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Help! My cat won’t stop biting me

 by yunus on 13 Nov 2018 |
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Our felines bite for a variety of reasons. It’s important to understand the root of the problem before you can address Kitty’s behavior.  Whether it’s a playful nibble or a serious clip, biting is a problem behavior in cats. Our felines bite for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to understand the root of the problem before you can address Kitty’s behavior.   From social play to a means of getting attention, biting serves a range of functions for cats. Especially in kittens, biting is used as a non-aggressive part of playtime, but this can become a problem when Kitty gets overzealous and bites too hard on a human. Biting can also be used to show dominance, however, and it’s important to distinguish between the two. Some telltale signs that your cat is challenging you for the lead role in the home include aggressive displays such as growling or hissing that accompany his biting. If your pet does this, or biting isn’t accompanied by playful behavior or cuddling, you can be sure he’s trying to show he’s in charge. Some cats also prefer a friendly nibble to meow when they want your attention. If your cat bites and then attempts to lead you to the food bowl, a door he wants to be opened or a litter box that needs cleaning, he is most likely using biting as a form of communication. Cats may also meow after a nibble if the behavior is meant to get your attention.   Whatever is causing your cat to bite, most owners agree it’s not a desirable behavior. Once you have determined the cause of Kitty’s biting, you can address the behavior. Cats that are simply trying to play will benefit from a variety of toys and new objects to investigate, such as paper bags or cardboard boxes. Playing with your cat for at least a few minutes each day using a fishing pole or other toy will also help curb his biting—as long as you don’t let him treat your hands like a toy. If your cat becomes too rough, put him in “time out” by immediately ending the game, so he will learn boundaries over time. Cats that are biting to show dominance require a more disciplined approach. Use a louder, firm tone to show your cat you are in charge at home and, if he’s not already neutered, consider getting your pet fixed, as unneutered males tend to be the most dominant cats. If your pet is simply biting to get your attention, however, the best response is to ignore him. Eventually, Kitty will learn that biting does not earn him the attention he needs and will try a different approach.   When training a cat not to bite, consistency is crucial. While biting can often be cute or playful, especially in kittens, you should never encourage this behavior. Your cat is less unlikely to understand the difference between different types of biting, so treat all biting the same by discouraging the behavior. Remember, never physically punish your cat for biting, as this can only escalate rough play or lead to fearful aggression from your pet.  

Tips for Outdoor Flea Control

 by yunus on 22 Oct 2018 |
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A huge range of flea treatments is available these days, but sometimes infestations spread beyond the help of topical treatments. You can treat your pet for fleas religiously, but dogs with flea sensitivity will not respond to treatments unless they also include environmental controls. If your companion spends a good deal of time outdoors, it’s important to treat these areas to manage for fleas and other pests.   When making a list of steps you should take in addressing Fido’s outdoor flea problem, you should first account for which areas need treating. These should include any spot where your pet sleeps, such as his doghouse, kennel, carport, and even under the deck. Other areas to be treated include moist, shady spot where fleas breed; gardens; shrubs; and mulched areas. To rid these areas of fleas, many pet owners use pyrethroid sprays famous for killing fleas and ticks fast. These can be applied through a sprayer attached to a hose, allowing rapid treatment of large areas, or can be diluted and applied with a watering can on smaller spaces. Make sure to remove any pet or children’s toys before beginning this process.   Although pyrethroids are chemical imitations of pyrethrins—naturally occurring compounds that incapacitate insect nervous systems—not all pet owners are comfortable spraying them in their yards. Alternatives include desiccants, which are naturally occurring substances that pull water from fleas, causing them to dry up. Diatomaceous earth, silica gel, and sodium borate are all desiccants that can be applied in your yard to control fleas and other pests. Another natural solution to outdoor flea infestations are beneficial nematodes. Microscopic roundworms available at many garden centers, nematodes kill pests and other insects by entering the body and releasing a bacteria that kills fleas quickly. While they can be highly effective in some situations, nematodes have a limited area and season of usefulness, as they die in temperatures above 95 Fahrenheit and below 45, and are sensitive to light and drought. Cedar wood chips are another natural alternative to fighting fleas, as fleas are repelled by their scent. Sprinkle chips in shady areas, such as under the porch, and in dog bedding and outdoor furniture.   To keep a serious flea infestation at bay, repeat your outdoor treatment every two to three weeks, for at least six weeks. Once your pest problem is under control, you can drop to regular maintenance treatments every four to six weeks throughout the flea season. You should continue using your regular flea treatments on all of your pets throughout the process, and be sure to consult your veterinarian before treating your yard to make sure your pest prevention program won’t harm you or your canine companion.

How can I stop my cat from waking me up at night?

 by lucy on 22 Oct 2018 |
2 Comment(s)
Everybody keep their cat safe, but sometimes staying indoors can cause Kitty to become bored or under-stimulated. Things to do if your cat wakes you up at night If you’re the owner of a precocious feline, chances are you don’t need an alarm clock. That’s because, even with intermittent changes to your daily routine, your pet is tuned in to your schedule. By learning when to expect his breakfast, when you to return from work, and the timing of other daily events, your cat is better able to manage his own schedule—which can be a good or bad thing for weary pet owners.   Cats in the wild have an internal clock that helps regulate when they sleep, hunt and perform other activities. Domesticated felines retain this internal clock, adjusting their schedules to fit our own. When we wake up at the same time each morning to give our pets breakfast, this reinforces that schedule—and when we don’t, our pets often stir us in anticipation of their morning meal. In some cases, Kitty’s get-up-and-go behavior affects your ability to sleep, meaning you may need to take measures to manage his schedule.   Often, when cats become excessively needy and disrupt our sleep, it’s because they’re bored. While keeping cats indoors protects them from dangers such as predators and disease, it can also lead to under-stimulated pets. By waking you up, then, your cat is able to alleviate his boredom through social interaction and often, a tasty snack. The first step in reshaping your cat’s nighttime behavior, then, is to provide him with plenty of stimulation before bed. Engage your pet in “hunting” with interactive toys such as fishing poles and feed him his final meal before you’re ready for bed. You may also want to consider ways to make Kitty’s environment more stimulating, such as creating opportunities for exploring, climbing and hiding and rotating new objects like paper bags into his environment for him to explore. You could even consider installing a bird feeder outside of an easily accessed window or getting a second cat as a companion pet.   Though our cats get used to our schedules, there are some tricks to help Kitty adjust when your routine changes. If you need to start going to sleep earlier, for example, feed and play with your pet earlier in the evening. If a new job affects what time you can feed your pet, try leaving him with a “puzzle toy” feeder between meals, which will help keep his brain busy while providing him with tasty treats. During the adjustment period, you can try confining your pet to another room while you sleep, or invest in earplugs or a white noise machine to minimize your pet’s disruptions.   Remember, cats that are left alone for long periods of time will be more likely to seek your attention when you’re home at night. By giving your pet plenty of stimulation and attention before bed, you can help both of you get a good night’s rest.

How to stop your cat from spraying

 by lucy on 06 Sep 2018 |
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Cats use their urine to mark their space, a practice known as spraying. You can try some tricks to minimise this behavior. Since they can’t be in several places at one time, cats use scent-based ways to mark their territory. While most marking is done through rubbing or scratching, issues can arise when Kitty decides to mark his space with urine in, a practice known as spraying. Fortunately, there are several ways to curb this unwanted behavior in housecats.   The first step to solving your cat’s spraying problem to determine whether he is truly spraying or if he’s simply urinating outside the litter box. When spraying, cats tend to stand upright and eliminate a small amount of urine on vertical surfaces. Cats that are just urinating, however, generally squat and eliminate larger amounts on a horizontal surface. While there are a number of reasons cats urinate outside of their litter boxes—everything from an unclean box to litter they don’t like or an insecure location—spraying is a tool for communicating via smell. Once you’ve determined your cat is, in fact, spraying, you can begin to address the problem.   While unneutered males are the most common culprits behind spraying, any cat can spray when marking his territory or if he feels anxious or threatened. Hormones play a big role in spraying, so the first step to curbing the problem is to spay or neuter your pet. Next, determine what is causing Kitty’s anxiety. Any number of environmental factors can stress out your cat and lead to spraying. If there is a stray cat outside, for example, your pet may mark near doors to establish the home as his territory. Introducing a new pet to the household or tension with an existing pet can be another source of stress that causes spraying. Watch your pet closely to determine the reason behind his behavior and then work on ways to address it, such as separating rival pets or limiting your cat’s view of outside animals with window blinds.   Another key step to stop your cat from spraying is to clean any areas or objects that have already been marked. The residual odor can prompt your pet to mark the same spot again, so use enzymatic cleaners to eliminate smells. You can also use soothing products that mimic feline pheromones, such as Feliway, in areas your cat has marked or as a plug-in diffuser for the entire room. These synthetic products mimic the pheromones your cat leaves behind when he rubs his faces against you or your furniture, marking the territory as safe and secure. You may want to add more litter boxes to multi-cat households and give your cat toys to help him expel excess energy and distract him from the source of his stress. Form positive associations with the problem area by playing with your cat there, petting him, or even feeding him in spot he has sprayed. With some time and effort, you should be able to stop your cat’s unwanted marking, though you can always seek your veterinarian’s help if the problem persists.

Should I get pet insurance for my dog?

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
2 Comment(s)
Pet Insurance; is it waste of money or necessity for all pet owners? Here are all pros and cons:   According to Canine Journal, up to one in three pets require urgent veterinary care each year. With bills ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, however, many owners think twice before taking their dogs to the vet. Enrolling in a pet insurance plan can help offset those costs, easing owners’ minds when it comes to caring for their companions.   Like their human counterparts, dogs can get insurance to cover the costs of care after an unexpected accident or illness. It’s important to note, however, that owners are still responsible for vet bills as they arise and the company will reimburse expenses, minus the copay or deductible. For a monthly fee, most insurance companies offer several types of coverage, including accidental, illness and wellness plans. Owners can choose a combination of these that best suits their individual dog’s needs. Accidental plans cover X-rays, tests and medications that arise from an unexpected incident, such as a broken bone, for example, while illness plans cover costs when your dog becomes sick and needs veterinary care. Wellness plans include coverage for annual checkups and vaccines. It’s important to note that insurance providers will not cover pre-existing conditions, so enrolling your pet while he is still young may help avoid exclusions for age-related conditions.   While pet insurance can ease tough decisions when your dog gets sick or injured, the choice to enroll depends on each owner. You should consider your dog’s breed, age, health, pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions and individual care needs when shopping around for insurance, as these all play a role in determining insurance costs and what your pet needs. Talk to your veterinarian about what to plan for as your dog ages, too, as you will need to anticipate the kind of care he may require later in life. Some breeds have unique health concerns that sway their owners’ decisions about insurance, such as golden retrievers’ tendency to develop hip dysplasia. This can make these dogs more expensive to insure, but premiums can also save on costly surgery in the future. After researching and choosing several companies that match your pets’ unique needs, obtain quotes from them for the cost of insurance. Have your vet send in a copy of your dog’s records, as companies that are truly interested in your business will review them and clearly outline any conditions that will be excluded from your pet’s plan. It’s important to know exactly what is and what is not covered before investing in pet insurance.   In the long run, pet insurance can save you money and ease tough decisions if your dog becomes unexpectedly sick or injured. To learn more about pet insurance and compare plans, visit Canine Journal, Consumers Advocate or

Why all cats don’t hunt mice

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
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Not all cats want to hunt mice. Contrary to popular belief hunting is a learned skill. Every cat owner has watched his pet stalk and attack his favorite toy, but not all domesticated felines actually hunt and kill prey. It turns out, hunting is a learned behavior and our companions must watch other cats to hone the skill.   All animals are born with instinctual behaviors that help them survive. A kitten does not need to watch another cat to know how to nurse, for example, but he does observe adult cats to learn other life skills. Unlike instinctual actions, these learned behaviors take time and experience to master through trial, error and observation. Researchers long wondered whether cats engaged in hunting instinctually or learned to stalk and kill prey by watching their mothers until one nineteenth century scientist sought to answer the question. In his decade-long experiment, Professor Kuo Zing Yang raised several solitary kittens without influence from their mothers at the same time he cared for families of felines. He found that more kittens raised by hunting mothers grew up to be hunters themselves, while kittens raised by humans or mothers who didn’t hunt were more likely to ignore prey than chase it down.   While his study provided evidence that young cats learn to hunt from their mothers, the professor’s findings don’t mean cats are born entirely without hunting instincts. Housecats have no need to track prey for food, but a playful feline will still chase down a piece of string, catnip mouse or other toy. Our pets are born with the instinct to follow movement, then, but must hone their skills to become artful hunters. Without a mother cat to bring home prey and teach her kittens to hunt and consume it by example, many cats simply retain their chasing instincts without the desire to actually stalk and kill.   You can tap into your pet’s instinct to follow movement by engaging him in play with a fishing pole, balls or wads of paper that roll across the floor, stuffed animals, a laser pointer or other toys. Look for models that will spark your pet’s interest in searching, stalking and chasing to help keep your pet fit both mentally and physically. Switch out toys regularly to keep things interesting—and remember to never use your hand as a toy, as this can lead to bad habits.

Can you really teach a cat tricks?

 by lucy on 18 Jul 2018 |
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Dogs aren’t the only pets that can learn tricks. With some patience (and hefty a supply of treats) your cat can also learn to sit, shake and play fetch. Many people think tricks are just for dogs, but some exceptional felines prove that cats can also learn to sit, shake and play fetch. With the right combination of energy, intelligence and a strong bond with his trainer, your cat can learn several tricks that will reinforce your bond while impressing guests.   The first step when training your cat is to recognize that there are some fundamental differences between cat and dog obedience. Felines are less motivated by praise and less instinctually driven to work in tandem with humans, so you’ll have to rely heavily on treats during training. Pick something especially delicious for your companion, such as soft, savory diced chicken or turkey. After choosing the right commercial cat treats or other morsels, start with a simple trick to teach Kitty that a certain behavior will earn him this tasty treat. Many pet owners choose ‘sit’ as the foundation for feline training because it’s relatively easy to master.   To begin training, start by rewarding your cat with a morsel every time he does the desired action by chance. Repeat this several times in a row so your pet understands why he’s being rewarded, bearing in mind that training sessions should last no more than 10 or 15 minutes. This will keep both you and your cat engaged in the training and prevent boredom or frustrated. Often, you can use treats to guide your pet in the right direction of a trick—holding a treat above eye level to encourage your cat to stand, for example. You can also gently guide your with your hand while he’s learning the ropes.   Many experts suggest teaching cats only one trick at a time so they do not become confused about which action earns them a treat. Once your pet has mastered one trick, you can move on to the next, remembering to practice old tricks regularly so your pet doesn’t forget them. Some common feline feats including teaching your cat to sit, come on command, shake hands, and fetch his favorite toy. Others include playing dead, standing on his hind legs, and even giving a high-five. Always use the same vocal command for a trick, rewarding your cat immediately when he executes a command.   There are, of course, some cats that will be more receptive to training than others. Cats with higher levels of energy and athleticism will be more motivated in training, as will exceptionally intelligent felines. Cats that are highly social also love spending time with their humans, making training an easy fit for these felines.

How to communicate your cat

 by lucy on 18 Jun 2018 |
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Cats are notorious for never listening, but that doesn’t mean your pet doesn’t care about what you have to say. Felines have their own, nuanced ways of communicating and by learning to use a few of their social cues, you can strengthen the bond you share with your pet. Here are a few tricks to try when “talking” to your cat:   Use your inside voice: Unlike dogs, who generally respond well to a bombastic “hello,” cats have incredibly sensitive hearing and will run away if a greeting is too loud. Instead, try using a quiet, sing-song voice when welcoming your pet, especially if he is shy or anxious.   Lend a helping hand: Cats often greet each other nose-to-nose and you can imitate this gesture with your hand. Crouch or sit so your hand is at eye level with your cat, curl your index finger to make a “nose” and slowly reach out your arm. This allows your pet to bump “noses” with your hand—a greeting he can understand.   Offer “slow blinks”: When cats feel relaxed, they slowly open and shut their eyes in what’s called a slow blink. Doing this in your company means your pet trusts you and feels safe around you. You can offer him the same sign of affection by slowly closing and opening your eyes. Often, your pet will return the friendly gesture.   Give consistent commands: When communicating verbally with your pet, be sure to offer consistent commands. If you say “come up” when welcoming your cat to hop into your lap, be sure to always use the same phrase. Likewise, if your cat becomes too rough during play, use the same verbal cue, such as “stop it,” to let him know he’s gone too far, and then disengage from play for several minutes.   Listen to your pet: As with humans, the best communicators in the feline world are also good listeners. While your pet can’t speak per se, he uses body language to communicate with you constantly. Get to know your cat’s unique set of non-verbal cues and you will be able to better communicate with him in ways your pet can understand.   Whether your cat is openly affectionate or offers more subtle signs of his love, he has his own ways of showing he cares about you. By learning to use these cues, you can communicate with your cat in his own language, strengthening the bond you share with your pet.

Is there a better way to feed your cat?

 by lucy on 01 May 2018 |
1 Comment(s)
For people, mealtime may be all about the food, but for our cats, eating is also a chance to act on their hunting instincts. According to some researchers, then, eating out of a bowl might not be the best option for your pet. Enter the puzzle feeder.   A puzzle feeder is an alternative to free-feeding your cat by presenting him with a food-dispensing game. Ranging from simple designs to more complex challenges, puzzle feeders engage your cat’s brain while he eats, turning mealtime into a challenge with a tasty reward at the end. While cats certainly don’t require a puzzle feeder to take their meals, these contraptions have been shown to add mental stimulation into your pet’s daily routine and, in some cases, can help with behavioral problems.   Your cat will need to learn the ropes for his unique new food “dish,” so start with an easy design. You may want to make a homemade puzzle feeder to ensure this feeding style works for your pet before investing in a commercial model. To do this, take an empty bottle and cut holes in it that are slightly larger than the size of your cat’s kibble. Make plenty of holes so the game is easy at first and then place some kibble in the bottle, close the lid, and place the bottle on its side on the floor. If your pet seems to enjoy this game, you can make a more challenging design with fewer holes or move on to other contraptions using materials from toilet paper tubes to egg cartons. There are DYI designs online or you can use your imagination to design a puzzle feeder, but remember, the game should be fun—not frustrating—for your pet.   Each puzzle feeder is different, so it’s important to consider your pet’s age, personality and health when finding the right fit. Before purchasing or designing a feeder, ask yourself whether your cat is an inquisitive, fast learner that would enjoy a challenge, or if he would be content with a simpler model. Once your cat figures out the movement required to get a tasty treat, eating becomes a game with a reward similar to hunting for his food. Not only does this encourage your pet to eat slower, but can also ease boredom, redirect destructive behavior and add exercise to your cat’s routine. Solo playtime can also aid overweight pets’ weight loss and help in cases of cats prone to shredding furniture, walls or carpets.   Using a puzzle feeder is just one way to enhance your cat’s daily routine. Be sure to provide your pet with plenty of playtime, both interactively and with toys he can enjoy on his own, to keep his mind and body fit, too.

Hair Loss in Cats

 by yunus on 18 Apr 2018 |
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Many people suffer from hair loss, but few know balding is also common in cats. From flea bites and hormonal imbalances to chronic over-grooming, a host of underlying causes can lead to your cat’s retreating hairline. Hair loss can be a symptom of more serious problems in cats, too, but fortunately treatments exist for most of its root causes.   Known as alopecia, balding can be either partial or total in our feline friends. The skin underneath your cat’s receding hairline may look normal or it could show signs of irritation such as redness, bumps, scabs and lesions. With so many variations, it can be hard to diagnose the underlying cause of your cat’s alopecia—especially given the host of potential problems. Some pets are allergic to flea bites, for example, while others lose their coats due to parasites that cause mange or fungal issues such as ringworm. Hormonal imbalances such as hyperthyroidism or increased levels of steroids can play a role in feline balding, and alopecia may also be a sign of a behavioral problem if anxiety is causing your pet to over-groom. Older cats diagnosed with cancer often lose their hair, too, and some cats, like people, simply go bald due to genetics. Whatever the cause of your cat losing his coat, it’s important to identify the problem. Small, red spots usually suggest allergies, while thinning patches of fur on your cat’s tail end can indicate a reaction to mange or fleas. Ringworm, on the other hand, can leave your cat with smaller, red circles with a white center. Whatever the source, most underlying causes of hair loss also cause our pets to itch and scratch, which can lead to more serious infections.   Enlist your veterinarian’s help, if necessary, to diagnose your cat. He can run blood tests to determine whether Kitty’s balding is due to hormonal or thyroid imbalances or take a skin sample to determine whether your cat is losing his fur due to dermatological issues. To rule out cancer or abnormalities in the adrenal glands, your vet may use X-rays and ultrasounds. Depending on the diagnosis, your cat may need a new flea preventative, medication or topical treatment to alleviate his symptoms. Other possible solutions include changing your cats diet or even trying new laundry detergent, cleaning products or other household products to rule out allergies as the source of your pet’s problems. If your cat’s hair loss is due to a behavioral issue, you should work to reduce his stress levels and may need to seek help from a behavioral specialist.   While there are no surefire methods to prevent hair loss in cats, keeping an eye on your pet can help address symptoms before they get worse. If you notice your cat is scratching one area more than the rest, pay attention that area and seek veterinary help, if necessary. You can also provide temporary relief from itching with prescribed topical treatments while getting to the bottom of your cat’s hair-loss problems.
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