Tips & Tricks of the Cat Trade!
We've gathered a few tips & tricks for helping to deal with the daily tasks surrounding all the things cat. We hope you find them useful.
If you'd like to submit your own tips & tricks, feel free to fill out the contact form on our Contact Us page and just choose that subject in the drop down. We'll give them a look over and see if they fit our page and if so you will most likely find them included in the list below.
Check back often to see what we've added to aid you in caring for your little furry friends!
- If you're like many thousands of unsatisfied rake style automated cat box users, then you'll love the Litter-Robot Cat Box. This space age style cat box leaves you virtually touch free, odor free, and mess free (unless your cat is a messy cat to start with hehe). I've had mine for about 4 years now and have only had to have one small part replaced and they replaced it for free. Great company, great product. No more raking, scooping, and all around maintenance of your cat box. Put the litter in, set it up and watch it go. Check the box under it that holds the disposable clumps every so often to make sure it's not full, and empty it into a garbage bag and dispose of it. That's it!
Foods & Food Health:
- Please don't over feed your cats! Fat cats can be humorous and good food is great, but too much is very dangerous for cats. If they get sick even a mild illness can kill them if they stop eating, because of the liver damage (hepatic lipidosis) that occurs when a cat loses weight too quickly. A cat's liver does not process fat like a human liver does. The fat stays in the liver and damages it, just like the liver damage in people that drink too much when they get cirrhosis of the liver. It can be fatal and often there are no signs that it is occurring as the liver can continue to function even if a large percentage of it is gone, so you don't know your cat is really sick until it is too late. Once that last remaining part goes there is no backup and not a whole lot you can do about it.
- Milk gallon cap ring. Not the cap itself, but the little ring that is usually attached below the cap to seal the cap on. My cat just loves them things. All the money I've wasted on toys amazes me when all she wants to play with is that little milk gallon ring.
- Boxes, and more boxes. Cats love to play in boxes. Cut a whole in it so they can get in and out of the sides like a little playground and watch them play!
- The most obvious of course is any type of string, cord, safe wire, ropes, and the like. They love it when you play with them too, just take the string or cord and whiz it around in their reach and play keep-away. You'll both have a great time.
**NOTE** Use the strings and such under supervision only. Sometimes cats will eat a string and it will get tangled up in their intestines and can cost you a fortune to get it surgically removed, or it can even kill your cat.
Also be careful with any kind of toy that hangs on a string, especially the ones with elastic type strings. When the cat bats it around it can zing back and wrap around the cats neck and can strangle them. I learned about this one the hard way when one of my kittens had this happen with a ball on an elastic cord made to attach to a door knob. I fortunately only left the room for a few minutes so the kitten survived, but she did suffer slight brain damage and part of her face was paralyzed.
- Some products work, some don’t ... The best I’ve found are Anti-Icky Poo, Zero Odor and Odoban. I use the Odoban for the every day stuff, and the other two for tougher situations. The anti-icky poo is the most effective if you use it as directed. The zero odor works good for minor things but doesn’t always permanently remove smells from the cat’s nose standpoint.
For keeping the cat clean, you can bath a cat but unless you start them young and do it often like they do with show cats, it can be rather a beastly chore for you and the cat. Besides, they don’t generally need baths. They make kitty wet wipes if you have a cat that is rather a slob. They are kind of handy for those cats who get so fat that they can’t clean their butts.
- You might be lucky enough to have a cat that doesn’t object to you sticking pills down their throat. If not, your best friend here could be Gerber Baby Food, especially the ham. Cats seem to love it and the ham has a strong enough taste and smell to cover a lot of the medicines. Clavamox will mix with any kind of cat food as it has very little taste or smell, but some, like azithromycin, are a bit bitter so need stronger coverups.
If the cat won’t eat it by themselves you can try a small amount of the baby food, a few drops of water to thin it out a little, loaded into one of the medication dispensing syringes you can buy at Walmart and other pharmacies. The end on those is a little bigger than the syringes you can get at your vet, so it won’t clog up if you are trying to use it with a regular cat food as they sometimes have little chunks that will plug up regular syringes. These hold about 10 ml/cc’s but you only want to mix the meds with a couple ml’s.
Mix the food with a crushed up pill, pull the syringe apart and put it into the end trying not to leave space between the plunger part and the food when you put the syringe back together or you get air behind it which can pressurize and make it blast out the nozzle end. Then just grab kitty, stick the end of the syringe into his mouth, aiming either for the center roof of the mouth or into the corner of his mouth. Don’t get it too far down his throat so you make him choke. Don’t squirt in too much at a time either.
With a little luck you’ll catch on to what works best for your cat and he’ll like the baby food and want his medicine. This syringe method also works well with sick kitties that don’t want to eat. Be very careful doing this with kittens as they can get it into their lungs very easily.
Outside Play Tips:
- If you can, don’t let a cat outside. Indoor cats live longer and healthier lives. The outdoors is a dangerous place for cats. Cars are dangerous on the roads, and in the winter when it’s cold they sometimes climb up inside the engine to get warm and will be killed when the car starts. They are often injured or killed by other animals – dogs, coyotes, skunks, raccoons. Humans who don’t want your cat in their yard or garbage cans sometimes put out antifreeze or other poisons, and some people even set leg traps (just ask little three legged Tippy about that one). Outside cats are also exposed to a lot more diseases than indoor cats.
If you must let your cat outside make sure you have some kind of enclosure to keep them safe. We installed purrfect fence here for our guys, and it’s been great as they can go in and out and do it safely. They are still exposed to mosquitos and ticks so we have to use products for those, but they are safe from the rest of the problems, I don’t have to worry about them and the neighbors don’t have to deal with my animals. There are also a lot of good plans and ideas for different kinds of cat outdoor enclosures online if you look! http://www.paws.org/outdoor-cat-enclosures.html can get you started.
If you live in an apartment or condo with a balcony, please be very careful letting your cats out there! Cat’s can be kind of dumb and sometimes will try to jump off or get clumsy and fall. They are especially vulnerable if they’ve just had surgery or dental work while they anesthetic wears off. A friend let her cat out to nap in the sunshine every afternoon and after he had his teeth cleaned she let him out same as always as he seemed fine, but his judgement was affected and he jumped.
How to Stop Clawing & Scratching of Furniture
- If you are the sort of person who doesn’t feel comfortable with cutting off a cat’s fingers, then just teach your cat to put up with having his claws trimmed. If you start early and reward them for cooperating they get used to it pretty quickly. You can use a fingernail snipper or get one of the nail trimmers, which works a little better and easier. Be careful not to cut into the quick so it hurts as your cat will remember that. Combine that with readily available scratching posts and such and time spent in training them to use them and your furniture should be safe. I also buy the carpet tiles from Menards and I just screw them onto the wall or onto my cheaper furniture and let them go at it.
They also make little plastic/rubber nail covers you can use on your cat too, but I’ve found them to be a lot of work when you have more than a couple cats. I do have friends who use them on their cats with success.
Declawing a cat does protect your furniture but it is awful for the cat. Some cats experience life long phantom pain and as the cat ages they are far more likely to get arthritis and spinal problems because the act of claw sharpening stretches the body and keeps them limber and none of that happens if declawed. The psychological effects can also ruin a good cat. I’ve seen sweet cats turned into paranoid cats that bite after declawing. When you cut off that end finger bone you also take the scent glands that are found on those toe pads. If a cat can’t mark his spots with those glands then they will sometimes resort to actual scent marking by peeing. If you absolutely have to have a declawed cat, then please let us know and we will do our best to find you a good cat that is already done.