Sunday, November 27, 2011

Who's to Blame When Your Cat Pees Outside the Litter Box?

"Who's to blame?" You may be thinking, "Well, my cat, of course. It's not my fault my crazy cat pees outside the litter box! I'm not the one who is urinating in the entry. I'm not the one peeing in the corner of my home office. It's the cat! Who else could be to blame?

Well, I guess I'm the one who must break the news to you about this situation. You may very well be the one who is facilitating your cat's unacceptable behavior. And let me tell you why.

Cats, who are extremely clean animals, view their litter boxes much like we do our toilets--places to deposit waste. The difference between your cat's litter box and your toilet, however, is that we get to flush our toilets after every deposit. Cats don't.

Now imagine that your toilet s plugged up. You and those in your household keep using the toilet again and again, and the waste and smell accumulate. Yuck! Pretty soon, you're looking for somewhere else to do your business because the growing mound of urine-soaked fecal matter pouring over the sides of your toilet and onto the floor. You're disgusted by the sight! You're repulsed by the smell! Someone clean up this mess!

That someone

Now, think of what you ask your cat to do. Your cat dutifully deposit waste in the litter box, scratches up some sand to help cut down on the smell and goes on his or her way. When your cat returns, the last pile is still there. Yet, your cat follows the rules and uses the box again.

Now, let's say more than one cat lives in the house. Not only are your cats asked to use a box that has its own feces and urine, they are expected to step over piles left by other cats as well. Your cat is disgusted by the sight! Your cat is repulsed by the smell! Someone clean up this mess! Who?

Once again, that someone

Your cat doesn't want to use a filthy litter box anymore than you want to use a bathroom with a plugged up toilet. In fact, it may be even more repugnant to our cats because of their heightened ability to smell odors you and I don't notice.

So, don't blame your cat if he or she chooses to go someplace other than the litter box. Stick your head inside the box and take a deep whiff. If it's not a delightful aroma, it's time for you to scoop and refill the box with fresh, dry litter.

Carmen is an avid cat lover and expert on cats...especially the naughty ones which is why she started Bad Kitty Solutions. To get download a copy of her fun and free article called A Tale of a Tail: Is Your Cat's Tail Trying to Tell You Something, go to

View the original article here

Do You Speak Cat?

No matter how strongly some adoring cat lovers insist that their cats talk to them, felines are not able to actually speak English, or any other human language for that matter. Cats do, however, communicate their feelings, needs and desires in cat language. As with any language, it must be learned to be understood - and that is the purpose of this article - to help you learn how to speak Cat.

Since you are reading this publication, it's likely that you are living, in your estimation at least, with a Bad Kitty. But here's something I need to share with you right up front. I don't really believe there are any bad cats-only kitties who are trying to tell us something that we're not able to decipher.

The behavior we may find so appalling, such as peeing outside the litter box, scratching our furniture, spraying our suitcases while we're packing for a trip, is simply our cats' way of letting us know what's going on right under our noses. (Speaking of noses, many of us have misunderstood what our cats are telling us by peeing outside their litter boxes).

Most cat lovers realize that cats communicate in all kinds of ways. For example, cats tell us a lot through their meows. Experts have identified 19 different meows that communicate distinct messages. That's pretty incredible!

There are a host of other ways cats communicate such as who and what they scratch, on what and on whom they pee, where they point their ears and various other behaviors and body language. But these signs aren't what this article is about.

My focus is on the messages cats give through their tails by which they express their emotions, tell us how they feel physically or, most troublesome, the delineation of their territory. What is your cat's tail trying to tell you?

Dog lovers brag about how their dogs run to the door to meet them, wagging their tails with delight. What do cat lovers have waiting for them when they get home? Well...for us the scene is a little different.

When we walk in the door and our kitties may not even look up. A warm greeting may come in the form of a long stretch, a few licks to the paws to make sure they look their best, and a slow saunter to see if you have snackies.

If our cats are in an especially demonstrative mood, they may wrap their bodies around our legs and leave their tails lingering a moment longer to let us know they care. Not only have they expressed their affection, they have marked us as their own.

Cats "mark" who they consider theirs, leaving their scent as a sign of ownership. Smalls glands on cats' heads and cheeks explain why they head-butt or rub the sides of their faces on us. But there are not glands on their tails, so why wrap their tails around us?

We've all seen out kitties dutifully clean their privates. Not my favorite scene, but one that all of us with cats have witnessed.

In addition to cleaning themselves (cats are fastidiously clean), they lick their anal glands and spread their scent along their tails and over their bodies. When the rub up against us, they're not just being affectionate, they are claim us for their own. I am flattered...I think.

If you are fortunate enough to have a cat that actually gets off the couch to acknowledge you, you'll be greeted by a tail flying high like a flag-pole-a grand expression of feline friendliness. A tail, held up, tells us that our cats are confident in our love for them. If they are especially happy to see you, their tails may actually quiver!

Another, although often unwelcomed, expression of affection is "tail-in-the-air, bottom-in-your-face" position. Not only are our cats excited to see us, we are invited to sniff their posterior regions. Cats gain a great deal of information from each other through the sense of smell, and our cats assume we have these faculties as well.

Perhaps the most affirming way cats express their love is to sit on our laps, curled up with their tails gently wrapped around them. Snuggled close, often with a purr, they are at peace, contented with being close, with the knowledge that they are safe and loved.

Carmen is an avid cat lover and expert on cats...especially the naughty ones which is why she started Bad Kitty Solutions. To get download a copy of her fun and free article called A Tale of a Tail: Is Your Cat's Tail Trying to Tell You Something, go to

View the original article here

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is My Cat Peeing or Marking?

The answer to that question is Yes! It is easy to mistake peeing outside the box with territorial marking. But they have quite different meanings to your cat. Until you know the difference and can determine whether your cat is urinating or marking, it will be all but impossible to get to the root of the problem.

As you know, before any of us can solve a problem, we need to know what is causing the situation. A key factor that many cat owners over look is that there's a difference between your cat urinating or marking.

Both urinating and marking can create a suffocating ammonia smell inside your home. However, they are quite different activities rooted in distinct motivations. Until you understand what your cat is trying to say to you, you won't be able to effectively solve your problem.

Urinating is the simple act of emptying one's bladder. We use the toilets and we want our dear kitties to use their litter boxes. If you observe carefully, you'll notice that your cat stands or squats and pees onto a horizontal surface. We are pleased when that horizontal surface is the inside of the box,but when that surface is your bed spread or the dining room carpet, we're not nearly as delighted.

A cat may urinate outside the box for many reasons. Urinating around the house is most common among cats who are yet to be neutered or spayed. Getting your cat "fixed" has a 90% chance of eliminating this unacceptable behavior. However, if your cat is one of the 10 you'll need to find another way to get this unacceptable behavior to stop.

The most serious cause of out-of-box peeing is illness. Your cat could be sick and need medical assistance. Urinary tract disease can be quite serious, so an appropriate first response is a quick trip to the vet.

Once you eliminate health issues, you can assume that your kitty is most likely expressing anxiety, anger, fear or a host of other emotions. My housemate, Carolyn, has to be careful to empty her suitcase and put it away promptly from returning from a trip, or her male cat, Tru, will take it upon himself to pee on the top of the open case, soiling her clothes. He hates it when she leaves for any extended period. He let's her know of his displeasure when she returns by peeing on her stuff.

Carolyn has learned to empty her suitcase soon after her arrival and put it back in the closet before Tru has a chance to pee on the contents. She also gives him extra attention when she returns to make sure he feels loved. These two actions have helped keep her suitcase clean and Tru much happier. Getting to the root of your cat's emotional issues will help you come up with an effective strategy.

Marking, in contrast to a health or emotional issue, is a territorial statement. For the thousands of years cats lived outside and on their own, they survived by marking their territories by spraying a pungent mixture of urine and chemicals from their anal glands. To the discerning nose, the aroma of regular urine is distinct from marking spray. Granted, both are equally unappealing when in the confines of your home, but I, for one, can tell the difference by smell alone.

A second way to tell whether our cats are urinating or spraying is to watch them in the act. Cats pee on horizontal surfaces with their tails held parallel to the ground. Cats mark from a standing position, tail held high and target vertical surfaces, like your kitchen cabinets or the back of your sofa. Wayward urinaters may be saying, "I'm sick" or "I'm upset." Marking cats have one message: "This is mine!" They feel like their territory is threatened and are making a clear, albeit aromatic, statement.

Once you've determined if your kitty is sick, upset or possessive, you can better formulate an effective strategy to help your cat meet its needs so that you can, once again, live in an ammonia-free breathing zone. Check out some of my other articles to help you come up with the best strategy for your situation.

Carmen is an avid cat lover and expert on cats...especially the naughty ones which is why she started Bad Kitty Solutions. To get download a copy of her fun and free article called A Tale of a Tail: Is Your Cat's Tail Trying to Tell You Something, go to

View the original article here

Why Is My Cat Spraying All Over My House?

Your cat holds it tail high, most often from a standing position, and lets fly its most pungent substance. If your cat sprays, you'll find the evidence about a foot or so above the floor depending on how tall your cat is.

You may ask, "Why does my cat ruin my house?"

The answer is simple: Because your house is your cat's house.

Cats spray for one reason and one reason only-to mark their territory. Human beings aren't much different. We set boundaries on land to establish who owns what-only, for the most part anyway, we don't use piss as markers. Cats do, however, and they have done this for thousands of years so it's going to be an uphill battle to get yours to stop. But you are not helpless in your quest. Here are some things you can try.

1. Get your cat spayed or neutered

Both male and female cats spray, although males are most often blamed. Spraying is greatly reduced by getting your pet spayed or neutered. Un-spayed females will spray when they are in heat and looking for Mr. Right Now. Spaying greatly reduces this behavior in female cats.

Neutering male cats is almost as effective. Animal experts claim that neutering male cats eliminates spraying in 90% of studied cases. Those are pretty good odds. But don't dismay if your cat is among the 10% who continue to spray. There are more options.

2. Help your cat protect its territory

Since its 100% natural for a cat to mark its territory, the less threatened your cat feels the less marking will occur. Work with your cat's instincts rather than against them.

If you have only one cat, then the threat may be present outside your home. Check to see if stray cats or other animals that might be competing for territory near your house. If you let your cat outside, the scents of other animals are certain to be present. Spraying outside probably doesn't bother you, but your cat may spray inside your house just to make sure that everyone knows this is your cat's territory.

If you have multiple cats in your household who may compete for territory, then it will be a little more challenging for you to play the referee. One way to lessen tension between opponents is to clearly identify the territorial boundaries.

Too many cats live at my house (I will be the first to admit this) because a friend, my mom and I decided to move in together. We are all cat lovers so we combined three households of cats.

Cats die off but somehow we get new ones. Our cat population averages around 8 cats at any time. Needless to say, cat marking can be a real problem for us. We humans are clear about which cats belong where, and we do what we can to facilitate these territories.

Tru and Kate rule Carolyn's room. Sassy stays with my mom. Socrates roams the halls and can be found most often in my daughter's room. And I, alas, have Little Kitty, Sonny, Simone and Sierra in my bedroom. Sierra (female) and Sonny (male) are dominant cats. Both spray from time to time, but by working with our cats' needs rather than against them helps diminish the spraying considerably.

One way to strengthen a cat's sense of ownership is to provide each cat with its own litter box placed well within each cat's territory. This also helps to diminish urinating outside the litter boxes-more a sign of stress than dominance. The goal is to let our cats know they are loved by lavishing them with affection, and to decrease threats to their territory.

3. Never Punish Cats!

Yelling at or hitting your cats is not only mean, it will backfire on you. When you increase your cat's stress level, they will lift their tails more often, not less. While dogs associate their owners' displeasure with their own behavior, cats make no similar connection. If you holler or try to smack them, they assume you are the crazy one, not them. Cats, as you probably know, have never been fully domesticated. They merely give us the pleasure of meeting their needs and letting us stay in their homes.

Carmen is an avid cat lover and expert on cats...especially the naughty ones which is why she started Bad Kitty Solutions. To get download a copy of her fun and free article called A Tale of a Tail: Is Your Cat's Tail Trying to Tell You Something, go to

View the original article here

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cat Food: Many Choices

As I began researching articles about cat food, I found many with authoritative documentation and some with personal opinions. I personally wanted to know what would be the best to feed our mature cat. He has been on dry food since birth with expensive treats and occasionally a few pieces of meat - table scraps - of cooked chicken, beef, tuna, salmon or pork. This may not have been the most correct choice.

Our cat Simba, is strictly an indoor cat. He has always had good health and has a beautiful, glossy, smooth, orange tabby coat. He has starting vomiting a little bit, which appears to be unprocessed dry food or treats, and occasionally hair balls. I will leave the hairballs for another article. In this article I will look at cat food options. I decided to find out what kind of cat food we should get for him or if a dietary change is needed.

In my opinion, it often the 'cost' that drives the consumer's decision on what cat food to purchase, even though our cats are very precious to us. I am sure we want the best food we can afford to give our pet, and what is best for him. In evaluating the issue, I believe that 'costs' can be evaluated in two ways.

First, we can get the best from the grocery store. Much of our decision is probably based on the advertising we hear or see through the media, and occasionally from a friend. It is often that we are at the store, cat food is on our list, our selection is on sale, it says it's 'natural' or some other persuasive word on the label, and we place it in our cart with little thought to read the ingredient list. At home, our cat likes it when we feed him the selected food, so we think we have made a good choice.

Second, we can do a lot of research, decide to go to a pet store or make a purchase online for a good quality, high protein cat food, and know from what we have read that it is a good choice, and 'cost' didn't really become the deciding factor. Our cat's health became the more important issue.

Some cat owners are probably a little on both sides when selecting the cat food; I know I am. Cost is important, but the quality of health our cat enjoys is also very important. We enjoy spoiling our cats, and our cats love to be pampered, so sometimes we supplement our cat's food with cat treats. Spoiling our cats with treats may not be a good decision either. He may want more because he is not nutritionally satisfied with the cat food we give him. How do we make the right decision?

As with ourselves, we feel better when we eat better, and so will our cats. Let me briefly share with you some information I found it articles that I researched.

1. Whole meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, etc. vs. cat food with 'meal', 'by-products', 'animal digest', and added sugars. Analysis: Whole meat is best, as you may know. If you really want to know what goes into some inexpensive pet food, and your stomach can stand the information, take the time to read about it on the web. Many of the products put into pet foods should not be ingested by any living thing, and these are products are put into pet food by many large pet food companies.

2. Grain based vs. grain free cat food: Analysis: Cats do not need grains. Most grains are used a fillers in canned cat food and as binding agents in dry cat food. Some manufactures believe that grains will add protein content, which it does, but cats need meat protein, not grain proteins. Some cats may also develop allergies to wheat or corn when added to their food.

3. Cat food with vegetables and fruits: Analysis: Often you can observe that vegetables, such as peas or corn, go right through a cat's digestive tract without being processed in the intestines. Cats process meat proteins, but not vegetables or fruits.

4. Dry cat food vs. Canned/moist cat food: Analysis: Dry cat food is not natural. It has carbohydrates for fillers, such as grains, to hold it together. The label may indicate that it has high protein content but most of the protein is grain or milk protein, not meat protein. Don't, however, feel that canned cat food is the only answer because it may also contain fillers including grains, meal, by-products, milk, etc. Several articles suggested that a combination of dry and canned may be the best for your cat.

5. Raw meat vs. high-protein canned cat food: Analysis: I never felt this issue was totally resolved. It has much to do with the individual cat and his owner. Canned food is more convenient and has a longer shelf life, and should be kept refrigerated after it is open. Raw food takes more preparation and has a shorter refrigerated shelf life. You can read discussions on this subject on several cat forums.

6. Grocery store cat food vs. pet store or online high quality cat food: Analysis: I believe that we could all come to the conclusion that a high protein from meat is the better choice, and that product would probably best be purchased at a pet store (which also carry the grocery store brands), or online.

In conclusion, here are a few final thoughts.

* Even thought the cost is higher with a better quality cat food, your cat will eat less because it is a better protein and he is nutritionally satisfied. He won't eat as much, and he will be less likely to develop liver or other diseases. You, therefore, will have less expensive vet bills, and a happier, healthier cat.

* Read the labels, do research (other than asking friends and listening to or reading ads), and become an educated consumer. Purchase the cat food you feel is best for your cat.

* Consider the age of your cat. A kitten shouldn't eat the same cat food as your mature cat. The brands will indicate on the label which food is best for your age of cat.

* Introduce any dietary changes slowly, probably over the course of a week or so.

* Research the web, read books, or talk with your vet so you can decide which cat food is best.

All cat foods are not the same. Your cat's taste buds may like some brands or meats better than others. Purchasing the cat food you feel is best will give you peace of mind by giving him the best cat food you can afford, and he will feel better and more satisfied as he adjusts to his new diet.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian nor do I have any formal training in any medical field. This article is not to replace the advice of your veterinarian. I am only providing options and ideas that you may want to discuss with your veterinarian

Having had cats and dogs most of her life, Lori Kniff is concerned about the health and safety of our best friends, our dogs and cats.

Please go to the website, and you will find those items that will keep your pets safe, healthy, happy and content.

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Caring for Your Cat - An Outdoor or Indoor Life

Cats are lithe and athletic animals that enjoy exercise. Many cat lovers believe that it is cruel to keep a cat restricted to the house all its life. However, other owners may consider that the risks of allowing their cats outside are unacceptably high, or they may live in high-rise apartments with no access to the outdoors.

If all circumstances are equal, it is up to you to decide whether to keep your cat indoors or out. There are advantages and disadvantages to both lifestyles, but don't impose any sudden changes on your cat once it has adapted to one or the other. If you want an indoor cat, make this decision when you first bring your kitten home or find an adult whose habits fit in with your own.

Outdoor Cats

These cats can roam freely, run, climb, and chase birds and mice. Consequently they are less likely than indoor cats to become bored, frustrated, or obese. On the other hand, they are more at risk of street accidents (especially kittens and elderly or deaf cats), fight injuries, and diseases transmitted by other cats. Pedigree cats may become the targets of thieves. It is highly distressing when a cat is missing and the owner does not know whether it has been stolen, taken in by another household, or even killed. Suburban and rural cats are at lesser risk, but can still incur injury, hypothermia, or heatstroke. It is advisable to have a "pet door" that allows the cat to come and go as it pleases and seek shelter from storms, or during spells of cold or hot weather.

Indoor Cats

An indoor existence keeps a cat safe from all such hazards but raises potential problems of a different kind. All too easily, the cat lacks stimulation and activity, leading to behavior problems such as aggression or furniture clawing. Unneutered toms may spray urine in the house, and unspayed females may urinate more frequently when in estrus, in addition to becoming restless and howling all day.

You can make an indoor cat's environment more interesting by building an activity center or indoor gymnasium out of strong cartons with holes cut in the sides, large cardboard tubes to run through, and a climbing tree or ropes to clamber up. A scratching post is a must if you want to spare your furniture. If you live in a high-rise apartment, put screens in the window frames to stop the cat from crawling out through an open window.

Indoor cats tend to spend more time interacting with you through play and physical contact than cats that spend much of their time outdoors. However, keeping a cat indoors will not necessarily guarantee a high-quality relationship.

Apex Pet Supplies offers sales on a popular American made cat playpen and a newly added kitty window perch.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Adopting a Cat - Cat-Proofing Your Home

When you are going to adopt your first cat, you need to do some preparations to your home prior to bringing the cat home. This is to make sure that there is nothing around that can harm the cat, as well as making sure that there is nothing around that the cat can harm.

When cat-proofing your home, keep in mind that cats will eat just about anything and will play with just about anything. With this in mind, you may notice you have a lot of work to do.

Make sure all of your windows have good screens on them. Cats love to hang out in the window, but are also at risk of falling out, if the screens aren't secure or are ripped. Also try to tie up any cords for blinds, as these are potential hazards as well.

In regards to your bathroom areas, make sure any medications are secure and cannot be opened. Cats are smart, they will knock over bottles to get into them. Also, try to get into the habit of putting the toilet lid down. Cats like to drink out of the toilet and can lose their balance and fall in and potentially drown. You can try simply closing the door, but I know lots of cats that can open doors.

You may wish to think about securing your cabinets with baby-locks. They are relatively inexpensive and cats love to explore cabinets. I remember when I first got my cat, I couldn't find where he was. I finally found him sleeping in the cabinet! Luckily it was not one with cleaning fluids, but I did make sure to put locks on all the cabinets--especially the ones with cleaning supplies in them.

Check the undersides of your furniture for holes. Now, this one might seem odd. But, cats love to hide under furniture. When I first got my cat (the same one who slept in the cabinet), he hid another place where I couldn't find him. Finally, I sat on the recliner and heard a meow. The cat had crawled into a hole on the bottom of the recliner and was inside the seat!

Make sure your garbage bins have lids on them. Cats love to play around in the garbage and will make an awful mess if allowed to! Also, if you throw out anything that smells good to them (think chicken, fish, beef), then they may try to scrounge in the garbage for it.

These are all great things that you can do to begin to make your home cat-proof. Good luck with your new cat!

Sally writes about cat on her website Kitten Advice. To find out more tips about cat adoption, try Adopting a Cat?

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