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Sylvie’s Story Continued – Now With Kittens!

Read Part 1 of Sylvie’s Store Here!

Not long after we took Sylvie in, we began to realize she was quickly gaining weight. Since she was looking pretty skeletal when we took her in, we didn’t think too much of it at first. We were happy to see she was getting the nutrition she needed and just feeling and looking better overall. However, she continued to grow and near the beginning of July it finally dawned on us that she was pregnant… again.

An Unplanned Pregnancy… How Could This Happen?

To say we were confused at first is putting it lightly. All of the cats here at The Cultured Cat are spayed/neutered so we know that none of them could have gotten her pregnant. This means that Sylvie got pregnant again while she was still outside, before we even brought her and her kitten Yuki inside. She must have been early enough along in the pregnancy when she arrived that it wasn’t noticeable at all.

That means that not only did this sneaky momma cat convince us to take in the single weaned kitten she brought over at first, but she managed to sneak in a whole litter right under our noses! That’s some next level cat stealth in action.

Watching and Waiting for Kittens

We weren’t sure exactly when these kittens would be arriving, but as Sylvie kept growing and looking more and more uncomfortable, we figured it would be pretty soon. We set up a nesting box and started watching for signs of Sylvie going into labor.

Then on the evening of July 23rd, Yuki went back to trying to nurse Sylvie and these two were cuddling and playing all over each other in ways we hadn’t witnessed before. Later that night we heard the soft little mew of the first of Sylvie’s kittens coming into the world.

The Kittens Cometh

Kitten number 1 arrived around 10:30pm on July 23rd. Sylvie had a 2nd kitten right around 11pm, but something seemed off with the 2nd kitten. Sylvie was being protective of them both so we couldn’t get a good look at the kitten that first night, but the umbilical cord looked funny and this one was less active than the first. Both appeared to be nursing, though, so we let Sylvie take the lead that night and left her alone with her newborns. A few hours went by without any more births and so we though Sylvie was done after having a small litter of just 2 kittens.

A Sad Turn of Events

The next morning we were able to get a better look at the kittens while Sylvie was eating. Kitten #1 seemed to be thriving and had some orange and white spots start to appear. This meant that this kitten is a calico like its mother and is almost definitely a female.

Kitten #2 looked more like a tortie. However, on closer inspection, we noticed it was born with some birth defects of varying severity. It was difficult to even find the kitten’s ears as they were so small. The main problem we noticed, though, was that it seemed like part of its intestines were on the outside. (The kitten had been laying on its tummy the previous night so we didn’t get a good look at this.) Kitten #2 also felt cold to the touch and wasn’t as responsive as Kitten #1. Something was definitely wrong.

Unfortunately, it was a Sunday so our vet was closed until the next day. We immediately went online and started doing some research. What we found, however, was disheartening. It seems like this birth abnormality is just something that happens on occasion. While surgery was option, the chance of survival was extremely low with or without the procedure. On top of that, the kitten felt so cold that we were sure he had not been nursing properly and probably wouldn’t survive the drive out to the nearest emergency vet.

After much thought, we made the incredibly difficult and heartbreaking decision to let the kitten experience what little life it had left in a familiar environment instead of getting poked and prodded, dying alone and afraid. It passed just a few hours later, cuddled up with its mom and sister.

Surprise Kittens!

Later that night, Sylvie surprised us once again by giving birth to another kitten. Kitten #3 emerged looking much different than the first 2. It’s a fully black and white kitten! It was a full 24 hours later, around 10:30 pm on July 24th, when kitten #3 made its appearance. It’s arrival seemed like a welcome surprise at the end of a hard day. We left Sylvie alone for the night around 12:30 am on the 25th.

She gave us one last surprise when we went to check on her in the morning. That’s when we found 3 kittens in her nesting box instead of the two we were expecting to see. Kitten #4 must have been born sometime in the early morning and was our biggest shock yet. At first it appeared to be a solid tabby, but has since been developing some white around the face and tummy. Sylvie now has 3 living kittens from this litter, each born on a different day.

How Everyone is Doing Now

We’re waiting to hear from the vet who works with foster cats in the area so the kittens and Sylvie can get their first check-up, but appointments are extremely backed up at the moment. Sylvie is nursing the 3 kittens and they all seem to be in good health. She’s has a very healthy appetite and they all are nursing regularly too. Eyes are still all shut and only the first one seems interested in moving all around. From what we can tell, everyone is thriving. We’re hoping that the hard part is over and from now on we’ll be watching these newborns grow into happy and healthy newborns!

What Comes Next?

We plan to start looking for forever homes for the kittens once they begin the weaning process. We aren’t putting an exact date on getting them out of here because we want everyone to wean naturally. They will all definitely be spayed or neutered and have their first shots before leaving The Cultured Cat. We’re carefully looking for prospective adoptive cat parents for all our fosters, starting with Yuki. All of these cats deserve to find a great forever home and we really hope to help them find the best fit.

Everyone is doing as well as can be expected as of now. The kittens love to cuddle and Sylvie has made sure we all know that Kitten #1 is her favorite. While she is fine with either of the other two being held, she’s quick to grab Kitten #1 and bring her back to her nest if we even try to grab her. For now, we’re enjoying watching these little fluffs grow.

Kitten #1
Kitten #3
Kitten #4
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Cat Products for Back to School Shopping

It may still be summer, but back-to-school season is upon us. There are things you’ll surely need to be picking up in the coming weeks to get ready. Whether you’re a teacher, student, or parent, these cute cat products will be checking off some of the big boxes for this year’s school supply list.

Cute Cat Canvas Backpack

This backpack is spacious and durable to last through the school year and beyond. It’s cute enough for a child to enjoy yet stylish enough to be a great choice for college students or teachers as well. It’s large enough to fit a laptop and books. There’s one main pocket that’s doubly protected by a zipper and snaps plus the smaller pocket where you can put things you’ll need easy access to. These backpacks offer 4 different colors for you to choose from.

Black Cat Gel Ink Pens

Writing utensils are a must for everyone in school. Usually, black ink is the universally accepted option regardless of what grade you’re in. This necessity doesn’t have to be a boring thing that you just throw in your cart thanks to our black cat gel pens. They come in a pack of 4, all with different faces. They have a 0.5mm tip for your writing to look clean and crisp.

Black Cat Flash Drive

Regardless of how much data you need to store, a black cat flash drive is here to keep your information safe. It’s available in 7 different storage sizes ranging from 4GB to 256GB. The cat body doubles as a case to keep your flash drive safe from whatever the outside world throws at it, even if that is just a messy backpack.

Tabby Travel Mug

The tabby travel mug is the answer to the morning dilemma of whether or not you have time for your morning coffee or tea. This travel mug has a handle so it’s easy to carry around a hot beverage without having to worry about burning your hand. Pop on the lid and the mug is ready for on-the-go use. It’ll quickly become your favorite mug with its large 20oz capacity and versatile use as both a regular and travel mug. There are 4 different tabby cat designs available on these extra large travel mugs.

15” Wooden Cat Ruler

Our new wooden cat rulers are slightly longer than the average ones measuring up to 15 inches as opposed to the traditional 12. These are common supplies, especially for young school-age children, but they’re also useful for home and office uses. The cat design is made to be cute without sacrificing functionality. These rulers are available in black, white, pink, and teal.

Kitty Pencil Pouch

Keep your writing utensils in a cute little cat with one of these kitty pencil pouches. The soft flexible pouch is easy to fit in any bag and helps to keep your belongings organized. It’s big enough to store the small items you’ll need throughout the day but small enough to not take up all of the space in a bag. This staple can be great for sending the kids off to school or just keeping things organized at home. They’re available in 4 different cat patterns including grey tabby, brown tabby, ragdoll, and black & white.

School shopping can seem to be lackluster, but it’s a lot more fun when you can find products that show off your personality. Make your back-to-school experience more enjoyable with some of these cat-themed products this year.

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Sylvie’s Story

Read Part 2 of Sylvie’s Story – Now With Kittens – Here!

Just a few months ago, on February 20, we spotted a beautiful calico cat in our yard. We had no idea that this initial catspotting experience was about to take us on an adventure that would teach us so much about these incredible creatures.

Getting To Know Her

As when meeting any new cat, our story started with a slow introduction. We were eager to bond, but the newest cat to have walked into our lives was shy.

She kept her distance and so did we, but she definitely seemed interested in us. This gave us hope. She definitely wasn’t feral, which meant there was a real chance of getting to know her.

We wanted to help her so we went out with some treats and stayed a safe distance away so as to not startle her. With just a few treats, this cat melted into our hands. We got her a nice bowl of wet and dry food mixed together. She seemed to be starving even though she appeared to be a healthy weight.

We started to feed her a generous bowl when she came by once per day. It didn’t take long to bond with her and we were contemplating what to do with this cat. We already have 4 and we weren’t even sure where she was coming from.

If she was going to be coming around, she was going to need a name, so we decided to start calling her Sylvie, short for Sylveon. One more Pokemon to join the ranks of Litten and Abra. (There’s a junior cat trainer in our home who loves Pokemon).

After having her come by a few times we started to become suspicious of her size. Some researching and a little examining later, we discovered that what we thought was a portly kitty tummy was instead a womb about to bring forth new life.

Sylvie was pregnant.

What To Do With A Pregnant Cat

None of us had been around a pregnant cat before so this came as quite a surprise. Google search got a workout on every device in the house that day as we tried to figure out what the best course of action was.

We began asking around the neighborhood to see if anyone knew her but it seemed like no one did. We even showed them pictures of her but almost everyone denied ever having seen her before. Those who did recognize her only knew her as a local stray and not a single person had any idea what an absolute lovebug this little girl was.

No one in the neighborhood had made it past her shy side so no one was even sure we were even talking about the same cat.

We really wanted to help this cat momma out, but with 4 adult cats of our own already, bringing her inside wasn’t really an option and no one we spoke to was interested in taking in a pregnant cat. We set up a dog house (cat house?) with blankets for her in our yard so she had a comfortable place to stay, but unfortunately, she didn’t take to it. On March 2nd, less than 2 weeks after our initial meeting, Sylvie seemed to go missing altogether.

Where Is Sylvie?

That day, we woke up to a rainy morning and Sylvie didn’t show up for her morning feeding and petting. It rained for a few days in a row after that and we didn’t see her around anywhere, but it’s not unusual for strays to hide out during a few stormy days.

As the weather cleared up and Sylvie still didn’t return, we really started to worry though. Maybe she was further along in her pregnancy than we initially believed? Maybe something happened to her during the storm? Guilt set in and we realized we had made a mistake by not bringing her in regardless. Regret was running strong as weeks went by without any sign of her.

Sylvie’s Return

By this point, we’d begun to consider that we might not see Sylvie again. She had been gone for over a month, closer to two, when we finally spotted her down the street. She was looking skeletal and obviously had her kittens during her time away.

As we approached, we noticed she was extremely protective of a neighbor’s driveway so we suspected that she had her kittens hidden somewhere on his property.

We left some food for her on the curb and spoke to the owner, who was surprised to find out he had cats in his backyard! A fellow animal lover, he started putting out food for Sylvie every evening and she eventually started coming back to our house for food in the morning too.

Still, no one could find the kittens. There are quite a few predators present in our wooded neighborhood. Hawks and other birds of prey are a regular sight during the day and the not-too-distant hooting of owls and howling of coyotes often pierces the crisp night air as they converse back and forth across the forest.

We couldn’t help but worry about all the what-ifs. We started taking regular walks around the area where we’d usually see Sylvie hanging out with no luck. For weeks, Sylvie was the only cat we saw around.

Finally, we spotted her with 2 kittens around the middle of May. They were deep in someone else’s property so we were unable to help anyone at the time, but we started trying to make our home a safe space for them all to come.

Catching Kittens

By this point, we’d considered catching them all and TNRing (Trap, Neuter, Release) at the very least. Sylvie was coming by to eat at our house multiple times per day but was still looking undernourished. We figured that she was in need of better nutrition since she was a nursing mother. We were already feeding her a high-nutrition kitten blend but we soon realized that we needed to ensure the kittens were getting the nutrition they needed too.

Getting our hands on the kittens proved to be a difficult task, though. The regret of not letting Sylvie in sooner was hitting all over again as we knew that we couldn’t help her much more until we got our hands on the kittens as well. Finally, on the evening of June 4th, Sylvie led a long-haired kitten who looked a lot like a ragdoll to our home.

The kitten, who we’ve since named Yuki, appears to be around 12 weeks old which means that Sylvie had them right around the time that she disappeared. We were able to bring the kitten in that same day.

With just slow blinking and a little food, the kitten trusted us pretty quickly. We brought Yuki in, gave her a flea bath, and got her treated with a flea preventative. We’re now just waiting on getting her tested so she can be introduced to the rest of the pack.

Unfortunately, Sylvie has not come in yet. She has been given a flea treatment though and we’ve been flea combing her daily. But since we’re not sure if kitten # 2 is still out there, we don’t want to risk it getting abandoned. Since Yuki is still nursing, any other kitten out there may still be relying on Sylvie for food.

Since Yuki is not yet fully weaned, we’ve been giving them daily together time outside for them to bond and nurse. Yuki is at a good age to wean though, and she’s been eating both wet and dry food well throughout the day. It’s even obvious that Sylvie is trying to reduce their nursing sessions and has even been cutting them short lately with a hiss and a bop.

What’s Next?

It’s been almost a week and it seems like there are no longer any other kittens with Sylvie. We’re not sure if a predator got their hands on the second kitten, if someone adopted it, or if it just went off on its own since they’re already around 3 months old. We’ve called the vet to make appointments for both Sylvie and Yuki, but there are staffing issues that are causing a delay to get them in.

We want to make sure Sylvie is fully rid of fleas before bringing her into the house. (Our oldest cat, Shadow, is severely allergic to fleas and we can’t risk him being exposed.) The vet will help us get rid of Sylvie’s fleas, get them both their shots and make sure that they don’t have any illnesses that would be contagious to the others. Once they have both had their vet trips, they will be introduced to our clowder and will have full access to the house along with our other four cats. We’re planning on delaying Sylvie’s spaying surgery until Yuki is fully weaned, though. They will then likely be spayed at the same time and given space to recover together away from the other animals.

Although we made some mistakes along the way this has been such a humbling learning experience. Each cat’s life is precious and we deeply regret not having been able to help more of the kittens, but we’re going to take what we’ve learned and do better next time, as well as make sure these two beautiful cats that walked into our life are well taken care of. By the time they leave us, Sylvie and Yuki will be socialized with dogs, small children, and other cats to ensure that almost any home will be suitable for these great girls.

*We’ll continue to add to Sylvie’s story and our journey of fostering both Sylvie and baby Yuki. Stay tuned for updates on what’s up with the foster cats!

Read Part 2 of Sylvie’s Story – Now With Kittens – Here!

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How Long Do Cats Live?

The average lifespan of a cat is said to be about 13-17 years. However, this can vary drastically depending on factors such as your cat’s breed and lifestyle. There are also outliers on both ends of the spectrum. The most well-known outlier was a cat named Creme Puff, the record-holding oldest cat ever, who lived to be 38 years old.

Indoor Cats vs Outdoor Cats

The average 13-17 year lifespan is for cats who solely live inside the home. This keeps your cat out of harm’s way. There are many factors that could cause your cat to have a shortened lifespan outside including traffic, predators, and plants that are poisonous to cats.

Outdoor cats live significantly shorter lives. Unfortunately, cats who spend all their time outdoors only live for 2-5 years on average. Some people have hybrid indoor-outdoor cats, but there isn’t as much research into the average lifespan of this lifestyle because the lifestyle itself can vary greatly from person to person and cat to cat. Some suggest that this hybrid approach doesn’t yield much greater results than having a solely outdoor cat while others suggest that their average lifespan is slightly higher, around the 4-8 years range.

Does Cat Breed Affect Lifespan?

Most cat owners don’t know their cat’s breed. This is completely normal as most cats aren’t a specific breed or even hybrids the way dogs are. Most pet cats are typically considered either domestic short-hair, domestic medium-hair, or domestic long-hair. Even with these more general descriptions, there tends to be a little variation in the average lifespan of a cat.

Short-haired cats are typically known live the longest. The domestic short-hair cat averages on the high end of life expectancy at 15-17 years. Unfortunately, their long-haired counterparts get the short end of the stick with lifespans averaging only 13-15 years.

If you’re looking to get a specific breed of cat, there are cats known for their longevity and cats known for their unfortunately short lives.

Cat Breeds With the Longest Lifespans

There’s variation in the lifespan of all kinds of cats. Getting a cat breed known for longevity doesn’t guarantee anything as health complications can arise in any breed. Finding a cat that fits into one of these breeds may increase your chances of having a cat live a long life with you though. All lifespans given are for indoor-only cats. These 5 cat breeds have a tendency to have longer lifespans than the average cat.


brown cat lying on knitted textile
Photo by Leah Kelley on

Siamese cats are sometimes said to have the longest lifespan of any domestic cat breed. It’s not uncommon for the breed to reach 20. They have an average lifespan of 15-20 years. While a few others share a similar average, the Siamese has a few outliers that are said to be some of the oldest cats of all time.

There is a Siamese cat in Thailand that is currently said to be 34 years old. This would make her one of the oldest cats ever, but her age has not been properly verified. In fact, there hasn’t been an ‘oldest living cat’ verified since the previous record holder passed in 2016.


Photo by Mary Desmond on Wikimedia Commons

The Balinese ranks as having the highest average lifespan, but the breed hasn’t seen any outliers that cross into the oldest cat territory. Their average life expectancy ranges from 18 to 22 years. They are also the only long-hair cat breed with claims to longevity.


Midnight, a 10-year-old Bombay
Photo by Keyofz on Wikimedia Commons

Bombay cats are black cats known for their panther-like appearance. They were created as a cross between black American shorthairs and sable Burmese cats. It’s a semi-recently recognized breed that wasn’t established until 1970.

This breed is unique in having resistance to some feline illnesses including FIV. It helps to keep their average lifespan high at 15-20 years.

Russian Blue

Photo by John Brighenti on Wikimedia Commons

Despite the misnomer, the Russian Blue is actually a grey cat. They’ve been recorded as cats that have lived into their 20s on numerous occasions. This helps keep their average lifespans high at 15-20 years of age. This is one of the few cat landraces, or naturally occurring breeds, that rank for longevity. Most other long-lived breeds are the result of hybridization.

European Shorthair

Quincy the European Shorthair

European Shorthairs have one of the longest average lifespans, ranging from 15-22 years. Although this breed isn’t commonly available in the US, the good news for most American cat owners is that the American Shorthair has a highly comparable lifespan of 15-20 years. Between these common shorthairs, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find at least one of these in your area to give a forever home to.

Cat Breeds With the Shortest Lifespans

Just as some breeds are prone to longevity, there are some breeds that typically have shorter lifespans than others. While these figures are just averages and don’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a long-lived cat of one of these breeds, these breeds just don’t typically have the genetics for longevity.

The life expectancy of these 5 breeds is on the low end of average and it isn’t uncommon to lose them before they hit double digits.

American Wirehair

an american wirehair cat on the ground
Photo by Ninety Seven Years on

The American Wirehair is one of the rarest cat breeds on this list so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll just run into one at your local shelter.

They are similar to the American Shorthair, but they have a stringy hair texture like that of terrier dogs. However, they don’t have nearly as long of a lifespan. American Wirehairs are only expected to live an average of 7-12 years.

This may be the shortest lifespan of any domestic cat breed.


Stylized depiction of a Manx cat (1885)
Illustrated Natural History, Volume I: Mammalia

Manx cats are known for being fully tailless, but some individuals are born with short stubs as well. While being tailless doesn’t make them any less adorable, they are prone to health issues, including a common one that is lethal in utero. This means that even the breeding of these cats comes with more risks than the average cat. They can still live full lives, but their average is on the low end of the spectrum. A Manx typically lives 8-14 years.


Photo by Heikki Siltala on Wikimedia Commons

The Cymric is another tailless cat that’s closely related to the Manx. The main difference between the two is that Cymrics are long-haired cats. They have similar health complications to the Manx breed, however, and can even have issues that begin before birth.

Like their Manx relatives, Cymrics typically only live an average of 8-14 years.

German Rex

Photo by Bebopscrx on Wikimedia Commons

German Rexes are a short-hair breed known for their curly fur. This trait is common to all Rex cat breeds. They all have shorter than average lifespans, but the German Rex is a little lower than the others. They have a life expectancy of 9-14 years.


Abyssinians are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, breed of domestic cat in the world. They are the cats that were found mummified alongside ancient Egyptians. These slender cats sport large ears and have a rather unique appearance. They’re known to have personalities that are more comparable to dogs than cats. Unfortunately, the same can be said about their lifespan as they only live an average of 9-15 years.

Maximizing Your Cat’s Life Expectancy

Most cats may live an average of 13-17 years, but many factors impact how long you’ll get to spend with your beloved ball of fur and claws. Health, diet, genetics, and a bit of luck all play a part. There are so many things that can influence a cat’s lifespan, much like our own. Just make sure that you take care of your cat to ensure you get as much time together as possible.

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How to Safely Give Your Cat Outdoor Playtime

Is It Safe to Take My Cat Outside?

Some cats just love to get outside and will attempt to bolt out the door any chance they get. These sneaky escape artists can make it difficult to keep them safe. Many people know that there are dangers to a cat being indoor-outdoor as opposed to living a solely indoor lifestyle.

Letting your cat outside can cut their average lifespan in half, however, making it too risky for most loving cat owners to justify. It can become a problem, though, when it’s a battle of will, wits and speed between you and your cat.

Risk and Benefits of Taking Your Cat Outdoor

Cats evolved outdoors and have spent tens of thousands of years napping under the sun and stars during their time alongside humans. They’re physically and mentally programmed to benefit from spending time outdoors.

Getting some outdoor playtime can be great for your cat’s mental health. It can reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggression to humans or other animals, inappropriate scratching or urine marking and just reduce their overall stress levels.

However, uncontrolled outdoor access has been shown to lead to a whole host of negative outcomes. Not only is the outside filled with predators, parasites and other diseases they could contract, but according to the National Traffic Safety Administration 5.4 Million cats are hit by cars each year in the United States alone. Then there are the toxins they could ingest, the possibility of getting lost or stolen by other humans and the damage they do to the local wildlife.

Don’t let all the negatives scare you though! Letting your cat have supervised outdoor play time can make for a happy and healthy cat when done right. Here are some ways to let your cat get the sun they crave while reducing risk factors.

Harness & Leash

Training your cat to walk on a harness and leash isn’t too hard, especially if you start when they’re kittens. If you start early and repeat the action often, it highly increases your chances of your cat taking to this method.

Some cats will take to it really well while others just don’t care for it. If your cat is in the second group, don’t worry. There are other ways to get them some time in the sun safely.

Even if harnesses aren’t for every cat, it’s still something worth trying with all new kittens.

Pro-tip: Bring a well-liked toy out with you. Whether a laser pointer, stick teaser, or something else, it can be the exact tool you need to get your cat used to this new dynamic. Use the toy to lead the cat around. Stay in a familiar environment to begin and you can slowly expand your radius. Some cats will enjoy going on outings while others may prefer just a short walk to the end of the block. Take it at their pace and keep it a positive experience!

A Safe Space

A catio (cat patio) is the ideal place for your cats to get the best of both worlds. It provides the safety of the inside world with the sunny warmth of the outside world. Having a fully enclosed space ensures that there are no risks while they bask in the sun. This can be expensive and unattainable for a lot of cat owners though, so it may not be a fix if creating this kind of space isn’t in the budget.

A more budget-friendly option is a pop-up enclosure. This gives your cat the outside time that they crave in a safe manner. However, these are relatively small which may not make for an ideal experience for some cats.


Supervised outside time is something that we can all do though and it doesn’t cost a thing. It can’t prevent all accidents, but our presence keeps away most predators that would go after a housecat. This approach keeps your cats within a small radius and away from most dangers.

This method, again, can be cat-dependent. Some cats will wander off while others will stay close in order to keep their freedom. Training and positive reinforcement are important here. Where you live may also impact whether or not this is a viable option.

Just this week one of our cats, Litten, decided to go wander into the neighbor’s yard and disappeared from sight in less than a minute. So even if you’re giving your cats supervised free reign, it’s still important to keep an even closer eye on your cats more prone to wander.


Your cat needs to be easily identifiable just in case they get away. There’s a lot of debate about a tag versus a microchip. You could choose between one or the other, but whenever possible, both is best.

Not everyone knows to take a cat somewhere to have them scanned for a microchip, but it’s something that can’t get lost or removed and can help to prove ownership.

If you get your cat microchipped, make sure you register it correctly or it won’t provide much aid in reuniting you and your cat.

An engraved tag with your information will make it so that your cat is easy to return to you in most cases. However, since cats need to use breakaway collars, it’s easy for their tag to get lost, especially if they’re outside. Having both a personalized tag and a microchip on your cat gives you the best chance of getting them back home safely.

Having your cat chipped and tagged is the best option whether or not your cat typically goes outside. It only takes a second for them to run out the door and a cat without some form of ID is very unlikely to make it back home if they get lost.

While there are pros and cons for each option, they’re all significantly safer than letting your cat free roam around the neighborhood unsupervised. For many cat owners, a combination of these things provides the best results that put the least stress on both cat and owner alike. Do what’s best for you and your cats. (And remember, if they’re happy staying inside all the time, there’s no reason to push to change this!)

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Why Does My Cat Drink From the Faucet?

Cats are said to hate water. In many cases, this is true as some cats just don’t like to get wet. Because of this, it can be surprising when you see your cat hanging out at the sink or in the tub. They risk getting wet for the opportunity to drink from the faucet. If you’ve ever wondered why they like drinking from faucets so much and maybe felt a little tempted to try it yourself, get ready to find out what makes running water so appealing to felines.

Running Water Is Safer

Running water is known for being a safer option than standing water. Stagnant water can quickly become a transmission vector for bacteria, parasites and other creepy crawlies (brain-eating amoeba, anyone?) that even cats know to stay away from.

While the bowl of municipally treated and chlorinated water you put out for ol’ Tom won’t become a petri dish the way a puddle would outside, it’s something that house cats instinctually stay away from. Even in a safe environment, it can still be cleaner to drink running water over what’s in the bowl. Pieces of food, loose hairs, or other impurities can easily end up in a water bowl no matter how often you clean it out. These concerns aren’t present when drinking running water.


Water straight from the tap is typically colder than the room-temperature water that’s found in their bowl. Since running water is being pumped to your fauced through underground pipes, it tends to remain a little cooler than the water in your cat’s bowl. If they’re feeling particularly hot or dehydrated, cool water will feel much more refreshing for them just like it does for us.


It’s easy to say that all water tastes the same, but most of us know that it isn’t true. A recently poured glass of water is going to be fresher than one that’s been sitting out all day.

Even drinking out of a glass will taste different than drinking out of stainless steel or plastic. The same goes for filtered versus unfiltered water. The differences may seem subtle, but they can be pretty important to some cats, and even humans too.

How To Get Your Cat To Drink More Water Without Leaving The Faucet Running

If you’re cat enjoys drinking water from the faucet but scorns their freshly filled bowl, don’t dispare. There are a few tricks you can try to keep them hydrated without breaking the bank by keeping the faucet running all day long.

Experiment With The Bowl

Move the bowl. Try a new bowl. Get bowls made out of different materials. Cats can be finicky around drinking water and sometimes it’s due to the bowl itself. While no one has yet discovered whether it’s the size, shape, texture or smell of the bowl that makes a difference, all that is known is that some cats are only willing to eat and drink out of an approved bowl that is definitely not the one they have right now and absolutely not in the spot you chose for it.

While this is the simplest and most straight forward solution, it tends to have the lowest success rate.

Drinking Fountains

A different approach with a much higher success rate is investing in a drinking fountain for your cat. This provides fresh running water that is constantly being run through a drinking-grade filtration system.

Getting a kitty drinking fountain covers a lot of their issues at once and ensures that your cat is getting exactly what they want.

Replace The Water

Even if it doesn’t look dirty, replace the water. Replace it as often as possible throughout the day. This will keep your cat’s water both cooler and fresher. The fresher the water is, the more likely your cat will be to drink it. This can solve the problem, but it becomes a hassle with how often some cats want it refreshed. It may not even be a feasable option with many people’s work schedules.

Drinking from the faucet is a natural instinct for many cats, even if it can be somewhat of a hassel for their humans. Although it might seem weird to us, now you know the reasons why your cat likes to do it. Tap water checks off all of the boxes that a conveniently placed bowl doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean your cat will never drink their water from a bowl. Keep that water fresh, keep trying new bowls and locations or give your kitty the luxory of a cat drinking fountain!

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The Cultured Cats’ Favorite Budget-Friendly Cat Food

Budget-Friendly Cat Food Recommendations from Our Cats to Yours!

Different cats have different tastes. This can make finding foods that work for everyone in the clowder can be somewhat difficult. However, there are certain things to try to look for in terms of cat food. Ingredients, guaranteed analysis, and price are some of the most important factors that you have to look at when it comes to picking out a wet cat food. Taste is important for the cat(s) as well, but it’s hard to know the reaction to that without trying it out. These are some of the tried and true favorites by The Cultured Cats.

Is It Necessary?

It may seem like a more expensive food that’s often viewed as more of a treat, but it can be extremely crucial to your cat’s overall health. Cats may love to eat, but they don’t tend to be great water drinkers. Many cats won’t choose to regularly drink enough water to keep there bodies hydrated. In fact, many ailments that cats face are due to the fact that they’ll allow themselves to be chronically dehydrated. Wet foods provide added moisture that help to keep cats hydrated and which also keeps them healthier.


Cats are obligate carnivores. Because of this you want as many of the ingredients to be meat as possible. The first ingredients are the most important as these are the things of the highest concentration. Therefore, these are the ones to be the most mindful of.

Guaranteed Analysis

Guaranteed analysis tells you how much of some of the most important components are present in the cat food. This is similar to the nutrition label on our food. Protein, moisture, and fat are the most crucial points to look at. Ideally, your cat’s wet food will have at least 9% protein, 7% fat, and 75% moisture. Many foods won’t hit all of these points, but try to get as close to them as possible. The fat levels often fall short, so make sure that if their wet food isn’t providing everything they need, they are getting it in other foods that are being offered.


It’s easy to pick out the top rated cat foods, but budget is often left out of the conversation. So many people will run to opposite ends of the spectrum rather than finding a happy medium. There are pricey foods that will hit all of the points and it’s great if you can afford to constantly give your cat these things. However, this isn’t possible for many pet owners. That doesn’t mean you should go and grab corn-dense snack foods from the bottom shelf though. There are in between options that will more easily fit into the budget while giving your cat the best nutrition possible.

The Cultured Cats Favorites

The Cultured Cats have a variety of dietary needs and your cats probably do too. We have two with sensitive stomachs, one who will only eat if the food remains highly varied, and one who will eat absolutely anything. (Thank you, Litten!) We try to balance these factors as best all of the above factors for our cats. They eat one meal of wet food per day and also have access to an appropriate amount of high quality dry food throughout the day. These are the best wet foods for cats as voted on by our clowder.

*All foods on this list are up to the standards of the AAFCO to ensure that your cat is getting the nutrition that they need in order to thrive.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from at no extra cost to our users.

Tiki Cat After Dark

Tiki Cat After Dark Variety Pack has something that all the cats like. The pack comes with 5 flavors. At least the first 5 ingredients of each of the flavors are meat ingredients making it a very natural diet for cats in terms of packaged foods. It’s a high-quality shredded food in chicken broth. The moisture is this food is really high ranging from 81-83% depending on the flavor. The protein is also higher than in most canned cat foods ranging from 12-13.4%. The fat levels are lower than ideal at only 2-2.4%. Cats love the taste and the ingredients are really top notch. This is an all-around great choice. However, it’s not as easy on the budget as many of the other options.

Purina One True Instinct

Purina One True Instinct is the go-to budget food that all of the cats enjoy. Each flavor has 80% moisture, 11% protein, and 4% fat according to the guaranteed analysis. This tends to be the food that they devour the quickest. The ingredients are include three of the first five ingredients being meat-based. The fat is low, but for the price, this is a really well-balanced option.

Blue Buffalo Tastefuls

Blue Buffalo Tastefuls are really reasonably priced for how great the ingredients are. Four of the first five ingredients are meat-based and the outlier is just some water for extra moisture. The biggest downfall is that this food has one of the lowest protein levels ranging at 9-10% depending on the flavor. The fat content is pretty variable ranging at 2-4%. It has 82% moisture content with both broth and water as top ingredients making this a great mid-priced option for cats prone to dehydration.

Fancy Feast Petites

Our cats seem to believe that Fancy Feast Petites are a treat rather than just any other meal. These are super convenient in their pre-portioned packages. Four of the first five ingredients are meat based and the price for the variety pack is fair. The guaranteed analysis lists the protein at 10%, the fat at 2%, and the moisture at 82%. This is another high moisture choice for cats prone to dehydration and seems to be a crowd-pleaser in terms of taste.

Instinct Original Grain Free

Instinct Original Grain Free seems to check all of the boxes in terms of nutrition for cats. It boasts 95% meat ingredient content. It has one of the best guaranteed analysis statistics layouts that we’ve seen with 10% protein, 7.5% fat, and 78% moisture. It’s extremely well-balanced and grain free too. The box isn’t the best on the budget, but it’s not astronomically high either. The biggest downfall for the food is that it’s a pate. For this reason, The Cultured Cats likely wouldn’t vote for this option as much as us humans would. They don’t particularly care for pate and some of them need to be coaxed to eat it. However, if a cat is fine with pate foods, this is a really great choice all-around.

Different cats will have different tastes so there’s no need to remain loyal to a single brand. There are varying qualities of food and the price between them can also fluctuate widely, meaning you have to consider all these factors when deciding which food is best for your cats.

These are some of our cats’ 5 favorite foods. Comment below and let us know which foods your cats prefer!

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All About Catpacks

Whether at the mall, the park or on the way to a kitty play date, catpacks are gaining popularity as a way for people to bring along their cats or other small pets on their everyday adventures.

Catpacks, short for cat backpacks, provide a safe space for your furry friend that’s easy to carry along with you wherever you go. Clunky box carriers can feel clumsy and tend to awkwardly crash into your legs and there are some places where harnesses aren’t a safe alternative. If you’ve ever wanted to travel with your cat, either across the country or around town, a catpack can make any adventure fun and easy!

Why Get a Catpack?

Catpacks are one of the most convenient ways to carry your cat around. From a trip to the vet to a walk through town, cat backpacks are a great option for letting your cat experience the outside world safely. They can even be used alongside a harness to give your cat a place to decompress and relax during a longer outing, such as a cat-led hike.

Catpacks even fit the size restrictions to get approved for travel on select airlines. Most catpacks will fit under airplane seats.

Are There Any Risks With Catpacks?

The risks when using a catpack are low. Cats securely enclosed in a catpack are out of harm’s way and close to their human during outings. However, there are a few factors to consider when deciding on a catpack.

Be Mindful of Heat

The greenhouse effect is what makes it get hotter inside your car than outside on a sunny day. Since cat backpacks have clear windows, this is a possibility with catpacks too.

On particularly hot and humid days it can be dangerous to stay outside too long with your cat in a catpack. This can be made worse if your adventure will take place primarily in high-sun areas. Our cat-safe catpacks are vented for air exchange so it’ll never be as hot as a fully enclosed car, but without precautions, it could still be dangerous for your kitty. Never put your catpack down in direct sunlight and never, never leave your cat unattended inside.

On hot days, you should take extra care to check on your cat. Carry a travel water bottle and a harness and leash. This allows you to let the cat out for periods of time and hydrate. Dehydration is one of the most common problems for cats in general so ensure that your cat isn’t suffering from it. If you’re going to be out for a while, it’s a good idea to carry some wet food and a travel bowl. Most cats will eat more than they’re willing to drink. The wet food has decent moisture to help avoid dehydration in cats.

Know Your Cat

Some cats are completely happy being on full display. They’ll show off for anyone who will look at them. Many cats prefer to be able to hide, though. This isn’t exactly a safety issue but it’s something to think of for the sake of your cat’s overall well-being. It may impact exactly which catpack is the right pick for both of you.

While you may get excited about helping your cat see the world, they may feel anxious about it. They’re no longer near their comfortable territory and there may be unfamiliar people. This can be a really scary experience for some cats, so it’s important to be mindful of their individual personalities and needs.

What’s the Best Catpack?

The Cultured Cat has a variety of catpack designs and styles available. Each has its place and the best one really depends on what works best for you and your cat. Maybe you just want the cutest option. Your cat may be a known escape artist. You may have a particularly shy cat who wants the ability to hide. There are valid reasons for choosing each of our catpacks depending on your individual cat’s needs.

Bubble Window Catpack

The Bubble Window Catpack gives your cat the ability to see everything on any adventure. This gives max visibility to the social cat who is happy to be seen in any and all environments. It’s known for being one of the lightest weight catpacks and is available in 6 different colors.

Extendable Window Catpack

It may look pretty much identical to the Bubble Window Catpack, but the Extendable Window Catpack has a well-kept secret. Whenever you stop to rest, you’re able to unzip the back portion to fold out some extra legroom for your cat. They then have the space to sprawl out safely within their own little compartment. It’s the kitty condo of catpack travel and it’s available in 9 different colors!

Space Dome Catpack

The Space Dome Catpack is known for being cats’ overall fan favorite. It gives your cat the option to hide if they aren’t particularly fond of being on display throughout the adventure. Select colors are even available with a zipper-lock design to keep even the sneakiest escape artists safely where they belong. Due to its popularity, this catpack style is our fastest-growing product line. Currently, there are over a dozen different options including paint splatter, geometric-shaped catpacks, animal prints, solid colors, and more.

Penguin Catpack

Our line of Penguin Catpacks is the quirky new addition to the family. It’s super cute and has a well-ventilated medium-sized window. It doesn’t offer room to fully hide, but your cat won’t be on full display if they choose to lay down, either. (At the very least, they don’t need to look at anything they don’t want to! ????) It’s a great in-between option if you’re torn between the full window or giving your cat the ability to fully hide in their catpack.

As long as you and your cat follow safety guidelines and choose the bag that best fits your needs, a catpack will be your new favorite shared accessory. Travel without having to leave your best friend behind and enjoy your new adventures together!

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Top Toys to Have When Bringing a New Cat Home

Bringing a new cat home is always so exciting! There’s a handful of things you gotta do to get ready for your new fluffy friend to do well in their new environment, from getting the right kind of food to setting up enough litter boxes. While it might not seem as important, you definitely don’t want to forget to get some toys for them too! Whether you’re bringing home a kitten or an adult cat, there’s a variety of toys that can make their move easier and more fun. You’ll have to feel out what they like to play with and having some variety can help to identify what they truly enjoy relatively quickly. Start with these basics to find your furry friend’s favorite playtime activities with ease.

Laser Pointer

A laser pointer is often a fan favorite when it comes to cat toys. They can even help the shy cats come out of their shell since these toys don’t require direct physical contact. It can be a bonding experience that still allows some space as a cat adjusts to their new home.

Laser pointers aren’t just for the new cat in town. They remain favorites among cats of all ages and personalities. This quick thrill can keep many cats entertained for hours. Those who enjoy this kind of play can get a lot of mileage out of rechargeable USB laser pointers. With a rechargeable one on hand, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery mid-playtime again!

Having a laser pointer waiting at home for your new friend might be the difference between a fun first day or a cat who won’t come out to play. Nothing lures a cat out better from the back of a closet than a tiny, intangible 2D circle of light!


Catnip is a staple that most cats enjoy. It can be calming so it’s perfect for a cat who is settling into a new environment, dealing with changes, or just for fun.

While a young kitten might just jump right into its new life, confidently exploring your home, some older cats might take longer to get used to a new place to live. Most adult cats even tend to hide out for a few days after a move, slowly coming out of their hiding spot to scope the food and litter areas and make sure their new territory is safe.

Even if you’re excited to show your new companion around their new home, it’s best to let them take the whole process at their own pace. They’ll come out once they’re ready! The good news is it’s possible to use catnip to speed up this initial acclimation process.

When your kitty breathes in the nepetalactone in catnip, it causes a calming, euphoric reaction that can help them feel comfortable and relaxed. Not only will this help to reduce their anxiety when in this stressed state but it will also create a positive association with their new surroundings.

There are so many different catnip toys and treats on the market and they all seem to vary in strength, it can be hard to pick just one. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even DIY your own by filling cloth squares with fresh catnip and sowing them shut.

When you’re in need of a quick and easy way to calm your cat though, Kitty Can’t Cope Sacks are the way to go. These little happy sacks are filled with top-shelf catnip and really come in handy if your new cat is feeling overwhelmed in their new space.

Their name seems to hold up as Kitty Can’t Cope Sacks can calm down even the most anxious of cats. Made in the US by the Back Bay Pet Co. from 100% certified organic catnip and stuffed into a 100% cotton pouch, this product tends to be loved by all cats.


When it comes to cats, having something to scratch is a must. While a scratcher may not seem like much of a toy to you, scratching is one of a cat’s favorite pastimes. In fact, scratching can help a cat both burn excess energy and relieve stress!

Scratching is a crucial activity for cats, and if they don’t get their paws on a scratching post you’ll find that they’ll find their own surfaces to scratch. Like your furniture or your limbs. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you have multiple scratching surfaces for your new cat to try out.

There’s a wide variety of options available and different cats will have different preferences. This may leave you questioning what to get. The main thing to consider is that some cats prefer to scratch vertical surfaces while others will prefer horizontal ones. To ensure that your cat has a comfortable surface to care for your nails, getting one of each is the best choice. Giving them a surface that they enjoy scratching is mutually beneficial since this makes your furniture a lot less tempting.


Teasers are pretty much a must when it comes to cat toys. They’re great for interactive play that allows your cat to show off their fierce hunting skills. Many cats enjoy these, but some will have a preference for different teaser ends. Some cats prefer feathers, while others like ribbons or cloth.

This is why the interchangeable teaser sets are so useful. Having multiple types available allows you to figure out if your cat is more of a streamers, catnip, or feather type of hunter.

Some cats will even drag the teaser around, bringing their “prey” to their stash after they’ve caught it. This works as the perfect segue from playtime to mealtime and sets up the basis for a natural schedule. Hunt, eat, sleep! ????

Variety Pack

From crinkle balls to mini mice and everywhere in between, there are a variety of small cat toys designed for more independent play for your cat. Some cats will like anything that you put in front of them while others will be rather particular. Trying a little bit of everything can ensure that your cat will be able to explore some options and find the toys that best fit their personalities. These toys may become things you see getting batted at around the house or things that go missing in a stash spot that your cat makes sure that you won’t find for a good while. Either way, they provide entertainment for your little companion at times that you may not be able to.

Cats all have their own very distinct personalities. This means that finding the toys that work best for your cat is essential to them getting out their energy in a fun way, rather than a destructive one. Start with the basics to get a feel for your cat’s preferences and then it should be easier to branch out. In the meantime, enjoy the bonding experience that all this playtime with your new fluffy friend will provide.

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Do Cats Know Their Names? Science Says Yes, But Don’t Expect Them to Always Listen

Have you had any luck getting your cat to come when called? Although cats are often believed to be indifferent at best to their owner’s attempts at training them, recent studies suggest that cats’ ability to learn rivals that of dogs. Whether they choose to come when called, however, is an entirely different matter.

From the Desert to the Living Room

The domestication of our favorite furry friends is thought to have occurred fairly recently, on a universal scale of course, with the most recent evidence suggesting that feline domestication started around 10,000 years ago in an area of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent. Compared to dogs’ 30,000-year-old history alongside humans, it’s no surprise that modern cats still retain much of the independence and self-sufficient attitude that made their ancestor, the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), such a successful hunter.

Yet cats have been living alongside people for long enough now, whether in barns, city streets or cozy couches, that they’ve come to realize there’s a lot they can learn by keeping a close eye on what the humans are doing. Research has even supported what cat owners have known all along, that cats and people can communicate through eye contact and referential gazing, just like toddlers!

Related: Why Does My Cat like to Stare at Me?

So while it may not always seem this way, your cat is often paying close attention to you, whether you realize it or not.

 What’s in a Name?

It’s not just your eyes that your cat will pay attention to, either. Cats have been shown to be able to recognize their owner’s voice over that of a stranger’s, demonstrating that cats can in fact respond to familiar sound cues.

Even more exciting is a recent study by Atsuko Saito, a Tokyo-based cat behavior researcher, that suggests that cats will actually recognize their own name over other similarly-sounding words. In this study, Saito and her colleagues tested over one hundred cats, both those living in homes and from local cat cafés to see how they would respond to the sound of their names.

Saito asked owners to habituate their cats to similar words to their own names. That is, the owners would repeat new similarly-sounding words until their cats got used to them and stopped responding. Then, the researchers looked to see if the cats responded differently to their owners saying the habituated words versus their actual names. Saito even had strangers say the cats’ names and the habituated words.

What they found was incredible. The cats showed a significantly distinct “orienting response” to their own names – meowing and moving their ears, heads or tails in the direction of the sound – than they did to the other sounds.

While there is still more research to be done in the field of cat-human interaction, this foundational study clearly suggests what cat owners have known all-along: cats really do recognize their names.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Come When Called?

Just because your cat knows you’re calling them, don’t expect them to come running over though. In Saito’s study, less than 10% of the cats actually moved at all after hearing their name being called. Saito suggests that the reason for this is that cats are creating associations between “hearing their names and receiving rewards or punishments.” It’s these associations that are what are motivating your cat to come running or ignore you completely when they hear your call.

What does this mean exatly? Well, your cat has probably learned that when you say their name in the late evening, there’s often a juicy bowl of food waiting for them, while if you call them in the morning they know they’re about to get their teeth brushed. 

Unless you’ve taken out the time to clicker train your cat, don’t expect your cat to come running. Cats are smart enough to know the difference between what they consider to be reward or punishment and they will quickly learn how to avoid it.

Use Your Cat’s Name Whenever You Can

If you want your cat to run towards you at the sound of their name, make sure to use their name throughout the day as often as you can and combine it with positive reinforcement, like a treat, a nice cuddle or a fun play session. Make sure to say their name right before putting down their food bowl and as you’re pulling out their favorite toys.

Doing this often will create a strong positive association in their mind between their name and a good experience. Over time, this will strenthen their name recognition ability and ensure that they’re expecting something good to happen whenever their name is said. 

Most importantly, don’t ever associate your cat’s name with punishment. Calling them over to deliver any kind of punishment will effectively teach it to not respond again when you call them. Remember, training your cat may be a bit of a challenge, but it should always be fun, especially for them. Keep them motivated and engaged and your cat will be coming up to you at the sound of their name in no time.