Hi, welcome back!
I wanted to give you a chance to meet my cats today. In particular I wanted you to meet Caledonia here. She does not usually come into videos because she tends to be a little bit shy - as you can see - but you'll see a lot more of her in the next videos. They are both getting used to filming and they're getting used to seeing all of the equipment around and the lights, so give them a little bit of time, give them a little bit of grace, and i'll make sure that you guys get a little bit of footage of them.
In today's video I wanted to talk to you about a couple more reasons why crating is so important. The things i'm going to talk about today are actually things that have impacted my day-to-day life with my cats. The first thing I'm going to talk to you about is meal time.
It might be that you only have one cat in your household and you are only adults in the room, so you don't have to worry so much, but many of us have either a multi-cat or a multi-pet household. Some of us have animals that have allergies, and having a place for your cat to eat that is limited, where your cat is protected and nobody will steal their food might be very very useful, in particular if your cat has allergies.
I have a cat with Allergies. Caledonia has allergies. Che came to me as a rescue. She was in really really rough shape and the problem with her was that she is a very very hungry cat and she will try and steal food from her mother (who I also have as well, “Britannia”) and she will also try and steal Iberia's food. She has absolutely no Problem [about stealing food, and she has] a great appetite. The problem is that my other two animals do not have the same allergies she has, So I really have to be careful with what I put in her food. I have to be careful if I add supplements or if I change ingredients for whatever reason - you know - I'm normally feeding her rabbit but I also like to variate and maybe put duck or maybe use lamb. Whenever I have to change something for health reasons and for variety I have to do so very carefully. Having her going around and stealing other animals food is really a problem.
The other issue that I was having with her that others may be having as well is when your animal is eating, and it's eating really really fast and then has trouble digesting. They may regurgitate, which means they basically throw up their food. Many of them when they do that they actually eat it again but it's not something that's healthy to keep throwing up continuously. With her it was just a matter of saying “Just calm down, eat your food, nobody will steal it. Take your time.” And now, she does still eat quite quickly, but she does so (incredibly) a lot slower and in a more relaxed manner than she did before. And then she just kind of sits there in her crate for two or three minutes afterwards, and her stomach is a lot more settled.
I also wanted to talk about children. When you have children, especially toddlers, they are interested [in your pets]! They love animals! This is why I think animals in a household with children are so important: it teaches children to be empathetic and it teaches them what it's like to love an animal and understand an animal and not to be afraid of them. But you also want to protect your cat especially... and I'm sure you know if you already have or have had toddlers in your household with cats... you know that sometimes you have to protect your cat from your toddler, who might be a little bit more rambunctious than you were expecting. This is okay, I mean, it's what's great about children and about animals! As they develop they have different phases [they go through]. It keeps life really interesting and fascinating!
So you really want to make sure that when your cat is eating, she’s protected so that she feels safe and not worried that your toddler might take food away. Particularly if it's a little bit more of a shy animal, it will step back if your toddler is there (or other humans are there) and still have its food . And you're sure she’s going to eat everything that she has to eat, and she’s not going to feel that she needs to defend her food.
And this is the other thing that is important: it's called resource guarding. Initially it was called food aggression but now it's called resource guarding. And again we're talking about children and adults can kind of sometimes do the same thing: we don't like for people to steal our own things. We want to protect them. Sometimes we see that in children a lot and we sometimes see it in in pets (cats and dogs) where they they don't want you to take something away. It can be their toy or their food. They feel that they need to protect it and the problem is that when they're protecting it, they don't know that you'll be giving it back to them. They can never be sure that their next meal is coming. (This is true for some some cats, not not all cats, but some). So they may scratch or they may bite.
This can be extremely painful for you, and obviously upsetting, because nobody wants to be attacked by their own cat in their own home. And this can also be dangerous if you have little kids or if you have kids visiting, because when [cats] strike out at you, like this, they go for your face! And that's always dangerous! So you want to make sure that you never put anybody in that position: not you, not the people in your home, not the children in your home, and definitely not your cat. You want to make sure that your cat knows that when she’s eating she’s going to be comfortable. It's going to be quiet and she doesn't have to worry about anything or anyone.
The last point that I feel very strongly about... Clearly I feel strongly about all of them, but this one I feel so strongly about because it's something that breaks my heart when I read the statistics and when I hear from people who've had this experience. And I know that if it happened to me, I would be devastated. Absolutely devastated! … and that is vacations and moving. Why is this such a big deal? I go on vacation, and obviously I have animals in my household. I usually choose to have a pet sitter come and actually sleep at my house. This is safe for me because I know that my apartment is never empty, so nobody will try and break in, but I also know that my animals are not used to being alone and they're being taken care of. And sometimes it does happen that I choose to go on vacation for longer periods and then taking my animals with me is a good option. This means that I can take them in their crate.
They're used to being in their crate so traveling is not a big deal, and they're also used to having their crates, so when I bring them to a new place, they are actually feeling more comfortable and confident. I don't need to throw them into this new apartment that I (may) have rented that's completely foreign to them. They have a place, their crate, that is home. That is where they eat, that is where they find the smells of home. And this is really a big deal. And it's a super big deal when moving because this is when the majority of cats is lost.
I have heard a version of this story, I mean, hundreds of times... thousands of times... of people who moved (and maybe had to move away from their hometown, maybe had to move across state) and their cat, sometimes an outdoor cat, sometimes an indoor cat, got lost when the movers were coming or when people who were helping them move are coming and moving things. The cat was hiding because he gets scared all sorts of new people or sorts of changes, and nobody can find them anymore, and people move away, and their cat is left behind and is lost. And this is tragic!
The reason why it's so tragic, aside from, obviously, the emotional side of losing your beloved cat and for your cat to lose its beloved home and love and owner, is that so many cats who end up getting lost are never returned! The statistics are chilling! I went on the ASPCA website and I found a study that was done in 2012-2015 but they also had numbers from 2018 which are actually pretty recent - right now it's 2020, so basically just a year and a half ago. Of the cats that are lost 3 out of
are recovered which means that 1 cat out of 4 never makes it back home.
3,200,000 cats enter the shelter system every year, and of these 860,000 thousand are euthanized, meaning 1 in 4. Only 3% of the cats who do enter shelters are returned to their owners, meaning 1 out of a 100. So the likelihood of you finding your lost cat at a shelter are really really low. Your best bet obviously is for your cat to come back on its own, or to look around in your neighborhood. But imagine... IMAGINE what it would be like if somebody found your cat and thought “Okay, it needs an owner, let me take it to the shelter!” and you actually never get to find them again! I think it's very very scary, and this is something that I hope I never have to go through and you never have to go through as well.
This is another reason why crating your cat is such a life-changing habit. When you move, you know movers are coming... or maybe you're not moving, but you have workers come in because you're redoing the bathroom or something is happening - you know - the plumber has to come in (and you know that cat some cats are happy with people they don't know, while some are terrified and hide in a corner). So you can easily put them in their crate for the short amount of time that it takes the plumber or the people to work in your house, and you know that they're in there and they're protected and safe! Now, obviously, they cannot be in there for the whole day or very long, extended periods of time but having a place where they're comfortable, where you know they're not going to get loose, would be really helpful. My experience with crate training my cats has been overwhelmingly positive.
As you know, I'm an expat, which means that I move often, and usually with very little notice. The last time that I moved I moved here (I'm currently in Germany) I had to put my cats in the car and drive. I had a 14-hour drive to get here to the place in Germany where I'm at. I was so lucky that my cats are crate trained, because that meant that in the morning I gave them their usual food, I waited about a half hour, and then I asked them to go back in the crate. They went back in their crate, I closed it and I knew they were safe in there. I brought them to the car, strapped them in and we left and we came here. They were comfortable being in the crate which meant travel was easy. They weren't stressed, they weren't crying. They weren't trying to claw their way out. They didn't urinate (because some cats when they're stressed they urinate! And nobody likes to sit in a car for 14 hours - or however long, actually even a half hour - in cat pee. I'm sure you all know it’s not the best smell ever! And for us it was a truly relaxed situation.
Obviously I made the drive through. I only stopped three or four times to go to the bathroom myself and to take Iberia to the bathroom, and I had somebody keep an eye on my cats, and everything went well. When I arrived in my new home, I brought all of my baggage in, then I brought the cats in their crates inside, and when everything was done, I closed the door and I opened their crate door and let them explore the place.
You'd be surprised how comfortable they were with the new place. They could come out whenever they felt like it, they could go back to their crate if they needed to, which they actually did in the first hour or so.
They used the crate as a safe spot: they would explore the apartment and go back to the crate then explore another spot, and go back to their crate. They never missed the meal because they were used to eating in their crate. It was home for them, so I knew when I got here - obviously, it was late in the evening - I gave them time to settle and then I offered them food just to see if they were hungry. They had no problem whatsoever. They had their meal, which was something that I was worried about, because I know that when cats (and you know as well) when cats get stressed they won't eat.
Now, as you can see, I found crating to be extremely beneficial in my life and in my relationship with my cats. I wanted you to have the same results that I had so I prepared a guide for you. I have the link down below, go ahead and check it out. It has everything we talked about a couple more infos, and it has a step-by-step plan that you can use to create train your cat in an easy stress-free way.
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Weiss, Emily, Margaret Slater, and Linda Lord. “Frequency of Lost Dogs and Cats in the United States and the Methods Used to Locate Them.” Animals vol. 2, no. 2, 2012, pp. 301–315. MDPI, doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani2020301
ASPCA. “Pet Statistics.” ASPCA, 2019, www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics