Why Do Cats Lie On Plastic Bags & Why Do They Like Them?

Cats enjoy the strangest things and I am sure many of you have noticed your furry friend seek out your plastic bags that you left on the floor after you went food shopping. We can only theorize as to why this is since we can’t ask our cat directly, but we have listed the most likely reasons why your cat loves plastic bags below:

  • Sense of smell. Cats love human food, especially the smell of it. Cats have a stronger sense of smell than us, along with their own organ to process smells (link to a post about the vomeronasal organ and how it works), so they have a field day in our grocery bags exploring all the smells that has been left their from the food.
  • The noise it makes. Many plastic bags make an interesting crackling noise that can fascinate your cat and drive their predatory instinct.
  • Hiding spot. Bags can be seen as a hiding spot for your feline and you may see them trying to lay down inside one of your bag. If you see your cat do this however you should remove the bag as soon as possible as it can be a choking hazard
  • Texture. Cats like certain textures better than others, especially to lay on, and that might be why your cat is lying on the only plastic bag in the room instead of directly on the floor or even that nice cat bed you spent your hard earned cash on!

White it can be cute and charming that your cat seeks out the plastic bags for hiding, playing, or even just to chill on, it is recommended that you remove the plastic bag right away and put it away in a place inaccessible to your cat.

This is because some cats might get too curious and start chewing on the bag to further explore the smells, and ingesting pieces of plastic can be very dangerous to your cat. In addition to the dangers of consuming plastic, the cat may accidentally get wrapped up in the bag causing it to choke or have other respiratory problems.

If your cat ingests pieces of plastic, please consult your veterinarian for advice.

Why Does My Cat Get Mad When I Sneeze?

Right now there is a mean heat wave hitting Europe and Italy where we live, so we have had to use the airconditioner quite often. This has unfortunately led to both me and my fiancé picking up a cold, which means a lot of sneezing. And Freja is non to happy about that.

In fact, she seems to hate it, meowing aggressively almost every time one of us sneezes. If we keep sneezing she might get so offended that she walks away! 

This is not a universal cat pet peeve as our cat Thor, doesn’t react in the slightest when either of us sneezes. A quick search online revealed that there are plenty of other cat owners who have cats that exhibit a similar hate towards their humans sneezing however.

It is difficult to get an exact answer since we can’t ask Freja directly why she reacts the way she does, but we can infer a few things based on feline behavior and off of her reaction.

A cat may get mad when you sneeze because they perceive the noise to be aggressive or threatening. They might think you are scolding them, and as such want to protest this grave injustice, or they might simply be telling you that you should stop with these sudden loud noises, since that is something most cats really do hate.

Other cat owners have written that their cats react with a submissive or almost scared meow to their owners sneeze. Since cats can perceive the meaning of the sounds differently, and humans also sneeze differently, we can theorize that some cats may simply be asking their owner if they are okay, or might be sad because they think they are getting scolded.

But to summarize the most likely reason is that cats are creatures of habit and don’t like loud, sudden noises and or that they may perceive the sneeze as being a form of aggressive behavior / scolding from their owner.

Why Do Cats Open Their Mouth When Smelling?

black and white cat with yellow eyes picking up scent and exhibiting the flehmen response

Cats open their mouth as part of the flehmen response/reaction. The flehmen response is a behavior where the cat elevates their upper lip and opens its mouth for about 5-10 seconds allowing the transfer of pheromones and other scents to the Jacobson’s organ/vomeronasal sensory organ (VNO) located just above the roof of the mouth, behind the teeth in the nasal septum.

The VNO triggers an appropriate behavioral response from the cat when it comes into contact with specific pheromones and scents, like the scent of another cat.

image of black and white cat with yellow eyes picking up scent and exhibiting the flehmen response
close up of a black and white cat picking up a scent on a grey background

When do cats perform the flehmen response?


A cat performs the flehmen response when investigating sites of particular interest to it, odors or tastes. This can help the cat identify the presence of another cat or food.  It also has a variety of other uses: Male cats use it to identify the presence of a female cat in heat, whilst female cats use it to track the whereabouts of their children to name a few examples.

Cats also use the VNO when performing scent rubbing to help distinguish between similar smelling substances before performing the rubbing.

The Flehmen response in other animals

The Flehmen response is also seen in other animals such as dogs, horses, cattle, pigs, goats, big cats, snakes and lizards to name some..Differently from cats, horses and other hoofed animals curl their upper lip and reveals their teeth rather than opening their mouth as cats do.

Snakes also has a similar response when they stick their tongue out to facilitate the transfer of scents by gathering them with the tongue and touching the tongue to the opening of the organ.

What is the Jacobson’s organ / vomeronasal organ?

The Jacobson’s organ was named after the Danish surgeon Ludwig Lewin Jacobson when he rediscovered the organ in the human nose. The organ had first been discovered by Frederick Ruysch prior to 1732. Jacobson announced his findings to the world in 1809. 

Although present in humans, the organ is non-functional. 
The organ got its other name, the vomeronasal organ (VNO for short) from it’s adjacent unpaired bone (the vomer bone in latin) and its location in the nasal septum.

Lykoi Breed Profile

Origin & History

The Lykoi is a very new breed that was created after a cat with the name of “Eva Hava” gave birth to two semi-hairless kittens with a striking wolf/ werewolf like look in VA, USA.

These two kittens were Wolfie Silver Lining (male) & Ray of Home (female). The two were given to Sphynx breeder Patti Thomas on September 4, 2010.

She named the soon to be new breed Lykoi, which roughly translates to “Wolf” in greek. Because of this, Lykoi cats go by nicknames such as wolves, werewolf cats or wolfkin.

Medical testing was undergone on the two Lykoi, and they were both found to be in excellent health and without any known feline diseases.

In 2011, two similar looking kittens were born in TN, USA, these two kittens were given to Dr. Gobble, in hopes that they could be used to establish a new cat breed. In 2011 the first intentionally bred Lykoi was born.

Outbreeding or outcrossing with domestic shorthair cats were used to reduce inbreeding and diversify the gene pool of the new breed to prevent health problems and maintain a healthy genetic variety within the breed. Domestic shorthairs are still the only allowed cats for outcrossing to grow the breed.

In 2013, the Lykoi was given preliminary new breed status with The International Cat Association (TICA). At this point, there were now 13 breeders around the world dedicated to breeding new Lykoi.

In 2014, Dr. Leslie Lyons of The University of Missouri conducted genetic testing on the Lykoi. She found that the Lykoi do not share the genes responsible for partial hairlessness in the Sphynx and Devon Rex breeds.

In 2015 the South African Cat Club governed by WCF announce the worlds first Lykoi Champion.

In 2017, the breed was classified as an “Advanced New Breed” and given championship status in TICA. An application for Misc. status in the CFA was submitted in 2017 as well.

As of January 2019, the Lykoi is currently listed as an experimental new breed in the CFA

Coat, Colors & Appearance

A medium sized cat with a muscular slender body, the Lykoi is an eye catcher in more ways than one. The roan coat makes it stand out visually and the intense golden eyes combined with the wide based, tipped and alert ears contribute to its energetic, almost mystical appearance.

For those that don’t know, a roan coat is a coat that has a mixture of colored hair and amelanistic hairs (hairs with no pigment). The ratio of this mixture can vary with 30% to 70% of colored hairs with 50% being ideal according to the CFA Breed Standards. This is found in a variety of other animals but the Lykoi is the only cat breed with such a coat. For example, if a Lykoi has black hairs as it’s pigmented hair, it will result in a silver look due to the mix of white and black guard hairs.

The amount of hairlessness can vary from cat to cat, while the undercoat is always lacking the density of the guard hairs varies with some being almost completely hairless while others being haired. Lykoi will molt most of their hair at least once. When it molts, it loses most or all of its hair for a while before it grows back again.

Furthermore, the absence of hairs around the eyes, chin, mouth, and muzzle give the Lykoi a unique facemask which contributes to its wolf or werewolf like appearance. The Lykoi also lacks hair behind the ears.

The Lykoi comes in a variety of colors such as pure white, black and red. However, black is the only color allowed for showing with TICA, whereas the other colors are acceptable for breeding only. The CFA allows all colors when it comes to the solid colors in the roan pattern. A Lykoi cat is born with a solid black color until the roan pattern emerges after one or two weeks. The only color patterns allowed for competition is mink, point, and sepia, while all other patterns and colors are allowed outside of competition.

Earlier this year (2019), Patti Thomas, the aforementioned founder of the breed shared the news on her Facebook page that the first longhair Lykoi has been born. The cat is white in color.

Males can be substantially larger than females.

Personality

The Lykoi is an affectionate and intelligent cat that gets a long well with children as wel as with dogs, which makes it a great family cat.

Because it is so intelligent it can almost seem dog-like in its ability to learn games like fetch.

Your Lykoi can entertain itself with toys but like all cats they should be stimulated with regular playtime so that they do not get bored and lash out. Your Lykoi may be a bit shy at first but usually warms up to new people, children, and dogs after it is certain that it is safe.

Even though they love to run around and have they also enjoy some cuddle time on your lap!

Health

The Lykoi is a generally healthy cat but due to its coat or lack thereof, it is important to keep it as an indoor cat only. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the skin to darken due to pigmentation, however, the skin should return back to its normal pink once it is kept away from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

There is very little inbreeding in this breed and it therefore has less genetical health issues that unfortunately can arise in popular breeds due to poor breeding practices from irresponsible “breeders”.

Like any cat it can develop health problems regardless of genetics and just because it is a generally healthy and well managed breed, does not mean it is immune to illnesses that affect other cats.

What Makes the Lykoi Different?

The partial hairless appearance of this cat is the first thing people notice. Being the only cat breed in the world with a roan coat does not only make them look unique but it furthers their uniqueness compared to other breeds.

The reason behind their hairlessness is also interesting as it does not share the same genes responsible for the hairlessness in the Sphynx and Devon Rex cat breeds. Scientific research discovered that their hairlessness comes from a very rare genetic mutation.

As mentioned earlier in this breed profile, the Lykoi was studied by Dr Leslie Lions in 2016, and she published her findings in the paper Clinical and Histological Description of Lykoi Cat Hair Coat And Skin.

The principle findings of the paper can be summarized with the following:

  • Lykoi have fewer hair follicles than normally coated cats.
  • The Lykoi has a unique feline phenotype that may serve as a novel dermatological biomedical model.

Their werewolf and wolf like appearance along with their love for playing fetch and hunt like a wolf in packs helps create even more mystery and intrigue surrounding this breed.

Grooming Your Lykoi

Much like the Sphynx, the Lykoi is fairly easy to groom, but should be bathed once a week or bi-weekly. Because of the lack of an undercoat, skin oils can build up and clog the pores of the skin if the cat is not bathed regularly.

In addition to bathing, regular trimming of the nails, and brushing teeth on a bi-weekly basis is recommended. It also recommended to clean the ears periodically with a soft damp cloth.

Even though the cat is partially hairless it is not considered a hypoallergenic cat. This is because it produces the same amount of Fel-d1 and Fel-d4, a protein unique found in the saliva, skin, and urine that causes allergies in humans. For more information on arguably the only hypoallergenic cat breed and why we are allergic to cats check out the Siberian Breed Profile.

Buying A Lykoi

Since the Lykoi is such a new breed, most kittens are sold to other breeders for continual growth of the breed. Those kittens that are sold to non breeders are Pet Quality Lykois and you should expect to pay $2500+, according to the World Lykoi Association.

Adopting a Lykoi

Due to the rarity of this breed, finding a Lykoi for adoption will not be easy. Your best bet is to look at the TICA and CFA registered catteries and see if they have some retired males or females up for adoption.

List of TICA Breeders

Alternatively, you can check out our friends at Specialty Purebred Rescue, an organization that deals specifically with the rehoming and adoption of purebred cats.

5 Reasons Why Cats Roll In Dirt

Everyone that has been around cats long enough has seen them suddenly dropping down and roll around in the dirt outside. This behavior is also referred to as dust bathing and is not unique to cats. Both of my cats love to do this, but they don’t limit it to dirt surfaces, they also love roll around on the stone patio outside or on the lawn. No matter the surface, the question still remains – why do they do this?

Based on research and my personal experiences my 5 theories for this behavior are:

  • Because it feels good. When I see either Thor or Freja roll around like this, it reminds me of when I scratch my back against the door frame or wall. One can hypothesize that rubbing against the dirt, pebble, grass straws etc. really scratches their itch, literally. 
  • Dirt can help cool down your cat. This is probably why this is Thor’s favorite activity on a hot summer day in the garden at my in-laws. 🙂
  • Scent marking. When cats rub their head against you they are marking you with their scent. Other animals can use this technique to spread their pheromones and scent so it is quite possible cats do it for the same reason.
  • Because it can remove fleas or unwanted bugs. Rolling around on the ground can help dislodge unwanted guests in your cats’ fur. Remember to routinely inspect the fur with a comb while looking for fleas, red spots or irritation on the skin. Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has a flea problem.
  • To pass the time / entertain themselves. There is no question in my mind that cats find this an enjoyable activity. Whether that is because they find the activity itself fun, or because they enjoy scratching itches (I know I do), we can’t know for sure, but Thor even purrs sometimes while he is rolling in the dirt.

Of course, these are only some of the possible explanations for why cats do this, and it is hard to get a definitive answer. There was not much available in terms of academic or scientific material on the topic so it is left up to us to hypothesize.

What are your best theories as to why your cat likes to roll in the dirt? Share in the comments below!

Best Flea Collar for Cats Buying Guide

Our Top Pick

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

This flea and tick collar is the best collar in this Buying Guide and in our opinion, one of the best on the market in general. It boasts a sensational 8 months coverage (the active ingredient is released in small doses over 8 months), and promises to help in preventing in re-infestation by also repelling fleas and ticks. It seems to keep true to what it promises with thousands of happy customers, and we could not make a clearer recommendation!

Our Top 4 Picks

Ranking

Product

Our Rating

Price

1

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

 5/5 See on Amazon

2

Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick, Cat Collar

4.5/5 See on Amazon

3

Hartz Mountain CHZ90745 Flea and Tick Cat Collar, 13-Inch

4/5 See on Amazon

4

Pet Gallo Flea & Tick Cat Collar

 3.5/5 See on Amazon

Why & When Should You Use A Flea Collar?

It is important to note that flea collars traditionally were only meant to be an additional tool in fighting flea infestation and is not meant as the only method or even the main method for treating a flea infestation. The flea collars on the market before were only useful over the span of a few days, and even then the beneficial effect was dubious.

Flea collars (both insectoidal and IGR) were meant to be used as a short term treatment, and according to The University of Florida, it should only be used for six days or less at a time and stored in a sealed jar in between use. New advancements in the field have been made, however, and the biggest representative of this progression is our number 1 pick, the flea collar from Seresto. It offers a revolutionary 8 months(!) coverage against fleas and promises to also help in preventing re-infestation, something that the older flea collars never could.

Cats and kittens older than 10 weeks can use flea collars. If your cat has any allergies or other medical conditions, consult with your veterinarian before you use a flea collar.

Types of Flea Collars

There are two types of flea collars – insectoidal or flea collars with insectoidal Growth Regulators (IGR). Flea collars that are only insectoidal. These kill adult fleas with pesticides but do not prevent re-infestation or continued growth of immature fleas. IGRs prevent new eggs to hatch into larvae and suppress the maturation of fleas into adult fleas. There are several IGRs on the market like Percor (methoprene) and XXX (XXX).

What Makes a Good Flea Collar (How did we score our picks)?

These are the criteria which we have judged the flea collars after as we believe that these are the most important factors for whether a flea collar is a good choice or not:

    • Does it protect the cat for an extended period of time?
    • Is it safe to use? *
    • Is it good value for your money?
    • How effective is it at killing fleas?
    • Does it help prevent re-infestation?
    • Does it use IGRs to prevent hatching or maturation of eggs or larvae?
    • Is it waterproof?
  • Does it have a security mechanism to release the collar if your cat should get trapped/choked?

* Every flea collar has a risk connected to using it. Your cat may get allergic reactions or burns from using the collar. If you suspect this to be the case, stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian.

#1 Bayer Seresto Flea & Tick Collar

Our rating

This flea and tick collar is the best collar in this Buying Guide and in our opinion, one of the best on the market in general. It boasts a sensational 8 months coverage (the active ingredient is released in small doses over 8 months), and promises to help in preventing in re-infestation by also repelling fleas and ticks. It seems to keep true to what it promises with thousands of happy customers, and we could not make a clearer recommendation!

Pros

    • 8-month protection is unmatched among the competition. Point 1
    • Promises to also repel fleas and ticks as well as kill them.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.
  • This collar is quite a lot more expensive than the competition, but we believe that you get what you pay for.

View on Amazon.com

#2 Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick, Cat Collar

The Hartz UltraGuard Plus, Flea & Tick Collar comes in at a solid second place in our buying guide. It offers 7 months of protection which is just one off Seresto and it costs much less. This collar also has IGRs in it, which is a big plus as it prevents eggs from hatching and become larvae. More customers, however, reported the killing of fleas to be inefficient with this one, compared to flea collar from Seresto.

Pros

    • 7-month protection.
    • Has IGR, preventing eggs from hatching.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.
  • Some customers report that it is less efficient at killing fleas.

View on Amazon.com

#3 Hartz Mountain CHZ90745 Flea and Tick Cat Collar, 13-Inch

This flea collar is essentially the same flea collar as the Hartz UltraGuard, but the difference is that it does not contain any IGRs and as such does not offer protection against re-infestation. It is, however, still great value for your money if you are looking for another tool to fight flea infestation.

Pros

    • 7-month protection.
    • Very good value for money.
    • The collar is water resistant.
  • Has a safety mechanism that triggers if the cat is stuck.

Cons

    • Some cats can have adverse allergic reactions or the collar can cause burns, which some customers have reported. This is, unfortunately, a risk with every flea collar. Stop using the collar immediately and contact your veterinarian if your cat shows sign of allergy or burns after using the collar.

View on Amazon.com

#4 Pet Gallo Flea & Tick Cat Collar

This flea and tick collar from Pet Gallo is a cheaper alternative to the more established brands in this industry. It promises 6 months protection and whilst it is 2 months less than the collar from Seresto, it is still quite a lot of protection especially when you factor in that it retails at half the price of the collar from Seresto. Some customers have complained however that it is not effective for that long. While it is waterproof like the others, it is not a breakaway collar like the top 3 collars in this Buying Guide are, which is a negative.

Pros

    • Decent protection at 6 months
  • Good value for money.

Cons

    • Some customers complain about its inability to kill fleas.
    • Some customers complain that it falls off their cat or dog easily.
  • No breakaway Mechanism.

View on Amazon.com

3 Theories of Why Cats Are Afraid of Brooms


Meet Thor. He is a courageous cat that loves to hunt animals, climb trees and does not shy away from play-fighting with Freja. Yet there is one thing that seems to fill him with fear, his arch nemesis…the broom!

After doing some digging it seems like the most likely reasons are:

  • Sudden Quick movements & the sound created when sweeping.
  • Traumatic past experiences.
  • That the broom is seen as an alien object that creates unease, especially when in motion.

Since we cannot ask cats directly why they are afraid of brooms, we can only arrive at theories and not definitive answers. In order to come up with viable theories, we tried to understand how fear works in cats and why cats become afraid through information from science and experts on cats.

1) Sudden Quick Movements & Sound

This one is arguably the most obvious theory of why brooms are scary to cats and probably the first one you think of.

When we sweep the floor, we generally do so in a long sweeping motion that can appear quite sudden. From a cat’s point of view, what you see is this very tall and strange object moving as fast as a cat along the floor in a very mechanical fashion (meaning movements they would not commonly see in nature).

Some even theorize that the sound the broom makes is akin to that of a hiss. That hypothesis is difficult to test as it is hard to sweep the floor without making any noise, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless.

For the same reasons a vacuum cleaner is scary to cats because of the loud noise and sudden movements, it is at least probable that cats are scared of the broom for the same reasons. You may have noticed that your cat does not seem scared of your vacuum cleaner if it is just sitting in the corner of the room for example.

Animals (and humans) have the fight or flight response ingrained in them. And as a study shows, there are many factors that contribute to how an animal responds in a dangerous situation such as distance to safety, its health, physical factors etc. What we can gather loosely (I am not a scientist) from this is that each cat has different thresholds for when their flight reaction kicks in.

2) Traumatic Past Experiences

Just like humans, cats associate objects, sounds, smells etc. to traumatic experiences earlier in their life and might, therefore, react in a seemingly irrational way towards objects such as brooms.
We adopted Thor when he was 3 months, but since he was a “street cat” that had lost his mother (who either abandoned them or died), we don’t really know of any traumatic experiences he had before we got him.

Since he was out on the street for the first 3 months of his life and not around humans in a household it makes it less likely he has encountered many brooms, but we cannot rule it out in his individual case.

3) It Is an Alien Object That Creates Unease

Cats like all animals react on instinct that comes from thousands of years of evolution + personal experience. Your cat loves it when you mimic the movements of prey in nature with a toy during playtime because this plays to their instincts.

Humans have a greater contextual understanding of a broom sweeping the floor. When we see a broom, we know what it is, why we need to use it, and we expect it to be used in a sweeping motion and produce a certain sound. To a cat, a broom is, therefore, an alien object that does not resemble what they are used to in nature, and we can theorize that this causes fear or at the very least discomfort for a cat.

4 Reasons Why Cats Show You Their Stomach

Most people would interpret a cat rolling over and showing their belly as an open invitation to give a belly rub and cuddle. It is not!

A cat can show you their belly for a few reasons:

  • As a sign of trust.
  • As an act of defence.
  • To relax or while stretching.
  • As an act of mating when they are in heat.

1) As a sign of trust

Like dogs, cats can show you their bellies as a sign of trust. The cat is both a predator and prey in nature. The stomach is a vulnerable area to attacks from other predators. Cats will instinctively avoid showing you their belly, especially if they don’t feel 100% safe or secure.

This means that you should be even more honored if they show you their belly. Your cat is, in essence, saying “I trust you with my life” when they do so. This also means that if your cat never shows you their belly you should not take it as an insult. You should respect their boundaries and know they are acting on evolutionary instinct.

Our two cats Freja & Thor happen to be the perfect examples for this blog post. Freja shows her belly as a sign of trust quite regularly when she feels safe and happy. Thor does it very sparingly, although it does happen, as documented in the photo below!

Thor showing his belly. No cuddling allowed!
Freja showing her stomach in front of the fireplace.

2) As an act of defense

Rolling on their back may actually be a defensive measure, especially in a fight. You may have noticed this if you have ever observed cats fight or play-fight. If your cat is flattening its ears, making agitated sounds and looks like it is under stress it is better to back off and give them space. The photo below is of Freja & Thor when they were play-fighting, and Thor used this technique to defend himself and attack off of his back. Since they were play-fighting they weren’t making any agitated sounds like a cat would in a real “combat” situation.

3) To Relax or When Stretching

This one is rather self-explanatory. While stretching, many cats may roll onto their back while stretching or when they just want to relax a bit. As mentioned before, this is not an open invitation to touch their belly and you should proceed carefully and with respect for their boundaries (see further down for how to rub your cat’s belly in a way that does not annoy your cat). Freja gladly demonstrated the Stretch/Relax with the picture below 🙂

4) As an Act of Mating When They Are In Heat

Here neither Freja nor Thor can demonstrate for you as they are both spayed and neutered. When female cats are in heat they may show their bellies, especially when they roll around on the ground (which is a symptom of a female cat in heat).

Why does my cat still bite me when I rub their tummy?

Just because your cat is telling you they trust you, does not mean they are telling you to rub their belly. Cats generally do not like to get a belly rub for reasons mentioned above, so do not get surprised if your cat bites you.

Again, our two cats are the perfect examples of individual differences. Freja enjoys a belly rub from time to time – on her terms, whilst Thor will never let you pet his belly under any circumstance.

How Should I Rub My Cat’s Belly? (If They Like It)

With Freja, I always ask for permission first and follow her lead. Your cat is showing you an incredible amount of trust, so you should respect their boundaries! I ask for permission by slowly sitting down next to her or bending down close to her. If she stays on her stomach, I try to carefully place my hand on her stomach, and if her body language is positive I will begin to gently rub her belly.

Always Watch Your Cat’s Body Language

If she wags her tail, that is a sign that she is feeling uncomfortable and would rather have me stop, and of course, if she bites me it means “hands off right now!”. As soon as she wags her tail, even slightly, I respect her wishes and live her alone, and so should you if your cat does the same. Unlike dogs, cats wag their tails when they get annoyed, stressed or uncomfortable and this is a certain sign that you should stop.
Sometimes, she enjoys it though. Signs of this include purring, kneading with her paws in the air while the tail remains completely still. As long as your cat displays positive body language like this, you can continue to rub their belly. Remember to stop the moment the body language changes and they want you to stop. Another way for me to know that she wants to cuddle is by looking at her a bit and make eye contact. If she wants cuddles she usually lets out a “meow” to let me know she wants attention.

Should I Rub My Cat’s Belly?

In general, my advice would be resisting the urge to rub your cat’s belly. Be happy that they show you such a sign of trust and love and try not to violate it. If you want to try to see if your cat is one of those that like to have their belly rubbed, always look at their body language.

How to Entertain a Cat in a Small Apartment

Cats are adaptable animals and can adapt to their living spaces and a variety of situations fairly well. That being said, living in a small apartment together with your cat or cats can present some challenges for both you and your feline friend(s). If your cats´ living space is limited, that also means you get in each other’s way more often. It can also mean your cat does not get enough stimulation and ends up using you or your furniture as a scratching pole or prey to stave off boredom.

No one wants that to happen, not you, nor that cozy but slightly too expensive chair you got yourself as a present.

To keep both you and your cat happy, it is important that you stimulate your cat actively (by playing with him/her) or passively (by making sure their environment has stimuli like toys, areas to climb, hide or even another cat.

Ways to entertain a cat in a small apartment:

Buying cat trees or toys where your cat can entertain themselves Cat trees, such as the Go Pet Club 62″ Cat Tree is great for a few different reasons. It uses the space efficiently, your cat can climb and jump as if they were in a larger area or outdoors. The different textures are stimulating to your cat. The ability to scratch on the posts, helps your cat be able to fulfill this natural instinct and to maintain the length of their nails. (this is not an excuse not to cut your cats’ nails, however).

You can also create your own cat trees with cardboard or wood + some string. We are planning a complete guide on how to create cat trees yourself, so be on the lookout for that. We have included a picture of one of these being built below. Martina (the beautiful Persian mix) seems to be enjoying it already! 🙂

Make use of vertical space!

Cats love to climb, jump and to survey their territory from a vantage point. If you use your vertical space well, you can make your apartment seem a lot bigger and more exciting for your cat. You can either buy cat furniture for your cat to climb and mount it on the wall like this one on Amazon or you can make them yourself.

Have a set structure in regards to meal time and playtime for your cat.

Cats are creatures of habit, and it is a lot easier to not get them to wake up because they want food if they are used to getting fed during the day and evening. Ideally, you should feed your cat every 6-8 hours. Never free feed them, as this takes away the routine but also makes it much easier for the cat to become overweight since cats usually eat more than they need to if they have access to food since, in their mind, there is no guarantee for the next meal to come. A consistent routine reduces this innate fear.

Similarly, playing with your cat before bedtime (and during the day) is a great way to manage their energy level and make sure that they have healthy ways to expand their energy instead of letting it loose on your furniture or you. By managing their energy and ensuring that your cat’s energy levels are depleted around your bedtime will increase the chance of both you and your feline friend sleeping well through the night.

Getting a second cat:

If you have one cat you might want to consider getting a second cat so that they can keep each other company. However, it is important to consider if your apartment is suitable for one more cat. Do they have enough spaces to hide in, or to have their own spaces? This is especially important when introducing a second cat. You ideally want to keep them separate for the first few days, but this might be difficult if you have a small apartment. If you cannot keep them separated, you need to be monitoring how they interact together. The hiding spaces are important because both the new cat and your old cat may want to retire to a hiding spot or safe place when they feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed. A tip is to invest in cat-friendly furniture like furniture with small spaces or shelves where your cats can hide. Make sure your cats have access to “higher ground”, like the top of shelves, closets etc. Cats love to survey their surroundings from a vantage point, and it is also stimulating for them if they can move around their territory on a few different levels. Also having the ability to climb and jump is a great way for your cat to stay fit.

What can happen to an under-stimulated cat?

Getting Bored:

A cat living in a small apartment may find themselves more easily bored because they have less space to explore and to run around in. This boredom can manifest in many different ways and cause unwanted behavior such as the destruction of furniture and other aggressive behavior. Your cat may also start to show signs of depression if they are not receiving enough stimuli during the day.

Your cat can get too inactive.

This is a danger for all indoor cats, but especially if your apartment is on the small side. Long spells of inactivity can lead to problems like obesity, depression etc. An important way to prevent this is to keep you entertained and have scheduled times during the day which is dedicated to playtime with your cat. Make sure you do this daily, even if it is only 15-20 minutes, and stick to it! Your cat will thank you for it! If you have an especially active breed cat, such as the Bengal or the Somali, this is especially important as these cats need even more active stimuli than say a Persian does.

Your Cat Can Disturb Your Sleep

If your apartment is as small as mine, that means that your bedroom is also part of where your cat roams around, also during the night. No one wants to feel like they are shutting out their cat, especially if they have a very small area to stay in if you block them out of your bedroom. Cats are the most active during dusk and dawn, and they can also be quite active during the night. This clash of rhythms can lead to disturbed sleep for you and conflicts and stressful situations with your cat and around sleep.

Using a regular and strict feeding schedule and playtimes before bed as mentioned earlier goes a long way to solve this problem, as well as making sure the cat has ample opportunity to stimulate him or herself with toys and or the environment.

Balinese Breed Profile

 

Origin & History

Balinese cats are derivatives of the Siamese cat breed. While little is known about the exact history of the Balinese cat, breeders believe Balinese cats come from a genetic mutation of the Siamese cat that makes their hair long instead of short. For years, Siamese cat breeders would occasionally find long-haired Siamese kittens in their litters. These cats were adopted out as pets, but were never used to breed. That all changed in the 1950’s. Two breeders, Marion Dorsey of California and Helen Smith of New York each had a fluffy, long haired Siamese cat in their litters. They fell in love with these long-haired Siamese cats and decided to breed them. Because of their lanky, graceful bodies, Smith named this breed “Balinese” because they reminded her of the dancers that made the island of Bali famous. While the Cat Fancier’s Federation officially recognized the Balinese breed in 1961, although records show the first Balinese cat was registered with them in 1928.The breed is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association. In 2008, breeders voted to combine what was formerly known as the “Javanese” (any tabby, tortie or other non-Siamese patterns) breed with the traditional Siamese colored Balinese cats. Balinese cats are well-loved by those who own them. They are playful cats, highly sociable and loving. They are very active and clever and while they are affectionate, they are not lap cats. However, Balinese cats are not as popular as their Siamese counterparts. Perhaps it is because they are slightly different looking, with larger ears and eyes that are more wideset and almond shape and a more lean and lanky body.

Personality

As descendants of Siamese cats, Balinese cats are also extremely active. If you’re looking to add a Balinese to your home, consider cat trees or other modifications to your home as the Balinese love to climb and perch wherever they can.Balinese cats are powerful jumpers; owners often find them on top of bookcases, shelves, refrigerators and more. It is also wise to provide her with plenty of space to roam and run. Balinese cats certainly look sophisticated, but at heart, they are all about fun and attention. They love their owners and are known to follow them around the house, constantly demanding love, attention or playtime! They want to “help” with whatever you are doing. Balinese cats are exceptionally smart and paired with their desire to please you, they are also pretty easily trained. You might be able to teach your Balinese to play fetch, walk on a leash or do other little tricks.However, living with such a smart cat can be difficult and tiring, so make sure you are willing to commit to the time it takes to live with this breed before you bring one into your home. The active and social life of a Balinese cat blends perfectly with a family that has children or even cat-friendly dogs. In fact, your Balinese cat will likely play all of the games that you already play with your dog! A Balinese will live peacefully with other cats and dogs and will love being showered by the attention of your children. They love to talk, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to walk in on your child having a full on “conversation” with your family’s Balinese cat. You will never be without a friend when you own a Balinese!For as lively as these cats are they are also extremely loving and affectionate; they want you to pet them! You might not find them sitting on your lap for long, but you will constantly find your Balinese cat underfoot, weaving between your legs, and pawing your hand for attention. They will sit quietly when tired, and enjoy some pets and purrs.

Coat, Colors & Appearance

 

Balinese cats were first recognized in four colors: blue, chocolate, lilac and seal, but in 1979 cream, tabby and tortoiseshell patterns of all color combinations were added to the list. In recent years, white was also added as an accepted color. The pattern of the Balinese is known as “points” as the body of the cat is typically one color with the points, like its face mask, ears, legs, tail and feet being a darker color. The coat is very long, silky, and soft. Unlike most longhair cats that have a double coat, Balinese only have a single coat (no undercoat), which makes them unlikely to have matted fur and adds to their slim appearance as the hair stays close to their body. Their tails are reminiscent of an ostrich feather, spread out like a plume, with very long hair. Balinese cats are arguably the more elegant and graceful counterpart of their Siamese ancestry. Everything about this cat is long and lean. They are slender and long, with fine bones and a tubular body that is sleek and dainty. They are active cats, and their lean, muscular bodies show it. The head is triangular in shape and the ears are large, pointed and set far apart. Their eyes are also wide-set, and have an eastern Almond slant to them that is very distinct. They have very elegant oval paws, where the fur should be somewhat shorter in length. The Balinese’s back paws are slightly longer than its front paws, and while they are classified as a medium sized cat, the Balinese males are often larger than their female counterparts.

Grooming Your Balinese

The beautiful, long coat of the Balinese is relatively easy to care for. They do not shed much, as they have no undercoat and their coat is not easily matted. Brushing the cat’s coat once or twice a week with a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair is recommended.A bath is rarely needed, but at least once a week you should wipe the corners of their eyes with a warm, damp cloth (using different sections of the cloth on each eye to prevent the spread of infection) to remove discharge.Balinese cats do need weekly nail trimming and ear cleaning. Wipe out the inside of their ear with a cotton ball or cloth dipped in warm water or a 50-50 mix of water and cider vinegar. You should not use a cotton swab, as they could damage your cat’s ear. Like any other cat, it’s important to brush your Balinese’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste from your local pet store or veterinarian to prevent periodontal disease and wipe any discharge that comes out onto the fur around their mouth while you brush.Balinese cats are very particular about the cleanliness of their litterbox, so it is important that you clean it out daily, ensuring that all feces and urine is removed. Keep in mind, you should also have at least two litter boxes in your home per cat. It is best to keep Balinese cats indoors. Their long hair could easily be matted by burs and filled with dirt, and there is always the risk of disease when a cat is kept outside.

  • Brushing the coat a couple of times a week at least is recommended. If you can do daily brushing, that is great!
  • Daily Dental hygenie is reccommended, at a minimum once per week.
  • Checking the ears once per week and keeping them clean is reccomended.
  • Trimming the nails once every other week is advised.
  • You should clean the area around the eyes with a damp cloth periodically.

What Makes The Balinese Different?

Balinese cats are great for those who want a Siamese cat with a more graceful, elegant long coat. They are nearly identical in all other aspects, except for their coat. Balinese cats are the perfect combination of sleek and beautiful, while also being active, loving and very sociable creatures. They are entertaining, smart, and playful and would make a great addition to any family. They are easy to care for, talkative and loving, making them a joy to be around.

Health

Balinese cats face the same health concerns as their Siamese counterparts, however, they are generally very healthy animals, but all cats, whether they are purebred or mixed breed have the potential to contract diseases or inherit them. You should never buy from a breeder who doesn’t give a health guarantee. While it doesn’t mean your cat is guaranteed to be free from disease, it does mean the breeder stands by what he or she makes. According to VetStreet.com, Balinese cats can contract lysosomal storage disease, a condition that can affect them neurologically and feline acromelanism, a condition that can causes changes in coat color when the temperature changes. Your Balinese can also suffer from:-Amyloidosis, a disease that most commonly affects the liver of Siamese and Balinese cats-Asthma/bronchial disease-Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis-Crossed eyes-Gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus-Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted-Lymphoma-Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement-Progressive retinal atrophy, for which a genetic test is availableWhile Balinese are so active, they are rarely obese, it can happen if an owner is negligent. Make sure to always provide your cat or kitten with enough opportunities to be active.

Buying a Balinese Cat

When looking to adopt a Balinese cat, always look for a reputable breeder who gives you a health guarantee. Do NOT buy a Balinese cat from a pet store; it is hard to determine where these cats came from and their true health. You can expect to pay more than $600 for a pedigreed Balinese cat that comes from a reputable breeder.

Adopting a Balinese Cat

It is rare for you to find a Balinese kitten in a shelter, but sadly, you can occasionally find adult Balinese cats at your local shelter, or often by working with local cat rescue groups. Resources like petfinder.com or adoptapet.com in helping identify adoptable Balinese cats near you. While not all Balinese cats found via rescues may be purebred cats, you’d be surprised at how many are and they will cost you far less than buying from a breeder.Plus you have the added benefit of knowing that you saved a cat’s life. Like any animal, slowly introduce your Balinese cat to your existing family members, particularly children and another cats and dogs. More information can be found here.