Tag Archives: cat care

Is Your Cat Bored?

Take a look around your home. Are there things that your cat can do, play with and watch?

Kitty boredom can lead to a variety of problems and destructive behaviors such as:

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Overeating
  • Aggression
  • Scratching

Preventing Cat Boredom

It is important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This means an environment with things to do. Windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with are all great ways to prevent boredom.

Here are some tips to entertain your cat and prevent undesirable behavior:
Cat Boredom

  1. Catnip – Cats LOVE catnip. Offer your cat some catnip on occasion to roll around in and eat. You can also revive interest in an old cat toy by sprinkling it with catnip.
  2. Window Perches – Cats enjoy having a comfortable place to watch what is going on outside. Purchase a window bed for your cat or position a cat tree near a window to create an outside view.
  3. Create an Outside View – Position a bird or squirrel feeder within viewing distance of your cat’s window perch.
  4. Cat Toys – Make sure that you are stocked with plenty of cat toys. Hiding and then reintroducing toys that your cat enjoys is a great way to keep them interested.
  5. Scratching Post – Even a declawed cat will enjoy scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat should be able to really stretch when using it.
  6. Your Time –Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat or allow them to curl up with you.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems can be caused by many things. Be sure to take your cat for regular checkups and vaccinations. A healthy kitty is a happy kitty.

How to Get Your Cat to Use the Litter Box

cute-343756Cats are creatures of habit and also especially clean. Litter box training is fairly easy, as it is in a cat’s nature to dig and bury their urine and excrement. If your cat is refusing to use the litter box, it is important to find out what may be causing this.

Reasons Why a Cat May Refuse the Litter Box

There are several reasons as to why a cat may be refusing to use the litter box from behavioral to a serious, emergency medical condition. The most important thing to keep in mind that cats never eliminate outside of their litter boxes out of anger or spite.

wildcat-356805First, check to see if the litter box is near anything that might make loud noises that may scare your cat. Appliances such as washers, dryers, and furnaces can be quite loud and litter boxes should not be in close proximity. Your cat might be afraid of the loud sounds coming from these. A remedy to this is moving the litter box to a more quiet area.

What type of litter box are you using? If the litter box is too small, your cat may avoid it. A cat needs to feel safe and an owner of the space they are eliminating in. If your cat is large, or long haired, and having trouble turning around in the box to find a “good spot” and be able to bury, they may look for another place to do their business. Are you using a covered or hooded litter box? This can also be a problem, especially for a larger cat. A cat’s whiskers alert them to how wide of a space they can fit through. If the opening to your hooded litter kitty litterbox is narrow enough that your cat’s whiskers brush against it, they may refuse to enter it. Cats prefer space over privacy. Try removing the hood and see if that helps.

You may also want to double check what type of litter you are using. There are myriad of choices: scoopable, clay, crystal, scented, unscented, etc. Cats typically prefer a sandier litter, so if you aren’t using a clay-based litter, give that a try. Also be sure there is enough litter in the box. One to two inches is perfect. Make sure the box is cleaned regularly and remember the rule of thumb: One litter box plus one for each cat.

cat-245750Your cat may be eliminating outside of the litter box due to stress or a medical condition. Did you recently get another pet? Move? Change your cat’s routine? Do you have more than one cat? If so, inter-cat aggression may be happening. When cats do not get along or one cat is afraid of another, they may be too frightened to use their litter box.

If your cat is still eliminating outside of his or her box, there may be an underlining medical cause. A common medical cause for litter box issues is “crystals” (a blockage in the urethra that makes it difficult or impossible for a cat to pass urine). If your cat suddenly starts attempting to urinate in places other than the litter box, especially if it seems they are straining and/or not passing very much urine, you need to see a vet as soon as impossible. This condition can become fatal for male cats in 24-72 hours.

Litter box issues can be frustrating, but with a bit of patience and investigation, they can be resolved quickly!

Interpreting the Body Language of Cats

Cats are a very common house pet that is found in almost as many American homes as dogs yet they at times can be very mysterious animals.  It is difficult sometimes to tell if a cat is happy, content, or angry and often cats may react in a seemingly unpredictable manner when approached by a person.  While their behavior may seem random, reading their body language can provide important clues for determining their mood and predicting their behavior.  The following are common examples of body language in cats to look for.

  • The Body: The body is one of the easiest parts of the cat to read its body language.  If a cat is lying on its back, it is usually happy and if it is standing with an arched back and flat fur, it wants affection.  However, if the cat has standing fur with an arched back, then it is scared or upset.  When cats rub against your legs, this usually means that they are marking their territory, not seeking attention.  Cats also rub up against other inanimate objects to mark their territory.
  • The Ears: The cat’s ears can reveal a few different things about their mood.  If its ears are pointed forward, the cat is happy and alert but if they are pinned back, the cat is scared or angry.  A cat may move their ears around when they are trying to listen to their surroundings.
  • The Tail: The tail can also reveal much about a cat’s mood and behavior.  Generally, if a cat holds its tail high with flat fur, it is happy but if it holds its tail up with raised fur, the cat is angry or scared.  Tucking the tail between the legs can often be a sign of anxiety and if the cat is thrashing its tail, it may be irritated or in hunting mode.
  • The Eyes: The eyes of a cat are the most difficult part to discern its body language.  If the pupils are thin, it could indicate that the cat is aggressive but it could also just mean that the cat is content.  If the pupils are enlarged, this could mean that the cat is nervous or that it is in a playful mood.  With these contradictions, it is easier to read a cat’s body language in body parts other than the eyes.
  • The Sounds: There are a variety of noises that cats make and each one can reveal something about the cat’s mood or behavior.   Typical “meows” can mean anything from a greeting or asking to be fed to a warning to leave them alone.  Cats purr when they are happy and they usually chatter when in hunting mode. A hiss from a cat is a warning to stay away because it is angry or frightened and yowls, or drawn out meows, are a sign of distress.

While cats may seem like difficult creatures to understand at first, careful observation of their body language may reveal their moods and help predict their behaviors.  The meaning of the body language may vary slightly between individual cats but this general overview still provides a good framework to help determine your cat’s mood and behaviors.  You can get a more accurate reading on your cat’s mood by observing the language of all their body parts and what all of it together may tell you.

The Pet’s Home offers cat sitting services to Naperville, Oswego, and the surrounding areas.  Contact us to learn more.