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Top 5 Cat Tips
Nadia Crighton takes a look at the top 5 tips that can help with all of those catty problems.
From scratching in inappropriate areas, to the dreaded ‘spraying’, there are many cat problems I have personally encountered over the years. After owning indoor and outdoor dwelling felines, I’ve come up with the top 5 cat cheat list, alongside some handy hints to help you overcome these issues.
Cats love to scratch. This behaviour is fine as long as it’s targeted at the deluxe cat scratching post or the outside tree. But let’s face it, many times our feline companions find alternative scratching posts, and once the habit is formed, it seems impossible to break. The usual victims are; sofa arms, furniture, and chairs. Seems the most popular is leather, or cane. So what to do?
- Firstly clean the area well with an enzyme product to remove your cat’s scent (for leather make sure it is well diluted and that you spot check).
- Then tape aluminum foil to the area for two weeks. This will break your cat’s habit.
- Place a small cat scratching post close to the area (best if left right next to the spot). Once they start using the scratching post, slowly move the post towards the area you wish it to permanently reside…say 10cm a day.
- Double sided tape also works a treat…but it may mark your leather sofa if left on for too long.
2. Long Claws
If your cats are anything like mine, long claws = uncomfortable kneading sessions, and pulling the threads from the sofa, bed and any cushions in sight. Some cats actually get stuck in the carpet. I know the solution sounds easy…clip your cat’s claws. But what if you haven’t had your cat used to claw cutting since kitten-hood and you are, well…scared to even attempt?
- Invest in a good quality, durable scratching post. This can sometimes sort the problem without having to use clippers.
- Firstly play with your cat’s paws. Will they let you hold them and push the nail out without going too silly? Will they allow someone else to hold them while you hold their paw?
- First time clipping – wrap your cat in a towel if they are not comfortable with the above. This is a two-man job, one to hold the cat, one to clip the nails.
- Lots of loving words and tell your cat it is OK. Just concentrate on the front paws only (as these are the main culprits). You can even use treats to distract your cat.
- Gently push the claw out, and snip the tip off…do not go past the cuticle (the little translucent triangle in the nail) if in doubt just snip a tiny bit off the end. Work quickly and quietly.
- Use specially designed cat nail clippers, they are easy to use and nice and small.
- Treat your cat afterwards. After a few times they will know you mean no harm and allow you to clip their nails. I have older cats that seem to actually ask me to clip their nails once they are too long.
3. Indoor entertainment
Have an indoor cat and you want to ensure they are happy and content?
- Build and outdoor cat cage run or aviary. These can be really simple or incredibly elaborate.
- Consider putting shelves up around the inside of your home for your cat. Like steps around the walls of your home or even a shelf running the complete side of a wall. Get creative, many cat café’s use cut trees and even books as ladders to the shelf’s above.
- Windows, windows, windows. Place your cat scratchers over-looking the yard so your cat can watch the world outside.
- Toys. Rotate your toys weekly.
- Cat nip or grow a cat grass area.
- Consider teaching your cat to walk with a harness and go on outdoor adventures.
- Build a ‘jump’ proof fence around an outdoor area so when you are outside enjoying the sun they can join you. This can be done by attaching chickenwire horizontally off the existing fence (make sure it is not pulled too tight or your cat will simply claw over it). Secure the chickenwire with intermediate brackets to prevent it sagging down and becoming flush with the fence. The cat will jump for the wire and as it is flimsy will not be able to claw over. Supervision is paramount as most cats are masters of escaping.
4. Hair Hair Everywhere
Have a hair problem?
- Rubber gloves work wonders in removing hair from furniture.
- Rubber grooming brushes work well on cats.
- Rub a rubber brush over your carpets before vacuuming (the type you see at the hair-dressers)
- A sticky hair roller works wonders or just roll some sticky tape backwards on your palm and rub over clothes and furniture.
- Groom. Keep a brush on the couch and every chance you get…brush your cat regularly. This is also the best cure for hairballs.
- Cat sat on your black jeans? Pop them in the dryer with a softener clothes dryer sheet. It will remove the static and your clothes will be hair free.
This can be a tricky one as there is a whole host of reasons why cats start spraying/marking in the first place. So this issue requires some detective work. Remember marking/spraying is completely different to toileting. Cats that mark will back-up onto a wall or object and spray upwards. They area laying their ‘scent’. Normally this is done in an effort to feel safe, and secure in their ‘territory’.
- Firstly take your cat to the vet for a full check up to rule out any underlying issues. Sometimes cats pee inappropriately due to kidney problems / infections. So get a clean bill of health.
- Normally this is a male problem (however I have known females to mark, and some to ‘phantom’ mark – shake their tail and back up on you with no urine.) If you have an un-neutered male cat, have them neutered asap.
- Why has your cat started this behavior? What has changed recently? New kitten / pup? New baby in the home? New neighbourhood cat at the window? Try and find the trigger and then you can devise a plan to help the behaviour. You may need to keep your cat inside, or give your feline friend an area that they feel safe, where the kitten/pup or new baby cannot go.
- If the spraying is out of control seek veterinary assistance. There are many calming drugs on the market that can help you cat transition with a new pup or baby in the home. You can also consider a diffuser that can also help calm your cat.
- Lots of love and affection. Let your cat know that you love him/her and that all is well in their environment.
- Consider a holistic veterinarian. They have great advice and products that can help these problems.
- Smell? Have a spray bottle handy full of an odour removing product. There are some great products available online that can completely remove the smell and remove stains. However, if you have a spraying problem your cat will continue to spray until you have solved the problem.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, three cats, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy, she simply adores animals and pets of all shapes and sizes.