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A Guide to Why Cats Purr and How Cats Purr

Leo purring

Why do cats purr?

Nobody knows for absolutely sure, but there are many theories on cats’ purring.

A cat will purr when it is relaxed and contented and often a cat will purr around their humans in a relaxed state and when they are in a friendly and social mood, especially when they are stroked or fed. When a cat purrs in this situation, they are saying thank you to their humans for their care and friendship as well as displaying their contentment.

However, rather adversely, a cat’s purring may also be a sign that they are in pain, anxious or injured, afraid or distressed in some way. When a kitten looks out of the window for the first time, they can purr because they are nervous and afraid about the outside world. When a cat visits the vet, they are likely to purr and this could be a signal to the vet that they are distressed and in need of friendship because of their injury and pain.

A study from the University of Sussex, England also concluded that felines developed purring as a way for domestic cats to get food from humans.

Every cat’s purr is unique to them. Scientists also found that some domestic cats have evolved a purr that simulates a human baby’s cry. They only use this purr to get our attention which shows how much they want to be a part of our lives.

It is also thought that a cat’s purr may be for self-healing and medical reasons and they purr to help heal their bones and muscles. Cats conserve their natural energy through long sleep periods, rest and cat naps so by purring they are stimulating their bones and muscles without the need to expend a great deal of energy. Cats also rely on their litheness and suppleness for their climbing and prowling so their bones and muscles need to be kept in good shape. Cats also suffer less than dogs and other animals from bone diseases.

How do cats purr?

It is a great mystery to scientists as to how cats generate their purring inside their body. One theory is that cats purr via their diaphragm and larynx muscles and they can purr exhaling and inhaling. Cats can purr with their mouths shut and can continue for hours on end if the cat so wishes.

Another theory is that they generate the sound by a small flexible bone in the cat’s neck which vibrates when the cat pushes air through its voice box. Luca our cat has a very loud purr, it sounds like an engine, and we can hear him inhale and exhale while he does it. He sounds like an engine because at the lower end of the Hertz scale, a cat’s purr has the same vibration and frequency as an engine that is running slow. The Hertz frequency range of a cat’s purr is from 25 to 150 Hertz.

There have been studies researching the healing power of the cat’s purr for humans. Cats’ purring has been proven to help ease depression in humans and lower blood pressure.

Cats purr when they are kittens from a week old. Kittens purr because when they are suckled by their mother cat, they are signalling to their mother that all is well and they are receiving a good supply of milk. This helps the mother cat to monitor and listen to her kittens without looking up. The mother cat in turn will purr to her kittens as they suckle to let them know that she is in a relaxed state. Cats go on to purr throughout their life and it is traced back to the primal mother-kitten context.

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Cat Collar Advice and Help

Fitting a cat collar correctly

We sell a range of gorgeous and exclusive designer cat and kitten collars in our Cat Shop including diamante, real Swarovski and fabric handmade cat collars. Here’s some information and advice on cat collar fitting and use.

1.    Why should my cat wear a collar in the first place?

Good question! A cat collar can help with all sorts of things in a kitty’s life, and we only ever recommend a safety cat collar that will allow your kitty to break free and escape if it gets caught or trapped.

a)    Outdoor cats

Outdoor cats live a very free and carefree life. Because we don’t keep an eye on them 24 hours a day, unlike a dog, we’re not sure where they go, what they do and where they travel to. If a cat gets lost or even if he ventures into territory further away from your home, people will see that your cat belongs to someone and is owned and has a home somewhere and is not a stray or abandoned. A cat collar will also provide the vehicle for an ID tag with contact details for you so that your cat can be checked for an owner and if needs be returned to you quickly and easily.

b)    Indoor cats

We also strongly advise that indoor cats wear a collar. Indoor cats can escape and they will be vulnerable and confused in the outdoor world because they don’t know their way around, unlike a cat that is used to the outdoors. He may also go to find somewhere to hide because he is fearful, gets lost and then can’t find his way back home. An indoor cat with a cat collar and ID tag will give him the best chance to be returned to you quickly and easily.

c)    Micro chipped cats

Even micro chipped cats should wear a collar to make it obvious to people that your cat is owned and belongs to someone. Micro chipping, although a necessity, isn’t obvious, and some people may not be aware of micro chipping and that a visit to the vet is required to identify the cat’s owner. It may not occur to a person that a cat will be micro chipped and they wrongly assume that the cat is a stray. So to be on the safe side we thoroughly recommend having a collar on your micro chipped cat.

2.    What is a safety breakaway collar?

A safety breakaway collar, or quick release cat collar, is fitted with a release clasp that will break apart when the collar is pulled on with enough force. This release action allows your kitty to break free if they become trapped or caught on something. Our release collars are sturdy however they will break apart and free your cat with enough force if your kitty becomes caught up.

3.    How do I measure my cat for its new collar?

Currently we offer a standard size which is between 7.5 inches to 10.5 inches. Most cats will fit the standard size. To measure your cat’s neck you can measure your cat’s existing collar if he has one or use a strip of paper or a tape measure and allow room for 1-2 fingers between your cat’s neck and the tape measure. If your cat has a buckle collar, then exclude the part that overlaps and measure up to the buckle hole that fits.

All of our cat collars are adjustable, either by buckle and holes or an adjustable glide on our fabric collars.

4.    How do I fit my cat’s collar? – Fabric safety breakaway collars

Please ensure that your kitty’s collar is fitted correctly. For it to be as safe as possible there should be room to fit 1-2 fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck so that it’s not too tight and gives your kitty room to move. It should also not be too loose so that your cat’s paws or legs can get caught in the collar and get trapped under your cat’s armpit. This happened to our cat Dolly because it was too loose. We adjusted her collar so that it’s a comfortable fit and not too loose.

5.    How do I fit my cat’s collar? – Elasticated safety cat collar

If you opt for an elasticated safety collar this will have a short piece of elastic fitted into the collar to allow your kitty to escape. To fit an elastic safety collar correctly, there should be room to fit 1-2 fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck so that it’s not too tight and gives your kitty room to move. Stretch the elastic to the maximum and ensure that it is loose enough including the stretched elastic to ensure that your kitty can escape if it gets caught. Some elastic fitted is very short, so there needs to be enough room when the elastic is stretched to its maximum to allow your cat’s head to slip out of the collar. It is also very important that the collar is not fitted too loose in case your cat’s paws or legs get caught up in the collar.

6.    Adjusting and checking your cat’s collar

You should regularly check your cat’s collar – every day is best – to ensure that it is fitting well and doesn’t become too slack. A young cat will also be growing so please check the collar to ensure it’s not becoming too tight as this will be uncomfortable. The perfect fitting collar should be comfortable enough for your kitty to wear it without being bothered or irritated.

7.    Charms and bells

Our charms are small and our bells are the perfect cat size so that they are not hanging too low or likely to get caught up on something. Oversized charms that dangle down from the cat collar can present a hazard and danger to your cat as they climb in and out of spaces and large tags or charms can get caught, so please beware of the size of charms when you buy them. Avoid charms on a key chain or fob as these are potentially hazardous to your kitty and could get stuck or caught on something.

Our bells are removable so if you don’t want a bell attached to your cat’s collar you can simply remove it. If you don’t want either a charm or bell, please let us know in the `Order Notes’ box on the right hand side when you check out. Similarly if you don’t want anything on your cat collar (i.e. split ring, bell or charm) then we can make them without so please let us know.

8.    My cat doesn’t like wearing a collar. How can I get my cat used to wearing a collar?

Some cats will wear a collar with the minimum of fuss, and some cats will take a little more time to get accustomed to wearing a collar.

Some cats will not want to wear a cat collar and will resist and try to get it off, so you will need to get them used to their cat collar gradually and with a little patience. When you first try the cat collar on your cat, put it on indoors so that you can keep an eye on their behaviour. Because the cat collar will feel unfamiliar, they may do a number of gymnastic and athletic manoeuvres to get it off. If they do, remove the cat collar then simply put it back on them and repeat. If they becoming agitated then remove the cat collar completely and try again after a couple of hours. Try not to force the collar upon your cat as it will stress your cat out, as well as you!

It’s important that as you are getting your cat used to his collar, you reward your cat for keeping the collar on with treats and playing so that they associate you putting the collar on with a treat and it also distracts their attention away from the unfamiliar collar around their neck. Also try putting the cat collar on before meals. Eventually they will become accustomed to their new collar and wear it without noticing it.

9.    Are cat collars suitable for kittens?

There can be problems with putting collars on kittens because they are so small, agile and can manoeuvre themselves inside out to get the collar off. Kittens are also very curious and agile getting into and climbing up and down all sorts of places so they could get caught up with a collar. International Cat Care suggests that you should try and get your kittens used to wearing a collar at 5 months old and no sooner, and you need to do this fully supervised with your kitty indoors. Watch your kitty’s behaviour and get him used to wearing a collar so that after 6 months old, when he can go outdoors he will be used to wearing a collar. When your kitten is growing you should continually check the fit of the cat collar so that it is not tight and rubbing against your kitty’s neck.

10.    Why does my cat keep losing his collar?

If cats really don’t want to wear a collar, they will try to get it off at the first opportunity. If a cat isn’t used to the collar then keep trying to get him used to the collar and rewarding him with treats. Also check that it is fitted correctly and not too tight and uncomfortable as your cat may be resisting it because it feels uncomfortable.

At the end of the day, because you are buying a safety collar and a cat’s safety is paramount, it may well just break away or release when it gets caught whilst your cat is exploring and because of his normal feline activity. A breakaway / release collar will allow your cat to get away safely so this is a good thing compared to losing a collar that can be replaced. We don’t recommend tying or attaching additional elastic to the buckle of a cat collar to keep the collar on your cat as this could cause your cat to get entangled in the elastic with its neck, paws or legs. A safety breakaway collar is meant to break away quickly and cleanly. Tying another piece of elastic will be a risk to your cat’s safety and present additional problems to the cat if it is in a hazardous situation.

11.    Do indoor cats need a cat collar?

We recommend it’s essential to keep a collar on an indoor cat. An indoor cat could escape your home and it will be vulnerable, disorientated and unfamiliar with its outdoor surroundings – more so than a cat that is used to the outdoors. He may also go to find somewhere to hide because he is fearful, gets lost and then can’t find his way back home. Having a cat collar with an ID tag and contact details for you is very important so that your cat can be returned safely and speedily to you and gives him the best chance should he escape.

12.    Do micro chipped cats need a collar?

Micro chipping a pet is essential. We would also recommend having a collar for your cat even though he is micro chipped because not everyone will be aware that your cat is a) owned and b) micro chipped. If you have an ID tag on your cat it is much quicker and easier for someone to contact you. Micro chipping, although essential, isn’t obvious, and some people may not be aware of micro chipping and that a visit to the vet is required to identify the cat’s owner.  It may not occur to a person that a cat will be micro chipped and they wrongly assume that the cat is a stray. If your cat has a collar, it will help people to realise that your cat is owned rather than a stray or abandoned and gives him the best chance if he gets lost.

We rescued a cat who found us and turned up in our back garden. He was cold and hungry and it was in the depth of a cold and freezing winter. He didn’t have a collar and we thought he was abandoned and a stray.  We fed, watered and gave him a comfortable bed in our home for three days until he looked better. When we took him to the vets he luckily had a micro chip and was returned to his owner who had moved some distance away. If this cat had had a collar and tag on, we would have known instantly that he was owned and lost – a long way from home – and would have contacted the owners instantly. Our cats are micro chipped and also wear a collar.

13.    Should I buy my cat a flea collar?

We have used flea collars in the past with our cats and they haven’t been effective at all. Some flea collar chemicals can be toxic to cats and cause illness and irritation. It is best to buy a proper flea treatment prescribed by your vet who will know your cat’s health history.

14.    My cat is losing hair under the collar

Some cats are very sensitive and may have a skin condition or allergies. If you have any concerns, and your cat is losing hair or there is redness a rash, sores or broken skin, then please seek advice and help from your vet to find out what the problem is. Our cat Luca gets a skin condition, rather like Eczema in humans, during the summer months and starts losing hair and getting rashes and sores. He has to take medication for it, and around September onwards he is fine until the next year when it starts again. Sometimes cats will become bald or lose fur under their collar and it remains like this but isn’t painful or irritating to your cat. You will need to keep an eye on your cat’s neck and take your cat to the vet to get it checked out. If the problem worsens and the collar is irritating, painful and uncomfortable for your cat to wear then remove it completely and if your cat isn’t micro chipped you will need to micro chip him.

Answers to questions about our cat and kitten collar products

15.    Can I order my cat collar without bells, charms or the ring?

Your cat collar will be made to order, so you can have it made how you like i.e. without the split ring, bell and/or charm or just with the metal split ring.  Please let us know in the`Order Notes’ box on the right hand side when you check out

 16.    I want to return the cat collar – what do I do?

You are welcome to return your cat collar to us in an unworn and resalable condition (try it on first indoors to see if it fits and your kitty likes it). Please return the cat collar within 14 days of you receiving it and we will refund you. The buyer will need to pay the return postage.

17.    My cat collar order is lost in the post – what do I do?

On the rare occasion that a collar gets lost in the post, we advise to wait 15 days after dispatch. This is because Royal Mail stipulates that 15 days is the time period they consider an item to be lost in their mail network. If after 15 days you haven’t received your order, please contact us and we will dispatch a replacement collar to you immediately with no postage charge.

 18.    Are your cat collars washable?

All of our fabric cat collars are washable. You can also spot wash them by rubbing gently on the stain with washing up liquid or hand soap may also do the trick.

If you need to wash the collar, remove the bell and charm from the split ring and place the collar inside a sock. We recommend hand washing in cool water with a very mild detergent such as a small squirt of washing up liquid or a small amount of sensitive, mild washing powder as cats can be very sensitive to the chemicals in washing powders and gels. Rinse the cat collar thoroughly to remove any detergent and leave the cat collar to dry in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. When it is dry, check the fit and re-adjust to fit your cat if necessary, checking the safety buckle is straight. You can also iron your cat collar on a low heat, we recommend using an ironing cloth or sheet to iron your collar gently.

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Beware – Lilies Poison and Kill Cats

Sadly, not enough cat owners know that lilies are extremely dangerous and toxic to cats and are fatal when ingested. All parts of the lily are poisonous and even a tiny amount of lily ingestion, for example eating one leaf or licking off a speck of lily pollen, can result in death to cats.

Lilies that are dangerous include:

  • Stargazer
  • Tiger
  • Easter
  • Japanese Show
  • Rubrum
  • Any other members of the genus Lilum, otherwise known as the ‘true lilies’
  • Certain types of Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.)

Other lilies such as Calla, Peace and Peruvian lilies are mildly toxic BUT to be on the absolute safe side, regard all lilies and any plant with `lily’ in it (i.e. Lily of the Valley) as a danger and toxic to your cat.

Cats will either eat parts of the lily or the pollen from the long stamens can easily get onto the cat’s fur, whiskers, face, tail or paws and when the cat licks the pollen off its fur, face or paws, the poisonous pollen is ingested. The toxicity of  lilies cause severe kidney failure and cats die because they have eaten or come into contact with lilies, either in the home or in the garden.

Symptoms of lily poisoning in cats

Signs of poisoning often develop within 6-12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, not eating, dehydration and lethargy. As acute kidney failure develops, signs are not urinating or over-urinating, not drinking or excessive thirst and an inflamed pancreas. Other symptoms, although not common are disorientation, walking unsteadily, seizures and tremors.

What to do – Take your cat immediately to the vet if poisoned by lilies

The primary intoxication is on the kidneys. If left, the kidneys will become worse as kidney damage progresses and without immediate treatment kidney failure will occur within 36-72 hours or before.

If you suspect your cat has eaten or been poisoned by a lily, then you MUST take it to the vet immediately with no delay. DO NOT TREAT YOUR CAT AT HOME as this will not work. Full emergency treatment must be given in a veterinary medical environment. Decontamination such as inducing vomiting and medication to bind the poison in the stomach and gut and also aggressive intravenous fluid therapy as well as full monitoring and assessment must be given by a qualified vet and immediately.

If emergency treatment has begun within 6 hours of ingestion, there is a strong chance that your cat will recover. However, the longer you leave it and if over 18 hours since ingestion your cat’s chances reduce drastically, even with emergency treatment, as with more time the kidneys become badly affected and worsen.

How to prevent poisoning

Do not have lilies anywhere near your home or in the garden and ask your neighbours to not have lilies in their gardens. Particularly in summer when lilies bloom outdoors, keep an eye on your cat closely and also look for any signs on all parts of your cat of lily pollen which is heavy and noticeable and often stains when dry or wet.

What you can do to spread the word

It’s really important for all cat owners to spread the word to each other about how poisonous and fatal lilies are to cats, so tell all your friends, family and neighbours who have cats and pass the word on. Unfortunately, it is still not know about widely just how poisonous lilies are and vets see many cases of lily poisoning and sadly deaths.

 

 

 

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How to Create a Cat Friendly Home

katniss_2Cats are very sensitive creatures as well as being territorial so it’s important to make them feel stress-free and happy in their own home. Here are some tips on how to create a cat-friendly home.

Create areas of privacy

Your household may have dogs, other cats and children which are noisy and stressful to cats. Cats love to be away from it all when it all gets too much for them. You can help by providing your cat with an area of privacy, such as their own bolt-hole room, a cardboard box, keep a wardrobe or cupboard door open so they can creep inside or provide an igloo they can hide away in.

Multi-cat household

If you have a multi-cat household the cats will have their own private area spots that they keep for themselves, so make sure there are spots that your cats can retreat to away from each other. You can observe where each of your cats hang out. One of our cats has one bed and one has the other. One likes to sleep downstairs in a box bed and they all spread out to their own private space. If you can, designate particular rooms for each cat, although usually they will find their own room and stick to it!

Sometimes if one cat ventures into another cat’s space, there may be a hiss or swipe. Some cats will share their space with another cat, you just need to observe what happens and accommodate your cats according to what privacy they need from each other.

Height

Cat also like to be high up, so find an accessible high spot where your cat can escape to. For instance you can put an igloo or blanket on a shelf that your cat can get to or use a spare table. Our cat uses the top of our chest of drawers when she needs an escape so we have put a cushion and blanket there for her.

Access

Your cat will need to have ready access to everything they need at all times such as water, food, their bed and their outdoor area. Don’t take away or move their food, water or bed because they will become stressed.  Cats like everything to stay and remain in the same place.

 

 

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Sainsbury’s Guide to Preparing for a New Cat in Your Home

You can read our article on how to introduce a new cat or kitten into your home detailing the steps to take to gently introduce a new cat if you have more than one cat in your household. It’s essential that this introduction process is completed slowly and properly to ensure harmonious living in a multi-cat household.

We were also contacted by Sainsbury’s as they have produced a wonderful guide on preparing for a new cat. It advises on if you are ready for a new cat, the type of cat to choose, advice on what your cat will need, exploring, play and discipline and looking after your cat.  You can read their guide here: Sainsburys guide preparing-for-a-new-cat and feel free to let us know what you think of it. We think it’s really well written and packed with lots of useful information, and we adore the illustrations!

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Why Are My Cats Fighting

Get your cats checked by your vet

When behaviour starts to change the first thing that we would recommend is to get both cats checked over by a vet to rule out anything medical.  Cats can show aggression when in pain and this can manifest onto us or other pets in the home. If one or both cats are spraying, this is a sign of extreme stress, it’s their way of saying “Hey, things aren’t right in my world” and “This is my territory, go away.”

Give them space and their own resources

You need to be able to provide each cat enough resources so that they do not have to be in the same room if they do not wish to be. The general rule of thumb is one litter tray per cat and one extra. Make sure that they are in different areas of the home so that they do not need to travel past one another or go into the others “territory” to get to one.

The same applies to water, food, scratch posts, toys and sleeping areas. The less conflict over resources there are, the happier that they’ll be. Make sure that your litter trays are located in quiet areas of the home. Do not place them in hallways or other high traffic areas. Bathrooms are also not a good idea unless the door is never closed. Hallways tend to be “high conflict areas” within a home because they are narrow and confined. Cats are forced to pass each other closely when they may otherwise chose not to.

Stress in cats

Watch your cats for signs of cystitis as this is a common stress related problem – especially if your cat chooses to hold itself rather than pass your other cat to get to a litter tray. Other signs that either of them are not coping with their stress levels are urine spraying, inappropriate urination, excessively scratching surfaces, over grooming (you will notice this on the stomach and hind legs), sleeping more and eating more or less than usual.

Feeding your cats

When you feed your cats, continue to feed in different rooms, but do not place their bowls at the edge of the room. Place the bowl in such a way that your cat can choose where to sit to eat. Many cats will chose to sit with their bottom towards the wall so that they are facing into the room. This way, they can watch what is going on around them and are then more confident that they can get away quickly if they need to. The same applies for water bowls, but they should be placed away from the food bowls.

Play with your cats

Play time should be done separately with the other cat in a different room. They are more likely to play whilst not feeling threatened by another cat and playtime is important as it may help your cat to feel happier as endorphins can be released during play.

Give them a high place to escape

Make sure that they have lots of places to get up high, at least one in each room– cats feel much happier up high as they can see what is going on around them without placing themselves in the path of conflict, and can move out of the way quickly if conflict comes to them as they can see it coming. If they cannot get on top of your wardrobe for example, clear some space for them and put something next to it so they can climb up and put a comfy bed or blanket up there. Shelving in rooms where there are no high places can work wonders.

Pheromone products

Feliway and other cat calming pheromone products can help too, however make sure that you have enough to cover your entire home. One diffuser will cover 50-70m2.

If you try all of the above and the problem persists see your vet who may be able to recommend a cat behaviourist.