Category Archives: Cat Care Tips

10 Important Considerations in Preparing to Adopt a Cat

Adopting a kitten or adult cat is a long-term responsibility and commitment. It’s a decision you want to give careful thought to and be prepared for, not one to take lightly or impulsively. Owning a cat is a large financial and emotional responsibility lasting anywhere from 14 to 22 years, typically. Your cat will depend on you for its health, happiness, safety and well-being, so here are 10 important considerations in preparing to adopt a cat.

Renting Your Home? Check with Your Landlord First

If you live in an apartment or rental property be sure to confirm with your landlord beforehand that cats are allowed and know whether a pet deposit is required. Avoid adopting a cat and bringing it home, only to find out the landlord does not accept pets.

Lifetime of Costs

Getting a cat is exciting, but the reality is there is a lifetime of expenses associated with caring for a cat. Be aware of and ready to commit to spending money for quality cat food, litter, toys, cat carrier for trips to the vet and emergencies, a scratching post and cat tree, but most of all for needed routine veterinary care and emergencies. Annual checkups are recommended to keep your cat healthy, and dental cleanings are part of health maintenance, but if your cat gets sick he will need to see a veterinarian. As cats age and get older health problems can arise, so it’s important to be prepared for when that time comes. Like people, cats get sick and sometimes develop chronic illnesses as they age.

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Need a Pet Sitter? How to Find a Great Pet Sitter for Your Cat

Cats love routine, consistency and familiarity, so when we go on vacation our absence can be stressful for them. Hiring an in-home pet sitter can reduce the stress and anxiety your cat can experience while you’re away. Keeping your cat in the safety and comfort of your home with an experienced pet sitter provides the best alternative to the physical and emotional stress caused by kenneling or boarding your cat away from home. If you plan to leave your cat home alone for more than a night, it’s best to hire a pet sitter for the time you’re away. Here’s how to find a great pet sitter for your cat.

Why Hire a Pet Sitter?

Cats can become anxious and worried while we’re away from them for longer periods than normal. They may be independent, but cats don’t like changes in their daily routine or being away from home. Leaving them alone for several days can be a risk to their physical and emotional health and overall well being. Hiring an in-home pet sitter can reduce your cat’s stress and provide the quality of care, attention and reassurance she needs while you’re away, and give you peace of mind too.

Finding the Right Pet Sitter

Finding the right pet sitter that you trust and feel comfortable with is critical. Ideally, you want to look for one that is recommended by someone you know. They should be reputable, responsible, and trustworthy, and have experience with cats and cat sitting. In-home cat sitters will typically visit your cat once or twice a day, and some are willing to spend the night. Your cat sitter will feed your cat, refresh the water bowls daily, spend time playing with your cat, give your cat any required medications, clean the litter box, and many will also bring in newspapers and mail, water plants, turn lights on and off for security, and take your cat to the vet if she’s sick.

To find a good cat sitter, check with your veterinarian or any reputable local veterinarian for a recommendation, often they know qualified pet sitters in your area. Local cat groomers and cat rescue groups are often able to recommend pet sitters. You can also check the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), which is the only national non-profit organization for professional pet sitters. Pet Sitters International (PSI) is another resource that offers a free online search based on your zip code. Also, your friends that have cats may have a referral. Once you have a recommendation in hand, do a search on Yelp for any reviews and visit the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the California Department of Consumer Affairs online for any complaints.

Neighbors, friends and relatives are always an option for pet sitting, but make sure that they have experience taking care of cats or pets, and are responsible, reliable and trustworthy.

Interviewing Your Pet Sitter

Some states and counties don’t require a license for pet sitting services, so you may find there is no minimum standard for level of care, quality of services, safety, competency, or reliability required for pet sitting in those states. Some states or counties don’t mandate a legal requirement for worker’s comp or liability insurance that may be important to you. So be sure to ask about these.

When you’re ready to hire a new pet sitter and have some referrals, have a list of interview questions ready to ask them. You can interview them over the phone, then when you’ve selected one, set up an in-person meeting at your home to ask any follow up questions; meet your cat; familiarize them with your home and the locations for food, litter boxes, and medicines; and review the details about your cat’s needs and anything important to know. Get any copies of credentials, licenses and insurance and share all your contact information.

Some Interview Questions for Starters
  • What level of care do they promise to provide your cat? What services will they provide?
  • How long have they been in business in your area?
  • Can they provide 2-3 references you can call?
  • What is their reputation? Were they recommended by reputable professionals?
  • Are they bonded, licensed and insured? Can you see proof of insurance and licenses?
  • What credentials do they have? Do they have certificates for Pet CPR, Pet First Aid, are they a veterinary technician, have they been in cat rescue?
  • What safety precautions will they take?
  • How much time will they spend per visit? Will they give any special attention and provide some playtime for your cat?
  • Will they leave a “report card” after the service telling you how it went?
  • Are they willing to text/call/email you daily about how your cat is doing? Can you get a daily or bi-weekly update from them?
  • Are there any additional services they will provide, if so, what? Like watering plants, taking in newspapers and mail, turning lights on and off for home security?
  • Do they have any reviews on Yelp? Are there any complaints on the Better Business Bureau website or the California Department of Consumer Affairs website?
Leave Notes For When You’re Away

Before you leave on your trip, write out detailed notes and reminders for your pet sitter about your cat’s food, special diet, medications, allergies, temperament, hiding places, lock combinations, and any special needs that your cat has. Leave your contact information—cell phone numbers, email addresses, places where you are staying, hotel phone numbers, and your veterinarian’s address and phone number, and nearest pet emergency hospital address and phone number—in case anything should happen.

It’s an investment of time upfront, but you’ll have the peace of mind while you’re away knowing that your cat is in good hands. Happy travels!

Does Your Cat Have High Blood Pressure?

Feline high blood pressure or hypertension can be a dangerous problem for your cat’s health. If left untreated it can affect your cat’s organs including their eyes, kidneys, heart and even brain. A simple blood pressure test can be done during your cat’s annual veterinary exam to quickly determine if your cat’s blood pressure is in the normal range. Detecting it early is the key to success and will minimize damage to vital organs.

Cats that are particularly vulnerable to developing hypertension are often older cats as well as cats that have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, heart or hyperthyroid disease. If your cat has been diagnosed with any of these diseases, you want to watch carefully for the signs and symptoms of hypertension, and get annual or bi-annual veterinary exams to avoid the possible damage caused to organs by hypertension. Since it’s more common in older cats, you’ll want to include regular blood pressure checks in your annual exams starting with cats that are 8 years of age and older. For cats that are 14 years and older, include a blood pressure test in their bi-annual exam.

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Preventing Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

Lower urinary tract problems in cats can be life threatening, are extremely painful, and need immediate attention and treatment by a veterinarian. Preventing lower urinary tract problems in cats is critical for your cat’s health.

Urinary crystals can quickly turn into kidney stones, and kidney stones are deadly in a short period of time, so never wait or postpone seeing your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet will determine if there are underlying medical conditions causing the symptoms through conducting a urinalysis, culture and cystoscopy and a complete medical review. If your cat is visiting the litter box repeatedly in a short period of time, straining in the box and sitting in the box trying to urinate, or urinating outside the litter box, it’s time to visit your vet.

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How to Create a Happier, Stress-Free Environment For Your Cat

Sometimes change is unavoidable for our cats, like moving into a new home, bringing home a new baby, having house guests, or adopting a new dog or cat. All of these can truly rock a cat’s world and trigger behavior changes. Sometimes even the slightest change can cause some cats to become uncomfortable, fearful, stressed, and anxious. Here’s how to create a happier, stress-free environment for your cat and ways to enrich their environment at home.

Cats are very vulnerable to changes in their life, and they will often show us when they are feeling anxious and uncomfortable by hiding more often, obsessively licking or vocalizing more, uncontrollably chewing or drooling, sleeping all day or more than normal, urine marking or even potting outside the litter box. Sometimes external changes in the cat’s home environment can even negatively impact your cat’s overall health and quality of life.

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Preventing and Treating Fleas in Cats – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Summer is a favorite season for picnics in the park, enjoying the seashore, and dining al fresco—but with warm summer temperatures also come the fleas! Fleas can wreak havoc on cats causing discomfort, severe skin conditions, allergic reactions, parasites (tape worms), anemia and even death in the worst cases, if left untreated. So it’s important to protect your cat from fleas, but it’s also important to know the dangers of some flea control products on the market today. In this article, you’ll become knowledgeable about the different flea treatment options, some of the health consequences associated with them, and you’ll learn ways to provide your cat with the safest possible flea treatments and precautions available. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly on preventing and treating fleas in cats.

Does Your Cat Have Fleas?

To check whether your cat has fleas, you can run a flea comb through your cat’s fur pressing along the skin to check for adult fleas or flea feces and eggs. These will look like little specks of salt and pepper or tiny black and white grains in the fur. The white grains are flea eggs, and the black grains are flea feces. If you have found and removed some grains on your flea comb, rub the grains onto a piece of white paper and if the grains turn a reddish-brown color, you know you have a flea problem.

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Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe On July 4th

Tips For Keeping Your Cat Safe On July 4th
Keep cats inside on July 4th!

The July 4th holiday may be a fun time for us humans, but it’s a stressful, terrifying time for cats. The sound of fireworks can frighten cats and send them running for cover or bolting out the door. Explosions – even miles away – can cause cats to panic. Every year, animal shelters around the country are suddenly flooded with scared, lost cats and dogs that could have been prevented with some simple precautions.

You can make the July 4th holiday less stressful for your cat by thinking ahead and following some simple tips to protect them and keep them as comfortable as possible.

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Safety and Protection Checklist for Cats

Cats are curious animals, and because of it, they can get themselves into trouble at times. This list of dos and don’ts will help you be a more responsible guardian of your cat, and help to keep your cat safe from harm; free from unnecessary injury and accidents; free from unnecessary disease and suffering; and keep your cat as healthy and happy as possible!

Some Don’ts

DON’T leave your cat unattended in your car. NEVER leave a cat inside a car on a warm or hot day, not even for one minute.

DON’T let your cat roam free in the neighborhood.

DON’T re-home or give your cat away. Always try to keep your cat even when life requires making unexpected changes or facing unexpected challenges. If you must re-home your cat, be sure to screen and interview the potential adopters in person for their experience and history with cats; learn everything about them and meet all family members that live in the home; check their work/landlord/school/personal references; and visit their home in advance to make sure the cat will have a safe and loving environment to live. Here is a list of tips for preparing to adopt a cat.

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Signs of Dehydration in Cats

Your cat’s body is made up of 70-80% water or three-quarters of your cat’s body weight is water, so it’s critical that your cat gets enough fluids daily to maintain good health and prevent dehydration. Water is essential for cat’s urinary and kidney health, circulation, digestion, and waste removal. With hot summer days now upon us, it’s even more important that your cat has access to and drinks enough water, as dehydration can lead to a number of serious medical problems and even death. Here are the signs of dehydration in cats and why it’s so important to treat dehydration immediately.

Why Hydration is So Important

Dehydration happens when your cat loses body fluids faster than he can replace them, and it can happen when your cat is either not drinking enough water or is losing too many fluids. Fluids lost through daily urination, elimination and respiration all need to be replaced to normal levels everyday. But if your cat hasn’t been drinking enough water; has been vomiting or has diarrhea; or has been ill or had a fever; or your cat is old, then rehydration is even more critical as all of these can leave your cat severely dehydrated.

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Cats Need Clean Water Daily to Maintain Their Health

Cats are made up of about 70% water, so they need clean, fresh, cool water daily to maintain their health. If you feed your cats dry food, then water is even more critical as dry food has a very low water content (about only 10%), so they will need an additional supply of water.

It’s critical to always provide your cat plenty of fresh water in various places of your home. Make sure that the bowls are large enough and be sure to clean, wash, and refresh the water bowls at least every other day.

Just because you have larger bowls doesn’t mean you should wash them less. Be sure to wash bowls with soap and water. Bacteria and germs develop quickly when water sits still after a couple of days.

Cats Need Clean Water Daily to Maintain Their Health
Pyrex Glass Bowls for Cats Water

Consider using only glass, stainless steel, or ceramic bowls for water—avoid using plastic for water or food. Plastic can leach out chemicals and can hold bacteria.

The more cats you have the more water bowls you need. We have several in each area of our house and refresh them daily. I like and recommend using large Pyrex glass bowls, they’re very inexpensive, strong, ample, and safe for cats to drink from them.