Over 200,000 unwanted pets are killed in pounds and
shelters in Australia every year, just because they can't find homes.
These are innocent animals, whose original human companions did not take
responsibility for them.
part of the solution. Adopt a rescue animal.
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to popular belief, many adult cats are indeed playful creatures.
Play equals exercise and stimulation, and for cats, the best
games are the ones where you are involved.
balls and wind-up mice are great entertainment, as is dangling a
plastic toy from a string. Hide and seek can also be fun. You can
also hide a treat and send your pet on a "search and eat" mission.
These are games that are interactive, you're not only providing pleasure
for your pet, but you're strengthening the connection you share.
check that the toy is safe, and there are no small parts your pet
might be able to remove and swallow. String and balls of wool are
not safe toys – the thread can be swallowed and get tangled
in the intestines. Boxes and paper shopping bags (avoid plastic)
are safe and fun for cats to poke in and out of.
also respond to television images, and cat lovers have been amused
and fascinated watching their feline paw at two-dimensional fish.
Enterprising companies are now producing videos specifically designed
for cats, with scenes of fish, birds or unsuspecting squirrels to
keep your companion glued to the screen.
of all – even more than TV – your cat will enjoy being
part of your daily life – let your cat accompany you while
doing the housework or gardening, and talk to your pet while you're
working. Your cat loves the sound of your voice, and the attention
that goes with it.
area that's often overlooked in cats is training. Almost all cats
are litter-trained, but for most, the training stops there. Cats
can be taught to sit, come, wave and other feats – all it requires
is a bit of practice and patience … and a lot of treats. Make
the training a game for your cat.
looking for feline fun, let your imagination – and your cat – guide
women and cats
Every pregnant woman wants to do the very best for her baby, and many expectant
mothers have concerns about contracting the parasite toxoplasmosis from their
feline friends. There is no need, however, to consider rehoming your pet
because you or someone in the household is pregnant.
Cats may contract toxoplasmosis after eating infected rodents or birds (for
this reason, an indoor cat is very unlikely to be carrying the parasite).
While cats can be carriers of the parasite, it is rare for them to develop
the toxoplasmosis disease.
Toxoplasmosis can spread to people only by direct contact with cat faeces
or soils/litter that have been in contact with infected faeces. If a pregnant
woman contracts the parasite, she has a 40 per cent chance of infecting her
baby. For a baby, infection from toxoplasmosis can cause brain damage and
numerous other problems including pneumonia.
Pregnant women should avoid handling their cats' litter trays – this
job should be taken over by another member of the household. If that's not
possible, the pregnant woman should use disposable gloves and thoroughly
wash her hands with soap and water after handling the tray (this goes for
those planning a pregnancy too!). The litter should be changed daily. Gloves
should also be worn for gardening, as the parasite may be present in soil.
Whether meat is for feline or human consumption, it should always be well
cooked, and hands should be washed thoroughly with soap after touching raw
meat. Also avoid touching the eyes, mouth or nose while handling uncooked
meat, and carefully clean cooking utensils.
Other general strategies to avoid infection include thoroughly washing produce
to remove traces of soil, and avoiding children' sandboxes where the parasite
Pregnant women cannot contract toxoplasmosis from handling or petting a cat:
the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis is actually greater from eating undercooked
infected meat than from your pet.
Articles by Annette Basile