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The Health Benefits of Owning a Cat

October 25, 2017

This is a guest post by Raven Flanigan

The love and support a cat provides their owner can be a calming experience; a heartwarming head nudge or a soft purr on the lap are simple affections with a lot of impact! Cats are often looked upon as being unaffectionate and selfish, but that is far from the truth. Of course, they may act selfish and sometimes only rub up against your legs when they’re hungry, but they can provide a lot of comfort when you’re feeling stressed or even so much as having an anxiety attack or depression. The love provided from a cat is a rewarding experience regardless!

Cats can offer emotional support and science can prove this statement! When a cat purrs, the vibrations given off fall into the range of offering therapeutic effects for various illnesses; the frequencies fall between 20 to 140 Hz, which is medically known to be therapeutic. For this same reason, purring can promote bone strength, as the best frequencies are 25 and 50 Hz and the second best are 100 and 200 Hz. Purring also aids in the healing of numerous injuries, swelling, and infection! Their purrs alone can provide even more medically, such as lowering blood pressure, general stress levels, and even decrease the symptoms of dyspnea. Calming cat purrs are the most effective with people suffering from PTSD and anxiety who struggle with calming themselves down. Petting the cat and feeling its reaction change teaches emotional regulation in a way that’s easy to focus on due to petting the cat in a rhythmic motion. Cats also don’t purr at every stroke, so creating a goal to strive for (petting in a way the cat likes to produce a purr) can also aid in regulating emotions.

Of course, spending time with most animals can give positive affects regardless, not just cats; however, cats play a significant role in aiding mental health, as their attitudes are quite unique! What happens when you pet an animal? Your body produces the oxytocin hormone, and can increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which all provide positive feelings and lower stress. What cats help their owner’s most with are mental illnesses like anxiety, social interaction issues, and depression. Therapists have agreed that dogs are perfect to begin therapy with, however they won’t produce the same changes that a cat can. The reason is thought to be that dogs will put up with bad behaviors whereas cats will not; this means that bad behaviors and thoughts can change, as a cat provides a more life-like human interaction than a dog due to their human-like independency. Cats serve as a guide to healthy relationships in a way that no other animal can!

Cats provide a different kind of companionship to people than other animals do. Because of their independency like previously stated, interactions with them are more human-like, and this is what makes a huge impact to people who struggle socially, have had bad home experiences, or are even suffering from a loss. When struggling with any issue, you can feel lost or even like you have no purpose, but coming home every day to a cat that you must feed a few times a day and keep an eye on their litter box often creates a routine and sense of purpose that can help ease the symptoms of emotional distress. They also offer a quality distraction, as stated before that petting them appropriately will reward you with purrs, as well as focusing on playing with them correctly (they are hunters by blood, so to see them be as active as possible, there are some techniques to the feather wand!) can offer a distraction that not many other things can.

Cats can be registered as emotional support animals! An emotional support animal is a pet that helps ease emotional distress and is a vital part of treatment to help a person’s well-being. You can consider the support cat info here to find out how you can get your cat registered as an emotional support animal for mental health! Cats can’t be registered as service animals, but fortunately if your cat can become an emotional support animal, they’ll possess more rights than an unregistered pet. This means your cat can accompany you where they usually wouldn’t be able to and prevents you from being turned away from housing that prevents pets from living there. Of course, public areas and businesses aren’t required by law to allow your emotional support animal to accompany you since they’re not service animals. In fact, may places are looking down upon those with service animals and emotional support animals both due to an influx of irresponsible owners registering their pets just to take them around; a group of reporters were able to register a stuffed dog as an emotional support animal for a plane ride. This kind of irresponsibility makes getting your pet registered even more difficult and looked down upon in public for those who truly need them. Because of this, it’s advised that you take care in registering your cat as an emotional support animal and only doing so if you truly need them for support, as this can aid in making it less difficult for those who are currently struggling with mental and emotional stress who need their cat (or any pet) registered as an emotional support animal.

Cats are very helpful and comforting; they possess traits that can aid those with mental and emotional distress on the path to recovery. Cats have so much to offer with their healing purrs, charming independency, and unique companionship to help those struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social issues, and various other emotional and mental illnesses. And don’t forget, cats can be registered as emotional support animals, so if you or someone you know depends on their cat for support, it’s recommended to take the steps needed for the cat to gain rights and be able to accompany their owner more places. Cats are truly an unrecognized blessing to those struggling and in need of help; the comfort they provide can be overwhelmingly helpful and heal the deepest wounds.

Here Kitty Kitty

Chronic Urinary Tract Infections

March 14, 2016

Urinary Tract Infections and the size of cat pee clumpsThat picture to the left there is a clump of Nefarian’s pee.

Yep.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would take a picture of one of my cat’s pee clumps?

Well, when you have a cat that has chronic urinary tract infections, seeing him go into the litter box and peeing that much will fill you with joy and relief.

See, Nefarian has been battling a rather nasty UTI for the past 2 months. Nothing that he has taken has seemed to help much at all. When he starts to have a urinary tract infection flareup, he will only pee a drop or two and will mrrrrow (its how he meows when he’s not feeling good) throughout the day and night when he tries to pee. And if you have ever had a UTI then you know that it’s not pleasant and poor Nefarian is probably experiencing the same discomfort that we do when we’re dealing with a urinary tact infection. So to say I was excited when I saw him step into the litter box and pee that much is an understatement. I was ecstatic! The past few days, he had seemed to be in a better mood but I didn’t want to get my hopes up that the UTI was finally going away. And I’m still a little worried that it was just a fluke and his symptoms will return in full force. If they don’t, then I’m laying all the credit at the feet of UroMAXX Urinary Tract, Kidney & Bladder Formula.

UroMAXX is a supplement-like liquid that is given once a day and has a lot of positive reviews online. In fact, vets (including our own) often recommend it for chronic urinary, kidney and bladder infections. Nefarian has been taking UroMAXX for almost 3 weeks and no, I wasn’t paid or compensated nor did I received a free product for this post. I talked with a vet and did my own research to try to find something to control his chronic UTIs.

With that said, it has only been 3 weeks and I am not 100-percent sold on the UroMAXX yet (I don’t want to get my hopes up just yet). I do, however, hope to God that this stuff is working and Nefarian’s infection is going away. I will happily give this supplement to him everyday for the rest of his (God willing) long life if it helps keep UTIs at bay.

Here Kitty Kitty

Meet Widget

November 14, 2015

Remember when I wrote about the pregnant feral cat and her three kittens? Well, I have an appointment to get the mom cat fixed so she can continue her feral life without the worry of getting pregnant again and found homes for the white kitten and the ginger kitten. But the striped kitten, well we decided to keep him.

Meet Widget, the newest addition to our family. He is a playful and extremely loving kitten who doesn’t like to be left alone. He has a huge appetite and loves playing and sleeping under the covers.

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It took a lot of convincing on my part but Mike agreed to it and Widget was brought indoors on October 28. He was confined to Raven’s bedroom for a week until his appointment with the vet. I didn’t want him around Jedi and Nefarian until we were sure he didn’t have FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) or FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus). I had made arraignments with my mom beforehand so that if he just so happened to test positive she would give him a home. Thank the good Lord, Widget tested negative for FIV, FeLV and heartworms. The vet said that he looked healthy and (along with the vet tech) keep remarking how pretty, soft and well behaved he was. Widget has an appointment on December 4 to get neutered.

After everything came back negative, we started to introduce Jedi and Nefarian to Widget. Jedi couldn’t care less about him and his more concerned about what Widget has to eat. Nefarian, on the other hand, hates him and tries to attack him every chance he gets. At the moment, he is still semi confined to Raven’s bedroom. Throughout the day, we allow surprised “visitations” between Nefarian and Widget. We are taking things slow and hoping that Nefarian will accept Widget into the family sooner rather than later.

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Mama Cat and Her Kittens

July 29, 2015

A few weeks ago, I started to feed a tortoiseshell cat. I would see her on our back porch or come from underneath the neighbor’s house. She looked malnourished and would hiss and growl if you can come to her. Being the sucker I am for cats, I couldn’t just let her go without food so I started feeding here. She would eat and then run across the street and down the road. I thought that maybe she did have a home but just wanted to see what other people could offer her in ways of food. Well, two mornings ago, I open the door to fill the food bowl I keep outside and there the tortoiseshell cat was with three kittens; a ginger, a white and tan and one that looks a lot like Nefarian. The four of them are currently staying underneath our back porch. While I would love to keep them all, Mike says no so I am going to try to get them use to me and then find homes for them.

They are just too stinkin’ cute!

A photo posted by Manda Flanigan (@uglygeekgirl) on

Here Kitty Kitty

Catnip Tea: Homemade Recipe for your Kitties

July 29, 2014

Nefarian has chronic UTIs — urinary tract infections — and since I have a hate for most veterinarians, I went searching for other options so we wouldn’t have to keep returning to the vets every month for antibiotics that just won’t work. During my search I found many wonderful tips to help keep his UTIs at bay, including giving him cranberry extract (which really does work).

One of things I found out is that cats are not big drinkers and usually don’t get enough water in their diet. And consuming the proper amount of water is key to stopping UTIs in their tracks. So we started to look for ways to increase Nefarian’s water intake. Most of the tips that I found were things we already do. They always have a bowl a fresh water in the kitchen and we add a bit of water to the bathtub because both him and Jedi like to drink water dripping from the bathtub faucet. They also mostly eat wet cat food but have a bit of hard cat food on the side.

One interesting tip I came across using catnip tea as a sorta treat for them that would also help up their water intake. Seeing how I already make my own tea from red clover, sage and various other herbs I grow, I was pretty excited to try it out for Nefarian and Jedi.

After trying it the first time and sharing the pictures on Facebook, I received many requests for the recipe. So I thought, why not write a blog post about it?

The entire process is easy peasy and fairly inexpensive. So far, I have made catnip tea 3 times for Nefarian and Jedi, and it has been a success every time. Keep in mind, however, that not all kitties react to catnip. Jedi is absolutely hooked on catnip and will only play with catnip-filled toys, while Nefarian enjoys licking his catnip kiss, drinking catnip tea and playing with catnip toys, he isn’t as “into” it as Jedi.


Catnip Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of dried or fresh catnip
  • 6 to 8 ounces of hot water
  • Teapot
  • Tea strainer or tea basket

Directions:

Step 1: Add your fresh or dried catnip to the basket or tea strainer. I have this cute little tea pot that has a built in basket. It works perfect for homemade loose leaf teas.

Step 2: Pour 6 to 8 ounces of hot — not boiling — water slowly over the catnip.

Add fresh or dried catnip and hot water.

Step 3: Let the kitties inspect the process to ensure you are on the right track. This may or may not involve a paw.

Check the catnip tea.

Step 4: Let the tea sit for several hours. This might just be the hardest step. But Jedi is waiting somewhat patiently.

Waiting for the catnip tea is the hardest part.
Step 5: Pour into bowls and enjoy!

Tips and Considerations: Make sure the tea is completely cooled before giving it to your kitties. You yourself can also consume some of the catnip tea. In fact, catnip tea has many health benefits for humans, including treating insomnia, anxiety and migraines.