Cat Care Tips: April 2008 Archives

Cancer, digestive problems like chronic diarrhea, kidney failure or disease, urinary tract disease, diabetes and obesity are the main diseases that could be eliminated by feeding your cat moist, canned or homemade cat food.

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Dry cat food may be convenient and inexpensive, but the time and money you save may end up costing you more to keep your cat healthy. Recently, more and more studies show that dry cat food is too full of grains and fillers to be considered healthy for your cat. A common mistake that vets and common people make is to treat your cat like a little dog. A cat's physiology is completely different from a dogs. What works for dogs, kibble with a bowl of water, does not work for cats. Cats are carnivores, unlike dogs, cats can't be healthy with a lot of grains and fillers in their food.

Here are six diseases that have been directly linked to dry cat food:

Whether it's caused by sunburn, parasites, medication, obesity or dry skin, cat dandruff is irritating and it could signal possible healthy problems. Cat dandruff occurs in healthy cats at the base of the tail because that is a hard to clean area, but some cats get dandruff all over their bodies for several reasons.

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Cat Dandruff can be caused by:

*sunburnt skin that dies and peals off

*parasites that are living on your cats body

*lack of humidity in the air

*sensitivity to carpets, perfumes or other irritants in your home or yard

*medications that cause dry, itchy scalp

But the one major cause of Cat Dandruff is:

*DRY CAT FOOD

You see cats don't get enough moisture in their bodies if all they are fed is dry cat food. By nature, in the wild, cats get moisture from the live prey they hunt and eat, but our domestic feline friends don't get that moisture. And it is just not in their nature to drink enough water to compensate for it. So if you feed your cat dry food, start giving him moist canned, homemade or raw food and you'll notice a difference.

But what if you already feed your cat canned food and he still has dandruff?

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There is something else that you can do and you'll notice health benefits beyond measure. Give your cat Essential Fatty Acids, you know, the ones you hear about all the time. Omega 3 - there are several formulas out there, but the best source is fish oil. Especially Cod Liver Oil. You can get it anywhere now, grocery stores, drug stores, health food stores. Just put a few drops on your cat's soft food and slowly work up to a teaspoon.

Cats love the taste so you won't have a hard time convincing them to take their Cod Liver Oil!

You should always talk to your vet about any supplements you are thinking about giving to your cat. If you are looking for a holistic vet you can find one at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

Sometimes you have the option to choose the perfect cat to be a companion to the cat you already live with. In that case blending cats into one household can be a breeze. If you are thinking about getting another cat, here are some ways to make blending cats into one household a little easier.

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So how do you choose? In a perfect world, choose the cat that comes close to the following criteria. Choose a cat that is:

* younger - a kitten younger than your cat might make your cat become a surrogate parent for the kitten.

* smaller - a kitten smaller than your cat is no physical threat so your cat won't likely cause any harm.

The sex of the cat is important too, your cat can feel threatened if you introduce a sexually mature unneutered cat into the household so try to get a new kitten that is either:

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* opposite sex - get a male if you have a female and vice versa.

* sexually immature - older cats do not usually feel threatened by a younger kitten.

* neutered/spayed - if the kitten is already spayed or neutered, that's great, but if not, get the new cat spayed or neutered as soon as your vet says.

Sometimes you just don't have the ability to choose your second cat so blending cats into one household becomes a challenge. If the new cats are abandoned cats that need rescuing, you have to move quickly. See my previous post on Blending Cats Into One Household for pointers on how to prepare for the new cat.

Blending cats into one household can be the most challenging thing for cat owners. But here are some tips and pointers that have worked for thousands of cat lovers everywhere. Just remember to be patient and to make the introductions slowly.

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I realize that sometimes you just can't prepare to introduce a new cat. Often times the new cat is literally dumped on you and you are left with the problem of blending cats into one household quickly. But whether you have two hours or two months to prepare, you need to be prepared.

So how do you go about blending cats into one household?

Some cats just don't want to be combed, whatever the reason, you've tried to get a comb on them, but it just won't work. It's important to keep their fur under control for their health. Here are three things you can try.

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First, use a course fabric mitten. You can get ones made specifically for cats. Just put it on and pet your cat. it catches the loose fur. These aren't as good as a the comb but it will work.

Second, is to get one of these corner gadgets. You mount it on the wall about cat height and as they rub against it they comb themselves!

And third, seriously, try the vacuum, it doesn't massage the scalp very well, but some sensitive cats prefer it to combs. Especially the quieter models. This older cat loves the vacuum! And her owner is smart to use the little round bristle brush so her skin isn't sucked up into the machine.

5. Brush your cat's fur weekly if not more often. Regular brushing or combing catches loose fur and massages the scalp. You'll notice a reduction in fur balls and loose fur around your home.

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4. Check for skin irritations, fleas and ticks when you brush. Early detection of these things can prevent bigger problems later. SOme skin irritations are the first signs of bigger problems like allergies, and diseases.

3. Feed your cat high quality food and treats from your vet. Grocery store and lower quality cat foods contain too many starches, sugars and grain products which leads to an unhealthy cat and unhealthy fur. If you switch to high quality canned or raw cat food you'll notice a difference in your cat's health and in his fur.

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2. Let your cat move around while you are grooming him. He knows where his body needs to be groomed. He may have some hard to reach places like at the base of the tail and the top of his head.

1. Try several combs and brushes, even the vacuum cleaner! Neo likes it when I use one of those adhesive lint rollers on him after I comb him, it lifts up all the loose fur.

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It's a myth that because cats clean themselves, they don't need to be groomed. If you have a Sphinx or a cat with VERY short hair, maybe that's true. But for cats with short, medium length or long fur, grooming has benefits greater than just giving them pretty fur.

One obvious benefit is a huge reduction in shedding, if you comb your cat regularly, you'll notice way less fur left on your clothes and on the couch.

Another benefit is a huge reduction in fur balls your cat coughs up. I don't know about you, but I had the unfortunate experience of stepping on one of Neo's with bare feet and it left a lasting impression, let me tell you. The soggy, matted, sausage shaped fur ball felt like I was stepping on some sort of rodent or reptile. Not a feeling I wish to repeat, so I comb Neo regularly now. I like to comb Neo once a week, more often when he is shedding in early spring.

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But the best benefit of all is the bonding that develops between you and your cat when you are combing him. Seriously. Even the most cranky cat learns to love grooming. Neo has always loved being combed and now he moves around and offers different body parts for me to comb - he loves his head combed, he's gotta look good!

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Declawing cats is illegal in many countries, for good reason, it's easy to trim your cat's claws and you don't have to permanently damage your cat to do it.

You need proper equipment, though, don't use human nail clippers because they shatter the claw and cause your cat pain. There are several claw trimmers on the market, your vet probably has a set that she uses to trim your cat's nails before an examination. There are many different types, but all of them have some things in common. All trimmers have a rounded blade and close in on the cats claw. The better ones look like little scissors with two small round blades. These ones don't crush the cat's nail.

picture_of_cat_nail_trimmer.jpg Gently squeeze your cat's paw and you will see his retractable claws come out. Before you begin, look closely at the claw to see where you will need to cut. Just like if you were cutting a child's nails, you don't want to get too close because it will hurt. There is a large vein running through the claw, called the quick. Trim just the tip off the nail, leave room between the quick and the blade. If you cut the quick, your cat will be in pain and likely will not let you finish trimming his claws.picture_of_cat_claws_where_to_cut.jpg It may not seem like such a small cut is effective but it makes a huge difference to your cat. If his nails are trimmed, he'll be less likely to scratch your furniture and it won't hurt if playtime gets a little rough. With regular trimming, the quick actually retracts a little bit. In time, you'll be able to trim his nails quit short so they won't cause any damage when he scratches.

This is one way to keep cat fur under control, when you vacuum the couch, just vacuum the cat too! This cat lies there and takes a good cleaning from the vacuum cleaner. If you are looking for alternatives for grooming your cat or when you get tired of combing your cat, you can always try the vacuum cleaner!

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Kitty's been exploring and is really dusty and dirty now. Or maybe kitty came home covered in what looks like oil and smells like an engine. Now what?

You can’t let her clean herself, engine oil is toxic...the only thing you can do is give her a bath. Here is the best way to give a cat a bath. If you can get help, great, one of you to hold the cat and one to wet, shampoo, and rinse. Either way, follow these five steps for bathing cats and you and kitty will live to tell the tale!

Worried about property damage from cats? Trimming your cat's claws is the best way to avoid it.

Trimming your cat's claws is safe and easy. And it is much healthier for your cat than declawing - which is slicing off their fingers, leaving them in pain, emotionally damaged and unable to walk properly.

Ok, this guy has a very well trained F2 (second generation) Savannah male. I've never seen a cat so comfortable with having his claws cut! This is a good demonstration of how to cut your cat's claws. But if you don't have a cat that sits on a pedestal and gives you his paw, then keep watching.

This guy also has an F1 Savannah female who is not as laid back about having her nails trimmed. He demonstrates how to hold her through the process. Every cat owner has to trim the nails regularly to prevent property damage from cats. Also, if you opt in to get nail caps for cats, you have to trim regularly.

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