How to be the best cat owner you can be

 

Guest Blogger:  Jessica Brody –http://www.ourbestfriends.pet.  Jessica enjoys writing about cats and dogs.  See her blog for additional photos and posts).

cat-649164_960_720

A cat is a great pet who can be just as loving a companion as a dog. It’s important to know, however, that cats are not dogs. They react differently to situations, learn and “train” differently, and require differing approaches to care. Here are some tips for being a great cat owner.

Know how to properly feed your cat

 Cats are carnivores, plain and simple. You can’t feed your cat a vegan diet and expect it to stay healthy.

“Money saved by buying cheap cat food will be spent hundreds of times over on veterinary care. Cats are obligate carnivores and need a good source of meat protein. They do not need large amounts of grain fillers, especially corn, which is a cheap source of protein used by many cat food manufacturer,” notes The Spruce.com.

Check your cat’s stool. If it appears too dry, you might want to switch to a wet food diet for a while or at least alternate between wet and dry food throughout the week.

And remember – don’t feed your cat milk, despite what all of the cartoons say. It can be harmful to them in many cases.

Make sure your cat gets enough exercise

It’s a myth that cats don’t need exercise. Sure, they don’t need as much as a dog – but cats that don’t exercise can develop a bevy of health problems, including heart disease and obesity.

… How do you ensure that your cat is getting enough exercise? The best way is to simply play with them for 15-30 minutes. If you have a fenced-in backyard, let them run around for a while. Make use of laser pointers. Your cat really will chase them for a long time. If your cat is suffering from obesity…talk to your vet about this more extreme exercise plan.

Give them a place to scratch

Cats will scratch. Like death and taxes, it’s a certainty of life. Make sure your cat has plenty of scratching posts to utilize. Never ever consider declawing a cat, even if they live indoors 100% of the time. It’s inhumane.

 Ensure pet family cohesiveness

One of the biggest challenges cat owners face is making sure the cat gets along with the other household pets – usually a dog. It’s important to remember that dogs and cats socialize in different ways, so “training” your cat the same way you trained your dog is not likely to have an effect on their behavior.

What you need to do is be mindful of the energy of the animals in your household. “It’s your responsibility to keep the family balanced by keeping the dog at the highest level of calm-submissive behavior, allowing the cats to become calm-assertive in front of him,” notes famed trainer Cesar Millan.

If your cats are showing aggression toward each other, it’s a different story with a different set of solutions. First, you should never let cats work through their issues with fighting. It just doesn’t work like that for them.

“Never let the cats ‘fight it out.’ Cats don’t resolve their issues through fighting, and the fighting usually just gets worse. Interrupt aggression with a loud clap of your hands or spray from a water gun,” says the ASPCA.

Once you separate your cats just leave them alone. Don’t try to soothe them the way you might try to calm a dog. You can also try to separate your cats’ resources – food, water, and toys.

Do your research on proper cat care. There are a lot of myths out there about cats, and some of them can be harmful.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

(Editor’s Note:  The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by guest bloggers on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of MyThreeCats.com or its staff.)

 

Do you have a harmonious multiple cat household?

Black and white cats appear to be kissing.

Current statistics on U.S. cat-owning households (there are about 90 million today) show that nearly one half (49%) of these households own more than one cat. (source:  Armandhammer.com)  Those multiple cat households must have somehow figured out how to achieve feline harmony in their homes.

Basically, the way to a peaceful feline home is to make sure that there are enough resources and space for your cats.   If your cats know they have options on where they can eat, sleep, play, and use the litter box, all the better.    If all of your cats have only one option, that’s an ideal setting for territorial disputes and added stress among them.  We have a few pointers on how to create and maintain harmony in your cat household.

The initial introduction of cats to each other should be gradual and stress free.  If possible, keep the new cat in a separate living quarters in your home, with their food, litter box and toys.  Your “incumbent cats” will know about the new cat, but not have the stress of direct contact.  After a couple of days, gradually allow your “incumbent” cats to approach the new cat, keeping their contacts short and sweet.  After a few more days, you will have achieved a successful introduction.

Our strongest recommendation:  invest in vertical play spaces.   Cat trees, shelves and window perches are ideal solutions for giving your cats privacy in an off-the-ground location.  Cats like height, so it’s an ideal solution.

Your cats needs outlets for exercising and scratching.  Leave plenty of scratching devices around your home.  Whether they are horizontal, vertical or slanted pads, they will protect your furniture as well as your sanity!

Allow each of your cats a separate food bowl .  If you have common water bowls, have several in different areas.  A water fountain designed for multiple cats is a great way of managing this, just make sure to keep the fountain and the water it holds clean and fresh.

Keep as many litter boxes in your home as the number of cats.  One of the worst problems can arise when cats have the use the same box.    Territorial issues may arise, causing them to “spray” the litter box, which signals to the other cats to stay away.    No one needs to have cats depositing in undesignated areas of the house.  Once that “out of box” behavior starts, it’s hard to stop it.

Finally, monitor your cats’ interactions.  It’s better to observe body language and catch an early warning signal so that you can diffuse any tension and avoid an out-an-out battle.   One great technique for diffusing attention is to pull out a wand toy that immediately draws their attention away from one another and on the moving object (the toy on the wand).

Congratulations on your multiple cat household.  May you and they live harmoniously over all of their nine lives!

Humane Society Pic

Here’s Jane Marcus, of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, pictured with a new shelter cat!  Can you tell Jane likes cats?

This little guy, whose name is Furlington, has beautiful black fur that was badly matted when he arrived.  The kind shelter folks shaved him so his fur would grow back and transform him into his natural, handsome self.  Furlington is available for adoption now!

FullSizeRenderJane1

Adopting a cat for the holidays? Think twice…there are some great alternatives!

Henry IMG_3901 We all know there are thousands of homeless cats of which some of the luckier ones residing at animal shelters have at least a fighting chance of being adopted into a good home.

December seems to be one of the most active months at shelters nationwide.  Well meaning people think of shelter cats as potential gifts for their friends or family members.  They’ve either overheard them talking about how nice it would be to have a cat at home, or assume that because they’re living alone, they should have a pet.  They’re trying to do a good turn for both the person and the shelter cat.

Before you move ahead with your gifting plans, think twice.

More “spur of the moment” adoption decisions happen at the holidays, with the perception that a cat would make an ideal holiday gift. Did you know that many animals adopted in December from shelters nationwide find themselves back at the shelters after the holiday season?  This is either because the “gift” recipients really aren’t ready to adopt a cat, or they never really wanted to adopt a cat.

College students who adopt cats or receive cats as gifts at the holiday season, or at any time of year will likely only keep them for a brief time.  First, their landlords may disallow pets.   Second, they can’t really afford them.  Finally, even if they are able to keep the cat for a semester or two, they end up leaving school for various reasons, including graduation.  What happens to the cat?  Students’ life changing plans abruptly disrupts the cat’s lifestyle as well.  Is this really fair to the cat?

Consider these alternatives to honor and assist a shelter cat at the holiday season:

  • Only adopt  a shelter cat when you’re absolutely sure you want and can afford her;
  • Avoid adopting cats for others.  Let them make that decision, and if they do, you can accompany them to the shelter if that suits them or, have them select a shelter cat, and then offer to pay the shelter the adoption fee;
  • Donate toys and other necessities to your local shelter.  Either deliver them in person or have the store of your choice ship them directly to the shelter.  Call the shelter ahead of time to find out what supplies they need and to make arrangements for delivery or drop off.
  • MyThreeCats.com ships directly to shelters – just add the shelter’s name and address as the Shipping address, and we’ll enclose a card with your name, address and contact information as the donor.  You’ll be enriching the shelter cats’ lives and donating to a worthy cause.  
  • Make a cash donation to your local shelter (as we do).  Many shelters have websites that accept on line donations.

Thanks for listening.   We wish you and your feline family a very merry holiday season!

It’s National Cat Day!

It’s National Cat Day!

Celebrate October 29th in a number of great ways.

  • Watch an internet cat video (or two, three or four)
  • visit a local Cat Café, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your town
  • Adopt a cat from your local animal rescue organization or shelter
  • Have some serious quality play time with your own cat!

Here’s a video we thought you might like.  Enjoy!