Bathing A Cat Or What Not To Do On A Sunday Afternoon

Cats tend to take care of themselves when it comes to staying clean but sometimes they need a bath. They may have rolled in something gross or maybe you need to bathe them to help with your allergies. Sometimes your cat may smell like a port-a-potty on a hot day… don’t think about why… they just do now and then.

So you’ve prepped your bathroom with a towel, pet shampoo, and a way to rinse all the shampoo off, so now what happens?

Tips to bathe a cat

  1. Get in the tub – Cats are quick, nimble, and can shred a shower curtain in under .03 seconds. What to do? You are stronger than the cat. Hold him still as best you can, fill the tub with a few inches of water to slow down the skating around he’ll do trying to escape, and if you have a sliding glass door close all openings except where you are kneeling. If your cat has moves of a jungle cat, you may want to consider getting into the tub with him and closing the glass shower doors completely. Sit on the ledge and begin wetting your cat down. Be careful of the face and ears. You don’t want to get water in their eyes, ears, or nose.
  2. Protection – Cats have claws and won’t hesitate to use them. Your advantage here would be to wear long sleeves or kevlar. The best outfit is a hockey mask, soccer goalie gloves, chainmail, canvas jeans, and work boots.
  3. The element of surprise – Use your ninja skills and surprise your cat. Pick up your cat like it’s just another day and pet him. Get him to be a little happy and carry him towards the bathroom. Your cat won’t care that you look like you’re dressed for halloween. They have little to no interest in your fashion sense. Once you get to the bathroom, close the door, and yell “AH-HA!” with an air of triumph.
  4. Speed – It’s essential to getting your cat washed, dried, and clean. In a single motion, wet your cat down, shampoo, and rinse! Having a few inches of water in the tub will not only slow your cat down but will also wet his feet, legs, belly, tail, and give you a few seconds to get his back wet. The head is last and often the hardest. You may want to avoid the head until you’re a black belt in cat baths. Shampoo him up quickly and begin rinsing by turning on the shower or faucet and quickly moving the water over his body. This may be the wildest and scariest 3 min of your life.
  5. Slippery Critters – Cats do not have handles or grips on their bodies. A wet cat is slippery. Do not expect to hold him for more than a few seconds at a time. This is when the glass doors of the shower come in handy. He may run around but he can’t get out. Rinse like crazy and then get ready for the final step – drying.
  6. Drying and Crying – Drain the tub. Ignore the screams and wailings of your cat. Once all the water is drained you will notice your cat will have calmed down a little. Drying is going to be simple compared to the previous steps. This is because the cat has now attached himself to your leg and your pants are absorbing all the water. Reach for the towel, wrap it around your cat, and carefully step out of the tub. If he squirms let him sit on the floor as you dry his fur and get most of the water off his tail, legs, and belly. Now you’ll have a clean, freaked, soggy cat walking around the house for a few hours. Be aware, chances are he’ll be sitting on your bed in a few minutes leaving a wet spot of loose cat fur on your blanket but he’s clean! Isn’t that the point?

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Is Your Cat Peeing On The Bed?

In October I got a new kitten. It was unexpected. He was found in the backyard and his litter mates and mother were gone. I took him home, took him to the vet, and slowly introduced him to my older cat. As the weeks went on I let him explore the apartment room by room. One night I decided to let him sleep in the bedroom. The kitten peed on the bed. He peed on the bed about three times. I did a lot of laundry… a lot.


Once my kitten grew a little more, became more confident about his surroundings, and got used to things he stopped peeing on the bed. From what the vet and I talked about it seemed he was experiencing anxiety. This is not uncommon. Cats tend to pee in other places other than their litterbox to signal something in the house is upsetting them. If your cat is peeing outside the box and on your bed, or on your clothes, or anywhere, identify what could be the new stressor.


Here’s a checklist of potential stressors that may help you identify what it is that your cat is upset about.

  • Is the litterbox clean?
  • Did you change litter?
  • Does the litter box need to be cleaned more often?
  • Is the litter box big enough? Is it accessible?

  • Is it a covered litterbox?
  • Is it in a quiet place?
  • Did your hours away from home change recently?
  • Did you move to a new place?
  • Are you not giving your cat the same amount of attention that you used to?
  • Did someone new start coming over? Staying over?
  • Do you have a new roommate?

Also, try making play time and treats something you do on the bed, in the bedroom, so that your cat associates the bedroom with a place where s/he eats. Cats tend to not want to urinate where they eat. Take it slow, be patient, and it’ll work itself out. If you suspect it might be a health issue, a trip to the vet is in order.

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Teaching a Cat to Sit

People believe you can’t train a cat… and while it may seem impossible when compared to how dogs will learn commands and tricks, a cat can be trained. If you want to try this, it takes patience and a technique that is a little different than what you would do to train a dog. A cat can learn their name, come when called, and sit.

So, want to teach a cat to sit? Here’s how to do it

First you have to lure you cat into a sit. A treat may do the trick like you would do with a dog or maybe their favorite toy can be used. Raise the lure slowly above your cat’s face, moving past the nose and towards the forehead. The idea is to get your cat to look up and have to sit back to do so. Once your cat begins to sit, say, “Sit” slowly. After you cat sits, offer the treat or toy and praise.

Try this a few times and once your cat seems to get it, fade out the lure and replace it with a hand signal. If you’re using a soft treat, you can keep the lure in your hand sometimes. This isn’t too different to how you teach a dog but it is because you cat may lose interest a little faster or take longer in understanding what you are asking. When you start to fade the lure, reward your cat still with a pet on the head and praise. Still use a lure now and then and a hand signal.

After a number of times of doing this your cat will start to understand that to get a treat, s/he must sit and follow the command and hand signal. Keep the training sessions short and make it fun. Your cat might get easily distracted and may walk away. Don’t be discouraged. No one ever said training cats was easy. But once your cat gets it you can show her/him off to your friends.

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9 Ways Your Cat Shows Love

Cats have that reputation for being aloof, for not being able to express companionship like a dog, and for not being as responsive as dogs. But, despite these old stereotypes, many people know that cats cuddle, purr, and do show affection for their owners. It’s just not in the same way as dogs.

Next time your “dog loving” friends tell you cats aren’t as affectionate, tell them these 9 ways that cats show love.

  1. Forehead touch – Also known as head bunting, this movement is the head butt to your chin, your leg, or hand. It’s how a cat shows affection and contentment.
  2. Cheek rubbing – Yes, it’s a way for cats to “own” something but it’s saved for objects in the house and you. Which means, you’re his and he’s pretty happy about that!
  3. Tail twitch – This one isn’t always obvious because cats often walk with their tails up but if it twitches a little when s/he approaches you, that means “Hooray! I like you!!”
  4. The Cat Stare – Cats don’t make direct eye contact with strangers. They save it for those they trust and love. A cat that stares are you and then slowly blinks is a sign of affection. Blink back.
  5. Purring – It can be for different reasons but if you are around a cat long enough you can learn the different types of purrs. A deep, full body rumbling purr when s/he’s sitting on your lap or settling down to sleep in bed with you is your cat’s way of saying, “I’m happy, I love you.”
  6. Kneading – It’s a behavior that’s left over from kitten days and it’s a sign of affection. Many behaviorists has said that cats kneading you is a comfort action and means that the cat loves you, feels safe, and is showing affection.
  7. Licking You – Not many cats lick people unless maybe they are offered a treat and then lick the hand. But some cats will groom and sometimes chew their owner’s hair. Yes, it’s kind of gross and it’s not fun to wake up to a cat licking your temples but it means you are special.
  8. Bring You Gifts – Dead birds, dead mice, or a toy are all signs that your cat respects and loves you. It’s a sign of trust and friendship. Your cat is sharing her prey prize with you.
  9. The High-Pitched Trill – Cats have many vocalizations ranging from a tiny mew to a full on howl. Listen for th chirping or trilling noise your cat may do when s/he sees you. It is a sign of affection. If you trill back, which kind of sounds like a “hmm” your cat might perk up and insist on sitting on your lap.

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Easter and Passover: 5 Holiday Pet Tips

Passover starts on April 3, 2015 and Easter is April 5, 2015. If you celebrate either one of these two holidays and have a furry friend in your house, there are some safety tips to consider to ensure your pet has a safe and happy day.

  1. Keep all decorations out of reach of your pet. If you have easter grass be careful that your dog or cat doesn’t chew and ingest any of it. This fake grass can cause blockages in their digestive system. You can substitute tissue paper in the baskets for grass. Cats are often intrigued by plastic items that catch light and move easily like tinsel and fake easter grass.
  2. Make sure flowers and potted plants are out of reach from your pet. Some decorative seasonal flowers are highly toxic to dogs and cats, and the temptation to chew on them seems unbearable. My cats just love to put holes in plants, so they always stay out of reach on a mantle or bookcase.
  3. Make sure your pets don’t find those easter eggs or the afikoman before the kids do. If you engage your family in the games of finding gifts, keep the family pet away from the room or yard where you’ve placed the items. Any foreign foods or objects that your pet may try to eat could make them very ill.
  4. Candy is a big part of Easter. Wrappers need to be out of reach from dogs as well as chocolate. Keep all ‘people’ treats and their wrappers away from your pet.
  5. If you host a party and your pet isn’t one for loud noises or gets overwhelmed, try keeping them in a room while your guests are over. It’ll reduce the stress on your pet and also your guests.
  6. Also remember, don’t get them wet, don’t expose them to bright light, and don’t feed them after midnight. Oh wait, that’s not dogs and cats…that’s mogwais.

    Image from PopHangover

7 Tips For New Cat Owners

Cats are great companions and can make you laugh with their silly antics. Some will talk to you and others will nag you till you let them sit on your lap or insist on sitting on your laptop. If you are thinking of adopting a cat there’s are things to think about and things you should know.

Here are 7 tips for owning a cat or rather, being owned by a cat

  1. Cats have an independent nature but that doesn’t mean they don’t like attention. Before you adopt make sure you can make time and room in your life for a cat.
  2. Cats need a clean litter box, fresh water, and grooming assistance. If you can’t brush a cat everyday then maybe a short haired cat would be better for you. If you aren’t home a lot due to work and other activities, look for an adult cat who is older and doesn’t need as much play time as a kitten or young cat. Invest in toys, climbing trees, and definitely make time each day to play and give attention to your cat after you get home.
  3. If you have allergies, you may need to think about adopting a breed of cat that has a low dander count. Talk to your doctor, do some homework, and if you can, cat test your allergies. If you have some friends who have cats, spend some time at their place and see if your allergies kick in or take a few trips to the local shelter and meet a few cats.
  4. Once you have chosen your new feline friend, make an appointment for a checkup at a vet. Ask your friends who they like and read some reviews of the vets in your area to find one that sounds good. A checkup is a good way to make sure your new friend is healthy or if he needs any shots that he did not get at the shelter or rescue.
  5. When choosing litter for the litter box read the labels. Some litters are processed with chemicals that can be harmful for you and your cat. The natural ones such as pine, corn, wheat, and paper are safer for the environment and for your cat. Some of them are biodegradable and can be flushed which makes cleanup easier and faster.
  6. Cats like to play no matter how old they are so invest in a few different types of toys. Each cat has a preference. Some like balls and furry things that move around on the floor while other cats like things that can move around in the air like it’s a bug. My one cat likes a toy called Cat Dancer and my other cat prefers ping pong balls.
  7. If you don’t want your furniture or leather jacket to be shredded, invest in a scratching post and a water gun. Also, make yourself get in the habit of hanging up your coats, putting your shoes away, and keeping things out of reach from your cat. Use catnip to lure your cat to the scratching post. Some cats will go wild for catnip and others may just rub their faces and purr. Praise him when he uses the post. Use the water gun and a strong “NO” when he scratches inappropriate things.

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10 Tips for Boarding Your Cat

There are times when you need to board your cat. Your cat won’t understand what is going on but will definitely react to the change in environment and be confused. In order to lower the stress and panic that your cat may have while being boarded it’s important to find a place that’s quiet, allows your cat to have its own space, and clean. Boarding a cat at your veterinarian may be fine if your cat is laid back. However, if your cat is like my cat, boarding at a vet is out of the question. I can see it now; my cat would sit in the corner of the cage, hiding his head under a blanket or the litter box and mew the saddest sounding mew ever to be heard. Whenever my cats have had to go the vet separately, the one who stayed home hisses and runs away from the one coming back from the vet. I think the smells of the hospital are seared into their brains as “OH NO! THAT PLACE!”

What can you do to find a good facility that will care for your cat and isn’t as scary as a vet hospital?

Here are a few tips to finding a good place for your cat to stay while you’re away

  1. Start searching for a place early. Don’t leave this as a last minute to-do. Ask some friends who also have cats or your vet.
  2. Take time to contact the recommended facilities and go check them out. A good facility will let you see the layout, where cats are kept, and let you know of their policies.
    Questions to ask:

    • Cost
    • Vaccination policies
    • What do they do if your cat becomes ill or injured?
    • Are they accredited with the Pet Care Services Association
  3. Are the cats in a separate area away from the dogs? If not, you may want to look for a cats-only facility if your cat does not like other animals.
  4. What is the daily routine at the facility? Feeding, cleaning, playing, and monitoring of the cats is important.
  5. Check to see if you can bring the food bowls, a blanket, and some toys.
  6. Can you bring the type of litter that your cat is used to using? Some cats are extremely finicky and may not use the litter box if the litter is different.
  7. If your cat needs medication make sure the staff is trained and able to do dispense it and make sure your cat gets the correct dosage.
  8. Check to see if you are allowed to bring the food your cat is used to eating. Ask how they handle cats that are so upset, they may not eat.
  9. Make sure the place smells and looks clean and is free of parasites.
  10. Look around to see if their business license is somewhere on the walls, if not, ask to see it.

When you pick up your cat check the fur for any scratches or bugs. Also, be prepared for your cat to slink around the house and re-explore, s/he may even want to hide for a night. Do not try to over baby your cat their first night back home, let your cat adjust and relax on its own. By the next day, your cat should be back to its old routines and happy to be home.

Image from White Angel Animal Hospital

What To Do If Your Pet Is Sick or Injured While Traveling

Taking the entire family on vacation can be awesome but it also takes a lot of planning.

Planning and prepping can help a lot and keep rough or scary situations within a realm of being ok. As you check to make sure you have your AAA card, phone numbers of your doctors and kid’s doctors, don’t forget your pet. Accidents can happen anywhere and it’s good to know what to do to so you’re not freaking out… too much.

  1. Schedule a pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is healthy for travel and is up to date on vaccines. If you are planning to fly with your pet, this is imperative, as most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of your flight. If your pet does not already have a microchip, this is the time to get one.
  2. Put together a folder of important information about your pet to bring with you in case you need to visit the vet on vacation. Even better, if you can, load the pdfs or documents onto your phone too. In case you can’t get back to the paperwork, you can email/fax it to the emergency vet.
  3. Check that the microchip information is updated with the current vaccine information, the name and phone number of your home veterinarian, your pet health insurance information, and any other important information.
  4. Research your veterinary options at your destination before you leave home. Look at vets who have daytime hours, night time, and the emergency vets. The last thing you want to do is end up lost and unsure.
  5. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kid for your pet as well as yourself. Small injuries can be bandaged and cleaned up if you can’t get to the vet immediately. It also cuts down on your pet’s pain and your anxiety.

Once you get to your destination, relax and have fun. If your pet is injured or becomes ill while on vacation, you’ll be prepared and able to handle the situation with a calmer mind. Having phone numbers and information about the local vets in the place you’re staying, paperwork of your pet’s health history, and a first aid kit will empower you. It’ll keep you level-headed and your pet will thank you for it.

Cats: How To Train Your Human

My cats have trained me. I admit it. They allow me to come and go as I please but other than that, I am under their control. Last night I had a little heart to heart talk with them and asked how they trained me without me being aware it was happening. They have owned me for the last 14 years and I felt it was safe to ask. They looked at each other for a few seconds as if they were debating letting their secret out and finally told me.
They told me it was ok to let their tricks and tips be known to other cats who may having a hard time training their humans. They also want it to be known that these exercises take patience and sometimes there are setbacks but do not be discouraged. A well-trained human can take years.

Here are the 5 ways to train your human:

  1. Wake Up and Eat – Breakfast should be served at the same time everyday. Wake up your human by jumping on the bed and meow softly. If your human does not move or show signs of waking up, begin walking on the human. When your human moves, stop, wait, and watch. If their eyes begin to open, purr immediately, this is a form of positive reinforcement. Your human will understand that by responding and waking up they are being rewarded with purrs. If they roll over or push you off, do not punish. Try walking on them again. If they are a very deep sleeper, lick the forehead and hair. It will not taste good but it will eventually wake them up. Meow between the licks. When your human begins to wake up and sit up, lead them to the food bowl.
  2. Litter Box Maintenance – Humans get lazy or forget to clean the letterbox on a daily basis. To make sure they clean it everyday, meow loudly while standing next to it. Your meow should sound sad. Evoke the feeling of despair. Your human will come running thinking something is wrong. Well, something is wrong! Once they have appeared, circle the litter box, look up at them, and stare. They will get the hint. If they do not and walk away, repeat meowing and if necessary, go to the bathroom next to it.
  3. Fresh Water – Water is essential. Fresh water means replacing the water from the day before or that morning. If your water has become stale, paw at the water bowl. If your human is nearby, look up and make eye contact. If they seem confused, paw harder and splash water on the floor. Yes, your paw will get wet but your human needs to understand that clean water, fresh water, is a requirement. Not an option. Some cats will go as far as to dig in the water bowl and empty all the old water out onto the floor. That can be done in extreme cases.
  4. Hairballs – Humans must be trained to brush us on a regular basis or else we can get hairballs or knots in our fur. Hairballs and food can create an upset stomach. When the weather gets warmer, we begin shedding more and a gentle reminder to our humans to brush us can be leaving fur on everything. Lay on their shoes, clothes, bed, couch and roll around to leave fur behind. If they do not bring out the brush, sit on their laps and toss and turn to get comfortable but also to leave fur on them. This works best if the colors they are wearing contrast the fur, like black pants and a white cat. If you must throw up, throw up on something the human likes a lot like their bed or where they stand when they make coffee. It will get their attention.
  5. Doors Should Remain Open – Do not allow any doors to be closed to any room in the house. To get a door to open, sit in front of it and meow. If this does not work, get up on your hind legs and scratch at the door loudly to get your human’s attention. Once your human opens the door, rub your cheek against a leg or ankle and walk away. Remember, it isn’t that you wanted to go anywhere, just that the door should be closed. If your human closes the door, repeat the above steps.

There are many other ways to train your human. Patience, persistence, and positive reinforcement can make for a good human. If they become unruly or unmanageable, a good stare with your ears back against your head along with a fast swishing tail often lets them know that you are not happy with their behavior. Rewarding them with purring and allowing them to pet you works best though. Hissing, scratching, and hostile attitude should only be used in extreme cases. Humans are frustrating and can be stubborn. Deep breaths. They are only… human.

If you want to learn how to walk your human, here’s a simple 7 step video.

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Spring Tip: Step Up The Grooming For Your Cat

Now that the weather has warmed up your cat may be shedding more. I know mine are and I’ve been slacking when it comes to brushing them and clipping their nails. I brushed them last night and had enough loose fur to make another cat! Cats like to keep clean and will wash themselves several times a day, imagine the amount of fur they swallow. They need some help from us to cut down on hairballs, dirt they may ingest, and nail trims so they don’t accidentally tear something or rip a nail that gets caught in material.

Make grooming fun if you can. Offer treats and praise. If your cat isn’t up for sitting around as you brush her, let her go. Wait till she’s more relaxed. If your cat isn’t used to being groomed keep the sessions short to start and extend the time a little more each time. My cats don’t mind being brushed but they still fidget when it comes to trimming their nails. Sometimes taking a small break and petting them instead of brushing them helps keep them relaxed.

If your cat has short hair you’ll probably only need to brush her once or twice a week. Depending on the thickness of the fur the brush you use will make a difference. Combs work best on most short fur and brushes can help to remove the dead and loose fur.

If your cat has medium to long hair you’ll need to brush her more frequently to prevent tangles and matting. Bristle brushes or rubber brushes seem to work best with fine, long fur. When brushing the legs, be gentle as that is longer haired cats tend to get knots and it can hurt to have their fur tugged. When brushing the tail, make a part down the middle and brush the fur out on either side.

When I started clipping my cat’s nails they would run. I had to get them used to having their feet touched and used to having their toes touched without the torture of clipping. I also found that having them sit in my lap with their belly up was easier than trying to pull a paw towards me as they were standing or sitting. My cats like being cradled as a result and nail clippings are quick and mostly easy. Sometimes they still want to get away.

Tips to clip a cat’s nails:

1: Apply gentle pressure to the top of the foot and pad, it extends the nails.

2: Take the cat clippers and cut the tips off, don’t go past the point where it curls, you might cut too deep and cause pain and bleeding.

3: Remember to praise your cat. If she seems nervous, take a break and pet her. You may only get one paw done at a time. Don’t stress. It could take a few sessions or days to get all the nails trimmed.

4: Use nail clippers for cats. Using the type for us can hurt their nails and aren’t made for the curves that cat nails have.