Category: Cat (Page 1 of 8)

Tips & Facts for Pet Dental Health Month [Infographic]

February is Pet Dental Health Month and a good time to learn how to keep your pet smiling and healthy.

Tips & Facts for Pet Dental Health Month

 

Tips for Adopting a Cat

 

Shelters are full of wonderful cats who need loving homes. No matter how tempting it is though, you can’t take them all.

There are many factors to keep in mind before choosing your new feline friend. Here are some things to consider:

  • Consider your needs and expectations. If yours is a full-time working household, a low-key adult is a better choice than a kitten, who will need more time and energy. Will the cat be alone all day? Cats can become bored or depressed when left alone for long periods of time. In this case, consider a bonded pair of cats – cats who are buddies who can keep each other entertained while their owners are away.
  • Is this your first cat? If so, stay away from “excessive” cats – excessively shy, aggressive or demanding—they may be too challenging for your first feline experience. A better bet is the friendly outgoing cat who nuzzles and purrs and interacts with you. This is also a better choice for families with children younger than seven.
  • Do you have other pets? Your new cat must fit in with your other pets. Make sure to introduce them and see if it’s a fit before making a commitment.
  • Do you have children? Children should not chase or corner cats, and both cats and children should be supervised when together. Make sure your house is cat-friendly too – it needs high areas, such as shelves or counters that are inaccessible to children. Baby gates can also help create a safe space for the new cat. You’ll also need room for litter boxes, feeding stations and sleeping areas.
  • Consider a special needs cat—shelters are overflowing with cats, which means many elderly cats or cats with physical or behavioral challenges are the first to be euthanized. These special cats can make wonderful pets, and if you can accommodate their needs, it is well worth the extra effort knowing you’ve saved a cat’s life.

The wide diversity of cats in Pet Supermarket, local shelters and rescue groups ensures that with some patience and thoughtful consideration, you will find a kindred spirit. Many rescue organizations vaccinate, de-worm and test for feline leukemia before allowing cats to be adopted. Some spay/neuter before adoption as well. Ask for specifics on what is included in the adoption package.

Having a cat in your life adds companionship, humor and perspective. A cat can help teach your child responsibility and empathy for others. Once you make the commitment, your cat will enhance your life in ways only a furry feline friend can.

Importance of a Cat’s Diet


More than any other pet, what you feed your cat shows on the outside. Cats need proteins, fats, carbs, water, vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Read on to learn the nutritional fundamentals for keeping your feline friend healthy.

  • Protein: Just as protein is important to your own healthy diet, it’s essential for cats too, and should be the biggest part of your cat’s diet. It supplies essential substances for growth and repair of body tissue, and also produces the energy your cat needs to run, prowl, and play.
  • Taurine: Taurine is a very important amino acid for your cat, and deficiency can contribute to a variety of serious health problems, like blindness, heart disease, and developmental abnormalities. Maintaining healthy levels is a particular challenge because cats have a limited ability to create taurine and it is easily lost in digestive waste.
  • Fat: While consuming too much fat can lead to obesity, it is required to absorb vitamins and as a source of fatty acids, which are important for wound healing, reproductive performance, and for a healthy skin and coat. Fat is also a main source of energy, since cats are unable to convert carbohydrates into energy.
  • Water: Water is one of the most important nutrients in your cat’s diet. If your cat eats canned or wet cat food, that can contribute to her daily water intake, but she should also have access to a water fountain with clean fresh water at all times to increase hydration.
  • Carbohydrates: Cats are not able to utilize carbohydrates as an energy source. However, some veterinary prescription diets include high-fiber foods for weight loss or other benefits.

There may be other nutritional factors to consider, depending on your cat’s age. Kittens, adults, and senior cats all have different needs that must be taken into account.

A high-quality, well-balanced diet not only nourishes your cat, it also helps maintain overall wellness and prevents future ailments. To keep your feline companion energetic and healthy for years to come, make sure she’s getting the best food possible that meets all of his specific needs.

Calming a Stressed Cat

Cats are creatures of routine, and can become very stressed when their environment changes. Due to their superior senses, even very small differences are detected and can cause stress. Here’s a thought to help put that stress into perspective—your home is your cat’s entire world.

Here are some tips to help keep your cat calm and stress-free.

  • Play with him. Physical activity can reduce stress and increase the hormones that cause happiness. A 10-15 minute play session can help you both feel better!
  • Use a pheromone diffuser (that releases scents into the air that cats can smell but humans can’t) or a calming supplement. Pet Supermarket carries a variety of these calming supplies, such as Head To Tail Calming Treats. These calming treats are suitable for all ages and breeds, and are an all-natural way to relieve stress without the risk of drowsiness, or impaired motor skills.
  • Try playing some music. Soft music with a slow rhythm can help relax your cat. Many people have had success with classical music, but almost any genre played at a low volume can help your cat de-stress.
  • Give your cat a box. Anxious cats need a space that feels safe. Small, confined spaces like a box, or even your cat’s carrier with the door left open, can provide a feeling of safety. A box also has the added bonus of giving your cat a lookout spot as well as a place to hide.
  • Try a cat tree—a cat’s condo is a special place where dogs and humans can’t fit. Having a place to climb up high allows for an escape as well as a perch to observe any perceived dangers or threats.

While it’s best to keep interruptions in your cat’s life to a minimum, changes are inevitable. But with a little preparation and time, you can help your cat adjust with minimal stress and anxiety.

Litter Options

Having a pet cat can be wonderful for so many reasons. They keep themselves clean, they cuddle with you when they feel like it, and you don’t have to rush home to walk them to prevent accidents. That last one comes with a trade-off however: kitty litter.

Though generally dreaded, kitty litter is not the smelly pile of sand it once was. It seems like it’s just a mound of dirt, but there have been many advances made in the efficiency, odor control and environmental impact of litter. So there are several options so you and your cat are sure to find one that pleases you both.

A Litter of Options
There are so many types available, it can be overwhelming to decide which to choose. Ultimately, your cat will help make that decision. While some cats will use any type of litter, some are very picky—if she doesn’t like it, she won’t use it and there’s little you can do to change her mind.

Most cats can be convinced to use the litter you prefer, but transition slowly so it’s not a sudden change. Start by mixing in a tiny bit of the new litter with the old litter. With every litter change, gradually increase the amount of new litter added, until eventually there is only new litter being used.

The different types of litter are:

Clay

  • Original type of kitty litter, what most cats are comfortable using
  • Absorbent, cats like it because it’s good for digging
  • Easy cleanup and decent odor control
  • Produces a lot of waste, doesn’t decompose, can create dust

Pine/Corn/Wheat

  • Environmentally friendly—decomposes naturally and may even be flushable
  • Very absorbent, good odor control
  • More expensive than clay, but also lasts longer
  • Some cats never adjust to the texture and won’t use it

Newsprint

  • Made from pellets of recycled newspaper
  • Larger pellets won’t stick to cat’s feet
  • Good odor control
  • Size of pellets can be difficult for cats to adjust to

Silica

  • Low maintenance—pellets change color when litter needs changing
  • Lasts longer than other types of litter
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Some cats don’t like the texture

Preparing Cats for Household Gatherings

Holidays can be a stressful time of year for cats, especially if you are an owner who frequently entertains at home. Large gatherings of new people, constantly ringing doorbells, and loud music can cause even the calmest of cats to become skittish or nervous.

Here’s how to make the holidays less stressful for your feline friends.

Before the party

  • Make sure there’s a quiet spot for your cat to hide out. Create a safe area in a separate area of the house full of your cat’s favorite toys, a bed, and a litter tray. Spend some time with your cat playing in this area to help them become familiar with it. Having a refuge to call their own will allow them to be more relaxed.
  • Decorate safely. Many party decorations can be hazardous to your cat—they look like toys! Set up the Christmas tree without decorations until your cat becomes used to it, then add the decorations high and out of reach. Avoid using glass decorations, and tape wires down or keep them behind furniture. Pine needles, holly and mistletoe are all slightly toxic to cats. Candles are another thing to watch out for—cats love to knock things over!

During the party

  • Keep an eye on your cat. Whether your cat is nervous and hiding, or the life of the party, make sure to check in with them from time to time. They can be spooked by the hustle and bustle, and the additional change in routine can add to that stress. Having a few moments with you, as she would on a normal night, can be calming.
  • Make sure your guests aren’t feeding your cat any party food nibbles or leftovers. Let your guests know that even if your cat looks interested, that they have set feeding times and diets and should not be offered any food. Also be careful of things like chicken bones in the garbage—these are serious choking hazards and can require an emergency visit to the vet.

Keep in mind, this is your cat’s house too, and she should never be forced to socialize. If, despite your best efforts, you see her getting tense or anxious, you may want to try a product that includes calming pheromones, such as Head To Tail Calming supplements. These are healthy treats that are specially formulated to help your cat de-stress and relax without causing drowsiness.

Tips for Feeding In A Multi-Cat Household

Handling a single hungry cat is pretty simple. Feeding more than one cat in a household can be difficult. Many factors can present challenges: the number of cats involved, their temperaments, the size of feeding area and number of dishes, as well as any specific dietary needs that have to be considered.

Cats evolved as solitary hunters, and they ate many small meals in a day. Today, cats have one of two types of eating habits. The majority are “nibblers”—they’ll nibble at their food if it’s left out during the day (free-feeding). The others are meal feeders.

Free-feeding presents additional challenges in multi-cat homes, because it’s not easy to monitor each cat’s appetite and food intake. Also, assertive cats may prevent shyer cats from accessing the food bowl, or intimidate them into leaving the food before they have finished eating. Conflict among cats is often subtle, so you may not even be aware this is happening.

So what is the solution? Generally in most multi-cat households, meal feeding with individual stations is the best approach. This is especially true if any of the cats requires a specific or special type of food. One idea is to feed each cat in a separate room of the home, with the door closed. Ideally a regular feeding schedule is adhered to, and each cat is given a certain amount of time to eat.

At all times, water should be freely available in several locations. If separate rooms isn’t possible, setting up dividers or partitions might create enough division for everyone to eat peacefully. Or think vertically – cats like to jump and climb, so their food dishes could be separated at different levels of surfaces in the home.

Regardless of the feeding plan chosen, make sure to consult your vet about the amount of calories your cat should consume each day. Obesity is the biggest health concern facing cats in the US today, and by simply being aware of how much food your cat needs and avoiding overfeeding, you can greatly improve your cat’s health.

Tips for a Stress Free Vet Visit

  • Be aware that your behavior influences your cat’s behavior. If you are nervous or on edge, they are likely to be also. Offer your cat plenty of love and affection before preparing to leave for the visit, as this can help both of you stay calm.
  • An important stress reducer is getting your cat to feel comfortable with her carrier. If she only ever gets in it to go to the vet, that will be her only association with it. Incorporate it into your daily lives-make it a comfortable nap space, and offer treats when he’s inside for positive reinforcement.
  • The type of carrier you use is also important-it should be large enough for your cat to be able to stand, stretch and turn around in. Hard carriers with a top-loading option make it easier to lift out a fearful cat. You can also try covering it with a familiar towel from home to help block out some of the frightening stimuli of the vet’s waiting room.
  • The car ride can also be a negative association for your cat. Cats like things to be familiar and predictable, and a car ride is definitely not part of their daily routine. Once she’s used to the carrier, try taking her for shorter car rides every once in a while, just around the block or down the street. While your cat may never grow to love riding in the car, if a trip doesn’t always end up at the vet’s office, it may become less stressful.
  • Not feeding your cat prior to the visit can help prevent any motion sickness caused by the car ride. An added bonus is that your cat will be more interested in any treats the vet offers.
  • Handle your cat often. Give your cat regular head-to-toe checkups at home. Even if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, it will help your cat become more comfortable with being handled. You’ll also notice any potential issues more quickly if you’re checking your cat frequently.

Cat Drool

Cats rarely drool like our canine companions do. A little saliva isn’t cause for worry, but if you notice your cat drooling excessively, it is most likely a sign of an underlying medical problem. As a rule, if your cat is drooling or foaming at the mouth for no obvious reason, drooling persists for more than half an hour, or there are other signs of illness simultaneously, it’s time to call the vet.

Some causes that might be behavioral or fairly benign include:

  • Salivation from fear or excitement
  • Car sickness, caused by motion or fear
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting a hairball
  • Sometimes a cat will drool with pleasure while being petted – the drool of happiness!

Some of the worrying causes of drools:

  • Dental disease—more than 80% of adult cats will develop periodontal, gum or other oral diseases that cause pain and may induce drooling.
  • Poison ingestion (or of a foul-tasting substance)—common plants like tulips, lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can make your cat drool, as well as make her sick.
  • Oral cancers—these can be very aggressive in cats and cause a large amount of drool.
  • Respiratory infection—drooling can signal an infection of the nose, throat, or sinuses.
  • Organ disease—as cats age, they’re more likely to get sick. Liver and kidney diseases can cause drooling. Annual checkups can help diagnose and treat these diseases early.
  • Foreign object or tumor in the mouth—some common objects that may get stuck in cats’ mouths include string, sticks, bones or fish hooks.
  • Rabies—it is a rare diagnosis, but if the cat has not been vaccinated against rabies and begins drooling and behaving unusually, it must be considered.

When in doubt, check with your veterinarian for an examination to rule out underlying causes for excessive drool. While normal for most dogs, our elegant feline friends aren’t fond of drool.

Kitty Hydration

Keeping your cat hydrated is always important, but especially so during the warm summer months. Depending on their weight and diet, your cat should be drinking two to four ounces a day.

If your cat is a picky kitty, you may need to try a few things to keep them properly hydrated.

Sparkling Clean H20

  • Refresh your cat’s water every day. Water that sits for a few days can get stale or contaminated.
  • Offer filtered water rather than tap water, which has minerals and chlorine.
  • If your cat eats dry food, make sure fresh water is always available. If you decide to add water to their food, make sure to dispose of it as soon as they are done eating to prevent spoilage.
  • If your cat is on a wet-food diet, they will need less water, but feel free to add a little to their food bowl.
  • Refill their water to the same level daily. This will make it easier to notice any changes in her water intake.

Water Bowl Protocol

  • Wash their food bowl often and rinse all traces of dish soap, which can burn their tongue.
  • Your cat might not like having their water close to her food source. In this case, a double feeder bowl with food and water next to each other would be a turn off. Try separate bowls instead.
  • Glass or stainless steel bowls are preferable as plastic may leave an unpleasant taste.
  • Some cats don’t like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl when they drink. Give them more room with a wide, shallow bowl.
  • If your cat prefers to drink running water, get them a water fountain. A water fountain can provide a continuous flow of fresh, filtered water for your cat. It could be a source of water and play!

Keep the fresh water flowing for a healthy cat and be sure to monitor their water intake. If they are drinking more or less than normal, they should see a vet to be checked for any potential health issues.

All About Cats’ Eyes

All about your cat's eyes.

Cats’ eyes are fascinating! Here are some interesting facts about how your cat sees the world.

  • Cats see very well in low light (but not total darkness).

Compared to most humans, cats have poor vision. However, they can see things we can’t. They give up the ability to see fine detail and rich colors in exchange for being able to see in the dark.

  • Cats don’t see intense colors.

They’re not completely color-blind, but they see less colors than humans, and the ones they do see are less-saturated. Scientists believe that cats see blues and yellows fairly well but they can’t distinguish between reds and greens.

  • Cats’ vision is sharpest 2-3 feet from their face.

Many researchers believe cats are farsighted because their lens doesn’t change shape to compensate for focusing close up, so they don’t see fine details that we might see.

  • Domesticated cats have vertical pupils.

This allows them to open and close faster than the round pupil humans have. This helps them adjust to light changes rapidly, and to quickly detect sudden movement. Interestingly, lions and other big cats have the same round pupils that humans have.

  • In addition, the pupil also indicates emotional state.

A narrow pupil can indicate anger or irritation, while a wide open pupil is indicative of fear or excitement.

How to Help Your Fat Cat Become a Fit Cat

Putting your fat cat on a diet.

Keeping a cat fit is a challenge, since they live mostly inside and love to sleep all day. So it’s no surprise that more than half of the cats in the United States are overweight. While an overweight cat may seem cute, their excess fat can cause more serious health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease. With all of this in mind, we have some tips to share for helping your cat to get—and stay—in great shape.

  • Food quality: Cat’s bodies are designed to process a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Feeding a cat solely dry food and processed treats contributes to their weight gain. Dry food tends to be higher in carbohydrates, while wet food is generally protein-rich. For a little variety, Pet Supermarket offers a large assortment of delicious canned foods as part of your cat’s healthy diet.
  • Food quantity: Find out how much food your cat actually needs, which can vary based on age, breed and activity level, and limit their daily intake to that amount. If you “free feed” them, they’re much more likely to overeat.
  • Skip the milk: Despite popular belief, milk is very bad for cats. They lack the necessary enzyme for breaking down the lactose found in milk. Instead, provide plenty of fresh water in a bowl that’s cleaned daily.
  • Keep playing: Increase your cat’s activity level by playing with them more frequently. Laser pointers and feathers are examples of toys that most cats love and will chase, helping them to burn off more calories. We have an outstanding selection of cat toys that will keep your cat mentally stimulated and motivated to play.
  • On the hunt: Give your cat a challenge and get him moving by hiding his food in small bowls around your house. Not only will he get moving trying to find it, it will also engage him mentally as he “hunts” his “prey”.

With some awareness and a little bit of time, you can turn your fat cat into a lean, mean purring machine.

Which Common Plants are Poisonous to Cats?

Learn which plants are poisonous to cats.

If your cat has ever ingested a dangerous substance, you know how scary it can be. Luckily, most of these scary situations are preventable.

To help keep your cat safe, here is a list of some common plants that are known to be poisonous to cats.

Autumn Crocus: can cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, or even heart arrhythmias. Although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, the toxicity is highest in the bulbs.

Lilies: the tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese lilies are highly toxic to cats. One bite of a leaf, or even just the pollen from a plant in the lily family can cause lethargy and vomiting within 12 hours of ingestion. If not treated, your cat may go into kidney failure.

Corn Plant: (also known as cornstalk plant, dracaena, dragon tree or ribbon plant) contains saponin, which is toxic to cats. If the plant is ingested, vomiting (with or without blood), appetite loss, depression and/or increased salivation can occur. Affected cats may also have dilated pupils.

Azalea: even ingestion of just a few leaves of Azaleas can cause oral irritation with subsequent vomiting and diarrhea in cats. In severe cases, ingestion can cause a drop in blood pressure, coma and death.

Daffodil: although the entire plant is considered toxic to cats, it is the bulb that is the most toxic. Ingestion of any portion of a daffodil can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, arrhythmias, convulsions, and a serious drop in blood pressure.

Sago palm: also known as the Coontie Palm, or the Cardboard Palm, the Sago Palm is an extremely poisonous plant to cats. When ingested it can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding disorders, liver failure and death.

Aloe: (also known as medicine plant or Barbados aloe) is a common succulent containing aloin, a substance toxic to cats. The bitter yellow substance is found in most aloe species and may cause vomiting and/or reddish urine.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the plants above, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see if symptoms appear, because in some cases of poisoning, by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save the animal.

Dental Disease in Cats: What You Should Know

 

Dental Disease in Cats: What You Should Know

Dental disease and dental related complications affect approximately 85% of cats that are ages three and older. It is important to be mindful of your cat’s oral health as it plays a key role in their overall health. Healthy teeth for a healthier body!

Plaque and tartar are the primary causes of dental problems, as once these begin to form, cats become more susceptible to a host of problems such as periodontal disease. Plaque and tartar can be caused by diet, chemistry of the mouth and teeth, and even a lack of brushing. Yes, you can brush your cat’s teeth!

It is important to have your cat’s teeth examined at least once a year during their normal exam. If your cat has had problems with their teeth, more frequent exams are encouraged. Your vet will check for three of the main signs of dental disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and stomatitis. While gingivitis is the most common, it can be maintained with routine brushing and cleanings. If periodontitis sets in, tooth extractions usually occur as the gums become too inflamed and infected to house healthy teeth. Stomatitis is very severe and can be life-threatening as is causes inflammation in the entire oral cavity which can make eating and drinking difficult.

With routine brushings and dental check-ups, your cat’s oral health can be maintained and he or she will have many happy years with healthy teeth!

How to Boost Your Cat’s Social Skills

How to boost your cat's social skills.

Is your cat aloof or even antisocial? Cats, while not as social as dogs, can and do live in groups peacefully and co-exist with humans successfully. There are some steps you can take to try to entice your cat to be more social.

While it’s possible that they may never be your snuggle buddy, at the very least these steps can strengthen your bond with your cat.

The bare necessities
First of all, make sure your cat has all the basics she needs to be happy, healthy and comfortable. This means a dependable supply of fresh water, a quality nutritious food, and a clean litter box. Some toys and treats, along with a bed and a scratching post, help provide your cat with a safe and comfortable environment. With your cat’s basic needs met, she will be more relaxed and able to interact more readily.

Pair affection with food
Most likely your cat will be happiest while eating, so that’s a good time to introduce petting. Put food in the dish and while your cat is eating, gently and unobtrusively pet them. Doing this regularly will help your cat associate your petting with the positive feeling of being fed.

Playtime
If your cat is reluctant to being held, try having a playtime session. A ball or a piece of string, some catnip or some treats, whatever your cat enjoys playing with—try getting on the floor with them and engaging them in some fun play. Playing together is a form of physical bonding that can lead to a more affectionate cat.

Body language
Cats have a complex system of communication using body language. You can use this system to your advantage by incorporating the slow eye blink. Blinking is a very powerful reassurance signal and is commonly used between cats. If a cat slow blinks at you, it’s a good sign. It means “We’re friends, and I feel comfortable”. Directing a slow blink back to our cat is a sign of love. Try it—eventually your cat may even come over and jump in your lap, giving you an open invitation to pet her.

Be patient
Transforming a reclusive cat into a cuddly lap-sitting cat will take time and patience. Don’t try to hurry the process—allow your cat to set the pace to ensure they are comfortable.

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