Summer Cat Socials Summer Happy Everything

posted: 05/15/12
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How to Host a Summer Cat Social

Think your cat is bored over the summer, going from meal to nap to snack and back? Dogs go to doggie day care, but cats stick close to home, where their only company may be you. Perk up Kitty's summer days by hosting a cat social. If she's an only cat, she may appreciate the chance for a little interaction. If yours is a multi-cat household, you may fear that a cat social would resemble that kitty litter commercial where one cat invites the entire neighborhood to visit while his people are out to dinner. But there'll be no sofa-shredding, lampshade-wearing cats to worry about if you've got the right social sensibilities.

Tell your cat-owning friends about the idea, but limit the number of guest kitties. Between two and five, plus your own, is plenty to keep track of. Remind cat owners that their pets must be up-to-date on vaccinations and flea treatments to mingle with the other cats. Send out invitations/reminders from your cat, the official host.

Designate a room, or a secured (meaning escape-proof) porch or patio, for your summer social. Remove fragile objects and keep furniture to a minimum for a bright, airy feel.

Holding your cat social during the mid-to-late afternoon gives guests a cooling respite during the day's worst heat. Cats tend to nap after breakfast, and again after dinner, so a mid-afternoon social should catch them at their mellow best. Because cats can get cranky or over-stimulated when there's too much of a good thing, keep the event relatively short. Just over two hours should keep everyone purring.

For light entertainment, put a cat-themed movie in the DVD player. "Garfield: The Movie," "The Aristocats," "That Darn Cat" or "Milo and Otis" are just a few cat-friendly choices. An endless-loop DVD featuring birds, fish and other cat-enticing critters is another option. For music, the score from "Cats" is an obvious choice.

Let the cats sniff at one another and get acquainted while you and their owners supervise. Have their own carriers nearby if they are looking for a place to retreat, and have ample guest litter boxes on hand. If a cat is upset and begins growling, help his owner secure him in a separate room until he calms down enough to rejoin the party.

Keep those cats cool: Offer plenty of fresh water in bowls with frequent additions of ice cubes, which some cats love to bat around. Air conditioning is a must, or fans if no a/c is available. Cats regulate their body temperatures by washing, but cool, moving air and water help. If you have a flowing pet fountain, set it up and watch the cats play with the moving stream.

Just like at those old-fashioned ice cream socials, provide guests, both human and feline, with cool refreshment choices. Offer several ice cream or sherbet flavors and toppings for DIY sundaes. Since cats should not eat ice cream, dice and freeze canned cat food to serve in small, icy chunks. Offer a small dollop of fresh plain yogurt on the side (some cats love it, others will snub it). Drizzle a little tuna juice over ice cubes, giving cats that popsicle-licking experience. Have plenty of bite-size treats in a variety of flavors. For people, offer beverages and goldfish-shaped crackers for a fun, feline feeling.

Cats love to chase laser dots, and their antics will entertain the humans while burning up some cat energy. Have several cat-favorite toy fishing poles with feathery lures, as well as the paper bags and tissue paper that all cats love.

Give everyone a party favor, maybe a large cat-shaped cookie for the humans (find cat cookie cutters in craft or bakery supply stores) and a small new toy for the cats. Send leftover refreshments home packed on ice, then plan another cat social for your cat's other friends.

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