February is Pet Dental Health Month and a good time to learn how to keep your pet smiling and healthy.
February is Pet Dental Health Month and a good time to learn how to keep your pet smiling and healthy.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
During the party
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.
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.
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:
Some of the worrying causes of drools:
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.
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
Water Bowl Protocol
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.
Cats’ eyes are fascinating! Here are some interesting facts about how your cat sees the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A narrow pupil can indicate anger or irritation, while a wide open pupil is indicative of fear or excitement.
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.
With some awareness and a little bit of time, you can turn your fat cat into a lean, mean purring machine.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.