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eye droppers
eye dropper
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Facts About Cats
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Growing up in a house that never had less than 15 cats, I have a plethora of information about cats and their behaviors. Why they meow at odd hours of the night, what to do when you find an abandoned baby kitten that you want to keep, why they rub all over your face, how to read your cat's body language, why they do that weird laughing thing when they see birds, and why they do that weird squish thing on soft blankets.

Imagine yourself taking a little nature walk through some trees. You hear a little squeaking noise nearby, and investigate (at least I would). You find a baby kitten, and you want to save it from either freezing to death or starving to death, but don't want to give it to a shelter. Take the kitten home, wrap it in a towel and put it in an ice cream bucket or a cardboard box (in a room by itself, if you already have cats. They won't take too kindly to their new friend right away). Go to the store and get an eye dropper and a can of evaporated milk. You don't need to use a LOT of it right away, but you'll need it - kittens eat a lot. My favorite part is feeding the kitten! Don't squeeze the eye dropper so all the milk comes out right away, because more than likely, you'll drown your kitten. Squeeze a little at a time. Sometimes, the kitten will drink 3-4 eye droppers full, and that's a lot for a stomach that's only as big as a single peanut!

Fast forward 6 months (TIP: this is the age where your cat has gotten all of his adult teeth). You're trying to sleep, and your cat is outside the bedroom door howling and clawing the door. Why? Because he wants in! A meow is a sound a cat makes to signal their mother. Adult cats don't meow at each other to communicate, unless they're protecting their territory, and another cat gets too close. Cats meow at humans to demand food, attention, complain, or in my case, drink out of the faucet on the bathroom sink.

You get up to let the cat in, lay back down, and immediately, your cat starts rubbing his face against yours and licking your cheek. You may find this quite annoying at 4:08 a.m., but don't hurdle your cat across the room -- he's showing how much he loves you! Cats groom each other to bond closer, and that's what your cat is doing with you. Some cats will literally smack their head into yours while they rub their face on yours, which also shows affection. Also, when your cat is rubbing his face against your cheek, hands, or ankles, he's marking his territory: cats have scent glands in their cheeks.

TIP: Let your cat sleep under the covers with you. Mine loves sleeping by my knees, or curled up by my chest with my arm around her like a little stuffed animal. She purrs all night, and wakes me up in the morning by meowing and pawing my face when I don't hear my alarm go off!

The next day, you wake up to your cat doing a weird squish thing on the blankets on your stomach, while purring. This is a sign of affection and contentment towards the caregiver. It's an instinct from when they were kittens, when they were breast-feeding from their mother, they would squish on their mom to stimulate the milk glands. Some cats also do this when they're in pain or dying, to comfort themselves. It could also be a signal for an empty food or water dish, a gross litterbox, or they just want attention from you.

Your cat sees a bird outside the window, races to the window, and starts making this sound that sounds like a laugh. At first, you find this quite hilarious, because you didn't know your cat had such a dry sense of humor, but in reality, your cat is mimicking a bird, so the bird comes closer so the cat can maul it and eat it. Recent cat behaviorists say that that sound is a 'reharsal behavior', where the cat anticipates killing the prey, because that cackling sound is the sound that accompanies their 'killing bite' while the cat's teeth are sawing through their victim's neck vertebrae. Not such a dry sense of humor anymore, is it?

Their tails and ears are also a huge part in their body language. Picture your cat prancing around the house. If their tail is pointed high in the air and kind of waving around, it show's happiness and confidence. This is a typical greeting to thei close relatives or their human companions. If their tail is half down, they're slightly displeased. A low tail shows unhappiness. If their tail is held high with the tip of it twitching, this shows excitement, though it is often mistaken for anger. Cats twitch the tip of their tail when they're irritated, and thwap their tail around in aggression. Their ears are typically pointed backwards or flat against their heads when their tails are thwappin' around. Flattened ears means the cat feels threatened.

However, when their mouth is open and no teeth are showing, they want to play: my cat does this a lot, so I put my sweatshirt sleeve over my hand, and hold my hand over her head and move it from side to side in fast, jerky motions. She stares at it, and right before she pounces and clings to my arm and bites my sweatshirt, she always meows as a warning that she's gonna pounce.

Also, if they're sick and you can't get to a vet, either because you have no money, or transportation, be a nurse: this  happened to my nature-hike-find kitten when he was around 6 months old. He was so dehydrated and had an upset stomach, so I got the eyedropper and shot some Pepto into his mouth, and i sat there for hours giving him eyedropper after eyedropper of water. A couple days of that and he was good as new! He stayed by me constantly. I went away for 3 months, and he died while I was away. Cats can get so attached to something that, when separated from it, can get them so sad that they become lethargic and just die. I remember when I was a little girl, we had one taken in stray that became very fond of one of the kittens we had. He would lay by that kitten, groom it, and sleep curled up next to it. One day, the kitten died, and the stray sat in that one spot for weeks. No matter how much Mom moved him, he went back to that spot. He wouldn't eat at all. He eventually died, not long after the kitten. One of my saddest memories.

If you're as much of a cat lover as my Mom and I, you'll already have known a lot of this. But for those that have never had cats or haven't been around them much, I hope this helped you. I would suggest bookmarking this page and referring back occasionally, since I might update this article with more tips.

Street Talk

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