As many cat owners know, our favorite felines love to scratch everything around the house and sometimes even you! Since declawing is not an option, this scratching not only hurts your furniture, but can be extra painful when you or your friends are the target. Every cat owner has been a victim at some time or another of their own cat’s sharp claws! However, with time and patience, you can train a cat not to scratch you.
Below are some tips to help prevent your cat from scratching you.
Try to anticipate when your cat usually scratches you
Many cat owners know how to read cues that your cat is about to do something and scratching you is the same thing. If you are petting or playing with your kitty, watch for signs like dilated pupils, skin rippling, or ceasing to purr. If your cat is staring at you and has their ears pointed backward or twitching, you should stop and give the cat some space (run for the hills!).
Maybe your cat likes to scratch you just when you walk in the house as a hello or as a wake-up greeting in the morning. Whatever the case, if you know this is going to happen, you can encourage your cat to scratch something else, but not you. (If you are in bed, put a pillow next to you or a toy that you would like your cat to scratch).
Provide your cat with other toys or places to scratch
The best tactic when dealing with scratching is not to try to stop your cat from scratching (they don’t respond well to this as scratching is a natural instinct and release), but instead to teach your cat what to scratch. Try to provide your cat with appropriate objects to scratch, such as scratching posts.
Buy fun toys that give your cat a release (which is sometimes why they scratch) and sprinkle catnip on them. Try hanging toys or fishing rods on your cat’s posts and placing them in areas where your cats will want to climb and play. And, as always, make sure to pet your cat and praise them when scratching their posts. Cats respond very well to positive reinforcement.
Make sure to trim your cat’s nails regularly or put plastic caps on them
Make sure to clip your cat’s nails regularly. While this is not an easy task, with time and practice, it can be done. Make sure to trim your cats nails when they are sleepy and in a peaceful state of mind. You can also see my article on “An Easy Guide for Clipping Your Cat’s Nails”
You can also try putting plastic caps on your cat’s claws so that he or she won’t hurt you when scratching you or your furniture. These special caps attach to your cat’s claws with an adhesive. They’re temporary, lasting four to six weeks so it’s best to really try a long term solution.
Other reasons your cat might scratch you
Your cat could be stressed
Your cat tends to pick up on varying emotions around the house and dislikes change. The best response to this is to restore calm and try to create a peaceful environment that will make your cat feel relaxed. Turn down the television if it scares your kitty and make sure your kids or friends don’t yell around your cat.
Too much excitement and stimulation
Kittens are playful but sometimes they get too excited and transfer their playfulness into biting and scratching. Again, the best way to divert your kitten's attention is to provide him with his scratching post or a fun toy (instead of you!).
If none of the above seems to work with your cat, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as there could be an underlying illness associated with the scratching.
Our kittens and cats need to have a full, well-rounded diet to keep happy and healthy. Just as in humans, it is important to keep your cat or cats hydrated. So just how much water does your cat need?
There are a variety of factors that should be taken into consideration. How old is your cat? How active? Has your cat’s water consumption suddenly changed?
Watch your cat’s water intake
It's very important to pay attention to your kitty’s normal water consumption and notice if that amount happens to change. Any increase or decrease in your cat's daily water intake could be a sign of illness. Drinking too much or too little water could be indicative of a bladder infection, tapeworm infestation, diabetes or hyperthyroidism. If you notice any change in your cat’s drinking patterns, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Your cat’s water depends on his or her diet
First of all, if your cats eat primarily dry food, they will require significantly more water to stay normally hydrated. Sammy, my cat, has a lot more dry food and drinks a lot of water. A cat should normally drink about 3 ounces of fresh water in addition to its food. Dry food is approximately ten percent water, while canned food is approximately eighty percent water. So obviously your cat is going to drink a lot more water if you are providing dry food only.
Below are some indicators to tell you if your cat is being properly hydrated:
1. Your pet’s skin is properly flexible. To test this, gently pull the skin of your cat and it should spring back when you let it go. If it doesn’t, your cat is probably dehydrated.
2. Your cat’s coat should be shiny. If it looks dull or matted, this is also an indication of dehydration.
3. Your cat is physically active and not too sedentary (besides, of course, the requisite naps).
4. Your cat is urinating 2- 3 times a day. You can check your litter box for evidence…. You cat owners know how to figure that out!
If you feel like your cat needs to drink more water, but doesn’t like to, you can try the following:
1. Try using glass or stainless steel water bowls. Sometimes plastic leaves a taste that cats don't like. Test a few different bowls to see which one your cat likes.
2. Make sure to refresh and change your cat’s water bowl daily.
3. Try using filtered water instead of tap water.
4. Purchase a fountain that keeps refreshing the water. This could make drinking water fun for your cat and feel like a game.
5. Make a game of it as if feeding your cat water is fun, just like feeding your cat food.
Only you, the cat owner, will know if your cat is being properly hydrated or if there has been a noticeable change in behavior. But, as with any other issue, if you are unsure, consult your veterinarian for some advice and guidance.
A friend of mine recently adopted a cute little mutt from her local shelter. She already has a big dog at home and is hoping that her new dog, Shelby, will get along well with her bigger dog, Captain. As with all dogs, it isn’t merely about size when introductions are being made, but temperament and history can also come into play.
Below are some tips to help make the transition easier.
If possible, try to introduce your small dog to other small dogs
If you can introduce your smaller dog to another small dog or one of equal size, it is a great place to start. See if a friend or neighbor has a dog of similar size to your pup that is already accustomed to being around other dogs. If your dog appears comfortable and happy with other small dogs, then set up a date with a friend who has a medium-sized dog, and then continue to work up in size until you get the official meet and greet with your big dog.
If you can’t find another small dog or don’t have the time, start the introductions slowly.
Start the introductions from a distance
If your small dog seems to be nervous around your big dog, try introducing him or her to the bigger dog from a safe distance. Use gates to contain both dogs in individual spaces, but let them sniff each other and see one another. This will help you determine how comfortable they are around each other. Once they seem comfortable/and or like each other, you can go on to the next step.
Make sure to keep both dogs on a leash
When you let your dogs out of a controlled environment such as a gate, make sure that both dogs are wearing leashes. A dog harness might even be more preferable as you can have better control over your dog’s movements. If possible, let the smaller dog lead the way as they are usually shyer around big dogs. Let the small dog smell the big dog, play with her and set the pace.
Once they seem to be OK this way, you can let them off leash and see how they do. But, make sure to only let them off leash when you are there to supervise and observe. If you have to leave them unsupervised at the beginning, make sure that each has their own space such as a crate or keep one dog inside and one outside while you are away.
Reward your dog(s) for good behavior.
Always reward your dogs for behaving well with each other, especially from the start. Whenever you introduce your dog to any other dog, make sure you praise him or her and offer his favorite treat when he behaves well to reinforce that good behavior. The constant rewards and reassurance of making ‘nice’ while meeting other pups will consistently reinforce the fact that making friends with other dogs is a great thing!
With time and patience, your dogs will invariably become great friends and happy comrades!
As we all know, there are unfortunate events that can take place that are beyond our control. There are natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wild fires that can occur. Hopefully, you will never experience one of the above, but as always, it is best for you to be prepared for you and your pets.
Below are some important tips to help you be prepared:
Plan ahead and find a safe place for you and your pets
For the most part, evacuation shelters don’t allow pets; therefore, you should plan ahead to make sure that your family and your pets will have a safe place to stay. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to do your research.
Ask friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area if they would shelter you and your pets if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you might have to house them separately. You should also make a list of veterinarians and boarding facilities that shelter pets in emergencies.
If you have to evacuate, take your pets with you.
The most important thing that you can do to protect your pets if you evacuate is to take your pets with you! If it’s not safe for you to stay at home, then it’s not safe for your pets. Pets that are left inside your home can escape through broken windows or other storm-damaged areas of your home.
Once you leave your home, you don’t know how long you’ll be away and you might not be able to go back for your pets. If you leave, even if you it will be for a short time, make surer to take your pets with you.
Your pets need to wear identification.
As always, your pets should be wearing identification at all times. It’s a good idea to include a number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area as well as your phone number.
Disaster Supply Checklist for Pets
Be prepared and know ahead of time what you need to take with you when you evacuate. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Try to stock up on non-perishables ahead of time and have everything ready to. Keep everything stored in sturdy containers that can be carried easily (such as Tupperware or even a duffel bag).
Make sure to bring food, water, bowls, cat litter and litter box, and a manually-operated can opener. You can also bring pet toys and beds, only if they are easily moved.
If you wait out the disaster at home, find a safe place for you and your pets
If your family and pets must wait out a disaster at home, find a safe area of your house where you can all stay together. Try to keep your dogs on their leashes and your cats in their carriers. Have your pet medications and a supply of pet food and water inside containers with your other emergency supplies.
If you’re not at home, contact a neighbor or friend that lives nearby
If a disaster strikes when you aren’t home, try to find a neighbor or friend to help. They can check on your pets and/or even get them for you (assuming it is safe). Make sure they know where a key is or how to access your home.
I hope that you and/or your pets never experience a natural disaster or any other bad experience at home. But, as in all emergency situations, if you are prepared, than you and your pets will survive it safely.
As we all know, our cats come in different shapes, sizes and temperaments. Some cats are gregarious and love being around all sorts of people. They come out and greet your friends and let them pet him or her. And, then other cats run and hide under the bed or the nearest couch whenever a guest arrives.
A cat’s temperament could be just inherent in its make-up or it could be a factor of having a fearful event as a kitten. This can happen when adopting a pet and your kitty or adult cat came from a less than desirable environment.
Cats that haven’t spent a lot of time with people can be afraid
To be social around all types of people, a cat must have had many opportunities to meet numerous new people while still a kitten. The more time spent with new people, the more social your cat will be when meeting new friends or guests.
Even cats who did meet lots of people when they were kitties can be afraid of specific kinds of people that they didn’t meet often, such as young children or men. Having a bad experience with a person can also make a cat fearful around people. This fear might remain specific to the person or it might include other people as well.
If possible, try to introduce your kitten to many people
If you have a kitten, give your little feline friend a lot of opportunity to meet all different types of people. When your kitten is social with this new person, make sure that your friend rewards your kitty with praise or treats. Some kittens don’t even need ‘rewards’ and are simply gregarious around new people while others might need some coaxing.
For adult cats that are fearful of people, introduce them slowly.
If you have an adult cat that is afraid of people, the best way to conquer his fear around guests is to ask your guests to approach your cat very gradually and give him lots of rewards along the way. It is even better to let your cat approach your new visitors on his or her own timetable. If your cat will come within several feet of visitors, ask your guests to gently toss treats or toys for him.
If your cat doesn’t come out from where he is hidden, you can shake his food bag (if he is an eater like my cat!) or place one of his or her toys near his hiding place. Call him or her out with a soothing voice and let him come out on his own time. If he or she remains hidden, try again next time. It can take many attempts to get your cat comfortable.
Provide high places for your cat to observe
If your cat has a place where he can watch what is going on around him or her, this might help him feel more comfortable. You can use a kitty tree or let him jump on a shelf and watch how much fun you and your guests are having. Maybe he will then come out and join the fun.
If the change is sudden, there could be an underlying medical condition
If your cat has been social in the past and that is no longer the case, it might be attributed to a medical condition. If you notice any unusual physical or behavioral changes, or if your cat stops eating, see your veterinarian right away to rule out medical problems.
I hope these tips help and your cat becomes more ‘social’ around new people.