Cats are good for your health

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If you have a cat, you love your cat for the companionship that they provide.  A sympathetic ear, great listening skills, and boundless affection are all great benefits of cat ownership, but your cat may actually be doing more for you than you think. Scientists claim stroking a cat has been proven to lower blood pressure, and cat owners tend to  have lower triglycerides, which reduces their risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease. A University of Minnesota study of 4,435 people found that those who did not own  cats were 30-40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, even if they  owned dogs.

Cats can reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other negative  states. Just owning any pet can also reduce the likelihood of suffering from physical problems, which is evident  in the fact that pet owners require fewer visits to the hospital on average.  Studies conducted in Germany and Australia found that those with companion animals visited the hospital 15% less often than those without pets. In China,  pet owners saw even greater benefits, with 20% fewer hospital visits.

Recent research shows that the sound of a cat’s purr is conducive to bone growth. Scientists are looking into using the same frequencies and vibrations in healing or halting osteoporosis, as well as in treating bone fractures.

Cats and dogs – but especially cats – have been used in some hospitals and nursing homes as a kind of therapy for the bedridden and ill.  The warmth of their furry bodies and open, purring friendship can drastically influence a person’s state of mind for the better.  A study conducted in the states of New York, Missouri, and Texas found that nursing homes that allowed pets had lower medication costs than those that didn’t.

Children also benefit from the raising of a pet. Studies have shown pet owners have higher self-esteem levels, better social skills, and a greater sense of responsibility toward others.  Young children and infants who are exposed to cats at an early age are said to develop resistance to allergens and asthma.

Autistic children can benefit from cat ownership. Those with autism have a hard time communicating in the same way that others do. Having a cat can actually help in these cases. There have been instances where cats have been instrumental in their therapy.

During the Middle Ages people believed that stroking the tail of a black cat would cure a sty on the eyelid. They also thought that fever could be cured by wearing a pouch containing the dung of a female cat and the claw of an owl. (I think I’ll just take an aspirin.)

Oh, and a health warning for those less kind to felines: Medieval lore says that if you kick a cat, you will develop rheumatism in that leg. (Oh oh I’m in big trouble.)

My mother’s cats

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I spent the day at my mother’s house today. It is her birthday. She has two cats.  The older male is called A**hole. The younger female is name Sh**thead.

The male is huge and very cranky. He likes to knock his head into your shin, but doesn’t like to be touched.

Hole has been king of the house for about six years. He was given to my parents by my brother. He has gotten more nasty since the stray kitten was brought into the house, this past winter.

My dad had found a litter of five kittens in the late fall.  Because the farm is in the country people are always dropping off unwanted cats. My dad took pity on this batch because they were so young. He started to feed them.  Head was the runt of the litter, but she was also the boldest.

The whole litter disappeared for a few weeks. My dad feared the worst. Suddenly Head was back. No one knows what happened to the others. Head is a very affectionate kitten, and she is playful. She will tease Hole until he is nuts.

 Of all the cats that my parents have had, I like Head the best. She will usually lay cuddled on my lap as long as I allow her.

They had one cat years ago that I not only disliked, but I was afraid of her. Mouse had a lot of the markings of a Russian Blue, but she had none of the personality. Blues are known for the affectionate quiet disposition. Mouse was the most miserable cat I have ever met. I made my mother lock her in a room away from my kids because she would attack them, even if they ignored her.

I must admit, I had a hard time sympathizing with my mother, when Mouse died.

A quirky cat

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Tripps has a few other quirks I feel I must mention.

At some stage in Tripps life he must have been fed cat food from a tin, because he can hear a hand-operated can opener from anywhere in the house. Even if he is sleeping and the music is blaring the can isn’t completely open and Tripps is there. He is not only under foot, but annoyingly in the way. No matter where you turn he is there.

You dropped something. Are you going to pick it up?

Tripps is a very picky eater, he never eats anything dropped on the floor. Although he hovers around the stove while we are preparing food, he will examine anything we drop, but he never eats it. He will not even eat chicken, his favourite food, unless it is put in his dish. He won’t even lick food off of our fingers. The only other human food he gets is the drained off juices from a can of tuna. As a treat I put the juices back into the tin, add a crust of bread and a bit of water. He practically dances while I prepare this rare treat.

One night I was making canned chili for supper. Tripps was right there being helpful. Because of this I decided to teach him a lesson. After opening the can I offered it to him. You can imagine my surprise when he tried to stick his head into the can to lick it. I had to pull his head out because I was afraid he would cut his tongue. He was mad because I took it away. He wanted the vegetarian chili.

We have found out he will eat anything that come from a can including peas, corn and any type of soup. He is weird. We now have to rinse all the can and place them upside down in the recycle bin. If not he will try to get into the bin and possible hurt himself.

Tripps also like greens. I once had a Peace Lily plant. Before Tripps moved in, it had even bloomed a few times. Now there is only one lonely stalk. He has tipped the plant over more times than I can count while trying to eat it. I had a Spider Plant for a month or so. It was a huge plant that hung down a few feet from the container. There are only a few places in the house I can put such a plant so it can get enough sunlight and still hang freely.

I placed the plant on a tall bookcase where it got sunlight from the window in the front door. Unfortunately the bookcase is along the side of the staircase. Tripps was able to reach through the rungs and chew on the plant. I took pity on the plant and gave it away. Last year a friend gave me a bamboo stalk. It is still alive, but barely. Tripps has been able to trim the bamboo everywhere I have placed it, even on top of the fridge.

The most annoying habit Tripps has is his need to sharpen his claws on anything, but the seven-foot scratching post that was made for him. His favourite scratching spots are the doorway

Oh dang! Busted!

between the kitchen and dining room, the front door frame and the banister. If you look closely at the photo above you can see the scratches on the door frame. (He had been scratching the banister when I took this shot). He loves to sharpen his claws an hour after we have gone to bed, usually waking me up. He will also do it as a form of protest, if he thinks we have all left the house. The local vets do not like to de-claw cats. They claim it leaves a cat defenseless if they get outside. (I think they have not met Tripps.) We have found a solution. I put tin foil over the areas he likes to use. It get a few funny looks, especially the banister at the front door, but it is very effective. We have told kids that it is there to prevent alien invasion.

Cat in the box

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As you may have noticed Tripps loves to play in boxes. When we bring a box home we must break it down as soon as it is empty or he claims it.

Grocery shopping is an excuse to bring Tripps home a present. I think he knows it too. Because when we are cooking, he knows to stay out of the way. We never feed him “people food”, so we know he is not in the kitchen for food.  But as soon as we bring in the grocery bags he becomes a pain in the butt. He looks into every bag we bring in and waits patiently to see if there is a box. Surprisingly he never tries to get into the reuseable bags unless they are empty. Then he figures they are fair game.

Can you see me?

 
 

I can see you.

Mine!!!

If we don’t bring a box in he wanders the kitchen getting under foot and trying to get into the cupboards as we put the food away. I know he is hoping we will empty a box so he can have it. But if he discovers we have got a box he is much more annoying. He places himself in the middle of the floor and lays down. He spreads himself out to take as much floor space as possible and refuses to move. Yes, we have stepped on him and we have tripped over him. He will not move. I have even slid him out of the way. He just moves back.

You must have shrunk it! It fit last week honestly.

Because we are so entertained watching Tripps play in boxes we admittedly empty them last. We are all amazed at how determined he can be. He will try to put himself into boxes he should know he can’t get into. I thought they used their whiskers to indicate if a space was too small. Tripps must have missed that detail.

I think I can.

Yup, I really think I can.

I am NOT stuck!!!

A lot of the time we are so busy laughing, we forget to photograph his silliness.

Not my cat

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As I have said we do not own cats they own us. They choose their “people”.
Tripps is definitely not my cat. He has chosen Hubby, as his “people”.

 I may be the food source, but Tripps loves Hubby. He will sit on Hubby whenever he gets the chance. If I call him over, Tripps will walk over to get attention than wander back to Hubby.

My "people" is the most comfy bed.

You will notice Tripps is not a lap cat, he is a lap and a half cat. Tripps is actually jealous of  the keyboard. He will try to get up on Hubby’s lap as soon as the keyboard is set there. If he can’t replace the KB, he will just make using it difficult.

There is no escape because of me!!!

On the most afternoons about 10 minutes before Hubby is due home, Tripps will position himself at the front door. If Hubby is late chaos ensues. Tripps will start to meow incessantly, while running back and forth from the window to the door. 

Hubby has been home for the last few months, but he is now back to work. Tripps has taken this abandonment personally, he has been pouting throughout the house. I was at home for the first week . I thought Tripps would hover around me as I worked. Instead he lay on the bed most of the day. He wouldn’t even sit at the door to greet Hubby when he cames home.

There is nothing more pathetic than a depressed cat. He was barely eating and wouldn’t play. 

It has been a few weeks and Tripps is beginning to come around.

Don't bother me I'm waiting for my "people"

I’m glad he is feeling better. It just shows the strong attachment pets form.

It is ironic that Tripps chose the one person in the house, who really doesn’t like pets as his “people”.  I guess Tripps knew if he could win him over, he had it made.

Every now and than, Hubby slips and even says, “My cat,” when refering to Tripps.

Personality Plus

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Every cat has its own special personality quirks. Tripps has many interesting habits other than his feeding ritual and dislike of other animals.

Tripps loves to play tag. Because the downstairs of the layout he has ample opportunity to jump out and tag us, or scare the he** out of us.  It’s bad enough if you know you are playing, he is a sneaky rascal. But if he decides the game is on and you aren’t aware it can be a bit frightening to have a huge cat jump out at your ankles.  We can read the signs, he will crouch down and his tail will very slowly sway back and forth. When his prey gets closer, his tail stops moving and his butt starts to twitch. Sometimes we warn the victim, other times it’s more fun to sit back and watch.

When we got Tripps he didn’t actually meow. He made a sound that sounded more like a chrip. Just before he jumps up on he gives a soft chirp. He meows now, lots now if he thinks we have all gone out. He also meows if he is looking for some one in particular.

I remember one evening looking for Tripps, he had been M.I.A. for a few hours. I searched high and low, there was trace of him. I went on a more thorough search for him. I thought maybe he had gotten shut into a closet or something. As I was checking in my bedroom I heard him chirp. We all know most cats are happy to jump up on a bed and take a nap, not Tripps. He has figured out how to crawl up under the duvet.  We have to check the lumps on the bed before we sit down. More than once we have sat down on the bed only to jump back up when we realize Tripps is there.

A purses and backpacks are items which must always be zipped, they are a huge curiosity for Tripps. If he finds any open he crawls in a goes to sleep. Many visitors have been surprised to discover a stow away when to try to leave.

The best treat you can give Tripps is a box. It doesn’t matter how big or small he will make it into a bed. I admit, I like to see him try to get into cereal boxes. I thought cats whiskers were indicators that told them if they would fit in areas. Either I am greatly mistaken or Tripps’ are defective.

Oh! Did you need this box? Too bad!!

 

I can too fit, I'm not that fat.

My hubby, (the guy who doesn’t like pets), made Tripps a scratching post. I refer to it as abstract art. It is over six feet high. We tell people not to play with Tripps when he is on it, unless they want to donate blood.  He plays rough when he is on it.

I worked for the Red Cross in my last life.

I don’t want you to think my cat is a mean cat. He really isn’t. Tripps is probably the most laid-back cat I have ever seen.

Tripps au natural

He is always gentle with any children who visit. He is definitely the politest. He never tries to take food, even when children are not paying attention and waving it in front of him. He can be wore as a scarf and he just lays there.

Doesn’t like other cats

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We found out quickly Tripps really didn’t like other cats. What I didn’t realize was this extended to all other animals.

I have a love seat in front of a picture window. That is Tripps’ spot. When Tripps first arrived we had heavy curtains blocking his view. The day we were changing the curtains, we moved the furniture away from the window. As we moved back to see how the new sheer curtains looked, a huge pigeon landed on the bird feeder hanging outside the window. Before we could do anything Tripps rocketed from across the room, using the back of the love seat launched himself into the window. We were so shocked. After ensuring Tripps was alright, we began to laugh so hard. An inspection of the window confirmed it hadn’t broken. The force of his attack was so fierce I expected the window to have cracked.

Tripps in "His Spot"

Tripps loves having a view of the outside. He lays there endlessly surveying his property. He has learned to tolerate the birds that visit the feeder. He still gets upset about the pigeons, his tail twitches whenever they land.

I spy with my little eye......

It is his response when a stray cat wanders down the street that is unnerving. He will be sitting quietly, until he spots another cat. His tail will start to twitch, as the stray gets closer to the house, the twitches become faster. If his adversary walks on the sidewalk in front of our house, a low-pitched growl emerges from deep within him. Tripps was a very quiet cat, he rarely meowed. The first time I heard this intimidating growl I was unnerved. I knew he was focused on something outside, so I tried to look out the window to see what was upsetting him. I couldn’t see anything. It wasn’t until I went outside that I saw the other cat.

 Our neighbours got a dog Tripps’ first spring with me. Phyllis is a very friendly German Shepard. When she is outside Tripps watches her constantly. Tripps has learned to accepts that Phyllis will sometimes be on our sidewalk and in the yard. But he draws the line at Phyllis getting up on our porch. Tripps definitely doesn’t like Phyllis looking in the window, he will growl and bat at Phyllis’ nose. Thank God for the window. Phyllis has a cat at her house and doesn’t realize Tripps is not kidding.

My older son, who has his own place, got a dog. Teagan is a setter mix. He is also dumber than paste. When Teagan visits we must lock Tripps in the back room. One day I came home my son and Teagan were here. Tripps had been locked in the back room. My son went upstairs to see his brother. As I sat in the living room, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Tripps had gotten out. He had slowly walked into the living room, staying close to the walls. I grabbed Teagan by the collar. Thats when Teagan saw Tripps. Teagan began pulling to get to Tripps. I held tight. That’s when I heard the now familiar growl. Tripps began to approach slowly and steadily. I yelled for my son to help. He ran downstairs to see what was going on. I put myself between the animals. My son was shocked at the sounds coming from Tripps. He was afraid to pick him up and put him in the back room. Teagan was still trying to see the cat, unaware that playing was the last thing on Tripps’ mind. My son took charge of Teagan, I put Tripps into my room.

Teagan

I am convinced Tripps had been stalking Teagan. I know if I hadn’t been there Teagan would have been seriously injured. I tell people Tripps doesn’t play well with others, he plays for keeps.

We have a rule in our house, “We don’t bring our cat to your home, don’t bring your pet to ours!”

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