Common Cat Problems Solved: Some Helpful Cat Tips

April 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat picSome cat tips.

First and most important, never hit your cat no matter what it is doing wrong in your opinion. All hitting a cat will do is make it afraid of you and that will make it much harder to train your cat.

There are some purchases that justify spending the extra dollar and what your cat eats is definitely one of them. The difference between the “good food” and the “cheap food” is phenomenal. Just stick with buying the natural, healthy food from the beginning and you won’t ever have to worry about a picky kitten.

If you are introducing a new cat into a home that already has a cat or dog, it is best to try to socialize the animals gradually. Both dogs and cats are territorial. If you introduce a newcomer too quickly, the animals may never adjust. Keep the animals separate for a majority of the time and introduce them gradually over a few weeks. Leave the new cat in the carrier and allow the other cats to sniff and greet the new family member for a short period of time before moving to a private room with litter pan.

For tips and advice on living with a lot of cats far beyond the usual two to four (how many makes a herd of cats?) visit A House Full Of Cats for first hand expierence in making it work.

If you have allergies, there are many things you can do to make owning a cat more comfortable. Establish certain rooms, such as the bedroom or study, as allergen free rooms where you can spend time away from you pet and breath more freely. House air filters and frequent vacuuming can also help.

Provide plenty of scratching material for your cat, from the moment he arrives in your home. Although it’s not done out of malice, cats are almost guaranteed to ruin furniture with their claws if they don’t have a scratching post and scratching board with a slight rise of about an inch and a half. Provide them in each room and place within easy access.

Cats love to munch on grass and plants such as catnip. There are plants however that are poisonous to cats. Chrysanthemums, poinsetta and holly are beautiful and common around the Holidays, but can be very toxic to cats. Other plants that are toxic or lethal include lilies, rhubarb and daffodils.

Never Let Your Cat Eat: Onions in any form, garlic, cheese for people, chives, cool whip type products, milk, half and half, heavy cream, whipped cream with sugar (a teaspoon of fresh light whipping cream is ok now and then as a treat if well tolerated) alcohol in any form, grapes, rasins, caffiene, chocolate, candy, gum, xylitol sweetener, table scraps, fat and bones, raw dough, eggs, liver, meat and fish, dog food, human medicine of any kind, live or found dead prey, bird, bug, fish, lizard, mouse, rat (they will give your cat parasites/worms).

Learn what your cat’s food should look and smell like. Do not serve food that is stale or does not look or smell normal. If your cat appears to ignore it after a sniff, take a second look. Tossing out a dollar’s worth of wonky food can save hundreds in vet bills.

Be very careful if you have electrical cords and wiring hanging out all over your home. This is very attractive to a kitten and they may try playing with it. Not only can this damage the cords, but it can out your cat at risk for receiving an electrical shock.

Take your new kitten to see the vet as soon as possible. There are many issues that can plague a kitten, and you want to make sure that you are on the safe side. If you are worried about the cost of care, you should look for volunteer pet clinics in your area.

Cats can be prone to different illnesses, one of them being diabetes. Luckily, diabetes can be treated by the vet. With regular insulin injections your cat’s diabetes can be regulated. This means that your cat will end up living a long and healthy life. Eventually, your cat will get accustomed to the injections to make things easier on you.

Your kittens don’t want dirty mouths either, so take a toothbrush and clean those gums everyday before breakfast. Without proper brushing, cats can catch diseases, infections, and suffer serious side effects. A few minutes daily keeps these teeth healthy, strong, and sparkling. You should ask a veterinarian how to properly brush your cat’s teeth. If you don’t start this when very young, good luck trying this later.

It is best if your cats can be allowed to graze dry food all day unless one or more can not control their own weight. If your cat could stand to lose a few pounds, choose foods that help the animal to feel full. If the cat acts like it is hungry all the time, you will be tempted to feed (and overfeed) it. Look for cat foods that contain higher amounts of protein and fiber. This also promotes a healthy digestive system, which contributes to weight loss.

Try to be consistent within the type of cat litter and foods you buy your cat without making them addicted to one flavor. You do not want to create a people tuna cat, schedule it as a regular treat not a daily meal. If you mix foods up, it may cause some issues unless you start the cats off with multiple flavors within a brand so they are used to variety. Cats are creatures of habit, and they do not adapt well to change. If you must make some changes, it would be a good idea to do them gradually.

Consider adopting multiple cats, especially it will be spending a significant amount of time alone. One cat can do fine alone, however two are not much more work or expense than one, and can keep each other company and entertain each other. This will stave off boredom, especially if you work long hours.

Cats are all unique and some cats prefer different kinds of food than others and nothing is harder to please than a picky feline. As you get to know your pet, experiment with different foods and treats until you learn what they do and don’t like to eat. You will likely find that you both enjoy some of the same foods.

Common Cat Problems Solved: Separation Anxiety

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved, Featured

another cat pic

Question: My cat really hates to be left alone. When I leave the house for any extended period of time, such as to go to work or out for a social occasion, I return to a scene of devastation and a very unhappy cat. I can hear my cat crying out for me as I leave the house, and while I’m not there, they have a habit of destroying furniture and knocking things over. I can’t always be at home – so how do I stop it?

Answer: One of the most common causes of this is loneliness, as this type of behavior is seen most commonly in house cats where they are the only animal present. A simple solution is to take on another cat, as company for your existing animal. When they have another animal to socialize with, your existing cat may find being separated from you less distressing.

However, that isn’t always an option, so the next step is to create a comfortable scenario for your cat to be alone in. If you can’t cat proof the entire home, fill a room with toys and a comforting, familiar blanket. Then, use a small wind-up radio and leave it running. Your cat will therefore always be able to hear a human voice, which they should find reassuring. Ensure when you come home, you lavish affection on your cat to cheer them up and create a sense of confidence that you will always come back.

If your cat is destructive when you are not there, it is best to keep them to one room only while you are not present. Make sure ‘their’ area has some toys, a water dish and a tray, and remember to let kitty out as soon as you’re home.

Common Cat Problems Solved: Bathtime Blues

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

Question: Whenever I try and bathe my cat, I have a real fight on my hands. My cat will bite, scratch and claw at me in an attempt to get free, making the entire experience an absolute nightmare. I need to know how to bathe a cat – how do I do so without losing blood and making both cat and myself angry?

Answer: Cats are not big fans of water, and while you may think their monthly bath is completely reasonable, they’re unlikely to agree. They will fight, claw, scratch, hiss and make an almighty noise as they struggle for a dry freedom – and during this, you’re meant to be able to apply shampoo! It’s a nightmare.

The main reason for their aggression is fear; your cat cannot understand what is happening, so they object to it. Try and keep bath time a calm and simple affair. Begin by preparing your bath prior to fetching your cat. Lay out all of the items you need (shampoo, a comb, a towel) within easy reach of the bath, and only when the room is completely ready to go should you bring your feline in.

As you put your cat in the water, make soothing “hush” noises in the back of your throat. Do not shout if the cat scratches you; just keep calm and bite your tongue. Just imagine how scary it would be if someone suddenly threw you into a big tub of water for no apparent reason! The calmer you remain, the more likely it is your cat will also remain calm. Make the process as quick as possible, move efficiently from step to step and – most importantly – don’t lose your temper!

Common Cat Problems Solved: Stealing Food

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

Question: My cat does not seem to understand that he / she is not allowed to eat human food. They will often steal food off the kitchen counter or our dinner plates if we happen to turn our backs for one second. They are extremely sneaky and make life very unpleasant, as we have to constantly be on our guard. How do we teach them that they cannot eat human food?

Answer: The problem here is that the cat does not understand why they are not allowed human food, and no amount of cat training will actually rectify the issue. As an animal, who cannot understand reasoning, the idea that they cannot eat the incredibly tasty food they see before them is a cause of confusion. They want it, it looks nice, it’s right there… why not eat it?

As you cannot explain the hygiene and behavioural problems with a cat, the situation has to be dealt with differently. When your cat does eat food off a kitchen counter or a dinner plate, your reaction should be swift. Say “no” in a firm and powerful voice, then remove the cat from the room for the rest of the meal. If possible, keep the cat out of the room when food is around.

In terms of prevention, this is a difficult thing to achieve – as mentioned, you cannot override that instinct for wanting to eat what a cat conceives to be nice food. Always ensure your cat is well fed, so they are less likely to want to steal food – ideally, feed your cat a half hour before humans are going to eat. This, combined with clamping down on bad behaviour, should see a reduction in food theft.

Common Cat Problems Solved: Bullying Cat

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

Question: We are a multi-cat household, and one of the cats is bullying the other animals in the house. They are generally very aggressive, to the point where the other cats fear the bullying cat and will not eat or drink when this cat is around. I love all my cats, but this can’t continue – what can I do?

Answer: While cats are not pack animals by nature, they do tend to form roles within a social grouping. One of these roles will be as the alpha male or female; one cat who believes themselves to be the leader of the group, and takes a very authoritarian attitude.

In some cases, this manifests itself in aggression. The lead cat is often extremely territorial, and may – behind your back if necessary – be extremely protective of the food and water dishes, and sometimes the litter tray. Therefore the best way to deal with this problem in the first instance is to use separate food and water trays for the problem cat. Do not feed all cats together, but rather remove the one causing the issue and feed he or she in a separate room. When they have eaten, remove the dishes and trays so that the other cats cannot approach them; if this is allowed to happen, it can trigger aggression from the dominant cat.

This should calm the worst of the problems associated with territory – anything else you will have to deal with as it happens. If you see the problem cat being unnecessarily aggressive, remove them from the situation for a ‘time out’. They should soon learn you are not on their side, and you are ultimately the dominant one in the household.

Common Cat Problems Solved: Fighting With Others

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

Question: I have more than one cat in my household, and the cats fight with each other continually. Sometimes, it can even become so aggressive I fear for their safety. What should I do?

Answer: There are two, very different reasons, two cats (or more) could be fighting.

Firstly, there may be genuine emotional issues between the two. Some cats, just like humans, will naturally dislike one another. They may see themselves in competition for your affection, or there may be some other territorial transgression which neither animal can deal with.

If this is the case, separate the cats as much as possible – do not force them to interact with one another in the hope that they just ‘get over it’. Use separate feeding dishes (preferably in separate rooms), separate beds, separate toys – and ensure you lavish affection on them both equally. When they do fight, put each kitty in a separate room immediately until they have calmed down.

However, the primary reason for cats who live together actually fighting is boredom. What we as humans constitute as fighting may actually just be playing; even if they do occasionally hiss and scratch at each other. For cats, this is just a form of fun, a way to play around with their friend. You can alleviate this problem by introducing a range of toys into your home, such as mobile or cat DVDs, which will keep their attention off each other. All cats have different preferences, so experiment with different cat toys until you find something that truly holds their attention – and then, you can relax in a fight-free environment.

Common Cat Problems Solved: Excessive Meowing

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

Question: My cat meows and makes a lot of noise, seemingly for no reason. What can I do to stop it?

Answer: Firstly, you need to ensure there genuinely is no reason for your cat making noise or meowing excessively. One of the only ways a cat has to communicate any discomfort they are in is by making noise, so while the problem may not be immediately evident, one should not assume nothing is wrong.

If your cat is making too much noise, have a quick examine of he or she. Run your hands along their body and study their reactions; look for particular discomfort when you touch any areas, and investigate fully if your cat does express any sign of pain. Check their eyes, ears and teeth for any problems such as infections, and ensure their claws are trimmed and healthy looking. If you do find any problems, book an appointment with your veterinarian.

If, however, you find no problems, it is safe to assume the issue is more psychological than physical. Essentially, when a cat makes too much noise and they are not in any physical discomfort, they are attention seeking. They may want to be fed, to be played with, or just to sit on your lap – whatever, provided they have your attention.

The only way to combat this is to ignore them. If necessary, shut your kitty in a separate room until they have calmed down. By giving in and fussing over your cat, you will teach them that their cries for attention absolutely work – so they will see no reason not to continue to do it. Stay firm, and soon they will lose patience.

Cat Training Equipment – The Zapper Collar

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

One thing that people find with cats, perhaps more than any other domestic pet, is that the cat’s behavior will often be very much exactly what suits them, and that trying to persuade it to act against its instincts is something of a battle. There is no doubt whatsoever that cats are more comfortable behaving the way their instincts tell them, and so it is important to work with its instincts to make sure that it behaves in a way you can live with.

One very common behavior that is shown by cats who are used to getting their own way is scratching, when a cat gives its claws a workout by picking at furniture or carpets, and even when you call its name to warn it against doing so it tends to continue. Equally, a lot of cats have a tendency to “over-bury” in the litter tray, scratching away at the litter for a prolonged period until such time as it is physically removed.

One thing that is often used by owners to prevent cats from behaving in such a manner is the zapper collar. Some of these collars emit an electric shock which provides an impetus to stop problem behavior. However, there is great debate over whether this is a humane solution to problem behaviors. Many zapper collars are less than humane – after all, would you physically hit your cat for carrying out such behaviors? That is what it amounts to. However, more humane variations, including one that sprays a citrus scent (unpleasant but not injurious to cats), may be a worthwhile investment.

Litter Training Can Save Your Carpet

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

When you have a new cat, it is generally accepted that it is going to have its share of “little accidents” when it comes to using the toilet. As cats are creatures of instinct, it is only normal that, when it comes to performing natural bodily functions, it will basically respond to the “law of the jungle”, or to be more accurate it will urinate and defecate where it sees fit. If your cat is an indoor pet, this will generally take the shape of going on your carpet or hardwood floor, and then trying unsuccessfully to bury it.

Most people on buying a cat instantly also buy some necessary equipment, such as a litter tray. However, persuading a cat to go in the litter tray is not always easy. Such trays are filled with “cat litter”, which is usually made from natural substances and allows the cat to go to the toilet somewhere that it can bury what it has done. However, a tray filled with litter is not the same as a forest floor. It is also usually very specifically positioned, taking away the cat’s chance to go where it wants, so you need to be firm with training it.

Unlike humans, cats have a very quick digestive cycle, so the important thing when training one to use a litter tray is to wait for a few minutes after feeding, and then physically place the cat in the tray. It will discover that the litter enables it to bury what it has done, and in time will acclimatise to using the tray as its most efficient way of following its instincts.

The Carrot Is Better Than The Stick

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Common Cat Problems Solved

another cat pic

When a cat owner looks for the first time to train their cat – or at least, to correct certain problem behaviors – they will often find themselves asking the same question that is asked by trainers all over the world. Do I take the disciplinarian attitude that my rules must be followed (or there will be trouble), or do I decide that my cat will behave like it is supposed to (because it will be rewarded if it does)? This is a philosophical question – do you prefer to punish or reward?

In reality, it is probably a lot better to take the second way in this question, because cats are like people in that they react better to the promise of something good than the threat of something bad. Many people will tell you that cats simply don’t think in this way, but a simple little test will be all you need to see how a cat responds to repetitive actions. When you go to the cupboard where its food is stored, you will notice that the cat often runs over to you and either miaows or starts rubbing against you. The reason for this is that it has learned from habit that when you go to that spot, good things follow.

When you train a cat, a dog, or even a human being, by always having the threat of harsh treatment hanging over them you will only get one result. A timid being who is not free with their affections, and who may eventually turn on you in a most unpleasant manner.

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