Although all cats are different, there are certain behaviors that most do and some behaviors that many do not. While that might make this matter a little more confusing remember they ARE cats. OK, on with the 49 facts and/or myths as some are just myths stated as facts online. The myths might make for good entertainment and trivia but when dealing with your feline family should not guide your decisions. We will start with unproven facts and move on to the ones that are proven.
Unproven Facts/ Possible Myths
The list below is what we have observed online and offline written by cat lovers, some veterinarians, and others. However, there are no scientific studies done on these mentioned below.
1. Cats do not taste sweets.
Not sure how we feel about this one as we have seen cats eat watermelon and other fruits and beg for it. Since no cat owner generally gives sugar to a cat how can this be proven? Owners with “fruit eaters” generally only find this out when their kitty jumps on the counter and eats the fruit left out. Is it the water content of the fruit, the vitamins, or the sweet taste? We don’t believe anyone will ever know.
2. Cats can be right or left-pawed.
Many vets believe females are more right-pawed and males more left-pawed. Again, how can anyone know if this is true or just a preference made by a cat as they cannot of course speak?
3. Ambidextrous cats.
This ties into our concern with the first paw preference fact. It is unproven to us as to how can they be right or left-pawed and then some be ambidextrous? Watching your cat can determine if you believe this as ours seem to generally use any paw at any time to accomplish what they are seeking to do. Teeth are even used when necessary, such as digging treats out of a purse or hiding place!
4. Slow-moving objects will not be seen as prey.
Again, we are not convinced of this as our cats can ignore some fast objects such as toys that we purchased, and they do not care for while noticing a very slow-moving injured fly on the wall and go over and pounce.
5. The whiskers are the same width as the body.
This only makes sense to us if a cat stays the same size for its entire life. Cats’ whiskers are huge when kittens and look smaller as they age in our opinion as they do gain weight with age the same as humans.
6. Cats cannot share a litter box.
Yes and no. We have had ones that would and ones that would not. If accidents occur get a separate litter box but if you own more than one cat, just keeping it immaculate can help with sharing.
7. All cats love to jump and climb.
This is a yes and no too. We have had jumpers and climbers but some that did not do either or one or the other. Although it is said that cats can jump six times their length, we do find that the older they get the less nimble they become. It is too general a statement.
8. Cats hate water and do not swim.
The fact is that being an ancestor of the tiger, which was raised in a warm climate, their instincts do not lead them usually to swim. Some though, especially feral cats who were raised around other species do swim quite well and are not afraid of water.
9. Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.
While they do have very large eyes, any research done will show that the horse has the largest eyes. When reading about this it might be truer to say of any “predatory mammal.” The size of the eyes can be compared to the size of the head in all mammals to determine this.
10. All felines make no noise when walking.
Not so sure here as we have known a cat called “Thumper” for a good reason! Although their paws are padded to prevent noise some very large or overweight cats can make a great deal of noise when walking.
11. Moist food must be fed because cats do not drink much.
This is true for many cats but if anyone has ever had a feral or worked in a shelter, they will know that some cats do drink quite a bit of water each day. This can be a sign of diabetes, but an assumption is made that all cats do not drink.
12. Milk is loved by cats.
Not even close. Having several cats ourselves over the years, we have yet to find one who had an interest in milk. Lactose intolerance can also be an issue so don’t feel the need to give a cat milk based on this myth.
13. Purring means happiness.
Yes, it does but it also can be a sign of distress or ill health. Not all purring is good. A self-satisfied purr can sound different than a continuous purr that goes on for no reason and a good cat parent will know the difference.
14. All cats purr.
Nope, there are some that are “non-purr” kitties that go through life without exhibiting purring. Purring is a reflexive behavior to satisfaction and why some do not purr is not apparent in any legitimate literature on the subject. Why purring even occurs is not readily known as feral cats can never purr, and wild tigers, the ancestors of the domestic cat, do not purr. So, it most likely is some type of learned behavior rather than genetic.
15. All cats are born knowing how to meow.
This is a learned behavior to communicate with humans. a feral cat does not meow much or can meow for no reason as they have not learned to communicate with humans effectively. Cats learn cues early in life about vocalization to get what they need when they are around humans. If not exposed to humans at an early age they either do not vocalize at all or vocalize all the time as they miss the cues of when to do this.
16. Never feed a raw meat diet to your cat.
This is a big one as many cats do well on a raw diet and do prefer it. Their ancestry leaves them with a digestive system that can and does accept raw food and meats. If a cat does not like it, it just will not eat it but it can be worth trying. Raw meats have no additives.
17. Black cats are bad luck.
We say, “Nonsense.” Period. A cat does not realize what color it is. This is an absolute myth. Unfortunately, it can be a reason that a black cat is not adopted at a shelter or given away by someone that believes this. Personality has nothing to do with color. This stems back to the 17th century when witchcraft was feared, and black cats were associated with witches in the folklore throughout North America.
18. Cats do not need much care.
This one is far from the truth and an unfortunate reason why many cats end up in shelters or abandoned. Individuals that are seeking a pet are under the impression that cats do not need to care the same as any other pet. There are toys, necessities, and of course vet care to be factored in. Cats generally live very long, up to twenty years sometimes, so this is a real commitment.
19. Cats are serious “loners”.
So not true although personality differences can exist. The reality is that cats love to be with humans, other cats, and even dogs or farm animals. They can become depressed when left alone for too long as they need a lot of love and stimulation. Two or more cats can be easier to take care of than a single cat as then they play together, sleep together, and give you, the cat parent some free time!
As you can see although the first half of this piece can show some facts may be true, they simply are not proven enough to establish them as facts. Every cat is so unique that many exceptions to rules do exist, and each cat parent needs to judge their cats’ behaviors themselves and make decisions based on proven facts and of course the observations.
Proven Facts Through Research
The following have been well researched by veterinary colleges and clinics and are just what they state they are: FACTS! These facts are documented and have more to do with physiology than the psychology of cats which no one will ever be able to determine probably. Felines are loved for their mysterious habits and behaviors and no one who owns one would change that for one minute.
20. Hissing is not an aggressive behavior, rather defensive.
Whether hissing at its owner or another animal a cat that is hissing is scared and hissing drives away predators in the jungle by tigers. A cat’s makeup is almost 96 percent tiger, according to an expert in the field of cat behavior and physiology, Layla Morgan Wilde. (1) Cats that engage in hissing constantly are generally overanxious and a vet check is in order or a trip to a cat behaviorist.
21. Cats would benefit from glasses in the daylight.
Although near-sighted, cats have better peripheral vision and night vision than humans. Therefore, they keep you up at night with their prowling and wake you up at 4 AM for breakfast.
22. Cats generally have 18 toes.
However, there are those that have an extra toe or two either on the front or back feet, and these are called polydactyl cats. They are generally found in the colder regions of North America.
23. Whiskers appear on the front legs of cats too.
Although you will have to look closely for these as they are not as apparent as on the face. Cats use both their face whiskers and back leg whiskers to judge space and see if they can enter and exit a space. Never cut a cat’s whiskers or even shave them as their coats protect them from all elements and they do like feeling protected. If you do not care for the hair on clothing or chairs you will do better with a fish or frog.
24. Camels, giraffes, and cats share the same gait.
All three move one side of the legs first and the other side next. No other mammals do this. These mammals also do not have collarbones that are attached to muscle, so this is the way nature intended them to walk.
25. Scratching and clawing furniture by cats is natural.
It is a way to sharpen claws, but even with a scratching post cats might still do this as they will scratch and claw to mark territory that smells like you. They are making you “their human.” If you cannot stand scratched furniture you might want to reconsider committing to a cat as even the best scratching post will not compare to something that smells like you.
26. Cats are more active at dusk and dawn.
This is called crepuscular. They also can sleep up to eighteen hours a day but usually in snatches called “catnaps.” Humans engage in “catnaps” too and this is where the term originates.
27. The most popular pet in North America is the cat.
Although most individuals believe that the dog is the most popular, over 88 million cats are pets in the USA with about the same number in Canada.
28. Cats have an extra scent gland in their mouths.
This is why they open their mouths to smell an object or even you!
29. Grooming of other cats and you might occur.
Cats love to groom, and some do it excessively, but cats will also groom each other and you and spend hours each day engaged in grooming.
30. Diabetes is common in cats as they grow older.
Being overweight contributes to this as does aging and genetics. Diabetes in cats can be controlled with insulin and/or dietary changes.
31. When you think of “kindle” you probably think of books via Amazon ™.
However, a group of kittens is a “kindle”. Even two kittens make a kindle. Unlike what others might say they are not a “pack” or a “pride.”
32. The term for cat breeding businesses is “catteries.”
Many individuals will buy purebred cats from breeders that are not qualified. Real cat breeders have the males and females spayed or neutered if they are siblings, so no inbreeding occurs. Only the best of the breed is kept and bred out with other cats amongst other breeders.
33. Cats only vocalize when they need something.
This is generally the case but some just like the sound of their own meowing too and can routinely talk to themselves.
34. Learning commands is possible for cats.
It is not a quick process, however, as their learning capacity is that of a two- or three-year-old child. They can learn to sit, lie down, come here, and some even use an adult commode. But patience is needed to teach commands to a cat.
35. White cats with blue eyes are prone to deafness.
Not all are deaf but there is a genetic flaw with the blue eyes that can result also in deafness. Dalmatian dogs are also prone to deafness and although studies have been done on both white cats with blue eyes and Dalmatians the actual causes are not discovered but enough exist to ensure that this is a fact.
36. Ankle-biting cats are bored.
Although it seems like an attack and can be most annoying for some reason an owner’s ankles are seen as a great plaything when bored. To stop this behavior, play with your cat more but do NOT reward the behavior via a treat or immediate attention or it will continue endlessly. This can be another reason to get another cat also as they amuse each other.
37. Cats can lick their owner’s freshly washed hair.
This is a fact but is it because of the water content or grooming needs of the cat? No one knows but enough instances occur that it does appear in veterinary documentation.
38. Most cats hate the smell of citrus but love the smell of chlorine.
It has to do with the sensory perception of their scent glands most likely.
39. Cats can show thieving behavior.
They grab feather dusters, hair clips, and other objects that remind them of prey. Leave a bag of treats in your purse or on a counter overnight and you will find it empty on the floor in the morning with a cat who now has no appetite for a good reason!
40. Cats that stick their butts up and into your face are showing friendship.
Although this may turn you off it’s instinctive to them and shows you how much they value you.
41. Kneading is reminiscent of the feeding when kittens.
Cats do knead people and things, especially things that smell like you. When kittens knead the fur of the mother cat to find the teats, this behavior is instinctive and usually carries on into adulthood as cats do find this comforting. It is a “trip back to childhood” for a cat.
42. All cats have a distinctive nose print.
It is like a human fingerprint and no two are alike.
43. Kittens in the same litter can have different fathers.
Female cats release several eggs during each ovulation and may mate many times during this period. It is not unusual to see tabby kittens mixed with black kittens, and other colors. This is the reason. They honestly are stepchildren!
44. Housecats live about three times as long as outdoor cats.
Housecats are not exposed to disease or injuries as frequently and can live about 15 to 20 years. The average outdoor only cat lives a mere 5 years.
45. Cats will starve rather than eat unpalatable food.
They are finicky and no matter how hungry if food is not fresh, or not to their liking they will withhold eating until they literally starve themselves to death.
46. Only about 50 percent of cats like catnip.
It is the “weed” of cats and like humans not all care for it. Some cannot live without it while others dismiss it entirely.
47. Cats do dream just like humans and other mammals.
They can twitch like dogs while doing this but of course, no one knows WHAT they are dreaming of.
48. Even when not hungry cats will chase birds, bugs, and other small animals.
They are APEX predators and as such hunt whenever they see prey. Hunger is not the driving force just the hunting instinct. Dogs will only hunt when starving although dogs chase prey. But cats chase and then kill the prey.
49. Trimming a cat’s claws improves its gait and prevents scratching in play.
You can take a cat to a vet or learn to do it yourself, but you must be careful as cutting into the quick of a cat’s claws causes injuries.
That’s a wrap!
Well, that is only a wrap-up of the mysterious myths, facts, and behaviors that precious felines exhibit. They are glorious and yet frustrating at times but that adds to their allure. You do not own them; they own you and every cat lover and owner knows this! Once a cat fanatic always a cat fanatic and most individuals start with one and end up with many.
Cats are like potato chips or crisps. One is never enough in the end!
There are worse habits to have though, and any cat shelter will welcome your adoration and your help if you are inclined to volunteer or take in another cat as feral cats exist in the thousands in every major city and even town. Cats can give birth from the age of three months onward. Learn from our facts and if you feel like you can devote a few decades to a worthy animal then a cat is definitely a good choice for you.
As the saying goes, ‘Dogs have owners, cats have staff’. While a little funny, and completely true, this is exactly why we wanted to put together this helpful guide to owning a cat for the first time!
Ancient Egypt is a prime example of how cats were revered and were covered in gold jewelry. In his work “The Canterbury Tales” from the 1380s, Chaucer mentions a cat door in a house. So our love affair with these furry felines goes back for centuries.
There were 42.7 million cat-owning American households in 2019/20. In 2021, the pet industry in the United States reached almost 110 billion dollars for pets and related supplies. Those statistics speak to the love that people have for their pets.
Cats, in particular, are a favorite because, unlike dogs (which we also love!), these furry friends require less maintenance when compared to dogs.
Cats can be pretty self-sufficient. If you leave out dry food and water, they will feed when ready. You don’t have to rush home to let them out to go potty as they have a litter box. They also don’t need to (and won’t!) go for a walk. Cats need very little grooming and abhor baths. A cat can easily fit into a busy, modern lifestyle and are perfect apartment dwellers with limited space.
Cats, and kittens, in particular, are lively, curious creatures. They bring so much enjoyment into your life just by being themselves. Born explorers, cats will prowl their domain in search of an object to conquer in the most flamboyant manner, so they are fun to watch. They are also creatures of habit, and long naps are high on the list of favorite pastimes.
If you are thinking about getting a cat, even though they can be aloof, they make wonderful companions who revel in living their best life and will add immeasurably to yours.
Here is our ultimate guide to inviting a cat to become a valuable part of your household.
# 1) Caring For Your Cat
Basic Cat Care
Although they are masters of their domain (and that means everything that belongs to you!), cats will need to be provided with certain essential items to live a healthy life:
Food: Choose a high-quality, brand-name food (more on that later) that contains taurine, an essential amino acid. This helps with heart and eye health. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Water: After weaning, cats are lactose-intolerant. Don’t give them milk. Their digestive system cannot process dairy foods, so offer clean, fresh, water only.
Grooming: Cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath. Even so, it is a good idea to brush your kitty regularly to reduce the amount of shedding and cut down on the incidence of hairballs.
Handling: When you pick up your cat, place one hand behind their front legs and another under their hindquarters. Never pick up your cat by the scruff of the neck or by the front legs.
Housing: Your pet should have its own clean, dry place to retreat to in your home. There are numerous types and styles of cat beds available on the market.
Identification: If there are times that your cat will be outdoors, they should wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar allows your pet to break loose if their collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or microchip will help you retrieve your cat if they become lost.
Litter Box: All indoor cats need a litter box. Keep the box in a quiet, accessible location and always in the same spot. It is best to scoop solid wastes out of the box once every day. If you are getting a kitten, check out this article on How to Litterbox Train a Kitten.
Scratching: Cats need to scratch, and it is easy to provide that outlet for them. Scratching posts and cardboard scratching pads are readily available and inexpensive.
Health: Your kitty should see a vet once a year for annual shots and a check-up. If they are sick or get injured, then seek immediate assistance from your vet.
Spaying and Neutering: Female and male cats should be spayed or neutered by five months of age.
Vaccinations: Your vet will recommend vaccinations based on your cats’ age and health.
If you are considering getting a cat (you won’t regret it!), here is an article that will list the items you should pick up before you bring your tabby home: What Do I Need for a Kitten or Cat? [Essential Supplies]
Choose A Veterinarian
These cute little bundles of fur can live a long and healthy life when you provide the care and support they need to grow into lively cats. As with any type of pet, your kitty will need the assistance of a veterinarian from time to time. It is also good to know the Basic First Aid Tips for Cats.
If you don’t already have a vet, ask for recommendations from friends and family to find a caring, reputable vet. Having a vet whose advice you trust will be paramount as your kitten grows.
You will need to count on your vet to help you choose the proper health care for your pet. Your vet will get to know your pet, what is normal for them, and be better able to diagnose when things are a bit “off.” Think of your vet as a partner in the care of your kitty and that you work as a team to give your pet its best life.
If you get your pet as a kitten, some vaccinations are given at about 6, 9, 12, and 15 weeks of age. Be sure to ask whomever you get your kitten from for the record of any vaccinations or veterinarian care that they might have had before your purchase.
Vaccinations will help prevent feline distemper, respiratory organisms, and rabies. Once kittens have gotten the needed vaccinations at the beginning of their life, they will only need boosters annually.
Your vet may also recommend worm and parasite treatment, standard in kittens. Heartworm prevention will also be on the list of treatments for your cat.
While all of this may seem a bit overwhelming for a new cat owner, your vet will become your partner in the care of your cat. You will receive notices from your vet of when your pet needs various vaccinations.
You won’t have the burden of remembering what your pet needs and when they need it, so you will have peace of mind that they will be getting all the preventatives necessary.
The majority of indoor cats will never have an issue with fleas. If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat or primarily outdoors, they may pick up fleas from outside. Fleas can make your cat miserable. Just imagine if you had a constant swarm of mosquitos biting you, and that is what it is like for a cat with fleas.
If you see that your cat is excessively scratching, areas of redness on their skin, or even blood, make sure you check them for fleas. Fleas like to hide in warm, protected areas on a cat, such as armpits, groin, and ears.
If you find or suspect that your pet has fleas, give your vet a call to get a recommendation for The Best Flea Treatment that will kill existing fleas. Follow labeled directions, and do not use a product on your cat that is not labeled for cats.
You may need to get rid of any fleas that have come into your home, too. The best cure for fleas is most often prevention. You will pet your kitty every day, so take the opportunity to check out their skin for signs of fleas. If you see fleas and nip them in the bud, both you and your cat will be happier for it.
Cats, and kittens, in particular, are endlessly curious. Cats have bright and eager minds that compel them to explore and want to see what is around the next corner. This engaging trait can sometimes get these curious creatures in a bit of trouble by going astray.
Microchipping is one of the best ways to enhance your chances of getting your cat back should they get separated from you. A microchip can be inserted through a non-surgical procedure. If your cat gets out of your care, that chip can then be scanned for information at any vet or shelter.
The cost to microchip your cat is about $50, and this should include registration in a pet recovery database. Ask anyone who loves their cat, and they will tell you that this is a small price to pay to help in the recovery of their curious feline.
Spaying And Neutering
When you have a pet, you must decide if your pet should be spayed or neutered. If you choose not to breed your cat, the most responsible thing is to have them spayed or neutered.
There are also benefits to the cat. Spaying a female cat can help prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. Spaying your female cat before her first heat offers the best protection against those diseases.
Neutering your male cat will prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems. It will also make them less likely to roam away from home. Male cats are also less likely to mark their territory when they have been neutered.
Kittens as young as eight weeks old, or at least two pounds, are generally considered candidates for spaying and neutering.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that when you Spay/Neuter Your Pet it helps control the pet homelessness crisis and prevents unwanted pets from being euthanized. It is part of good pet ownership and keeping your pet healthy to be spayed or neutered.
Insurance For Your Cat
What does a gecko have to do with keeping your cat healthy? Martin, the Geico gecko, offers Pet Insurance for Dogs & Cats in accidents or illness. There are many other agencies, and your vet may be one of them that provides insurance for your pet.
Instead of bumper-to-bumper coverage, like for your car, these policies offer nose-to-tail coverage in case of accidents, illness, dental issues, cancer, and more. Caring for a pet can be expensive, so you might want to research getting insurance.
The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) says there is a wide range in pricing for insurance. Cats tend to have lesser monthly premiums than dogs, as they are smart enough not to want to chase a car.
There are rates as low as $12 a month to as high as $100 a month. It all depends on your pet’s breed, age, location, and deductibles or payout limits that you choose. It might be a good idea to speak with your vet and get an idea of the expenses you could expect over your kitty’s lifetime, and make an informed decision if insurance is the right option for you.
What To Feed Your Cat
As was stated previously, one of the best places to get advice on what is best for your cat is your vet. There are numerous types of cat food on the market, some good, some not so good, and everything in between.
The kind of food to feed your cat for their optimum health will depend on specific needs. The food chosen should consider any allergies, urinary issues, age, and if your tabby is overweight. If you seek advice from your vet, be upfront about your pet food budget to find the best option.
The United States Food and Drug Association does not regulate pet food. No matter the type of food you choose, look for a label from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the container. The voluntary approval from the AAFCO guarantees that if a problem is found with a pet food, then a recall will be issued, and it will be announced to the public.
The ASPCA has some good nutrition tips for your cat at all stages of its life. And if you want to feed your fur baby in style, you might like one of these 15 Unique Cat Bowls.
Dry Cat Food
According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dry food is acceptable to feed your cat as long as it is complete and balanced. If you provide your cat dry food, make sure that they also have access to lots of fresh water. Dry food tends to be less expensive than canned and stays fresh longer.
If you happen to have a finicky feline, try one of these Dry Food for Picky Cats. Some pet owners will leave dry food out at all times, and if your cat can maintain its weight, free-feeding is fine. Free feeding will not be the best choice if they tend to overeat.
Canned Cat Food
Canned cat food is about 70 to 80% water. Many cat owners will give their furry family members a dry and canned food combination.
Just like us humans, they would get tired of eating the same thing day after day. Feed your cat according to the label on the can, unless otherwise instructed by your vet.
Raw Cat Food
A raw diet for your cat involves feeding them uncooked animal products, such as raw muscle meat, organ meat, and ground bones. The most common means in a raw diet are chicken, eggs, and fish.
Choosing a raw diet for your pet can be a complex process, as there are differing opinions on whether this is beneficial to the cat.
Some feel that a raw cat food diet mirrors more closely what their ancestors would have eaten in the wild. Others will say that cats have evolved along with their digestive systems and that a raw diet is no longer optimum for a domestic cat.
Quality balanced raw food for your feline is hard to come by, and handling raw meals has a higher risk of contamination. Check with your veterinarian for their opinion on whether or not your cat would benefit from a raw diet.
#2) Keeping Your Cat Safe
Your furry family member will depend on you and your good judgment to keep them safe throughout their lifetime. Cats, no matter their age, are like perpetual toddlers. They keep their sense of curiosity throughout their life. They are loveable rascals who delight in stalking illusions, ever confident of their skills. Masters of mischief, cats see potential but never consequences.
It will be up to you to “tabby-proof” your house. Here are some potential hazards that your curious kitty might come across.
Avoid These Foods
Cats are always on the lookout for handouts and swoop down on anything dropped. While you might like to share some of your meal with your best bud, that is not always the best idea.
Our friends at the ASPCA have compiled a list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.
Beware of these foods in particular:
- Coconut and coconut oil
- Grapes and raisins
- Macadamia nuts
- Milk and dairy
- Onions, garlic, and chives
- Raw meats (while some may choose to feed their pet a raw diet, there is a danger of salmonella and e-coli in raw meat)
- Salt and Salty snack food
- Xylitol (used as a sweetener in many products, it can lead to liver failure)
- Yeast Dough
Plants That Are Toxic To A Cat
Most of us have a houseplant or two or you may plant flowers around your house. Unfortunately, these can be enticing to a curious cat, and they see this foliage as another opportunity to explore. PetMD has a list of plants that are poisonous to cats.
Some of the plants on the list poisonous for cats are:
- English Ivey
- Aloe Vera
- Jade plants
- ParsleTomato plants
Some of these plants might be what you have outside of your home. Just beware when you bring in cuttings from flowers or anything you have harvested from the garden that your kitty does not take a bite.
There are Cat-Friendly Indoor Plants that are great choices for cat owners.
Keeping your house safe by knowing Foods & Plants That Are Poisonous for Cats will keep your cat healthy and both of you out of the vet’s office.
Essential Oils To Avoid
Essential oils have become popular over the years as a form of aromatherapy. While they can make your home smell lovely, they need to be kept where your cat can’t get at them. Don’t apply essential oils to their skin, or let them lick up any spilled oils.
These essential oils are poisonous to cats:
- Oil of Sweet Birch
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
It is safe to assume that ALL cleaning products would be harmful to your kitty. Even “natural” products can cause them harm. Keep all such products out of reach, in a cupboard with a child lock to prevent your cat from ingesting them.
The ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control | (888) 426-4435 hotline. This is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Program this number into your phone, so it is handy. If your cat has chewed on a plant, take a picture of it so that you can show your vet and head there immediately.
Your Indoor Cat Wants To Go OutdoorsBesides being curious, cats are overly confident. They are pretty assured that they can handle anything they come across and tend towards being territorial. A cat never sees a disastrous end to a hair brain scheme.
Your favorite feline may sit on the window sill and look yearningly to the great outdoors, but your job is to keep them safe.
Even if, like Franklin and Ollie, your cat was born on a farm, these little furballs are now YOUR responsibility, and they count on you to keep them safe…even from themselves! Letting them loose and expecting everything to work out is like giving your car keys to your six-year-old. Something terrible is going to happen.
If you have an outdoor area where you can contain them, such as a lanai or screened-in porch, you have to make it “escape-proof.” Check the screens and doors to ensure they are tight, and a nudge won’t open them.
There are tent-like cat enclosures sold online if your cat has the patience for them. They will, however, allow your feline friend to spend some time outdoors with you as long as you stay outside with them.
Check around your home to ensure that all window screens are close-fitting. If you have any that are loose or bent, replace them. A cat will be able to squeeze through the tiniest opening, and if you give them an inch, they will take the whole yardstick.
Just as you would for a child, use childproof latches on your cupboard doors and keep all medications out of reach. Your trash can should have a latched lid and keep the washer lid down…and the lid on the toilet too!
This age of electronics is a sea of possibilities for a curious cat. They love the tangle of cords and lines from computers, chargers, and printers.
Lamps, televisions, stereos, and curtains all have cords that appeal to your kitty, and they feel like they deserve a chew. You can purchase cable managers online, which are flexible sleeves that slip over multiple cords to organize them, and they can also discourage your kitty from nibbling.
Have A Cat Carrier
For those yearly check-ups to the vet or a trip to Grandma’s, it is not a good idea to just toss your cat in the car. If they get excited or stressed, they could rocket around the inside of your vehicle like a ball in an arcade machine.
Having a carrier will help ensure your kitty’s safety and keep them from escaping when you open the car door. Your local pet supply store or online merchants sell various types and sizes of cat carriers. We feel that these are the 11 Best Cat Carriers for your next trip.
#3) Making It Fun For Your Feline Friend
Make Time For Play
Kittens and cats need to play. Cats are born predators, and playing gives them an outlet for this instinct. It keeps boredom at bay and makes for a happy life. When you play with your furry family member, you learn more about your cat’s personality. It also helps to strengthen the bond and trust between you. Plus, it is just plain fun!
Play also helps prevent behavior problems, gives mental stimulation, gives your cat exercise, and keeps them healthy. With kittens, playing helps their physical development and coordination. It can also improve their social skills and help them learn to communicate.
As a kitten grows older, their play is directed mainly at objects. They like to stalk and pounce, grab and bite at anything in their path.
Cats love to climb to a higher level to survey their domain from on high. Carpeted climbing towers with different levels provide them with the structure to use their innate capacity to climb.
There are all sorts of Tall Cat Trees that your cat will Love. You can find these cat-climbing trees online or at a pet supply store. These take up little room, as they are mainly vertical.
You can also attach a series of different height shelves to your walls. This Old House shows you how to make your own in this article: How to Make a DIY Cat Tower.
Cats also like perches that allow them to watch out a window. They want to see what is happening in the neighborhood, just as we do. This favorite spot for a Cat Perch allows your cat to see what is going on.
Here are two YouTube videos that show pet owners getting creative and creating fun climbers and perches for their beloved feline friends:
Cat wall perches
Archie’s suspension bridge
Toys, Toys And More Toys
There are more toys than you can count available online and in your local pet store. Choose some interactive toys that you can use to play with your cat.
The toys that resemble a fishing pole with an object on the end for them to chase are a favorite and can provide your pet with mental and physical exercise.
Some toys require some interaction on the part of your cat, and those can help relieve boredom.
Fortunately, because cats are so clever, you can use household items to entertain your feline friend. Cardboard boxes are a favorite. So are empty paper towel tubes, empty plastic water bottles, paper bags, or ping pong balls.
Cats love movement, so when you play with them, simulate that rapid and unpredictable movement that gives them the opportunity to stalk, chase and pounce.
Bond With Your Cat
Spend time with your cat each day. Talk to your cat, share your favorite chair, and create a bond between the two of you. Cats can tend to seem aloof and independent, and they are. But they also need your attention and affection.
They may choose the times that they want that attention, but be sure to reach out to them, too.
Compared to dogs, cats may seem less affectionate. Who hasn’t seen the enthusiastic greeting dogs give their owners, even if they just come in from getting the mail?
However, The New York Times article declares that Cats Like People! (Some People, Anyway) suggests that cats are just as strongly bonded to us as dogs are. They may be the ones to choose when they share their affection, but they are no less in need of love and attention.
#4) Cat Proofing Your Home
Just as you would with a child, there are ways that you can protect your home from the ravages your “lion-at-heart” friend might want to inflict. These preventive steps are the ones you undertake to keep your home from looking like you are not in charge.
They are to be expected, too. You take specific steps to keep your home clean, like using throw rugs to catch dirt, having easily cleaned surfaces, and keeping clutter at bay. When you share your home with a cat, it should be a natural evolution to have items that accommodate them too.
Scratching Posts And Climbing Trees
Since cats love to scratch, have several scratching posts or cardboard scratchers around. Having an outlet for a cat’s instinct will help save your door frames and furniture from becoming the object of their scratching. Cardboard scratchers are inexpensive, and you can toss it out when your kitty has obliterated it.
Having climbing trees and cat perches will not only keep your cat entertained, but it will also help to keep them from wanting to climb your lamps or curtains. It is just the nature of the beast that cats like to scratch and climb, and as a good pet parent, it is up to you to provide those outlets.
When it comes to litter boxes, you should have one box if you have one cat. If you have two cats, you should have two, and so on. There are two main types of cat litter: clumping and non-clumping.
Cat owners who like to scoop urine and solid waste out of the litter box will prefer the clumping kind of litter. Others may prefer to dump the entire litter box when needed.
Beware of using anything other than cat litter. Sometimes people will use dirt, sawdust, wood shavings, sand, moss, and other substitutes. None of these will help with smell or absorbency, and parasites, insects, and bugs in those mediums can end up creating a whole new problem in your house.
There are several types of cat litter to choose from.
This is the most popular as it is readily available and inexpensive. Clay litter will have low dust and dust-free options to choose from. This litter is made up of pieces of clay and finer particles of clay. They absorb the urine and turn into a softer, wet cement-like mixture when they do.
Clay litter will come in clumping and non-clumping options. One of the drawbacks of clay litter is that it is not environmentally friendly; it is heavy and tends to get tracked through the house.
Silica Gel Litter
Silica has great odor control. This litter tends to be more expensive than clay but lasts longer. It is not as dusty as clay litter and traps urine without scooping it out of the litter. Some types of silica gel litters have color-changing indicators in the gel that help owners monitor their cat’s urinary system health.
This litter is popular for its natural ability to control odors. It is lightweight, has low dust, softer than clay litter, and is absorbent. It comes in a cylindrical pellet form. Pine litter is more environmentally-friendly and comes in both clumping and non-clumping options.
Similar to pine litter, wheat litter is also environmentally friendly and is made from processed wheat. Manufacturers also say that this litter is flushable. Wheat litter comes in a ground-up, glandular form. When a cat urinates on the wheat litter, it turns into a sawdust-like material that you then scoop out of the litter box.
Grass litter is less commonly available than other litters and is touted as a natural alternative to traditional cat litter. It is a dried, biodegradable grass seed litter. It clumps so that it can be scooped out and does not contain any dyes or chemicals.
Corn litter is a lightweight option that is a clumping litter. The companies that make corn litter guarantee that the litter is safe. However, there are some concerns about mold growth. Corn produces aflatoxins, and this toxin can be deadly to pets.
Most owners have never had an issue, but it is something to be considered before you use corn litter with your feline friend.
Walnut Shell Litter
Granular in appearance, walnut shell litter is biodegradable. Ground-up walnut shells have a higher absorbency than clay litter, control odors well, and have the clumping factor. The low dust is another appealing aspect of walnut litter.
This litter can be made out of recycled paper material or shredded newspaper. There is little dust with paper litter. This litter option is used mainly for the short-term, for example, if your cat has an injury to their paw. It is softer than other litters but does not clump or control odors, so it is mainly used short term.
One of the newer alternatives to traditional litter, tofu litter is a clumping litter. It is more expensive than other litter and can be hard to find. It uses renewable materials and is environmentally friendly.
Different types of litter will offer protection against smells, but the best remedy is to clean them daily.
When A Cat Sprays
Spraying, or urine marking, can be a sign that your cat feels threatened or stressed. Cats are not equipped to handle confrontation, and when a situation arises that stresses them, spraying is a way to convey their displeasure without confrontation.
Marking their territory can make the cat feel more secure. This may happen if you introduce a new cat to your household or there are other significant changes in their environment.
Ensure that all the pets in your home have easy access to what they need so that it is not a stressor for them. Spread the resources like water, food, and litter boxes around the house so that each cat has access.
Have a litter box for each cat and have areas where your cat can perch what has space for just one cat. Make sure that you take time with your cat, as this will go a long way to reassuring them.
Some cat owners use pheromone diffusers to reduce anxiety. These can be found online or at a pet store.
How To Remove Urine Smell
The sooner you clean up cat urine, the sooner you will eliminate the odor and discourage your cat from marking in the same spot again. The smell worsens over time, and cleaning it up quickly is critical.
The object is to neutralize the urine odor, not cover it with perfumes or fragrances. Avoid using any product that has ammonia. Ammonia is one of the components of cat urine, and using a product that contains ammonia will make the cat more likely to use the spot again.
Baking Soda And White Vinegar
If your cat pees on the carpeting, scrub the area thoroughly with club soda and let it dry. Once completely dry, sprinkle baking soda on the area and let it soak up any lingering odors. Vacuum when done.
If your cat has soiled bedding or clothing, wash those items separately in your washer at the hottest temperature recommended on the item’s care label.
In addition to your detergent, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to your washer’s bleach dispenser.
You can also use baking soda to remove urine odors from clothing. Add half a cup directly to the drum of your washer, along with detergent and wash those items separately.
If your cat has sprayed against the wall, use a solution of one part water and one part vinegar to clean both walls and floors. While the vinegar smell will be strong at first, as it dissipates (which may be a day or two), it will take the urine smell with it.
An enzyme-based cleaner helps with odor elimination in carpets, mattresses, couch cushions, and linens. The enzymes in these cleaners break down the acid in cat urine to help get rid of the smell.
Remember that your cat will be able to smell a previous urine spot much better than you, which might make them likely to use that spot again. These products can be purchased online or at your local pet store. Make sure to follow the directions on the package.
Cats are a delightful, endless source of entertainment and companionship. Their sense of wonder and curiosity endears them to you. Living With & Loving Your Indoor Cat is an easy proposition when you prepare beforehand and get ready to open your home and your heart to a furry family member.
There is nothing sadder than a feral cat left outdoors to fend for itself. Whether you got your feral or ferals through a shelter or lured them into your home, your heart is in the right place, and most feral cat lovers only adopt ferals because they are the throw-aways of the animal world.
Yes, you did the right thing – and in short, taming a feral cat is possible.
They need attention, affection, and most of all care, food, and a safe place to call home.
Why Are There So Many Ferals?
These are simple answers:
– Cats can breed from four months of age, which makes them kittens having kittens
– Cats only have a gestation period of two months. Yes, two months, which makes each feral capable of having five litters of usually four to six kittens per year, although some have more, and some have less.
– Pregnant cats are very unwanted by owners. Dutiful owners get their cats spayed or neutered while others that are less responsible, neglect this because of vet bills. Once their cat becomes pregnant, sadly enough these neglectful owners simply abandon them. Once outside their offspring continue to breed early causing even more of a feral cat problem.
– Cats, unlike dogs, do not need to be microchipped or even licensed in many areas. Some areas of the United States, for example, allow an unlimited number of unsprayed and unneutered cats to be owned leading to a cat hoarding problem. Cat hoarders contribute to the feral cat population as some owners do not even know how many cats they have acquired.
But, There Are Some Problems with Ferals
Ferals can learn to be very loveable and are the MOST grateful cats in the world once they acclimate themselves to humans, other animals, and most of all living indoors.
Here are some problems that feral cat owners encounter with possible solutions.
Catching Feral Cats Can Be Hard
This is a number one problem as you must first obtain their trust to either get them into your home or into a cage. They do not come willingly to humans, especially if born outside as they have endured abuse and neglect tremendously.
“Cat haters” abound and ferals bear the brunt of this hate. No matter how battered, cold, tired, hungry, or ill, a feral will not usually approach a human. It will take time and patience. Leaving food outside is the first step. Then slowly reaching out while they eat is the next. This could take days, weeks, or months.
Cats are curious creatures though and once they feel comfortable enough, they will enter your home or a cage you have left outside. Especially if a spot is warm and cuddly!
Acclimating Feral Cats to Your Home & Indoor Life
The best advice a vet will give you is that it is best to confine a new feral to one room for a few days or a week. Too many strange experiences, noises, and territory can terrify them.
Feral Cats Might Not Be Friendly-Lap Cats
Do not expect a loving pet in the first few weeks or months even.
A feral will usually find a spot under the furniture where they will hunker for quite some time. Leave out a litter box and food and water right by that spot as surprisingly they usually know how to use it as cats outdoors even hide their droppings.
Don’t Try to Put a Collar on Right Away
Do not try to put on a collar or do anything special when first introducing a feral to home life. This will only make them backslide into their terror.
Visit a Veterinarian
If you can, take them to a vet, or have a vet visit as most feral cats have illnesses and parasites. This is crucial and some shelters have vets who will come to the home.
Expect Bites & Scratches
Ferals cannot speak and cannot tell you why they suddenly can lash out more frequently than other cats. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real possibility here as the simplest things like the sight of a broom, or a plastic bag can turn them spastic.
Do Not Try to Pick Them Up!
You might be able to do this eventually but many ferals are never comfortable being picked up or carried as the loss of control bothers them.
Keep Other Pets & Kids Separated
Because of PTSD, you cannot know when a feral will be triggered by something. Try to keep children and other pets away from feral cats for at least a month. Consider setting up safe spaces for your feral cat, like a cat tower, cat caves and other areas where they can go to feel safe.
Get Ready for a LOT of Separation Anxiety
We are talking TONS of it here. Ferals become the most attached to the one person that saved them, and are known to yowl and howl, pace, and be very destructive even when you go outside briefly for the mail. Once you win them over, they will always at least be in the same room with you, if not sitting on you. If you go on vacations, expect to find pet-friendly hotels and motels, and resorts. Pet sitters do not work well with ferals.
They May Always Be Shy
Eventually, they will accept others in your life, but only for a brief while. You will always be the stability in their lives. They always will be wary of others.
You Will Need to Teach Them HOW to Play
Ferals spend all day hunting for food when outside so do not expect them to even know what toys are. Simple toys like lasers are best, as their hunting instincts are higher than in other domestic cats.
Food Might Be Challenging
Food can be a problem so it can help to feed a raw food diet. Since feral cats are accustomed to eating mice, rats or bugs, commercial cat food might not seem like real food to a feral cat. Raw food diets for cats are becoming popular, so definitely check that out!
Conclusions on Owning a Feral Cat
You will find a devoted pet inside a feral cat eventually, but most individuals are not ready for the length of time it can take depending upon the abuse and hard life they had as a feral cat. Most individuals expect the challenging behaviors to continue for only a few days, whereas some ferals display these behaviors for their entire lives.
There are cat behaviorists which can help possibly by educating you on how to cope with the behaviors, but cats learn behaviors early and these early learning phases are ingrained. Just accept your feral or ferals for what they are. They look like cats but can act as a “gorilla in a catsuit” many times. Keeping optimistic and accepting is necessary for successful feral cat ownership.
The story is always the same, your cat belongs to your family, and he or she is a treasured and loved member. Your cat knows that too because cats are brilliant animals.
And then one day, your cat starts peeing outside the litter box. What should you do?
Why is your cat peeing outside the litter box?
Remember that your cat’s toilet is vital to him or her as much as your bathroom is to humans.
Ask yourself a fundamental question. Would you pee in that litter box? If you can answer yes, and affirm it is clean and functional, consider other reasons for your cat’s behavior.
Rule Out Any Medical Problems
One of the biggest reasons why cats could start peeing outside their litter box is due to health conditions. Cats are masters at hiding their health issues, but peeing outside the litter box is one way your cat is trying to communicate that there’s a problem.
Here are a few medical problems that could be the case as to why your cat is peeing outside the litter box.
Developing bladder stones is a common condition in cats that can cause irritation and might lead to blockage. If your vet thinks your cat might have developed bladder stones, the vet will take an x-ray. Smaller bladder stones can be dissolved with a special diet, but large stones need surgery. With cats, it is common that with bladder stones, they also have a UTI and need antibiotics.
This is an inflammation of the bladder, and there might be blood in your cat’s urine. The vet will test a urine sample microscopically looking for blood in the urine. If there is blood but no sign of crystals or stones, it is likely idiopathic cystitis. It is treatable with a diet change and environmental enrichment. Sometimes anti-anxiety and pain medications are prescribed.
It can be chronic kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, or thyroid issues. It can cause inappropriate urination and an increase in the amount of urine your cat gives out. If your cat has been drinking a lot more or you are cleaning the litter box more often, your vet will do some blood work to determine the cause.
Urinary tract infection or UTI
Usually does not occur in young cats but can be the cause of urinary problems in older cats. It can develop by itself or along with other medical conditions. Bacteria can cause inflammation in the urinary tract. Your vet will prescribe antibiotics and follow-up testing until the infection is gone.
Any time you suspect a medical issue with your cat, make sure to get to the vet right away. Cats can decline fast when something is wrong.
Non-Medical Cat Issues
Of course, it is relief for any cat owner to be told by the vet that the cat has no medical problems.
Now, the issue of peeing out of the litter box falls to the owner.
The only thing is that a cat cannot communicate verbally and coherently to you. I always thought it was a shame that my cat could not tell me what was bothering him. Of course, I was glad when the problem was finally solved through trial and error, and my cat was once again happy with his litter box.
The Problem Is Behavioral
Once you know there are no medical issues, but your cat still insists on peeing outside of the litter box, you have to consider other issues.
First of all, take a look at what your home environment is like and if your cat appears to be happy, content, or anxious.
You have to consider his or her litter box type, maintenance, placement, and if any other cats are using the same box, the kind of litter that you are using.
Households With Children
Children are cat-curious, and cats are wary of children. If your cat has recently joined your household and has children of varying ages, it can also cause stress and anxiety in your cat.
In many cases, cats were there before the children were, which of course is a huge change for your cat.
Set down some rules for children as it relates to your cat:
- The cat’s food and water bowls and their litter box are off-limits. Children can be curious, and they should not be allowed access to the cat’s things. Especially cats can get anxious if little feet follow them around and mainly to their litter box to watch what they do.
- To make the cat less anxious older children should be allowed to offer the cat some treats, so the cat associates children with a positive experience.
- Children can provide a loving environment by playing with the cat but not handling him or her too much. To avoid problems, make sure to supervise the children during playtime with the cat, so when the cat has had enough, they leave him or her alone.
- Children always need to have their play spaces completely separate. This allows said cat not to become anxious if the children get too boisterous during playtime.
- GIve your cats somewhere that they can go, where there are no children. (ie. a tall cat tree or window hammock for cats.)
New Cat in the Family
If you have recently brought a new cat into the family, to live with existing cats, this could be the issue.
Introducing cats to each other is a process that takes time and should be done carefully.
And, if your cat is brand new to your family (even if there are no other cats), give your cat a chance to explore his or her new territory and get used to its unique situation.
Give them time to understand who the various family members are and that they are very much loved. Show them where they can have their own space, toys to play with, and so on.
With a new and clean litter box available, they should adjust reasonably well. You can all settle down an everyday routine.
A Household with Other Cats
Peeing outside of the litter box can occur in households where there are many cats or at least one more. It can be that one cat becomes a bully and does not let the newest cat get to the litter box. In this case, the household’s latest member becomes anxious and pees outside of the litter box.
Often owners wonder what is happening, and only if they get a chance to see the bullying, they might think that the newest member is attacking in some way.
To help keep the peace in your home, make sure there are enough litter boxes. Simply add another litter box in a different place that they can easily access.
The general rule is the number of cats = number of litter boxes, #1. If you have 2 cats, it’s likely best to have 3 litter boxes.
Is Your Cat Stressed?
Just like their humans, cats can get stressed. It can be that something in your household has changed, and cats don’t like change. It might be that he or she is unhappy about another pet who might get more attention.
As in the previous example, perhaps one cat seems to rule over the other, which brings on stress. When this occurs, the best way to help your cat is to give him or her a quiet place to get away from everyone.
Stress can come from many different things. Change in food, change in schedule, moving furniture, renovations inside or outside your home, loud noises, music, fear of other animals…and the list could go on.
Once you find what’s stressing your cat out, you should try to minimize that stress.
A Word About Cat Litter
For example, scented litter should be avoided as cats don’t like strong smells. We recommend using a good quality, flushable litter like World’s Best Cat litter.
Buying litter solely on price might not be a good idea. Your cat may not like the smell or texture of the litter that you’re using so you may have to be flexible.
Old Urine Smells
If there have been accidents and other cats have urinated in other areas of the house, it could be that the old urine smells still linger. In this case, your cat, with his or her keen sense of smell, is picking up these old odors. The aromas make him or her want to urinate in the same spots. Then you need to do a thorough cleaning of the floors, shampooing the rugs, and other areas to get rid of these lingering urine smells.
Once they are entirely gone, your cat will return to the litter box. In this case, it is simple to know your cat’s train of thought – if other cats have been allowed to urinate in these spots, why can’t I do the same? Perhaps it is better to urinate here and pick up these scents than merely going to my litter box.
Not Happy With the Litter Box (Shape, Size)
It could simply be that your cat is not satisfied with your choice of a litter box or the type of litter. Sometimes a litter box can be too small for a cat. The best option is a litter box that is 1.5 times the length of your cat. This does not include the tail. Often the tail is kept outside of the box.
However, once the cat gets into the litter box, they need room to turn about and find a comfortable position to squat. If they cannot turn about quickly, that also causes a problem. Once they have urinated, they need the room to scratch up the litter and cover their tracks. In a too-small litter box, your cat shows that he or she is not pleased by quickly doing their business and just as quickly bolting from the litter box. Most cats enjoy doing a bit of digging in their litter.
Dirty Litter Box
Remember how you feel when you go places, and you need to use a toilet only to find a messy and smelly port-a-potty. Your cat has the same reaction – no way, not me. If the litter box is not clean enough, your cat will look for other places to urinate. Therefore, it is essential to keep his or her litter box clean at all times.
You don’t have to clean out the litter box every day, but you need to refresh it by scooping out as much as you can and adding some more litter, so the box does not smell. The idea is not to leave the litter box as “clean enough” because your cat with his or her keen smell will know the difference. The litter box should be refreshed each day. Deep cleaning should be done every couple of weeks, depending on how many cats you have.
Litter Box is Hard to Reach
It is also important to note the position of the litter box. Is it in an area that is always easily accessible by your cat? If it is in a substantial traffic area, this can upset your cat because he or she wants their privacy while on the litter box. It is best to place the litter box away from areas with heavy household traffic and with noise. If the litter box is in a quiet place where your cat can quickly get to it, he or she won’t find it a problem to go in the litter box.
Unwanted Change (Tip: Cats Don’t Like Change)
Cats desperately hate change, especially when they get used to one kind of routine. The same goes for their cat litter. If your cat has been happily using his or her litter box and suddenly stops doing this, you have to ask yourself if there has been any change.
The simple rule here is that if you have been using one kind of litter all the time and your cat has been happily accessing their litter box, then keep using that same litter.
Perhaps you found a way to save money on cat litter and changed the brand. It does not sit well with cats. If they like the cat litter, they were first introduced to then keep using that litter. Many cats don’t like litter that has strong deodorizers or heavy perfume.
Some cats don’t like litter that clumps because once they use the litter box, the clumps make it hard for them to dig up the litter to cover their tracks, and often clumping litter clings to their paws.
Once you find a litter you both can agree on, always keep using the same one. It will make both you and your cat happy. He or she will continue using their litter box, and you won’t have to worry about them urinating outside of the box.
Litter Box Placement for Older Cats
Previously we discussed the problems of having more than one cat in the family. There might be other reasons for adding another litter box. If you have an older cat and have to access a litter box that requires them to walk down a flight of stairs with age, they might have problems doing this.
If you have a mix of young and older cats, consider adding a new litter box for your senior cat. Place this box in a place that is easy for them to access in their declining years. The younger cats can continue with the other litter box. Your older cat member will be appreciative; you can be sure of that.
Rescue Cats Avoidance of Plastic Litter Boxes
This is a little-known fact that many owners of “rescue” cats do not realize. Shelters for the most part will use disposable aluminum pans in place of plastic or other types of litter boxes.
This is simply a convenience feature on the part of rescues and shelters as there are many litter boxes to clean each day. The disposable aluminum baking pans are used instead as they can be purchased in bulk and just thrown away every day or so.
If your cat was litter trained in a rescue or shelter, then they will be used to the aluminum baking pans, and plastic has a different smell and feel. You might be able to transition your cat to another type placed next to the aluminum pan but if not, then you are probably “stuck” with an aluminum pan litter box addicted cat, and that is not such a bad thing at all.
These aluminum disposable pans are cheap and very easy to use as you throw away the whole mess each day. Most stores sell them in bulk so the price is right too. When these are used by a shelter or rescue a cat becomes not only used to the smell and feel of these but is used to a new spotless box each day! That can be a hard habit to break and it can be easier just to give in.
Cat Peeing on Sofas, Beds, & Places They Should Not Be Peeing
If you suddenly find that your cat is peeing on clothing or sofas or beds, it could be that they have an issue with the relationship between them and the human who spends time in these spots.
They need reassurance that their relationship with this human is not threatened in any way, and they can be secure in the fact that they are loved.
The cat wants to be sure that his or her bond with this person is tight and that he or she won’t be overlooked. Once the cat realizes that they have bonded and there is no reason to feel insecure, he or she will calm down and return to their usual routine, which is to use the litter box.
Cats also become angry and/or anxious when left alone. They will locate something that you value such as a pair of shoes you use all the time and pee directly into them.
If you find that this happens every time you leave them it is anger/anxious peeing, which some cat owners refer to as “spite peeing,” The only solution for this is to put away your belongings before you leave them alone by themselves as “spite peeing” is their outlet for anger and anxiety.
The Difference Between Cat Spraying and Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box
First of all, both cat spraying and peeing outside of the litter box is related to stress. When a male cat that is not neutered sprays, he is marking his territory. He wants everyone to know that this is his place and no one else’s. When a cat sprays, there is less urine coming out than when a cat is peeing outside of the litter box.
Spraying can occur because of:
- Insecurity about territory
- In response to outside cats roaming about
- Issues with another cat in the household
- In response to smells coming from the outside
Tackling the Territory Issues
Male cats who have not been neutered are the ones who most often spray. It is best to have male cats neutered before puberty. If your neutered cat is spraying, you should help to make him feel more secure about his territory.
If there are many cats in the household, it might provide them with separate living spaces of their own. There are also over-the-counter anxiety-relieving products that can be used to help cats that are spraying.
Stopping Inappropriate Litter Box Behavior
Clean litter boxes
Always make sure that the cat’s litter box is clean and remember that their keen sense of smell will pick up any lingering odors. Once you have cleaned their litter box, you can also sprinkle some refreshing baking soda on top.
Be sure to place the litter box away from dense traffic areas. Put the box in a place that gives easy access to your cat and where he or she can find quiet and privacy. If you have a house with different levels, place a litter box on each level.
If you have a senior cat member, make sure they can access the litter box without climbing stairs. It is best to help them by getting a shallow litter box, so they don’t have problems jumping into it.
One Litter Box Per Cat +1
Vets recommend having one litter box per cat to avoid problems at a minimum. Others suggest 1 litter box per cat, plus one extra.
This makes it easier for each cat to access the litter box without any issues or stress. It also helps to prevent bullying and territorial issues.
To make sure your cat is a happy camper at home, be sure to provide plenty of cat-friendly spaces. Give them places to call their own where they can have cat beds, cat trees, and cat toys. A happy cat is a cat that will use the litter box.
Popular items like Cat Trees, Cat Hammocks or Cat Caves are just a few of the things you can purchase to give your cat its own special space.
Cats Are Not Playthings
If you have children in the household, remind them that they can play with the cat, but it is not a plaything. Often children think that if they enjoy doing different things with the cat, he or she enjoys this as well.
While the cat might like to interact with the children, they are many individuals in their own right, and when they tire of playing, they want to retire to their own private space.
Be aware of your cat’s body language and learn to be a responsible cat owner by providing a nurturing, loving, and stress-free environment. When cats are happy and healthy, they don’t pee outside of the litter box.