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You CAN Have Your Cats and Your Furniture Too

No one wants to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in furnishings only to see them ripped to shreds by an overzealous pet, however beloved. To many people the obvious answer is to have their cats declawed, but it this really a reasonable alternative?

Its proponents depict it as a simple and painless operation, but it is neither simple or painless. Most people aren't aware that it's not just the claws that are removed. Declawing involves the amputation of the first joint of each toe, and as any amputee can tell you, the pain persists for months if not years. The only difference is your cat can't tell you it still hurts.

This doesn't mean you have to put up with shredded furniture and drapes, or snagged carpets. I have four cats of my own, none of then declawed, and my upholstery and curtains are intact and my rugs unsnagged. There are a number of steps you can take to minimize or eliminate the damage.

1. Give them what they want.

Scratching is not just a means of sharpening claws, it's a vital form of exercise that tones and strengthens the muscles. Even declawed cats go through the motions. It's instinctive. Birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly, cats gotta scratch. Whatever. So give them something suitable to scratch on, preferably not one of those pint-sized carpet-covered pet department abominations. That only confuses them.

If that's what you already have, at least pull off the carpeting and wrap it with good quality jute or sisal rope, half-inch in diameter, wound tightly and secured with glue. If you sew, you might try making a slip cover you can easily remove and replace as necessary. Burlap is good for this, but almost any fabric with a heavy weave or a textured surface will work. My own cats are partial to upholstery velvet and corduroy. Ideally the post should be at least two inches higher than the cat can reach.

Many cats prefer a horizontal surface to scratch on, and take well to a commercial scratching pad made from corrugated cardboard.

Whatever you decide to use, spray it lightly with catnip extract (not synthetic - they WILL know the difference) and place it near your cat's favorite scratching spot. Once he or she becomes accustomed to the new surface, gradually move it to a more convenient location. These materials tend to be messy, so choose a spot where you can easily sweep or vacuum around it.

2. Use your good judgement when choosing fabrics and rugs.

Pass up all those lovely but delicate satin and damask weaves or the aforementioned textured surfaces. These are cat magnets. Knits and other stretchy fabrics are an open invitation to snags. Leather and faux leathers are also major no-no's. Sheer panels at the windows? Forget it!

Look for strong fabrics with a tight weave such as sailcloth or canvas. Most denims hold up well, also. For curtains, go with something like percale or chintz. Most of the curtains at my house are made from bedsheets, and are not only attractive but virtually indestructible. For carpeting, a medium or low plush is preferable to a berber or a sculptured pile. Remember, minimum texture is the key.

As long as we're on the subject, think brown. That way when your cat upchucks on it, and it will, it won't be such a disaster. If your cat is still drawn to the furniture, a number of companies sell clear plastic corner protectors that self-adhere to most fabrics.

3. Trim the claws.

It's not as difficult as it might seem, especially if you start them as kittens. Use a specifically designed animal nail trimmer and start out slow. Begin by just handling the paws, and practice extending the claws without trying to trim. The cat will become accustomed to being handled and will be less likely to react violently to the actual trimming. After a few days of this, try trimming, just one or two nails at a time, and only take off the very tips. If you still find it troublesome, most professional groomers will do it for a minimal fee.

4. Claw caps.

These are soft plastic covers that are glued onto the claws and last for up to 4-6 weeks. I've never tried them myself, but many people report good results.

Cats and people have shared living quarters for thousand of years, and with a little forethought and cooperation we should be able to maintain a harmonious relationship between ourselves, our pets, and our furniture.

copyright 2005

Kathie Freeman is the author of Catwalk, a Feline Odyssey. For more of her articles and short stories visit Kathie's Stories and Tails at http://home.att.net/~kathiefreeman/ This article is free to use as long as the byline and this source information is included.


About the Author

Kathie Freeman is a life-long cat person who along with her husband has been owned by as many as 13 cats at once. They currently share their California home with four cats and a dog. She is the author of "Catwalk, a Feline Odyssey", the captivating story of a wandering tabby cat and the people she meets on her journey of adventure and discovery.


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Cats and Babies: 7 Tips for Healthy Coexistence

Cats and babies can coexist, but there are several factors that need to be considered. Cats are known to be very jealous of new babies and new pets, so you need to ensure your baby is safe and the cat is comfortable.

1. Prepare for the Baby’s Arrival
You need to establish some ground rules for the baby’s safety that the cat needs to respect; apply these rules before the arrival of the baby, so that the cat doesn’t associate the baby with the new interdictions.

2. Get a Crib for the Baby
Get a crib for your baby and make sure the cat does not make it his own or sleep in it. Cats and babies are not allowed to sleep together as the baby may suffocate.

Show the cat the crib but train him to know he is not allowed in the crib.

3. Cat Checkup
Cats may transmit a number of diseases to humans and babies are particularly susceptible to catching bacteria, worms and viruses. So you need to make sure your cat is healthy.

Schedule the vet checkup at least 2 months before the arrival of the baby, to make sure the parasites are gone. Fleas are particularly difficult to get rid of and it may take up to 6 weeks to fully eliminate them from the environment. Even if fleas cannot be transmitted to humans, the ingestion of a flea may lead to the formation of a tapeworm in the baby.

4. Gradual Introduction of the Baby
Given that cats may be very protective of their territory and owners, they can be very jealous when a baby appears. This is why the baby needs to be introduced gradually. First, keep the baby isolated and give the cat a blanket or a toy belonging to the baby. The cat will get accustomed to the baby’s scent.

When presenting the baby, one of the owners should offer a lot of affection to the cat.
Continue Reading About Cats and Babies: 7 Tips for Healthy Coexistence




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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.

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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.

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Every town has them... stray cats, wandering around back yards, alleys, walking down the road, robbing trash receptacles or other yard-pets' bowls in order to survive.

While most people tend to look past these lost souls, assuming they either live with someone or don't deserve a moment's thought because they are pests, there are others who feel differently. Some people understand that stray cats aren't being stray on purpose just to irritate humans. They have been abandoned, perhaps, or were born to a stray that was abandoned.

The reasons for their existence vary, but it's probably safe to say their fate has been created by humans. Therefore, it should be up to us to remedy the situation and to tend to the needs of these cats.

For those who sympathize with these homeless ones, it can be heart wrenching to watch them suffer. Many sensitive, caring people want to help, but may not know how to do it.

The first consideration has to be your own safety. Often, even if a cat started out as a loved family companion, it can still transform into a fearful or aggressive animal who must go into "survival mode" to live in a hostile world. You may not be able to simply reach down and pick the cat up. Why would a cat that has been treated badly trust you? How would it understand that you mean it no harm when everyone else has been cruel or abusive? Such a cat might not be friendly and you must take precautions.

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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.

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Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Distemper is a serious disease that occur in cats. It is also known as Feline Distemper. The illness is caused by a Parvovirus that is present everywhere in the environment and has been recorded in many countries. As such most cats are exposed to the pathogen to varying degrees. However, the disease only takes hold in cats with weakened immunity.

Most cat owners are unaware of Feline Panleukopenia since kittens are routinely immunized against it as part of the standard vaccination regimen. The disease thus appears in feral, abandoned and other stray felines that have not received adequate protection. Once the illness takes hold, it is deadly - killing up to nine out of every ten individuals. No cure exists apart from dietary support and loving care. If the cat is able to pull through the acute phase lasting the first week, it is likely to survive and develop complete future immunity against the illness.

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Numerous articles have been written about the importance of spaying and neutering cats and the health benefits that are gained by doing so. Many people are aware that the sterilization process is a good thing and abide by the usual recommendations. However, every once in a while it is a good thing to write a reminder to those, who do not believe in spaying or neutering, about why they should.

Spring and summer is known across our country as the "kitten season." Many female cats will be giving birth and many kittens will be unwanted and end up in shelters or even put to death by their owners.

A female cat can come into heat as early as four months - especially in the springtime. Locking a cat in the house may seem like a great alternative, but it plays havoc with a cat's health.

The reproductive system that nature created in a female cat is amazingly efficient. Having kittens is a very natural part of a female cat's life and not having kittens, without the help of being spayed is very hard on a cat.

Male cats are always willing and able to mate, and if they do not have anyone to mate with, it does not present a problem. They will just sit around and wait until a female presents itself.

Female cats on the other hand have reproductive needs that have to be met, that is the way nature created the female cat. If you do not want kittens, it is important to have your female spayed by at least six months of age.

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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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Should You Feed Stray Cats?

The answer, of course, is yes, you should feed strays. Since cats became domesticated they are no longer wild animals that can fend for themselves outside. They don't survive very well outdoors on their own without human intervention.

The best that stray cats can usually do is to eat from garbage cans. Every now and then they may find a mouse to eat, but in general most stray cats are starving.

A lot of people are reluctant to feed strays for several different reasons. One of these is the idea that strays will breed out of control if you feed them. The truth is that strays can breed out of control whether or not they are fed. Not feeding stray cats will NOT reduce the stray population. Even very hungry cats can still breed and then they will produce starving and unhappy little kittens.

Also, remember that it isn't the cat's fault that he or she is a stray. Often strays are cats that have been abandoned by their owners for some reason. Other times, the strays are born outdoors to other stray cats. In any case, it isn't the cat's fault that they have no home. Also, cats are intelligent animals with feelings and individual personalities and it is cruel to let them go hungry.

A lot of people don't want to feed strays because they worry that if they feed a stray cat then it will hang around looking for more food.

So what! Cat food is fairly inexpensive and it cost very little to feed a cat, however, it will make a huge difference in the life of the cat you are feeding.

Putting out dry food is best, otherwise you may get all of the neighborhood cats looking for a handout - owned or not. If you put out only dry food you will usually only get really hungry cats. However, if you put out dry cat food you will often attract the other local wildlife, such as possums and skunks, which you don't want.

To prevent this you can put out dry food during the day and pick it up at night, however, shy or feral cats will usually only come to eat at night. Canned cat food doesn't typically draw other wildlife like the dry food does and so unless you have a lot of your neighbors' cats that are coming to eat at your house then you should probably put out a few plates or bowls (depending on how many cats you are feeding) of canned food at night. You should also provide a bowl of fresh water every day and each evening.
Continue Reading About Should You Feed Stray Cats?




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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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Several Classic Cat Health Warning Signs

As a cat owner, cat health problems are at the top of my list of concerns. The various illnesses your cat may face are many and varied, and your cat can't tell you how she's feeling, at least not in words. Feline illness symptoms, like that in humans, often overlap.

As a rule, your cat is at higher risk for developing a disease if she has been stressed recently. Pre-existing health problems, recent surgery, or a life change of some type can all add stress to your cat's life. Life changing events may include the addition or removal of a family member or other pet, or perhaps a change of homes.

Cats can catch a cold or the flu, or develop any number of feline specific problems, such as cat parasites. She can also be affected by heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Some of these cat health issues will require treatment.

If you notice something is not right, it's best to call your veterinarian up front and let her know. That way, if things seem to get worse, both you and your vet will be better prepared to handle the situation later. Below are some problems to watch out for.

General signs -- Your cat may exhibit some of the same signs that you'd expect to see in people if she has the flu, a cold, injury, or infection. General symptoms of cat illness include sneezing, coughing, lethargy, and nasal discharge. Your cat may experience excessive drooling if she has an infection or the flu, and may also have a fever.
Continue Reading About Several Classic Cat Health Warning Signs


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.
Continue Reading about The Cat With Kidney Problems

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
Continue Reading about: Got Cat Urine Smell Blues?


Focus On Cat Breeds

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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.
Continue Reading about: Purebred cats


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Ensure A Good Relationship Between Your Cat And Your Kids
Very young children can easily overwhelm a cat or kitten with their exuberance. Children under the age of five years should always be supervised when playing with or handling a cat. Children over 12 years can usually be trusted to be gentle, but be sure to occasionally check up on kids under 12 years when they spend concentrated time with the family cat.

The two most obvious reasons a cat may no longer want its food, is firstly has the food gone bad.
Sometimes cat food can become tainted in its packaging
check to see if the can has any dents in it or if there is damage to the packaging in any way. Smell the food your self and see if there are any unusual odours or any mould on the food. Secondly, is the cat ill in any way? Sometimes bad teeth can cause problems or they have a stomach bug. A vet should check out any suspicions of illness immediately.

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