Great Websites for Cat Lovers: Facts, Photos, and Videos
In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.— Terry Pratchett
The Importance of Cat Websites
Having a cat in the family is very rewarding but is also a big responsibility. Luckily, there is an answer to almost any question that a pet owner can think of on the Internet. In this article I describe some useful and interesting websites for cat lovers. Some of the sites contain miscellaneous information about cats. The others list toxic substances or describe first aid procedures, which are both very important topics for pet owners.
It's a good idea to visit multiple websites when investigating a topic and to consider the reliability of information obtained from them. In addition, while a website may have a helpful overview of a disease or a pet problem, a sick cat must see a veterinarian. The vet will offer expert advice as well as provide a diagnosis and treatment that are tailored for the pet's specific situation.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
This website has lots of information about preventing and treating poisoning in cats and other pets in a section called the "Animal Poison Control Center". The site lists an emergency phone number that someone can call if a pet is poisoned, although there is a fee for this service. The website also links to an interesting and useful page about disaster preparedness for pets and to the FDA website that lists pet food recalls.
The ASPCA site contains other useful sections, including links to pet care information. Visitors can submit questions about pet problems to the site and get answers from experts. The website has an online store which sells gifts, clothing, accessories and pet care items. Money raised by the store helps to support the ASPCA organization. There is also a cat and dog adoption center which allows a visitor to enter their zip code to discover adoptable pets in their area. Another potentially helpful section of the website discusses dealing with the loss of a pet.
I find the ASPCA site very useful. Some people may be irritated by the number of ads asking people to donate money to the organization in one form or another. It's understandable that a non-profit organization needs to raise funds, though.
Cat and Dog First Aid
The AVMA website contains a lot of useful information, including first aid procedures for bleeding, burns, heatstroke, choking, fractures, shock, lack of breathing and lack of a heartbeat. Although much of the site is designed for veterinarians, it also contains lots of resources for pet owners. These can be accessed by clicking the "Public Resources" link on the home page.
It's important to visit a pet first aid website and become familiar with its contents before an emergency happens. If a cat (or another pet) has stopped breathing, action has to be taken immediately - there's no time to look for instructions on the Internet! It's also important (at least for me) to visit the site fairly frequently and re-read the instructions in order to remember them. It might be a good idea to print the instructions and post them in an area of your home that gets lots of traffic.
The AVMA website contains a link which enables a visitor to download a free brochure about household hazards for cats, dogs and birds. This is another good item to post in a home or to keep in a reference binder. The site also contains articles about pet care and has links to podcasts, videos and other useful resources.
How to Brush a Cat's or Dog's Teeth, from the AVMA
The Catster Website
I like the ASPCA and AMVA sites because they contain important information written or approved by veterinarians. I also enjoy visiting more generalist websites designed to appeal to cat lovers, however. Catster is one of these sites.
Catster is an informative and entertaining "Everything Cat" site. It has cat news, care tips, facts, breed information, photos, videos, forums ...... and the list goes on. There is a companion site called "Dogster" for dog lovers, which is equally entertaining and useful. Both sites have Facebook pages.
Exploring the Catster Website
The best way for a newcomer to explore the Catster website is probably to open the menus at the top of the screen. These menus are described below.
- Magazine: Lifestyle (blog-type posts about cats, updated frequently), Scoop (cat news), MOLz (meow-out-loud humor) and Cat Chic (information about cat furniture, cat toys and cat-themed items for humans)
- Video: This tab links to videos, as its name suggests. This is the one area of the site that isn't updated often. The videos aren't recent and there aren't many of them. There are sometimes videos in the Magazine section of the site, however.
- Book of Cat: Information about cat breeds, health care and training
- Answers: A forum in which cat owners pose questions and other owners answer them.
- Galleries: This section contains cat photos. Members of the site can upload photos of their own cats to the galleries. Membership is free.
- Adoption: This tab links to a site called petcha.com and shows cats available for adoption in the United States. Petcha picks up my location from my iPad and tells me how many miles away each cat is located from where I live. The site also offers dogs for adoption.
- Community: Forums and groups
Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.— James Herriot
The video below shows Lil Bub's visit to the Catster headquarters. People who don't know about Lil Bub may be alarmed by her appearance and movement, so some explanation is necessary. Lil Bub is a rescue cat who has a variety of genetic mutations. These cause her tongue to hang out, her legs to be short and her movement style to be unusual. Despite these problems, she seems to be happy and to be enjoying life.
Lil Bub's Visit to Catster HQ
Cat Fancy Magazine and Catster
Cat Fancy was until recently a popular print magazine that had been published for forty-nine years. In late 2014, the magazine announced that it was ceasing publication and that it was going to be replaced by a bimonthly print magazine called "Catster". A similar transition has happened to the Dog Fancy print magazine, which has been replaced by the new Dogster magazine. The plan is to publish Catster and Dogster in alternate months.
ThIs strange turn of events is possible because the I-5 company owns both Cat Fancy and the Catster website (as well as Dog Fancy and the Dogster website). A major reason for the change is not that there are fewer cat lovers - there seem to be more than ever - but because their interests have changed. In addition to cat information, many people want to see cute and amusing cat photos and funny memes. This amusement aspect was missing from Cat Fancy.
It remains to be seen how many people will buy a lighthearted cat magazine that also contains serious information when they could get this style of entertainment and education online.
The IHeartCats.com Website
Like Catster, iheartcats.com is a website that covers many topics of interest for a cat lover. The heart in the website's logo is used to symbolize love and contains an outline of a cat's head. The site includes information about health, behavior and training, news related to cats, breed information and rescue information. It also has a section that publicizes pet food recalls. Visitors can sign up for a free email newsletter. The website is updated frequently.
The iheartcats.com site doesn't have a forum, but it does have a Facebook page where people can leave comments. Followers are invited to leave a photo of their cat on the page's timeline.
Blog Posts from The Conscious Cat
This site is slightly different from the websites described above. The website is a woman's blog about cats. She aims to promote "health and happiness for cats and their humans". The writer used to be a veterinary hospital manager and is now a professional cat writer. She is also a Reiki Master Practitioner.
The writer posts new articles frequently. The website contains interesting posts that cover a range of cat topics, such as cat news, behavior, safety and book reviews. The site includes guest posts and has a Facebook page. There is also a free bimonthly cat magazine which requires a subscription.
When I visit the site, I often scroll down to the "Categories" section on the right side of the screen in order to find the topic that I'm interested in. The "Archives" section in this area allows a user to see posts by month.
I have lived with several Zen masters - all of them cats.— Eckhart Tolle
Other Useful Cat Websites
The five websites that I've described are the ones that I visit most often. I find the sites both educational and interesting. I find the two sites described below useful as well, but I visit them less frequently.
Poisonous Plants from The Cats Fanciers' Association
I find the Cat Care section the most useful part of this website. If you're interested in cat breeds and breeders and in showing cats you will probably find the whole site very useful.
This website contains a long list of plants that are poisonous for cats, plus articles about other cat dangers, including antifreeze, holiday decorations and flea products. It's a good reference site to look at before buying a new houseplant or placing a new plant on a balcony or in a garden. It's also a good site to help a cat owner decide on an anti-flea product if one is necessary.
I find that it's useful to look at several websites to get a list of poisonous plants. Some sites omit a plant that others include, or they add a plant that other sites lack. If there's any uncertainty about whether or not a substance is poisonous for cats, I always assume that it is.
The About.com Cat Site
The cats.about.com website is a useful site that provides lots of miscellaneous cat information as well as photos and videos. It also offers a forum and a chance to sign up for an email newsletter.
The writer of the articles - except for the guest posts - has a lot of experience with cats and seems to be very knowledgeable about them as well as very fond of them. She's been writing for the website since 1997 and has won awards for some of her cat articles.
Unfortunately, there are links to other about.com sites at the top of the cats.about.com home page. There are also multiple rows of photo and text links to these sites at the bottom of every cat page that I've explored. This gives me the uncomfortable impression - rightly or wrongly - that cats are not a big priority for the company. In addition, every other website described in this article has a Facebook page that is updated frequently and adds value to the website. The cats.about.com website lacks a Facebook page.
Exploring Cat Sites
Exploring cat websites is often great fun and can be very helpful for cat owners. I like to explore a variety of sites. Even though they often cover the same general topic, such as health, the specific subjects covered in the articles are sometimes different. The best sites to visit are those that are interesting as well as educational.
There are no ordinary cats.— Colette
© 2012 Linda Crampton