Did You Know?
In cold weather, cats will often nap on the warm engine block of a recently-driven car. When the car is started again, the fan belt can do horrible damage to the cat.
Always honk your horn or tap the hood before starting up your car in cold weather.
Decon and other anti-coagulant rodent poisons can kill any mammal--including cats. The poison causes the animal to bleed to death, usually taking several days to cause problems.
Cats should be brought in immediately if you suspect that they ate any Decon.
Cats do not usually handle changes in their life (moving, getting a new dog or cat, etc.) very well. Ask us for advice about helping your cat adjust to major changes
Why won't my cat use the litter box?
There are many different reasons for a cat to stop using the box. A bladder infection should always be ruled out. Other causes include painful crystals or stones in the bladder, and behavioral problems.
Kittens do not have to be trained to use a litter box--they have an innate preference to eliminate in a loose, soft substrate. The key is to provide a suitable substrate, put it in a convenient, appealing location, and keep it clean. Cats prefer fine, grainy material. The new sandy clumping litters are especially popular. Cats generally do not like scented litter, although some may tolerate it.
Cat boxes, especially for kittens, must be easily accessible. Also avoid putting the box in a noisy area (e.g., next to the water heater, washing machine, furnace, etc.). Kittens may need a ramp or a box with low edges. Cats also like some degree of privacy--try a covered box or hiding the box behind a plant.
Litter boxes should be cleaned of urine and stool daily. This is easy with the clumping litters. With clay litter, tip the box so that the dry litter slides to the bottom, leaving the urine-soaked litter stuck to the box bottom where you can scoop it out. Dump the box entirely once a week, or more often if you notice any odor.
There should be as many boxes as cats, plus one. So a household with 2 cats would have 3 boxes, and one with 20 cats (!) would have 21 boxes.
The more cats you have, the greater your chances of one of them not using the box.
It is much easier to make a cat happy with his box from the beginning
Why does my cat scratch the furniture/curtains/scratching post?
Scratching is normal behavior for a cat. It serves three major functions:
"Sharpening" the claw: Actually, scratching removes the outer layer of growth from the cat's nails, keeping them slim and ideal for hunting. For this, your cat prefers a fairly open weave material with a vertical orientation.
The act of scratching creates a visual mark (that's pretty much your complaint about your cat using the sofa. . .). It also leaves scent from glands on the feet. For this, your cat prefers a very obvious place to scratch.
Cats stretch (especially after their frequent naps) by placing the front feet on a vertical surface and flexing their backs. For this, your cat prefers a post near his favorite nap spot.