Articles and Advice


Did You Know?

How to keep your cat slim.

How to encourage your cat to drink more water.

Cats and the holidays

Is your cat vomiting?

Did You Know?

Did you know that every time your cat rubs it's cheek on you, it's leaving a scent behind? The scent glands secrete a pheremone that sends a message to all interested felines that you are a good spot to be around. This scent helps to calm a cat and makes him feel safe and relaxed whenever they smell the odour.

Want to keep your furniture scratch-free and your cat happy and fit? Invest in a cat tree, the tallest and most sturdy you can, with perches at different heights, and at least one inviting sleeping platform. Remember that It has to be stable enough so that a running and leaping cat won't knock it over. Add a few sprinkles of catnip and voila; something to climb, scratch or perch that won't get him in trouble.

How to keep your cat slim

1. Evaluate the energy needs of each cat basing your estimates on age, sex, physique and activity levels.

Each cat has its own metabolism and consequently will gain or loose weight differently. Some individuals will tend to be lean while others may have a more rounded silhouette. An active kitten will require more calories than would an overweight adult cat. A cat's energy requirement can change depending on its circumstances. In other words an indoor couch potato will require far fewer calories than a sick or injured cat will needing extra calories to heal the body, or a nursing queen with kittens to care for.

2. Pay close attention to how your cat eats.

Is your cat a picky eater, walking away from his bowl after only a few bites? Or do you share your life with a glutton who will devour anything any time and anywhere.

If you have a multi-cat household, this may be a challenging task but well worth the effort especially if you have to put an individual on a prescription diet.

3. Choose carefully when selecting a food.

Speak to your veterinarian or a veterinary technician about any specific needs or recommendations they might have.

Read the labels and compare the same type of calories i.e. per volume, as fed, dry weight, etc..

When comparing prices, remember you will probably get what you pay for. Inexpensive food may have more fillers and less nutrient rich ingredients than a higher priced item.

If possible do some serious research. Many popular grocery store brands were subject to a widespread recall several years ago when it was discovered that they contained a substance that caused kidney failure. This resulted in the hospitalization and death of numerous pets across North America.

4. Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise.

This is easier than you might think.

Cats typically spend many hours sleeping, resting and grooming interspersed with sudden spurts of wild racing, jumping and what looks like lunacy! If your cat no longer participates in these midnight romps, you can encourage him with 5 minute workouts that you can schedule into your schedule.

If you want to sleep through the night might I suggest a play session after your supper and again a few minutes before you get ready for bed.

Try placing the food bowl in a higher spot so that he will have to jump or climb when it is time to eat.

Consider using a food dispensing toy. This works extremely well for the food motivated feline

5. Meal feed your cat.

In my opinion this is the most important thing you can do for your cat to ensure that he is eating properly. To meal feed simply means that your cat is offered several small meals throughout the day. What he does not eat at a meal is removed so that he does not have access to food until the next meal is offered.

Using the feeding charts on the food, measure out the recommended daily amount of food into even portions. To best reflect the normal feeding routine of a hunting cat, I would recommend 4-7 meals per cat per day. That may seem like a lot of feeding but left to their own devices, most cats will eat about 1/8 cup per meal, or about the equivalent of a single mouse.

A workable feeding timetable for most cat owners would be something like 7, 8:30, 12, 5, 8, 11. Try first thing when you get up, just before you go to work, mid day if possible, when you arrive home, mid evening, and last thing before going to bed, after the play session.

If you are gone for long periods and multiple feedings are difficult, consider acquiring a food dispensing toy or food dish with a timer mechanism. Or you can try leaving 1 or 2 food caches hidden in a quiet corner and let your cat "hunt" for his food. Just be sure that you check these have been found and that there isn't moldy food left in your house.

Don't starve your cat. If he hasn't eaten anything by the evening of the first day, offer something very enticing so that you are sure he has had some calories, and leave a bit of food out in the usual spot for overnight. In the morning, take whatever food is left, and resume the new feeding schedule starting off with breakfast.

Be patient. It may take a while for your cat to realize that something has changed.

How to encourage your cat to drink more water.

While you might not think it is a problem, many cats just don't drink enough. The wild ancestors living in the desert got most of their water from the body of their prey, and were able to concentrate their urine so that very little body water is lost. The modern house cat has not changed its metabolic strategy to any great degree. However, more and more cats are living their lives being fed only dry commercially prepared diets. While these may provide optimal nutrition, the cat, not normally driven by thirst to drink water, is now challenged to drink water from a bowl. While most cats are fine with this arrangement, there are some who are borderline dehydrated most of the time. The haircoat is dull, their stools are hard, dry, small and often infrequent. To help your cat get its minimum daily requirement or if you need some ideas for a sick or geriatric cat you might try some of the following:
1. Try adding water to his food.
If your cat already eats canned food you can bump up the fluid content just by adding a bit more water and mixing it in. Try warming the water to make the food even more smelly.

If your cat is eating dry food you can still try adding a bit of water to fresh kibble. Just make sure that you don't offer more than he food than he will eat at a single sitting.

Remember to remove any food not immediately eaten to ensure it's freshness.

2. Consider using a pet fountain rather than an ordinary water dish.

Many cats are attracted to moving water. Fountains are available in many styles and price ranges. If your cat already likes to drink from a faucet, you may want to get a fountain that has a waterfall effect, otherwise a quieter slide fall might be the safer style to try. Don't be surprised if you find your cat is mesmerized with the flow or begins dunking either his favorite toys or his paws to test the waters.

If you have hard water, you may want to consider using distilled water to keep the fountain free of mineral deposits. Otherwise, cleaning can be a bit of a chore.

Don't use water from a water softener.

3. Offer meals rather than a free choice feeding.

The typical hunting strategy of a cat involves many hours of hunting with a limited number of successes in capturing small prey items. Once a meal is consumed cats will often then finish the ritual with a drink. To mimic this strategy, offer frequent, say 4-7, small meals throughout the day.

A meal can even be incorporated into play sessions by using one of the many toys that randomly spill out a treat or piece of food as the cat moves the toy.

4. Flavour the water.

Try adding a few drop of meat or fish juice to a small bowl of water. While Tuna juice may be a favorite, Tuna is also very high in mercury so should be used sparingly.

If this method works for your cat make sure that any leftovers are discarded so that there isn't any bacteria growing and the water is fresh every time.

5. Offer different types of water.

Not all water is created equal. Some cats are connoisseurs when it comes to the type of water they prefer. Try bottled, distilled, and filtered as well as regular tap water to find your own cats favorites.

6. The secret is in the bowl.

Cats don't usually like to get their faces wet and their whiskers are very sensitive. Try offering your cats favorite water in wide mouth bowls.

Ceramic or glass are often preferred over plastic and many cats are suspicious of highly reflective stainless steel.

7. Would you like that warm?

Believe it or not some cats like the water better if it is warmed while others prefer theirs cold and crisp like that of a mountain stream. See if your cat has a favorite and then do your best of have it available, at least after each meal.

8. A bowl please, not a glass.

Cats don't like to put their faces into narrow spaces. Their whiskers are very sensitive and whether it tickles or is just annoying they would prefer to only get their tongues wet.

To satisfy your cat's preferences, offer their water in a shallow wide mouth container.

9. Dog drool!

Cats don't like to share. Especially when it comes to water and dogs.

If at all possible, keep the cat's bowl out of reach of the dog's spit. Your cat will respect you for it.

10. Always fresh. Need I say more?

Cats and the holidays

Here are a few reminders to help to keep you kitty friends out of trouble while you are preparing for the holidays.
  • Don't use string, tinsel or other long dangling string like ornaments on the tree.
  • Keep festive greenery out of reach.
  • Immediately dispose of the strings used to tie meats.
  • Remember to keep ribbons and gift wrapping supplies locked away when you're not around. If a cat swallows long pieces of string it can bind up the bowel and cause a serious or life threatening blockage.
To keep your feline fraidy cat relaxed and happy over the holidays consider setting him up with his own holiday hideout. Provide a spot for food and water, a cozy sleeping area and a litter box area in a quiet room away from the busy holiday festivities. If you can leave some soft music playing all the better .

Is you cat vomiting?

Do you have a cat who chronically has bouts of vomiting after eating?

There can be a couple of simple reasons, like gorging, or hairballs. However, repeated vomiting episodes may also be a sign of a more serious problem such as an obstruction, food allergies or sensitivities, or a tumor, to name only a few. If your cat brings up more than the occasional hairball, it is best to speak to your vet and discuss if it's time to do a more thorough investigation, including perhaps bloodwork, x-rays, and ultrasound. Early detection can often improve the quality of life, sometimes with the simplest of changes.

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