Decode Your Cat’s Behavior

19 Jan
via weheartit.com

via weheartit.com

Why do cats cry early in the morning (or all the time), roll like dogs on their backs, or ignore their litter boxes? Take a look at a few funny and frustrating cat antics and learn more about your cat’s personality.

Why do cats act like alarm clocks?
Crying in the morning can be traced to two things, the season, and well, you. Cat’s circadian rhythms adjust just as ours do. When summer approaches and the birds are up earlier, so is your cat, wanting to do exactly what predatory creatures are made to do: hunt. Not all pet owners will be okay with releasing their little lion into the great outdoors, so if your indoor cat is inappropriately waking you for food, you need to take action. Feeding your cat when he cries reinforces the crying, while waiting for the crying to end, or not instantly responding to the behavior with food, teaches your cat there will be no reward for early-morning wake-ups. Figure out when breakfast will be and stick to your schedule.

Why do cats roll on the floor?
Does the strange drop-and-roll move your cat performs puzzle you? Cat owners see this rolling all the time but many don’t know why it happens or what it means. About.com suggests looking to the time and location of the rolling for clues, adding that it’s a definite look-at-me maneuver designed to grab your attention. Does it happen when you’re doing computer work? As you lace up your sneakers before leaving the house? No matter where or when it happens, if your response to your rolling kitty is affectionate cooing or a tap on the head, know that you’re providing exactly what he wants: attention. While dogs may roll for a belly rub, your cat’s reasons for rolling are, well, cat-like, meaning on his terms (read: rubbing your cat’s belly could leave you with a scratch or two!). Continue reading

4 Ways to Uncover the Motivation to Lose Weight

10 Nov
woman and cake

Motivation is an easy kill. Of all its opponents, food cravings pose the greatest threat.

Swimsuits, skinny jeans, doctors’ orders: Which is most on your mind? The promise to commit to a fitness plan is always a personal one, yet one we break time and again. No matter what sparked your momentum, staying the course is central to weight loss success.

Here, a glimpse at the nuts and bolts of motivation, plus tricks for finding the enthusiasm to get moving when simply thinking about exercise seems like a workout in itself.

1. Take Cue
Motivation, by its nature, varies in degrees. Internal Medicine specialist, Deborah Neiman, MD, Medical Director of Step Ahead, a weight loss center in Bedminster, New Jersey, describes it as a transient force. Like a gust of wind, she adds, it can go as quickly as it comes and it just ruffles us up when we “feel it.”
Continue reading

A Prayer for the Animals

28 Oct

“Before you go, I wanted to tell you what happened last night,” she said. We had been together, but in separate vehicles, and it surprised me to hear her short trip home, no more than a few minutes further than mine, could have ended up eventful.

“We were driving home, and as we were approaching the high school, just before the church, I saw what looked like a huge piece of cardboard whip across the road. It was a deer, it had been struck by a car.”

“That’s how fast it spun,” she continued as I stood there, hand over mouth, “that it looked like it was flying through the air. Johnathan saw.”

Oh no,” I said. He’s a sensitive kid, and like all children, you feel a natural urge to shelter them from seeing animals in pain.

“He told me, ‘We need to go back, mom, and see if he’s okay’,” she continued. “I knew it would be bad, but I turned the car around. The deer was clearly dead.”

“Oh how sad,” I said. It surprised me she didn’t find a struggling creature, bloody, frozen and shocked. I have never (thank God) hit a deer or witnessed one meet its demise, so I don’t know what that’s like. I never want to.

“They must have been going very fast to have killed him so suddenly,” I added. It’s a village road, one you’re not supposed to speed on, but we all know how those things go.

“Well, as we sat there, across from the church, and I explained to Johnny that the deer was dead, he whispered, ‘We need to say a prayer, Mom.” Her eyes widened in the same way I can imagine they did at that moment, in the car, listening to her son ask to pray for a dead deer.

“So what could I do but begin praying?” She says, breathless now, still surprised at the entire incident.

“I watched him cross himself, in the rear view, and as I began to pray, he repeated after me.”

“Wow,” I said, amazed, and yet also proud and scared for my nephew, this boy whose heart pangs for all living things.

“You know, it goes to show, we really can only thank ourselves for how much he loves animals.”

“Oh, without a doubt,” I said. It was a sad story, but pretty much encompasses so much of our  childhood, growing up, sisters… side-by-side, in the back of a car, parked along so many nameless roads, waiting for our mother help an animal to safety.

I told her just yesterday, I need to write this down, this conversation, for so many reasons. Mainly, to help our own children make sense one day, of where we came from, and how our hearts ended up so big. I hope I did the moment justice.

See also:
The Perils of Pavement: A Lament for the Souls Lost to Summer

8 Essential Ingredients for Beautiful Skin

27 Oct

pomegranates1. Avocado. A good source of biotin, avocados help prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. Used topically, they hydrate parched skin wonderfully. Try it yourself: Create a moisturizing mask by pitting the fruit. Puree the pulp, and pat it on your face. The  natural oils act as an emollient while skin-friendly vitamin E protects against premature aging.

2. Green tea. Green tea’s high on the list of healthy skin beverages, thanks to its impressive stockpile of polyphenols. Aim for 2-4 cups throughout your day.

3. Tomato. A German study found that lycopene-rich tomato paste helped participants prevent sunburn when they combined it with olive oil, daily for ten weeks. Besides being a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are considered a high-carotenoid fruit. These nutrients may help slow down cellular damage from free radicals. Continue reading

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