Archive for the ‘Cat Play’ Category

Tora’s New Sister

November 21st, 2012

Oh my goodness!  I don’t know how many times had I dreamed about this day – the day that Mikan can get out of her quarantine suite (master bathroom and closet combined for luxury) and she can explore  everywhere in the house (she might think our house is a huge castle!).  Finally, she can live with all of us – yes, ringworm is OVER.  The most exciting thing was to observe the re-introduction of Mikan and Tora again after 11 weeks!   Both cats briefly met in late August before Mikan started to show various sickly symptoms.  I was little anxious and nervous about this process this time.  I was just crossing my fingers hoping everything would go well.

"We are finally together!"

As soon as the door opened, Mikan dashed out of her “cell”, and there was her long-awaiting brother, Tora, with open paws (OK, I am imagining things).  In reality, Tora was sitting there to greet her with his extended neck.  Then, he started licking the top of Mikan’s head right away!  Mikan was so excited to see something new, so she couldn’t sit still for Tora.  She took off to other new areas of the house to explore.  Tora chased her everywhere.  They were both hyper-active as if they couldn’t contain their emotions of excitement and joy!

Today, on the fourth day of Mikan’s integration to the family, I am so thankful that Mikan is doing extremely well.  She looks as happy as a clam, jumping and galloping everywhere.  She already has a set of permanent canines, too.  It was wild to see her baby teeth canines and permanent canines existed side by side for about two weeks.  We will surely continue feeding her high quality homemade raw meat with right supplements for her.  I’ve learned that Omega 3 (Salmon oil) and turmeric have been a big help for her skin condition in addition to our daily supplements.

"Yep, we play!!"

Since Mimi passed in late June, Tora has been mellower than before.  He adapted himself to be an only cat in the house, acting like a human rather than a cat, in my opinion.  However, Mikan brought him back to his natural state – being a cat again!  He runs so fast that my eyes cannot follow his movement.  He has distinct moments of being active and being relaxed.  In his relationship with Mimi, he was instigator and Mimi had to hiss at him in order to let him know “enough is enough”.  Now, Tora hisses  to Mikan to let her know “too much is too much”.

All is well.  My husband and I felt big relief this week.  We sat in our backyard with our favorite Green Tea Latte from Starbucks this afternoon, and took this happiness ALL IN.  Welcome, little sister to your home and family!  Life is sweet.

"Do I look beautiful now?"

Acrobatic Cats: Does Your Cat Have a Potential?

November 13th, 2012

Two of my cat-fanatic friends notified me about this crazy cat show called Acro-Cats!  You might say, “Huh?”  Can cats do an acrobatic performance?  Without wasting any time, I booked the tickets right away to see the opening night of the show last night!  Let me tell you about these amazing kitties who are so well-trained to do the performances with about 100 people in front of them!

"Tuna" the cowbell drummer, and her fan!

Yes, she CAN rock!

See it to believe it.  There were about 13 performing cats on the “stage”.  They came out of their cages at the trainers’ command one at a time, and then they did all kinds of acrobatic performances including walking on a set of paralleled bars and on a ball (yes, true), ringing a cowbell, playing a guitar (uh huh), playing the keyboard, and many many more tricks.  All the cats are motivated by food/treats.  They do all these amazing things because they know they will get treats right then if they do certain things – we all know about “operant conditioning (O.C.)”.  Many cat human companions think O.C. is for dogs.  🙂  Cats are simply too intelligent and spiritual to be manipulated by humans, right?  Well, apparently, cats CAN be trained to be members of a rock band.

The Circus Cats group has their own trailer bus and tours all over the U.S.  I thought it was interesting that only two cats in the performing cats are males.  Their Mom, Samantha, said that the girls work harder than the boys.  Now I think about the many cats I encountered, including mine, I may agree with that statement.  I will not tell you more than this because I really want you to see these amazingly intelligent kitties.

Circus Cats Tour Bus

I truly, from the bottom of my heart, enjoyed watching their organic and somewhat naturally chaotic performance – that made it so special and charming.  I full-heartedly recommend you to go to the show here in Austin this week only!!  (

If you happen to go to the show, and buy their clicker-training packet as a souvenir for your kitties, keep me informed!  A trick for success seems to be keeping the cats hungry for a long time before the training.  🙂  Also, our patience will be challenged.  It is always two-way learning with our intelligent furry animals.

Focusing on Quality of Life for Cats

October 22nd, 2012

First of all, thank you so much for many friends who sent me warm support and encouragement via email and on the blog.  Mikan has been appreciating them also, and in return, she has great news to share this time!

"Do you want to join me for fun?"

Mikan is doing wonderfully well.  Since I wrote my last blog, Mikan hasn’t had a high fever at all!  She is “fever-free” for two weeks – this is a world record for her!  Mikan’s energy is much more robust and lively, and her motor skills and muscle coordination are getting coherent like a REAL cat every day.  Yaaaay!

You might wonder what we did differently in these two weeks.  We decided to focus on her wellness and quality of life rather than “treating” whatever happening on her skin (there is still no diagnosis from the vet).  I decided not to use the vet-suggested OTC skin cream (Lotrimin) for ringworm nor the enzymatic shampoo for the skin itchiness.  Instead, we let Mikan out in our cat-fenced backyard to run around for one hour every afternoon.  She LOVES that time.

At first, she was overwhelmed by the different noises of the wind, the leaves, the cars, etc., but she got used to these familiar outside sounds very fast.  I learned that UV light kills ringworm fungi, so this was perfect thing to do!  I could tell that she is taking in everything that the nature offers to heal and boost her immune system.  She is engaging every movement with 100% focus outside.  What a joy to be with her to experience that feeling together!  Although Mikan has sufficient space inside her master bathroom/closet suite, nothing is better than running around on green grass, freely under the warm sunshine.

By the way, we had a new window installed in Mikan’s suite the other day, so that she can have fresh air and natural sounds from outside.  I didn’t like the previous widow which didn’t open, so I am very happy with the new one.  It is little a silly that sometimes the house project on a list gets done quickly because of the cats, not because of our needs.

"I like to be in your lap, too."

The other two things I am doing twice daily are Colloidal Silver topical application for ringworm and also homeopathy.  Somehow, Mikan likes the homeopathy – when I show her a dropper, she would come and starts licking the tip of it!  She may know exactly what she needs.  We will re-start herbal remedy this week.  As I’m observing Mikan’s growth week by week, she is certainly gaining weight and clearly getting longer (should I say, “taller”).  I’d better go and take more pictures of her now, so that I won’t miss out capturing amazing Kodak moments.

"I AM a tiger, grrrr!!"

My Journey with Mikan

October 10th, 2012

It has been six weeks since Mikan joined our family.  I am reflecting on how each cat requires different attention for their health.  Mikan brought us a challenge in a good way.  Her weak health status helps me appreciate how healthy Tora and Mimi were when growing up!  I thought that healthy kittenhood was “normal”.  Raising Mikan for six weeks, after five high fever incidents, ringworm, earmites, staph infection, and severe side effects from medicines, I’ve learned that healthy kittenhood should not be taken for granted.

"Here I am at the vet office, again. The doctor is very gentle and nice to me."

According to the two vets I consulted with recently, it is not clear as to why Mikan keeps having fevers over and over.  Neither of them recommends antibiotics nor steroids for Mikan.  She is currently too weak for any kinds of medications.   Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (Oops, this is Mikan’s first typing!)  I am in our master bathroom with my laptop here to be with Mikan.  She will be cooped up here until her ringworm is cleared, which is almost gone.

I have been using Colloidal Silver 500 ppm topically on her ringworm spots (it is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial).  In my opinion, it has been working very well.  It is safe even if she licks it off from her fur.  I also used a mixture of herbs as a topical application.  I used a recipe from here.  I made a mixture of turmeric powder, neem leaf powder, coconut oil, and colloidal silver.  I applied the mixture to the ringworm spots a couple of times a day.  This worked very well with Tora.  Although he had only a few time exposures to ringworm from Mikan (15min. each time, perhaps) back in August, he got one from her.  I didn’t know Mikan had ringworm back then.

Currently, we are dealing with Mikan’s staph infection that came with the episodes of high fever.  Her soul is beautiful as always, but her face is not so pretty right now.  Mikan didn’t let me take her picture up front, but here is the one she reluctantly let me take for the blog.

"I'll be better looking soon!"

Mikan seems to enjoy the car ride to the vet.  She is always calm and relaxed in the car.  I saw her sleeping on the way back from Round Rock last week!  That is cool.  🙂

On a positive note, from Mikan’s perspective, it is just another day.  Some days, she has lots of energy.  Other days, she wants to rest.  For her, every day is a great day, just some have more playtime than others.  I’m learning to trust the natural process that she’s going through.

My husband and I have been experiencing emotional up-and-downs depending on how Mikan has been doing every day.  Our adventure and learning continue…

What Do You Do to Relax Your Cat?

May 24th, 2012

"Don't like!" Paws Down...

As a cat owner, we all know that cats are finicky creatures.  Even in their familiar environment, they might jump up in the air with all fours with a sudden noise, thunder, or even simply a new stuff on the floor!!

I got to say, “Calm down kitty…” just yesterday, when I bought a bunch of crinkly gift tissue papers for Mimi to play with.  She loves tissue paper – I thought she would have more fun with more crisp, better quality papers (in my opinion).  I laid the “super crinkly” new tissue paper on the carpet just in time when she came inside through the cat door.  She immediately stopped and detected a new paper five feet away from her, she lowered her tail down. (Fear degree #1).  Then, she slowly approached the paper (I’m proud of her!)  She sniffed it.  Nothing is happening.  Then, she put her right paw on it.  “CRINK!!”  Mimi FLIPPED OUT, jumping straight up in the air with all fours!!!  What a finicky cat…  Here I have another waste of toys that didn’t work.  Oh, wait, I can still use it for the gift wrapping for humans!   Whew.

I am still learning about how to effectively relax cats in general, but here are some techniques that I know work for many cats (it may not work for ALL cats).

1)    Relax YOURSELF – When you’re anxious, panicky, or anxious, your cat is totally “in-tune” with it.

2)    Communicate with a Cat – Talk gently to your cat about what’s going on, and that it is just a temporary situation (whatever it is happening).  Then, send your cat an image of calm and peace, ensuring that everything will be the same as usual soon.  According to my animal communication teacher, animals communicate with images!  Meow.

3)    Play Sessions – It might sound counter-intuitive, but cats are craving for “intelligent things” to do.  Playing that consists of chasing and hunting something moving is totally stimulating to them, and that’s what they are hard-wired in their biology.  Believe or not, the play relaxes them.  I have seen many shelter cats who were so nervous and fearful they were sitting in back of their cage box; they came out of the box to play within 10-15 min. of our volunteers’ patient encouragement.

4)    Flower Essences – Natural vibrational energy in the flower water soften and re-balance cat’s emotional state.  I will talk more in-depth about it in a future blog!

5)    Lavender Hydrosol Spray – This is a new addition to my practice.  I tested it with a handful of my clients.  Their cats like it.  Spray it on the cat’s bedding, inside of a cat carrier, and any areas that a cat needs calming effect (i.e., inside the car).  Do NOT use essential oils because they are toxic to cats.

6)    Giving Treats – It’s best given when a cat already calmed down.  Please remember to praise them verbally, too!

Every cat I encounter in the shelter, through cat sitting, and consultations teaches me a lot about how he/she wants to be treated.  I do my best to use my abilities to interpret their messages as correctly as possible.  Will I ever learn “purr-fect” techniques?  No cat has given me the answer yet.

Have You Heard about Cat Cafés?

April 29th, 2012

"Testing my catnip tea!"

A Cat Café is not for cats to have a wonderful afternoon tea time – it is a café for human cat lovers to enjoy a relaxing space with cats.  What a wild idea!  I had heard about a Cat Café in Japan a couple years ago.  I had no idea this cat café phenomena swept all over Japan in past two years…  Today, I looked it up and found that there are over 20 cat café in Tokyo alone, and there are 76 all across Japan.

It was an American TV station which got this “scoop” when I watched it for the first time.   Now you can watch the UK version of this – click HERE.

I researched a bit online about cat cafés in Japan (my Japanese language skills became handy, finally).  There are some varieties among cat cafés.  Some cat cafés work with non-profit animal rescue organizations exclusively and take in sick or abandoned cats just like many animal shelters do here in U.S.  (Like!)  Others work with breeders, and not with rescue cats (Not a big fan!).  All of the cat cafés I checked online arrange adoptions.  Some are wheelchair-accessible and encourage elderlies and handicapped people to visit, focusing on felines’ therapeutic aspect.

The one I was surprised to find was a cat café run by a veterinary hospital and Little Cats (non-profit animal protective advocacy group) together.  With the collaboration of the two, this particular cat café, called Hakobuneko, achieves the greatest from both worlds!  Veterinarians provide all the vaccinations, surgeries, and medications necessary for stray cats, whereas Little Cats offer quality adoptions due to their dedication for the animals.  Hakobuneko cat café encourages both foster and adoption programs.  They charge a customer for $8 for 30 min. (with soft drinks) spending with the cats, and $3 for every 30 min. thereafter.

Assuming that cats are well taken care of and not stressed by the experience, any way to improve cat and human relations seems like a good idea to me!


February 5th, 2011

SNOOOWWW!!  We had a whopping one inch accumulation of snow this morning in Austin, TX!!  If I remember correctly, last Sunday was a 78F degree day.  All day today, our cats stayed inside and cozily snuggled up with their own favorite blankets – except going to the outside litterbox.  We have another litterbox inside the house, but the both cats still like to use the outside box even in this freezing weather!  Read the rest of this entry »

Fostering Mufasa Week Two & Three

July 7th, 2010

In week two, my foster kitten, Mufasa, got an U.R.I. (Upper Respiratory Infection). An URI to a kitten is like the flu to a human.  It is airborne in transmission and highly contagious to other cats living in the same space.  Mufasa started sneezing, having a runny nose, and watery eyes.  Although I’ve been isolating him from my resident cats since he came to my house, I let one of my cats, Tora, into Mufasa’s room briefly in week one.  I thought it was good for Mufasa to have some socialization with another cat while he’s here.  Well, I didn’t know that Mufasa was under the weather at that time.  He looked just fine. Read the rest of this entry »

Fostering Mufasa – Week One

July 7th, 2010

Mufasa was brought into Town Lake Animal Shelter at the end of May.  He was about eight weeks old and very tiny and skinny.  He was only 1 ¼ pounds!  He needed a quieter and safer environment to recover from severe diarrhea and loss of appetite.  I decided to provide a foster home temporarily for this cutie pie. Read the rest of this entry »