For the Cat!
Written by Christina Voican
Ah, the cat. Love for our purr babies has no bounds, yet sometimes, these little creatures make us question our sanity. From learned behaviors, being put in a carrier, visiting the vet, or taking medications, it can be pretty exhausting and sometimes embarrassing when that sweet kitty acts in a way we have never seen before. So what can a poor owner do about it? Here are a few ideas to help them along!
To the Vet
It is so surprising for an animal that loves boxes how traumatizing putting them in a carrier can be for both cat and owner. They run and hide—somehow knowing when you want to put them in one—making you late for their appointment, act like the world is ending, are one step away from total meltdown, and scream so loudly you are afraid someone will wonder what you are doing to that poor cat. So what can one do about it?
- If you keep your carrier in the closet or garage, it may be a good idea to bring it in a week before your appointment. Giving, your cat time to get used to it being in their environment
- Add treats to the carrier.
- Use Feliway spray https://us.feliway.com/
- Try a different type of carrier. There are many different types to choose from.
- If none of these ideas work and you feel your cat may need sedation, your veterinarian can help you decide the best route.
It can be stressful for you and your cat in an exam room. Dogs may bark, and new noises and smells may cause fear or anxiety in your cat. It can be scary and embarrassing if a kitty suddenly exhibits behaviors you’ve never seen before. It can also be stressful for you as the owner, not knowing how your cat will react to you in this situation. If you are afraid of how your cat will be or has been in the past, let the staff know in advance so they best know how to handle the visit. Some things you can do are;
- Keep yourself calm
- If you are afraid your cat will scratch or bite getting them out of the carrier, let us help you.
- If you already know that your cat becomes aggressive during appointments, please discuss options with the veterinarian prior to the appointment.
If only giving medications was as easy as it seems for many dog owners, just put the offending tablet or capsule in peanut butter or a treat and call it a day. Luckily many medications come in a liquid form to make it a little easier, but not always. Below are some things you can try to make it easier.
- Pill poppers, just put the medication on the end, open the cat’s mouth, push the plunger, and down it goes. Okay, so it’s not always that easy to do.
- Wrap in a blanket. Roll your kitty up like a burrito and use the pill popper or oral syringe provided.
- Try on top of the washer or dryer. Sometimes a slick surface can help stop your cat from being able to get away.
- Pill pockets. It’s a tasty treat that some animals enjoy and hides a tablet or capsule well.
- Mix into food. May not work with your medication. Ask your veterinarian before doing it.
Cats like to scratch anything and everything. It can be frustrating if they use your furniture instead of the scratching post. With kittens, training them to use what you want may be easier. Older cats can be challenging.
- Type of scratching posts. Many cat trees include different surfaces and heights to choose from. You can also find ones that hang from walls or can apply to the corners of your couch.
- Apply catnip to the scratching posts or designated areas.
- Pick the cat up and take them to where you want them to scratch if they use something they shouldn’t.
- Water bottle. Many cats don’t like to be wet, which could deter them from using the couch, etc.
- Cat deterrent sprays. Just spray onto the chosen areas. Reapply as needed.
- Soft paws. There are many different sizes and colors to choose from. Reapply as toes grow out.
- Declawing is not a good option. Discuss with a veterinarian if you have this concern.
No one wants to find a puddle of urine on the couch, carpet, or bed. The biggest question is why. Sickness? Behavior? Your veterinarian can help you figure it out. If it is behavioral, we have some suggestions that may or may not work for you.
- Type of litter. From clumping to crystals to Pretty Litter, which will change colors showing a concern, there are many to choose from. https://www.prettylitter.com/
- Number, of litter boxes. The rule for litter boxes is one per cat plus one, i.e. two cats would need three litter boxes.
- Cat attract litter. Buy as litter or litter attractant that you add to the chosen litter.
- Clean litter boxes daily. More if needed.
In House Fighting
Some cats just don’t get along no matter what you do, or they get along great, and suddenly, for no reason, they hate each other. Talk with your veterinarian to determine if there is an underlying health concern. With so many unknowns of what triggered it, what can an owner do about it?
- Get your pet examined. Sometimes illness or pain can cause changes in attitude.
- Feliway diffusers. It has a range depending on the size of the house/rooms may need more than one. Packaging states it lasts a month before needing to be refilled.
- Calming Care. Add a packet to each cat’s food daily.
- Resocialization. Keep one of the cats in a separate room for a few weeks, letting the other cat/cats in the household smell them through the door. After a few weeks, allow them to be together for small amounts of time.
- Behavioral Specialist. They will want to meet you and your cats before presenting a plan of action.
We at Linn Veterinary Hospital hope this article has helped and that you have none of the issues stated above, but we are willing and ready to help you overcome any hurdles should they arise.