10 Behaviors that Stress Your Cat Like Crazy...Some of Them May Surprise You
- Food: Kittens 6-8 weeks old: Soften dry food with a small amount of water (takes five to ten minutes)--you want the food to be soft, not mushy. Feed kittens four times a day. At 8 weeks old, leave some dry food out; when the kitten starts eating that, stop softening it. You may feed one tablespoon of canned food once a day. Do not give the kitten milk. Always have a big bowl of fresh water available. Kittens need kitten food until they reach one year, then you can make the switch to adult cat food. Adult cats eat once or twice a day; you can leave a day's worth of food out all day. Sudden changes in diet may cause diarrhea. Never give a cat chocolate.
- Shots: Kittens must be 8-10 weeks old before receiving shots (ask your vet). A series of three shots is given three to four weeks apart. If the kitten is fifteen weeks old, your vet may give everything in just a single shot. Adults receive annual shots. Always watch the kitten or cat for a couple of hours after a shot to make sure it doesn't have an allergic reaction (vomiting or face swelling). If you see evidence of an allergic reaction, contact your vet immediately.
- Spay/neuter: Spay or neuter your kitten no later than six months of age. Females go into heat at six months, and males are neutered before six months to avoid a spraying habit.
- Cat Litter: Be careful with the litter you with a kitten up to eight weeks of age. The clumping and clay types can get into their mouth and clog their intestines. Alternatives during this phase are shredded newspaper, sand, flushable pine litter, or flushable reprocessed paper litter.
- Toys: Make sure toys don't have small parts that could come off and cause choking. Cats can choke on yarn strings, so do not give them to your cats as toys. Keep your cats away from electrical cords.
- Outlawed in some countries due to its brutality, declawing is an extremely painful procedure which requires weeks of healing. This surgery cuts off each of the last digits of the cat's paws, leaving it defenseless should it find its way outside.
- Instead of declawing, supply your cat or kitten with a sturdy cat tree and give him or her praise and rewards for using it. A squirt from a spray bottle or a shake from a can filled with coins will discourage your cat from scratching the furniture. Cats scratch to maintain their nails, and you can help by regularly trimming their nails. Ask your vet for instructions.
- An alternative to declawing is Soft Paws nail covers, which are available from your local veterinarian.
- Remember, your cat is trainable and there are alternatives to declawing!
- You can also read a veterinary opinion about declawing here
Keeping Your Cat Indoors
- Cars kill millions of cats each year
- Outdoor cats are exposed to serious and often fatal infectious diseases such as feline leukemia and rabies.
- Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms pose a grave health threat to your cat. Some of these can be transmitted to humans as well.
- Cats outdoors are frequently chased by coyotes, dogs, or other cats, and are killed, injured, or hopelessly lost.
- Cats are often shot at, poisoned, trapped, or tortured by neighbors annoyed by the cat using their garden as a litterbox or hunting birds and other small animals.
- Cats that spend their time outdoors require more medical treatment and have much shorter life-spans than indoor cats.
- Four to five million birds are killed by cats each day. Ground-nesting birds are particularly susceptible to predation by cats.
- Collar bells on cats don't work, because birds and other wildlife do not associate the bell sound with being stalked.
- Cats will hunt wild animals regardless of how well they're fed.
- Almost all young birds leave the nest before they can fly well and spend a day or two on the ground. These fledglings are frequently caught by cats as they are learning to fly. Most of the birds that are caught but not killed outright die of their injuries or infections.
- Cats that kill small rodents can eliminate a critical food source for owls and hawks.
- Look on-line for secure outdoor cat enclosures that protect both your cat and wildlife.
Feral Cats are a sad fact of life in all cities, towns, and rural areas across the country. Some feral cats were once domestic pets who were turned out to fend for themselves and returned to "the wild"; others were born wild and have never known the touch of a human hand. Either way, feral cats are a challenge for any rescue group to deal with. While taming a feral cat is rare, these animals can and do assimilate into a household with other pets and people. A feral cat will never behave like a domestic cat, but we implore you to give one a chance. We receive hundreds of calls a year regarding feral cats, and many times there is simply no good answer. Many counties do not have cat ordinances, meaning that these creatures are completely without help from any outside source, and most of them fall prey to predators, automobiles, disease, starvation, the weather, or any number of other tragic outcomes. If you have, or know anyone who has, a barn or other building where these cats can live in peace, please contact us; we will provide food, medical treatment, and any other supplies necessary to house them safely and comfortably. Feral cat colonies that are managed successfully (all members of the colony spayed/neutered and medical care and food provided) are the single most effective way of reducing nuisance behavior commonly associated with “street” or feral cats. We are constantly seeking land owners or people with the space to house a colony. If you are willing to give a feral cat a chance in your home or on your property and want more information, we would love to talk to you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on helping these animals to live among us harmoniously.