Category: Blog

Some Litter May Aggravate Cat Respiratory Problems

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Allergies are prevalent this time of year for more than just people.
Even for the family cat that rarely goes outdoors, common household irritants can cause allergies, as well as aggravate severe respiratory problems such as feline asthma.

One common allergen could be hiding in the cat’s litter box. Dust in traditional clumping litters can irritate a cat’s respiratory tract, causing it to sneeze, wheeze and cough after using the litter box. For cats that have already been diagnosed with feline asthma, it’s crucial to remove this potential irritant.

Feline asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disease. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, “Cats get the same airway spasms or smooth muscle contractions that lead to acute constriction of breathing as people do. The aerosolized dust [of traditional cat litter] when breathed in can initiate symptoms in an already asthmatic cat.”

As a result, an increasing number of consumers are turning to clay-free alternative litters, such as Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat Litter.

Swheat Scoop is a unique clumping litter that’s made from 100 percent naturally processed wheat. Because it does not contain clay, chemicals or fragrances and doesn’t raise a cloud of dust when poured, it’s good for cats that have sensitive respiratory systems.

This litter’s natural wheat enzymes work continuously to eliminate, rather than mask, litter box odors and its wheat starches form firm clumps that can be easily flushed down the toilet without harming sewer or septic systems. All of these features make Swheat Scoop the natural choice for cat owners with concerns about their cat’s respiratory health.

Swheat Scoop is available at Petco, PETsMART, Target, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and other fine grocery, neighborhood pet and natural food stores.

Indoors Or Outdoors: What is Best For Your Pet

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Before you take on the responsibility of owning a cat or dog, you need to take the time to consider the living arrangements for your pet. Many people adopt pets with the idea that they will be raising an outdoor animal. How many people in your neighborhood keep their dogs or cat’s outdoors at all times? The fact of the matter is, outside is not a safe place for a cat or a dog. When you adopt a pet, you need to make sure that you are ready to allow your pet into your home.

Pets Love Being Outside
It is true that cats and dogs both will love being outside, it is their natural environment. Cats delight in chasing birds, climbing trees, and hiding in shrubs. Dogs adore barking at the neighbors, chasing squirrels, and digging. However, there are many dangers to keeping your pet outside at all times. Dogs tend to get more outside time in cats. Owners take their dogs out for walks, and in some cases allow their dogs, unsupervised access to the backyard from time to time. Cats are usually either indoor pets or outdoor pets.

It is more common nowadays, for owners to keep their cats indoors as they begin to realize the dangers of allowing their cat to live outdoors at all time. It is highly recommended that you keep your cats and dogs inside. For cats, you can help them explore their natural instincts inside by giving them plenty of places to run and play inside your home. Buy your cat a good scratching post with a high perch and install a window seat so they can gaze at the birds outdoors.

Dangers of Outside
The number one danger to your pets when they go outside is other animals. You never know when your dog or cat will encounter a stray or strange cat or dog from down the street. You know that your pet is properly vaccinated, but you do not know that health condition of other animals outside. In addition, if your dog or cat gets into a fight with another animal. Your pet can be seriously injured or harmed. Unless you supervise your pet at all times when they are outside, you never know when your cat or dog will encounter a strange animal.

Other dangers of allowing your pet to live outside are cars and other people. A cat darting across the street late at night is a recipe for disaster. What if your dog gets loose from your yard and encounters a child? How will your dog react? You hope that your dog will be good and stay friendly. However, what happens if the child begins to taunt or tease your dog or poke a stick at him? If your dog bites or scratches another person, chances are, you will be responsible for your pet’s actions. Many pet owners have found themselves in a serious situation when their dog or cat has acted aggressively when outdoors.

When your cat or dog stays indoors, you can also help control fleas, ticks, and the exposure to heartworms. This is not to say that you should not treat an indoor pet for these problems. All dogs, whether the event indoors or outdoors, should be on a monthly heartworm preventative. Both cats and dogs should also be treated with monthly preventative. It is important to remember though, if your cat or dog lives outdoors, you will have many more problems when it comes to fleas and ticks.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should keep your dog or cat indoors. Pets that are indoor pets live longer and healthier lives than pets that live outside. This includes all pets, once you make them an indoor animal; you need to protect them from anything that might happen if they get outdoors, they now depend on you to provide a home for them.

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Urinary Tract Infection in Your Cat

Caption: Just about to take a picture but she’s too photogenic so she moved loaf. Credit: NinjaDudeGuyThingy
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Possibly the single biggest cause of cats not using the litter box is a medical condition called Feline Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Your cat often may not display outward symptoms of discomfort and pain early on. It’s only after your kitty feels significant pain, time and time again, that she stops using her litter box because she associates her urinary pain with the cat litter box.

However, there are a few signs you should be on the lookout for. While none of us really want to watch our kitty use the litter box, it’s a good idea to observe her a couple times a week. This way, you can separate normal litter box behavior and habits from those that indicate something is not quite right.

First, we are looking to see if our cat cries or howls in obvious pain while she’s urinating. If this is the case, run, don’t walk to the phone, and call your vet immediately!

Next, even if kitty does her business in silence, look at the urine ball (or puddle) before she buries it. If you see any tinge of red or pink – get your cat to the vet as fast as you can, because she definitely has a UTI in full bloom.

After she uses the box and covers her business, if she licks her genitals
excessively, and meows, you can be pretty sure she has a feline UTI. Particularly if you see this behavior coupled with “accidents” around the house, you can be pretty certain you are dealing with a UTI.

A few minutes now can save both you and your cat discomfort later. By knowing what is normal for her, you will be able to catch any problems early and get the UTI cleared up before it becomes too uncomfortable.

The Holidays and Your Cat’s Health

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Keeping your pet safe and health at all times should be one of your major concerns, and this can be even more difficult around the holidays. There are a number of special considerations you must make for your cat around the holidays. Your vet can give you more specific instructions, but here are just a few of the things you need to consider.

Holidays are not festive without a little decorating, and this includes, in many cases, the use of flowers. If you have a cat in your house, make sure that flowers are well out of reach if they are toxic, remembering that cats can jump very high. Some of the most popular flowers that are harmful to your pet include bleeding hearts, calla lilies, poinsettias, daffodils, Easter lilies, irises, ivies, tulips (the bulb part), and a number of other plants. Most cats will not go out of their way to eat these things, but to be on the safe side, make sure you use them in a safe way in your home or, better yet, opt for faux versions instead. There are many kinds of plants that can harm your cat, so check with your vet to make sure before bringing new kinds of plants into your house.

The holidays also may bring a number of guests into your home for parties and gatherings. This can be very scary for your cat, unless he or she is used to high levels of traffic. It’s a good idea to keep your cat in a room away from the party with the door shut. This will prevent your cat from being scared. When people are coming into and out of your house, there’s also the potential that your cat could get outside, and there is also the danger that guests will feed your cat unsafe human foods. It is better to keep your cat away from the party.

Remember also that alcohol and animals do not mix well. Alcohol, in fact, is deadly to animals. Although you or (more likely) a guest might think it’s funny to slip a little vodka into your cat’s water bowl, this could prove fatal. When you have guests, put your cat’s food and water bowls somewhere safe where no one can tamper with them.

Candles and electrical lights could also be unsafe for your pet. Cats are attracted to bright lights, and a candle could not only burn your pet, but you may find that a cat knocking over a candle will start a fire in your house or, at the least, spill wax onto furniture or carpets. Use electrical lights instead, but remember to keep the cords covered and taped down so your pet isn’t tempted to play with them. Overall, keep an extra eye on your pet during the holidays to make sure they are staying safe at all times. You can have a good time without compromising your cat’s health.

Domestic Cat Breeds

Caption: Help. My loaf got stuck! Credit: mladyKarmaBitch
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Have you always wanted a cat, but heard some breeds make better pets than others?
Maybe you have always wanted a cat, but do not know anything about them? There are plenty of ways to learn about cats and what breeds fit your personality. The choice can come from having an indoor, outdoor or indoor and outdoor cat. The tough and smart survive in the out of doors. Small cats are often pray for birds and other wildlife and should be kept indoors. Tomcats, a mixed breed, are great at surviving outdoors and mousers. So let us look at a few breeds of cats and then you will be able to choose which one may be right for your lifestyle.

Siamese: The Siamese cat can be a fickle creature. They often require a lot of attention when they determine it is necessary. They tend to meow quite a bit and can tear up a home if left alone for too long. These are the downsides. Siamese can be great pets, especially when raised from infancy. They are often white with brown ears and blue eyes. You may recognize them from Lady and the Tramp? Those two were a little mean and not the typical portrayal of a Siamese. Siamese are generally very affectionate. They are also one of the most intelligent of the cat species. They tend to be very social, which is why they meow or “talk” a lot. A sign for attention is usually a very vocal meow much like a babies cry. Siamese typically bond to one person very strongly and are territorial of that person.

Persian: The Persian cat breed is one of the oldest cats around. They are longhaired cats with beautiful shinny coats. They are very soft and friendly; however, they are prone to health problems such as allergies. The Persian does not always play as much as other breeds, but they do enjoy a bit of fun for exercise especially in a social situation. They love to have other cats around to play with as well as have a lap available when they are in need of a lap. Persians are a variety of colors from solid black, white or a mix of white and browns around the face. A popular Persian is the Himalayan.

Manx: The Manx is known for its stubby tail or having no tail. The downside to Manx cats is the lack of tail. Often a Manx can suffer from worms and other parasites due to improper cleaning and not having the protection of a tail. This does not mean you should discount the Manx as a breed. The Manx breed is extremely intelligent and playful. They are a lot like dogs in the play area because they can fetch when you through toys and bring them back to you. They are very social animals and depend on human care. They don’t like to be left alone for too long, so it is wise to have other cats to play with when you are gone during the day. The best home for a Manx is one filled with children.

These are just three of the more popular breeds of cats. There are over a dozen cat breeds to choose from and finding the one to fit your lifestyle is important. Cats are very social and intelligent, but some breeds can be loners. Most often, a cat chooses when the time is right and what type of attention they want at the time. The phrase “you do not own a cat it owns you” is very true.

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Basic Nutrition For Cats

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Cats are what are known as obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is one that
must east meat. You cannot just turn her out to graze in a pasture. The digestive tract of
cats has been shortened and optimized proteins from meat. They simply don’t have the
dental or digestive apparatus to process plant materials. It’s therefore surprising, given
their physical inability to process plants, that you will still find cats nibbling on plants
from time to time. There are many theories for why cats would nibble plants. They may
be trying to balance an upset digestion or add missing vitamins and minerals. Perhaps
they simply like the taste. Maybe it’s a combination of factors. The jury is still out on this
matter.

Fortunately these days, we don’t have to go out and hunt for food to feed our cats.
There are a large number of very good, nutritionally balanced foods available in pet
stores to satisfy any cats’ tastes. Try to feed good quality food. It really does make a
difference in the health and appearance of your pet. Pick one that your cat likes and stick
with it. Cats don’t actually need a lot of variety. Changing their food constantly tends to
just make them picky eaters.

Nutritional requirements for your pet will vary by age and size. What she needs as
a kitten will be very different than what she will need as an adult. Be sure to follow the
instructions on the bag to avoid feeding too much or too little. The average adult cat will
need about one cup of food a day. Cats appreciate consistency in their feeding schedules.
Try to feed them at the same time each day. Also, try to keep their bowls out of high
traffic areas. It’s hard to eat your dinner when people are stepping on you!

Try not to feed your cat people food. Some things, such as chocolate and raw
liver, are actually toxic to cats. Others cause digestive upset. Remove the bones from any
cooked meat you might want to give to your cat. Poultry and pork bones in particular are
given to splintering and can injure your cat.

When you need to switch from one type of food to the other, do so in a gradual
process. Shifting gradually from one to the other over the course of a week will help
prevent digestive upsets. You may need to switch foods because your store may stop
carrying the brand you like or perhaps your kitten has grown old enough to graduate to
adult food. Do the changeover slowly and your cat will thank you for it.

Feeding treats is something for you to decide if you want to do it. Some people
are dead set against them. Others lavish treats on their pets at every opportunity. There
are many good cat treats on the market today. Read their directions carefully. You don’t
want to overindulge your cat and turn her into a furry beach ball with legs. The only other
thing that a cat requires is water. Do your best to keep a nice fresh supply of water
available for your pet. With a little thought and planning you can keep your pet healthy
and happy for a long time to come.

Choosing a Cat Litter For Your Aging Cat


As cats grow older, a host of feline health concerns can arise, including diabetes.

“Diabetes is a common problem in older cats,” said Dr. Kenton Beard, a licensed veterinarian. “They produce a larger volume of urine, and it does tend to have a stronger smell. That’s due to the fact that cats, compared to humans, can’t regulate their glucose levels as well.”

Therefore, senior cats with diabetes need to have their litter box cleaned more frequently. For this reason, some owners of older cats are realizing they need a more effective litter – one that stops the strongest odors, handles a high volume of urine and can be easily scooped and cleaned.

One alternative is a natural cat litter such as Swheat Scoop, a clumping litter that’s made from naturally processed wheat. Through a patented process, its natural enzymes work to eliminate, rather than mask, litter box odors – even the extra offensive odors associated with diabetic cats.

The natural wheat starches in Swheat Scoop form firm clumps to make cleanups easy. And since each granule absorbs liquid like a sponge, the litter stays drier longer.

Because Swheat Scoop is clay-free, the clumps can be easily flushed down the toilet without harming sewer or septic systems, eliminating the unpleasant task of disposing litter waste in the trash daily.

And for older cats who may have more sensitive respiratory systems, it’s also 100 percent fragrance-free and chemical-free.

Simple Dog Training Tips For Any Dog Lover

Training your dog is not a quick process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Any dog can be trained, and any dog owner can learn to train their dog. Follow the advice in this article for some ways to make the process easier, faster, and more effective.

One tip to keep in mind when training your dog is that there is a difference between discipline and anger. This is important because your dog only understands right or wrong commands. Your anger will only scare and confuse the dog if it isn’t directly related to a behavior you wish to modify.

While training your dog, observe his body language and general behavior closely. Look for signs of enthusiasm. Is his tail wagging? Does he follow you around? This shows he’s ready to learn. If you see your dog is scared, bored or nervous, stop what you are doing and reevaluate.

Generosity towards your dog goes a long way when you are trying to train your pet. Reward your pooch where rewarding is due and don’t be stingy with the doggie treats. You and your pet both deserve a reward for all your hard work and make sure to put enough time aside for your dog’s training.

If your dog is a big bruiser, be easy on your hands and certain of having a good strong leash by using a horse lead rope as a leash. These come in a standard 6′ length in soft cotton or synthetic rope with a very sturdy snap attached. They come in lots of pretty colors and are durable and strong.

Set a routine as much as possible when training your dog. Dogs respond well to regular activities such as exercise or bathroom breaks, so putting them on a routine encourages good behavior. Feed your dog at the same time each day to further establish a routine, and be as consistent as possible.

If your family includes four-legged friends, consider an “invisible fence” pet containment system. These fencing systems place a wire around the perimeter of your property in which you wish to contain your pet. Your dog or cat is then fitted with a small, discrete radio collar. When the animal approaches the perimeter, the collar will emit a warning sound which induces the animal to remain within your yard.

While dog training with a leash, make sure that you are keeping the collar snug, yet a little bit loose. When the collar is too tight, it can actually make the dog want to pull you. A little slack can go a long way when you are dog training with a leash.

Train your dog by reinforcing positive behavior. This does not mean to punish your pet when he does something bad; instead, simply do not reinforce negative behavior. Negative enforcement might just make your dog scared of you. Positive reinforcement will ensure that your dog will want to do good things more often in order to receive treats and praise.

No matter what you do, dog training can be a difficult process. Many dogs are easier to train than others, but all dogs will respond to the same basic techniques. Having read this article, you will now be more prepared to start off making your dog a better canine citizen.

How To Select Cat Toys

Caption: My 15 year old cutie. She was getting in the zen loaf mode by watching the rain. Credit: Snowdustfairy
Source: Flickr


In the next few paragraphs, we will explore new ideas and thoughts that may help you achieve your goal and decide what is best for you when choosing toys for your cats.

Toys for girl cats and boys:

When the mouse is away, cats play. And cats have the tendency to both play hard and play soft. Toys are to cats the same as toys are to dogs. It helps fight the boredom experienced by these pets as well as gives our feline friends the opportunity to practice and use their natural inclination to chase and hunt for prey. It also gives the cat owner that great chance to play with their pets, an experience that will aid in bonding their relationship.

But what toys are best for cats? The following are tips and helpful advice to get that perfect toy for the cat owners perfect pets.

Play safe:

The good thing about cats is that they can play ball inside the house and the owners will never know it. Still, there may be things inside the house that cats could find attractive yet might actually endanger their health and safety. Houses must be cat-friendly. As much as possible, take away any string, yarn, needles, rubber bands or other objects that could easily be swallowed by cats. These things could be lethal to cats. Do not let them play with these articles no matter how cute they may appear to be.

Play soft:

Choose soft toys that can easily be machine-washed. It is best that the toys chosen to be played with by cats are also the toys marked as safe to be played with by children below three years old. Toys such as these usually contain fillings that are not hazardous. Also, avoid giving cats toys that are hard and rigid, these types do not appeal to them that much.

Know your cat, know their toy:

It is best that one also familiarize themselves with your cat. Doing so helps in ones selection of the kind of plaything that best serves the size of ones cat – the kind of activity the cat likes and its unique preferences. Know the environment in which the cat likes to spend its time the most.

Choose active toys:

Toys that are great to play with for cats are usually the round plastic ones (such as rings from shower curtains, plastic balls, golf balls, balls used in ping-pong) as these give cats the opportunity to chase and paw around. They could also carry these in their mouths, make sure though that these are big enough they cannot be swallowed but not so large that they cannot carry them in their mouths.

Choose active play:

Balls can be placed inside bath tubs filled with water. Watch as cats frolic and play on and around the toy. It is just as enjoyable to the cat as it is fun for the cat owner. Another added feature that could be placed on balls are bells. One not only sees how cats play, one could also listen and take pleasure in the playful sound
.
Another simple yet effective plaything for cats is a paper bag. Use paper bags that do not have handles. These bags are good for pouncing around. Cats hide in them too. As much as possible, avoid the plastic ones as cats have the tendency to chew these and they may eat the plastic. This is not good.

Toys with tails:

Cats like playing with soft toy animals – specially the ones that have tails. They either bite them, paw them or chase these little stuffed toys around. It is best if these toys are as big or as small as the cats playing them.

Toys with catnip:

Catnip is sometimes used as stuffing for toys that are soft. Putting catnip in such playthings make the toys more enjoyable to carry, kick and throw around. More importantly, it is safe for cats to chew on, roll around in, or eat.
It is okay for owners to place catnip on carpeted floors, or (to make clean-up easy) on towels. There are now catnip oils that can be placed on carpets, and they usually stay there. Cats detect these too. Although small cats, specifically kittens who are younger than six months have shown a certain kind of immunity to catnip.

All in all, it is best that cat owners define what kind of toy should be played by their cats. It is advisable that different kinds of toys be given on certain days, and that displaying all toys simultaneously may not be a good idea. Cats can easily tire of seeing the same fluffy toy animal again and again. Variety always works best. However if cats show a certain liking to a specific toy, let them play with it, or sleep with it – whichever they like. In closing, it will benefit you to seek out other resources on this topic if you feel that you don’t yet have a firm understanding of the subject matter.

Pet Grooming Options for Cats

Caption: Sweet baby Dora Credit: Mikeymike34
Source: Flickr

When considering pet grooming options, one must decide which pet groomer will be best. There are many dog groomers out there, but very few cat groomers. If you have a cat you should look carefully at what specific facilities offer cat grooming expertise. Cats are finicky animals and they can be very hard to groom, putting the groomer at risk for bites or scratches. Choosing a professional cat groomer is a important decision the pet owner must make to ensure the health and happiness of their cat. As with all animals a bad pet groomer can make mistakes and unintentionally hurt the animal destroying confidence in making the cat emotionally distraught.

Cat pet grooming is a difficult job and not many people are up to the task. Some of the best dog groomers refuse to groom cats due to the fact of the danger to both themselves and the animal. Most cats do not like water and bathing them can be a adventure as both cat and human fight for dominance. Most cats become emotionally distraught when immersed in water, and it takes a experience pet groomer to calm the cat and at the same time protect both parties involved.

Pet grooming techniques have been designed to keep the animal safe and give the animal confidence in the person doing the bathing. A good cat groomer will use the necessary gloves and other equipment to make bathing a more pleasant experience for the feline.

The most difficult job for the cat pet grooming expert is to cut mats off long-haired cats. Breeds such as Persians, and Blue Hairs are notorious for having big mats several inches in diameter which are tightly packed against the skin. Pet grooming with these types of animals needs to be particularly diligent in finding these mats and cut them short enough to brush out without actually shaving the hair off the skin. For long-haired cats to have no hair on their body opens them up for infection and disease. Serious skin infections can result which is constantly in both time and money. As with other animals having the hair shaved completely off and living in an outside environment can lead to skin cancer and other deadly skin diseases.

The choice of a cat pet groomer is a serious one for the pet owner. Sometimes in rural areas a pet grooming expert may be some distance away. The owner must be prepared to drive a cat to the groomer, leave them overnight, and pick them up the next day. Before leaving the groomer, inspect your animal and make sure there are no serious cuts or abrasions. Also run your fingers through the animal’s coat to make sure that all mats are taken off properly.

If you’re happy with the services of the pet grooming experience, it is customary to tip the professional at least 15% of the total charges. To ensure less frequent trips to the grooming expert, it is advisable to brush your cat out daily and avoid the unsightly mats as they appear.