If your cat is missing the litter box, there are many reasons why this could be occurring. This is a common occurrence in older cats and is usually linked to illness. There are also behavioral reasons why this could be occurring.
When cats urinate in odd places (outside the litter box), strain to urinate, urinate frequently, it is very important to rule out a medical problem first. The most common medical issues that relate to changes in urinary behaviors are a urinary tract infection or inflammation, blockage, kidney problems, or in the case of excessive thirst and urination, metabolic diseases such as diabetes. It is very important for cat owners to be mindful of the possiblesigns of a urinary tract infection.
Take your cat to your Veterinarian
The first thing you should do when you see your cat urinating outside the box (more than one time) is take your cat to the vet. Your veterinarian will examine your cat, discuss your kitty’s behavior at home, and do the appropriate tests, including an analysis of the urine. The urinalysis will check the concentration of the urine (make sure the kidneys are functioning), and look for red blood cells, inflammatory white blood cells, and crystals.
If your veterinarian feels that an infection or blockage is present, prompt medical treatment is necessary. In the event of a blockage or partial urinary blockage, time is of the essence. Urinary blockage can be extremely serious.
If your veterinarian can’t find anything medically wrong with your cat, then the issue is most likely behavioral. Cats will sometimes pee outside the litter box when they are feeling stressed or unsettled. Did you just move? Did you change the litter box with another type of litter? Is a neighbor remodeling their home causing a banging noise?
Cats are very sensitive to any kind of stress and therefore might be upset with you and urinate anywhere other than the litter box. If this is the case, try to find the source of the change/stress and remove it or watch your cat to see how he or she adjusts to it.
Make sure the litter box is clean and appealing
Unfortunately, cats that have had a urinary medical problem might continue to avoid their litter box even after the medical problem is resolved because they associate pain or discomfort with that litter box. Or they might think the litter box is too dirty if they have used it often. Try cleaning your litter box thoroughly or buy a new one that you think is easier access or more appealing.
As mentioned above, if you see your cat urinating outside of the litter box, urinating more frequently, or straining to urinate, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. By merely paying attention to cat’s litter box habits and acting quickly, you can potentially save your cat's life.
My sister has two kittens, Gracie & Wyatt, that she adopted that are brother and sister. She loves her kitties and couldn’t be happier to have adopted them together. They are best friends and play with each other when she is at work. The only issue she has is that Wyatt, the boy, is getting a little chunky and will sometimes eat Gracie’s food. Gracie is the perfect weight but she is trying to find a way to feed Gracie more and Wyatt less.
Most pet owners, who have more than one pet, have encountered this problem. Dogs will sometimes eat the other’s dog’s food or even the cat’s food. It really isn’t a big issue unless one of the animals is either gaining too much weight or if one of your pets is on a certain medicated food for allergies or illness that is specific to one pet.
Below are some tips that can help you to get your cats’ to eat their own food:
Feed your cats in separate places
If you can separate your cats in the morning and feed them in their own spot, this is ideal. Clearly, the piggy cat will figure out that there is food in the other location, so you will need to be able to be there to watch both cats and block the piggy cat’s access to it. This might take a little more time each morning, but it is worth the effort.
If you are rushing in the morning, try having your ‘piggy’ cat eating in a closed room, maybe a bathroom that is nearby. This cat will probably eat wherever the food is while the slimmer cat might not respond as well to eating behind closed doors. Then when the slimmer cat is done, you can let piggy cat out! Who knows? This sort of ‘closed door policy’ might encourage the piggy cat not to eat the grazer cat’s food altogether.
Leave limited food out all day
If you have a cat that is overweight, it is advisable to leave only a limited amount of dry food out each day. If you feed both your cats a high quality canned food in the morning and only a limited amount of dry food, neither cat will go hungry. The piggy cat might even lose weight while the slimmer cat will certainly maintain his or her weight.
Feed the thinner cat when you get home
When you get home from work at night, you can give the slimmer cat more wet food if necessary. And, of course, use the methods described above to make sure only the slimmer cat gets the food. You can also refresh the dry food since you are home and are able to monitor the eating a bit more. Do remember that dry foods are usually filled with carbohydrates which can make your cat gain weight. Therefore, it is advisable to always monitor or limit the dry food.
In summary, there really is no magical way to stop your piggy cat or dog from eating the other cat’s food and should never be punished for doing so. Just make sure to separate your cats and monitor the piggy cat’s weight. As always, your veterinarian will give you recommendations if one of your cats’ is getting too fat.
Our dogs love to show us their affection, especially when we arrive home. They love to run to the door and will even greet us with a nice big kiss! However, if they greet you by jumping on you, it can be dangerous to you and other people whom they will invariably jump on. If your dog exhibits this type of behavior, it is important to correct the behavior as soon as it happens.
There are reasons why a dog jumps on people and ways to combat it.
Why Dogs Jump Up
Most dogs jump up on people because they like to be at face level when they say hello and greet us. It is a natural, instinctive behavior. And most dog owners reinforce this behavior by slapping their thighs and encouraging their puppy to rush forward and jump up. This is OK when you have a puppy but should not be encouraged as the dogs get older. In fact, if you can correct the behavior when they are puppies, that is preferred as they will learn how to stop this at an early age.
How to Correct the Behavior
Different trainers have different techniques that they use to correct the behavior. But, below are some basics that could help you with your dog.
First, try to command the dog “off”
If the dog jumps up on you or anyone else, try to say “off” which means to get down and place all paws on the floor. Off is a good place to start because it gives your dog a place to go. This communicates to your dog what to do rather than just saying “no” or “don’t” which is not an instruction but merely telling your dog that he or she is doing something wrong.
When your dog follows your command, make sure to pet him, give him a treat or praise him so he knows that staying off your friends and even you is the correct behavior.
If the above doesn’t work, try a “sit” command.
If your dog doesn’t respond to the above command, try the basic “sit” command when he or she jumps on people. Your dog might respond well to this command as it is fundamental in his or her training. Any time your dog jumps on people, keep reinforcing the sit command.
When you have friends over and your dog rushes to greet them, make sure that you say ‘sit’. You can even have your dog on a short leash in case he or she rushes over to greet them with a jump. And, again, if your dog behaves well, make sure to praise him or her.
As with all dog training methods, the most important thing you can do for your dog is be consistent with whatever method you try to use. And, if you have other family members, make sure that they all use the same training techniques so your dog does not get confused.
If none of the above techniques work for you and your dog, you should schedule an appointment with a dog trainer to figure out the best method for your pup. A dog trainer will know what works best for your dog type, breed, size and age.
As most pet owners know, when your beloved dog or cat gets a flea infestation, it can be a nightmare! It not only makes your pets’ itchy and uncomfortable, but these nasty little critters can invade our homes as well. Fleas tend to occur more often on outdoor cats and dogs as they are outside more often and have a higher exposure to fleas.
But, don’t despair, there are different medications offered that can help stop a flea infestation that are safe and easy to use. It is equally important to be aware of and continue to practice the following steps to ensure that the fleas do not reoccur:
Make sure you learn what flea bites are and treat them immediately.
Flea bites have certain distinct characteristics. The bite immediately causes a dog or cat to feel extremely itchy. Within a few minutes, your cat or dog usually has a red bump on his or her fur. Your pet can also develop an infection simply from scratching which is why it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Try to treat the flea bites immediately by washing them with an antiseptic soap. Your veterinarian can recommend the right one for your pet. Your vet can also recommend an insect growth treatment which is extremely important and effective as it stops the life cycle of the fleas.
Check your dog or cat for stray fleas
Make sure to check your dog or cat regularly for fleas. Don’t wait for your pet to scratch because then it is too late! If you brush your cat or dog often, it helps protect your pets’ coat, reduce shedding and gives you a chance to bond with your beloved as you look for fleas.
Try to avoid areas where you think your pets have picked up fleas
If you aren’t quite sure where your dog has picked up fleas, it will be hard to avoid. But, after treating your pet, keep your eyes and ears open for dog parks or areas that have had flea infestations. Think of it as similar to a kid’s infestation of head lice. It is certainly treatable but you usually try to avoid the spot (or kid) where the lice started.
Keep your outdoor yard clean
It is equally important to keep your outdoor yard as clean and manicured as possible. Make sure to rake the grass and remove all the underbrush from the trees where the fleas might live. You can also get a non-toxic spray for fleas and focus on the areas where your dog or cats spends a lot of time. There will probably be eggs that have developed in these spots and it important to kill them before they get your pet again.
If the fleas have infested your home, you should get it exterminated
Hopefully this won’t be the case, but many times the fleas invade not only your pet but also your home. In this case you should probably schedule an inside extermination that treats all the furniture, rugs, and carpeting. It is preferable to vacuum all floors before the treatment and also following the extermination. If your dog or cat sleeps in your bed, make sure to wash the sheets and pillowcases in hot water and laundry detergent.
Get some tips from your vet for preventative medication
Try to protect your dog or cat before they even get the fleas to avoid all of the above. Your veterinarian can give you some recommendations as to which medication is the best and safest for your pet.
Good luck and I hope you get rid of the fleas for good!
It is natural for all of our dogs to lick their owners as a sign of affection and to groom themselves daily. Licking is inherent in their genetic make up. Some owners love it when their doggy licks their face, while others simply tolerate it as part of their pup’s behavior. But, what if your dog licks everything?
What is normal licking?
Licking is usually a way of playing, telling your owners you love them, and sometimes that your dog is hungry. In many cases, licking is a learned behavior. Dogs learn that when they lick their owners they get more attention, so they incorporate licking into more and more of their daily behaviors.
Dogs also lick to groom themselves. They use their tongues (and licking), to become informed with the world around them just as humans touch things to figure out what they are.
What is excessive licking? Only you, as the dog owner, will know if your dog’s degree of licking is part of your dog’s normal routine. However, if your dog tends to lick everything in sight, this is an obsessive behavior. This behavior is compulsive and can be detrimental to their well-being. It also disrupts how your dog will interact with you and your family and it will be difficult to have a normal relationship with the dog.
However, do not take your frustration out on your pup as this could worsen the behavior. Never try to correct a ‘wrong’ behavior with negative reinforcement. There are reasons why your dog is licking so much and ways to combat it.
Medical Causes for Licking
There are a variety of causes for obsessive licking including boredom, pain, allergies, disease and stress. If you think this is the case, take your dog to the vet. Blood work and an exam may either indicate a problem or rule that a medical condition is the cause.
Changing the Unwanted Behavior
The first part of changing the behavior depends on understanding and removing the cause for the licking that got to this level. Dealing with the cause is necessary to begin making changes. Was your dog’s environment/bed/food changed? Did you just move? Is it a sign of attention?
The easiest way to change this obsessive licking is to try to put an alternative in place. Try to find some good and safe chew toys like Kongs that entertain your dogs. If he or she starts to lick an inappropriate item, bring him a toy instead. And always reward your dog for chewing and focusing on the toy instead of licking.
If your dog starts to lick you or your family members (excessively), try to say “no” in a strong (but not intimidating voice) and bring him a toy to chew on instead. As always, give your dog a treat or a nice rub down when he stops licking. Make sure to take your dog on walks, teach him some new tricks or anything different to occupy his time and help him lose this behavior.
With observation and patience, you can figure out why your dog is licking so much and change the behavior. If it continues after you have tried all of the above, you might want to schedule another appointment with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist. Good luck!