Pets

Cat Scratch Fever

Like a lot of cat owners my furniture aesthetic ranges from moderately maimed to utter annihilation. There is just something about a couch that gets a cat’s claws itching for destruction.

Here are some methods I’ve used in my attempts to keep the demolition at bay.

Step 1

The first step is to trim your cat’s nails. It’s not a fun task, but dull claws mean less damage to your home.

Step 2

The most important step in correcting this behavior it providing scratching surfaces for your cat. This allows them to scratch that natural itch to use their claws.  

So how do you get them to use a scratching post?

Cricket found the cat nip enticing – Teighlor C.

Place the scratching post in a prominent location. Though tempting to put the post where we like it best, cats use scent and scratch marks to communicate and they like their messages to be loud and proud.

Use catnip to lure your kitty over to where you’d like them to scratch. When your cat uses the surface reward them with play and treats!

That all being said my six cats have two scratching posts and a $200 cat tree and still attack my couch at every opportunity. So how do you deter them from your furniture and carpet while you train them to use a scratching post? Here are some methods I’ve tried with mixed success.

Deterrent Sprays

Not to be confused with squirting a cat with water, which doesn’t do anything but make your cat upset and your furniture wet. Deterrent Sprays come in many shapes and forms, from using scents cats find unpleasant to sprays specifically designed to train your cat. While having to reapply daily is a downside and the odors can be quite strong, sprays are affordable and can be found at most pet supply stores. (I can try to get an image of the spray mist, but worried about showing labels). 

Feliway or other Synthetic Cat Hormones

As a standalone Feliway is not a solution, but I included this one in the list because it has been successful in helping with various behavioral problems amongst my six. Synthetic hormones help to promote a calm environment making anxious cats feel more secure, which leads to less territorial marking in general.

Tape

A lot of professional behaviorists recommend this method and there are two kinds of tape suggested. Double-sided tape, which creates an unpleasant sticky surface that cats hate, and a thick tape like SmartyKat Scratch Not Tape. The problem with double-sided tape is that it’s unpleasantly sticky for everyone, not just the cats, and getting your arm hair or clothing caught in it is not pleasant – trust me. It’s also easy for cats to find cracks in your defenses and before you know you’ve covered your couch in so much tape it looks like it has a plastic slipcover from the 1950s. However, it was the most successful method for me. The one-sided tape only needs to be replaced every few months and the cats left the couch alone where it was taped.

Check out the links below for more information to help curb the clawing habit: 

https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-health-grooming-care-trimming-nails-claws-ask-a-vet

https://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=666

https://www.purrfectpost.com/train-your-cat-to-stop-scratching-your-couch-in-7-days-or-less/

https://www.purrfectpost.com/how-to-train-your-cat-or-kitten-to-use-a-scratching-post/

Pets

Urine Trouble Kitty

Many people will agree that there is nothing harder than getting the smell of cat urine out of carpet and furniture! Even a normally fastidious feline can suddenly start peeing outside of the box, or spraying the walls. Urine marking is one of the top reasons cats are abandoned and surrendered to shelters. People don’t understand the root cause and give up on the problem before ever attempting to resolve it. Remember it is always important to check with your vet when unusual behavior pops up. There are many reasons why your cat could be suddenly urine marking.  

AGE

When a kitty becomes a senior they can suffer from arthritis pain. This pain can discourage the use of litter boxes. You should consult your vet to check your cat to see if pain management is an option. Purchasing a low-sided pan with no cover can also be helpful as it is easier to access.

PAIN

As with aging joints, other pain can cause the kitty to associate using the litter tray with discomfort. This can range from urinary tract infections to impacted bowels. Each can be life-threatening for a cat! It’s important to have your vet check them for a UTI infection and alert them if your cat strains during a bowel movement or if there is blood in their stool.

TERRITORIAL MARKING

If you have multiple cats inside your household or stray cats that roam around outside it can make your kitty feel insecure in his or her environment. This is also one of the more difficult behaviors to correct in felines. For this, there are multiple solutions depending on the situation.

  • Spay and neuter as early as possible. This goes especially for males as once a tom begins to spray this behavior can remain even after the procedure.
  • Drive off strays or feed them further from your home. Another option is to have them fixed as well. This will also help with cat overpopulation so you’ll be doing a good deed. For information on how to get started with Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) for feral cats please contact Ally Cat Allies
  • Finally, remember the golden rule: one litter box for each cat in your home plus one extra. Territorial cats can resource guard and having less to fight over can make them happier in their environment.

CHANGES TO THE ENVIRONMENT

One common cause of sudden urine marking is a change in the cat’s normal routine. This can be anything from a new baby in the home to a new litter in the box. Cats can be very sensitive to these changes and many will react by – you guessed it – pee around the house. If you’ve tried changing the litter, go back to the old kind and slowly transition to the new by mixing. If you’ve got a new addition to the home remember this is a huge change for your cat and can cause a great deal of stress. Before the baby, put up the new nursery furniture as soon as possible. Play sounds of babies crying. The cat will need time to adjust. When the baby is home, introduce the two slowly in a quiet environment with lots of treats. Products like Feliway can help ease them into this transition. 

Never thrust sudden changes on a cat and expect them to adjust immediately. If you do then you’re failing your feline when you blame them for their stress reaction.

If all else fails, seeking a cat behaviorist can help give you further insight into causes and solutions for your cat’s naughty habits!

Pets

Meet the New Kitty! Tips for Starting a Multi-Cat Family

I’ve seen it time and time again. You’re at the pet supply store buying some food for your resident cat then you notice that the local animal rescue is having a pet adoption event. In the corner, you spy a tiny kitten. You feel an instant connection with the ball of fluff. There is no stopping it. I mean you already have all those cat supplies at home. What’s one more?

Without giving it another thought, you sign the paperwork and head home elated. However, your beloved house cat greets the newcomer with a less than a hospitable tirade of hisses and growls from your –rather angry – feline.

Never fear! If there is one subject I know after living in a house with six cats, it’s how to handle troublesome cat behavior. Hopefully, the information in this post will settle your cat disputes amicably and keep the fur from flying. Following some simple steps will ensure that your new cat will transition into your family seamlessly.

Tips for a Peaceful Transition into a Multi-Cat Home:

  • Have both cats checked by a vet to make sure there are no underlying problems that could increase aggression.  
  • Give them SPACE! If there is one thing I’ve learned about my kitty companions, it’s that they don’t care to have their personal space violated. Let your two cats have separate rooms away from one another so they can exchange greetings behind closed doors!  
  • Wait 2-3 days and swap spaces. Cats do altogether better if they don’t see each other during the introduction. Getting to know each other through smell first will allow your cat to adjust to the new cat’s presence without the chance of a fight. 
  • Keep things positive! Feed and play with both cats near the entrance of where you’re keeping the new cat isolated. Enlist a friend to make it more fun! 

This process must be gradual and can take several weeks in some situations. If successful the cats will remain peaceful when they greet each other. If your house turns into a war zone immediately following the meet and greet – start the introduction process over again.

Warning Signs to Watch for in a Multi-Cat Home:

  • Aggression: Hissing accompanied with growling, prolonged eye contact, bristled tails, and arched backs.  
  • Urine Marking: It may be how dogs say, “hello”, but it is usually how cats say, “go away, this is mine!” Urinating outside of a litter box often means your cat is stressed.  
  • Resource Guarding: This can lead to bullying and aggression. Cats do not like to share – well – anything, so make sure each cat has a food bowl, water bowl, and resting area. The golden rule for litter boxes is one for each cat – then one extra. 

Change is never easy for anyone but especially cats! Breath deep, have patience. I promise in time, you’ll have a peaceful multi-cat home.

https://www.petfinder.com/cats/bringing-a-cat-home/cat-to-cat-introductions/

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/how-to-introduce-a-new-cat-to-an-old-cat/

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/introducing_new_cat.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/