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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Why Your Cat Thinks You’re a Huge, Unpredictable Ape

Why Your Cat Thinks
You’re a Huge, Unpredictable Ape

By Nick Stockton

 Here comes trouble.
Shingles isn’t my condition; he’s my cat.
 I love him like crazy, but he gets under my skin.

I’m not alone as a conflicted cat fancier. Tony Buffington is a veterinarian at Ohio State University, and he recently told me many cat owners are constantly frustrated by their feline companions. 
Even though we feed them, clean up after them, and pet, hug, and hold them, Buffington says that few of us know how to listen to our cats. 
This can make things more frustrating for them than for us. That’s because no matter how much we love them, cats are our captives, domesticated aliens with no way of explaining their customs, or of interpreting ours.

Dr. Buffington (a great name for your next kitten, by the way) sat down with me to explain how to listen to cats. These aren’t just tricks to score more cuddle time, but ways to create a more harmonious home that could improve your cat’s health. For years, he’s been studying the root causes of interstitial cystitis, a painful and chronic inflammation of feline bladder tissue. His research indicates a stressful home environment may cause the condition, and perhaps other chronic cat diseases as well. He believes the best cure is learning to listen to your cat, giving him choices, and reducing the environmental factors that trigger his stress response. 

You are a huge, unpredictable ape

You hear the unmistakable sound of claws on couch. You snap, shout, squirt water, and maybe even throw a pillow. It’s all futile, because eventually he’s at it again. Your cat isn’t ignoring you, Buffington says. He just doesn’t know how to connect your negative reinforcement with his behavior. This is because cats evolved as solitary hunters with little need for reading social cues, especially those for behavior modification.

“How the hell is your cat supposed to know that you’re yelling at him because you want him to stop scratching the couch?” Buffington says. Without the cognitive ability to connect your outburst to their scratching, cats see only chaotic aggression. “To the cat, you’re this crazy primate who is attacking him for no reason,” he says.

Instead of discouraging the act, you become an object of fear. What’s more, your cat becomes frustrated, and eventually stressed, because you constantly interrupt natural feline activities like raking his claws or jumping on something high. “Cats get sick when they want to express their natural behaviors and they can’t,” he said, and will continue to do the thing when you aren’t around.

“The way to train a cat is through their environment,” Buffington said. For example, put two-sided tape on the corner of your couch, or tinfoil on the kitchen counter. Then, put the now-more-attractive alternative nearby: A scratching post covered with catnip, or the awesome cat tree you built from scavenged driftwood. When your cat does the thing you want her do to, reward her with a treat, or affection. “You let the house provide the negative reinforcement, while you provide the positive reinforcement,” Buffington said.

Feline feng shui
In those few hours each day where he isn’t sleeping, your cat is a little bundle of energy that wants to move through your home as harmoniously as possible. But you’ve disrupted his flow by placing the food dish next to the refrigerator, the litter box by the dryer, and his favorite cardboard box alongside the sliding glass door leading to the yard.

You might be deaf to the fridge fan or the spin cycle. But Buffington says it sounds like a monster growling at them while they eat or poop. Put the dish and the litter box in quiet, calm places where kitty has an escape route if he feels threatened (i.e., not in a closet).

Sights also can be stressful. Cats are curious about other animals, but if there is no visual barrier between the dogs, cats, goats, horses, or alpacas outside, the cat will feel threatened. “Cats don’t understand glass, but they do understand height,” Buffington says. Give your cat access to high places, like a cat tree or bookshelf, where she can observe in peace.

Leave Fluffy’s tummy alone 
Sights and sounds aren’t the only things in your house that assault your cat’s senses. Humans are much more touchy-feely than cats, and we sometimes find their fluffiness irresistible. But cats, like us, want some say in how they’re handled. “Would you appreciate it if someone was always picking you up, hugging you, rubbing you?” Buffington says.
The best bet is to let Fluffy guide the interaction. If she’s rubbing some part of her body against you, she’s given you permission to pet that part of her.

Fat Nasty Cat being fat and nasty
You touched her no-no place.

Other feline behaviors are tricky, because they appear to be an invitation for petting. The classic is when Fluffy exposes her belly. When you go in for a rub, she bites and scratches you. “Exposing her belly is not a trap the cat is setting,” Buffington says. “The cat is biting you because they feel violated and afraid.” A cat’s belly is its most vulnerable body part, and exposing it is the cat letting you know she trusts younot that she wants a belly rub.

That’s not the only place that’s off limits. Have you ever been petting your cat and all of a sudden she slinks off to the other side of the room, cowers behind something, and stares at you?
“If your cat is acting weird, then something probably triggered this behavior,” Buffington says. Perhaps you kept petting the base of her tail, because she kept raising her butt. This area is filled with nerves, and being pet there can be overstimulating, much like being tickled is to us. Also, being cradled is not normal for cats. If your cat is curled up in your lap, it’s not necessarily an invitation to be picked up.
What’s that? Your cat is totally fine with you picking her up, snuggling her, and rubbing her angel-soft belly? That’s fine. Nobody’s jealous. Just stop talking about it.

You want your cats to be friends more than they do
Shingles and I recently moved into a house with two other cats, and my roommate and I have been trying for months to get them to play. It hasn’t been going well. Time and again, we put them in the living room and watch as mild curiosity turns into panic and fighting.

Did we just become best friends?

 Buffington says we’re doing this all wrong. Start slow, he says, by rubbing each cat in turn with the same dry towel to get them used to each others’ scent. Before introducing them, make sure each cat has eaten, pooped, and received affection from their respective owners. In other words, ensure they are comfortable. Once the cats are together, let your cat know you have its back by giving it lots of affection. Don’t pressure them to mingle, and make sure each has an unimpeded escape route.
And if your cat isn’t feeling the play date and decides to bail, let him go. Buffington says one of our biggest misconceptions is that cats need to be around other cats. In the wild, cats hunt alone, and they don’t share. Other cats aren’t friends; they’re competition.

Your cat cares about you
Your cat is not as indifferent about you as she may seem. She wants to bond, and the best way to do so are with petting, food, and play. If your cat doesn’t like to play, you might be doing it wrong. If you’re using a laser pointer, don’t wave it like you’re at a rave. Move it at natural speeds and let the cat catch it occasionally. The same rule applies with the feather-on-a-string toy.

Shingles used to cry incessantly whenever I left for the day, and I worried that leaving him home alone was making him neurotic. Buffington suggests I create little rituals for coming and going
“Before you leave, you can call to the cat, give him some affection and let him know you are saying good bye,” Buffington says. And he says to have a similar ritual for coming home. “Some married couples survive on less than an hour a day of contact. 
Your relationship with your cat can survive on 10 minutes a day, as long as it’s really quality,” Buffington says.


Saturday, November 1, 2014


November is the 11th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with the length of 30 days.
November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar.
November retained its name (from the Latin NOVEM meaning "nine") when January and February were added to the Roman calendar.
November is a month of spring in the Southern Hemisphere and autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
Therefore, November in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of May in the Northern Hemisphere and vice-versa.

November starts on the same day of the week as February in common years and March every year. Ends on the same day of the week as August every year.
November starts on the same day of the week as June of the previous year in common years and September and December of the previous year in leap years.
November ends on the same day of the week as March and June of the previous year in common years and September of the previous year in leap years.
Events in November

*Thanksgiving is celebrated in November
*All Saints' Day (formerly All Hallows Day), a Christian holy day, is celebrated on November 1. 
*The day before, Halloween, is therefore "All Hallows Eve". 
* In Sweden the All Saints' official holiday (Alla helgons dag, not to be confused with Allhelgonadagen celebrated on November 1) takes place on the first Saturday of November (eventually October 31 if a Saturday). The 2011 Swedish All saints day did take place on November 5.
* 1 November – Day of the leaders of the Bulgarian national revival
* In Ireland, November 1 is regarded as the first day of Winter.
* November 1 is called November Day (Lá Samhna) in Celtic tradition and is thus named in the Irish Calendar, where the month is called Mí na Samhna.
* In the Roman Catholic calendar, November 2 is All Souls Day. It is known in Mexico as el Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and the whole month of November is especially dedicated to praying for the dead
* Britain and New Zealand celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot, on November 5.
* In Indonesia, November 10 is known as National Heroes Day.

* Independence Day in Poland on November 11.
* Saint Maartens Day (Sint maarten) in the Netherlands (Dutch version of Halloween which gets celebrated with home-made lanterns and singing songs for candy)
* Remembrance Day is celebrated on November 11 in the Commonwealth of Nations and various European countries (including France and Belgium) to commemorate World War I and other wars. It is known as Veterans Day in the United States.
* In India, Children's Day is celebrated on November 14, the birthdate of first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
* World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14.
* The Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak around November 17.

* Latvian Independence day November 18.
* Discovery to the Eastern World of Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus on November 19, 1493.
* International Men's Day is commemorated on the 19 November.
* Día de la Revolución, or Revolution Day, is celebrated in Mexico on November 20.
* Transgender Day of Remembrance has occurred on November 20 each year in the United States since 1999.
* National Adoption Day – November 21
* Independence Day in Lebanon on November 22.

* On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated statewide in Assam, India, to commemorate the heroism of the great general Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army over the Mughal army at the battle of Saraighat in 1671.
* Suriname celebrates its Independence Day on November 25.
* Albanian independence day is on November 28.
* Scotland celebrates St Andrews Day, its official national day, on 30 November. Since 2006 it has been an official bank holiday.
* Argentina celebrates the Day of National Sovereignty on 20 November, to conmemorate the Vuelta de Obligado battle. It has been declared an official national holiday in 2010
* The United States and Puerto Rico observe Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.
* For Western Christians, Advent usually begins on a Sunday during the last week of November (the Sunday between November 27 and December 3).

Month-long observances

  • Native American Heritage Month
  • Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
  • COPD Awareness month
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • National Blog Posting Month (NaNoBloPo)
  • Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
  • American Diabetes Month
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
  • Crohn's & Ulcerative Colitis Awareness Month
  • National Pomegranate Month in the United States
  • Holy Souls in Purgatory (Roman Catholic Church)
  • International Drum Month
  • National Stomach Cancer Awareness Month (United States)
  • National Prematurity Awareness Month (United States)
  • Epilepsy Awareness Month
  • Sweet Potato Awareness Month
  • No Shave November
  • Movember
  • National Adoption Awareness Month (United States)
  • National Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month

Movable events

First Tuesday
In Australia, the Melbourne Cup horse race is held annually on the first Tuesday in November.

Tuesday After the First Monday
In the United States, elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November (between November 2 and November 8). In even-numbered years, members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, and about one third of the U.S. Senate are elected to six-year terms. The President of the United States is elected in doubly even-numbered years . Most U.S. states, counties, and municipalities have some part of their election cycle coincident with this date.

Third Wednesday
GIS Day is held the third Wednesday of November during Geography Awareness Week.

Third Thursday
The Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society occurs on the third Thursday of November, one week before Thanksgiving. Smokers are encouraged to quit smoking for these 24 hours, in hopes that they will quit forever.

International Philosophy Day
Beaujolais nouveau is released.

Fourth Thursday in the US
Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
The day after Thanksgiving in the US A famous day for shopping known as "Black Friday".
Buy Nothing Day
Monday immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the US

Cyber Monday (can sometimes fall in December)

November symbols  

November's birthstones are Topaz which symbolizes friendship and Citrine.
Its birth flower is the chrysanthemum

The Zodiac signs for November are Scorpio (until November 21) and Sagittarius (November 22 onwards).




Facts about NOVEMBER
According to the Georgian calendar, November is the eleventh month of the year. In the early Roman calendar, it was the ninth month. The Roman Senate elected to name the eleventh month for Tiberus Caesar, and since Augustus time, it has had only 30 days. Originally, there were 30 days, then 29, then 31.

November comes between the fall and winter months. The leaves are almost completely gone from the trees, and the rest have lost most of their color. The Anglo-Saxons referred to November as the 'wind month' and the 'blood month' - probably because this is the month they killed their animals for food.

Lots of activities come to a halt in November. The crops have been harvested and either put in storage, or sent to processing plants or mills. Farmers already know if their year has been successful or not. Football is the main sport of the month. The weather is usually beautiful for this kind of sport.


November woods are bare and still;
November days are clear and bright;
Each noon burns up the morning's chill,
The morning's snow is gone by night.. 

ELECTION DAY is on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

VETERANS DAY is celebrated on November 11th.

THANKSGIVING is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in the month.

CHILDREN's BOOK WEEK is also celebrated this month

*** ***


Crawford W. Long, physician who first used ether as an anesthetic in surgery, born November 1, 1815.
Daniel Boone, American frontiersman, born November 2, 1734.
Marie Antoinette, French queen, born November 2, 1755.

Will Rogers, American humorist, born November 4, 1879. 

John Philip Sousa, American bandmaster, born November 6, 1854.
Ignace Jan Paderewski, Polish pianist, composer, and statesman, born November 6, 1860.

Marie Curie, French physicist, born November 7, 1867.

Albert Camus
French author  born November 7, 1913.

Mount Holyoke Seminary (today Mount Holyoke College) opened for women, November 8, 1837.

Martin Luther, German religious leader, born November 10, 1483.
William Hogarth, English painter, born November 10, 1697.
Friedrich Schiller German poet born November 10, 1759.
Fyodor M. Dostoevsky
Russian novelist born November 11, 1821.

Veterans Day first celebrated in United States, November 11, 1954.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Reformer born November 12, 1815.
Auguste Rodin, French sculptor, born November 12, 1840.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Novelist born November 13, 1850.
Louis D. Brandeis, American jurist, born November 13, 1856.

Claude Monet, French painter, born November 14, 1840.
Jawaharlal Nehru  Indian leader born November 14, 1889.

Aaron Copland, American composer, born November 14, 1900.
Prince Charles, heir to British throne, born November 14, 1948.

Congress first met in Washington, D.C., November 17, 1800.
Suez Canal opened, November 17, 1869.

Sir William S. Gilbert, English dramatist who worked with composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, born November 18, 1836.

Eugene Ormandy, American conductor, born November 18, 1899.
Indira Gandhi, first woman prime minister of India, born November 19, 1917.

Voltaire, French author and philosopher, born November 21, 1694.

Charles de Gaulle, French statesman, born November 22, 1890.
Benjamin Britten, British composer, born November 22, 1913.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec French painter  born November 24, 1864.
Andrew Carnegie American industrialist  born November 25, 1835.
Joe DiMaggio, American baseball star, born November 25, 1914.

William Blake, English poet and artist, born November 28, 1757.
Jonathan Swift, who wrote Gulliver's Travels, born November 30, 1667.
Mark Twain, American author, born November 30, 1835.
Sir Winston Churchill British statesman born November 30, 1874.

**Facts taken from World Book Millennium 2000 

Guy Fawkes Day - Gunpowder Plot to blow up the English Houses of Parliament failed, November 5, 1605. England celebrates this day as Guy Fawkes Day.

First transpacific air-mail flight began, November 22, 1935

John F. Kennedy 
assassinated, November 22, 1963.

First national Thanksgiving Day in United States proclaimed by President George Washington, November 26, 1789.
Abraham Lincoln delivered Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.
A Spanish expedition led by Gaspar de Portola reached San Francisco Bay, November 2, 1769.

Holland Tunnel opened in New York City, November 13, 1927.