Cats And Kitchen Counters

Cats And Kitchen Counters

Allowing a cat into your home is like arming your feline with the keys to a territory. Cats love to walk and climb on perpetually anything and everything – including kitchen counters. Cats are very powerful hunters and can jump or climb into high places without much fuss or breaking into a sweat. They have protractile claws that allow them to go stealth mode while exploring their environment.

Why Cats Love To Be On Top

Cats climb a lot for many reasons. These cute creatures love heights and that shows when you see them jump sporadically on top of the fridge or bookshelves without the fright. Specifically, climbing at high places provide them vantage points which is needed to survey a territory. The counter tops or even top of the refrigerators or on top of the stove are favorite spaces for them to patrol on because they can take advantage of some leftover snacks that you forgot to clean up or wipe off from tables and kitchen counters. It’s also a great place to catch some sleep.

Even though cats can manage these daredevil maneuvers without losing its balance, many pet owners still prefer that their cats avoid staying on kitchen counters and tables. Here are some tips on how to keep your cats off the kitchen counters and on top of anything else in the kitchen:

  • Tape an aluminum foil onto tables and kitchen counters. The noise that the aluminum foil creates upon contact is what make cats dread stepping into one.
  • Put a sticky tape onto tables’ edges. Use double-sided tape for this. Cats absolutely hate the feel of sticky tape on their toes which may eventually discourage them from jumping on top of kitchen counters.
  • Arm yourself with a spray bottle. When you’re in the kitchen prepping meals, get ready to give your cat a quick spray if it attempts to jump on top of the cupboards of kitchen table. This is a good way to instill discipline and prove a point. Just be very careful not to overdo it and soak the cat.
  • Can with pennies. The loud rattling noise it creates when you shake it will deter cats from performing a specific action. They absolutely abhor the sound of a can with pennies when shaken. Get ready to shake the can whenever it tries to jump or leap into the tables or counter tops.
  • Spray your counter tops with peppermint. To serve dual purpose, you can spray peppermint on kitchen counters to deter your pet cats and also to leave a cool, minty, and refreshing scent on your kitchen.
  • Other commercial products. There are modern products in the market today that helps detect every movement of your cat and then would fire off a loud alarm then followed by a squirt of harmless gas. You can also turn off the spray and allow the alarm to do the scare tactics on your feline.
  • Give your cat a reward for obedience. Any pet would follow or take the lead of their masters when every good deed is rewarded. You can give kitty treats when your cat follows your instructions and keeps the counter tops spotless.

There are times that your cat just can’t keep his dainty paws off your kitchen counters. With that in mind, make sure to keep your tables sanitized and wiped with an antibacterial agent to make sure that you are preparing your meals on top a clean table and ensure that you are also on top of your family’s overall health.

Bringing Home a Cat for the First Time? Here’s What You Need to Know

You’ve always been a dog lover and you are thinking of taking care of a cat for the first time. What should you do? You know too well that you can’t apply the tricks and tips in taking care of a dog when it comes to the cats. Here are the following tips that you should always keep in mind if you are going to be a first-time cat owner.

Cats are completely different from dogs

Of course, they are. You need to know that cats like being independent but they can’t take care of themselves without the help of others or their owner. Unlike dogs, you cannot expect your cat to be excited and overwhelm to greet you at the door the moment you arrive home. You should expect that you cat will really have an attitude, therefore, you should be a little more patient and understanding when it comes to them.

Choose a cat that suits your lifestyle

If you know that you cannot take good care of that kind of cat because of your busy schedule, then you should not bother bringing it home or it will suffer under your care. Before you go to the pet shop, make sure that you have already done your research about cats that suit your lifestyle. There are some cats that need 24/7 attention from their owners and there are some that are just perfect for a busy working lifestyle.

Choose a cat with low allergens

If you have any feline allergies or any of your family members in the house suffers from asthma, yet you still wanted to take care of a cat, you should choose a cat with the lowest level of allergens. In that way, you will be able to ensure your safety with your cat. Talking to a veterinarian, conducting a research, and asking for the suggestion from animal shelter employees can give you an idea of what type of cat you should get.

Visit the veterinary clinic first

Before you introduce your cat into your house, you should make sure that you bring her into the nearest veterinary clinic first. Especially if it’s an adopted cat, you might want to make sure that she is not suffering from any illness and she is in a perfect condition. You should also have your cat immunized and if the age permits you to do so, have it already neutered. In that way, you can rest assured that your cat will grow up to be a happy and loving cat instead of a mean that will claw its way out of your things and leave his clutter around.

Follow the aforementioned tips to help you get started. There are several factors that you need to consider before you finally brought home a cat. However, this will all be worth it once you get to know your cat and spend more time with your new feline companion in the house.

Tips in Adopting a Cat

Are you planning to adopt a cat? Well, in order to make sure that your new companion feels safe upon arriving at her new home, here are the following tips to remember. Always remember that cats are extra sensitive when it comes to their surroundings, so make sure that you are patient with your new adopted cat.

Be patient

The first thing that you should remember is that your cat will most definitely adjust to her new surroundings. That just means that your cat will eventually hide in your closet or under your bed for the first few days while adjusting to her new home. Just be patient and never tell your cat to come out or else she will try to find her way back home.

Provide an area just for her

Since your cat hasn’t been able to explore her new surroundings, make sure that you are going to provide an area just for her. If you have any unused room in the attic, you can use it as your cat’s new home. Just provide a litter box, give her food and water, and make sure that you are spending as much time with your cat. In that way, she will know that there is no harm lingering around and will slowly feel at ease in your house.

Learn about cat nutrition tips

If you don’t know the food history of your cat before you brought her home, it is important that you look up to various cat nutrition tips that are posted on the internet. In that way, you will have an idea on what to feed your cat. Make sure that she only eats healthy food. The water and the food should have enough distance away from the litter box.

Make your cat comfortable

As you may know, cats love to get cozy in small and warm places. Therefore, you should consider providing a cat carrier to her. If you just let her in the room, you will most likely find her curled up in the attic or she will try to look around for warm spots that she can sleep in. Just make sure that the hidden hole of your cat has enough space for her to turn around and stand up. Also, to avoid startling the cat, ensure that she will be able to see the door in distance. Don’t make her feel like you are trapping her.

Provide a scratching place

Cats like scratching things around in order to wear down their claws. Therefore, if you don’t want your newly-bought sofa to be filled with scratches, then you should consider providing her a scratching place. You can purchase posts, cardboards, or other posts with dangling toys on top so that she can enjoy you.

Cats are way more sensitive and curious than dogs. Therefore, you should make sure that your adopted cat will feel welcomed into her new home. Do not worry because as time goes by, your cat will want to explore. Soon enough, you will find her playing in the garden or sleeping in the living room.

Complete and complementary cat food: what’s the difference?

There are so many different aspects to consider when choosing which food to feed your cat, and figuring out what makes one type of food different from another can be confusing. But before you even begin to think about whether your cat would prefer wet food tins or dry kibble, or whether he’d like chicken or fish flavor the most, there’s a bit of terminology to consider! It’s vital to make sure you understand the difference between two words that you’ll be seeing a lot of as you browse the cat food shelves: complete and complementary. By law, cat food manufacturers must state on their packaging whether the food is complete or complementary, and you must make sure you know which is which. Hopefully this quick guide should clear things up!

Complete Cat Food

Complete cat food is just what it says on the tin: it’s a complete diet that will provide your cat with all the nutrients he needs in order to thrive. Whether the food is wet or dry, if the packaging says that the food inside is complete, that means that you can safely feed your cat that food, and only that food, and be safe in the knowledge that it will provide him with everything he needs.

Complementary Cat Food

Complementary cat food is very different. Feeding only complementary cat food will not fulfill your cat’s nutritional requirements, and he will not be receiving the complete diet he needs to grow, develop and stay healthy. To help you understand this, remember that cat treats fall into this category. You wouldn’t feed your cat nothing but treats and expect him to thrive, would you? It’s not always that simple, though – there are many cat foods on the shelves that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to be complementary, so you must always check. Be particularly careful of ‘luxury’ wet foods – they are often designed to be given to your cat as a treat only. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t include these in your cat’s diet, you just need to make sure you’re feeding them alongside a complete food – and be careful not to overfeed!

Cheap Food Versus Expensive Food: How Much Difference Does Price Make?

So, you’re standing in the cat food aisle of your local pet store, completely bewildered. Not only are there countless different brands of cat food, but they’re all different prices! How can one brand of cat food possibly cost three, even four times as much as another brand? Are expensive foods actually any better than cheaper foods, or would I just be paying for the brand name? Does price really make that much of a difference?

The short answer is: yes. Usually, the price does make a pretty big difference. For the most part (though this isn’t always the case) the more expensive the food, the higher quality it is, and the better it will be for your cat. But why? Well, that will take a bit more explaining! The world of commercial cat food can be very misleading. For a start, you may have noticed that cheaper, poor quality foods are far, far, far more popular than expensive foods. Why? The main reason is: they’re cheap! The sad truth is that the vast majority of cat owners can’t or won’t spend their extra cash on their cat’s diet. Some owners would like to feed their cats a higher quality food, but simply can’t afford the extra expense. Some owners, on the other hand, buy low quality food simply because they don’t really care what their cat eats.

Cheap cat food brands spend a lot of money on advertising. It’s extremely rare for you to see a high quality cat food advertised on television. This is because cheaper foods are usually owned by larger corporations than have more money to spend on marketing their product – partly because they’ve saved a lot of money by filling their cat food with cheap, low quality ingredients. Ignorance plays a huge part here – too many cat owners assume that because they see one of these poor quality products advertised everywhere, it must be a good choice for their cat’s diet. Usually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed!

Cheaper cat foods are more widely available than expensive ones. As I said before, cheaper foods are usually made by big corporations than can afford to mass market their products, while high quality foods are often made by much smaller, specialist companies or family businesses that don’t have the means to manufacture their foods on such a large scale. High quality food manufacturers tend to be stocked by specialist pet retailers, whereas you can buy cheap cat foods from pretty much any grocery store you choose.  So, the majority of cat owners feed cheap, low quality food. Why shouldn’t you follow the herd and do the same? Well, you obviously care about what you’re putting into your cat, or you wouldn’t be reading this guide in the first place! Let’s talk a little about what the difference is between these foods. What exactly makes one food cheap and another food expensive?

Essentially, when you pay a higher price for a cat food, what you’re usually paying for is higher quality ingredients. The main constituent of your cat’s food should be meat, and meat is pricey. High quality foods usually contain more meat, and the quality of that meat is of a higher standard. Low quality foods often contain staggeringly low levels of meat, and what little meat they do contain usually comes in the form of meat by-products or derivatives rather than fresh meat. The ingredients lists on cheap cat foods will never tell you what these derivatives and by-products are – and they have good reason to keep that from you, as those ingredients can be pretty much anything! So, if these cheap foods contain low levels of meat, what else is in them? Well, usually, they’re pumped full of cereals and other pointless fillers that are much cheaper to produce than meat is. These fillers are difficult for your cat to digest, as they’re not part of the diet he has evolved to eat. Sometimes, depending on the fillers used, they can even be harmful in large amounts and can eventually lead to a number of health problems. These foods are also more likely to use cheap preservatives that can be really harmful. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read this guide, which goes into much greater detail about cat food ingredients and which foods to avoid: Know your ingredients: a complete guide to understanding cat food labels.

But will this have any effect on your cat? Of course it will. No, feeding low quality food will not put your cat in any immediate danger. But look at it this way: what would happen to a human that ate fast food for every meal, for the rest of his life? Yes, he might live to a ripe old age, but his health would suffer dreadfully as a result of his diet. Put simply, your cat will not receive the high level of nutrients he would receive in the wild. He won’t be able to digest large parts of his food, so it’ll pass straight through him, resulting in a nasty mess in the litter tray every day. His resistance to disease will be lowered, and he’ll already be at risk of developing the conditions associated with feeding a diet that’s high in carbohydrate instead of protein! Poor quality diets simply don’t suit your cat’s digestive system very well, and your cat is bound to be unhealthier for it.Will this have any effect on you? Well to be honest, you might find that feeding a poor quality cat food becomes quite costly! Surprised? Many cat owners have no idea that feeding cheap, low quality foods isn’t actually very cost-effective at all. You see, because low quality foods are less nutritional than high quality foods, your cat actually needs to eat more of it to feel full and fill his nutrient quota for the day. This means that you actually end up buying more of the cheaper food than you would an expensive food, and may end up spending more money!

So, hopefully we’ve established that price definitely does make a difference when it comes to choosing a diet for your cat. However, let’s not lose our heads here – price isn’t everything. There are exceptions to the rule – for instance there are expensive commercial foods out there that still contain high levels of carbohydrates and other ingredients that should be avoided. Seriously, some of these foods may surprise you! Just because a higher price often means higher quality ingredients, this doesn’t mean we should put all our trust in expensive foods just because they cost more – you should always, always do your research before embarking on a change of diet. Use your initiative, read those labels carefully and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting your cat into! If you need help with that, I’ll once again direct you to this guide on understanding cat food labels – it can get quite complicated!

Okay, the rest is up to you. Hopefully you’ll give this some real thought – after all, your cat is worth it, isn’t he? This can be a bit of a touchy subject, but I’m a firm believer in providing your cat with the best care possible. If don’t think you’ll be able to afford to feed a cat anything but a poor quality diet, then perhaps it’s unfair to bring a cat into your life at the moment. Too many people adopt cats without considering the financial ramifications, and the cat’s health suffers as a result. Remember, you’re responsible for that kitty, and he’s relying on you to look after his health for him! There are so many healthy options out there – if you don’t like the idea of feeding commercial cat food at all, remember that you could consider a raw diet for your cat. These diets can still get expensive, but they allow for a little more flexibility and control – you can read a little more about these diets in this guide here. Have fun researching!

Why Would Your Cat Urinate Outside Its Litter Box?

Have you ever had a cat urinate outside their litter box? House soiling can be the most frustrating issue having pets live in our homes and especially if it is a cat with a chronic house soiling issue. Why would a cat go potty outside of it’s litter box?

1. Medical Reasons

If your cat has been using the litter box regularly and suddenly refuses to use the litter box or begins missing the box it might be time to see a vet. Many house soiling issues are caused by medical issues such as bladder stones or body pain.

2. Dirty Litter Box

All cats are different but some demand a cleaner litter box than others will tolerate. Some cats will require you to clean the box several times a day and other cats might be okay with you scooping once a day. You should not allow your litter box to go unscooped for more than 24 hours. Also, don’t abruptly change the litter type or brand. If you need to change the litter gradually change it by adding a little each day as you scoop out the old until there is more than 50% new litter, then dump the box and refill with all new litter. If your cat stops using the litter box at any time during the switch, add back in a little of the old litter. For multiple cat households you should have one litter box per cat, plus one additional box.

3. Changes In The Environment

Because cats are prey as well as being predators, they are hyper aware of their environments and any changes, even subtle, can upset your cat and cause them to refuse their litter box. Changing the location of the cat’s food or water bowls, litter box or even rearranging the furniture in your house can be difficult for some cats to accept. Also, if you have had new people or pets in your home your cat may become unsettled and upset causing them to go outside the box. Not all cats are as sensitive as others but if you have a sensitive cat, be careful how you change their environment and make sure to make changes gradually and monitor your cat day by day.

If your cat is having accidents don’t punish or declaw your cat! Declawing your cat can be detrimental to its behavioral well-being. Declawed cats often become aggressive and have more behavioral issues than cats that still have their claws. Also, don’t punish your cat for having accidents. Using punishment such as hitting, spanking, yelling or rubbing their nose in accidents will only result in your cat being scared to do anything around you. They may begin to soil in areas that are hard to find which can cause even more damage to your home if you aren’t able to clean the messes quickly.

If you can’t figure out how to help your cat that is soiling in your home, contact us for help! We specialize in creating harmony in pet homes through positive reinforcement and communication.

Cats Need Lots Of Water

If you’d like to see your cat drinking more water, there are a few helpful tips to be aware of.

Fresh and clean water is important for your cat. If your cat doesn’t get enough water, it can lead to serious kidney problems and urinary issues. Sometimes cats can be picky about drinking water straight from the tap. They prefer water that has a more natural scent to it, as they can smell the chemicals that are used to treat our tap water.

Cats also love to drink from moving sources of water, as it prevents the water from becoming stale. Cats don’t like it when the water becomes stale from sitting out for long periods. These two factors can be taken advantage of by getting a cat waterfall. These fountains naturally attract your cat’s senses with the flowing water, with the added benefit of water filtration that removes any chemicals and things that are unhealthy for your cat.

When it comes to water for cats, these drinking fountains cannot be beat. I first discovered them when my cats wouldn’t quit drinking all the water out of a decorative fountain in the living room. I decided to try out these cat waterfalls and my kitties simply love them.

The cat water fountain we are currently using and recommend is the Hagen Fresh and Clear Cat Drinking Fountain.

This water fountain holds one hundred fluid ounces of drinking water, enough to last several cats multiple days. The multi-stage filtration collects any debris, food, hair or sediment that will normally collect in the water dish. This cat water fountain is extremely quiet and only begins to make noise when it’s time to refill the water. Cats also prefer to drink from slightly elevated sources, where they can drink while standing. This fountain is designed to be at the ideal height for encouraging cats to drink more water.

UPDATE:We’ve had some recent additions to our kitty family and so decided to add a second water fountain for our cats. We went with the Cat Mate Pet Fountain and couldn’t be happier. While we still recommend the Hagen, the Cat Mate really takes it a step up!

Naughty Kittens

Some people like naughty kittens but I am not one of those people. I prefer to live with cats that are independent or like to spend lots of lounging in the sun. I can provide comfy beds, lots of windows and high perches but please, do not come lay on my newspaper when I am trying to read it. So what do I do when I get stuck with a naughty kitten? Give it away? Send it to a shelter? let it outside? No. No. No. Even though I have re-homed a few naughty kittens that have come into my life and I have even had one declawed, (I know, the horror!) every kitty needs a home so here is what to do if you find yourself living with one.

  1. Create a routine.

Consistency is key to training your cat. A typical routine should start in the morning with play followed by a morning meal and then it will be time for kitty to rest. In the evening repeat play followed by an evening meal. The time in between your cat will fill with naps, exploring and cuddling.

  1. Play time should be interactive.

Cats are hunters by nature and need to fulfill their physical and psychological need to hunt, even if it is just a stuffed mouse toy. Cats enjoy jumping, running and stalking when they play. They also need a variety of toys that can include pieces of wadded up paper, crinkly cat toys, balls toys, cat wands, feathers toys or hair rubber bands. In fact, there aren’t many items that cats can’t figure out a way to play with. I haven’t met many cats that can resist a ball with a jingle bell in it.

  1. Feed two meals a day.

If you went through your entire day with only one meal  you would most likely be pretty grumpy or even downright hangry when you finally did get to eat. You temper would be shorter and you would be willing to take more behavioral risks. Also, don’t free feed all day. If your cat has access to food 24 hours a day they have a constant access to energy and fat. Splitting your cat’s daily meal into 2 separate feedings creates a rhythm in your cat’s energy levels. Equally concerning is cats who overeat and become obese which can cause a whole host of issues including liver failure, dental disease and heart failure.

  1. Create a Cat Den.

A calm, cat safe place for your kitty to hang out in during nap times. Your cat den should include soft bedding, high shelving, bright windows and some of their favorite toys. It is a good idea to  keep your cat’s water and litter box nearby. Don’t forget to provide plenty of scratchers for your cat to scratches their claws on. Scratching on cat scratchers is not only important to keep nails in order but also for cats to exercise their natural behavior.

  1. Learn to enjoy your cat for who they are.

All cats are individuals so it is important to appreciate your cat for who they are. Even if your cat drives you crazy 95% of the time there is always at least 5% of the time that they will be completely endearing and that will be the exact moment they are saying “Thank you, cat mommy/daddy. I love you.”

Keeping Your Cats Happy And Fixing Cat Behavior Problems

happy cats

If you have a “problem cat” who is angry, depressed and/or scared all the time, it can really make life with your cat very tough. Depending upon the severity of the behavioral problems, it can feel like a impossible situation to fix. But even what may seem like a hopeless cat can be turned around much easier than you think.

This is the first of a series of posts that will deal with this topic. In this post, I will just be covering some of the essential basics that provide outstanding changes. In the future articles, I will explore some of the more complex issues such as social dynamics in a house with multiple cats.

The key is to understand how cats think naturally, and what they need to satisfy their natural instincts and feel comfortable. If a cat is exhibiting bad behavior, it is almost always because certain needs are not being satisfied, or the cat is insecure in its surroundings.

Cats need to feel secure with themselves and with their place in the household. If a cat is not given enough good attention, or if it is given too much bad attention, it may become insecure which leads to being scared or angry on a regular basis. It is important to refrain from physical punishment with cats such as spanking, as this will lead to the cat becoming insecure. This insecurity then creates or worsens behavioral problems. Cats do not understand this kind of punishment and instead, you want to redirect their “bad” behavior into “good” behavior. In this way, they will be trained to do the “good” things, rather than punished for the “bad” things. For example, if you catch a cat scratching on furniture, you want to regularly redirect the cat’s attention to something appropriate to scratch on such as a scratching post. This will train the cat to use the posts instead of the furniture.

Most cat behavioral problems are solved with daily, regular playing sessions. Cats have a natural instinct to hunt prey, and this energy needs to be put to use daily or else the cat will experience a form of restlessness, where it searches for an outlet. If the cat is not given an outlet for this instinctual energy, it may attack you or other cats/pets, it may tear up furniture or generally let the energy out in ways you do not want. The solution is to give the cat a good outlet, with forms of play that are acceptable. A couple of the best cat toys available for this kind of play are Da Bird and the Go-Go Cat Catcher – cats seem to universally love these toys because they are specifically designed to mimic the movement of real prey, which activates their hunting instincts and makes it a perfect outlet for this. Pretty much any cat will be jumping up in the air and running around in circles with these toys, and you can really get them worn out. This is what you’re aiming for, to get your cat breathing heavily and eventually laying down on their side. Once they do this, they’ve been fully played out and have exhausted their instinctual energy for now.

Doing the above on a daily basis will produce surprising and profound changes in your cat’s behavior and mood improvement.

Aside from play, your cat also needs to have its own personal space. A safe, personal place that a cat can have to itself is very important to its security, happiness and comfort levels.

Cats prefer higher places where they can look down on their surroundings. If your cat is often jumping up on places where you don’t want it to, this can be fixed by giving the cat its own higher place. Cat Trees are great for this, and for a smaller option you can install special Cat Shelves made just for cats to climb up and lay on. There are also cat trees that are designed to attach to the back of any door, such as the SmartCat Multi-Level Cat Climber. Another good option that is cheaper than the shelves is a Window Kitty Sill.

If for some reason having a higher area for your cat is not an option, then create a personal space somewhere special that they know is just for them. Place out a cat scratcher, cat bed, and maybe something they can crawl inside of and hide out.

Best Flea Meds For Cats: Frontline vs Advantage Flea Collars

cat_scratching1This post will outline the best and most popular flea medications for cats currently available.

Does Frontline work?

Frontline Plus – Frontline is one of the most well-known and widely used topical flea treatments for cats. It is a good option, however some people are beginning to report that it is no longer effective for killing all fleas. The effectiveness seems to depend on the fleas in your area. After a time, fleas begin to develop resistance to the medications used to kill them. This is why there are new versions of the same flea meds coming out every few years. The ingredients have to be continually modified so that they remain effective against the fleas evolving resistance. It seems that in certain areas, fleas are beginning to show resistance to Frontline Plus.

Advantage II – In my personal experience, Advantage II is the best flea medication currently on the market for cats. I have been using Advantage II on my cats for several years now and it always kills all the fleas off within 24 hours, and the fleas do not return unless its past time for the next treatment. If you’re wondering about differences between Advantage I and Advantage II, have a look at our article on this topic: Advantage I vs Advantage II

Where to buy Advantage?

The cheapest Advantage II I’ve found is available here.

UPDATE:I have recently purchased kits from FleaKitShop.com and can recommend this seller for cheaper “dosing down” Advantage II kits.

Do flea collars work?

Flea collars and off-brand flea treatments – Although these options are a bit cheaper, they generally do not work very well. These may kill off some of the fleas upon initial usage, but they will not get all of the fleas and most likely will stop working within a few days. In my early days as a cat owner, I tried several of these and always ended up frustrated at having wasted money and time, while the flea infestation just became worse.

In addition to topical flea treatments for your cat, you will also want to be sure to address any flea problems in your house and yard. I have put together a guide on how to easily and efficiently wipe out those pesky fleas here: What to do about fleas