Pet Cat: 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 US

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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 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

http://www.stanford.edu/group/CATNET/articles/careguide.html#litter

Check out our other articles at http://www.litterboxesandmore.com



About The Author

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


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For a cat, airline travel is extremely stressful. Prevent anxiety and stress in your cat by following a few simple guidelines. Each airline has specific rules on traveling with your cat, so make sure you know if your cat will be stored in the baggage area or if you can keep your cat and cat carrier with you on the flight. Veterinary Approval Is Usually Required While a cat sits in his cat carrier waiting to be placed in the baggage compartment, he may be exposed to outside elements. Many airlines refuse to take responsibility for a cat becoming chilled or overheated. Therefore, they require pet owners to supply a letter from their veterinarian, called an acclimation certificate, stating the cat is healthy and able to withstand temperature extremes.

Some airlines will request proof of recent vaccinations, including rabies, before boarding your pet. If you are traveling out of the country, make sure you've checked to see if your animal will face a quarantine when you reach your destination. Quarantines are stressful on both pet owners and their cat.

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Airlines all require cat crates for air travel. Your cat carrier should be large enough for a cat to move around. Once you've boarded your cat, airline personnel will not allow you to take the cat from the carrier if the cat is with you. Make sure the cat has room to move and that there is room for a food and water dish. The water dish should be one that is filled from the outside. While the cat is flying, you will not be able to open the cage door.

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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.

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Learn how to film funny cat videos

Pets can be very funny. Watching them at play always makes a good time pass. Their simple antics and confusing behaviour can leave you in splits. Frolicking kittens trying to outdo each other can keep you engaged for hours. If you can capture the fun filled moments on video, you can enjoy them throughout your life. Freeze the moments for those who were not there when it happened.

HOW TO HAVE FUN WITH PETS
The spontaneous reaction of cats to awkward situations always makes great funny cat videos. Throw a crumb of bread before a kitten and watch them fight out. The greedy pull, desperation, impatience, squeaks, grab and run, wild chase, tumble can be the perfect dose for heartfelt laughter.

Give a plastic bottle cap to a kitten. It will go nuts batting it around and carrying it in his mouth. Its busy schedule with the cap is worth filming. Likewise allow cats to play with pull off tabs from milk jugs. The tabs may end up under the furniture but its struggle is a great thing to film.

Try filming two kittens in an empty bath tub playing with a toy like a spark ball. The sloped sides keep the ball rolling and the kittens keep pouncing and strutting on the seemingly live toy. And if you want to make the kittens dance to your tunes, direct a spot of light from a laser pointer at them. In a bid to catch it they fall over each other. Film their wild goose chase frenzy for it surely will be an all time rib tickler.

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Feline Anxiety Causes Cat Litter Box Problems

Cats experience anxiety and get stressed out just like us human staffers. Unlike people, cats don't have a lot of creative ways to express their feelings. Unfortunately, when cats suffer from stress and anxiety, they generally communicate it in a very clear way that can really turn humans upside down. They usually tell us by not using the cat litter box.


And since we can't speak meow, and cats don't talk, the challenge is to figure why our cats aren't feeling right. Usually when a cat stops using her litter box, it's a medical problem. But if it isn't, one of causes high on my list is stress and anxiety.


What do cats get anxious about? Here's a partial list:

- Moving to a new home

- Gaining a new household member, animal or human

- You change jobs and start a new schedule

- You bring new furniture into your home

- Kitty's favorite person moves out, and she misses that individual

- Construction and/or remodeling of your home

- Relocation of her cat litter box(es)

- Change in type of cat litter


This list is not complete. Felines are complicated creatures, and almost anything can set them off.


If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box out of the blue, eliminate any medical causes first. If kitty gets a clean bill of health, examine the list above, and think about any recent changes you've made to your home. If it appears to be a coincidence, it probably isn't.


This can be a tough problem to solve, but once you figure out the cause, you can start developing solutions. If the stress-inducing situation is temporary (such as the last three items on my list), they can be dealt with. On the other hand, if the problem appears to be one of the first five, you'll need plenty of patience and a strategy to get kitty right again.


Often, once kitty gets used to the change, she'll calm down and start to use her litter box again. During her adjustment period, it may work to confine her to one room with her food, water, litter box, bedding, and toys. This limits the amount of damage done to your home, and as kitty realizes the changes mean her no harm, she'll get back to her good cat litter box habits.


You can also help kitty calm down by purchasing synthetic feline hormones. These will reassure her that life is still OK. You can also administer homeopathic remedies that are completely natural and cause no side effects.


Many feline owners get an anti-anxiety prescription for kitty, but if your cat freaks out over being pilled, this will increase her stress. If this is the case, rely on the synthetic hormones and homeopathic remedies to solve this problem.

Consult with your vet on the best course of action to help your kitty quickly get over her stress and anxiety. Reassure your cat with lots of extra attention and love, and this too shall pass!


About the Author

Nancy stopped the cat urine odor problem at her home, and kept the kitty that caused it. "18 Ways to Stop Cat Urine Odor Problems" saves you money, time and frustration by solving your cat urine odor problem - permanently.

http://www.stopcaturineodor.com

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Focus On Cat Health

Cat Health

What to Give a Cat as a Laxative


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The Cat With Kidney Problems

Does your cat have a kidney problem? Then you are not only going to need to learn more cat information in general so that you can comprehend the animal better but as well you are going to need to produce a proper feline kidney diet.

Changing to a feline kidney diet will help in a number of ways; it is going to make certain that your cat is receiving all the nutrition they require to strive. A feline kidney diet needs to include special vitamins and minerals than you do not generally get in a regular feline diet because there are kidney problems.

Where to begin
To understand what is going to help your cat and what dietary changes it will require you need to understand the cat. Cats are naturally carnivores, and the greatest way to formulate a feline kidney diet plan is to make sure to comprise foods that the cats would eat out in the wild, as this is where they initially come from.

The next step is where it gets tough. You are going to need to understand how to read a pet food ingredient label, so you can make sure that you are selecting the correct food for your cat. The current labeling system for pet foods is gravely deficient in functional information and looking at the list of ingredients will tend to give an imperfect picture of what is in fact in the food in terms of the quantity of each ingredient.

Even though you may have heard different, the majority if not all of the so-called prescription diets that are sold in veterinary hospitals are not formulated for most favorable health of a carnivore. A lot of of these products include corn, wheat and soy which really have no logical place in a cat's diet even though most people incorrectly think this because this is believed by so many people.

Diet is the brick and mortar of health, and so if you want your cat to live a long healthy life, you are going to need to make sure that they are eating all the right foods. Not only do you need to provide them with a proper feline kidney diet but as well make sure that they are drinking enough water and getting enough exercise.

You will want to do as a great deal investigation of your own, so that you can find out more about cats in general and as well about your cat in particular, what their health problems are and what you can do to obtain care of them and get them to a most favorable condition of health.
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Got Cat Urine Smell Blues?

It's a couple of hours before my big party and I'm almost ready to go out. I took the cats to the neighborhood vet for a weekend stay. I cleaned the house from top to bottom and everything looks great. As I leave to go and pick up some last minute items for the party, I went back into the house only to be greeted with the awful smell of cat urine when I entered the door.

Surely, the cat smell should be gone. The rugs were shampooed. The party starts in 4 hours and my house smells like industrial cleaner, air freshener and cat pee.

It is very embarrassing when you have company over, your house is clean and your guests get a whiff of cat urine. Not good at all.

For those of you who have problems getting rid of cat urine odor, this one's for you. Here are some home remedies to help you kick the odor.

Cats are clean animals which have peculiar ways. The best way to control the place where a cat urinates is by always keeping their litter box clean. A cat will not urinate in its litter box if it can smell the odor of urine. Instead, it will find some other place to urinate like the carpet or that favorite rug which is so cozy.

A cat will urinate in the same spot until it can smell the unpleasant aroma of urine and then will seek another area.

One economical recipe for curing cat urine odor and stains from the carpet is to use common household elements such as vinegar, water, peroxide and baking soda. The way this works is you will first try to get up the excess urine from the carpet. Dilute vinegar with 3 parts water and soak on soiled area. Once you've soaked the area you can pour peroxide on the area and sprinkle with baking soda. Vacuum the excess.

This is a cheap economical way to remove cat urine odor from rugs and similar areas in your home.

Once I tried this home remedy, I realized that if I would just do this once or twice a week, my house would keep a fresh smell. The one key to keeping an odorless home, is to make sure that I am keeping the litter box as clean as possible so that the cats will feel comfortable peeing in their preferable place
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Know More About Purebred Cat Breeds

All types of cats and no matter if they are purebred or not do wonderful feline companions. If you have your heart set on getting a purebred cat, here are some popular breeds that you might consider. Some might be surprised to know that you can find cats and kittens in your local rescue. If you are looking for a specific race that you could call or go by the local emergency center before seeking a breeder.

British Short Hair
British shorthair cats are one of the oldest cat breeds and English ancestry goes back to Rome. This breed was first known for its ability to hunt because of his physical strength. However, this breed is also known for his calm demeanor and loyalty.

The British Shorthair has a short plush coat is very soft and easy to groom. These cats are larger and they prefer to stay on the ground. They are pets and families are very loyal companions. The original color of these cats is a grayish blue, now you can find these adorable animals in a variety of colors.

Birman
Birman cats are believed to have originated in Burma and they were considered sacred animals and belonged to the high priests. It is believed that this cat breeds were created in the Western world around 1925. These cats are lovely companions and were marked by very distinctive.

Birman cats are usually very long and thick. Their hair is long and silky, but it is not as thick as the Persian cat and does not mat easily. Their fur is usually light in color with a gilded plaster. The points on the face, legs and tail are darker and are similar to Siamese. They have big blue eyes and a face looking strong. The only thing distinctive about the Birman cat that makes them stand out from others is their very distinctive white feet. These cats have great personalities that make them good pets and family companions.

Burmese
Burmese cats get their distinctive colors of selective breeding to Siamese cats. They come in a variety of different colors, including champagne stable, blue and platinum. Their clothes are very short and had a texture of silk, which means they require little grooming. Burmese cats are compact and have a more rounded head and large expressive eyes.

These cats are very lively and like to play even when they are adults. Burmese cats are very intelligent and they seem to have each their distinct personality. Some people say their dog-like tendencies because they like the shade of their owners and have a desire to give and receive affection. They love being around people and our great companions.

Persian Long Hair
Persians have been appointed for the country they were from and their heritage is known back to 1600 BC but nobody knows their exact origins. They have long flowing coats and faces very distinctive which makes it a very popular breed. Persians are sweet and nice and well suited to any family. They have short legs with heavy support their great bodies and like to have short feet firmly planted on the ground. They are not in climbing and jumping. They can be playful, but like lounging in their favorite chair or window.

Persians should be kept indoors because of their long flowing coats. They must be combed daily to remove tangles and hairballs. When most people think that the Persian cat they think of the color white, but actually come Persians and range of colors, including solid color, tabby and bicolor.

These cats can easily live to 20 years with proper care and annual visits to the vet. Cats are beautiful to watch and their gentle nature makes them ideal for all types of families. These are just some of the most popular breeds that work well with families. There are many more types of cats that are just as friendly and popular as those mentioned above, including the Manx and Siamese cat. The cats can be expensive and you need to ensure they had adequate food and are kept healthy. This can be done by keeping them inside and take each year to your veterinarian.

To ensure your cat breeds remains healthy and enjoy a long life, you might consider obtaining insurance cat snacks unexpected medical expenses will be in years to come. You have insurance on the rest of your family and peace of mind that you might want to get insurance on your cat feline companion.
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In this article, I will discuss the different types of Ragdoll Cats. Although Ragdoll Cats are a unique breed in themselves, they can be further divided into groups based on the colors and patterns of their fur. The combination of color and pattern can then be used when describing a Ragdoll.

Cat Charities in the US
Probably the largest and best known pet charities in the US are the Humane Society, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These are large organizations with many diverse programs and educational branches. Both groups are committed to providing resources to pet owners and the general public to help us keep animals safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Donations are gladly accepted.



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