Cat eyes: superior vision

GA_ Cat Senses Infographic

Continuing our study of all the feline’s senses, we now explore the most stylish and elegant of them all: cat eyes. Positioned deep in the face and looking straight to the front to help us calculate the distance between us and prey, while not being so obvious to predator’s searches. But of course the eyes’ most famous trait is the size.

Size does matter... to cat eyes. Pic: RoxyRoxLA

Size does matter… to cat eyes. Pic: RoxyRoxLA

Yes, they are a tad too big (in fact if humans’ eyes were that size, they will measure 8″ in diameter, covering half their faces!) but they act as an example of “size does matters”: a bigger cornea lets in more light for better vision. Our peripheral vision is beyond awesome, our close ups? not as good. That is why kitty can easily find the bird up in the tree… but can’t seem to recognize the kibble right in front of her. Continue reading

Smelling the air: adventures of a cat’s nose

GA_ Cat Senses InfographicDr. Avocado, what does it mean when my cat starts “smiling” to the air? Is it catnip induced?

Oh no that is not catnip fun time, your feline is making use of her vomeronasal organ, better knows as the Jacobson’s organ, a powerful tool that allows us to figure out our surroundings and who’s in it by “smelling” the air. It sits comfortably up on the roof of our mouth, holding a direct line to our brain, sending valuable information whenever is needed. To activate the device your cat opens her mouth a bit, looking like she’s smiling. Not every animal has this feature (take that dog!); it is an awesome gift.

tigger nose

My Jacobson’s organ tells me you’ve been petting other cats…

Because our noses are not big but they pack a punch: those cute triangles are 14 times more powerful than yours! We use our sense of smell to find our marked territories while finding out if another feline wants to move in. It is also our version of OkCupid, helping male cats find that special female when she really needs a mate 😉 While this specific feature is turned off once the cat is neutered, it still works for taking kitty straight to the freshest food in town. Nothing rotten will be eaten by your cat folks. Wanna know if that chicken is still good? Ask the cat. Now this power sometimes runs out of juice. Biggest sign of this: your cat stops eating, not even the smelliest of tuna entices her. This is more common on senior felines but if yours is still young, she could be sick. Time to visit that vet person.

A variety of colors: Our noses are so cool they complement our colors. You can find them in pink, orange, black, even black and white! Tone intensity reflects our mood – paler when we’re a little scared, very bright after an intense workout – and its wetness quality communicates our health status (NOTE: very dry or very wet is never good).

Download now blog bannerEN ESPAÑOL
Olfateando el ambiente: aventuras de la nariz del gato Continue reading

Catify to Satisfy: New book helps the kitty at home and those waiting for one.

GA_Comments_circle. blueThey did it again. Because when the mission is this big, one book is not enough. Catification opened all cat-friendly humans’ eyes to some basic understanding about living with a feline: you want her in the house ? (yes you do) then you have to make the space appealing to her, bringing some of her favorite outdoor activities inside in order to avoid temptation as well as making life with kitty all the more enjoyable.

Who are these amazing humans / cat behavior experts you ask? Of course, I’m talking about Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin! Now these two totally speak cat; they get under our claws, read our whiskers tea and dig into the litterbox… Putting all that info in book form to convey to you – our human friends – what we need so we can feel at home in your house.

CATIFY blad.pdf

She is not chillin’. This shy kitty needs her confidence back. Jackson can help. Courtesy of “Catify to Satisfy”.

The new book is called, Catify to Satisfy (out November 17, 2015). It includes excellent advice from Jackson’s ultra impressive cat knowledge to help bring the mojo back to your cat and Kate’s fabulous cat-approved decorating ideas to make the home a feline friendly one. But wait, there’s more! Not only you get their expertise, you also get stories (with pics and design plans no less) of wonderful humans that completely catified their homes with ramps, cat trees and my favorite CATIOS, so the kitties can safely enjoy the outdoors.

Catify to Satisfy coverAre you ready to Catify your home? Pre-order the book today because Tarcher/Penguin Publishing will donate $1 to the Jackson Galaxy Foundation which focuses on re-thinking the shelter experience so both rescued animals and staff can envision a more positive outcome. Education is key.

That deserves some extra purring!

EN ESPAÑOL Continue reading

A shout-out to black felines this Halloween

Gato-Halloween-2015.2Oh yes, Halloween is here filled with all the things cats don’t like: lots of people, candy, loud noises, spooky characters, pumpkins – though these ones can be friendly. And all this action is even worse for our beautiful black felines. Now these guys have a tough time this time of the year and it’s our duty to defend them with everything we’ve got! You see someone trying to use them as decor? Tell them it’s a living creature that deserves respect; not some tchotchke that can be returned on November 1st. Black cats have to deal with a horrible reputation born out of ridiculous superstitions. Let’s end the madness please!

Have a black feline at home? Treasure her like the silky shiny fabulous princess she is (or prince, equal opportunity fan here). Her purrs say “thank you”. Have a safe night everybody 😀

Download now blog banner

La noche de brujas está repleta de todo lo que no le gusta al gato: mucha gente, golosinas, ruidos innecesarios, personajes espeluznantes, calabazas – aunque éstas pueden ser amistosas jajaja. Y todo esto es peor para nuestro felinos negros; esos sí que la pasan mal durante esta época y es nuestro deber ¡defenderlos con todo lo que tenemos! ¿Ves a alguien usándolos como decoración? Diles que los gatos son criaturas vivientes que merecen respeto; no un artículo que puedes devolver el 1ro de noviembre. Los gatos negros cargan con una horrible reputación totalmente equivocada nacida de ridículas supersticiones. ¡Eduquemos al público para terminar con esto por favor!

¿Tienes una gatita negra en casa? Atesórala como la princesa (o el príncipe, aquí no discriminamos a nadie) de pelo sedoso y brillante que es. Sus ronroneos te dan las gracias. Que tengan todos una noche divertida pero segura 😀

For the love of pumpkin, give some to your cat

GA_Gato and the Pumpkin

You with the sweet face I will leave alone… but that pureed cousin of yours? Not so lucky.

It’s your favorite time of the year, pumpkin season! But the celebration is not complete if the cat isn’t part of it. Luckily the fruit is feline friendly, but it has to be given in “our own special way”. This means:

  • if the pumpkin has a carved face: keep it as decorations – it may not look like it but it is rotting slowly and consuming it will be poisonous to the feline
  • if the fruit is part of an elaborate coffee drink, keep it to yourself; kitty doesn’t need the caffeine, sugar or calories.

BUT, if the pumpkin is pureed without any condiments (canned version also works) it is yummylicious and very healthy for your cat. Here are a few benefits:

  • Adios constipated cat: Pumpkin is high on fiber and a little bit goes a long way to open those tunnels and let it all out!
  • But also helps with diarrhea?: Confusing I know but stay with me. Sometimes our digestive system needs time to adjust to new changes, showing the discomfort in the litterbox. Adding fiber helps balance it all.
  • More water please: Doesn’t matter if your kitty’s diet is wet or dry, more moisture is always good. Pumpkin is made of 90% water. Mix it to the food or give it as a snack, either way you’ll have a happy hydrated cat.
  • Stay in shape all season long: Having pumpkin with the meal makes kitty feel way fuller so he/she will snack less. Gotta be ready for that New Year’s outfit.

Excellent news, now how much to give? Felines are picky eaters so start slow. Add a few drops in the food and wait to see if kitty likes it. A “gimme more” look means yes so then you can continue with no more than 1 teaspoon per meal; half if the cat is of smaller size or a kitten.

Download now blog bannerMedical Alert: If after 24 hours neither the diarrhea nor the constipation seem to get better, take your cat to the veterinary.

Need more tips on how to prepare your cat for the coming season? Download my free ebook here!

Calabaza también para el gato

¡Qué viva la reina de la temporada, la calabaza! Claro la celebración no está completa si el gato no es parte de ella. Afortunadamente la fruta viene con el sello de “aprobación felina”, pero tiene que consumirse de manera especial (como todo lo gatuno). Esto significa que:

  • si la calabaza tiene una cara tallada: es sólo para decoración – no lo aparenta pero se va pudriendo lentamente y consumirla es venenosa para el gato.
  • si la fruta es el ingrediente estrella en tu café, que te aproveche; el gato no necesita la cafeína, el azúcar o las calorías.

PERO si la calabaza ha sido majada sin ningún aditivo (muchas se venden enlatadas), es sabrosísima y muy saludable para el minino. Aquí algunos de sus beneficios:

  • Adios al gato estreñido: La calabaza es alta en fibra y ingerir un poco de la misma abre los túneles para eliminar ¡todo lo que queda adentro!
  • ¿Pero también ayuda contra la diarrea?: Entiendo tu confusión, pero no te me enredes. Todo cambio requiere ajuste. Igual sucede con cambios dietéticos. Nuestro sistema no siempre recibe el mismo con brazos abiertos y lo demostramos en el arenero. La fibra ayuda a balancearlo todo.
  • Más agua por favor: No importa si su dieta es de comida enlatada o seca, siempre necesita más agua en la misma. La calabaza cuenta con 90% de agua. Mezclada en la comida o como bocadito convierte a tu gato en uno felizmente hidratado.
  • Se mantiene en forma durante la temporada: Al tener tanta fibra, la calabaza hace que tu gato se sienta llenito de modo que pide menos bocaditos durante el día. Listo para el ajuar de despedida de año.

Todos son puntos excelentes, pero ¿cuánta cantidad se le debe dar? Como los mininos somos escrupulosos con la comida ve poco a poco. Añade sólo unas gotas en la comida y espera el resultado. Una vez te de la mirada de “dame más” entonces puedes pasar a mezclarle no más de 1 cucharadita por comida; solo media si el gato es pequeño o de menos de 6 meses.

Alerta Médica: Si luego de 24 horas las diarreas o el estreñimiento no han mejorado, lleva al gato al veterinario.

Got a question for Dr. Avocado? Send him an email, add your name to our newsletter list or find me on Twitter or Facebook
¿Tienes una pregunta para el Dr. Avocado? Inscríbete a mi newsletter o escríbeme un email:

*ATTENTION: I am not a veterinarian. I am a proud member of the Felis Silvestris Catus family, (translates to “domestic cat” –  an inside joke in the cat community) that kindly shares his knowledge of our species to you. I can’t provide specific treatments for your feline friend. Please refer to your veterinarian. Meow!   /   *ATENCION: No soy veterinario. Soy un orgulloso miembro de la familia Felis Silvestris Catus (que se traduce en “gato domesticado” – chiste interno entre la comunidad gatuna), que con amor comparte su conocimiento de la especie con ustedes. No puedo proveer detalles específicos para tratar a tu amigo felino. Por favor, llévalo al veterinario. ¡Miau!

Get your cat ready for winter and the holidays. Here is all you need!

GA_Comments_circle. blueI am aware that your cat is still lying on the cold ceramic tile, balls in the air (at least the area where the balls were) ’cause it’s too freaking hot. But cold will start creeping into our calendar very soon changing your feline routine from napping on your precious granite countertop to sleeping under warm covers. And it’s not just chilly weather; the holidays are approaching bringing all kinds of delicious temptations, screaming kids, tons of boxes and awesome “crashing into tree” situations.

Is your cat ready for all this?

Gato Avocado is. And I’ve compiled lots of useful information to keep your kitty safe this winter season wrapped in my first ever eBook! And in the spirit of the soon to be here holiday season, I am gifting it to you (as in FREE).

Amaze your relatives at the dinner table with your poignant feline knowledge.

Click on the pic. Sign. Download.

Prepare your cat for winter. Cover. HiRes

It’s too hot. Time to shed some hair!

GA_Excellent Summer picI still can’t understand the problem. Humans seem to go to extremes when the weather gets warmer in order to get “beach ready” but when cats naturally shed some hair to find relief then it’s all: “Enough with the hairy tumbleweeds! I just vacuumed!”

Well, I am here to tell you that living with a feline means dealing with hair. Our relationship with it is very volatile. During the fall and winter months we loooove it, allowing it to grow and stay put so we can feel all warm and fuzzy. But as soon as it starts to heat up, out with it! A lighter coat is required to enjoy the breeze blowing thru our bodies while we nap in the sun. You change wardrobe and so do we.

These pants are begging for some cat hair...

These pants are begging for some cat hair…

Is there a way to coexist harmoniously? Of course! 2 words: cleaning and grooming. The first one means using that vacuum cleaner a few times a week to keep the dusty hair off your carpet (not a feline favorite). The second one involves a pampering spa routine where you brush your kitty daily so the unwanted particles never reach the ground (definitely a better choice). You can also try to give the cat a bath… but be aware that beach style does not include scratched arms. You’ve been warned.

Extreme Shedding: This happens when the cat sheds so much hair that skin patches become exposed. Or kitty keeps licking one area with such intensity that loses all hair on it. None of these are normal behaviors; they are signs that your feline needs medical attention. Continue reading