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Cat with Special Needs Has Cuddled More Than 100 Foster Kittens

Photo Credit: Jordan Lye / Getty Images

Everyone needs a cuddle now and then, even cats. And over 100 foster kittens have received healing, comforting embraces thanks to a cat named Elvis.

Cat With Special Needs Finds Forever Home

Elvis himself used to be a foster. In 2013, he and four siblings, along with their mother, were taken in at an animal shelter in Louisa, Kentucky. A volunteer there, Beverly Pack, decided to foster the entire feline family.

“I named the mommy Tennessee and gave the kittens names that related to that,” Pack told “So the kittens were Elvis, Priscilla, Lisa Marie, Gracie — for Graceland — and Memphis.”

As Elvis grew and began to struggle with standing and walking, Pack realized something was amiss with the cat. A veterinarian diagnosed the fur baby with moderate cerebellar hypoplasia, a developmental condition that can interfere with motor skills and balance, resulting in what’s called “wobbly cat syndrome.” Thankfully, it isn’t painful, but felines with CH need a little extra assistance and supervision.

Elvis’ sister, Pricilla, also received a cerebellar hypoplasia diagnosis, which prompted Pack to permanently adopt both cats.

“I knew Elvis would have challenges. He cannot go to the bathroom normally, not even to this day,” Pack told “He can pee in the litter box fine. But the second he starts to strain to expel stool, he falls over like a fainting goat. So I’m constantly having to clean him up, and if I see him in the litter box, I will go to him and literally hold him up so he doesn’t fall over.”

Physical differences aside, Elvis has a loving, upbeat personality. He makes Pack laugh by racing around the house until his legs give out and he collapses spread-eagle on the floor.

Paying It Forward

But silly antics aren’t all Elvis is good at. As Pack soon discovered, Elvis is a great emotional support animal…for other cats. Pack fosters anywhere from eight to 12 kitties at a time for Open Arms Animal Shelter, and Elvis has become quite the model foster dad.

“Elvis fosters every baby that comes into the house,” Pack told “It’s probably over a hundred or more at least. He insists that they let him wash their ears. He grooms them and bathes them.”

Elvis even snuggles with the foster kittens at bedtime. The attention he pays the little ones aids in socializing the kittens, which helps prepare them for their forever homes.

Elvis’ care is so exceptional, he’s even received an award for it. As one of five winners of the “Happily Furever After” contest by Arm & Hammer’s Feline Generous program, Elvis was awarded a year of kitty litter, plus $10,000 for the animal shelter of his choice – which, of course, Pack opted to be Open Arms Animal Shelter.

“You enter contests all the time and say a little prayer that maybe one of them will come through,” Pack said. “And boy, it did! We are a small, struggling animal shelter in Eastern Kentucky and the monetary prize was very unexpected and very much appreciated.”

Kelly Dalton, senior associate brand manager at Arm & Hammer Pet Care, praised Elvis and his cat mom.

“With a little bit of extra love and patience to make sure Elvis’ needs are met, Beverly has been able to give Elvis a happily furever after, and in turn Elvis has been a fantastic ‘foster dad’ to several other foster kittens,” she told in an email. “Often ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cats are overlooked for adoption so it’s important to share these heartwarming stories on a national level to inspire and educate others about why adopting ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cats can be so rewarding.”

She continued: “We hope each of these stories helps to inspire others to consider adopting a ‘purrfectly impurrfect’ cat.”

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Celebrating Firehouse Cats – Catster

Heartwarming cat rescue stories often involve a feline being scooped up from some nefarious or dangerous situation and going on to live a calm and contented life in a domestic forever home. But in some cases, these kitties in need end up taking on a far more active and involved role at their new digs — like becoming a local fire station’s resident cat.

Along with increasing the morale of the squad, the role of a firehouse cat is an esteemed position that involves letting pesky vermin know to stay well away from fire department headquarters. As a salute to those cats who have chosen to take on a life dedicated to public service, let’s meet a revered quartet of intrepid firehouse felines.

Follow Flame on Instagram @flamethearsoncat


The most well-known firehouse cat, Flame was originally discovered when workers at the Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina, heard a stream of continuous meows coming from behind the station. After a quick investigation, they discovered “a small, malnourished cat hunkered down in the grass,” as fire engineer Jordan Lide told the Cat Daddies documentary last year.

Duly rescued, Flame, known as “The Arson Cat,” quickly took to life as the station’s resident feline — and staff even noticed how the confident ginger kitty actually seemed to lower the collective stress levels of the crew. Although, let’s diplomatically gloss over a subsequent incident where the inquisitive Flame managed to get himself stuck inside a 12-inch storm drain running below the firehouse’s parking lot.

Follow Scout on Instagram @new_york_city_fire_kitty


Scout is a plucky tortoiseshell who has become a beloved fixture of the Ladder 7 firehouse in New York City. Originally announcing herself on social media back in 2019 by posing for a selfie in a knitted red firefighter’s hat, Scout has since gone on to take responsibility for the firehouse’s Engine 16. Naturally, on Scout’s watch, proper fire truck maintenance seems to very much involve napping on the vehicle.

Unfortunately, Scout caused a scare in March of 2021, when she appeared to go missing from the firehouse. Thankfully she was successfully found and has been able to return to her duties as a proud firecat.

Follow Burkey on Instagram: @philly_engine52


Located in the Wissinoming neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, Engine 52 houses a cocksure gray-and-white firehouse cat named Burkey. Along with making daily spot checks on the fire crew’s engine, Burkey has been entrusted with official vermin control responsibilities in a bid to keep the firehouse sanitary. As a recent caption to an Instagram post proudly claimed: “City pest contractors can’t compete with her mice kill record.”

Follow Carlow on Instagram: @carlow_fdny_cat


Residing at the New York City Fire Department Ladder 13 station house in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, Carlow is a cat who is not short on confidence. This white-and-ginger chap bills himself on social media as the “O.G. of firehouse cats” and claims, “I don’t do baths but I do love treats.”

According to lore, Carlow’s origin story involves being discovered hiding away inside a tire in a mechanic’s shop while he was still a wandering kitten, before taking up a position at the firehouse. These days, Carlow’s formal firehouse duties involve nothing less than embracing the grand responsibility to “oversee everyone and everything.” As for Carlow’s moniker? He’s named after the firehouse’s favorite local pub.

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Kittens Standing Like Humans Always Have Each Other Through Their Journey to a Happy Ending

Two kittens stand like humans and always have each other through their journey to a very happy ending.

special needs kittensOtter and BunnyBabyKittenRescue

Caroline Grace, founder of Baby Kitten Rescue, was contacted about two orphaned kittens who had been found outside.

Their cat mother never returned for them. When the finder scooped them up, she noticed that both kittens had limb abnormalities. They were in rough shape and suffered from a host of health issues.

Caroline took them in without hesitation and started giving them supportive care and feedings around the clock.

snuggly special kittensThey were found outside as orphansBabyKittenRescue

With painstaking efforts and plenty of TLC, the kittens were on the mend. In just a few days, the white and orange kitten, Bunny, kicked her sickness to the curb and regained her ravenous appetite.

No more pesky fleas, runny noses, and upset stomaches as the two scrambled back up like warriors.

snuggling sweet kittensBunny was born without her front legs and Otter had several congenital abnormalitiesBabyKittenRescue

Bunny was born missing her two front limbs, but as she worked up her strength, she figured out how to stand and hop around on her hind legs.

Her brother Otter (orange tabby) came with several congenital conditions: hydrocephalus (fluid builds up in the head) and an encephalocele, in which part of the brain protrudes through the skull.

kittens special needs, tunnel playing kittensThey didn’t let anything hold them backBabyKittenRescue

Otter’s condition is extremely rare, and he would need protection for his brain. When he was big enough, he would require surgery to correct the hole in his skull.

A kind person offered to make a custom-fitted helmet, and it worked like a charm on the sweet boy.

best friends special needs kittensBabyKittenRescue

Otter also has limb abnormalities, but he is not in any pain and doesn’t let anything hold him back. He is enamored with his sister and will wrap his body around her to sleep.

Once they graduated into a spacious playpen, their playful, boisterous side came right out. « They were discovering toys, and they were both using the litter box, » Caroline shared.

sweet special kittensOtter wore a custom-made helmet to protect his brainBabyKittenRescue

« Bunny was starting to stand on her back legs. She was getting stronger and more stable. »

One day, she managed to single-handedly pull off an impressive escapade by pushing through one of the nursery panels with only two hind legs and a ton of might.

2 legged kittenBunny can walk on her hind feet like a proBabyKittenRescue

With a special care routine, treatment, and a safe, padded environment, Otter made incredible strides each day. Remarkably, he recovered from hydrocephalus.

« He is braver at trying new things, while Bunny typically watches him first, then tries it. If he’s stressed (such as being on a car ride), Bunny will calm him down by staying relaxed and snuggling him. »

best friends kittensThey are completely inseparableBabyKittenRescue

« It’s become clear that they are bonded and need to stay together. »

Otter grew into a beautiful tabby cat and was ready for his cutting-edge surgery at UC Davis, where they would repair the opening in his skull. The procedure went smoothly with no complications.

playful special catsBabyKittenRescue

Over the next few weeks, Otter continued to heal alongside his best friend, Bunny, who cheered him on and kept him company. « He is truly a little miracle boy and I’m in awe of his strength, resilience, and tenderness. »

Now, Otter no longer wears his helmet since he has his « titanium skull ».

cat window watchingOtter has made a remarkable recovery and is now helmet-freeBabyKittenRescue

« These babies never cease to amaze me. The way they’ve adapted with their disabilities with such ease and joy is truly inspiring to watch. »

After a long journey full of challenges and triumphs, Bunny and Otter are set to embark on their next chapter in life — their forever loving home.

happy cat two legsBunny has blossomed into a happy, cuddly purr machineBabyKittenRescue

They will have a wonderful home with Megan who is head over heels for them. When she first had a meet-and-greet with the kittens, they instantly connected and knew it was meant to be.

« I had full body chills at that first meeting, » Caroline said.

cats watching birdsThey like to watch Bird TV together by the windowBabyKittenRescue

« Bunny and Otter have captured hearts all over the world and shown that special needs animals can live full and happy lives. They are an inspiration and will continue to be. »

curious cats bathroomThey are inquisitive and like to do everything togetherBabyKittenRescue

Share this story with your friends. More from Baby Kitten Rescue on Instagram @babykittenrescue and Facebook. More on Bunny and Otter @nublifex2.

Related story: Kitten Scoots His Way to Perfect Home and Transforms into Feisty Doe-eyed Cat

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5 Ways To Save Money on Cat Food

It’s essential to keep every mouth in your home well-fed, including your cats. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to look at ways to save money on food for your pet where possible – you’ll want to make sure you can afford to keep them happy and healthy, after all.

Thankfully, there are some excellent ways to save money on cat food without compromising the nutritional quality. Some of the most nutritious options can be the most cost-effective, even if they seem more expensive at first glance.

Daves Cat Food Shredded Chicken Dinner in Gravy single can

Follow these tips to keep your kitty from going hungry without breaking the bank.

5 Ways To Save Money on Cat Food

Feed Your Cat a Raw Frozen/Fresh Diet

Many cat owners are waking up to the benefits of a raw cat food diet. Cats are carnivores, after all, and in the wild would be eating raw food that they caught themselves. A raw food diet – with the right balance of ingredients – can provide your kitty with all the nutrition they need.

Raw food can seem more expensive upfront, but it’ll save you money in the long run, as your cat won’t need to eat as much to get the required nutrients. In addition, smaller portions are sufficient, which means your food lasts longer. And because you can freeze it in portions, it’ll keep for a long time.

All you need to do is defrost the meals you need each day, and then you can warm them up if your cat prefers it, usually by blending them with hot water.

Raw food can also save you money on veterinarian bills since it’s healthier for your cat and may lead to fewer problems in the future.

Make Homemade Cat Food

If you have the time to learn what makes a good meal for a cat, creating homemade cat food can significantly reduce costs and ensure your cat gets a balanced diet.

You might assume that buying cat food would automatically be cheaper than making it yourself since big companies will get discounted prices when buying ingredients in bulk. But they also care about profit, whereas you just want to buy what you need to make a nutritious meal for your cat.

So, while it’s not guaranteed, it’s worth exploring whether homemade cat food would be a money-saver for you.

Of course, if you don’t have time, you’ll want to use the other tips here instead.

Ask for Coupons

Everyone knows coupons are a simple and effective way to save money when buying anything, not just cat food.

However, many people don’t realize that you don’t have to wait to find coupons in a paper or magazine.

You can ask them.

Write your favorite cat food manufacturer, either through the mail or by email, and tell them how much your cat loves their food, and then ask if they have any coupons.

Don’t try to be cute and hint. Just straight-out ask, and you’ve got more chance of success. Companies love to reward loyalty or a new customer.

Be Smart When You Shop

There are many different ways you can look out for lower prices when shopping for cat food.

Track your local pet stores on social media to make sure you’re one of the first to know when they’re running a sale.

Sign up for any store reward cards offered, and use any reward points you earn to bring down the cost of your cat food purchases.

And if your local pet stores are big enough to have marketing emails, sign up for them and read them to ensure you don’t miss any special offers.

Buy In Bulk

Depending on the cat food you buy, you can order it in bulk, which will almost always be a lower cost.

Costco is an option for cat food like canned cat food, but make sure you’ve got space in your car to drive it home. If you’re ordering online, check shipping costs too.

Plus, don’t forget you need somewhere at home to store everything.

Other Tips To Save on Cat Food

Here are some other handy hints to help you save on cat food:

  • Maintain a clean, fresh water bowl. Cats may only drink a little from a bowl because they often get the necessary water from their food. However, if their water bowl is dirty or hard to access, they may eat more to compensate. So a cleaner, a fresher bowl can reduce the amount they feel they need to eat.
  • Never buy the cheapest food if the quality is not good. You might think you’re saving money since it’s cheaper, but your cat will not be as healthy, and in time you’ll spend a lot more on veterinarian bills to help them recover.
  • Consider cat food subscriptions – some stores will let you sign up for a recurring order and may knock 10% off the cost of your cat food as long as you stay signed up.

Changing Your Cat’s Food

If you’ve decided that you need to make a change to your cat’s diet, you need to prepare for it not to go smoothly. For example, if your cat has a favorite food, changing it can be met with resistance.

You should only make changes if they benefit your cat’s health. For example, changing to a cheaper brand might not work and can upset your cat.

If you are switching to a healthier food option, and your cat isn’t eating, make sure you switch back, even if it’s temporary, until you try another healthy alternative.

And if you struggle to get your cat to eat, always check in with your veterinarian.


There are great ways to save money on cat food without compromising quality.

If you’re sticking with the same cat food, look for special offers and ways to buy in bulk to keep costs low.

If you’re switching to raw or homemade food, take your time and be both persistent and consistent in helping your cat transition. Then, hopefully, your cat will take to it quickly, and you can feed your cat a nutritious diet that keeps costs low.

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5 Ways To Save Money on Cat Litter

It always pays to look for ways to save money on cat litter. In addition to the food, it’s the product you’ll need to buy most for your pets, but you don’t want to cut back on the quality of either of them.

Cat Litter at a pet store - Dr. Elsey's Best Kitty Litter List 2022

Whether you own a Ragdoll cat, a domestic shorthair, or any other breed, here are five good tips for cutting down on cat litter costs. These will benefit pet owners who need a helping hand keeping their litter budget from stretching too thin.

The Best Ways To Save Money on Cat Litter

1. Use a Low-cost Alternative

You don’t need to use ‘kitty litter » as a litter for your cat if you can find a cheaper alternative product. Some good options include chicken corn feed pellets, which you can buy at a tractor supply store, or wood stove pellets.

These are natural materials that offer good absorption, which is all you really want from a litter. If you can buy these, especially in bulk, you can save money compared to regular litter.

2. Use Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save money on cat litter. But don’t just sit and hope you’ll stumble across coupons in a pet magazine or that you’ll have them dropped in your mailbox. The best place to find coupons is on the manufacturer’s website or their social media pages – Facebook often has codes and coupons you can use if you find the official brand page.

Still no luck? Try writing to the company and asking. You’d be surprised how often this works since brands are more than happy to encourage loyalty. Don’t be shy!

3. Look Out for Sales

Beyond coupons, you can get discounts through sales, particularly at your local pet stores or grocery stores. Most pet stores, even independent ones, will have some online presence, either with a website or a Facebook page, so you can keep tabs on when they’re running a sale so you don’t miss out. Even small businesses join in on Black Friday and other regular sale times, too, so keep that in mind.

Also, ask if they have a rewards program. You might get discounts or special offers if you become a loyal customer.

Always look at the price per pound of your cat litter, and compare it that way – buying from your favorite pet store only works out as good value if you make sure you’re getting the best price for the amount you’re buying.

4. Buy In Bulk

Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club often sell cat litter in bulk at heavily discounted prices – you need to ensure that if you’re buying more than one 40-pound bag, you’ve got plenty of space in your car and home to store them.

If you find that these stores don’t stock your regular litter, you can switch (provided you do it carefully – more on that below), but always buy unscented cat litter. Scented cat litter only masks odors and is not a healthy product for you or your cat, so you should avoid it.

If you’re not a member of Costco, but you know someone who is, you don’t have to ask them to carry heavy litter bags for you – ask them to please pick up a Costco Shop Card (like a gift card) and then you’re allowed to shop there using that.

5. Order Online With Auto-ship

Some online stores will offer lower prices if you choose the auto-ship option – essentially subscribing to have your litter delivered. For example, you might get a 5% or 10% discount on the regular price since you’re guaranteeing them repeat purchases.

Make sure you choose one with free shipping; otherwise, you could eliminate the cost savings. Some will also offer a larger discount on your first order. And if you order online, you don’t have to haul it around the store and to your car.

Other Suggestions for Saving Money on Cat Litter

There are other ways that you can save money on your cat litter just by preserving the litter as much as possible:

  • Buy a good litter mat that catches loose litter, preventing it from being tracked around your home by your kitty’s paws. You can dump this unused litter back into the box.
  • Use a good scoop that doesn’t waste litter, only picking up the solids and used clumps – something like the Litter-Lifter.
  • Don’t unnecessarily over-fill the tray. Even if you’re buying litter boxes for high-spraying cats, they’re designed for urine to run down the sides – they don’t need too much litter.

Changing Your Cat’s Litter

If you want to explore changing your cat’s litter to help save money, then you must go about it slowly and methodically. Of course, that’s the same with any change you make for your cat.

They’re creatures of habit, and if you change things too quickly, you might upset them. And if you do that with their litter box, it might mean they either end up with health problems by refusing to go toilet or do it elsewhere around your home.

Therefore, it’s essential to transition to any new litter gradually. In week one, use a mix of 25% new litter and 75% old litter. If that goes smoothly, increase it to a 50%/50% mix in week two. And as long as that doesn’t cause problems, move to 75% new and 25% old for week three.

If all goes well, by week four, you should be OK to transition to the new litter fully. But if your cat stops using their litter box, return to the old brand. You can still try again but do it even more slowly.


There are many ways cat owners can save money on cat litter, and many don’t need you to switch brands if you look for the best deal.

If you make a switch, stick with unscented cat litter and carefully manage any transition. Don’t force anything on your cat too quickly, or it will get stressed out.

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How To Socialize A Kitten: 6 Vet-Approved Steps

The best time to socialize a kitten is from birth, with their mother. So if you have a cat that has had a litter of kittens, well done for thinking about getting them socialized nice and early.

In most cases though, by the time you get your new kitten, they might have been separated from their mom for some time, whether they’re a hand-reared orphan kitten or left mom before ending up in an animal shelter or with a rescue group. Even so, kittens can still be socialized in some cases, so the sooner you start the better.

Quick Overview


Kittens that have been socialized to handling and habituated to the noises of a household will be less stressed adult cats and more likely to enjoy the company of humans.


The critical socialization period for kittens is 2 to 7 weeks. After 7 weeks of age, it’s technically not possible to socialize kittens, but it’s possible to help them settle around humans with lots of positive reinforcement.


It’s essential to keep socialization experiences positive so you don’t frighten the kitten and create a negative association.

Whatever their circumstances, socializing kittens is important—it helps them to adapt to living in human homes and enables them to be confident and friendly members of the family.

What Does It Mean To Socialize A Kitten?

From about 2 to 7 weeks of age, a kitten’s curiosity outweighs their fear.

When we talk about “socializing” kittens, we are discussing using a critical period of development to help our kittens grow up strong and sociable. From the age of 2 to 7 weeks, kittens’ brains are open to new experiences.

During this time, they tend to view new experiences as interesting, rather than frightening, and they’ll file away experiences as “normal.” In other words, during this socialization period your kitten is learning what it means to be a modern cat and working out the skills they need to navigate the world.

With no positive experiences with humans, such as what happens with feral kittens, cats at this age will learn to be scared of humans, cars, houses, and other aspects of modern living. This makes them very difficult to later tame.

If we want our cats to be happy, we need them to enjoy human company and feel calm and confident living in our homes. This means lots of positive exposure to everyday stimuli in order to build confidence.

Also Read: Do Mother Cats Discipline Their Kittens? A Veterinarian Explains

The types of things you might want to expose your kitten to include:

  • Handling (including a vet exam)
  • The cat carrier and car journeys
  • Grooming and toothbrushing
  • Sounds (including fireworks and thunderstorms)
  • Different types of litter and litter boxes
  • Different textures of cat food (wet food and dry food)
  • Different people (ideally including a mix of ages and ethnicities)
  • Different toys
  • Other pets

Also Read: Single Kitten Syndrome: What Is It?

Is It Good To Socialize A Kitten?

Socializing a kitten helps them grow up to be accepting of human interactions—on their own terms of course.

Kitten socialization is extremely important. It is these early, positive experiences that makes the difference between a feral cat and a family member. Kittens that have been socialized to handling and habituated to the noises of the household will be less stressed adult cats.

They’ll be less prone to diseases associated with stress, they’ll be easier to look after and get to the vet when needed, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy your company.

Also Read: How To Take Care Of A Kitten: The Complete Guide

What Happens If You Don’t Socialize A Kitten?

Kittens that aren’t socialized and handled while young might fear human contact and hide a lot.

Even if you don’t actively socialize a kitten, they might pick up some positive experiences if they’re brought up in a family home. For instance, a kitten living in a house that has been fed every day by a human and has been exposed to everyday household noises will have some positive experiences of humans.

Compare this to a feral cat that has never been exposed to these things as a kitten, and you can see that there is a spectrum of socialization with a wide variety of possible outcomes.

If you don’t socialize a kitten at all, and they don’t have any exposure to positive experiences, it’s possible they will behave like a feral kitten—they will fear human contact, hide a lot, and even become aggressive when handled. Unfortunately, these cats can be extremely stressed by being kept indoors and sometimes it is kinder to find them a home as a barn cat so they can live with little human interaction.

Most kittens reared in a family home will naturally pick up small amounts of socialization. For instance, they might come to know the sound of the vacuum, have positive interactions with humans when fed, and even get to meet other animals like dogs. These partially socialized cats are often fine to live in a house.

However, negative experiences at this age (such as being scared by a dog or hurt by an over-excited child) can be extremely damaging—unless socialization is carefully managed it can do more harm than good.

Also Read: Sexing Kittens: How To Determine The Sex Of Your Kitten?

How To Socialize A Kitten

Socialization should ideally happen before the age of 7 weeks old, so it’s not always something you have a lot of control over if you’re adopting a kitten.

Try to find a breeder or rescue volunteer who has properly socialized the kittens before you take them home. If your cat has had a litter of kittens or if you hand-reared an orphaned kitten, it’s your job to do the socializing before they go to their new home. Here are some tips:

1. Start Small

Expose your kitten to potentially scary things in small doses so as not to overwhelm them.

You want to avoid overwhelming your kitten, so don’t rush straight into a scary situation. Start small instead. For sounds, start them quietly or in a different room. For handling, don’t rush to pick them up for long periods of time. When your kittens meet new people, make sure it’s for a brief visits.

For meeting other animals, let your kitten see them through a barrier several times before allowing them to meet. Once your kitten is confident with these things in their smaller/shorter/quieter form, you can build up to longer handling, louder noises.

Also Read: The Complete Guide to Bottle Feeding Kittens

2. Make It Positive

Playing with kittens using toys is a great way to form positive associations.

It’s essential that these experiences are kept positive—the last thing you want is to frighten your kitten and create a negative association. This means using positive modifiers such as food and treats for weaned cats, and proximity to mom for unweaned cats, to help make the experience positive.

Toys are also a great way to build positive associations. Try playing with a wand toy to keep your kitten’s attention off the scary stimuli.

3. Respond To Your Kitten’s Mood

If a kitten is becoming overwhelmed by a new stimulus or interaction, dial things back and try again later.

If your kitten is showing signs of fear it’s very important that you respond by making the situation less scary. Make the noise quieter, put them down, or get some distance from the scary object.

Some people advocate that you try to “flood” them—in other words, keep exposing them to the scary thing regardless of their fear in the hope they decide it’s not scary after all. However, this strategy is not recommended and has a high chance of causing long-term fear and phobias.

Also Read: The 7 Best Cat Treats For Kittens

4. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat


Provide your kitten with repeated, positive exposures so they become accustomed.

It’s no good just to expose a kitten once and call it done. Regular exposure is much more effective. That means you need to repeat each socialization topic several times between the ages of 2 and 7 weeks to make sure it works.

5. Include Mom

If you have a good bond and relationship with the mother cat, she will relay those positive vibes to the kittens.

If your kitten’s mom is around, it’s important to earn her trust. She will be passing messages to her kittens about what’s safe and good and what’s scary and new, so having a good relationship with her is key. If you adopt a pregnant mother cat, try to work with the mom to form a bond before the kittens come along.

6. Follow A Chart

It can help to keep a written record of the things you have exposed the kittens to, as well as how many times.

It’s a good idea to follow a socialization chart to ensure you’re including all the right things. These charts list the things you should expose your kitten to, as well as remind you to repeat them regularly. You can also use a socialization soundtrack playlist to ensure you don’t miss any sounds.

Kitten Socialization: Final Thoughts

Socializing a kitten is an extremely important part of raising a new cat, and is the key to having a happy, well-adapted adult cat that enjoys human company. If you are adopting a kitten, ask your rescue worker or breeder about the socialization program they’ve followed to ensure you’re getting a confident new member of the family.

Also Read: Fading Kitten Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to socialize a kitten?

The socialization process takes a long time—you should start at 2 weeks and slowly build up handling and exposure to noises and sights until the kitten is past 7 weeks of age. It’s important to keep experiences positive and respond to your kitten’s signs if they are not comfortable.

How do I socialize my aggressive kitten?

If your kitten is under 7 weeks of age, you can follow the usual socialization protocol, taking care to take things slowly so as not to frighten them.

Most young kittens are naturally curious so sit with them for a while and let them get used to you being near them before attempting to move forward. If your kitten is more than 7 weeks of age, it might be best to discuss with an experienced rescue or behaviorist to find out the best way to approach them.

At what age is the critical socialization period for kittens?

The critical socialization period for kittens is 2 to 7 weeks. This is the time when a kitten’s brain is most open to new experiences and they are learning their place in the world, and therefore the time when they will best respond to positive new experiences.

How do you socialize an undersocialized cat?

Once a kitten has passed 7 weeks of age, it’s technically not possible to socialize them. Their brain development has gone past the point where socialization works the same way. However, it’s possible to help them settle around humans with lots of positive reinforcement. It’s always best to let cats come to you in their own time rather than force them to interact.

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Tom Hanks & Cat Co-Star Match It Up At A Man Called Otto Screening

While Tom Hanks may be the face drawing folks in to see A Man Called Otto, viewers are discovering a hidden talent among the cast—Schmagel the cat. And with looks so cute and a personality to match, Schmagel, rhymes with ‘bagel,” is a natural born star as the stray cat who takes up with the titular character Otto, played by Hanks.

And when it came time for Hanks and Schmaegel to walk the carpet at a special screening held at the Dot Dash Meredith in New York City, the talented duo coordinated their looks with matching ties, making them quite the handsome pair. But just who is this cat stealing the hearts of filmgoers everywhere?


Schmagel the Star

To be as on-your-game as Schmagel, you’ve got to have purrfect looks, smarts to learn your cues, and a loving team to help you get it all done. And Schmagel has the ultimate team in mom Britany Hufnagle Long, owner of Hill Crest Canine Country Club in Catawissa, PA.


Brittany rescued Schmagel as a stray kitten, and the clever cat has been training and appearing in ads and films for a while now. But the Domestic Longhair’s role in A Man Called Otto has cemented his star status. And he and his mom only had a couple of months to get Schmagel camera ready for the big-budget project.

“We had 8 weeks of preparation once we received the script and saw some of the actions that they required to prep him and train him to do those actions,” Britany told Philadelphia’s CBS 21.


“The hardest thing about that was a lot of it was outside and during very very cold months of the year.”

But being the pro he is, Schmagel got the job done. And because he’s so good, Schmagel didn’t even need the help of his move double, sister Schmiscuit. As Schmagel explained on his Facebook page, Schmiscuit “just came along for the snacks!”


On Working With a Cat

Being a pro himself, Hanks found himself impressed by Schmagel’s acting prowess, explaining that he’s worked with dogs and while they look at their trainer, “a cat looks you dead in the eye.”


Hanks also shared working with a cat is “kind of powerful, kind of amazing.”

“I didn’t think you could train a cat, but you know, Schmagel is, uh, Schmagel,” said Hanks. “Well, he’s actually a pilot for Delta Airlines.”


With Schmagel holding so much talent in his furry paws, who could blame Hanks for wanting to match it up with his furry co-star for the special screening in New York?


So just how does a cat get ready for the big night? With a day of luxury! Let Schmagel show you how:

@schmagelthecat Schmagel’s NYC Premiere for A Man Called Otto is tonight! A guy’s gotta prep! #catsoftiktok #animalactor #celebritycat #amancalledotto #spoiledcat #catactor #swag #drippy #theplazahotel ♬ BILLIE EILISH. – Armani White

See more of Schmagel in A Man Called Otto, and keep up with this kitty star on Facebook. Enjoy more celebrities and cats with these Handsome Cats & Their Famous Men!

Feature Image: A Man Called Otto/Instagram & Schmagel the Cat/Facebook 

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Ragdoll Breeders in North Carolina

If you’re on a search for Ragdoll kittens NC, you may be a bit confused on where to start so that you find a reputable and legitimate breeder. If this is you, you’re in the right place! Whether your family already has a furry friend or you’re looking for your first pet, our list of reader-recommended breeders that are near to North Carolina is the right post for you.

Floppycats is an informational website – and our tagline is « Uniting Ragdoll Lovers Worldwide. » While we can’t tell you exactly what to do to find a kitten from our favorite breed of cats, we want to be a resource to you in your search.

There is so much that goes into finding the right breeder for you and your family, and we want to make that process easier for you. We are not a Ragdoll breeder, but we do try to help facilitate and improve our readers’ relationships with their cats, whether they’re kittens or adult cats. Part of that is finding the right one for you!

Ragdolls captured our hearts with their affectionate temperament, beautiful traditional colors, silky fur, and beautiful blue eyes. If you are in love with those features as well, we would love to help you find your match. However, it is important to keep in mind that each individual cat is a living, breathing soul, who might not meet your exact expectations. 

Because all Ragdoll cats have different ancestors, they can develop different colorations and temperaments. Being the same breed doesn’t mean they’re all the same! Even cats with the same color patterns can develop those colors differently. If you’d like to learn more about how this can happen, check out our post about Ragdolls’ colors and patterns.

If you are in North Carolina, we have some resources that can be helpful as you search for your ideal companion. We want all of our readers to find amazing cats, and we hope we can help make the search for reputable breeders more palatable.

Disclaimer about Scams

Although I would love to be able to help every person find a kitten that will make their family complete, I learned long ago not to recommend specific Ragdoll breeders in North Carolina! It hurts my heart to see families who have lots of love to give running into scams, disreputable backyard breeders, lack of healthy ragdoll cats, and other negative interactions. I want to help each of my readers do their homework on reputable breeding practices and decide for themselves, to make sure they don’t have any less-than-amazing experiences.

Not only do we know general tips and tricks about how to narrow down breeders to find your own beautiful kittens, we also get a lot of input from some of our readers when it comes to their experiences with Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina. We wanted to present some readers’ recommendations, paired with information on how to vet any breeders you might come across, so you can make your own personal decision and avoid getting scammed.

A small checklist to use while evaluating Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina:

  • Are they TICA or CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) registered?
  • Do they show their cats?
  • Do they conduct genetic testing?
  • Do they keep kittens at least 12 weeks of age?
  • Do they provide a health guarantee?
  • Do the kittens come to you already spayed/neutered?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the communication with the breeder? You want to be able to contact your breeder months or years down the road with questions.
  • How long is their waiting list? Do they seem to always have available kittens, or do they space out each litter?
  • Is your overall impression that they are trustworthy, or that there’s something off about them?
  • Do they breed within the written standard of pointed, traditional blue eyed only? Do you care if they do not?  

Member of TICA and/or CFA for Ragdoll Kittens NC:

The International Cat Association (TICA) has their entire registry of catteries available to the public on their website, so you can check if they are being honest about being TICA registered. Be patient, when adding the cattery name into the search engine, it can take a minute or two to respond.

It is important to keep in mind, the TICA online list is only a list of TICA catteries that decided to pay an extra fee to be listed. It is actually a very small percentage of Ragdoll breeders in North Carolina that did choose to advertise there.

For CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) cattery names, you can check on their website as well. Know, however, that sepia and mink Ragdolls are not accepted into CFA right now, so a mink and sepia breeder might not be on there.

RFCI is another trustworthy database where you can check if your breeder is legitimate. The catteries listed there have been checked thoroughly to ensure they are registered with one or more of the major cat associations. They do sign a code of ethics as well. However, it is very important to do your own research and homework to make sure that they are truly living out those values.

There are unfortunately a lot of scams online, and it’s important for you to make sure you avoid them. We have a lot more information on Ragdoll breeder scams in a separate post to help you discern real from fake.

If you’re more interested in rescuing a Ragdoll cat than getting one from a breeder, we have the following webpage to help you find a Ragdoll Rescue in your area.

If you find someone you like, you can always send me a link to their website and if I see any red flags, I will let you know – that’s the best I can do. Nothing is truly guaranteed, but I can help you while you do your research.

Finding Ragdoll Kitten Breeders in North Carolina:

Smellypoo - Ragdoll of the Week sp pic 2
Smellypoo – Ragdoll of the Week

Ethical breeders can be difficult to find; we known how hard the process is firsthand. If you live in the state of North Carolina, you might appreciate some extra direction on how to find a breeder who treats animals well and will provide you the quality of service you’re looking for.

Our readers have recommended Ragdoll breeders in the United States whose cats meet the breed standard, exhibit good temperaments, and have had few health problems in their new homes. The ones we’re sharing in these articles are only our readers’ subjective reports, though, and it is very important that you do your own research to prevent a negative experience with any of them.

Each of these reader recommendations are not endorsements from our site, we are merely sharing the Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina that our readers have reported having good experiences with. Please let us know if you find any worrying information regarding these Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina so we can avoid mentioning them in the future.

Keep in mind that it is still possible for you to have a negative experience with a responsible breeder. Think of it like restaurants or any other business you might interact with: people have different preferences, values, and expectations that guide how they choose their favorites. Breeders are not perfect, so please keep that in mind as you look for a new best friend.

To learn how to protect yourself against scams, check out Ragdoll Reputable Breeders guidelines here and our Ragdoll Breeder Scams here. All that being said, here is our list of reader-recommended Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina. Most of them are close to the Raleigh or Charlotte area, but please reach out if you know of someone in the eastern North Carolina area. You can always search for Ragdoll breeders outside of NC, like in South Carolina or Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, etc.


AllStarRagdolls North Carolina

AllStarRagdolls is a Ragdoll kitten breeder near Charlotte, North Carolina where you can get the perfect kitten for you. They have adorable, affectionate, playful ragdoll kittens for sale in NC that are bred from Supreme Grand Champion lines.

They are a Christian family ragdoll cattery registered with TICA (The International Cat Association) and CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) who focus on meeting Ragdoll breed standards. They also offer a 2 year genetic health guarantee. They strive to produce healthy, beautiful, and loving ragdoll kittens with that sweet floppy personality, and spay or neuter each kitten before sending them to their new homes.

The cats have the run of the home, are FELV/FIV negative, and they are litter trained by the breeder. They do seem like a reputable breeder, but their pricing is a bit higher than some other options. They also have a rule where you cannot declaw your kitten.

If you are interested in one of their available Ragdoll kittens, you can put a deposit down on their website. If you have questions, you can call Nicole at 704-771-9327 or email her at [email protected]


Raggymay Ragdolls North Carolina

Raggymay is a small TICA-registered cattery in Burlington, NC that breeds traditional Ragdoll kittens. The owner Edie is dedicated to raising healthy, well-socialized kittens.

Raggymay is a more involved Ragdoll breeder than most Ragdoll cat breeders in the North Carolina area. Edie takes a lot of pictures of her kittens and sends regular updates to prospective owners. She even emails owners after their beautiful Ragdolls are spayed or neutered to let them know how the kitty is doing.

All her breeding adults test negative for HCM and come with a two-year health guarantee. Her kittens and their deposit are significantly cheaper than some other local breeders, but it is important to note that she does not ship kittens.

If you have any questions, you can call Edie at (336)570-1099 or email him at [email protected].

Soulmate Ragdolls

Soulmate Ragdolls North Carolina

Soulmate Ragdolls is a TICA and CFA registered breeder in Salisbury, North Carolina that has bred Ragdoll cats for 25 years. They provide adorable kittens, whether they are seal, lilac, chocolate, lynx, fawn, etc. to owners who have lots of love to give.

My Ragdoll cats, Charlie and Trigg, are from Soulmate Ragdolls.

They test all their kittens for genetic diseases like HCM, FELV, and FIV, and hope to match each one with a loving home. They have an email list you can subscribe to if you’d like to see their available kittens.

You can call Lora at (704)458-2171, or email her at [email protected] to learn more about an upcoming litter or join the waiting list.

Velvet Rags

Velvet Rags Cattery North Carolina

Velvet Rags Cattery is a small cattery in Creedmoor, North Carolina. They are part of the RFCI (Ragdoll Fanciers Club International), and they concentrate on providing well-socialized, friendly kittens with good personalities who are used to children and noise. They believe in matching every kitten with a new family who is a perfect match.

Their kittens learn how to use the litter box and scratching post, eat solid food, have shots and a vet check-up, and get spayed or neutered before they go to their new homes, and they have a 2-year genetic health guarantee.  

You can call Angela Reid at (919)528-2527 or email her at [email protected] to set up a visit or learn more about their Ragdoll babies.

Conclusion about Ragdoll Breeders in North Carolina

Please remember that new owners and experienced owners alike have to do their own research and check into each of these breeders before they adopt a kitten from them. The guide included above can help you make an informed choice and find the perfect kitten or your family.

Although we have been told by our readers that each one is a reputable breeder, we cannot vouch for them ourselves, because we do not have personal experience with them. It is your responsibility to make sure the breeder you select is not scamming people, breeding poorly for health or temperament, or mistreating the kittens and cats. We hope this article could be a helpful resource as you try to make the best choice for your family.

We know we’re a little biased, but Ragdolls are our favorite breed of cat, and we’d love to hear success stories of how any new household pets adjust to and bond with your family. Please share pictures of your new kitten with us on Facebook!

If you would like some recommendations of items to purchase before bringing in your new family member, please check out all of the wonderful Ragdoll product reviews on our site. We only give honest reviews and share how our cats personally interacted with the products. Every cat is different, but we like to give you some good places to start!

Have you had a good experience with one of these Ragdoll breeders near North Carolina, or one that isn’t listed? We’re looking for more Ragdoll cat breeder recommendations across North America. If you have one, please share it in the comments below. Breeders with healthy kittens in a variety of colors are the best!

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Who Was the First Cloned Cat? All About CC! (With Pictures)

calico tabby cat

I have yet to have the opportunity to meet a cloned cat in person. I’ve heard of the phenomenon many times over the years, but I have never personally considered having any of my cats cloned. However, I have always wondered who the first cloned cat was, how long they lived, and what their quality of life was like. If you’re curious about the same thing, you’ve come to the right place!

Meet CC — The First Cloned Cat!

The first cloned cat was named CC, short for “Carbon Copy.” The cloning took place at Texas A&M University, where researchers took a few ovary cells from a cat named Rainbow while she was being spayed and then implanted the nuclei from the cells into an egg. This resulted in the birth of CC, the cloned cat, on December 22, 2001!

Although the cloned cat seemed to be healthy, the scientists who created CC did get a big surprise: She didn’t look anything like Rainbow, the cat that she was a clone of. Rainbow was a calico cat that had grey and orange markings, but CC didn’t have any orange markings. Scientists didn’t expect this to occur but eventually determined that the nuclei that they used didn’t include the gene responsible for developing the orange markings.

What Ever Happened to CC, the Cloned Cat?

CC the cat lived a long and happy life with her adopted parents, Duane and Shirley Kraemer. She even gave birth to four kittens, three of which survived. This means she was not only the first cloned cat in existence, but she was also the first cloned cat to ever give birth. CC lived with her offspring in a specially designed shed in the backyard of Duane and Shirley’s home. She ended up living to a ripe old age of 18 years and was healthy until she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Sadly, she passed away from the condition on March 3, 2020.

Cat Cloning Is Becoming Mainstream

I was aware that cat cloning has been taking place for many years, but I didn’t realize just how mainstream it seems to have become. There are many companies out there, like Gemini Genetics, that promise to clone your cat and create a new life with 99.9% genetic similarity, an almost identical appearance, and the same general lifespan and reproductivity abilities.

It seems that all you have to do is provide the company with a tissue sample of your beloved cat, and they will eventually deliver you a cloned cat. Cloning isn’t cheap, though. It typically costs thousands of dollars, so the idea of cloning a cat is likely out of reach for many people. That said, a woman named Kelly in the United States cloned her cat not too long ago, as did a man named Heung in China.

Controversies Surrounding Cat Cloning

Of course, there are a few controversies surrounding the idea of cloning a cat or any domestic animal at all, for that matter. Ethics are behind most of the concerns. For instance, many feel that cloning a cat indirectly harms the stray and abandoned cats that already exist and are in need.

It’s also thought by some people that cloned cats may not be as healthy or as long lived as the original cats from which they were cloned. But there is no evidence so far that indicates that cloned cats have any health problems that the original cats would not have had. That said, if cloning becomes mainstream in the food industry, it could cause more pain and suffering than is necessary because there will be many more animals born and raised in terrible conditions just to be killed for food.

Final Thoughts

While the idea of cloning cats is intriguing, it seems that there is still a great deal of research that needs to be done before making the process of cloning a pet widely available to the average person. However, the only way to know how cloning might affect an animal or an industry in the long term is to create more cloned animals and see what happens.

Featured Image Credit: Anne Richard, Shutterstock

About the author

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Breed Information, Traits & Many Photos

This is a question a lot of people interested in adopting a Ragdoll cat ask. Many people say that male Ragdolls tend to be sweeter, but many owners of female Ragdoll cats would say the opposite.

A good rule of thumb is that it’s not about the sex of the cat, but the personality in general, so the best question is whether the Ragdoll cat breeder has any insight into the kitten’s personality.

Sometimes, female kittens take a little longer to transition.

Visit with kittens of both genders and have some playtime with them, then choose a kitten you connect with.

Female kittens can be slightly more aggressive in play but have a strong bond with their owners.

Since females can become protective mothers, they might be slightly more careful and aloof.

Often, breeders want to sell male cats first because males can breed as young as five months, so this is why it often seems like the females are the last to sell.

Males are usually bigger, which many pet owners look for in a Ragdoll cat.

Females might have fewer issues with UTIs and blockage than males – but any cat fed a proper Ragdoll cat diet will not have this problem. Do remember that a proper diet will eliminate the UTI problem. Please read for more info.

While some believe that male cats have better temperaments than females, many owners find that there isn’t much difference once they are altered.

Try to get a pair of kittens. Ragdolls are very social and need company, so a sibling or another kitty might prevent behavior issues caused by loneliness.

Overall, the Ragdoll cat temperament tends to be friendly and affectionate in both genders. However, it depends on the individual cat’s personality and the love and trust they develop with their owner. Try to focus on getting to know a kitten’s personality when thinking about Ragdoll kittens for adoption rather than relying on gender as an indicator of what they will be like.

Read more answers on adopting a Ragdoll male vs female kitten.