“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
And in a world where there is food enrichment for felines 😉
I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are enjoying October. And I hope you are faring well, despite hurricanes, fires, and crazy politicians. OH MY. On a much more uplifting note, I wanted to share something fun with you while I had a couple minutes.
It involves cats and pumpkins.
I am a HUGE fan of October. I mean, like a total dork about October and Halloween. I was married on Halloween. All of our cats are the colors of Halloween, and our dog’s name is Hocus Pocus. We absolutely Adore Fall and Halloween. One of the best parts about Halloween is the plethora of beautiful gourds and pumpkins. I also adore felines of all species. So what’s better than a cat or a pumpkin?
….. Cats AND pumpkins together!!!
Now that October has arrived, I took advantage of the readily available gourds that were ready to be adored … and gored.
Our cats enjoyed them as well…
On a related note, I wanted to let you know that tomorrow I will be doing an online webinar, “Foraging Felines: Providing House Cats with Necessary Mental and Physical Stimulation Through Fun with Their Food.” I will discuss some common myths about companion cats and how dietary enrichment can be one of the most powerful tools you use with your feline family members every day! I will be discussing the importance, science, and methods behind novel enrichment that you saw in that video.
Here are some common House Cat MYTHS we will be discussing tomorrow in our webinar:
- Cats are nocturnal.
- Cats are aloof.
- Cats are lazy.
- Cats hunt in groups.
- Cats are unsocial.
- Cats are at the top of the “food chain”.
- Cats are fully domesticated.
- Cats are herbivores or omnivores.
- Cats are a lot like dogs.
- Senior cats won’t play with food puzzles or hunt for food.
I will also be discussing Cat’s “Super Senses!” These acute senses are unique to them as a species. Many of these super senses are not unlike their exotic ancestors; African wildcats, panthers, lions, tigers, jaguars, and cougars. Unlike their ancestors, companion cats possess extraordinary sensitivity as both a predator and prey. These feline senses and abilities are evolutionary adaptations that are unique to felines. All of these senses come into play when it comes to providing species-appropriate dietary/foraging enrichment.
House cats retain many of the instincts, traits, behavior, and needs of their wild kin and feline ancestors. Your cat may hang on the couch at home with you, but her mind and body are programmed to hunt, capture, kill and consume just as wild as the African lion on the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, the Sumatran Tiger in the wetlands of Borneo and Sumatra, and the jaguar in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. These sensory adaptations are a huge piece of enrichment puzzle. These unique feline traits are at the heart of why we need to be using foraging enrichment for our companion felines.
Encouraging Cats to Forage
In the dog and cat community there are two very common myths currently circulating about senior and geriatric cats: They don’t need daily exercise and they won’t play with puzzle feeders! Both of these beliefs are untrue. Tomorrow our geriatric cats will show you why cats of all ages CAN and should be foraging for their food!
Food Foraging as a TOOL.
I will also talk about who, what, when, where, and why Foraging and Puzzle Feeders can be used a behavior modification tool for multiple species in the home.! A lack of mental and physical stimulation is linked to a myriad of medical and behavioral issues in cats. But this can be reversed! When properly utilized, foraging enrichment can enhance the lives of both cats and their guardians. Not only can puzzle feeders be a tool to help your tiny tiger to thrive, but puzzles can help with everything from obesity to fear. Here are some of the ways that Foraging has helped our felines:
- Transitioning a feral cat indoors
- Scarfing and barfing
- Night nudging
- Destructive behavior
- Attention-seeking behaviors
- Cognitive decline
- Begging/stealing food
- Incompatible behavior
- Emotional eating
- Food competition /bullying others for their food
Wildcats and More
We will also look at house cats’ ancestors and how they relate to your modern day couch cat. We will discuss the 5 Categories of enrichment and how puzzle feeders and foraging play into those. We will discuss the Principles of Food Enrichment Planning and Individualized Enrichment Programs and why they are both crucial. There will also be a special section on foraging enrichment for senior cats. yay!
I hope you can join me for the webinar tomorrow. It’s going to be FUN and informative! But if you can’t make it, don’t worry; once you sign up you will receive a recording of the webinar after it’s over. You will also receive links to 18 videos I have created as supplements for the webinar, along with pdfs, referenced papers, and links to where you can purchase some of the puzzles I mention. These will all come to you from the Pet Professional Guild, who is hosting this event. Details here: Foraging Felines: Providing House Cats with Necessary Mental and Physical Stimulation Through Fun with Their Food.
Happy Foraging with your felines!
October Blessings to you and yours!
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.”
― George Cooper