How to Identify a Neglected Cat

Many people think their cat’s behaviors are because the cat was abused or neglected. I want to clear this up for you. Abused cats are rare. Most cats are just wary of strangers. Bad behavior is usually because they were never taught correctly or played with aggressively. So, how can you identify an abused or neglected cat? Let’s look at what cat abuse and neglect look like and then we can talk about the cat’s responses:

Cat Abuse can be intentional or unintentional. Usually, unintentional abuse is called “neglect” and is addressed by humane societies all over the world. There are actually three levels of abuse. Neglect, Over-Discipline (over use of discipline tools) and Intentional Abuse. This article addresses the Neglect, which is the most benign form of abuse.

Description of Neglect –

Neglect means not addressing the animal’s primary needs for survival – water, food, shelter, rest and hygienic elimination. Then there is the more severe type, where a cat is forced to live in filth, confined to a cage all the time, or denied companionship with people or other animals. Many times, this can be caused by not spaying or neutering your pet. Unwanted kittens, or too many cats, is the primary cause for almost all of this type of abuse. Sometimes, a person is too ill or has allergies. Maybe a person is trying to keep a cat in an environment that makes it impossible to properly care for a cat.

I remember many years ago, seeing a homeless man walking down the street with his belongings in a shopping cart. Homeless people were harder to find then, so he stood out. He was pushing the cart with one hand and had a carrier with a cat in it, in the other. I felt sorry for both, but being a child, I didn’t know what to do. The cat was experiencing neglect, but felt much love. The man, I’m sure, didn’t know he was doing harm to the cat. He just knew that he couldn’t let his beloved cat go into a shelter – at that time all the shelters I knew of were kill-shelters.

An older cat (over a year) has little chance of coming out of a kill shelter. Most people want a kitten. The grown cats are often given no more than 2 weeks to find a home and then euthanized. This heartbreaking situation often occurs when people lose their homes, develop allergies or find that they just don’t want to deal with the discipline and behavior problems that developed in the cat. The single biggest reason people give up a cat is inappropriate elimination. Next, come allergies, followed by death of the cat’s owner. Some cats are surrendered because the person moves and is unable to find pet-friendly accommodations.

I understood the man’s feelings of love and concern for his feline companion. I also understood that the cat couldn’t live in that carrier for long. There was no safe place for them. No homeless shelter would take a man with a cat. In this case, I think the abuse is unintentional – neglect, by description. However, I think the heart of both the cat and the man were in the right place, just that the situation was unfortunate.

In news reports, we sometimes hear of breeding farms where cats are bred to the point of exhaustion and kept in sub-optimal conditions. We hear of people who just keep bringing home strays until they are over-run and can no longer take care of them, and the cats become a neighborhood problem. All of these situations can produce neglect.

Now, let’s turn to the cat’s response to neglect. How does a cat respond? Why does it do that? By understanding the specific situation and response, we can address the resulting problem behaviors with love, patience and training.

Effects of Neglect

A cat left in a cage with other animals nearby is often skittish and afraid of people. It expects food and a clean litter box on occasion, but cuddles and attention may make it uncomfortable. These cats often have no privacy issues in the cage, but once free, they are very private about their litter habits. If the cat was kept in a small carrier, it may soil itself, or hold back elimination until it is very uncomfortable. It may be dehydrated and need medical attention. The cat will be overweight from lack of activity. It may be apathetic when play is offered, not knowing what is expected. Electric lights may be something that set off a fear response in the cat because it means that people are coming. In other cases, darkness may be scary at first. Once the cat’s eyes adjust to the light level, it will be all right, but when the lights are turned off or on, the cat may cry or hiss. In the case of a cat kept in the dark except when people are coming, it may be fearful the entire time the lights are on, while also expecting food, water and a clean litter box to be provided.

What Can We Do to Help These Cats?

These cats don’t do well with handling. The less you try to pet, hold or cuddle these cats at first, the better. Let the cat come to you. It will, given time. Be sure to care for it’s creature comforts – food, water, bed, clean litter box – but don’t expect a cuddly cat for a while. That will come when the cat feels that it can trust you. It may be afraid of the sound of your feet on the floor. It may run when you come into a room. As time goes on, the cat will stay and just watch you. Another time, you may be able to approach and offer a scratch behind the ear. Eventually, you will be able to give a full cuddle. Do not try to pick the cat up, but you can pet it and the cat won’t run away or feel assaulted. When the cat responds with a purr, an offer of a cheek or an ear, or you can stroke the spine and the cat isn’t trying to run away, then you have a cat that is only cautious of you. Continue until the cat comes for cuddles, which may already be happening. Still do not try to pick the cat up. If it wants your lap, it will come. This cat may still run from you if discovered in a windowsill, on a dresser or surprised in the litter box. Say your cat’s name in a conversational tone and the cat will eventually not run away and perhaps allow a stroke. In the case of the litter box, just say the cat’s name, but never try to cuddle a cat in the litter box. If you can provide a privacy screen, the cat may stay in the room.

These cats need socialization. They need to learn to live with others outside of a cage. They need gentle discipline and may not know the meaning of the word “no.” They will love feeding time but be afraid if you need to walk near their food bowls, and run from the food. Give them time, move slowly and talk gently in their vicinity. They need to learn what people are about in a good way.

Once your cat has learned to trust you a little bit, enough to not run away when you enter a room or even starts to come to you, then you can begin to bond with your cat. A tickler wand is your best friend for this. Gently shake the wand so that the end twitches. Your cat will be interested, but may only watch at first. If your cat goes for it, excellent! When your cat gets hold of the business end of the wand, allow your cat to feel the success by keeping the wand steady for a few moments. When the cat lets go, you can start to twitch it again. The cat will play with you in this manner for quite a while. When the cat tires, put the wand up out of the way so that your cat is forced to play with you, not just the wand. If your cat grabs the wand in it’s mouth and tries to run away with it, offer resistance and don’t let go of the wand. Some cats want to take the wand and hide it under a couch or in a corner so they can worry over it for a while. Don’t allow this – the cat needs to play with you, not just the wand. After about ten days of playing with the wand, you will see your cat become more accepting of its new circumstances. Your cat should assimilate into the household well. There may be people it does not accept, and those persons can also play with the cat to promote bonding.

Under no circumstances should you perpetuate the abuse or neglect! Any discipline needs to be done gently and with care. A squirt bottle, long a favorite tool for discipline, should only be used in the beginning stages of training, while the cat is learning the word “no.” After that, you should not need it. Redirection is your best training technique. When your cat gets into or expresses interest in something that you don’t want to see it getting involved with, redirect it’s attention to something that it is allowed to be involved with or have.

Some of these cats can be clicker trained, but the bond with the person needs to be present, first. Concentrated training to condition the cat to the clicker will be needed. Some cats may be so skittish that even the best treats will not condition the cat to the clicker. If your cat runs from the clicker after a week of conditioning, do not continue. Your cat will never be comfortable with the unexpected noise it makes. You are better clapping your hands and saying “no” to stop bad behaviors than trying to clicker train for positive behaviors.

These cats will be extremely grateful for good treatment. One expression of that love, biting, may not be acceptable – especially if the cat bites hard and uses the canine teeth. Push your hand or finger into the mouth instead of pulling out so that the cat will not be able to bite down and cause you injury. You can push in hard enough to cause the gag reflex, but never harder. Never cause the cat injury in response to an injury to your person. Hitting is never acceptable – but raising a flat hand so that the eyebrow whiskers can feel it is acceptable.

If you must pick up your cat, as in putting the cat in the carrier or removing it to another room, pay attention to the cat’s body. Be sure to pick the cat up by the ribs and the hind legs at the same time to minimize stress to the cat. If the body is stiff, don’t hold the cat to your chest. Allow the cat to struggle, but stay out of the way of the claws. When you place the cat down (don’t let it jump), stroke its back if you can. Talk to the cat. It will stop a few paces away and look at you. The cat may come to you for a scratch if offered. Always talk softly and lovingly to your cat.

In Closing –

With all these admonitions and dos and don’ts, you may think that a neglected cat is too much trouble. Not that much, really. They take some time getting used to people, but once they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart, these cats will come to love you very much. The early stages with a neglected cat are the most critical. After that, you may find a loving, caring, demanding cat. Demanding because it may never want to be separated from you. Demanding because whatever it was denied before it will crave from you. Moreover, you will be loved, very deeply. It will care about you in its fashion. If your are down or blue, possibly sick, the cat will worry over you and try to find a way to comfort you. These cats are very responsive to their people. Hypersensitive is a good description. Empathic is another good description of their behavior. Some cats even approach a symbiotic relationship with their people.

Give love and patience, and love and patience will be returned. Give concern and care and those are returned. A neglected cat is one of the best pets for a single, older person. The cat will be tuned to that person in short order. It will give love and affection to ease the loneliness and loss these people sometimes experience. When the person is ill, the cat will understand and be there to comfort, while allowing the person to care for him or herself.

Morgen Marshall, a cat whisperer, invites you into her world of cats. She created a website dedicated to making the relationship between cats and people harmonious and healthy. For the Love of Cats is a place for people who love cats to find answers from someone they can trust.

All You Need To Know About CATS

INTRODUCTION

The question of whether or not a cat’s love is real might seem ridiculous to those who do not own cats. Dogs might claim the title of man’s best friend, but everyone who has lived with cats knows they’re simply too awesome to want to be friends with. Some might argue, however, that those who own cats apply human characteristics to non-human entities. Well, those who argue that all animals take care of their young ones just because of instinct have obviously not spent time with a cat. This article has helpful information about cats, together with just about everything you might want to know to help you and your precious cat in living together.

BASIC INFO

Communication

Cat communication has many varieties of vocalizations. They consist of mewing, purring, hissing, growling, trilling and grunting. Cats have cat pheromones and a number of specific body languages as well.

Adaptability

Like other felids, cats have a similar anatomy. They are very strong with quick reflexes, flexible bodies, sharp retractable claws, and very sharp teeth that are adapted to killing small prey like mice.

Senses

  • Hearing

Cats are known for having astounding senses. A cat’s outer ear flap takes in sound from every direction, which then goes down their ear canals to the eardrum. After the sound vibrates on the eardrum, the middle ear changes the vibration to sound waves and sends them to the cat’s cochlea and finally the brain. A cat can hear from twenty hertz up to approximately 65,000 hertz. Since a cat responds more readily to a high pitch than a low pitch, this might be the reason a cat seems to like a woman better with a high-pitched voice. The ears are also assist cats in balance. This is the main reason why cats normally land on their feet when falling.

  • Seeing

The feline eye structure has the cornea, the lens, the retina, the iris, and the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidum is a layer of mirror-like cells that reflect small amount of light, helping a cat to see. This is why a cat only needs 1/6 of the light that a person needs so as to see clearly. Nonetheless, cats cannot see in total darkness. They also have a third eyelid known as the haw to protect their eyes. A cat’s pupil is elliptical to help control the quantity of light that enters. In semi-darkness, their pupils dilate and become almost flawlessly round. A cat’s pupil can dilate 3 times more than that of a human being.

  • Smelling

A cat relies on its sense of smell to establish its territory, and to know if food’s safe to eat. A cat’s nose has almost 200 million nerve cells, making its sense of smell fourteen times more sensitive than that of a human. Astonishingly, a cat can remember a certain smell for the rest of its life.

  • Tasting

Although a cat only has 475 taste buds, while humans have 9,000, it has unique papillae to make up for it. Its tongue is covered with numerous small projections that hook downwards, giving it a rough, sand-papery feel. The papilla helps them scrape meat off bones and hold their prey. Cats also have problems tasting salty and sweet food since their taste receptors favor high-fat and high-protein tastes.

  • Feeling

Cats have an average of twenty four whiskers on their face; these hairs very thick and are rooted three times deeper. Whiskers are very sensitive to detect slightest changes in air current. They are also used to see if a cat can fit through a gap. Not only are the whiskers all over a cat’s face, but they are also on the back of its front legs. Whiskers are replaced whenever they fall off. A cat’s fur has unique sensitive nerve ending that detect a slight touch. Their paws are also very sensitive to touch.

Behavior

Free-ranging cats are lively both day and night, though they tend to be more active at night. The timing of a cats’ movement is quite flexible, meaning that house cats can be more active early in the morning and late in the evening (crepuscular behavior). This is due to greater human activity that occurs at these times.

Breeding

Under controlled breeding, cats are easily bred and shown as registered pets, a hobby called cat fancy. Failure to control their breeding by neutering has led to large numbers of feral cats. This has led to extinction of countless bird species.

POPULAR NAMES

Every cat loving person would want to give his/her cat the best name. If you take a look at a number of the most popular cat names, the lists will almost at all times have similar names on them. Nonetheless, the reputation of cat names differs from one nation to another. The ranking of most admired cat names can be easily assessed, from pet insurance registrations to breed registries. The United States’ biggest pet insurer, (VPI), releases yearly rankings of their most popular cat names

Top cat names seem to be Max, Tiger, Princess, Shadow and Ginger. These cat names seemed to be constant over the years; they are still on most lists of popular cat names. Shadow, Tiger and Ginger are no brainers; it is pretty self explanatory why somebody would choose these names. Abby and Max, however, are a little less understandable.

Either way, there’re quite a few names that will keep resurfacing on the top lists every now and then. Some of the most common cat names recently are Lulu, Misty, Charlie, Dexter, Ma, and Oliver. Perhaps the oldest and the traditional favorite is the name Mitten that’s still used today. Today’s popular cat names seem to come from culture movies such as Disney films, for instance, Nala, Simba, and Tinkerbell. Some fashionable and fitting cat names are related to their fur coloring like Midnight, Java, Crow, Shadow, Cinder and Ebony for black cats. No matter where the muse comes from, sometimes the names just come to us as if by celestial intervention.

Top 5 Names:

  1. Max
  2. Bella
  3. Whiskers
  4. Chloe
  5. Kitty

BEDS

On average, a cat spends 2/3 of the day sleeping. Every cat considers its routine nap a must when it comes to its daily duties. As the individual requirements for each playful feline are different, so are their cat bed preferences.

Whether your cat prefers to nestle in a warm corner or under the sun, nearly all cats prefer warm and comfy places to sleep. From chic luxury cat beds to pyramid-shaped cat beds and pads, there’s a large variety of styles obtainable to suit your cat’s preference.

When browsing through different styles of cat beds, whether you consider covered beds, heated cat beds or luxury cat beds, remember that your main aim is to choose the type that will offer your cat the comfort and warmth that is just right for it.

CARRIERS AND CRATES

Cat containment and travel is made comfortable, easy, and convenient with the correct cat carriers and crates. There’s no doubt that dogs and cats differ from one another in many ways. As every cat fanatic knows, cats just do not seem to share the pleasure their canine counterparts get from vehicle rides, regardless of duration or distance.

Cat carriers are intended to make vehicle rides more bearable for your playful felines, ensuring their comfort and safety. There’re also a variety of moveable cat carriers that are obtainable in both soft and high-impact materials.

You should choose one that is easy to clean to help contain yours cats together with their good health during the drive. Offer your cats with safe and moderately trouble-free travel as well as a pleasant travel experience with convenient cat carriers and Crates.

GAMES

Domestic cats, particularly young kittens, are well known for their love of games. Cats engage in play fighting, with one other and with humans as well. This behavior imitates hunting and is important in helping young kittens learn to stalk, capture, and kill their prey. Many games have also been invented for cats.

Top Games

  • The Crazy Cat

This is one of the best games for cats on the Android market. The game is specifically written for you and your cat! CrazyCat HD will certainly amuse both you and your fuzzy friend with pretty animated critters that you control with your phone while your cat runs around your tablet screen.

  • Friskies Cat

Friskies is one of the companies that are excited to feed cats’ senses with playful games. The movement, colors, and game-play have been examined and tested for utmost feline fun.

  • Cat Fishing

Cat Fishing is an all-new cat game that’s designed particularly for cats. Tap “start” and begin watching your cat play. The more your cat catches, the more difficult the game gets.

  • Catnip mouse

This is a common game among cats. Skillful hunters, Munchkins love this game, but after they finish playing, they desire a warm lap to burrow into and strokes from a tender hand.

TOYS

Most housecats, although they are much safer inside, tend to be underactive and overweight. Cats, like dogs and human beings, benefit from exercises and being active, both mentally & physically. So, you need to get our cat up and moving, and there is no better way to persuade out their natural instinct to stalk and hound prey than charming them with cat toys.

Top Toys

  • Pounce

Pounce is an innovative cat toy that provides the final in interactive play for your cat. It is an electronic mouse that acts like a prey but never stops running.

  • Dart

The dart toy is designed to engage your feline companion in enthusiastic play. It consists of rotating circular laser patterns that your cat stalks and chases for hours.

  • Twitch

Be prepared for pouncing, jumping, chasing, and maybe even the sporadic half-twist somersault. The Twitch is an amazing bouncing feather teaser toy that constantly plays with your cat even if you are away.

  • Bolt

The bolt is an interactive cat toy that plays with your cat, instead of the other way round. It is an automatic laser toy that will have your cat bouncing off the wall.

Why Buy Cat Toys?

  1. They help you build a close relationship with your cat
  2. It helps relieve a cat’s boredom and stress
  3. It is a good way of exercising your cat
  4. Cat toys help improve your cat’s blood circulation
  5. They build muscle tone and prevent/reduce behavioral problems

WHAT MAKES THEM SO AFFECTIONATE?

  • Socialization

The first few days of a kitten’s life are vital in helping it feel safe and contented around the people caring for him. Regular handling and comforting words at the kitten’s early stage increases the chances of it becoming a loving, well-balanced cat. This is also the perfect time to make sure that it does not associate human hands with play toys. Let it play with toys and set aside your hands for holding.

  • Genetic Factors

Breeding and genetics play a role in your cat’s temperament. Of course, your cat does not have to be a pure-bred to be an aristocrat in its manners. A good disposition is not elite to pedigrees, as all loving owners of friendly cross-breeds know. Conversely, some cat breeds are more known for their friendly temperaments. The Bombay cat, for instance, is noted for its affectionate, playful nature on the Cat fanciers’ website.

  • One-On-One

It is a case of sticking to the golden rule, catlike style, by treating the cat how you would like to be taken care of if you were them. Study conducted by the University of Vienna reveals that the more attention you allocate to your pet, the more affectionate it will be in return. Of course you already know that by now! The research, based on in-depth interpretation of how owners interact with their revealed that if individuals spend extra time interacting with their pet, it is more likely to remember the compassion and return the favor.

  • Mother Love

Your little cat needs you for warmth, food and shelter and when it curls up on your lap, it’s showing its appreciation, mainly after dinner! Food’s often used as a token of friendliness, and the way that a cat and a human being relates to food are the same in nature to the interaction seen between human care-givers and pre-verbal infants.

FACTS

Below are amazing facts about cats that you probably never knew;

  • Can rehydrate by drinking sea water
  • A cat sweats through its paws
  • Produce a similar brain wave pattern like in humans. This means that they can dream
  • Have led to the extinction of several species
  • Ancient Egyptians killed anyone who killed a cat
  • Switzerland legalized eating of cats
  • An infected cat can cause Toxoplasmosis
  • A cat’s nose is different from another, just like we humans have different fingerprints
  • The Japanese consider black cats as a sign for good luck
  • Ancient Egyptians used to shave their eyebrows when a cat died
  • An Italian tycoon left over $ 13 million to a cat
  • Recent study shows that owning a cat reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack
  • An adult cat only meows to communicate with humans
  • Korea and Japan have cat cafes for you and your cat to hang out
  • The CIA spent over $ 20 in the 1960s training cats to spy
  • Can die from eating chocolate
  • Every year, almost four million cats are eaten in China as a delicacy
  • Are America’s best pets
  • Can swallow their food without chewing
  • Make almost 100 different sounds while dogs can only make 10.
  • Have thirty two muscles controlling their outer ear
  • Cannot taste sweetness
  • Sleep for approximately 70 percent of their lives
  • The longest cat that was ever measured was 1.23 m when fully stretched