How to stop your cat from running out the door

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Freedom can kill!

Before Human Rights activists come knocking on my door, let me explain what I meant…

We have just moved houses. And while we absolutely love the new house, there’s one thing that’s worrying me quite a lot. Our front door leads directly onto a busy road. So from now on, Alfie is back to being an indoor cat. That’s totally fine, as he was an indoor cat the whole time we lived in Amsterdam (until he was 2.5).

So I started looking into different ways to can stop him from running away out the font door.

After a thorough research, here are a few ways to cat-proof your exits:

1. Start with the basics: don’t leave doors and windows open

That doesn’t mean you can’t open the window – of course you can, just make sure your cat isn’t in the room / can’t access that room while the window/balcony door is open. Cats can squeeze through tighter spaces than you might think so don’t risk it by leaving the windows open for “just 2 inches”.

2. Ask everyone to watch out 

Tell all your visitors (guests, cleaners, kids) to be careful when opening/closing the door. They probably don’t even realise how dangerous it is.

3. Make doorways scary

A few options:

Motion activated sprays – a battery powered gadget that delivers a short burst of unscented spray/compressed air every time there’s motion in front of the sensor, like the ssscat or SpraySentry ones:

ssscat

* Water spray bottle – keep it outside the door and use it every time you see your cat behind the door to teach them that’s not a fun place to hang out in.

* Motion activated alarm – they go on every time your cat (or a person) go near the door. I think that might confuse your cat as they won’t always be able to link the alarm to something they do. Plus, it might annoy your neighbours.

radio shack

* Noise maker – such as a can half full of coins. Cats hate that noise so using it every time to open the door should help scare the cat away from the door.

* Electric shock mats – they give a mild electric shock when your cat steps on it. The idea is to place it indoors in front of the door and your cat will learn quite fast that area is a no go. Personally I would never use electric shocks on my cat unless nothing else worked. Plus, your cat might just jump over it, so I doubt how reliable it actually is.

ScatMat

These are the options I found so far. And I have actually just applied one of these. Check out my next blog post to see which one and whether it worked or not.

How do you cat-proof your exits?

10 things I love about my cat

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Hi everyone,

This is my 100th blog post. So celebrate this I thought I would do something a bit more special and write an open (love) letter to my inspiration for this blog, my adorable cat Alfie.

You’d better get yourself some wine – this blog post is about to get cheesy! (hope you’ll enjoy it nevertheless)

Oana and Alfie the cat

1. I love the way you come on our bed after we turn the light off and cuddle and purr and airbox while I tickle your tummy

2. I love how you follow me around everywhere

3. I love how you ALWAYS come over when I call you, even if you’re outside in our neighbour’s tree (ok, I know it’s for the treats really, but still!)

4. I love how you “talk” back to me

5. I love to watch you drink water from the water fountain (even after all this time, I’m fascinated by it)

6. I love how you ALWAYS come to greet me when I come home

7. I love how you wiggle your bum before you pounce

8. I love it when you come really close to my face and our noses touch

9. I love it when you do a little meow while I tickle your tummy

10. I love how easygoing you are. Like that one time when we drove from Amsterdam to London and you had to stay in a carrier for 8h, you didn’t complain even once. Or when we moved houses and instead of hiding under the bed for days like some cats do, you just went on and inspected all the cupboards and window sills and every nook and cranny of the new house and then fell asleep on top of the tallest moving boxes.

 

What do YOU love about your cat? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to find out.

What is the best cat treat in the world?

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Looking through my cupboard this morning I realised something slightly worrying interesting. I have not 1, not 2, but 11 varieties of cat treats waiting to be tried out. So I thought – why not try them out at the same time? And see which one Alfie prefers. To make the competition even more serious, I threw in some of his favourite human food treats as well.

All treats lined up nervously waiting for the moment of truth:

cat treats 2

From left to right, we have: popcorn, Yarrah Organic Chew Sticks, Good Girl Catnip Biscuits, Cosma Snackies – Freeze-dried Duck Cat Snacks, ham, Lily’s Kitchen Crunchy Nibbles for Cats, Good Girl Catnip drops, Dokas Chicken & Cheese Sandwich, cheese, Cosma Snackies – Freeze-dried Duck & Liver Cat Snacks, Good Girl Milk Drops, Vet’s Kitchen Little Hearts – Crunchy Chicken & Duck, Science Plan Optimal Care Cat food (his regular food), tuna, Gimpet MilkBits, and Tigeria Lucky Grass:

Cat treats

And the winner is…

1. Yarrah Organic Chew Sticks

2. Dokas Chicken & Cheese Sandwich

3. Ham

After these first three, he turned into a cat treats vacuum cleaner, and ate them in the order they were lined up.

The conclusion? Alfie will eat any treats! As long as it’s food, he won’t be fussy. And if your cat is like him, it’s really up to you to choose the best for them.

But what is best? According to Dr. Karen Becker the best cat treat is 100% dehydrated meat as it doesn’t have any nasty carbohydrates, fats or sugars. You may think that treats’ quality doesn’t really matter as it’s such a small amount, but cats’ livers are way smaller than humans’ and toxins do add up so you really need to pay attention to everything they eat.

Hope you found this useful (or at least funny). Please let me know in the comments what your cat’s favourite treat is. I’m always on the lookout for new treats for Alfie ;)

To the person who googled “Birman cat constantly meowing” and got to my blog

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Dear fellow sufferer,

I do not know who you are. Or where you live. Or what you cat’s name is. But I do know that you have a cat. A Birman cat. Who will meow on and on and on.

And let me tell you something. I feel for you. Because just like yours, my Birman cat won’t. Stop. Meowing! Every evening around 7:30pm, just as we’re about to have dinner (after having devoured his dinner in about 15 seconds), he will – without fail – position himself in front of the entrance door and start his little recital. Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow! (i.e. the Cat word for “Attention!”).

Well my friend, welcome to the Constantly Meowing Birmans Club.

 

I know what you’re thinking: how can a cute, fluffy and sweet guy like him, meow so much, without a real reason except that you haven’t given him your full attention in the last 3 minutes?

Alfie the purrfect cat in the garden

I apologise that you didn’t find a solution to your problem on my blog. But at least I hope you found some relief in finding out that you’re not alone. And that it’s not you. It’s the Birmans.

And if you ever find a solution, please do share. I will be forever grateful.

Thank you,

Someone Who Totally Knows What You’re Going Through

___

To anyone else out there considering getting a Birman cat: go for it!! They are a wonderful breed. Extremely affectionate, constantly purring, and totally sweet. But boy, they meow a lot! Oh well, I guess no one’s purrfect after all…

Alfie’s garden

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They say “never say never”. And they’re right. I learned this the fluffy way. Here’s what happened…

Alfie lying in the garden 1

I used to think that I would never let Alfie out. That’s he’s happy being an indoor cat. And while I still believe he IS happy indoors, I have slightly changed my mind about the indoor/outdoor thing since we moved to London. I now think that if you’re living in a relatively safe area (i.e. good neighbourhood, no possibility for the cat to get on the street), it’s nice to let them out to explore a bit.

Alfie lying in the garden

So in the second week in our new place, we decided to take Alfie out for a little walk in the garden. To begin with, he was quite shy and confused:

As you can see we used a lead & harness, to allow him to experience the outdoors in a safe way and to make sure he doesn’t run away. It is really really important to do this for a few weeks when you move houses, otherwise, the cat might try to run away searching for their old home.

I’ll admit that it took Andy months (literally) to convince me to agree to let Alfie out on his own to explore, but I’m glad he did. The area we live in London feels more like a village than a big city and our street is very quiet. And anyway, you cannot get on the street from the garden, since all the gardens in our block are surrounded by houses. Don’t think I would have agreed otherwise.

I really do think Alfie’s life is happier and more complete now that he experienced what it’s like to eat grass, lie in the sun, chase bees, fight dandelions and climb trees.

Alfie versus dandelion

For safety reasons, even though we dropped the lead, I decided to leave the harness on, and put a sticker with my phone number on.

…until THIS happened:

Cat in the tree

Can you spot him?! Took me a few minutes, even though he was mewing like crazy. I just never thought he would climb up so high, given that he’s never been an outdoor cat before (these pigeons… they make you do crazy things!).

So that’s when we decided to drop the harness, just to make sure he doesn’t end up strangled in case it would get stuck in one of the branches.

This post is getting way too long, but join me next time when I’ll share a few tips for making sure your cat is safe outdoors.

outdoors or indoors

Where do you stand? In or out?

2013 Cat Favourites

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At what point does wishing people Happy New Year stop being nice and start being a little bit lame? Personally, I think it would be around mid January. So with the risk of being borderline lame, let me wish you a Purrfect and Pawsome New Year!

Now back to business. I’ve been meaning to make a “favourites” kind of post for ages now. Yet for whatever reason I never did. Until now. So, ladies and gentlemen, this is it. The best of the best cat things in 2013 (in Alfie’s very-fussy-and-not-humble-at-all opinion):

Alfie’s favourite cat toy in 2013:

The Tunnel – this is one of Alfie’s oldest toys, and definitely one of his most loved. Even after all these years, he still loves it. He hides in it, pounces into it, and runs through it when we chase around the house.

Alfie the cat in the tunnel

 

Alfie’s favourite place in 2013:

The garden – this deserves its own blog post, but 2013 has been the year when he enjoyed the outdoors for the first time.

Alfie the cat in the garden

 

Alfie’s favourite sleeping place in 2013:

His cat tree – this wasn’t cheap. But I can happily say it’s been worth every penny, as Alfie spends at least 2-3h on it every day.

Alfie the cat on his tree

 

Alfie’s favourite cat food in 2013:

Schesir tuna wet food – Alfie’s favourite activity is eating. By far! And while he doesn’t mind the chicken or the salmon, he ABSOLUTELY LOVES his tuna. Tuna days = happy days!

Schesir tuna

 

Alfie’s favourite cat treat in 2013:

Good Girl Yummy Milk Drops – I think he could/would eat ONLY this for his whole life if I let him

Good Girl Yummy Cat Milk Treats

 

Alfie’s favourite human food in 2013:

Popcorn – he loves loves loves popcorn. But then again, who doesn’t love popcorn?!

Popcorn

 

Alfie’s favourite hiding place in 2013:

The closet – this has been his favourite getaway hideaway in 2013.

Alfie the cat  in the closet

 

Alfie’s favourite extreme sport in 2013:

Chasing bees – this “fun” activity ended up with an emergency visit to the vet. Yet, 2h after coming back, guess what he was doing?! Yup, chasing bees again…

Alfie the cat chasing bees

Do you like this kind of posts? If you do, please let me know in the comments below and I might start doing them more often.

Have a Purrfect Christmas!!

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Just a quick post to wish you all Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a lovely one and get everything you wished for!

Alfie is already waiting for Santa (and eating bits of the tree in the meantime)… Cat waiting for Christmas

Checking out (or kissing?!) his competition… Cat kissing Bambi

… and after making sure they are not going to steal any of his Christmas presents, he decided to join them :) Cat waiting for Christmas

Purrfect Xmas

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Oh. My. God!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my Secret Santa Card. I may be a little subjective here, but isn’t this the best card in the world? I think it’s hilarious, adorable and very accurate: Alfie thinking about… himself! Well done, Secret Santa ;)

Cat Christmas Card

And since everyone’s in such a Xmas mood, I thought I would share with you something I spotted in my last visit in Tesco (very glamorous, I know!). They’ve got a nice selection of pet treats, in cute Christmas packaging:

Cat Treats

I really wish they made these advent calendars for cats as well. Such a great idea!

Dog Advent Calendar

Of course I couldn’t help myself and bought something for Alfie (shhh don’t tell him). It came down to these two. And although I think the Whiskas packaging is cuter (and safer!) I went for the Good Girl stocking, as 1. Alfie absolutely loves their milk drops 2. they don’t use any animal derivatives

Cat Treat Stocking

Cat Treat Christmas Stocking

Are you buying your pet(s) any Xmas presents?

Disaster!

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One would think that a magnetic wardrobe door would be enough to protect a few innocent cat food pouches from a fluffy little guy. But you see, when you have a termite instead of a cat, things can be a little bit different. Actually a whole lot different…Cat food Alfie the cat Cat food Alfie the cat

 

The conclusion? WITH ALFIE, NO PLACE IS SAFE!

On a totally different topic, can you believe it’s 1 month till Christmas?? I can’t! This year flew by so quickly! So before I start talking about Christmas trees and gifts and New Years Eve parties and resolutions, I wanted to share this little autumn-y picture with you. Hope you will like my decoration plate, because as you can see, Alfie was definitely not impressed by it:

cat autumn

 

Have a great week!

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