Common Cat Behavioral Problems

April 11, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Common Cat Behavioral Problems

Cats are quite self-sufficient. They do love their owners but can get a little out of hand when they want something. Keep reading to find out some common reasons why Fluffy might be going off the rails and how to deal with cat behavioral problems.

Cats are very intelligent animals. They are also capable of great affection and great standoffish attitudes. It doesn’t bother some owners when they do what they want but certain behaviors can become problematic for the cat’s family. It is best to discourage all undesired actions as soon as possible.

Common Cat DON’TS

If any of the following sounds like your cat, there is hope. Find out how to discourage the problem here as well.

1. Scratching
– That is what those claws are for, but not to do it on your fine furniture and rugs. Since cats need to scratch why not indulge them with a variety of scratching media? Try different shapes and textures of scratching posts. Place them strategically around the house in areas your cat will frequent.

2. Nipping – It can be quite painful to have your cat nip at your legs or fingers. Often this is a problem when fingers and extremities are used as play toys when your cat is a kitten. As they age, they will continue this behavior. Use cat toys instead of your body as play things. Give them a firm command and also use a spray bottle with water to discourage further nips. Aim for the cat’s nose. You need to catch them in the act so they associate the erroneous behavior and the scolding.

3. Urinating – Animals often urinate to plant their scent when they are looking for a mating partner. Spaying or neutering can curb the inclination to “mark” territories. Cats may urinate if they are nervous. Has your schedule changed or is there a new pet in the house? Both can cause this problem.

4. Not using the litter box – Cats are very clean animals. They expect that the place where they do their business is clean as well. If your pet refuses to use the litter box, it could need a more regular cleaning. Try scoopable litter to remove large clumps each day between regular cleaning. Also, scented litter may bother them. Try unscented. Location could be problematic for your cat as well. Litter boxes are best situated away from high traffic areas.

5. Erratic behavior – Your cat is sitting quietly in your arms and then they get up and run wildly around the house. He could be letting off steam or be a little nervous. Talk to your veterinarian. Another option would be to tire your cat out just like you would do a child. Play with them and even feed them later so they can wind down and sleep peacefully at night.

You love your cat but it is likely they have some of the listed cat behavioral problems. Those listed above are some of the more common ones.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Scottish Fold Cat!

April 7, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Cats

The Scottish Fold Cat

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Scottish Fold Cat!

I thought that because there have been a couple recent cat posts I would write about an interesting cat breed this week. The Scottish Fold Cat! Has anyone ever owned one of these? They are not as popular as regular pet cats, but they are definitely popular as show cats! Of course, these cats are known by their peculiar ears. They have very small ears which fold forward and down. These ears are caused by a genetic mutation, making Scottish Fold Cats a Mutation Cat Breed. The ears are also a reason many people love this personable cat!

The Scottish Fold Cat actually has a reputation for being a great pet! Other than their intriguing appearance, they are also very friendly, adaptable cats. They get along well with most people and other pets, and can be kept as either indoors or outdoors cats. Generally being calm cats, they enjoy attention and affection, but they also love their fair share of playing and hunting. This makes them great for both families in huge houses and lots of kids, and for quiet apartments with only their owner. And of course, they make awesome show cats because of their unique appearance!

Here is the interesting history on the Scottish Fold Cat. The very first one recognized was born in Perthshire, Scotland on a farm in 1961. The cat was named Susie and and she later had a folded ear kitten named Snooks. Snooks then had a kitten named Snowdrift. Snowdrift was used by a breeder in London to earnestly try and continue the folded ear trait. That breeder was named Pat Turner. This cat was recognized as a new breed, although there were people who did not agree with it. This is mostly because they claimed the folded ears could become infected more readily and were hard to clean. However the Cat Association in England accepted the Scottish Fold Cat breed in 1983. The United States recognized the breed even earlier in 1973. By the 1990’s The Scottish Fold Cat was in the top ten popular pedigree breeds! Other cats with folded ears include the American Curl Cat, whose ears fold backwards rather than forwards. Another interesting tidbit is that the very first cat with folded ears to ever be recorded was in the 1880’s! This cat seems to have been brought by ship to Europe from China, but it is unknown whether any more folded ear cats came from that one.

The care and maintenance of the Scottish Fold Cat is that of most other typical cats. These cats are regular sized, weighing 6 to 13 pounds. They live a typical cat lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Grooming them once a week will keep their hair free of mats and keep them looking their best. There are long-hair varieties which may require more grooming, especially if you are showing them. As I mentioned earlier, these guys are quite adaptable and can live in most human environments! From huge farms to small apartments. And they most often get along with other cats and other pets (including dogs!).

For those of you interested in breeding Scottish Fold Cats, there are some things that you need to know. First, you should never breed a Scottish Fold Cat with another Scottish Fold Cat. This is because 25% of the kittens will have grave abnormalities which result in a lower quality of life and a shortened lifespan. You should always breed your Scottish Fold Cat with a non-Scottish Fold Cat. In this scenario, 50% of the kittens will have the folded ear trait. The other 50% will look typical, but none of them will come up with life-threatening abnormalities.

Usually health problems arise when two Scottish Fold Cats are bred together. Some of the kittens can have abnormalities which include stiffened and shortened legs and tails. This is because of some of the vertebrae being fused together. Nothing can be done to help these cats, other than give them medication to help with pain. They don’t live very long or very happy lives. Quite sad. Other than this situation, Scottish Fold Cats are usually quite healthy when taken care of!

Is your curiosity piqued? If you are interested in Scottish Fold Cats, breeders can be found across the United States. Prices are anywhere from $300 to $750 depending on age and traits. Kittens are more expensive than adults because that is their prime showing age.

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Adopting a Kitten

March 29, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Adopting a Kitten

Adopting a Kitten: The Basics

Are you in need of a new companion for your home? Maybe a pet will help to bring new purpose into your life. If you are looking to adopt a kitten, here are some basics you might want to know first.

The Benefit of Pets

Pets are loving and kind. They do need training in socializing with their new family, but they give back so much in return. If you are a cat person, then you might want to think about adopting a kitten. That cute little ball of fur can capture your heart just there.

Beyond the cuteness, pets are beneficial in the health department for owners. Pets are sensitive to the feelings and moods of their owners. They will also provide comfort when you feel down. Research shows that pets can help lower blood pressure, lift your mood, and boost immunity. We could all use that.

But, just like any other change in your life, it is best to make an informed decision. Keep reading to find some basic information on adopting a kitten and welcoming them into your home.

Kitten Basics

1. Research the breeds – Different cat breeds have different characteristics. If you like to snuggle with your pet, choose a cat that loves to lavish affection and be cuddled as well. Also check with health issues. You will be responsible for the pet for their lifetime so know what you are getting into upfront.

2. Check with local shelters – There are many homeless pets who need a good home. Before going online, check locally for a kitten that might meet your needs. Places like PetSmart also offer adoption services. If you have experience with cats, consider a rescue group. Try them on for size. Hold a few to see how you feel with each of the kittens.

3. Prepare your home – Your kitten will need several things: food bowls, carrier, toys, litter box, food and a bed for a start. Do as much preparation as you can for your new arrival.

4. Ask questions
– Check to see that immunizations have been done. Also decide if you want to spay or neuter your pet or if it has already been done. What about grooming? Trim claws. How about litter box training? Has it been done or do you need to accomplish it?

5. Visit the doctor – Find a veterinarian in your area that you like. Interview a few to find one who is sensitive to your needs. Make a visit soon after you bring your kitten home.

6. Make time – Your new kitten needs as much attention as a baby. They need to be litter trained, played with, and taught how to act. Account for these needs in your daily schedule for at least several months.

A kitten is a precious gift of companionship for any family. Learn the basics of what to do when adopting a kitten.

Cat Breeds: The Maine Coon

September 6, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Aggressive Cat Behavior

Are you looking for a fluffy, friendly companion? Then consider the Maine Coon cat. He may look like a more aggressive breed of wild cat but he is more like a pussycat.

Origin

This cat is actually the second most popular breed in the United States. As its name implies, it is believed to be native to Maine. This cat has been roaming the area for at least a century. Its thick furry coat makes it well-equipped to last during the long Maine winters and also the weather in the rest of New England as well.

Temperament

This cat may look menacing but he is as gentle as they come. They are quite playful and may even do some tricks if prompted. They love to play fetch with their owners and generally enjoy their company.

You may find that your Maine Coon never meets a stranger. They are easy-going with those they meet for the first time just like they have learned to be with their family. Some refer to them as “gentle giants” because of their size and their tendency for goofing off.

A Maine Coon is equally at home in a quiet house or an active one that has children. It is not a lap cat but will get in the habit of following you around the house. When they speak, their voice is a high chirping trill. They may use their “words” to coax you to play.

Care

The Maine Coon is a large sized tabby cat. They are often brown or brown and white tabby. Some are even chocolate or lavender. It is not uncommon for males and females to grow to between 16 and 20 pounds on average.

Their long coat stands close to their body. Don’t forget their long bushy tail and large tufted ears. They are reminiscent of the appearance of a lynx cat.

The thick coat is made for withstanding the harsh weather but you need to take care when grooming him. Being too aggressive can hurt your cat. Their coat is actually easy to manage as long as you give it a good combing twice a week. This reduces the amount of shedding they do, as well as hairballs and matting.

What about a bath? This cat doesn’t mind it if you make it a regular part of the cleaning process from their kitten days.

Training

If you start young, your Maine Coon can be taught to do a number of things. As we said, they love to fetch. They can also learn to stroll around outside on a leash for leisurely walks outside.

As with any cat, training them early can prevent behavioral problems like scratching and biting.

If you are looking for a new pet for your family, consider the second most popular cat breed in America, the Maine Coon.

How to Determine if Your Cat is Sick

May 4, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

How to Tell if your cat is sick

Cats are very independent pets. They mostly groom themselves and can also occupy themselves for hours with a toy. It will take a practiced eye to tell if they are sick.

You may think that your cat speaks to you in meows and purrs but it is a foreign language. There is no translation to let you know when they are in pain or not feeling well. So, how will you know if your cat is under the weather?

One way is to pay attention and listen. You are around your pet every day. From the time you get them home with a clean bill of health, take note of their usual behaviors. Vets can give you instruction and literature on normal cat activity and body functioning. Now, you are armed with the tools you need to identify when something is not right with your pet.

Signs of Sickness

For many cat owners, they don’t know that something is wrong until it is too late. This doesn’t have to be the case with you and your cat. Here are some signs that you can be on the lookout for.

1. Appetite – Your cat usually eats all of his food but now he is eating less. It could be that he doesn’t like a new food that you are offering. On the more serious side, he could have a digestive ailment that has changed his appetite. Use this measure. Grasp the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. If it bounces back into place once you let go then he is well-hydrated. If not, your cat could be dehydrated. Offer him more water to drink each day.
2. Litter box business – This is kind of stinky but you might have to check the litter box droppings if you notice any changes in appetite. Think of it this way – you scoop out the droppings when you clean the litter box anyway. Next time, pay closer attention to the droppings. If your cat is eating more but eliminating less, that is a sign of possible illness. Also, if stools are loose or hard with traces of blood, this is another indicator that something is wrong. Check the color as well.
3. Eyes – The eyes have it. Cats have three lids: upper lid, lower lid and nictitating membrane. It’s much like a lizard where the third membrane comes across the eye and back as the other two close. You don’t normally see it because it closes so fast. If you can see halfway covering the eye, take him to the vet. Notice the normal coloring of your cat’s eyes. Any cloudiness to any area of the eyes could signal ulcers, cataracts or other problems.
4. Coat – Look for bald patches or a dull sheen to the coat. It could signal an allergic reaction, stress in your cat or a flea or other infection.
5. Ears – Take a look. Are they perky as usual? If there is a bluish or yellowish tint to them, it could signify a problem with oxygenation or liver damage.

Is your best friend feeling down? Use these guidelines to determine if you need to raise the alarm or just give your cat a little bit of loving.

Cat Breeds: The Devon Rex

March 13, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Devon Rex

Kittens are cute as buttons. But what if you could have a full grown cat that is still cute as a button? If that appeals to you, then you could be the owner of a Devon Rex in the near future.

Origin

If you’ve ever seen a Devon Rex kitten, then you know why they have such appeal. The first Devon Rex was found in England. It was the offspring of a tom cat and a straight haired calico cat. The owner of the calico noticed that one of the kittens had a short curly coat much like its father. It was surmised that the two cats were related since a curly coat is a recessive trait in the Devon Rex. For a recessive trait to be portrayed it has to be present in both parents.

It was believed to be related to the Cornish Rex but subsequent breeding proved otherwise. The first of this breed to hit America happened in the 1960s. It is now recognized as a breed by American cat associations.

Temperament

This cat is loving, playful and gentle. It has a high activity level and would love the company of an active family with children. They are highly intelligent and curious. Wherever you are, they will want to tag along and see what you are doing.

If you like cats who love to be around you then you have found the right breed. This cat loves to drape across your shoulders and also command your lap. If you let them, they will sleep with you and then wake up in the morning to your hugs and cuddles.

They like active play. If you throw a toy they will retrieve it, ready for you to throw it again. To cut down on their energy, play time each day is essential.

Care

The Devon Rex has a short curly coat. It is composed of three different hairs: guard, awn and down. The hairs on this breed can break off easily. It is not uncommon for them to develop bald patches. These bald spots are not a sign of alarm. The areas fill in when the next hair cycle rolls around. Very little brushing is needed to keep it in line. Simply use your hand to stroke him and he will be groomed.

Often called a “poodle cat” this breed gets a look or two. Besides the tight curly coat, they also have saucer size eyes and large ears that could double as satellite dishes. As kittens they are often thought of as alien cats or pixies. This cat is not prone to a lot of health problems in the breed.

Training

If you don’t mind your cat crawling all over you then you won’t have a problem. Besides normal household rules for your pet, there aren’t any identifiable behavior problems.

Are you looking for an unusual cat that will shower you with love? Consider the “poodle cat” – the Devon Rex!

Cat Proofing Your House

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Cat Proofing Your House

Cats are curious creatures. They are quite self-sufficient and loving as companions. But, bringing one home may mean some changes around the house to keep them safe. Here are a few guidelines for cat proofing your home.

Cats don’t require much but what they do need is some discipline. They can get into everything when you are not home if a few measures are not taken. Most of these are safety measures since you don’t want your new companion to hurt themselves. Some are for cosmetic reasons so your furniture doesn’t look like it has been through a shredder.

Many pet owners are stressed about the amount of money they have to put into repairs around their home but it can be avoided. Try these tips and tricks to keep a safe and happy cat home.

Finding a Happy Medium for you and your Cat

1. Discipline from the beginning – Kittens are cute but if you don’t teach them how to behave at this stage you could have a real problem when they grow into adult cats. The most effective way to teach is with a firm command word and/or a spray bottle. The spray bottle seems cruel but it is a tool that will get their attention when they persist in being disobedient.

2. Hiding cords – Cats like to bite and gnaw on things. If they have taken a shine to your electrical cords nip that behavior in the bud right away. You don’t want them to suffer the same fate as the cat in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation do you? Use empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls to cover cords and keep them together so that they are not easy prey for your cat. Cover them with contact paper or paint them so they blend in better with your room décor.

3. Blind cat – Curtains offer a great place for cats to hang and scratch. Avoid shredded draperies and instead use vertical blinds. Cats like to sit in windows and this way they can move between them without doing damage. Cut looped strings so your cat won’t get hung in them.

4. Bitter plants – Cats love to eat plants and spill the dirt everywhere. First of all many plants are toxic to cats if they chew on them. Know this list to avoid any plant that could be a danger. With other plants, apply a spray called bitter apple. It is non-toxic to the plant and cats don’t like the taste. You can also buy them some catnip plants that they can chew with delight if they want.

5. No dirt – To avoid dirt all over the floor, apply a mesh covering over the top of the plant to keep dirt from getting kicked out. You can still water and feed the plant as normal.

6. Scratching post – Cats like to scratch. Having a scratching post in the home can avoid them using your furniture. Try a post that uses a different texture material than your furniture. Posts can be vertical or horizontal.

Welcome your cat home and keep them welcome with a few tricks to keep them safe and your home in tiptop shape!

Exotic Cats as Pets

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Exotic CatsExotic Cats
“Exotic Pet Wildcats are not just “pet cats”… they are extraordinary pet cats!”

Exotic Cats evolved completely on their own with no human help – that is what makes

them exotic pet cats!

Exotic cats are typically cat species that are wild but that are occasionally kept in a domestic setting as pets. They are definitely extravagant looking and “unique” compared to what are usually kept as pets! Exotic cats included here are all species of wild cats – from small bobcats to lions and tigers to all endangered cats.

Wild cats are most often seen and experienced by normal people in photographs and in zoos or wildlife reserves. Because these cats are not encountered on a regular basis it is natural to want to see and touch them. These cats have both differences and similarities to typical house cats. They can be loving and affectionate to their owners just like a “normal” cat. However, they require much more in terms of care. Their housing, diets, and temperaments can all differ dramatically from a typical house cat. There also variations among the different species and it generally costs much more to keep an exotic cat. An owner of a an exotic cat must be dedicated and responsible when it comes to caring for an exotic cat… Read More

More on the Exotic Cats!

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

September 3, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick

Cats are remarkably robust animals that are often much hardier and healthier than dogs, if vaccinated regularly and cared for properly. But they do get sick and because of the feline temperament they’re inclined not to show it. So how do you tell if your cat is sick?

All cat owners should know what their cat is like when in tip-top health. The coat is glossy and well-groomed, the appetite is good and the eyes are bright and clear. If not, these are physical signs of illness that most owners will pick up easily – if they look.

The occasional sneeze, the odd cough and occasional vomiting to eject a hairball are nothing to worry about, but any departure from the norm requires you to keep a watchful eye on your pet. Loss of appetite could mean that your pet is dining out elsewhere, or it could be the sign of a disease that needs veterinary attention.

If your cat uses a litter box, make a habit of checking it. Loose stools could be owing to something unsavory they ate or a sign of something more serious. Infrequent or copious urination is an important sign of a common older cat affliction, kidney disease. Catch it early and your chances are improved. If you suspect your cat is not well, it’s a good idea to keep it inside with a litter tray so you can observe its output.

Often an ill cat will show few obvious physical signs. Behavioral changes are something to be on the alert for. A sick cat will often withdraw, choosing obscure places to sleep and spending more hours than usual and being inactive. Stressed cats may exhibit a sudden preference for high places, like closet tops or high shelves. Cats are creatures of routine, so unusual activities or behavior that is out of character (such as reticence or aggression) is always worth monitoring closely.

When playing with your cat, use the opportunity to do a close inspection on a regular basis. Check that the ears are clean and free of mites. Check the mouth for tooth and gum infection and the eyes for discharge or inflammation. When stroking your cat check for fleas and ticks, as well as any lumps or growths. Outdoor cats (especially toms) are prone to developing nasty abscesses at injury sites if they get into a fight.

If you know exactly what your cat is like when it’s in peak health, the signs of illness will be that much easier to detect. If you think something is wrong, don’t be indecisive. The sooner you get to the vet the better and the higher your chance of something being able to be done about it. It’s the least we can do for them…

For general cat care, check out our Cat Care page!

Cat Care – How to Take Care of a Cat

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Cats

Cat CareCat Care

"Having a cat in your family can be a great experience for years!"

Giving your cat proper care will result in a wonderful pet with a happy and long life!

Cats are great pets. They provide friendship, love and joy. Feline companions have been involved with thousands of deep and powerful cat-human bonds – one that you can be a part of with your cat! They are beautiful, graceful, and elegant animals, which can make for a delightful companion and pet! Read More

More about Cat Care!