Happy New Year! We also want to wish our feline patients a Happy Mew Year! (Cats celebrate the new year on January 2nd.) Many people are thinking about what they wish to accomplish in the months ahead as we leave 2023 behind and sail into 2024. A local Ardmore, OK veterinarian discusses some of the things our feline friends have on their to-do list this year.
Improve Sleep Times
Our feline overlords are collectively very, very tired. Kitties can sleep up to 20 hours a day, though most of them manage to squeak by on about 12 to 18. (We aren’t entirely convinced that our furry pals actually need that much sleep, but that’s another topic.) Offer your drowsy little pet lots of comfy beds and napping spots to curl up, spread out, or just flop down on.
This may be a good goal for you as well! Making sure you’re getting adequate rest is also very important for your health and well-being.
Seriously Consider Actually Working With Researchers
We’ve gained a considerable amount of knowledge about our feline companions in recent years. However, convincing them to participate in research can be challenging. True to form, Fluffy often refuses to cooperate, and tends to sleep through most of research sessions. (She may have a change of heart if she realizes that it ultimately benefits her when we learn more about her needs and thought processes, but we aren’t holding our breath.)
There are a few interesting tidbits that have come to light recently. For instance, we now know that kitties possess almost 300 different facial expressions, and that they form very strong bonds with their owners. Additionally, we have learned that kitties actually consume a wide range of creatures and insects … including 347 endangered species. Another interesting finding? Cats create a mental map of their surroundings and keep track of their owners’ movements, similar to how a GPS system would on a phone or computer. Who knows what 2024 will reveal?
Precise Hairball Placement
One of Fluffy’s best features: her cleanliness, has a downside: hairballs. These are no more fun for Fluffy than they are for you. Kitties are very diligent about keeping their coats shiny and soft. Your adorable pet will spend up to a third of her awake time grooming herself. During the process, she will swallow some of her own fur. We all know what happens next.
There are ways to reduce the amount of hairballs your pet gets. Brushing Fluffy regularly can help by trapping that dead fur. Hairball formulas can also help.
Keep in mind that hairballs can be dangerous, as they can cause blockages. Talk to your vet if your pet seems to be getting too many hairballs.
Scotland’s birds and mice may not be thrilled about this one, but we are. As part of a rewilding initiative, 19 Scottish Wildcats were successfully reintroduced into their natural habitat in Scotland’s Cairngorms. This particular breed of kitty, previously deemed ‘functionally extinct’, now has a chance for a resurgence. Along with the newly-released cats, there are also over a dozen kittens being prepared for rewilding. We’re hoping that by next year even more felines will have returned to these lands.
Don’t Miss That Red Dot
Kitties are especially adorable when they are playing. While cats are actually very efficient hunters, they can also be quite comical when they’re on the hunt. Let Fluffy unleash her inner huntress!
It actually is important to play with your furry friend. Interactive play provides a more stimulating experience for cats compared to simply swatting at a catnip mouse. One simple option is using a laser pointer, which you can keep near your preferred spot for relaxing and watching TV. (Reminder: avoid shining the light directly into your pet’s eyes.)
Take Control Of The Human Race
This may not be quite as unrealistic as it sounds. You may have heard of the Crazy Cat Lady syndrome. That old wives’ tail actually has some truth to it. Cats can carry a parasite called toxoplasmosis, which can affect the brains of its victims by (curiously) making them more drawn to cats. While most cases are asymptomatic, there is a risk for pregnant women and those with immune deficiencies. Fortunately, taking a few simple precautions, such as washing your hands after handling your cat, can help minimize these risks. It is also beneficial to keep your cat indoors. Consult your veterinarian for more information.
Fluffy may have moved on to other plans. We’ll check back after Cat World Domination Day, which is in June.
Find New Ways To Boss The Humans Around
Cats are very, very good at meowpulating us. In fact, they may have started meowing specifically to boss us around. Kitties don’t usually meow at one another: they usually communicate with each other using body language and facial expressions. Our feline pals are pretty good at getting their points across by meowing, but there’s definitely room for improvement here.
Technology can help here. You can now buy your cat programmable paw pads. These speak specific words when Fluffy steps on them. (As expected, the most popular ones seem to be treat, catnip, and play.) While results may vary, some cats get the idea pretty quickly.
Relax In The Sun
Warm, sunny napping spots are always a big hit with our feline friends. (Fluffy isn’t cold blooded, and she doesn’t use solar power, but apparently nobody has told her that yet.) It’s probably safe to say that you’ll find your kitty snoozing in the sunlight at some point in 2024. Create a comfortable spot in a window for your cute pet to watch birds and squirrels. Make sure to carve out some down time for yourself as well!
When it comes to comedic relief, cats are worth their weight in gold. Fluffy’s adorable antics will always make us laugh. Kitties’ charming vocalizations, cute expressions, and generally hilarious reactions to things will definitely put some smiles on our faces this year.
Astonish Scientists … Again
Did you know that we may have domesticated cats as far back as 9500 years ago? French archaeologists recently discovered an early burial site in which human remains were interred with cat remains. The find, in the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, is roughly 4000 years older than the earliest Egyptian depictions of cats in art. With modern technology, researchers are learning more and more about the ancient world every day. It will be interesting to see what we learn about Fluffy this year!
Complete The Internet Takeover
Fluffy is well on the way to accomplishing this goal. Our feline friends are bona-fide internet stars. We’ll never stop laughing at those cute videos of playful kitties doing silly and adorable things. We’re also looking forward to seeing next year’s social media celebrities!
It’s hard not to melt when a cute kitty shows affection. Of course, cats have some pretty interesting ways to show their love. Fluffy may hop into your lap, follow you around, rub against your legs, meow at you, or sleep on your pillow. (On the other hand, she may bite you, scratch you, or try to trip you. You never know with these little furballs!)
Happy New Year from all of us here at Westwood Veterinary, your local Ardmore, OK pet hospital, so if you have any questions about your cat’s health or care, please contact us.