Cat-Proof Your Home
Some things to consider before you bring your cat home. Pick a nice name. Pick something respectful. It’s ok to change the name that the shelter gave the kitty. We have researched the names of our cats to understand the meaning of the name. Have fun.
Knick Knacks and Everything else: This category includes anything that can be knocked over or spilled. Soxs is the only cat that likes to sleep on top of the cupboards. This meant that all the decorations up there had to come down. He jumps from the cupboard to the top of the fridge and then up on top of the cupboards. It is his safe place. We have had flowers knocked over and they love to pull dirt from the pots. We solved this with stones from Dollarama. We tried marbles on top of the dirt but I found cats running around with marbles in their mouth. The marbles had to go as I did not want a kitty with swallowing a marble. I also had to strap the television to the cabinet to prevent it from being toppled when the cats tried balancing on it. We keep the kitchen free of sharp things. Knives are washed and put away immediately after use. Our everyday practice is to put a pot of cold water back on the hot element of the stove to prevent burnt feet. It is time to mention that all cat poisonous plants were removed. I have a list of poisonous plants that I got from the vet. Some of these plants include Jade plants, Azalea, Geranium, Easter Lily, Aloe, Corn Plant, Dieffenbachia, Daffodil and several others. Whenever we bring a new plant into the house we always do an internet search to check for animal toxicity. This is even necessary for outside plants if the kitty goes outside. The bathroom is another dangerous spot in the house. All cleaning chemicals must be stored away. Don’t use a chemical toilet bowl cleaner. If you have snoopy kittens please close the lid to prevent drowning until they are big enough to get out of the toilet on their own. Don’t leave little things like jewelry or anything kitty might like to play with and hide on you. One of my cats likes to chew plastic. This means that any plastic bag from bread bags to any vegetable wrapping has to be put away.
Protect Your Furniture
It is probably a good idea to put covers on soft furniture that you don’t want to be clawed. It will probably happen anyway but you will probably want to try. To help prevent furniture damage get a cat tree. We have a large heavy cat tree from AMERIKAT. It was purchased from Amazon and has stood up to the test of seven cats. Everybody uses it. We have three trees in total and they are indispensable. Cat toys are necessary. Things with a ball to push, tunnels, cardboard boxes with holes in them work well. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these things and some things just require some imagination to build. I have found that some soft items deteriorate with use and leave fuzz and fibres that are a choking hazard. These should be thrown away. In my opinion, declawing is not an answer to stop cat scratching. It is a cruel procedure much like cutting the first knuckle off each of your fingers.
A litter box is one of those items you will spend time maintaining. Cats love a clean box and if they are not using it might mean it is not clean enough. If you have small cats get boxes with low sides so they can get in and out without stress. When I litter trained the kittens all I had to do was put them in it once and training was over. Now that all of the cats are big we use boxes with tall sides. Two of our litter boxes are plastic storage tubs. This prevents litter from getting kicked all over, you will still have to clean around the outside of the box. We are using Purina Tidy Cats Litter at this time. It is fairly dust-free and easy to scoop out. I have tried wood chips. Wood chips reduce odour but after a week it looked like I was building furniture in the house. I have read that there should be a box per cat. We have five boxes for seven cats and it is working out well. We scoop out the boxes at least three times a day or when we see or smell something. It seems that indoor cats get lazy and don’t like to cover and uncovered cat poop really stinks. But this is a good time to visually check the condition of your cat’s health. A good poop looks like a tootsie roll. We all get diarrhea at times and an occasional episode should not be a cause for concern, but if there is blood or something that does not look right it is wise to call your vet. Once a week we empty the litter boxes and wash them with soap and hot water, splash in some baking soda and replace the litter. We reuse the scooped out clean litter. If you are pregnant it is necessary to be careful around the litter box. Toxoplasmosis is a disease transmitted by cats. Though a serious disease, it is preventable and rare. The possibility of transmission to human beings from touching or caring for indoor cats is minimal to nonexistent because an indoor cat on a commercial diet does not become infected with toxoplasmosis. Feces from outdoor and feral cats can still present a risk. You do not have to get rid of your cat. To reduce your risk of infection have someone else clean the litter boxes. If you must clean the box use disposable gloves and a dust mask. Feed your cat high-quality food and keep them indoors. Wash your hands often and keep your kitchen clean. Now kitty is ready to come home.
Feeding Your Cat
Cats are meat-eaters. As an obligate carnivore, the necessity to eat meat means that the cat gets its amino acids and vitamins directly from the meat. It is impossible to make a vegetarian out of a cat. Simply put, a cat must eat meat to live. Our feeding schedule at home consists of two feedings of wet canned food and a supply of dry food available at all times. While not the best arrangement it lets the cats that don’t like wet food to eat as required. We feed the best wet and dry cat food we can afford. Some times it is necessary to switch foods as the kitties demand a change and ignore the wet food they have been eating for months. Then we switch back when the moods change. Dog food is inappropriate for cats. Cat food is formulated for cats to provide proper nutrition. Dogs can eat cat food. Cats cannot eat dog food as an only diet. It has been recommended that a cat be fed smaller portions more often. This makes sense from a cat hunter standpoint, however, if there is no one home throughout the day this schedule is hard to maintain. As we are providing our cats with a well-maintained environment it is ok to have the cat follow our schedules. Don’t forget to provide lots of freshwater. We use steel bowls and add or change the water regularly. We also tried a charcoal filtered water fountain. The thing worked fine but clogged with hair so often we took it out of service. To make a long story short, feed a good quality wet and dry food. Have lots of water available. Treats are nice. Treats can be used for training, for rewards and a bedtime snack. Try not to overfeed. If I feed one of my adult females too much she will throw up. If you are up for a challenge there are cookbooks available on Amazon to home cook for your cats.
Great Articles On Pet Foods
Here is a fantastic review of cat foods titled: The Best Cat Food, Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend from Reviews.com. This is a must-read to help you pick the right food for your cat. Click on the link: reviews.com.
Let’s start with long-haired cats. A cat’s natural instinct is to groom themselves. This means that as they lick their bodies they ingest hair. These cats should be groomed daily and observed for hairball symptoms. A hairball blockage is serious and a visit to the vet is necessary. Symptoms of blockage include vomiting, gagging or retching without producing a hairball, a lack of appetite, lethargy, constipation and diarrhea. A hairball that is vomited out is a long cylinder of hair that was in the stomach that didn’t pass through the intestine. I watched Tenzin throw up three times one night. They must hurt because he cried each time. This is not the same as vomiting food as that passes easily and then they stand back and look at it before walking away. Tenzin spent a day at the vet where they gave him a laxative and sent him home. He now gets brushed every day and a hairball treat once a day plus some hairball cream on his paws at night. This was Tenzin’s first problem with hairballs after a year of living with us. Alexis had a hairball issue from the time she moved in. She gets hairball cream daily. She doesn’t like to get brushed so we give a few brushes whenever we find her sitting. Hairball cream is a laxative and helps move the hair out of the digestive tract. The hairball treats help with this also. In short brush often and give hairball medicine. I think the treats help but hairball medicine works better. I like to use hairball medicine that does not use petroleum products. For removing matted hair we use brushes and a comb with sharp blades to cut through the mat. If the mat is thick it might have to be removed with scissors or an electric clipper. If you cannot get the matted hair out, a trip to the groomer might be necessary.
Short hair cats also need brushing and they can have hairball issues also. While it may not be as big a problem as a long-haired cat if your cat likes brushing brush them. We use a brush with wire bristles on one side and a soft brush on the other. Be sure to brush and clean under the tail.
Toenails need to be trimmed. Buy a good set of clippers. Hold the cat in your lap and hold the paw in one hand and squeeze the main pad as required to express the claws. Clip off the hook. Be careful not to cut too short and make them bleed. There is a paste you can buy to stop the bleeding. I used liquid band-aid on my dogs. I have seen cats, not like this process and you might do one paw now and one paw latter. Start by leaving the nail a bit longer until you get comfortable with this job. Good luck, this will save your furniture and your soft parts.
I want to talk about worms for a moment. All cats will come with worms. If you get a kitten, deworm the kitten as soon as the vet says so. If you find a ball of clear noodles in the sandbox or if you see your kitten hunch over and vomit these clear noodles, its worms. If you administer the pill yourself gently open the mouth at the back of the jaw and put the pill in the mouth. Place your mouth over the kitten’s nose and mouth and blow gently and the pill is gone. I have seen the vet put the pill in the cat’s mouth and wash it down with a syringe of water. Both techniques work. My last two kittens got sick from worms and required an oral antibiotic after the deworming medicine. The first time I saw cat worms it was a surprise and a distressing event.
This topic generates lots of cat care questions. I personally do not agree with free-roaming cats. There are just too many hazards outside to be worth the risk. At some point, I would like to build a large cat run with grass and some trees so that all my cats can get some fresh air. There are many plans for these enclosures as well as easy to assemble structures available on Amazon. Until this happens two of my cats go outside on leashes. They are monitored and are never left alone outside. I use a 25 foot lead on the harness and as I let them roam I can always have a view as to where they are. The long lead is always getting caught on something so I have to be there to rescue them. Roxanne climbed a tree and wrapped the lead in the branches, so out came the ladder and I got her down. I use a harness with an over the head loop. I leave this one permanently clipped. It is adjusted so I can slip it off the kitty’s head without stress. Then I clip the belly strap up and out we go. In this configuration, I have had the cat pull completely out of the harness. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Normally it is hard to get out of the harness, but the cat got very frightened and ran to the house. From this incident, I thought that if the cat ran away and got stuck in the bush they could have at least a way to escape the harness. Both Soxs and Roxanne will run to the house and want in NOW if they are really scared. Esther is always hanging around the door, so I thought I would put her in the Harness and try going outside. When we got out she became totally frightened. Back in we came. This lasted less than two minutes. If you are going to try leash training I would recommend short trips and wear a jacket and gloves so you can restrain your cat before it runs away. Keep a good hold on the leash and expect anything and be ready to pick up your cat and go in. To pick up a scared cat try to get around the four paws and hold the cat to your chest and with your other hand wrap around under the cat’s neck and over the back for control. Practice where it is quiet before going down the street or sidewalk. If you don’t get control quickly when the cat gets scared you will never be fast enough to capture that cat when it is running scared. My cats don’t like to lead. I have seen cats on YOUTUBE lead. Mine don’t. If you want your cat to lead it will take time, patience and practice. I like harnesses. There is less of a choking hazard. I don’t use collars.
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4 thoughts on “Maintaining your Cat”
Oh no! I love gardening and I didn’t know that Geranium and Daffodils are super harmful to cats. This is terrible. I really look forward to my daffodils blooming to announce the start of springtime.
Thanks for the great tips on helping to remove hair balls. I really appreciate that.
Thanks again for the advice.
Thanks for the input. I am glad someone found something useful on my site.
Hi! Thanks for this very informative and in depth article on maintaining your cat.
I totally agree with you when it comes to keeping your cat indoors. Like you, I walk my cat on a leash every day, several times a day. He’s actually well-known in the neighborhood now and people come out to greet him. He walks just like a dog and takes the lead. I’ve done this with all my cats. They all were/are Siamese.
Do you think breed has anything to do with training your cat to walk with a leash?
Thank you for reading the article. I think that time,patience and practice work together to have a kitty lead properly. It sounds like your are a cat whisperer. Good job. While my cats lead, I don’t think Soxs or Roxanne would like to be adventure cats. I know that some of my cats will not respond to the leash. I have read that Maine Coons, American Bobtail like to lead. I have no personal experience with these cats. Thanks for reading.Allthe best.