Cat Care Tips: May 2008 Archives
These tips will keep you and your cat living safely together.
8. Put the lid down on your toilet. YOur cat will want to drink and may fall in or be poisoned by your toilet cleaning supplies. Don't be lazy, put out fresh water in a bowl beside your cat's food.
7. Keep the doors to appliances closed. If your cat jumps into the dryer and falls asleep, then you come along and turn the dryer on, you'll give new meaning to the extra fluffy cycle. Not to mention you could seriously injure your cat.
6. Lit candles are exciting to cats, but the flame can burn their fur or whiskers or the cat could knock them down and start a fire. Keep them out of reach or don't leave your candles unattended, even for a minute.
5. If you have kids your house should be baby-proofed, if you don't, you need to baby/cat-proof your house. That means no medicine, cleaning supplies, chemicals or toxins out where your cat can find them.
4. Cats love shopping bags, plastic, paper, with a handle, without... but they are all dangerous. Cats can suffocate or get wrapped up in loose cords and choke to death. Not so fun after that.
3. Make sure open windows have proper screens to protect your cat from a nasty fall. I know cats are supposed to fall on their feet, but don't test that theory by leaving a window uncovered by a screen.
2. Cats will chew cords for T.V.'s, computers, hair dryers, ... any electrical cord is dangerous, one little bite could cost your cat his life.
1. Strings and yarn may seem like a great toy for a cat, but because of their barbed tongues, cats can't spit the cord out, it can only go in and so they chew and swallow and lick and it goes further and further down their throats, if you are lucky the cat eventually throws up, but if not, your cat could suffocate or choke or suffer intestinal damage.
If your cat is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, you have to ask, What is your cat trying to tell you?
It seems that cats are forever blamed for their smelly urine. But the truth of the matter is, if cats are spraying or going outside their litter boxes it is not their fault, it is just a way for them to communicate that there is an issue that needs resolving.
Cats don’t spray to be irritating nor do they go outside the litter box just to make a mess, cats spray because they have a need to mark their territory or sometimes even because the litter box doesn’t get cleaned out often enough. And in the case of my cat Neo, he just has poor aim.
Be gentle with your cat
It does not help to put the cat’s nose into it, or yell or hit or scold the cat. That usually makes the situation worse. The best thing to do is find the root cause of the problem. Maybe your cat needs to see the vet? Tell the vet about the problem, they might find a medical condition that is causing it.
Cat psychology is a very complicated thing too. It could be that the litter box is not in an ideal location, too much traffic or no privacy, or too close to other cats, or an open window where they can see other cats.
Reasons your cat might spray outside the litter box:
• An infection or some other physical problem – ask your vet.
• The litter box needs cleaning – scoop daily. Cats are very clean animals and will look for a clean place to go if their litter box is not cleaned out often enough.
• The litter box needs a good washing - use a mild detergent or warm soapy water to wash it out at least once a month.
• Location is not ideal – move the litter box away from windows, family traffic and other situations that might make your cat nervous. Noise, light and vibrations are a no-no.
• New additions to your family – cats need even more loving when there is a new family member or new pet added to the household. And they need one new litter box for every cat in the house. I'm serious, if you have three cats, you should have three litter boxes.
• Change the type of litter you use – cats are very sensitive and cat react to smells and irritants by peeing in inappropriate places. Especially with the different litters on the market that mask odors, are dusty or change color, all of them contain many toxic irritants that can be a problem for your cat.
Cats are clean animals so if they are spraying or peeing outside their litter box, there is an issue you need to find.
Most people don’t realize how easy it is to get rid of cat urine odors by using cat urine cleaning products you can find around your home.
There are several cat urine cleaning products on the market today. But before you invest in cat urine cleaning products, try this home remedy.
A lesson in Acids and Bases
Think back to grade school science. Most stains, dirt and grime is a base and the only way to clean a base is to use a base. So most cleaners are bases. But urine is an acid, so the cleaner you use needs to be an acid too. Plain White Vinegar goes a long way to getting rid of urine stains and odors.
A three-step solution to cat urine odor:
• Dilute it and Mop it up. The best thing to do for fresh or wet urine is to dilute it with water and mop up as much as you can. I use disposable, compostable paper towels that you can throw into your compost or green bin. The benefit is you don’t get your mop smelling like urine, which can transfer to other floors.
• Vinegar and Water. For older urine spots or after you wipe it up with water, you should use plain white vinegar diluted with water. Spray or pour it onto the area and wipe it away or soak it up. Do this a few times and cover an area wider than the stain itself. You should notice a significant reduction in the smell of urine.
• Check the spot with a black light. If the spot is still there it will show up under the black light. If it still shows up you’ll have to use a heavy duty cleaner. Why? Because if you can still see it with the black light, then your cats can still smell it. The funny thing about cats is if they can still smell it, then they think it is okay to keep peeing there. So you have to get rid of the spot completely.
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In the last month, I have seen three dead cats on the road…to me three cats ending up as road kill…. that’s a little disturbing.
Cats are very good at keeping themselves alive in adverse situations, but it’s when they make a little mistake….when they’re frightened or distracted….that’s what ends their lives.
They run out into the road while chasing a squirrel…or fall off the fence while stalking a bird…or make a wrong turn while being chased by a dog. That’s when they become road kill. Three cats in one month in my small community….hmmm… that’s three too many.
Then you see the little kid handing out posters that say, have you seen my cat? and it breaks your heart.
Most of the cats that end up dead haven't learned fear, so they trust that the car will stop or that group of angry people won't hurt him, but it never works out that way. There are so many instances of weirdos hurting cats.
So keep your cat indoors. I don’t think it is cruel to keep Neo indoors. I know he’ll be there when I get home at night and he’ll wake me up in the morning asking for breakfast. I know he's safe.
Because fleas cause illnesses that can kill your cat (see my previous post called sickness in cats from fleas) its a good idea to check your cats regularly. Unless you check, you may not even know your cat has fleas until it's too late.
I thought my vet was crazy when he checked Neo for fleas, because
If you suspect a sickness in your cats from fleas, consult your Vet immediately because fleas can kill! They don't all attack at once, and then your cat is dead. But rather over a short span of time, they can suck enough blood from your cat that your cats is weakened and can die. If your cat is seriously infested with fleas, the death is a slow and painful one, so please get treatment quickly.
This is the part that is a little scary, you may not even know that your cat has fleas. Fleas irritate the skin but unless there is an allergy to the flea bite, you won't see your cat scratching. Your cat could be dying and you won't even know it!
Common sickness in cats from fleas include Dermatitis, Anemia, Parasites, and Tapeworm. All potentially life-threatening for your cat.
Dermatitis - itchy, irritated skin caused by allergies to flea bites. This only shows up if your cat has an allergy, or if the infestation is really, really bad.
Anemia - loss of blood causes sickness in cats from fleas. Your cat gets weak and lethargic, but by this time it could be too late to reverse the damage. Your vet might have to do a blood transfusion to save your cat.
Parasites - Fleas are parasites, but they carry other parasites that get into your cat's blood and cause a life threatening condition called Feline Infectious Anemia.
Tapeworms - Fleas can also cause a tapeworm infection by carrying tapeworm eggs from an infected animal to your cat.
Check your cat every time he comes in from outside and see your Vet if you suspect fleas!
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