Category Archives: Cats

How to Teach Your Kitten to Scratch His Post, Not Your Furniture – by Catster

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How to Teach Your Kitten to Scratch His Post, Not Your Furniture

Scratching is an inborn and hard-wired behavior in your kitten. It serves a variety of vital functions including grooming, territory marking, emotional release, and stretching. Your kitten needs to scratch, and if you don’t want him to scratch your carpets or furniture, you need to provide him with a better alternative – and here’s how:

  1. The first thing to do is get a good scratching post or a high-quality cat tree with one or more good scratching posts. The post needs to be tall enough that your kitten can get a good stretch, and it needs to have a good, sturdy base so it won’t wobble or cheap generic cialis fall over when it’s being used. Sisal fabric and rope are the two best materials for scratching posts. Carpeted posts may cause problems because your kitten will learn that it’s OK order cialis online to scratch on any carpeted surface, including your rugs.
  2. Start your kitten early with a scratching post. If you offer your kitten an awesome post and he marks it with his scent early on, it’s a lot more likely that he won’t scratch anywhere else.
  3. Put the post in a central location so he can’t miss it. If the post is obvious and easily available, your furniture and carpets will be safe. If you have a large house or apartment, consider getting several scratching posts so your kitten won’t have to look all over the place when he gets the urge to scratch.
  4. You won’t have to do a lot of teaching to get your kitten to use the post. He’ll probably use it as a jungle gym first because kittens love to climb to the top of things. Pretty soon his instinct to scratch will develop, and by скачать драйвер для принтера that time he’ll already be bonded to the post.
  5. Entice your kitten to scratch the post by playing games around the scratching post. A good game of “Thing On A String” will inevitably cause your kitten to dig his nails into the post; he’ll notice how awesome it feels and get the idea to use it for its intended purpose. You can also scratch on the post with your own fingernails or a fork. Just hearing the noise might tempt your cat to try it himself.

Cat Hairballs: Should I Be Worried?

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Cat Hairballs: Should I Be Worried?

The ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, just as modern cat lovers do, although we generally don’t carve our cat passions onto stone tablets. It’s important to keep these lofty thoughts about our felines in mind, particularly when one climbs out of bed in the middle of the night and a bare foot encounters the unmistakable cold and squishy cat hairball.

What Is A Cat Hairball?

What exactly are hairballs, and how concerned should you be if your cat coughs one up? First of all (not to split hairs), it’s a fallacy that cats “cough up” up a hairball. The hairball lives in the cat’s digestive system (not lungs), so technically the dreaded hairball is being regurgitated. Cats can spend up to 10 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves by licking their fur.

As a result, the hair can sometimes collect in their digestive tract. Hair that is not eliminated into the cat litter box may sometimes be expelled from the other end in the form of a hairball.

The scientific/medical name for a hairball is trichobezoar. It usually appears as a tightly-wound sausage-shaped lump of compressed hair that is vomited up by the cat. An occasional feline hairball is not normally a cause for worry. However hairballs can be deadly for self-grooming pet rabbits, which can’t regurgitate.

Hairball Signs And Symptoms

Cat hairballs are not normally an indication of a serious health problem, but if a cat vomits excessively (several times a week for more than a month) it should require a trip to the vet to see if there are other causes.

Cat vomiting can be a sign of many different behaviors or conditions, including the following:

  • Change in diet
  • Eating grass or plants
  • Spoiled food
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney or thyroid disease
  • Ingesting a foreign object
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

The occasional hair-filled puddle coughed up by your cat should not be a cause for alarm for anybody except your carpet cleaner. However, if persistent vomiting occurs, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian or animal hospital to determine if there is a more serious medical condition. In the most severe cases, a feline hairball can cause a blockage in the stomach, intestine or colon. Symptoms could include weight loss, loss of appetite and excessive coughing. Additional signs of a potential blockage might include frequent diarrhea and consistent retching or hacking that does not result in a hairball. If a hairball causes a blockage, surgery may be required to correct the situation and this can be dangerous for the cat and very costly for the owner.

Prevention And Treatment Of Hairballs

One of the most effective and least expensive ways to prevent hairballs in your cat is through daily brushing. There are a variety of combs and brushes available at any pet store to help you rid your cat of the excess fur that might end up causing hairballs. This is an especially important tip for longer-haired cats, or cats who groom themselves more often.

Other preventative measures and hairball treatments include a variety of dry cat food designed to maintain a cat’s digestive health. These foods (there are several on the market) generally contain various mild fiber blends to help increase normal elimination.

Providing kitty grass or a supervised visit to the lawn can also help a cat with their digestive problems. Most pet shops and even some grocery stores sell pre-grown containers of cat grass these days. Cats instinctively know when they need to eat grass and will generally do so willingly. These sources of extra fiber, along with exercise, will help get your cat’s digestive system moving in most cases.

Most cats will produce hairballs at some point in their lives. Being aware and monitoring the behavior to see if it persists or becomes more severe will indicate whether it is just an inconvenience or a sign of a medical condition that will require professional veterinary advice. Hairball jokes about cats are as common as, well, hairballs. But a responsible and observant owner will be able to tell whether their cat’s hairballs are routine or no laughing matter.

 

Why Laser Toys Can Be Bad News for Your Pet

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Why Laser Toys Can Be Bad News for Your Pet

By Dr. Becker

That tiny, bright-red dot of light your dog loves to chase after could have unintended consequences for his psyche. According to LiveScience:

“The lack of closure in laser-beam chasing could be messing with your dog’s head.”

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, animal behavior expert and professor at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, explains that your dog instinctively chases laser beams simply because, well, they move. Anything that moves like that is begging to be chased. Movement triggers a dog’s innate prey drive, which is why smaller prey animals often freeze in their tracks. And while dogs don’t see colors all that well, they have a keen ability to detect motion with their eyes.

According to Dr. Dodman, the continuous movement of a laser dot stimulates dogs’ predatory systems such that they cannot NOT chase it. “They can’t help themselves. They are obliged to chase it,” he says.

Chasing ‘Prey’ with No Hope of Catching It Isn’t Good for a Dog’s Psyche

So the question becomes, is it a good idea to trigger your dog’s prey drive using an object she has no chance of catching? Dr. Dodman believes it’s not a good plan, because dogs can get so obsessed with chasing the light that they develop behavior problems.

“I’ve seen light chasing as a pathology where they will just constantly chase around a light or shadow and pounce upon it. They spend their whole lives wishing and waiting,” says Dodman.

Never getting to the point of actually catching their “prey” can drive a dog slightly nuts. The same principle applies with bomb or drug sniffing dogs, as well as search and rescue canines. Trainers of these dogs have learned there are psychological consequences when the animals don’t find what they’re looking for, so their handlers occasionally arrange for them to find  a target as a way of keeping them emotionally balanced.

Alternatives to Laser Light Toys

The best way to satisfy your dog’s prey instinct at home (short of letting a live mouse or rabbit loose in the house) is with treat-release or puzzle toys that stimulate the canine drive to hunt, and also deliver a reward for your dog’s efforts.

Another option, if you just can’t put the laser toy away, is to first hide a few dog treats around the room, and then occasionally let the laser dot point out a treat your dog is able to actually “catch.”

What About Cats and Laser Toys?

As a general rule, kitties are less likely than dogs to develop an obsession and accompanying behavior problems as a result of chasing laser beams. You’ve probably noticed your cat has a relatively short attention span and loses interest quickly, so she’s not apt to engage in endless pursuit of a tiny dot of red light. In fact, felines in the wild stalk prey for only a few minutes at a time and then move on.

If you use a laser light toy as a way to help your kitty get exercise, and she’s willing to run and jump at the light for five or ten minutes a day, I encourage you to continue your routine. Too many indoor cats are overfed and under-exercised these days, so if yours gets physically active chasing laser beams, I say go for it.

Obviously, if you notice your cat is developing a laser beam obsession, you should switch to another type of toy that gets her active, but also delivers a reward when she catches up with it. Keep in mind your fluff muffin is a predator at heart, so choose toys that appeal to her natural drive to stalk and bring down prey. And toys don’t have to be high tech. Many cats will respond to a piece of string dragged across the floor, or a ping-pong ball.