Nina Nandy

Gastroenterologist at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Cat-Proofing Your Home for the Holidays

Cat-Proofing Your Home for the Holidays

As we enter the month of December, many people are decorating their homes with festive knick knacks and decor. The holidays are not only an exciting time for, but for your cat too! Decorations that shimmer and shine are very tempting for your fluffy friend to play with, break, or even eat. To prevent your cat from breaking your ornament (and your Christmas spirit), here are a few tips to cat-proof your home for the holiday season.

Think smart when it comes to your tree. 

Although artificial trees don’t have the same smell and look as a real one does, they are safer for your cat. Some trees have sharp needles that are so sharp that they can puncture the skin. In addition, pine needles can also be toxic to your cat if they are ingested.

If you can’t pass up on a real tree, make sure your cat does not drink the tree water. Tree water is often treated with additives like fertilizer and aspirin, that can make your cat sick. Even if the water is not fertilized, the water can easily accumulate bacteria. Cover your tree with a tree skirt to prevent your cat from drinking from it.

Whether your tree is artificial or real, ensure that it is anchored. Chances are your cat will try to climb the tree. To prevent the entire tree falling over, along with your cat, use a solid base. For more stability see if you can attach it to the celling or wall with  eye-bolts and fishing line.

Choose your decorations wisely. 

Shiny glass ornaments are very intriguing for cats. If you see your cat pawing at your ornaments on the tree, replace fragile ones with more durable material like plastic, wood, felt, yarn, or paper. With softer decorations you won’t have to worry about glass shattering.

Tinsel is one of the most harmful holiday decorations for cats. If a cat ingests tinsel, it can cause intestinal problems and may even lead to surgery. If you can’t let glass ornaments or the tinsel go, place them high enough where it not as easily accessible.

Do your research on poisons plants. 

Mistletoe, lilies, holly, and poinsettias are essental for festive decorations. While these plants add to the holiday spirit, they are toxic to cats. Lilies can cause kidney failure, and holly and mistletoe can lead to gastrointestinal problems. While poinsettias are not as toxic as once believed, they can still cause an upset stomach. Settle for artificial silk flowers instead, that way you can use them year after year without the fear of harming your cat.

If your cat is a troublemaker, use a repellant smell.  

There are a few smells that are unpleasant to cats and will discourage your cat from investigating.  Spray your decorations (select decorations that you can wash or throw out later) with Apple bitter, citronella, or Vicks to keep your cat away. Orange peels or citrus potpourri also better smelling alternatives that work just as well.

5 Signs Your Cat Needs Your Attention

5 Signs Your Cat Needs Your Attention

It’s no secret that cats are very independent and that’s one of the major reasons people pick them as pets. But cats can also need a lot of attention. It’s more common in cats that are left by themselves for long periods of time or cats who do not receive enough stimulation in their living environment. It’s important to remember that cats wanting our attention is simply their way of communicating with us. Your cat might show the following 5 signs if they are seeking out additional attention.

Pawing at your arm or leg
This is one of the most obvious signs that your cat needs more attention. It might happen at an inconvenient time of you, but to your cat, there is never an inconvenient time. Simply petting them and engaging them with a little conversation will go a long way with your little guy or girl.

Jumping up
Sometimes a cat likes to be above it all and observe things from a higher vantage point. But has your cat started jumping up onto places they are not allowed to be such as the kitchen counter while you’re cooking or the dinner table while you’re eating? This can be a sign that your cat would like you to pay more attention to them. Spending time with your feline before starting to cook dinner will give them the extra attention they might be craving.

Excessive meowing
Meowing is a healthy and normal behavior unless its becoming excessive. Your cat may be trying to get your attention if they are meowing more than normal or the meows sound desperate. Cats who need more attention sometimes develop habits of meowing late at night or very early in the morning while you’re asleep for extra attention!

Excessive Scratching
Scratching is a natural cat behavior. It allows them to stretch, release energy, and shed any loose layers from their claws. Clawing can be destructive if it’s not done on scratching posts. A cat will claw things like furniture or carpet if they do not have the appropriate scratching posts, but they will also do it to get your attention.

You cat may seek your comfort if they are in pain, stressed or have anxiety. If this is unusual behavior for your cat, or you’ve noticed a change in your cat’s behavior, make an appointment with your local veterinarian to make sure your cat is completely healthy.


5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Exercise

5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Exercise

Cats sleep a lot. Being in a constant state of slumber, most cats don’t get the exercise that they need. As a loving owner, you want your cat to be happy and healthy, and encouraging your cat to get more exercise can be a big part of that. Here are some ways that you can contribute to keeping your cat active.

1. Play with your cat!

Find a toy that excites your cat and gets them moving. Maybe it’s a ball, a mouse, or a laser pointer. When you find the toy that grabs your cat’s attention, play with them every day. Get them running around the room and jumping off of the walls for a couple of minutes every day, and it will make a world of difference.

2. Get another cat

Sometimes, another cat can give your first cat someone to play with. The two felines can entertain each other, running and exercising along the way. Hopefully they get along!

3. No more snacks

Everyone likes snack, so it might seem cruel to eliminate snacks from your cat, but it’s for the greater good. Avoiding human food or snacks is best to keep them healthy and happy. Keep your cat on a specific diet.

4. Food for energy

Look for cat foods that specifically promote energy in your cat. You may want to try diet foods as well. It’s important to feed your cat at consistent times, so keep a regular schedule. A specific amount of food twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) is a popular schedule. Do not be tempted to feed them if they beg for food- make them stick to the schedule.

5. Rearrange necessary items

Keep the cat moving by placing items that they need far away. Put the littler box on the other side of the house as their food. Keep their bed and toys somewhere else. You may even consider placing their food and water bowls on a shelf so that they have to jump to get to it. Be careful that it’s not in a location where it can spill on anything important.

When you love your cat, you want it to be as healthy as possible. These tips can help keep your cat healthy and lean. Don’t wait until it’s too late- implement these changes now.

A Word From Nina Nandy’s Cat

Hi, my name is Lionel and I am a long haired tuxedo likely Maine Coon mix with giant kitten mittens and a big fluffy tail. I was a stray roaming the mean streets of Albuquerque until the age of one and a half when I was picked up by Animal Humane and neutered. My Nina Nandy Photohuman mommy, Nina Nandy, came in to meet me and though she was very sweet I was scared. Nina took me home and I was nervous because I had never lived inside before. She gave me lots of love and treats and toys but I would hide and one day I saw a way out and I ran away! I know she was very worried about me and put up flyers all over town and even went door to door looking for me. It took a few months and animal control picked me up and put me in the west side shelter and because I was microchipped Nina was able to find me again. Now I know to never run away again because I have the best life ever! I have all the cuddles, snuggles and treats a kitty could ever have and all the best toys! I particularly enjoy my giant black and white cat tree because it matches my colors, my window seat where I can catch all the sun I want, getting hair all over everything particularly clean laundry and generally being naughty. =^.^= Check out pictures, videos  and the latest antics of me, Lionel the snugglisest, most mischievous kitty in the world !