Cats should be named Sleep-a-Lots

Agent L after a long day at work

Agent S in deep sleep

Agents S and L have quite different sleeping habits. Agent S wakes up for breakfast at 5.30am, goes back to sleep till 10am (if we're lucky) snacks and continues his sleep till dinner at 7pm. That explains his not- so -slim physique. Agent L, on  the other hand, is a light sleeper (comparatively!). She wakes up at 5.30am, grooms herself till 6.30am, continues sleeping till 8am and is ready to pounce on the day before her nap at 10am. Sometimes they tussle with each other a bit before taking their naps.

The difference is, Agent L detects our movements in the house and follows us around. If we're in the hall, she'll wake up and groom herself in the hall, demand that we play with her for at least 15 minutes twice or three times a day, grooms herself again before taking short naps in in her various favourite spots till we all go to sleep past midnight after their occasional midnight mad running around the house.

According to PetMD, cats sleep an average of fifteen hours a day, and some can sleep up to twenty hours in a twenty-four hour period. Which begs the question: Why do cats sleep so much?

The 'Catnap'

The first thing you should realize is that cats are most active between dusk and dawn, which means that they sleep mostly during the day and become active around twilight. This can come as quite a shock if you're bringing a new kitty home for the first time. Your cat will waste no time investigating and getting into trouble -- usually while you’re fast asleep!  But as soon your cat is done with breakfast, as the rest of the world winds up for action, you'll find him winding down for a long day of slumber.
Energy Conservation

Cats have the physiology of a predator, meaning that they’re hardwired to give chase and hunt -- mainly at night. Large cats such as lions have a similar pattern of sleeping during the day and hunting at night. Although they have been domesticated for the most part, housecats still retain that wild streak. Even cats at play will display the feline primal instincts of creepng about in the shadows and, without a whisper of warning, pouncing on their target prey.

And hunting prey takes an amazing amount of energy. Whether your kitty is hunting for outdoor prey or tackling a catnip toy, all that sleep he gets is reserve energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking.

One Eye Open

Like people, cats either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.

During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up.

Kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than the average-aged adult cat.

Rainy Day

It should come as no surprise that felines are affected by the weather, just like us. Cat behavior can vary greatly, depending on their breed, age, temperament and overall health. But, whatever your kitty’s usual disposition, it has been observed that cats sleep more when the weather calls for it. Yes, even if your kitty is an exclusive indoor-dweller, a rainy or cold day will have him (and probably you) yawning and looking for some shut-eye.

What Time is it?

Cats are crepuscular -- which means that they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. They tend to lay low in the darker night-time and day-time hours, when other predators may be hanging about. Some cats may be active at night as well, especially when they’re kittens. But, cats are also sociable and highly adaptable. This means that a cat is apt to adjust his sleeping habits so he can spend more time with his loved ones -- meaning you. Cats will also adjust their sleep patterns to their feeding schedules, which is why an indoor cat sleeps more than a cat that roams outdoors.

Whether your cat is a spry kitten or a mature feline, his level of interaction and activity depends a lot on whether he's constantly recharging his kitty battery.

It's a good idea to learn what kind of sleep cycle is normal for your cat, because changes in sleep patterns can be a sign of a potentially serious health issue. Some sleep disturbances can be related to thyroid problems. Cats that sleep less may have an infection. Cats that sleep a lot more than usual may have kidney problems or cancer. In elderly cats, changes in sleep patterns can be signs of feline cognitive dysfunction (sometimes known as “kitty Alzheimer's”).

If your cat suddenly starts sleeping in a position that's unusual for him, he may have pain or discomfort somewhere in his body. Any change in sleep patterns or posture is a sign that you should call your vet and find out what's going on.


Get Rid of Pet Odor Naturally

Instead of masking pet odor with artificial fragrances or chemical cleaners that can lead to adverse health effects, look towards natural tricks that you can use to make your home, your car, and even your pets themselves smell fresh and clean always.

If Your Pet Has an Offensive Odor:

First off, if your pet has an offensive odor, this could be a sign that there's an underlying health problem. For example, yeast infections can create an odor. Also, your pet's skin may be too oily, or he or she may be suffering with allergies that are taking their toll on the skin and fur. If regularly bathing your pet with a natural shampoo doesn't do the trick, you should take your pet to the vet in order to get a proper diagnosis and eliminate the source of the odor before the problem escalates.

Nutrition is also an important component of making sure your pet never smells. Provide a species-appropriate diet that's packed with high quality, human grade animal proteins to your carnivorous dogs and cats, and make sure you avoid allergenic ingredients, such as wheat, corn, and soy. Feeding the right food will eliminate allergies and dramatically improve the health of your pet's skin and fur.

Natural Shampoo

There are many natural pet shampoos on the market. Mix roughly 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in with the shampoo and use it to bathe your pet. This won't only clean your pet and help him or her smell great, but will also help get rid of excess dirt, oil, and bacteria that may remain on skin and fur and cause odors.

Neem Oil

For pets with offensive odors as a result of skin conditions, neem can work wonderfully at improving the health of the animal while eliminating the odor. Neem provides antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant benefits. It can even work at repelling and killing fleas and mosquitoes naturally, and it'll moisturize the skin.

Using a shampoo containing neem will aid pets who are suffering with allergies, itchy skin, and excessive shedding. You can even dab some neem directly onto your pet or add some coconut oil to your pet's food to heal skin problems from the inside.

Getting Rid of Pet Odors Around the House Naturally

Avoid the use of toxic air fresheners around the house if you're dealing with typical pet odors that aren't health related. Sprinkling baking soda throughout your home is a great way to naturally eliminate odors. Let it sit for several hours so that it can effectively absorb the odors before you vacuum it up. This is appropriate for carpets, furniture, and pet beds.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to pet odor, look to the source of the problem. Natural shampoos and neem work well if your pet is suffering with ailments that are causing an offensive odor. And when it comes to clearing pet odors from your home, avoid toxic synthetic fragrances and cleaning products.

Dr Loridawn Gordon for ModernDogMagazine


The Soft and Easy Way to Trim Your Bird’s Nails

Some of the best things about having a bird for a pet is holding it on your hand, letting it hang out on your shoulders, even on your head, and listening to it chirp and chatter in your ear. Birds, like humans, have nails, and when their nails get too long the experience can be annoying, if not painful, when the bird digs its little nails into our skin. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to remedy, but you will need to plan ahead and have all of the tools necessary for the task.

Prepare for success: Because you will need to wrap your bird in a towel for grooming, part of the planning includes getting your bird accustomed to towels. Using a light colored towel -- bright colored towels might alarm your bird -- lay the towel on your hand and allow the bird to climb onto the towel, maybe with some little treats and "good bird" affirmations to encourage your bird to be comfortable with the towel. Do this on a regular basis so that when it is time to use the towel, your bird will associate it with good times.

Tools of the trade: For G-Day (grooming day), gather all your grooming materials and ask a friend or family member to help (it is best if your bird is already familiar with the person). Again, you don’t want your bird to be overly alarmed by the process. If you should happen to cut a little too close to the quick when clipping the nail, use styptic powder, an antihemorrhagic that stops excessive bleeding. The other essential tool is the specially designed nail clipper for birds. The size of the clipper will depend on whether yours is a small or large bird. For a small bird, a pair of nail scissors may work out well enough, but for a big bird, a clipper that can cut through the thicker nail quickly and cleanly will be essential.

Take control: Begin by draping the towel over your bird’s back, leaving its head uncovered. As you wrap the towel around your bird’s body and take the bird into your hands, be sure that you are holding it firmly at its sides, taking care not to press against its chest. This is important because birds do not have a diaphragm, so putting too much pressure on the chest may cause them to suffocate. Even the most domesticated birds can get a little upset by being wrapped up, so you will need to take control of your bird’s head to keep from being bitten. While holding the body with one hand, use your other hand to hold the bird’s head. Place your thumb on one side of the bird’s head and your middle finger on the other, holding firmly enough to keep the bird from turning its head freely. Maintain the bird's head still from the top with your index finger and reassure your bird with kind words to keep it calm.

Clipping the nails: Whether it is you, a friend, or family member that is trimming your bird's nails, the steps are the same. Place one finger within reach of your bird’s feet so that it can grasp onto the finger. Use your thumb to lift each nail off of your finger, clipping just a small amount of the nail. You can always clip a little more from the nail, but if you miss the mark and clip too much the first time, you will have a very freaked out and bleeding bird to deal with, which is dangerous, as birds can bleed to death from this type of injury if it is not handled quickly. To avoid this scenario, first identify where the edge of the nail meets the quick (you can usually see this with light colored nails, as the nail is white and the quick is pink). If your bird’s nails are dark, use extra care and trim just a little at a time. Additionally, if your bird is handling the experience well, you may want to try smoothing out the edges of the nail with a nail file, but it is not necessary.

What to watch out for: Watch your bird closely as you are trimming its nails. You can expect your bird to be vocal about the indignity of the situation, often attempting to escape from your grasp. But if your bird appears to be having trouble breathing, is panting, is moving too much to keep a firm hold, or seems to have lost motor coordination -- like its eyes rolling back in its head -- stop immediately and place your bird back on its perch or in its cage and allow it to calm down, while speaking in a soothing tone. You can try to trim its nails again later, but if you encounter the same problems, have a skilled veterinarian or bird groomer do it for you.

Final tips: Try to begin the nail trimming routine while your bird is young and use treats after the clipping so that your bird always associates this activity as a good thing. In between clips, place a sand or pumice stone perch (in addition to its natural wooden perch) in the cage. This will allow the bird to file its own nails and reduce the frequency of the nail clippings. In the wild, birds use both wood and stone to groom their own nails and beak, so having both for your bird will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Image: Eric Bryan / via Flickr


Wicker Rabbit House

This Wicker Rabbit House from Great&Small is a great hidey hole for your Bunny or Guinea Pig to snuggle up or just play around in. Made with full wicker as opposed to split wicker and hand woven for a tighter weave the Great&Small Wicker Rabbit House is much stronger than the rest. The Wicker Rabbit House can be used inside your pets cage or in their run in the garden and is 100% safe for them to nibble at great for keeping their teeth nice and trim!

Made with full wicker
Hand woven for a tighter weave
Can be used inside your pets cage or in their run
Great for keeping teeth trim
Fun and cosy hidey hole

Price: £29.99



Prevue Chime Time Whirlwind Bird Toy

Designed for medium and large birds. Chime Time toys engage birds with delightful sounds and indestructible toys comprised of aluminum chimes, colorful ground calcium wafers, plastic beads and rubber rings. Each toy, in this line, attaches easily to cages with quick-links and is made of 100% safe, non-toxic materials. Ingredients: ground limestone, ground seashell, wheat flour, tapioca flour and food coloring.

Product Features:

Made from 100-percent safe, non-toxic materials.
Has quick-links for easy cage attachment.
Engages birds with delightful sounds and indestructible parts.
Includes aluminum chimes, colorful ground calcium wafers, plastic beads and rubber rings.

Item Specifications:

1" H x 0.17" W x 0.42" D

0.5 lbs

Ground limestone, ground seashell, wheat flour, tapioca flour, food coloring: FDC blue no. 1, red no. 3 and yellow no. 5

Guaranteed Analysis:
Calcium - 20.0%
Phosphorus (min) - 0.05%
Salt (min) - 0.20%

PRICE: $9.99



Signature Series 14" Diner - Black (USA ONLY)

The Signature Series Designer Diner was designed to fit into any home decor while providing an ergonomically correct feeding position for improving digestion and posture, and reducing stress on joints that may eventually lead to cumulative degenerative disorder (osteoarthritis). Made of molded ABS plastic and come with two 2 quart stainless steel bowls(made in India). The Designer Diner is available in black with reversible stainless steel-look and gray panels. Signature Series Diner made in the USA.

Price: $69.99


K&H Thermo Heated Kitty Sill

K&H Thermo Heated Kitty Sill
Treat your kitty to a heated window sill cat bed. This 14" L X 24" W cat bed is easy to assemble, sturdy and attractive. It's also adjustable to any window sill using the Velcro® fasteners or screws that are provided. The Thermo Heated Kitty Sill supports over 40 lbs (18kg). and features a dual thermostat. The surface of the bed will remain 12 to 15 degrees above ambient air temperature and warm to 102 degrees when in use. Better yet it only uses 6 watts of electricity, has a removable heater, and a washable cover!

Internet Price: $89.99   Today's Price: $65.44  (Save 27%)

Agent S: For us cats who live in countries with hot weather, we can opt for the non-heated version.

Internet Price: $46.99   Today's Price: $37.59  (Save 20%)