22

Cat Forum: Summer Safety

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Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We are taking a break from our interviews to pass along some summer safety tips. We suggest you read them and leave several copies around the house for the humans. In front of the computer screen is usually a good place. In their “bathroom” is another.

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Roads – Hopefully you all remember the rhyme your mother taught you, “Road + Cat = Splat”. You should never play in the street. If you must cross the road, “Listen well, sound will tell.” The things humans drive are noisy. You may hear them before you see them. Be sure your adolescents know that playing “chicken” waiting for the car is a stupid idea. Girls are not impressed by idiocy.

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Machinery – Humans use a lot of things that make noise. They want the grass shorter. They want the tree and bush limbs a certain length. They want to get rid of the high weeds. And they don’t know how to do anything quietly. Or by hand.  The general rule here is, “If it makes your ears sore, head straight for the door.” All of the human machines are dangerous to kitties.

Note – do not let any small human convince you that you will have “fun” riding on one of these loud machines.

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Heat – It seems like we cats should like summer. After all, it’s basically one big sunspot. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, “Sidewalks are hot. Walk on them not.” If like to take the occasional stroll by yourself or with your human, try to stick to the grass. Our paw pads aren’t covered with fur and are sensitive to heat.

If you do feel your feet burning, find some water to put them in. It will stop the burning. Stay off of them as much as possible until they feel better. Do not let a helpful human try to use one of their remedies. Just because it’s safe for humans, doesn’t mean it’s safe for cats.

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Note – especially stay away from aloe. It’s a plant that humans use on burns and seems to work really well for them. It’s like poison to cats.

Make sure you drink plenty of water. It’s important to keep your body at peak efficiency, How else will you be able to chase after the bugs and moths that are so tasty this time of year?

If you are an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure your human leaves you water both inside and out. The outside water needs to be in a shady spot. That way you can enjoy a drink and nap in the same place.

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Water – Speaking of water, we know that some of you cats like to participate in water sports. Things like sailing, surfing, kayaking, etc. Remember, “Wear a vest for water past your chest.” Most cats are pretty small, so it’s safest to always wear a vest when you go to the beach.

Life vests come in a variety of sizes. Make sure yours is snug but not too tight. The idea is to keep you safe, not turn you into a sausage.

Note – sand is usually hot. Have your human carry you, if possible. If they forget, jump on them. You won’t have fun with sore feet.

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Children – Remember that summer is the time when the human children will be around full-time. They are usually fun and good to sleep with.

Try to avoid being dressed up as a doll. The clothes will be hot and uncomfortable. You will most likely be strapped into a carriage or stroller where you can’t see what is going on. And you won’t be able to get out on your own. Cats hate that.

Note – the older ones will be around more. Be careful. They usually have some sort of gadget in their hands that they are looking at. They will walk around looking at the screen and may trip over you. You should avoid this unless they have irritated you. In that case, get out of the way before they fall.

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Parties – Humans like to get together outside in the summer. Generally speaking, it involves food and some sort of hot surface to cook it.

No matter how good it smells, avoid these parties. There are a lot of noisy humans who may step on you. They may sit without looking and some of them are rather large. Try to snatch your food when no one is looking.

We hope these rules will help you have a safe, healthy summer. We are not responsible for humans who do not cooperate. You may want to find a large spider (or two) to put under the covers of their bed.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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11

Cats: Enjoy Your Bugs Responsibly This Summer

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Every cat knows that summer is the time to enjoy bug hunting. Whether you chase the occasional fly that manages to get into the house or go on hunting sprees in the great outdoors, we have some tips to share.

Humans do not enjoy bugs the same way we do. If you bring a nice, crunchy moth over to share with your human, you will probably be disappointed. The response will be something along the lines of “Very nice, kitty. Please take your moth somewhere else to eat it.” Or “Take that disgusting thing away from me.” They will not even taste it.

Note: Do not eat Tiger Moths or caterpillars. They might make you sick.

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Some bugs look better than they taste. We have something around here that the humans call a “stink bug” It looks a little like a really big tick. They fly around like other bugs. But when you start to eat them, they taste awful, like they’re way past their “eat-by” date.

Some bugs should not be eaten at all. You know those annoying bugs that fly around at night with their own lights? The humans call them “fireflies”. They’re almost impossible to catch and it’s a good thing. That’s not really fire in their rears; it’s poison.

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Note: It is considered poor etiquette to catch one and offer it to a dog. Many dogs will eat anything.

Then there are those nasty things that sting. The humans call them “bees, hornets, and wasps.” Although they are usually just a pain in the nose or paw; they can kill some cats. They are poisonous to those cats and can cause them to stop breathing. That is never a good thing.

There is also something called a “fire ant.” You can probably step on one and be OK. But they can also cause some cats to stop breathing. And being stung by a bunch of them will do the same thing to any of us.

Note: We recommend you stay away from anything the humans call “fire”. Except, of course, that toasty thing they have inside during the winter. Sleeping in front of that is a cat’s right. The human’s job is to keep it safe and keep it burning.

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Spiders are not insects, no matter what the humans say. Spiders are usually a lot more fun to play with. For one thing, they are usually within paw’s reach. And they move in a lot of directions to get away. You can play for a long time if you’re not too rough. (More like mice that way.)

Of course, there are a few to avoid. The humans like to give them human-type names: “black widow” or “brown recluse”. Generally speaking, humans will have an “ick”-type reaction to the fun, tasty spiders. They are more likely to go with an “eek”-type response to a poisonous one. Even humans who tolerate the regular ones will usually try to kill these. Self-preservation and all that.

Note: We live in Michigan and have a temperate climate. The cold keeps away most nasty spiders. If you live in a hot tropical place, make sure you know the locals. If you live in Australia, we recommend you not eat anything with 8 legs until you talk to an elderly cat (who has probably seen some unfortunate victims). Particularly if the spider is bigger than you are.

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Bug Hunting on a First Date. If you want to take a fellow feline on a bug-hunting trip, make sure they like to hunt in your style. Unfortunately, there are many instances of a run-and-play cat being partnered with a stalk-and-kill cat. There is little hope for the relationship.

Hunting as a Team. Usually bugs are small. So it is unrealistic to think that you will share the kill. However, it is polite to take turns bringing down the prey and eating it. If you catch something you don’t like, by all means offer it to your partner. You may both try for the next bug.

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If you are inside, watch for wall and tripping/falling hazards. If you are chasing a bug and fall off a table or run into a wall, you can be sure your human will be watching, laughing, and pointing a camera at you. Then they will show the video to all of their friends who will also laugh at you. In this situation, it is appropriate to make your next bug-hunting trip in their bedroom, in the middle of the night. Make a video. Send it to your friends.

Enjoy your summer. And Happy Hunting!

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(photos courtesy of Google Images)