“Happy Cats are Healthy Cats”

Lynn Baer, DVM, Cat Specialist, shares her top tips for cat owners to ensure well adjusted, happy cats.  Lynn says, “happy cats are healthy cats and happy cats make owners happier and healthier, too”.

  Tip #1) Recognize the fact that indoor only cats have no choices of their own in life

They are completely reliant on what we offer them.  We choose their litter box size, shape, location and litter substrate. We choose where they are fed, what they are fed out of, and what foods they are offered.  We choose their toys, their beds, their bowls, and everything within their lives.  Cats have few choices of their own.   They would be happier given more choices of their own and once owners understand that and begin to expand their options, cats would remain healthier and happier. 

Tip #2) Bring the outdoors in 

Cats are held captive within four walls for their entire lives.  Open the blinds, open the windows, grow grass, bring leaves and branches in for them to smell. Again for owners to be more aware of the fact that their cats have never walked on grass or soil, experienced changes in temperature, smelled different smells, or had the ability to walk around the block to explore new surroundings.  Owners should evaluate every opportunity to enhance their indoors cat’s lives by bringing new things into the home.  Build catios, window units or other alternative opportunities for cats to experience the outdoors.  At a minimum place window seats around the house (off the ground), build vertical spaces for them to climb, train them to walk on leashes, erect cat proof fences, etc.

 Tip #3) Play, play, play and more play

Indoor cats are bored, depressed and inactive.  Owners don’t generally play with their cats daily.  Cats need exercise, mental stimulation and fun.  Having a basket of toys for cats is not enough.  Owners should actively engage with their pets by using wand toys, laser lights, throwing blankets over furniture to create tents, rotating toys daily.  Adding silvervine, catnip, and valerian to their arsenal of toys will give cats new experiences.  Using foraging toys for food rewards, making cats hunt for some of their food all help to stimulate their body and mind.

Tip #4) Lots of scratch posts – both vertical and horizontal for cats to scratch on. 

I am completely opposed to declawing (having never performed one in my entire career).   Scratching is a form of communication and also gives cats the ability to stretch their muscles.  It is important they have great areas and substrates to scratch on.  It makes them happy.

 Tip #5)  Seek out cat only veterinarians

Don’t allow a veterinarian who declaws to treat your cat.  Take your cat to a vet at least once a year for a good physical exam and blood work.  Cats are notorious for hiding pain and illness and if an owner thinks their cat is sick, they are likely very sick.  Pay attention to any changes (no matter how small) and seek veterinary care immediately.  Age is not a disease and many owners ignore signs of illness as due to advanced aging.  That is not in a cat’s best interest.  Owners need to advocate on behalf of their pets and insure good medical care.  Seek second opinions.  Good veterinarians encourage owners to do so and are never offended by it. 

 Tip #6) Cats need wet food more than dry

Wet food is lower in calories and higher in protein and moisture.  It is extremely important to feed cats at least 5-6 times daily.  Don’t feed one brand or diet only.  Variety is the spice of life and cats are used to eating birds, squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, bugs, etc.  One diet or one brand is not normal.  Either is feeding once or twice a day.

 Source:  The Purrington Post

Editors Note:  Find many of the toys, scratchers, outdoor enclosures and cat furniture mentioned in this article right here.

Debunking Declawing

Onychectomy is a word that many cat owners might be unfamiliar with, but it is one that we all need to learn more about.  It is a surgical practice more commonly known as declawing, and for us cats, it’s a procedure that we like about as much as sharing a travel crate with a Chihuahua. 

The main reason declawing occurs is because cat owners don’t like their cats scratching their furniture.  Supporters of declawing are clearly attempting to resolve the furniture scratching issue with what they feel is a permanent solution – “fix” the cat, and “fix” the furniture problem.  What they may not have considered is that there are effective solutions that have been developed and are offered in today’s marketplace that avoid the need for subjecting the cat to surgery (see www.mythreecats.com, Cat Furniture and Scratching and Behavior).

Research has shown that declawing procedures can have several damaging effects on cats.  Contrary to public perception, declawing is not anything like a human getting their fingernails cut.  In fact, onychectomy most closely resembles digital amputation, where the last bone of each digit is cut off.  Studies show that the practice can result in lameness and behavioral issues that make declawed cats equally if not more likely to end up in shelters.  Once in shelters, research from San Francisco shelters shows that because of their behavioral problems, declawed cats are twice as likely to be euthanized instead of put up for adoption.

In most of Europe, declawing cats is illegal, and movements are being made in the U.S. to have similar standards.  Legislation was introduced this past August to ban the declawing of cats in San Francisco except when it is medically necessary.  The passage of such a ban would result in six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for anyone who attempts the procedure.

At MyThreeCats.com, we oppose declawing simply because we couldn’t bear to put any of our pets through a painful process that would potentially lead to behavioral and physical problems for the rest of their lives. 

Visit www.bogeysblogsphere.wordpress.com to join the discussion or tweet us at twitter.com/bogeythecat to let us know what you think about this important issue.