Winter Care For Your Outdoor Cat

While many people prefer to keep their kitties inside to live, there are plenty that live outside part or full time. Living inside is much safer and warmer for a cat but not always an option. We have one that has never stepped outside as well as a barn cat. While the barn cat isn’t as tame as our indoor one I’m still always concerned about her winter care. Here are some tips to keep in mind for the colder months.

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Shelter – An outdoor cat should have access to some type of insulated shelter. You can use a small dog house or use cardboard boxes. If you use boxes put a smaller one inside a larger one and fill the space between them with straw to help insulate. Make sure it is in a draft free and dry location. Cats get cold and need a warm place to sleep during long cold days and nights. I find that my barn cat sleeps in the stacks of hay or straw.

Water – Keeping water from freezing can be a challenge. Even in my barn the water freezes so I make sure to replace it twice a day for our kitty to drink from. Animals should not be forced to rely on eating snow for their source of water. Cats that hunt or eat food will need less water but it should always be available.

Food – Cats need extra food in the winter to help stay warm. We feed outdoor cats all year (and yes they still hunt great!) but always increase it in the winter months. A lot of small critters they eat hibernate and aren’t out for as many hunting opportunities. My barn cat earns her keep hunting and keeping mice out of my grain but I never want her to lose weight during the cold months.

Make sure they are fixed – Spaying and neutering is important! You don’t want to find a new batch of kittens in the spring (and fall) each year. Overpopulation is a huge problem so do your part. When my barn kitty came home she was completely feral. We were able to get her spayed through a TNR (trap neuter release) program for only five dollars. They notched her ears to mark that she was fixed and she’s been a happy kitty since then.

Worming – You should worm your outdoor cat twice a year at least. Heading into winter is a great time to do this. It will help them maintain weight and reduce parasite numbers where they live. You can use standard or natural wormers, the choice is yours, but it’s a critical part of your pet’s health.

Do you have any tips for taking care of your outdoor animals during the winter?

~Jessica Wick

Try E3Feline – superior organic nutrition for your feline friends:  http://www.e3live.com/p-37-e3-feline-fresh-frozen.aspx

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Your Obligate Carnivore

Obligate Carnivores. Do you know what that term means about your cat? It means that your cat absolutely must have meat in their diet to live a long and healthy life. We are going to explore why cats must eat meat and why a grain free diet is much healthier for them.

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Evolution – Cats evolved as meat eaters. Since they were animals that ate only meat they lost the ability to make or use certain vitamins and minerals. Taurine is one you have likely heard of, and they are also unable to produce niacin. Arganine is another vital nutrient they get from meat. Cats aren’t able to produce vitamin A from beta-carotine like we can. Felines can’t live without these nutrients that are found in abundance in meat. That is why they are obligated to eat meat.

Digestion – Cats have evolved a digestive system that is designed to handle raw meat. Their digestive system is very short. Raw meat digests very quickly and doesn’t need to ferment like carbohydrates do. Cats do very well on grain free or raw diets for this reason. They aren’t designed to utilize grains and vegetables in their diet. They have lost the ability to digest them.

Carnivore vs. Obligate Carnivore – Many meat eating animals are classified as a carnivore, but some of them can handle and even thrive on a diet that isn’t meat based. A carnivore is an animal that eats a diet of mostly meat. They have sharp teeth and are designed to hunt other animals. An obligate carnivore is an animal that requires a diet of mostly meat. It is a necessity and is biologically necessary for survival. Bears are carnivores that have a diet containing a large amount of plants. Dogs can also to some degree digest plants and grains. Their digestive system is long enough to handle and process plants, grains and other non-meat items. Any bird of prey is an obligate carnivore. Dolphins, minks, and of course felines also fit into this category.

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Nutrition – Nutrition plays a vital role in your cat’s health. Many of the food options on the market are filled with grains and other fillers that cats are unable to process or use for nutrition in their body. How do you fill the gaps in their nutrition? A raw diet is a great way to improve health. Next best would be a commercial cat food that is grain free. Cat supplements are harder to find on the market compared to dogs or other animals. Our E3 Feline has extra nutrition for your cat and provides the necessary nutrients that may be lacking in their diet. I make sure some is on my cat’s food each day!

How do you make sure your obligate carnivore is healthy?

~Jessica Wick

Try E3Feline – superior organic nutrition for your feline friends:  http://www.e3live.com/p-37-e3-feline-fresh-frozen.aspx

Life Lessons From Your Cat

Not everyone is a cat person. It takes a special personality to be owned by a demanding four legged critter. They are more independent than dogs and claim everything in your home as theirs. Cats are amazing creatures though, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons from mine over the years.

Being Playful – Cats are incredibly curious and playful creatures. They will stalk and chase everything from a bug to a shadow on the wall. Laughing and having fun releases feel good endorphins to boost your mood. Join your cat for a game of chase-the-string when you come home from work. And don’t forget to find some fun activities of your own.

Showing your appreciation – Most cats are very affectionate. In return for your devoted care to them they shower you with rubs and purring. Some sit on your lap, others rub your ankles. No matter how your cat expresses it they show you appreciation for being a part of their life. Petting your cat can lower your stress and blood pressure levels, so indulge often. Also remember to take the lesson into your daily life. Don’t be too busy to appreciate what you have.

 Hey, Relax! – Cats are the masters of relaxation. A nice sunny or soft spot can give them hours of grooming and sleeping. While most of us can’t spend hours taking a nap, we can find more ways to relax. Stress isn’t good for your health and finding a hobby or taking a walk can help manage it. You may consider taking up yoga or meditation. Just keep in mind you can’t be as productive in your daily life if your stress levels are maxed out.

Stand your ground – Cats are territorial. They own their surroundings and do not like them to be changed or invaded. They also get very offended if you expect them to do something they don’t like or isn’t natural (bath anyone?). Take notes. While you can’t argue about everything in life you should always stand up for yourself and be clear with what is right and wrong for you. Don’t let people push you around to make themselves feel better.

Respect yourself – A cat spends a good portion of their time grooming themselves and seeing to their needs. In fact, many cats are simply selfish and we love them for it anyway. Just keep in mind you need to respect yourself; eat right, exercise, and make sure you are high on your own priority list. Being happy in life is priceless and respecting yourself is the key to that. When you respect yourself other people will notice and respect you in return.

What lessons have you learned from your feline friend?

~Jessica Wick

Try E3Feline – superior organic nutrition for your feline friends:  http://www.e3live.com/p-37-e3-feline-fresh-frozen.aspx