Did you know that cats are obligate carnivores? Do you know what that means? Sounds kind of creepy I know but all it means is that our little feline friends need meat to live. And raw meat is really the best choice. Their bodies are uniquely made to utilize meat and not much else. We don't feed the tigers or lions in the zoo dried kibble with corn so why do we think it is okay to feed it to our carnivores? Dry cat food is one of the worst things to feed your obligate carnivore and most people have no idea. And your vet may not know either. They get maybe one day of nutrition training in vet school and are then wooed by the pet food companies (Hills Science Diet is the biggest culprit). They are masters of marketing. As I understand it, the clinics get that bag of food at a discount rate and then sell it to you for $20. Of course they love what the pet food companies tell them, they can make a lot of money selling prescription foods. And most vets do not claim to be nutritionists. The "tartar" control one might be the worst of all. Have you ever eaten a biscotti and thought "my teeth feel so clean and tartar free". Of course not! A cookie will not clean a cats teeth especially since they don't really masticate their food, they simply crack it and swallow. Most piece go down whole. Now if it has some sort of added ingredient that breaks down the tartar, wonderful! But I don't believe they do.
I went out and got a bag of dry food when I first got my cats because I remember my Mom getting it for our cats growing up. Like so many of you, I blindly believed the advertising. I believed that they couldn't possible put something on the shelves and sell it to us if it wasn't okay. After my boy had some urinary tract issues, I did my homework and found that I was feeding a totally inappropriate diet for an obligate carnivore. He got bladder stones from the dry food and from the dry prescription food he was put on. I was really appalled at the pet food industry when I did some reading and realized that they have very little regulation going on and that cats get next to no nutritional value from corn or grains. Cats eat meat in the wild, raw meat. They don't have a little mouse on a spit over a fire and they don't ever attack corn fields for some nice juicy kernels of corn. Pet food began as a great way to use excess corn and grains not used in the human food industry and to not let the cast offs from the slaughterhouse go to waste. Our pets food should be better than that and if you really want to feed your cat the best diet, check out this great website with some wonderful information : http://feline-nutrition.org/index.php. Once I started mine on a raw diet, their coats improved, their weight improved and overall vitality improved.
If you can't go the raw diet route, at least go with a good quality canned with no corn or grains in it. Cats don't have a strong thirst drive so the dry diet leaves them slightly dehydrated all the time. The canned food at least has more moisture and I hope better quality meat but that last part might just be wishful thinking.
Bringing home a new Cat
When you first bring your new kitten or cat home, it is best to confine them to a small space such as a bathroom or office with a litterbox, food and water, toys and a scratching post or kitty condo ( you can get great Cat Furniture From Spoil My Kitty) . Leaving the carrier in there for them to sleep in is a good idea too. Let them get used to their new world and feel safe and comfortable in their new space. It may take only a day or two for them to feel comfortable and confident, or it might take a few days. Visit the kitty in their space and let them get to know you. If you have children, let them visit the kitty one at a time so the kitty won't be too overwhelmed.
A big new place with all it's new smells can be overwhelming to a new kitty so starting slow and working up to the rest of the house is a good idea. If you don't let them adjust gradually, they may hide under the bed for days. Neither you or the kitty will like that. Take it slow, think of the kitty and how all this new stuff might be intimidating. If you follow these steps, your kitty will be running around the house in no time, happy and content.
Make sure you feed your new kitty whatever food they have been used to eating. A new place is stressful enough and new food can help give them diarrhea. If you decide to change their food, wait at least three weeks and make sure it is a high quality cat food, not something you can get at the local super market. Cats need lots of protein so the first ingredient in whatever you feed them should not be a filler (corn of any kind, rice or grains), it should be protein (Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, or Beef).
The new kitty will very likely have a little sniffle or runny eyes for the first few days in their new home. This is fairly common since they aren't used to the germs in their new home. It doesn't mean they came to you with a cold or that they are even sick. They just need to adjust to the new germs and if they have a decent immune system, they will be just fine in a few days.
Introducing a new cat to other animals in the house
No matter if you have other pets or not, you should have your new kitty in a small space set up just for them. It is their safe zone. If you have other animals, it is especially important to keep them seperated for the first few days, maybe even a week. The new kitty will be getting used to the new smells of their new home and its people while the other pets will get to know the new kitty by smelling it through the door. Cats learn alot about each other through smell so let them take a few days to do this. They will adjust to one another without ever having seen each other. The same goes with dogs. Let them get used to each others smell through the door before a face to face introduction.
After a few days, confine your other animals in a room and let the new kitty explore another room in the house. They will smell the other animals and leave their scent as well. You can also let your original pets visit the new kittys room, just make sure there are no face to face meetings yet.
The kittys might play footsies under the door and this is a good sign. If they aren't hissing through the door, you may crack open the door a little so they can see each other. If they both seem curious and unafraid, a face to face meeting would be the next step. If they hiss and swat, just close the door and give it more time.
Another idea is to put the new kitty (after a few days) in a carrier and take them into the main part of the house. If you are sitting on the couch, put the carrier on the couch with you and let the other animals sniff and look at the new kitty. There may be some hissing but both the new and old kittys are safe. If the hissing becomes more urgent or growling and swatting occurs, put the new kitty back in their room and try again tomorrow. It can be a slow process but it will be successful if you are persistent. Don't rush it. A bad first meeting between the new and old pet can be hard to get over.
When they do have their first face to face, they may hiss and swat a little to establish dominance. Let it happen, just watch carefully. If it appears that it is escalating into a full blown fight, put the new kitty back in their room and confine the other kitty as well. They need to start learning that you will not tolerate that behavior. After a cool off period, try again. Remember, be patient.
Did you know?
Plain canned pumpkin can be used as a natural hairball remedy. One table spoon pumpkin to one table spoon canned food, twice a day for one day, every other week.
Cats scratch objects to remove worn out outer covering of their nail to reveal the sharper nail beneath. They also scratch to get exercise, stretch, and scent mark their territory. Cats need to scratch so provide them with a sisal scratching post or hard cardboard scratchers or even a nice rough log.
Cats have individual preferences for scratching surfaces and angles. Some are horizontal scratchers while others exercise their claws vertically.
Cats are sometimes born with extra toes. This is called polydactly. These toes will not harm the cat, but you should keep his claws trimmed just like any toe.
Cats have a full inner-eyelid, or nictitating membrane. This inner-eyelid serves to help protect the eyes from dryness and damage. When the cat is ill, the inner-eyelid will frequently close partially, making it visible to the observer.
A cat cannot see directly under its nose. This is why the cat cannot seem to find tidbits on the floor.
The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak back. You will learn a lot from your cat's wide vocabulary of chirps and meows.
You can tell a cat's mood by looking into its eyes. A frightened or excited cat will have large, round pupils. An angry cat will have narrow pupils. The pupil size is related as much to the cat's emotions as to the degree of light.
It is a common belief that cats are color blind. However, recent studies have shown that cats can see blue, green and red.
A cat can jump even seven times as high as it is tall.
The cat's footpads absorb the shocks of the landing when the cat jumps.
The way you treat kittens in the early stages of it's life will render it's personality traits later in life.
Contrary to popular belief, the cat is a social animal. A pet cat will respond and answer to speech , and seems to enjoy human companionship.
When well treated, a cat can live twenty or more years but the average life span of a domestic cat is 14 years.
Neutering a cat extends its life span by two or three years.
Cats must have fat in their diet because they can't produce it on their own.
Some common houseplants poisonous to cats include: English Ivy, iris, mistletoe, philodendron, and yew.
Tylenol and chocolate are both poisionous to cats.
Many cats cannot properly digest cow's milk. Milk and milk products give them diarrhea.
The gene in cats that causes the orange coat color is sexed linked, and is on the X sex chromosome. This gene may display orange or black. Thus, as female cat with two X chromosomes may have orange and black colors in its coat. A male, with only one X chromosome, can have only orange or black, not both.
If a male cat is both orange and black it is ( besides being extremely rare ) sterile. To have both the orange and the black coat colors, the male cat must have all or part of both female X chromosomes. This unusual sex chromosome combination will render the male cat sterile.
People who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to cat saliva, specifically a protein called Fel d1 which is also in the dander. If the resident cat is bathed regularly the allergic people tolerate it better.
Studies now show that the allergen in cats is related to their scent glands. Cats have scent glands on their faces and at the base of their tails. Entire male cats generate the most scent. If this secretion from the scent glands is the allergen, allergic people should tolerate spayed female cats the best.
Cats do not think that they are little people. They think that we are big cats. This influences their behavior in many ways.
Many people fear catching a protozoan disease, Toxoplasmosis, from cats. This disease can cause illness in the human, but more seriously, can cause birth defects in the unborn. Toxoplasmosis is a common disease, sometimes spread through the feces of cats. It is caused most often from eating raw or rare beef. Pregnant women and people with a depressed immune system should not touch the cat litter box. Other than that, there is no reason that these people have to avoid cats.
Like birds, cats have a homing ability that uses its biological clock, the angle of the sun, and the Earth's magnetic field. A cat taken far from its home can return to it. But if a cat's owners move far from its home, the cat can't find them.
Cats bury their feces to cover their trails from predators.
Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day. When cats are asleep, they are still alert to incoming stimuli. If you poke the tail of a sleeping cat, it will respond accordingly.
Besides smelling with their nose, cats can smell with an additional organ called the Jacobson's organ, located in the upper surface of the mouth.
The chlorine in fresh tap water can irritate sensitive parts of the cat's nose. Let tap water sit for 24 hours before giving it to a cat.
Cats can be taught to walk on a leash, but a lot of time and patience is required to teach them. The younger the cat is, the easier it will be for them to learn.
Purring does not always means happiness. Purring could mean a cat is in terrible pain such as during childbirth. Kitten will purr to their mother to let her know they are getting enough milk while nursing. Purring is a process of inhaling and exhaling, usually performed while the mouth is closed. But don't worry, if your cat is purring while your gently petting her and holding her close to you - that is a happy cat!
The catnip plant contains an oil called hepetalactone which does for cats what marijuana does to some people. Not all cats react to it those that do appear to enter a trancelike state. A positive reaction takes the form of the cat sniffing the catnip, then licking, biting, chewing it, rub & rolling on it repeatedly, purring, meowing & even leaping in the air.
A happy cat holds her tail high and steady.
Cat families usually play best in even numbers. Cats and kittens should be aquired in pairs whenever possible.
Baking chocolate is the most dangerous chocolate to your cat.
You can check your cats pulse on the inside of the back thigh, where the leg joins to the body. Normal for cats: 110-170 beats per minute.
Retractable claws are a physical phenomenon that sets cats apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. I n the cat family, only cheetahs cannot retract their claws.
A cat's whiskers are thought to be a kind of radar, which helps a cat gauge the space it intends to walk through.
A cat can spend five or more hours a day grooming himself.
Both humans and cats have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotion.
A cat's brain is more similar to a man's brain than that of a dog.
In relation to their body size, cats have the largest eyes of any mammal.
Cats walk on their toes.
Normal body temperature for a cat is 102 degrees F.
Cats respond most readily to names that end in an "ee" sound.
A cat will tremble or shiver when it is extreme pain.
Declawing a cat is the same as cutting a human's fingers off at the knuckle. There are several alternatives to a complete declawing, including trimming or a less radical (though more involved) surgery to remove the claws. Preferably, try to train your cat to use a scratching post.
A steady diet of dog food may cause blindness in your cat - it lacks taurine.
It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one's blood pressure.
If your cat snores, or rolls over on his back to expose his belly, it means he trusts you.
Cats respond better to women than to men, probably due to the fact that women's voices have a higher pitch.
When your cats rubs up against you, she is actually marking you as "hers" with her scent. If your cat pushes his face against your head, it is a sign of acceptance and affection.
Tests done by the Behavioral Department of the Musuem of Natural History conclude that while a dog's memory lasts about 5 minutes, a cat's recall can last as long as 16 hours.
Cats can predict earthquakes. We humans are not 100% sure how they do it. There are several different theories.
At 4 weeks, it is important to play with kittens so that they do not develope a fear of people.
It is estimated that cats can make over 60 different sounds.
Ailurophile - that's what we're officially called. It's what cat lovers are known as.
A cat that bites you for rubbing his stomach is often biting from pleasure, not anger.
Cats often overract to unexpected stimuli because of their extremely sensitive nervous system.
Kittens who are taken along on short, trouble-free car trips to town tend to make good passengers when they get older. They get used to the sounds and motions of traveling and make less connection between the car and the visits to the vet.
Since cats are so good at hiding illness, even a single instance of a symptom should be taken very seriously.
Cats that live together sometimes rub each others heads to show that they have no intention of fighting. Young cats do this more often, especially when they are excited.
Kittens lose their baby teeth!! At three to four months the incisors erupt. Then at four to six months, they lose their canines, premolars and molars. By the time they are seven months old, their adult teeth are fully developed. This is one of the ways a vet (or you) can tell the age of a kitten.
Vaccine guideline by the American Association of Feline Practitioners
Vaccines should be used in accordance with principles of immunology to allow for maximum protection against disease. Factors that affect the immune response to vaccines should be considered prior to vaccine administration. Though annual revaccination has been the professional standard, more recent information suggests that the duration of immunity (DOI) exceeds one year for many feline vaccines today. The panel recommends booster intervals for vaccines against FPV, FHV-1, and FCV every three years. Cats at high risk of exposure, such as those entering boarding facilities, or shown frequently at cat shows, may benefit from more frequent revaccination. DOI studies indicate that three-year rabies vaccines demonstrate effective immunity.