Introducing Your Cat to the Outdoors

Are you considering introducing your indoor cat to the outdoors?  Find out how to make it easier on your cat in this article.

There are advantages and disadvantages to letting your cat outdoors.  Make sure to think about them all before making a final decision.

Orange tabby cat sniffing grass


Pros:
  • Your cat will go to the bathroom outside, so you don't have to scoop a litter box regularly.
  • Your cat will be able to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.
  • They will be able to have the unique experiences that only the outdoors can offer.
  • Your cat will probably have a richer and more exciting life.
Cons:
  • Your cat may have a shorter life span, due to other animals, cars, and cruel people.
  • Your cat will probably roam around, and may be near you less.
  • Others may not like your cat in their yard.
  • Your cat may disappear.  If the cat went off on its own, it will probably return, but there is always a chance that the cat was stolen.
Your cat will probably kill some of the birds and rodents in your area.  This can be a pro if you have too many rodents, but may also be a con if you like the local wildlife.

If you want your cat to have the freedom of going outside, without the possibility of the cat escaping your yard, you may want to consider a Purrfect Cat Fence, which is a cat proof fence that can be installed into your yard.

If you live in an area with a lot of traffic, it will be more dangerous to let your cat outside than if you live in a more rural area.  Keep this in mind when you are considering letting your cat outside.

Once you're sure that you want to let your cat outdoors, here's how to make it easier on them.

Before you let your cat outdoors, consider teaching him/her to come when called.  Don't know how to train your cat?  Here's how.

First of all, give your cat a treat.  Get another treat, and show it to your cat.  Go to the other end of the room, get down, and call your cat by their name.  Your cat will probably come to get another treat.  If the cat comes, praise them, and give them the treat.  Go to another room in your house, and call your cat again.  The cat will probably start to come when you call, because they know that they will be rewarded.  Be sure to have a treat on hand every time you call your cat.  If you don't reward your cat each time, they may decide that there is no point in coming.

If you just got your cat, keep it indoors.  This will give it time to adjust to you, causing the cat to be less likely to run away.  Also keep kittens indoors, as they are more likely to run into the street than older cats.

Once your cat has lived with you for a few months, and you know that both you and the cat are ready for the transition, open your door to the outdoors.

At first the cat will probably be reluctant to go out, unless he/she was an outdoor cat at a previous home.  If your cat doesn't want to go, put some of the cat's favorite food outside, or call the cat with a treat.  Don't be too hard on the cat.  If it doesn't want to go out, don't force it to.  The cat may have bad memories of something associated with the outdoors.  Once the cat is outside, let him/her explore a little.  They may want to stay in the same spot, while they also might do the opposite, and run off.  To prevent your cat from running off, consider using a leash the first time you are letting your cat out.

In the beginning, keep your cat's outdoor sessions short.  You may also want to supervise your cats first outdoor sessions so that you know how the cat acts outside.  Increase the length of the sessions over time, and your cat will probably begin to love the world of the outdoors. At first it seemed that Wessie would never like the outdoors, but soon he almost never wanted to go inside!


Is It Time to Adopt a Cat?

Are you considering adopting a cat? Find out the responsibilities and proper care of your new feline friend.

Kitten with collar
Right after we adopted Wessie

Cats can be wonderful and loving creatures that offer a lot of love and companionship. Before you adopt a cat, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Why do you want a cat? Do you want the cat for companionship? Think about your home situation. Do you have enough room to care for a cat? Are you renting? If so, does your landlord allow you to have pets? How much time are you willing to devote to your pet? This quiz on Animal Planet may help you to find out what pet is right for you.


Once you've decided that you really want a cat, it's time to ask yourself if you will be letting the cat outside. Will the cat be an outside cat, indoor only, or an indoor/outdoor cat? Consider what will be best for the cat, and what you believe the cat would want the most.

You must also decide whether you want a cat or kitten. If you want to raise your cat, and have it grow up in your care, then you will want a kitten. They may need more training than adult cats. Kittens are more likely to be attached to you, as they will be growing up around you, and will know you all of their lives.  When you adopt a kitten instead of an adult cat, it may be less likely to run away if you are letting it outdoors, as it doesn't have past homes to go to.

Adult cats can make great pets as well. They are more likely to be docile, and not as playful as a kitten. Adult cats can also be very playful. Past experiences may have made them attached to someone or something, making adult cats more likely to run away than kittens.  Remember, as you are considering these two options, think about what will be best for you and your situation.

You've made your decision, and decided that it's time for you to get a cat. It is now time to prepare yourself and your home for your new kitty.

Cats are easy to care for. Their maintenance can cost from around 100-800 dollars a year. The yearly cost for Wessie is around 148 dollars. The way to keep costs down is to make your own cat toys, don't buy too many cat treats, and use old containers that you have around for cat food and water dishes. There are many ideas for keeping your cat care budget low.  Outdoor cats also cost less, as they don't use very much litter.

You are going to have to feed your cat daily.  It is best to give them measured food, as opposed to free feeding, to prevent your cat becoming overweight. You will also need  to scoop your cat's litter daily, and change it at least once a week. Make sure that your cat has a clean bowl of water available at all times. You should also play with your cat daily. This will prevent it from becoming overweight, and will keep it healthy.

You know how to care for your new cat, so now it is time to prepare your home. Make sure that there is a safe and preferably small room that you can keep your cat in as he adjusts to his new home. Scan the room with your eyes. Do you see anything potentially dangerous for a cat? Strings dangling? Small things that the cat could play with, and choke on? If you don't see any of these things, get down on your hands and knees, and look around. Pick up anything that you wouldn't want near your new cat. Look around your whole house, and make sure that it is cat proof.

When you know that is safe for your kitty, it is time to get your supplies. First of all, you may want a cat toy so that you can give your cat exercise and supply him with play. You can even make your own handmade cat toys! Here's a link to my "how to make cat toys" page, which features a couple of easy toys to make. How to Make Your Own Cat Toys

You will also want to purchase a cat carrier. I use a Petmate pet taxi for Wessie's transportation. You'll want the carrier early so that you can take your new pet home from the adoption facility.

When you are at the adoption facility, look around. What cat or kitten catches your eye? If none do, then maybe your purrfect cat isn't there. It's important that you aren't just choosing the cat for its looks. The cat should be what you want, and have a good purrsonality. You and the cat/kitten should get along right off.

Once you have chosen your cat, ask to see it out of the cage. This is important, because if you really want a lap cat, you may discover that the cat you chose hates to be touched. When I took Wessie out of the cage, I discovered that he didn't like to be held. This trait has stayed with him all his life, and it is only once in a while that he actually sits on my lap.

Once you've held the cat, you have to find out if it's healthy. Don't solely rely on a staff member, rely on your own good judgment.  Check in the cat's ears, eyes, and nose. If all of these places seem free of mucus, then the cat is probably healthy. Ask about the cats medical records. Make sure that it has had rabies vaccinations if you are planning on letting the cat outside. This is especially important if you live somewhere where there are a lot of rabies carrying animals, such as raccoons.

If you are fully satisfied with the cat, it is time to adopt. There are usually some papers that you will have to fill out. The adoption fees for cats vary, depending on where you are adopting your cat. Once you go through the adoption process, it is time to take the cat home with you.

Once you are in the room you previously prepared for your cat, open up the door of the carrier. Your cat may hide in it for awhile, but will probably slowly come out and explore the room. Remember, this is an extremely stressful experience for your new cat. Don't pressure the cat to explore its surroundings. It'll explore on its own. You can leave the cat alone as it adjusts to its new home. When we got Wessie, we let him out in the bathroom. He hid under the bathtub. To gain his trust, and to lure him out from under the tub, we held out a homemade fishing pole toy for him to play with. Slowly but surely, Wessie gained our trust. Your cat will too. Some cats are harder to earn their trust than others. It takes time and patience for a cat to adjust to your home.

Play with your cat everyday. This will exercise your cat, you will have fun, and your cat will trust you more. After one year of owning your cat, you may think that you know everything about him, but you learn new things about your pet almost everyday.

Have fun with your new friend, treasure your new pet, and take good care of him!


Feline UTI and Home Remedy


Cat Litter Box - Feline UTI

This information is not a replacement for veterinary care.  It is almost impossible to diagnose your cat at home.  Improper use of this information may actually worsen your cat's condition if you have incorrectly diagnosed.

Feline UTI. All pet owners worry when they see the signs of this fatal disease it their cat. But how do you know he really has it, and what do you do if he does? Read more, and find out.

Feline UTI (urinary tract infection) is a disease that many
cats have. It’s mostly found in neutered male cats. Since it is a fatal but highly treatable disease, you will want to know the signs so that you can treat it early. UTI shows up very quickly, one day your cat is fine, and the next he is blocked by crystals or bladder stones. Toxins will build up in the cat’s body, as the kidneys are no longer filtering bad things out of the cat’s system. If your cat isn't treated, it can die within 24 hours. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is easy. Some of the first symptoms are urinating outside of the litter box, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, excessive licking of the genitals, and crying in the litter box.

Some may just think that their cat has developed bad cat behaviors. This is because they may be urinating on the floor away from the litter box. The cause of this is that if the cat finds it painful to use the litter box, they may start to identify the box as the problem. In this case, they will avoid it, trying to escape the pain. If not quickly corrected, you may have a lot of trouble getting your cat to use his litter box again.

A cat’s bladder will usually feel like a slippery water balloon. However, when it has UTI, the bladder will more likely feel like a hard peach, as it is all full. Palpate your cat’s stomach, and see if it feels hard. Hopefully it will feel normal, and soft. Once in a while, the palpating actually releases the blockage.

UTI is usually treated by a vet. At the vet they will use a catheter to push the blockage out, or back into the bladder where it will dissolve. This is a painful operation for the cat. Because of the pain, anesthetic is given to the cat. Usually, the cat will be kept at the vets for a few days with a catheter attached to them to make sure that the cat doesn't have the blockage come back, or if you are on a budget, you can leave right after the operation is complete. These vet visits may cost up to around $4,000, so you might want to treat at home.

For this, I recommend apple cider vinegar. I used ACV along with Gimborn Uri Soothe for urinary tract health. After about five days of apple cider vinegar and Uri soothe treatment, Wessie is now urinating normally. It was low cost, around $10.08, while a visit to the vets can cost over a thousand dollars.

If you are trying to treat at home, here are some tips.
  • When your cat has UTI, regularly scoop his box so that you can see any new urine that he has left.
  • Make sure that the cat keeps hydrated, but that he doesn't have too much water, as he will then be in extreme discomfort if he is unable to release the pressure.
  • Feed your cat his normal amount of wet food with a capful of ACV mixed in. If your cat usually has dry, switch to wet.
  • You might want to find a urinary tract supplement like we did.

Here’s my story of Wessie’s UTI
I knew that Wessie had a problem when I saw him straining to urinate, and nothing came out. Immediately I thought of feline UTI, as Wessie is a neutered male.

I went to the Internet to find out what you can do for your cat when he has UTI. I searched for things that you can do to help a cat with UTI. Most resources advised going to the vet. Then, I came across a website that suggested feeding your cat apple cider vinegar. After reading the reviews on ACV (apple cider vinegar), I decided to try it to save my kitty’s life. Many people were satisfied with it, and very few said that it didn't work to help their cat.

I explored different websites to find additional advice, and decided to get Wessie some canned cat food. It turned out that cats that eat dry food are more likely to get UTI than wet food eaters, as they don’t get as much water.

We headed out to Petco to see if there was any kind of urinary health treatment for cats. We found Gimborn Uri Soothe, which is used for cat urinary tract support. Afterwards, we headed over to the grocery, and picked up our ACV and canned cat food. Later, we blended the recommended teaspoon of Uri soothe with Wessie’s new food, and put it out for him to eat. Over the day, we fed him food mixed with ACV, and found that Wessie was becoming slightly more successful with his urination. During the night, I left my bedroom door open so that Wessie had easy access to his litter box. Awakening in the night to check on him, I found out that he had used the litter box and made an almost normal sized urine cake. Then, as if to prove to me that he could go and actually make something, he proceeded to urinate in front of me, leaving about a golf ball sized puddle. That day he made more golf ball sized puddles, but occasionally was unable to urinate.

The next day, Wessie was making slightly smaller than normal puddles, and sometimes made a nice large normal sized one. After several days, Wessie is urinating normally, and has his regularly large puddles.


Cats May See Things We Cannot

Orange Tabby Cat on Blanket


Has your cat ever acted as if there is some invisible thing that scares him? This article is a pondering of what the cause of this is. My first experience with this behavior was when my cat was fairly young, at age one. He didn't want to go under our porch, where he normally loved to hang out. If we put him under it, he would dash away and act terrified. My first reaction was that a visitor cat had sprayed under there or something. A while later, when he was perfectly fine with going under the porch again, this idea was proved wrong when my cat was scared of his box, normally one of his favorite places to sleep. There were no other cats in the house.


Quite recently, my cat was sitting around in our mudroom, one of his favorite places to sit around. I was working and not paying attention to him, when it sounded as if he slipped on the rug, and he ran upstairs. Sure enough, the rug had been moved. I don't know why he slipped on the rug, as he wasn't playing. If playing, slipping would be normal, because he could have been running around and moved the rug. He kept returning to the mudroom and acted how he does when interacting with other felines. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, he dashed upstairs, as if something was chasing him. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark gray shadow going after him.

Immediately I thought of shadow people. You can't see them head on, just out of the corner of your eye and then they vanish. Upon looking in up, I discovered that many people see shadow animals. Do you think what I saw was a shadow cat?

Some may think that their cat interacts with spirits, perhaps earthbound cats, the ghost of the past. The house I live in is over one-hundred years old, do you think that perhaps it was the ghost of a past pet? Since animals can sense when disaster is about to strike, do you think that they can sense things beyond this world?

Earlier this month, before the "shadow cat" incident, a family member had mentioned that she had seen a glimpse of a "phantom" cat. She walked into the kitchen and glanced towards the doorway. There was a cat sitting in the doorway, while our cat was walking calmly past her. The cat in the doorway vanished. These kinds of things happen to people all the time. Do you think it's just our eyes playing tricks on us, or something truly supernatural?

If your cats acts as if there is something invisible that he sees, don't overreact. Don't think that you have to move out because there is a ghost infestation or something.

There are numerous reasons why a cat would appear to see something invisible. Some discover that when their cat appears to be playing with invisible things, it turns out that it was a speck of dust, or microscopic bug. Think about it. What do YOU think your cat sees?


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Here's an update that's more on the scientific side. Studies have shown that cats can see ultra-violet (UV) light. That means that that they can see in a range that is beyond what humans can see. This would be particularly helpful for cats and other prey animals when searching for food in the outdoors. 


More resources:

All About Cat Scratching

Ow! My cat just scratched my arm! What should I do? Don't panic.




Cat Claw



It's very typical cat behavior to scratch. It is usually a form of defense, but can be playful. When playing with you, cats tend to keep their claws hidden. They may accidently unsheathe their razor sharp claws and scratch you. Don't think that this means that your cat wants to hurt you. If you were just playing with him and got too close to the toy, he probably accidently swiped you. Ever so often your cat may scratch you on purpose. You may be petting him/her in a painful or sensitive area. If your

cat scratches you or gives any warning signs that he is annoyed, stop doing what you are doing. It is probably bothering him, and you don't want him to think you are trying to be mean. Tell him no, and reward him when he doesn't scratch you. Cats are smart and can usually be broken of bad behaviors.

Cat scratches can hurt. If a cat scratches you, wash the wound and use peroxide on it to prevent an infection. Most of us have been scratched by a cat some time in our life. Don't overreact if you get scratched, it's usually not a big deal. Once in a while scratches inflict cat scratch disease. Cat scratch disease (sometimes called cat scratch fever), is a disease that can be given to a human by being scratched by a cat. Bartonella henselae is the bacterium that causes the disease and is found through out the world. It causes swelling of the lymph nodes in humans. The disease is usually transmitted through scratches, licks, and bites. The cats are infected by fleas, who bite them and pass on the disease. The bacteria live in the infected cat’s saliva, but don’t make the cats sick. Experts think that almost 50% of cats have been infected at some time in their lives. Kittens younger than a year old are more likely to be infected. Don’t worry, cat scratch disease symptoms are usually mild, them being mainly swollen lymph nodes. For more info on cat scratch disease click the link to the Wikipedia article.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_scratch_disease

If your cat is scratching you or your furniture, don't automatically turn to declawing. Claws are not only needed for protection, but are also needed for balance, climbing, and exercise. Declawing is a painful operation that actually cuts the cats toe joint. There are also many side-effects, such as back pain, and litter box problems. There is another option.
Soft Paws claw caps are a more humane solution to your cat's scratching problems.
Remember, have fun with your cat, but play safe!


Cat Biting-Is This Normal?

Is your cat biting your feet in the morning? Do you get up and he nips your ankles? Don’t overreact. There are many reasons that your cat may be biting you.

A lot of the time, your cat just wants to be fed. “But he has food in his dish!” This could mean that he just wants attention. My cat, Wessie, loves for me to sit in the room while he eats. You might want to spend a little bit more time with your feline friend. Cat behaviors vary greatly in different cats, just like you and I have different personalities.
Cat Biting

It is normal for a kitten to bite, while in older cats it is a little more irregular. Sometimes your cat may not like you petting him. In this case your cat will usually give a few warning signs before biting. These can include tail thumping, hissing, growling, shifting position, ear flicking, cessation of purring and skin rippling. Every cat is different. By learning to understand your cat’s warnings you will lessen the chance of getting hurt.

Biting can be simply playful as well. This behavior will begin when the cat is a kitten. Do not go along with this vicious play, or your kitten will begin to consider you a plaything. Kitten nibbles can be cute. But when kitty grows up so will its teeth, and those once cute bites may become flesh breaking wounds. Some cats may like to ambush their owners by leaping out and biting you. They may come from behind corners, furniture, doorways, and may surprise or injure you. Ambush biting is a sign that you raised your cat to think you are a toy. When your cat does this don’t pull away or act afraid. This resembles prey and will only make your cat want to bite harder. Gently push him away (be careful), and say “NO” in a authoritative tone.

Sometimes the cat may become aggressive when a new baby, pet, or even new furniture is introduced to the home. In this case, let your cat be alone for a while, and he/she will probably adjust to the new arrangement.

Once in a while biting is a sign of sickness. Your cat may hide under the bed or behind furniture, and when you approach he/she may bite you. Your cat may have gotten in a cat fight and been hurt, or there may be a more serious injury or illness. If your normally friendly and affectionate cat suddenly gets extremely vicious, contact a vet, as this can be a sign of rabies. Sadly, rabies usually ends fatally. If you were bitten by your cat that you suspect has rabies, you should visit a doctor, and get a vaccination.

Cat biting can be signs of play, annoyance, illness, and even trying to tell you something. Don’t always get all hyped up just because your cat nibbles you in the morning. But remember, listen to your cat if he is trying to tell you that he is hurt.