Friday, August 15, 2014

Pepper's Talents, Intelligence, and the Damage of Sports

Pepper has become good at letting me know what she wants now, by always going to what she was staring at I have taught her that's how to tell me what she wants or needs. So now all i have to do is ask her what she wants and she'll look at it, then to me. The only time she doesn't is when the camera is on her, she always looks away from the camera.

The big trick is letting her know what the question tone is, most cats don't give you too many opportunities to use it, but Pepper gave me enough that she learned to tell when I was asking "what?" Now, when she wants to play, she'll look at the toy she wants us to play with, she loves it when I throw the shiny ball about.

It's cute when she wants a specific food, she looks at the food cabinet, and if I think she's eaten enough of the healthy stuff I ask her which one she wants and point to each on in turn. She looks away when it's the right one. She can tell by the sound the bag makes when I poke it as each one is in a different type of bag.

She has also gotten very crafty about getting me to pet her, she'll approach for pets then move to a place I have no tech devices when I start to follow her. It's so cute how she does this that I can't help but give her attention and pets as a reward for outsmarting me.

Now something that angers me. Sport use to just be an annoyance, but lately I have come to hate all sports and their fans. Yes, Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners, you all suck and need to just leave, and take your scumbag fans with you. Go to Texas or some other state where your lack of intelligence and compassion will be appreciated.

My Pepper has a minor heart condition, normally it means nothing, but loud, sudden, sounds can make her ill. It's bad enough Seattle allows those cannons and other such noise pollutants, as well as encourage the idiotic fans to drink and drive and pollute the air with their cars. Enough is enough, these are bad for the city, and the police presence required to maintain your fans costs us too much as a city.

So I will begin a campaign to end sports in downtown Seattle, the "No More Morons" campaign. Every game I will remind the intelligent people just how horrible this sports crap is, and how bad for the environment it is. Right now I smell only car exhaust, in my second story apartment I can smell all the black crap you scum are making us all breathe just so you can watch some morons bash each others' heads in.

My Pepper sits on my lap, shivering in terror because of the cannons and drunks going to their cars screaming and yelling. I am no longer annoyed, I am furious now. Watch the power of social media destroy your value. #NoMoreMorons means no more major league sports scum.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Say "Yes" to Catnip - All Natural High

Catnip is a fun little plant when you have cats, I got a bit worried about Pepper's love of it though. So I searched everything I could on the subject and found that catnip, much like marijuana, is almost impossible to overdose on.

I also discovered that it is the oils that cause the effects, when inhaled it causes almost the exact same reaction as a human with marijuana, In spite of the rumors of marijuana's use. Catnip will effect different cats differently, some get playful, other lovable, others will just want to nap.

Pepper gets extremely relaxed after a short bit of play. She loves to lick the catnip to get more of the oils too, another common method they use. So she now has a catnip pillow and a catnip hard ball.

Yes, this is the first time I ever got catnip for one of my cats throughout my whole life. So I now call Pepper my druggie cat, as a cute little name. Her life has been one stressful situation after another and I think she has earned the right to be relaxed whenever she can be.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Finicky Foodie - Pepper's Palate

Pepper is one of the most finicky cats I have ever seen, not in a bad way though. She refuses to eat anything that resembles human food, the problem is that this includes canned or soft cat food.

Anyone with a lot of experience with cats and dogs will tell you that dry food is not enough, no matter how healthy it is, because it can give them constipation if they don't drink a lot of water as well.

Another benefit of soft food is the enzyme content. Animals need exposure to certain enzymes, bacteria, and chemicals that don't survive the drying process. These ingredients are preserved in canned foods.

The enzymes and bacteria will help the animal digest food more efficiently, thus allowing their bodies to absorb the important nutrients easier. So it is important to get get cats and dogs to eat some raw foods, canned or other soft foods will suffice. If they refuse to eat it, you have to explore a bunch of flavors and textures.

Pepper likes gravy, she likes the soft and canned food gravies so much she'll eat some of it to get the flavor. So I am buying those foods with gravy and "soft centers" and giving her three choices at a time.

One choice is the heavier healthy dry foods, she'll eat some of those. The other is a cheap generic type that she loves, Meow Mix or Top Kat are her favorites now. The third is a small amount of some canned or soft food that comes with gravy in it.

Her middle bowel is almost always empty by the end of the day, while she barely touches the other two. But she is eating some of the other choices so they are not wasted.

This is one of the challenges of adopting an adult feline, figuring out their favorites without wasting too much money. With a kitten you have a lot of freedom, because they shaped by what they are exposed to.

My advice is to prepare for a lot of experimentation and wasted money, you can't let them starve and they will not like everything you put in front of them. Pay attention to what they rush to when you open the container, and find alternatives that cover their needs best. If all else fails, take them to a vet for an exam and ask the vet for advice.

Photogenic Animals - Black Cat Photo Storm!

There are specific traits many people think about when they call something photogenic, and they are all wrong, especially for nonhuman animals. Pepper has taken to being more photogenic with each picture I take of her, and it's because she is losing the shyness she had when she first arrived.

For those who don't know, or don't have the time to read back through this blog, Pepper was really depressed when she first arrived because of being rejected twice and neglected. So taking photos of her was bit and miss, the best ones were when she slept, or was unaware of the camera being pointed at her.

But now she poses, looks at the camera when she's not busy, even smiling for the photo sometimes. She has come to enjoy it. All animals are photogenic, the photographer is responsible for bringing out the beauty in them.

Pepper is no exception, and she is not a particularly exceptional looking cat, though her fur is so soft and luxurious it's impossible to resist petting her. What makes our companions so wonderful in photographs is the bond between the human taking the photo and the other animal, you can tell when someone they know is behind the camera or not because they will ham it up for the human they know better.

Wildlife photographers are not interested in the animals putting on a show, we love their photos for capturing the beauty of nature as it is, so this does not apply to them. I do envy wildlife photographers though.

The trick to taking great photos of your companions is to regard them as you do your human friends. Act casual and natural, take the shots as they come, and don't worry if they are not perfect. That last part is important, because the images will always be perfect for the viewer, so stop worrying about the color or breed of the animal, or even if they look at the camera.

Most of our nonhuman companions are becoming very familiar with the idea of being photographed, to them it's just an easy way to make us happy. For us it's a way to keep them alive forever and remind everyone of how awesome your friendship was.

To those who have this stupid idea that black cats "make horrible selfies," stop being selfish. Black cats are no less photogenic than a Persian. This is nothing more than some vicious rumor started by some idiots who probably think seeing a black cat online is bad luck, stop giving superstition and ignorance validation.

So I propose a world wide black cat photo storm, lost pics of your black cats everywhere, thousands of pictures, old and new. Keep doing this every day until this stupid notion dies, so fewer cats have to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grass - The Best Way to Unwind

Pepper is talking a lot more these days, even waiting for me at the front door when I am gone. Her behavior is becoming more social and trusting of me, knowing I won't allow her to he harmed is helping her open up a lot more.

She seems to have grown bored of the hallway, but still won't trust the elevator. I may have to carry her into the elevator some day, with the leash and harness on. Perhaps when she sees it's harmless she may accept the beep and mechanical noises without fear.

Her new grass garden was ready this morning, she loves it. Pepper constantly thanks me for it, meowing and head bumping then jumping up to her garden and nomming on the grass. It has four types of grass in it, and a large, heavy, wooden pot.

I had bought a small "refill" and used a container to grow it when I first brought her home, she loved it enough that I figured the larger one was worth the investment. It offers her comfort when I am not around.

This morning she was extremely hyper and affectionate, calling out to me every once in a while. Her voice was gritty the first month because of URI, but now it's clear, even kitten like.

Pepper purrs the instant I pick her up now as well. It's odd though, she does not like the lap yet, but loves to be carried around. I think she is still associating the lap with medicine and nail clipping. So I am putting her on my lap, not letting her get off until she purrs, she is starting to relax.

This leads me to also believe that most of the people she has known well have pushed her off their lap when she wanted affection. Her reaction is one of fear, not distaste. So I say to anyone adopting a cat or kitten, let them on your lap. They will stop kneading if you simply let them know it hurts by stopping petting them.

They do not learn to not knead with claws if you just push them off your lap, instead they just learn that the lap is bad. Read further back in this blog for more detailed explanation on how to teach a cat well.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Happiness is a Best Friend

Pepper loves chasing a laser light, some cats don't. A neighbor told me how his cat, Ollie, chased the laser until he figured out where it was from. The reason for this is the curiosity, for some they chase it to try to catch and study it, for others it's a toy. Pepper not only knows that I control it, she also knows what makes the little red dot.

She chases it purely for the fun, and if it vanishes when she still wants to chase it, she looks at me, then the pointer, then me again. It is her method of asking for more play time, and she knows I will almost always keep playing until she's bored. For Ollie it was more about not knowing what it was that made it fun.

I have been encouraging Pepper to be curious now, even helping her discover new things. She has learned to recognize what doors open in which ways, and what the handles look like and how they function. She will sit in front of a door she wants me to open, watch me open and close it over and over, then walk to a different door and do the same thing.

I had no idea what she wanted the first few times she sat in front of a door, but when she started exploring the hallway outside the apartment J soon figured it out. She explored the rooms I could gain access to, like laundry and trash bin, but was always more interested in the doors. It's not just doors, faucets and light switches too.

The one thing that seems to really interest her is the closet door, a double sliding door where they overlap in the center. She understands how they open on each side, sometimes she explores inside a little bit, but then she stands in the middle as if expecting it to open in the middle as well. Lately she shows less interest, perhaps she figured out it won't open like that.

She is learning which doors I can open, yet often gets persistent about doors I can't open, looking at me with that "come on, just do it" expression. It is so nice to see her curiosity blooming now, as it seems to overpower her fears. She is still very cautious of new animals, especially hairless apes.

I bought a deluxe grass garden for her too, I used a refill in a small container to see if she liked it. The grass seems to calm her when she's agitated and she enjoys rubbing her face in it and chewing on the individual blades. When she gets use to walking with me, she will love one of our local parks, for now I will keep her supply of live grass steady.

Her health is also improving. The Humane Society takes great care of the animals, but many become depressed or heart broken about being discarded. Pepper was a bit depressed, and she didn't do much, and ate only the food that the shelter gave me for the first couple of weeks. Now, with her playing and exploring more, and her mood improved a lot, she is looking much more fit.

Pepper's claws are powerful, she is shredding the cardboard scratching thing I got her, it is the only thing she uses her claws on. Seriously, I have never seen a cat this frightened of using their claws. She worries I'll punish her for kneading on her bed, won't use her claws to hold on when frightened, and never claws the carpet. I am worried that she won't use her claws to even defend herself.

I bought her some fancy, all white, porcelain dishes, she did not like the plastic bowls I got her originally. The new bowls only cost $1.50 each at Daiso, but they are fancy dishes, and she does prefer them. She use to take the food out of the plastic dishes before eating it, and would not drink water from plastic dishes at all.

One problem is that Pepper is a stoner cat, she loves her catnip and gets lazy when she sniffs it. At first I didn't notice a change, between getting sick from the stress of moving in and her being depressed there was almost no difference. Now that she is acting more alive and happy, it's pretty clear that the catnip makes her really relaxed.