Cat Litter Box

Cat litter box: Primarily the health problems experienced by cat owners or their cats come from the first category and the most significant of these risks is called Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can be found in raw or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, dirty cat litter boxes and outdoor soil where cat feces can be found.

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Cat Litter Box Health Concerns You Need To Know


Cats are the most popular pets in the United States. According to the latest version of the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2002 Edition) there were almost 70 Million pet cats in the United States. Why are cats so popular? There are as many answers to this question as there are cat owners, but the low health risks cats pose to their owners is certainly near the top of this list. Even though the potential health risks cats pose to people are small, it is important that cat owners are aware of these risks and understand how to reduce them.

The majority of all risks stemming from cat ownership are associated with the cat litter box and/or cat feces. There are two categories of risks. The first category contains health risks posed by bacteria and parasites to both cat owners and their cats. The second category contains injuries resulting from an automatic litter box or a self cleaning litter box.

Primarily the health problems experienced by cat owners or their cats come from the first category and the most significant of these risks is called Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can be found in raw or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, dirty cat litter boxes and outdoor soil where cat feces can be found. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite(1). Fortunately, very few people ever experience any symptoms because a healthy person's immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. However, pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems, such as individuals infected with the HIV virus, are at risk and should take precautions to avoid being infected by the parasite. For people in this group a Toxoplasma infection could cause serious health problems to the individual or to a pregnant woman’s unborn child.

Again, most of the 60 million plus American’s infected with Toxoplasmosis parasite will never experience any symptoms. Most of those who do experience symptoms will simply think they have the Flu as the most common symptoms include swollen glands, fever, headache, muscle pain, or a stiff neck. For those in the high risk group, Toxoplasmosis can cause damage to the brain, eyes and internal organs. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, children born with Toxoplasma gondii can suffer from hearing loss, mental retardation, and blindness with some children developing brain or eye problems years after birth(2). The CDC estimates that 400-4000 fetuses are infected with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite each year and as many as 80 infants die from Toxoplasmosis annually(2).

So how does an individual contract Toxoplasmosis? A Toxoplasmosis infection is caused by ingesting the Toxoplasma gondi parasite. Most cat owners are infected with the parasite by accidentally ingesting infected cat feces. This happens when a person touches their mouth after handling a cat litter box, working in a garden or sand box or touching anything that has come in contact with cat feces(3).

People in the high risk group may wonder whether or not they should give up their cat to avoid infection. According to the CDC, it is not necessary for cat lovers to give up their cats, but it is important for them to protect themselves from infections. The USFDA makes the following recommendations for avoiding infections(2):

1) If possible, have someone else change the litter box. If you have to clean it, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water afterwards.

2) Change the litter box daily. The parasite doesn't become infectious until one to five days after the feces are deposited in the litter box.

3) Wear gloves when gardening in a garden or handling sand from a sandbox because cats may have excreted feces in them. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water afterwards.

4) Cover outdoor sandboxes to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes.

5) Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food. Never feed your cat raw meat because it can be a source of the Toxoplasmosis gondii parasite.

6) Keep indoor cats indoors. Be especially cautious if you bring outdoor cats indoors.

7) Avoid stray cats, especially kittens.

8) Don't get a new cat while you're pregnant.

Safer Child, Inc. makes the following additional recommendations(4):

1) Have your veterinarian test your cat for the Toxoplasmosis parasite. If you cat is infected, you may want to consider having someone else keep your cat during your pregnancy.

2) Keep sandboxes covered to prevent cats from using the sandbox as a litter box.

3) Be aware of neighborhood sandboxes as the parasite can be brought home on shoes, clothing and toys.

Similar to Toxoplasmosis, Escherichia coli (commonly called E. coli) can infect humans thru contact with feline fecal material, although the primary means of infection is thru ingestion or raw or undercooked meats. E. Coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Almost all strains of the bacteria are harmless. However a few strains can produce powerful toxins and cause severe illness, especially in children under 5 years of age(5). Symptoms usually include diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In children under 5, 2%-7% of E. coli cases can cause kidney failure. Fortunately, E. coli is easy to prevent. Using the preventative measures, outlined above for Toxoplasmosis will greatly reduce the risks of you or your children contracting an E. coli infection.

In addition to these human risks, there are a few health risks cat litter boxes actually pose to cats that cat owners should be aware of. Just as a dirty litter box poses health risks to humans, cats are equally at risk if forced to use a dirty litter box. Since cats stay clean by licking themselves, allowing a cat’s litter box to get too dirty can cause infections when a cat cleans it’s paws after using the dirty litter box. The most common infection is a urinary tract infection, and although this type of infection is rarely fatal it can be very uncomfortable for your cat and will most likely require treatment by your veterinarian.

Finally, a lesser-known health risk to cats is actually caused by cat litter itself. What many cat owners do not realize is that some types of cat litter can be harmful or even fatal to their cat. Both clumping and non-clumping litters pose health problems to cats. Clumping cat litters are probably the most popular type of cat litter because of their convenience, hygienic qualities and the fact that clumping litters are required for use in self-cleaning litter boxes. Unfortunately, some clumping litters can be harmful to cats. Clay based clumping litters can contain the mineral sodium bentonite, which can be harmful or fatal to your cat. It is best to avoid using clay based cat litters, especially with kittens. Wheat or corn based clumping litters such as Swheat Scoop, World’s Best Cat Litter and Littermaid cat litter work very well and are non-toxic(6).

By their very nature, non-clumping litters do not absorb and isolate a cat’s urine or feces like clumping litters do. As a result, it is much harder to keep your cat’s litter box clean when using non-clumping litter. When using non-clumping litter it is important to frequently clean and disinfect the litter box itself to reduce the chance of bacterial buildups that can cause urinary or other infections in your cat.

The second category of health risks covers injuries caused by an automatic litter box or self cleaning litter box. Occurrences of this type of injury are rare, but they can happen. An automatic or self cleaning litter box does just what it’s name implies. Usually between 10-15 minutes after a cat uses the litter box, the litter box automatically cleans itself by “sweeping” or “raking” the cat waste into a sealed compartment or bag. For cat owners, injuries can occur if a small child or toddler plays with the automatic litter box during the cleaning cycle. All major brands of automatic litter boxes contain sensors to prevent the cleaning mechanism from activating when a cat or other foreign object is inside the box. However, children can still be injured if they put their hand inside the cleaning mechanism in such a manner as to avoid the sensors.

Although these types of injuries are very rare it is best to take precautions. Placing the litter box in a location where your cat can get to it but small children can’t is an easy method. This is good advice for any litter box as this is the best way to keep children from contracting one of the illnesses described earlier in this article. If you can’t keep the automatic litter box out of a child’s reach then it is best to put the litter box inside a litter box cover. There are many types of covers and all of them will help prevent a child from reaching the litter box and the cleaning mechanism. A final option is to unplug the litter box or put it into a “manual operation” mode. Both of these options will require the cat owner to start the cleaning cycle whenever necessary. Although this reduces some of the convenience of an automatic litter box it certainly removes the danger to children.

Automatic or self cleaning litter boxes are completely safe for almost all cats. However, most manufacturers recommend that the litter box be used in “manual operation” mode for cats under 5 lbs. Cats under 5 lbs many not be large enough to activate the sensors and the cleaning mechanism could cause injury. Since most adult cats weigh over 5 lbs, it is only necessary to use the “manual operation” mode until kittens grow to 5 lbs.

This article is not intended to dissuade anyone from owning a cat. 70 Million cat owners can’t be wrong; cats make great pets! So, if you already own a cat or are thinking of becoming a cat owner it simply makes good sense to be aware of the health risks associated with cat ownership. Understanding the risks can definately increase the enjoyment of cat ownership.

(1)Toxoplasmosis Fact Sheet; http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/toxoplasmosis/factsht_toxoplasmosis.htm

(2) While You're Pregnant – USFDA
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~pregnant/whiltoxo.html

(3) Toxoplasmosis – An important Message for Cat Owners; http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/toxoplasmosis/toxoplasmosis_brochure_8.2004.pdf

(4) Safer Child, Inc.;
http://www.saferchild.org/pets&.htm

(5) Escherichia coli O157:H7 Fact Sheet;
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/escherichiacoli_g.htm

(6) Stanford Cat Network’s – Guide to Caring for Your Adopted Cat or Kitten;
http://www.stanford.edu/group/CATNET/articles/careguide.html#litter


About the Author:

The author is a long time cat lover who currently owns and operates http://LitterBoxesandMore.com; a business specializing in high quality automatic litter boxes or self cleaning litter boxes and other specialty cat products such as pet strollers and indoor cat fences. Come visit us at http://www.litterboxesandmore.com

Source: www.isnare.com



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It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

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* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle.
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Have a secure cat carrier, soft or hard. Soft is nice because it offers some give and is easy to hold in your arms, when your cat is frightened. It works very nicely in car travel. Hard is good for commercial travel, because it protects your cat from bumps and rough handling.

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How To Find a Lost Cat

Cats can occasionally wander off, and this can be a very scary time for pet owners. Most cats are found quickly, but it can take some effort for this to happen. If you are trying to find a lost cat, here are the steps you should take:

1. Confirm that the cat is actually lost. Cats are known for being excellent at hiding, and may simply be taking a nap somewhere. Search your home thoroughly, and your yard if your cat is allowed outdoors. Confirming that you cannot find the cat is the first step of the search. Listen carefully for your cat’s meows; it is possible that your cat has wandered into somewhere where they have gotten stuck.

2. Try to entice the cat back home. Even if your indoor-only cat has escaped the home, they are often able to be lured back with food. Set a bowl of food outside and see if the cat comes wandering back. Tuna fish or soft cat food often works best for this, because their smell is easier to detect for a cat than that of dry cat food. However, watch out for other animals who may also be attracted by the scent.

3. Look around the neighborhood. Check all of the streets of your neighborhood. If your neighbors are outside, ask them if they have seen your cats. They may have seen your cat wandering around the neighborhood before you realized that he was lost. Call your cat’s name while searching the neighborhood, and your cat may come running. Make any other noise that your pet is familiar with, like the sound of a treat box being shaken or his favorite squeaky toy.

4. Put up signs. Place signs up around your neighborhood on mailboxes and posts. Your poster should say “LOST CAT” and include the cat’s color and a description as well as your contact info. Include a photo of your cat, if you have one. A color photo is best. These should be distributed up to a one mile radius from where your pet went missing.
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History
The domestic cat evolved from the African wild cat, Felis libyca. Feral cats are offspring of stray or abandoned domestic cats that revert to a wild state. Having been raised without any human contact, they have a natural fear of humans. The domestic cat was introduced throughout the world by explorers and scientists, in an effort to control the rodent populations. Being predators and scavengers, feral cats have become successful survivors.

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Introducing A New Cat At Home

When you decide to add a new cat to your home, it's normally more exiting for you and your family than it is for the cat you already own. Although most cats are solitary by nature, most will also come to accept or eventually tolerate any additions. Cats can be very territorial, which is why you should always be careful when you introduce a new cat to your current cat.

If you are introducing kittens to one another, the entire introduction process can be short, lasting as little as 10 - 15 days. Introducing cats to each other all depends on their temperament and their personality. When you introduce a new cat to your current cat, you should always make sure that you give your current cat plenty of love and attention. This way, your cat will feel secure and know that he isn't in competition with your new cat for affection.

When you bring your new cat home, you should let him stay in a safe room until you have finished introducing the cats. Your safe room can be any small room in your home, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom. The key here is to use a room that your current cat doesn't go in. In the room, you should leave your new cat a scratching post, bed, water dish, litter box, and food dish.
Continue Reading About Introducing A New Cat At Home


Tips on Managing Cat Allergies

In the United States, half the number of households owns either a cat or a dog as pets. However, it is just a little unfortunate that many people are allergic to cats, which discourages them from owning one, despite their fondness for these loving domestic animals. In fact, there are about 10 million Americans who have shown allergic tendencies to cats.

To help manage cat allergies, let us focus on the specific forms of cat allergies. The first one would be dander, which is dust coming from the cat’s body. Dander is a term used to refer to old skin that is shed off from the cat’s body in the forms of minute flakes.

Aside from causing skin irritation, dander also penetrates the immune system, which consequently causes allergic reactions. Once it enters the immune system, it becomes a problem, and although it is not a disease-producing element, it can certainly cause problems with people prone to allergies.

Cats spread allergens in many ways- blood, saliva, and urine. Even after the cat has left the area, his excretions can still bring about problems. You will find these things all around the house as the cat’s daily routine such as licking, scratching, and rubbing, makes it possible to do so.
Continue Reading About Tips on Managing Cat Allergies


How to Make Cat Grooming Easier

Regularly grooming your pet cat help lessen hair ball problems and will make the fur of your cat look more healthy and shinny. Usually, cats love to be groomed but not all cats enjoy it. This article aims to help pet owners to make cat grooming easier. However hesitant your cat maybe to grooming you can still find ways to make it enjoy grooming. One way is to take advantage of upir cat's natural enjoyment of human contact. Even if you have a very aloof cat it also enjoys petting. Read the following pointers that you should remember in order to make grooming session with your cat will be stress free and enjoyable.

Reasons why your cat doesn’t want to be groomed:
•#Your cat has sensitive part of her body
•#Dominant personality

First of all, you need to understand why your pet cat dont want to be groomed. Just like you, pets also has their sensitive parts and this is one of the reasons why your pet dont want to be touched or groomed. Another reason is injury. If your pet has injury or in pain it will most likely run away from you when you try to groom it. That’s why it is advisable to check your pet's body to know which part of his body is sensitive or if your pet has any kind of injury. Once you know those areas then you can avoid it when you try to groom your pet but just make sure that you stop whenever your cat is starting to feel irritated. Thinking of other ways how to groom your cat like what I already mentioned can help your cat think that grooming is also pleasurable for him.

A cat that havent experienced that much grooming before is another tough case to break. You should slowly work your cat to get it used to grooming or even petting or giving it rewards after grooming can be very effective. Cats with dominant personally can also be reluctant to grooming. This kind of cat will usually refuse when someone is petting them or touching their head and other parts of their body which makes it hard to groom.
Continue Reading About How to Make Cat Grooming Easier


How Do I Stop My Cat From Biting Me?

Sometimes, you end up with a cat that is a bit too aggressive for its own good. If you've felt the nipping of tiny teeth on your fingertips, you know that biting cats aren't fun to have. Good thing is that it's an easy behavior to stop.

Kittens instinctively nip and bite each other as they grow up. If you have a kitten and it's biting you, it's even easier to stop than in a fully grown cat.

As kittens, cats learn which behaviors are acceptable and which aren't by, simply, getting their fuzzy butts kicked by their litter mates. If they bite one of their siblings too hard and end up getting bitten back, they learn, "Hey, maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all!"
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Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted

A cat regularly vomiting hairballs or refusing to eat probably isn't being finicky or otherwise "cat-like," despite what conventional wisdom might say. There is a good chance that the cat is acting sick because of the stress caused by changes in its environment, new research suggests.

Healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine, according to the Ohio State University study. Veterinary clinicians refer to these acts as sickness behaviors. The researchers documented sickness behaviors in healthy cats and in cats with feline interstitial cystitis, a chronic illness characterized by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and often both an urgent and frequent need to urinate.

When the cats experienced what were called "unusual external events," such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors as were the chronically ill cats. The two groups had the same number of sickness behaviors in response to unusual events, and both groups were at more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted.

Previous research has indicated that a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis, known as IC, in cats is strongly associated with a number of other health problems. The fact that healthy cats exhibit some of those same problems in the face of stress suggests that veterinary clinicians should consider cats' environmental conditions during assessments for health problems, researchers say.

"For veterinary clinicians, when you have a cat that's not eating, is not using the litter box or has stuff coming up out of its mouth, the quality of the environment is another cause that needs to be addressed in coming up with a diagnosis," said Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State and senior author of the study.
Continue Reading About Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted


American Bobtail

The American Bobtail has grown in popularity in recent years. Originally bred in the 1960s, John and Brenda Sanders found a male brown tabby cat with a bobbed tail while vacationing in Arizona and bred it with a Siamese female. The resulting litter was born with bobtails, but this feral looking cat is most likely not part Bobtail. American Bobtails are medium to large cats that have a naturally short tail (hence the name 'Bobtail') that is usually straight. The American Bobtail's hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. Females will reach and average weight of seven to twelve pounds and males can average over fifteen pounds.

American Bobtails are not considered fully matured until they are about three years old and will live an average of twelve to twenty-one years. Originally only a longhaired breed, American Bobtails are now both long and short haired. The longhaired Bobtails have slightly shaggy medium-long hair that does not mat. Shorthaired Bobtails have a medium length, semi-dense double coat that is also mat resistant.

American Bobtail coats come in all colors, though white and brown is the most popular color. Many allergy suffers find themselves more comfortable around American Bobtails, they are not considered hypoallergenic. This breed of cat makes an excellent family pet and does very well with children and other household pets. They do not mind much of the rough and tumble play children are fond of. American Bobtails are described as friendly, talkative and social. They enjoy climbing so an indoor cat tree or cat condo is a must.
Continue Reading About The American Bobtail


Choosing the Healthiest Cat Food Brand

Choosing be best cat food brand for your pet is more important than ever. Recent pet food recall events have alerted cat owners to the dangers posed by many commercial cat food and kitten food brands.

Healthier Cat Foods Have Higher Quality Ingredients
Although most commercial cat foods meet the criteria for "complete and balanced" as determined by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), these standards do not assure the safety or quality of the ingredients. All products in the recent cat food recall bore the AAFCO certification.

Better foods will cost more initially, but the lack of fillers and increased bioavailability of quality ingredients will save money over time. Your cat will get more nutrition out of less food and suffer fewer food allergies. Ultimately, the cost savings of inexpensive, poor-quality foods is a false economy.

Foods that contain excess fillers like corn, soy and wheat are like junk food for cats. You cat eats more of these foods to obtain the nutrients she needs, and obesity results. Obesity can cause joint problems, heart failure and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Read Labels on Cat Food Brand Recipes
Look passed the enticing design of the bag and read the ingredient labels. As obligate carnivores, cats must have meat in their diet to survive. The better the source of the meat protein, the better.

When reading the label, look at the order of ingredients. They are listed in order of quantity. The first ingredient should be a named meat or fish like "chicken" or "salmon." Avoid foods that say simply "meat" or "meat by-products."

Use caution when choosing food according to the name of the food rather than the ingredients.
Continue Reading About Choosing the Healthiest Cat Food Brand


Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

* Anemia
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Cancer
* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle. About the Author
Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to
For more easy, practical tips on taking great care of your cat be sure to visit the author’s feline health site now.

Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your Child

If your child misses a lot of school due to illness, maybe you should get a cat. Research has shown that children who own pets attend school up to 9 more days a year than their non pet-owning counterparts. The immune function of pet owners is more stable, making them better able to fend off illness. Pet owners visit doctors less.

But what about allergies? Isn't cat hair is a common source of irritation to immune systems? A leading theory under investigation by asthma researchers suggests that the presence of pets in the home from an early age may adapt the immune system so it is less sensitive to allergens later in life. So it may in fact be the lack of pets in a child's life that contributes to asthma sensitivities.

Studies have also connected pet ownership with lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety levels. In fact, a recent long-term study has shown that people who have never owned a cat, face a 40% greater risk of death due to heart attack than current and even previous cat owners. Dog owners did not have the same level of protection against heart disease as cat owners.

State University of New York researchers found that the cat doesn't even have to be present to achieve this. A group of stockbrokers with hypertension who owned pets showed lower blood pressure even when not with their cats.

It is well known that cat owners have lower stress levels overall, so perhaps the health advantages are a result of being more relaxed.

Cat ownership may be a surprising remedy for absenteeism, however, good health and more days at school are just two of the many benefits to children of having a cat in their lives. Studies have associated numerous psychological benefits with pet ownership.

Children who live with cats show more empathy for others and help others more. This translates to being able to understand others and get along better. Children who live with animals develop a better understanding of body language and other non-verbal cues. A study of 455 school children between the ages of 11 and 16 revealed that children with pets had a better ability to understand non-verbal communications. As a result, these children are more popular with classmates than those who don't have pets at home.

Additionally, children who own pets are more likely to be involved in sports, hobbies, clubs and other social activities. Some studies even show that children who own cats have a higher IQ.

Children with pets learn develop an early sense of responsibility. The responsibility of owning a pet can give children the experience of being needed and this may translate into other areas of life. Cats are relatively easy to care for, as they clean themselves and don't need to be walked.

Social skills and responsibility make a great foundation for life. A US study of 394 university students revealed that those who had owned dogs or cats as childhood pets were more self-confident than those who did not. This may be related to other findings that children raised with pets have higher self-esteem, thought to result from the unconditional love a pet provides. No matter what's going on at school, or with friends, pets treat children the same way.

It seems obvious to say then, that pets hold an important place in many children's lives, often on a par with parents, grandparents and siblings. Children often talk to their pets and regard them as an important friends and confidantes. A five-year study of 600 children aged 3-18 years showed that pet-owning children who have challenges such as being slow learners or having divorced parents cope better with life than those who don't have a pet. Again, having a pet that shows unconditional love regardless of what is happening, can cushion other difficulties in life.

It's not surprising that pets have been used successfully in therapy for some time now. They help sick kids relax and take their minds off their illnesses. Some doctors, recognizing the importance of pets in children's lives ensure that pet names are included in their patients' medical records along with other family members. Even in the most depressing clinical environment, talking about a pet can lighten a situation.

If you already have cat members of your family, know that they are doing your children the world of good. If you don't, it's worth serious consideration.

About the Author
Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your Child
Jenny is a cat lover and webmaster of Pictures of Cats You are welcome to reproduce this article on your pet or family related web site, as long as you reproduce the article in full, including this resource box and link to her website featuring photo and video galleries of beautiful cats.



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Homemade Kitten Food

Do you need a cheap, healthy alternative to store bought kitten food to help wean your kittens off their mother's milk and transition them to traditional canned kitten food? More than likely, they have shown little interest in regular canned food, preferring the milk to anything you might put in their bowl. Dry food will also be too hard on their developing teeth. The best option would be to start them on a food that reminds them of what they prefer, but can be mixed with traditional wet food to help transition them over. This recipe is simple to make, and kittens find it delicious.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and mix in one envelope of unflavored gelatin. Be sure to mix thoroughly, and do not boil the gelatin. If the water tastes bad or has a heavy chlorine taste when it comes out of the tap, consider using filtered water instead.

Pour this mixture into a blender along with half of a 12 ounce can of goat's milk. Blend just long enough to combine thoroughly. Do not substitute cow's milk because cats tend to be lactose intolerant. Using cow's milk can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and worse if fed to kittens.

Add the following ingredients one at a time. After each addition, blend briefly to combine before moving on to the next. You will want to use the lowest setting to avoid overmixing. Add: 3 tbsp full fat yogurt, 3 tbsp real mayonnaise, 3 tsp light corn syrup, and 1 raw egg yolk. Concerning the egg yolk, raw eggs carry a small risk of salmonella poisoning. To eliminate any risk of accidentally passing this on to your kittens, use eggs that have been pasteurized in their shells.

You can serve the completed homemade kitten food the way it is, or you can store it for use later. To store for later usage, cover the mixture tightly in a small container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to ten days or in your freezer for up to three months.

If you are going to use food that you have prepared in advance, you will want to warm it up before serving, especially if it is coming from the refrigerator or freezer. Cold food causes severe stomach upset in kittens. Warming it up will also make it more aromatic, and thus more appetizing to the kittens.

Cat allergies

How to Litter Train A Kitten

If the mother cat is still in the home and she is already litter trained, then litter training her kittens is a natural process. Her kittens will simply follow what she does. However, ultimately, each cat should have its own litter tray or else it may create a host of other litter tray problems for you!

For most kitten owners, the mother cat is not in the home if the kitten was orphaned or purchased. But this is not a problem. It is easy to litter train a cat when it's still a little kitten. Cats are creatures of habit and it may not be as easy to litter train once they have become used to their favorite toilet spots.

The key to litter training a kitten is to let it get used to the litter tray as soon as possible. You will need to manually place your kitten onto the tray initially, as it is neither used to it nor is it able to climb over the edge to get in.

Most kittens would defecate soon after waking up and after a meal. You could place your kitten in the litter tray during these times and after a few weeks, your kitten would get used to the routine and it would become a habit.

Just be sure to place the litter tray a reasonable distance away from where the kitten is fed and where it sleeps. Cats and kittens are fastidious creatures and do not like to do their toilet near where they eat and sleep.

When a kitten is still very young, it will not be able to "cover up" very well after its toilet, as most adult cats are capable of. But you don't have to worry about this. Once they are about 1 to 2 months old, they will instinctively know how to cover up their poop.

In the wild or in the garden, cats will scoop soil and earth to cover but in the home, if you provide commercial cat litter, they will naturally scoop the litter to cover up the poop. You will notice, even if you only provide a newspaper for their soiling, your kitten will still scoop at the newspaper in an instinctive act to cover up their poop.

Although you can expect to pick up poop after your kitten in the first few weeks, litter training a kitten is relatively easy and can be 100% trouble-free once it gets used to the routine of using the litter tray.

Cat litter box location strategies

New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home

A very important aspect of new kitten care is keeping your kitten safe from danger. There are a lot of potential hazards round the home for little kittens. This article lists the most common ones and suggests ways you can minimize risks to your kitten and keep her safe.

Washing machine and tumble dryer:
If you leave the door open and there are clothes inside, there's a good chance your kitten will climb in and go to sleep. Always check your kitten isn't inside these before you use them.

Fridge and freezer:
As soon as you've used these, shut the door.

Hob and oven:
Shut the oven door as soon as you've finished with it. Cover hot hob plates.

Raw meat:
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.

Garbage:
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.

Plants:
Many plants are poisonous to cats. If you're not sure whether a certain plant is safe for your kitten if she eats it, put it out of her reach.

Pot pourri:
The oils used to scent this can be poisonous.

Open fires and candles:
Use a guard on the fire. Never leave a kitten in a room alone with lit candles.

Electrical wires:
If your kitten is a wire chewer, you'll need to put wires out of her reach or buy plastic covers for them.

Curtain tie-backs and cords on window blinds:
Kittens can get caught in these. Either remove them completely or tie them up out of reach.

Filled bathtubs and sinks:
Make sure your kitten doesn't have access to the room when the tub or sink is full.

Open toilet:
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.

Medications:
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.

Small objects:
Kittens can swallow small things like paper clips, rubber bands, staples and needles.

String, wool, fishing line and thread:
Kittens can swallow large quantities of these. For this reason, balls of wool or string and pom-poms aren't good toys for cats.

Household chemicals:
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.

Tobacco:
Tobacco, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all poisonous to cats.

Reclining chairs, futons, folding beds, drawers:
If kittens get caught when this type of furniture is moved, they can get crushed. Make sure your kitten isn't asleep somewhere she could get trapped before you use any of these.

Safety is a major factor for new kitten care. It's fairly easy to keep your kitten safe as long as you anticipate potential dangers and take the necessary steps to prevent them. Putting brightly colored post it notes up around your home is a good way to do this. Stick the notes on or near potential dangers - for example the fridge, washing machine, oven, toilet and futon - and anywhere else that could be a hazard.

Cat allergies

Kitten Feeding with a Bottle

Kitten feeding can feel like a difficult process without a mother cat to do it for you. Newborn kittens are so tiny and fragile, and have to operate almost entirely by instinct. It may seem a daunting task at first, but the process of kitten feeding with a bottle is not so much from that of feeding a newborn human. Once they know what to do, they will do it all on their own. All you have to do is show them proper care and follow a few simple guidelines.

Step 1 Make up the bottle of formula. To do this, first sterilize the bottle and nipple in boiling water for several minutes and allow to cool thoroughly before adding the KMR (kitten milk replacement) formula. KMR is specifically formulated for kittens, and cow's milk is not an adequate replacement. To avoid clumping, add just a little bit of water to the powdered mix and stir until thoroughly combined before adding the rest of the hot water. The final temperature of the formula should be about 95 degrees. If the bottle gets cold, just warm it up in a small bowl of very warm water, but always check the temperature before offering it to the kitten.

Step 2 Prepare the kitten. Place a warm, soft towel either on your lap or on the feeding surface, then place the kitten gently on top of it. When feeding newborn kittens, they will need to be lying flat on their stomachs. It is best if you can do this with the kitten gently cuddled against you, because you need to be sure that the kitten is warm before feeding. Cold kittens do not digest their formula well.

Step 3 Feed the kitten. Gently work the nipple against the kitten's mouth. They will get the idea quickly and take it in. If not, very gently stroke the kitten until it gets the idea. You will need to do this six to ten times per day, around the clock, just like a newborn human. Newborn kittens will need a little over one ounce of formula per day, divided between feedings. Be careful to not overfeed them.

Step 4 Clean up and burp the kitten. While the kitten is still on the blanket, gently slip one hand under its belly and hold it while you very lightly pat its upper back. This will stimulate the burp response. Then, using a warm, damp, slightly rough cloth, gently clean its anal and genital area to stimulate urination and defecation.

Step 5 Put the kitten back to bed. It is worn out from its feeding and needs to rest.

Cat allergies

Getting Ready for the Newborn Kittens

Caring for your cat during pregnancy may require a lot of time and effort in your part but it is a very wonderful and rewarding experience. But after the kittens are already born, you will need to do a different task and that is to take care of the newborn kittens. These kittens will need special kind of attention and care and you must make sure that you could provide it to them.

One good way to start is to prepare your home for the arrival of the newborn kittens. Kittens tend to play with, chew, or nibble anything that attracts their interest like plants, cords, and other materials. You should remove the things that could be harmful to the newborn kittens like anything that could poison them or hurt them. Electrical cords must be kept out of reach. Look for anything sharp and pointed and remove them from the area immediately. Deal with anything that could strangle your kitten like ropes, ribbons, and cords to provide a safer place for your kittens.

You might also want to save your curtains and drapes from kitten scratches so it would be advisable to tie them up so your kittens will not be able to reach them. Make sure that the cabinet for your cleaning liquids are out of your kittens’ reach. Most of these cleaning liquids are poisonous and you wouldn't want your kitty to play with them to prevent any kind of accident.

Another good preparation that you should not forget is to shop for things that your kitten will need. You will have to shop for foods that are suitable for newborn kittens. You should opt for foods that could give your kittens the kind of nutrition they need for growth. The food should also be easily digestible by kittens to prevent any troubles with their tummy.

You should also get them the things they need like their own bowls, kitty basket or bed, blanket, litter box, and toys. This is to ensure that your kittens will be comfortable and that they will have a good playing time. You should provide them with warm and comfortable place or area to sleep in. When choosing toys for your little kittens, make sure that they are safe and will not put the safety of your kittens at risk.

Lastly, you must make sure that your kittens are healthy. After birth, you could have a vet take a look at them to check them up for any illness and to give them vaccines that they need. If your vet saw some signs and symptoms that suggest illness, your kitten might be subjected to some tests and examinations. This is to ensure that they will grow healthy and will reduce the risk of getting sick. These things will help prepare you and your home for the arrival of your cat’s newborn kittens. You will not have to get worried about their safety inside your home and you can be sure that you will able to provide them with anything they need for them to grow happy and healthy.

Cat allergies

Newest Articles

Cat Litter Box Training - How to Encourage Faithful Little Box Use
It is very natural for cats to bury their waste. For this reason, a litter box is a very good option for it since it can dig the litter, excrete and cover it. Because of this, you do not essentially need to train your cat similar to the way you train your child with regard to its waste management. This natural way will ease a lot of work for you. Litter box is always the best choice for your cat's toilet; there are many problems associated with other modes of toilet.

Old-fashion Barbecue Short Rib Bake and Potato Salad Meal Using Vintage Recipes
For a tasty old-fashioned meal of comfort foods, give these recipes a try. Barbecue beef short rib bake is always a hit with meat lovers, especially those with a taste for barbecue. And while the ribs are baking, you have a chance to make this old-fashion potato salad. This potato salad is different since it uses Marzetti's slaw dressing. And the Chewy Nut Squares are delicious with their chewy character accented with nuts and coconut.



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Savannah Cat and Kitten Information
The Savannah is a wild looking cat that evidently has a pleasing personality. They are exotic, rare and very pricey. They are a slim breed with a varying coat, depending upon the breed of cat used in the cross. The International Cat Association breed standards has these colors, silver spotted tabby, black, brown spotted tabby and black smoke.

I Am What I Eat - A Love Letter From Your Cat
I need a balanced diet that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Proteins supply important elements for energy, growth and body repair. Fats provide a highly digestible, tasty, concentrated source of energy and aid the production of healthy skin and fur. I should drink large quantities of water (about one ounce for each pound of my body weight daily) and I need free access to clean, fresh water throughout the day.

Heart Disease in your cat
As cat owners, our cats hold a special place in our hearts and keeping our cat’s heart is one of our responsibilities. When it comes to heart disease, regular visits to your veterinarian could mean the difference between life and premature death. Owners may not realize that their cats are susceptible to many forms of heart disease. In most cases, heart disease can be successfully managed with early detection and treatment.

Cats and Vaccines:
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? With which vaccines and how often? These questions are best answered after a talk with your veterinarian. Because of the need to tailor vaccines to your cat's lifestyle and to consider the risk factors

Flea Control in dogs and cats:
Flea control can be a very hard thing to do especially if you live in areas where fleas are largely populated. Weather has a lot to do with fleas and trying to keep them outdoors and off of your pets can be very changeling



temperament of cats
New Article - Declawing - What You Should Know About


Contact Lens Wearing Cat
The Isle of Wight recently accomplished something that's never been done before. A 15 year old cat named Ernest received a set of contact lenses to correct a vision problem. Ernest, a popular resident at the RSPCA, had problems with the lids of its eyes being turned inside. This caused scratching on his eye balls that effectively hurt his vision.

The Right Cat Litter Box For Your Cat
Your cat will develop and keep good cat litter box habits with the right cat litter box. Here are your choices for different cat litter boxes, and how you can determine which ones are right for your cat.

Training Cats with Nocturnal Behaviors
Here the problem the cat is up most the night playing wanting to go outside tearing around the house and wake me up in early hours of the morning to go out.

Training Your Cat Not to Scratch Furniture
Cats have a natural instinct that will lead them to climb and scratch. If you are not providing the proper tools for the cat to use, they will use what they can find to scratch.



temperament of cats
New Article -


Some News About Cat, kitten, cat litter, free content,


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