Newton’s Take Your Cat to Work Day

Newton: It may be Take Your Dog to Work Day, but I’m going to shake things up.

Newton - Take Your Cat to Work Day

Newton: You need me to take dictation? Okay, I’m ready.

orange tabby cat and notepad

Pierre: I can’t read this chicken scratch! You need to type this up.

gray tabby cat and notebook

Newton: That’s cat scratch to you. I don’t think this plan is going to work, Pierre. Don’t you need thumbs to type?

Orange tabby cat and keyboard

Pierre: You haven’t watched how the manpeep types, have you? No, you don’t need thumbs to type.

gray tabby cat

Pierre: But maybe instead of taking dictation, you should start with something you have already shown a talent for.

Newton: Like what?

Pierre: How about shipping and receiving? All cats are good with boxes. 

orange tabby cat in brown cardboard box

Newton: I’m on it! Just keep that tape gun away from my luxurious tail fur.

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A Visit to the Cat Show

I often joke that everyone comes here eventually because it’s such a tourist town. Last weekend, it wasn’t humans who came to visit, it was cats, for the TICA Sandy Claws cat show, and I had to go the variety of cats being showed just a few miles from home.

colorpoint kitten

I heard a man entering the hotel ballroom where the show was held say, “It’s much smaller than I expected!” I had not been to a cat show since one at Madison Square Garden in 1999, so I have no idea whether it was an unusually small show or not. There were six rings, and they were nonstop busy, even at lunchtime.

havana brown being judged

I watched a few rings be judged. The judge in the longhair ring was here all the way from Oregon, and I wondered if she had met our friend Summer, who has been in shows up there. She was the most interesting of the judges, explaining as she went what she was looking at and looking for.

bocolor maine coon

She talked a lot about the confirmation of their bodies and heads and what she expected of each, and I learned how each type of cat had different standards she was looking for.

This kitty doesn’t have airplane ears. It’s a longhaired Scottish Fold, something I didn’t know existed!  Here, the judge is explaining that this kitty has a very sweet face and big eyes, which is part of the breed standard.

longair fold cat in judging ring

This massive Maine coon kitty was the winner in the ring for long haired cats. There’s not really any way to tell from this photo, but he was really enormous. He seemed to fill the whole judging ring cage while he was waiting to be judged. Quite an impressive cat!

Orange Maine Coon

When the adult longhaired cats were in their judging ring cages, they waited patiently for their turn with the judge. It was the complete opposite in the kitten ring. Those cages were just mayhem. There was a bengal kitten determined to climb the top of the cage.

bengal kitten in cage

There was also a bobtail kitten who apparently thought the cage tasted interesting.

bobtail kitten in show cage

I noticed that the bottom part of the cage, where the cats sit, was sanitized between cats, but I didn’t see them actually cleaning every inch of the bars. This little guy was making sure he left his kitten cooties behind for the next kitty who sat in that cage.

bobtail kitten in show cage

After he lost interest in eating the cage, the started in on the little flaps hanging from the cage. I never got an explanation of what those were. They weren’t cage numbers, though, and it’s a good thing, because this kitten was determined to do them in.

bobtail kittens in show cages

He even got his neighbor in on the act!

bobtail kittens in show cages

The judge for the kitten ring didn’t talk to the audience or explain anything, but she clearly had her hands full with that crowd.

Do you recognize this cat? I thought at first glance it was an Abyssinian, but the head and face looked all wrong for the breed. I learned later it was a Singapura, a breed I had not heard of before.

Singapura cat in judging ring

I would have liked to have talked to the person showing the cat, but I never managed to catch her. Everyone showing cats was constantly rushing back and forth to show rings. A cat show is a busy place!

I only saw one Abyssinian at the whole show, but I didn’t get a photo of him because these little faces were in the next cage and they captivated me.

bengal kittens

They were for sale, too! I have no idea how I escaped without bringing one of them home.

The cat show was a lot of fun, and it’s quite an experience for anyone who has never been to one. If there’s ever one in your town, it’s totally worth a visit!

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Why Cats Love Boxes

In case you missed it, Saturday was International Box Day. While your kitty was enjoying that cardboard box, did you wonder why cats enjoy boxes so much? Scientists have studied the answer for you!

What Scientists Saw about Cats in Boxes

A Dutch animal shelter studied cats to see what their stress levels looked like when they were provided either a boxlike kitty condo or simply an open cage. Cats on shelter intake were selected either to get a hiding box in their cage or not. Then the cats were observed for two weeks, and their stress levels were assessed using a standard stress scoring system.

cat in a box. photo credit: depositphotos/Meldes

Cats who were able to spend time in boxes chose to spend over half of their time in them, so they made lots of use of them. By the third day, cats who had access to hiding boxes on average had lower stress scores. Over time, the cats without boxes slowly became less stressed until after two weeks their stress levels were about the same as the cats who had been provided hiding boxes from the beginning.

Why  do Cats Feel Less Stressed in Boxes?

Cats get a feeling of safety from being inside that cardboard box. While it may look like your latest arrival in the post, to your kitty, that box’s enclosing sides represent a fortress.

cat in box. photo credit depositphotos/pannawat

As relatively small creatures, cats are wired to think of themselves as potential prey to many larger creatures. Curling up to sleep allows a cat to protect their most vulnerable parts, like their stomach, and curling up in an enclosed space like a bed with high sides or a cardboard box gives them an extra sense of being enclosed and protected.

How Boxes Can Help Cat Welfare

This is useful to know for your kitty at home, especially when bringing a cat home into a new environment like the cats brought into an unfamiliar shelter environment in the study. But it’s especially important information for cats in shelters.

For a shelter cat, acting less stressed-out can mean faster adoption. Faster adoptions by themselves can be lifesaving in overwhelmed shelters.

Stressed out cats, like stressed out humans, have elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is an important hormone in your cat’s body involved in regulating blood pressure and immune function. This means that reducing the stress levels of shelter cats with boxes can help keep them healthier.

cat in box, photo credit depositphotos/cynoclub

Does your cat prefer enclosed spaces like boxes when resting?


Research and further reading

Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Will a hiding box provide stress reduction for shelter cats?

Photo credits: depositphotos/Meldes, pannawat, cynoclub

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Unauthorized Closed Door

Newton: Come quick!

Pierre: We need you in here. There’s a problem.

gray tabby cat and orange tabby cat

Newton: Look! It’s closed!

Pierre: Who authorized this? You know there’s a strict no closed doors rule in my house.

gray tabby cat and orange tabby cat look at closed door

Newton: Do you think I could grow some thumbs so I can open that doorknob?

Pierre: I don’t think it works that way, Newt. You either get thumbs or you don’t. 

gray tabby cat and orange tabby cat look at closed door

Pierre: Cover me, I’m going to try to open it.

Newton: What do you want me to cover you with?

Pierre: Never mind. I can’t get this open. We need someone to work the doorknob.

Gray tabby cat tries to open closed door while orange tabby cat waits

Pierre: Come on. Open it up. I’m not moving until you do.

gray tabby cat in front of closed door

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