) and a 4-star to the Kiticatterfly, but the third one (Kattipede) is segmented and easily chomped in two. I can see how it might be the cat’s fav but it could prove deadly if swallowed. In fact, a couple of my colleagues tested the toys with their cats and the kitties DID chomp this one in half. Check out what Seren thought of the toys in her video (forgive the bad light, it was a stormy cloudy day).

Oh, and just for fun, I also caught Seren on camera drunk out of her fuzzy head on high-quality ‘nip. That’s the second video…and the music is from our KURVES, THE MUSICAL show. I figured Seren needed some fun audio to go along with her antics.

What are some other fun ways to celebrate pet birthdays? We talked a bit about it on the Monday Mentions blog but let your virtual cat out of the bag to tell everyone what YOUR cat craves?

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer in exchange for a fair and honest review. I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Why Do Dogs Love Underwear?

What about YOUR dog? Do you know why dogs love underwear so much? Some cats love underwear, too! What’s up with that?

Why dogs love underwear

But…it smells like YOU!

WHY PETS LOVE UNDERWEAR

This Ask Amy video is a doozy and answers the age-old question, Why dogs love underwear so much? I’m not talking about toasty-from-the-dryer clean clothes (where cats love to sleep), but the ripe and well-worn tidy whities, thongs, sweated out socks and more. All pets enjoy an underwear expedition, but especially dogs and underwear are a matched set.

why cats love underwear

Karma the cat steals bras.

why cats love underwear

The cat burglar caught red paw’d!

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, even my cat loves underwear. Specifically, Karma-Kat is a bra thief, and I need to be sure my top-side underwear is out of kitty paw-reach.

WHY DOGS LOVE UNDERWEAR

But what’s up with dogs and underwear? My Magical-Dawg loves socks. Not clean ones, he wants those my husband has worn all day, and hordes and stockpiles them so I must go on a sock-hunt each laundry day. The underwear love affair (hey that rhymes! could be a future lyric, hmnnnn) has to do with smells as well.

Guess that means we have to be better house keepers, and puppy proof the house–and underwear! That includes keeping some toys away from your dog, especially if he likes to SUCK on stuff, LOL!

For all the cat folks out there, I’ve previously written about why cats (and dogs) follow us to the bathroom. CLICK the picture or button to find out the surprising answers!

Wonder Why Pets Love Bathrooms? CLICK to find out now!

So do your dogs love underwear? How do you manage to defend from furry marauders? What is your answer to the dilemma, below? Do tell…I mean really, please, DO TELL!

In keeping with the theme of underwear day, y’all might want to check out Kristen Lamb’s Pants Of Shame, or take a look at Jenny Hansen’s Undie Chronicles. WARNING! do not read while sipping beverage. Now consider how your dogs feel about those sorts of (ahem) undie indulgences.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!