This is our first instalment for our Feline Focus series of blogs!
How to Enrich Indoor Cat Lives
There are several things you can do to enrich your cat’s lives in the house. Cat trees and scratching posts are recommended, as this can first help deter them from scratching inappropriate areas, such as the couch or stair banisters, but the cat tree will also allow them to jump, play and get some exercise. Cat shelves can also be installed on the walls if the house has limited available space, these don’t take up much room but would be similar to a cat tree for them in that they can jump from shelf to shelf. Food and beds could also be placed upon these shelves so the cats can assess them, but if there are dogs or young children in the house, it will keep them from accessing it. Several toy options can be ordered through your local vet clinic or at specialty pet stores to help keep them busy as well! Some of these may include squeaker toys, bell toys, or for more advanced play; you could get puzzle toys. Many different puzzle toys are available; common ones are used to dispense food. This way the cat is made to figure out the puzzle in order to get food or treats out of the toy. This can keep them busy and interested for hours trying to get food out of the toys.
How to Keep Cat from Scratching Furniture
Though it can be a major inconvenience to many pet owners, it is a natural behaviour for cats to scratch to sharpen their nails. It is important to try to get them to do this in appropriate places. You can buy scratching posts, or cat trees and encourage them to use these areas. If they continue to use the inappropriate spot, you can try to deter them by making it uncomfortable for them. You can do this by placing some double-sided tape around the item that would be uncomfortable to step on, or placing a noisy item such as aluminum foil in the area. Another option would be to have nail trims done on your cat; this will ideally keep the nails short, and get rid of the nail hook that would cause most of the damage to the furniture. If none of these things work, there is a product that can be purchased called “soft paws.” Soft paws are plastic nail covers that go over each nail and prevent them from causing damage when they try to scratch. Your local veterinary clinic can apply these for you, and often stay on for several weeks or months. When they do fall off, there are extra nail covers in the package that can be put back on.
Litter Box Knowledge
It is recommended that the litter boxes in the house be scooped out daily, and then completely emptied and washed out once a week. Cats can be finicky, and the smallest things can tip them off, and they could start appearing to have health issues that could be avoided. If the boxes are too dirty for the cat, they may begin peeing in inappropriate places, such as couches or rugs. This could be mistaken as a urinary tract infection when it could just be they don’t like the litter box. It will also be harder to tell if the cat is using the bathroom regularly if the litterbox is constantly dirty. With a clean litter box every day, you will be able to tell easier if the cat is having trouble peeing or pooping, and if so may need emergency care at the local veterinary clinic. It is also important to have one more litter box in the house then there are cats. If you have two cats, there should be three boxes. This is recommended, since sometimes one cat may guard a litter box so the other cats can’t use it. If there are many other boxes in the house, this eliminates that issue. The boxes should also be placed in different areas around the house. If the only litterbox in the house is in the basement, and the cat has some mobility issues, it may hurt to travel up and down the stairs, and they may opt to pee on the furniture instead where it doesn’t hurt.
Written by Mayfield Veterinary Clinic