Cats…and fur. Fur is a fact of life in a house full of pets, but even if you’ve got just one cat, you’ve probably got fur all over place. Lint rollers are nice, but they produce an awful lot of trash, and you have to keep replacing them. It’s the same with rolls of tape (which is basically what lint rollers are), and lint brushes don’t always grab everything. What about a nitrile, latex or rubber glove? According to Cole & Marmalade, this is a great way of cleaning cat fur away.
Cleaning cat fur can be a real pain sometimes
How does this even work? Fur, hair, and other strands and fibers stick to rubber and rubber-like materials rather well. The benefit of this method is that it can help pull strands of fur that would otherwise be stuck, and these gloves are reusable, so there’s less waste than there is with a traditional lint roller.
When you’re done cleaning cat fur away, you can simply dip your hands in a bucket or sink full of water. The fur will float off. You can also do like Chris Poole does in the video and gather it into a ball to throw away.
Or you can roll it into a ball, put it in front of your cat, and see what he does with it.
I’ve never actually tried this method of cleaning cat fur away. I ran across it when Chris posted a new Cole & Marmalade video. I do, however, know how my cats react when I put balls of their own fur in front of them. They sniff, and then they sniff the air, and then they sniff the fur again. Then they look at me like they’re wondering why this weird thing smells so much like them, like me, and like the other interlopers in the house.
Here’s how I clean up cat fur
I usually use a lint brush, but I know that, on some materials, the brush just smooths out the fur, and doesn’t pull it all up. It’s great for getting most fur off of things, but the fur I can’t pick up with it slowly builds.
I have a box of gloves, but I also have rubber cleaning gloves. If you don’t want to buy a whole box of gloves for cleaning cat fur, you can buy those rubber cleaning gloves and use those. They might even work a little better than latex or nitrile gloves. I plan on trying this method of cleaning cat fur very soon.
I love taking pictures of my cats in boxes. Gizmo, in the first picture below, especially loves boxes, I think because she feels safe in there. I’ve written about cats in boxes before; specifically, about why cats like boxes. I … Continue reading →
Many of us might not think about trimming our cats’ claws. This is especially true for those whose cats are well trained not to scratch up the furniture or the drapes. However, trimming cats’ claws is an important part of keeping them well groomed and healthy. Here’s why.
Trimming cats’ claws: Protection for them and you
Admittedly, we don’t trim our cats’ claws nearly as much as we should. I’ve watched Chase play on the carpet, and sometimes, his back claws get stuck. Gizmo’s claws sometimes get stuck in blankets, and they click on the hard floors when she walks. All four of our cats have claws that get pretty sharp. With Chase and Gizmo, there’s the possibility that they could injure themselves when their claws haven’t been trimmed. This is one reason why trimming cats’ claws is so important.
Another reason why trimming cats’ claws is necessary has to do with protecting yourself. As Vetstreet points out, if you’ve got a cat that loves kneading on you, those claws are going to hurt. Kneading is one of the ways our cats show they love us and are comfortable with us, so dulling their claws by trimming them can help to make that experience much more of an enjoyable bonding experience for both of you.
Trimming cats’ claws is also a fantastic alternative to declawing. This is especially true if you’re training your cat to only scratch approved surfaces. Scratching is natural to cats, and they will do it, so it’s important that they know what they can and can’t scratch around your house. While you’re training them, though, they may still scratch your furniture, and nicely trimmed claws will help reduce the damage.
Some ways to help you trim your cats’ claws
Despite knowing why trimming cats’ claws is a good idea, it can still be a frightening prospect. A lot of cats don’t like us to play with their paws, let alone each one of their toes. Start slow, and with treats at hand. Gently touch each of your cat’s paws, and give her treats, to give her a positive association with your touch.
Don’t rush it. Make sure she’s comfortable with you handling her paws before you start clipping her claws. Because you only want to take the tip off, if you’ve got a struggling cat, you could cut too much off of her claws and hurt her, or you could end up doing worse. There has to be a certain level of trust and comfort before you try trimming cats’ claws.
If you can’t get all of her claws at once, don’t worry. Trim as many as she’ll allow, and then give her treats. Repeat the process later, until you’ve trimmed all of her claws. If this is just too much for you, and you don’t feel you can safely do this, then you can call your vet or a groomer and have them do it for you.
The bottom line is that trimming cats’ claws doesn’t just protect you and your house, it protects your cats, too. This is an important part of caring for your cat that you shouldn’t neglect.
Chase and Kali weren’t ordinary kittens for us. When we took them in, they were only three weeks old, and we had no idea whatsoever how to raise young kittens like that. We didn’t know what to look for in terms of worrisome behavior or symptoms, what was normal, or even really how to feed them or calm them down. Raising young kittens like this was a great, amazing learning experience, but it takes commitment, a lot of time and effort, love, and learning how not to be afraid to ask questions.
How did we end up raising young kittens in the first place?
Chase and Kali were strays. It was actually my sister’s neighbor that found them, and she took them in at first because her neighbor couldn’t care for them. My sister couldn’t keep them, because she already had too many pets, so we took them in. As near as we all can figure, their mother was probably hit by a car and killed, leaving her litter all alone.
I didn’t know what I was getting into with raising young kittens like this, so the first thing I did when I picked them up from my sister’s place (and got over the fact that, when they were hungry, they seemed to want to crawl up my nose), was call my vet and say, “Help!” I made an appointment for them to be checked out, but they were too young for blood tests and shots, so our vet recommended we keep them away from our other cats until we were sure they were healthy.
What do you feed kittens that can’t eat solid food?
Once I was home, I told my husband he needed to stop at Petsmart and get kitten milk replacer, or KMR, for them, as per our vet’s recommendation. I made up half a carrier with a heating pad on the lowest setting in just one part of the carrier, and a thick, flannel sheet folded up on top of the heating pad. I figured that would be a good bed for them.
They didn’t think so, though; they wanted to be on me. So I let them be on me while we waited for their milk. They were hungry and squirmy and crying, and I didn’t know what to do for them, but at least they would calm down a little bit if they were allowed to cuddle on me.
When my husband got home with their KMR, he mixed it up and we put it in little bowls for them. They eagerly lapped it up as best they could. We had a bottle-feeding kit, but they’d already been eating off of bowls and saucers for long enough that they wouldn’t drink from the bottle. So we just let them figure out how to drink their KMR on their own. We gave them some wet kitten food, too, just to see how they’d do with it.
What other interesting things do you learn when raising young kittens?
That night, I learned one interesting thing about raising young kittens. Kittens of that age often need an enclosure to feel safe. We didn’t want to put the top half of the carrier on and close them up, but we didn’t know what else to do because we didn’t want them to be able to wander around all night.
We didn’t need to worry. Their reaction to getting closed in the carrier was stunning. As soon as the door was shut, they passed out. They were exhausted little kittens.
We took turns sleeping on the couch in the living room for the next two weeks, so they would never be left alone, and we could feed them and let them out as needed.
That was just my first day of raising young kittens. Over the next few weeks, the amount of stuff that we both learned about cats and kittens was amazing. I learned, for instance, that Chase and Kali were looking at the laser pointer, at toys, even at bugs that got in the house with confusion because they were just barely at the age where kittens start learning to play.
The problem with flea treatments and anti-parasitics
I also learned (thankfully not the hard way) that raising young kittens involves knowing what you can and cannot give them in terms of medication and flea treatments. They had fleas. We couldn’t bathe them with flea shampoo, and we couldn’t put Frontline or Revolution on them. These products are dangerous, even deadly, for kittens that young. We got Revolution for our two adult cats, but all we could do for these two was bathe them in warm water with baby shampoo (you can use blue Dawn, too), and pull the fleas off of them with a flea comb as we saw them run to their faces.
We also vacuumed every day and changed their bedding twice a day. Fortunately, that, plus the Revolution on Aria and Gizmo, kept a potential flea infestation at bay, and we were eventually able to get half-doses of Revolution for them at the vet’s office. All flea medication, flea dips, and flea shampoos—basically, all anti-parasitics—are very dangerous for young kittens. Call your vet and make an appointment to handle fleas, ticks, ear mites, etc., if you have to. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.
Litter box training is a vital part of raising young kittens
Of course, an important part of raising young kittens is litter box training. We first started litter box training Chase and Kali with a thick layer of paper towels, which was changed frequently, in a box. They’d found a corner of the living room carpet to use, which we didn’t like, so we blotted up their little puddles, and put those paper towels into the box we wanted them to use. Amazingly enough, that was all it took to tell them where the “bathroom” was. Just that one time.
As far as teaching them to use real litter, when raising young kittens, it’s important to remember that they’re exactly like children and they will try to eat anything and everything. That includes litter, so clumping litter is not a good idea for them. We just got regular clay, non-clumping litter, and a box with a ramp so they could easily climb into it.
We thought their tummies were round because they had worms, even though their stool samples had shown no evidence of that. It turns out that their tummies were round because they were holding their bowel movements as much as possible. Yes, they had had bowel movements, but only when they couldn’t hold it anymore.
What were they doing? They were waiting for something that would allow them to dig and bury. As soon as we gave them a proper litter box and put them inside it, they dug, squatted, and went. And then they buried it. It was amazing.
Raising young kittens isn’t always this easy, or full of joy
This isn’t everything we learned from raising young kittens. They were a journey, and raising young kittens can be a wonderful journey and learning experience, but it can also be difficult, and even heartbreaking. We’re lucky. Chase and Kali were healthy, and we were able to work our schedules so that someone was almost always home with them, able to feed them on schedule, and able to watch them all the time.
Sometimes, young kittens don’t survive, even when they’ve got their mother there to raise them. That’s difficult. I knew that, and the number of times I’d wake up in the middle of the night, or pick up my cell phone at work, and be dead certain that they’d died, was off the charts. And every time I was relieved to find that wasn’t the case. Not everyone who’s raising young kittens is that lucky.
Today, Chase and Kali are seven years old, and they’re still both healthy and happy cats. This is an experience I’d never trade for anything, even if it didn’t have such a happy ending.
Cats are silly. Cats are cute. Cats seem to love doing things that make us say, “Awwwww.” Cats carry things around in their mouths, which looks funny and makes us laugh. One thing that I’ve written about before is Chase’s penchant for carrying my hair ties around in his mouth. He also cries loudly for me, which he does, I think, because he knows I’ll come to where he is (he used to bring the hair ties right to my feet, but doesn’t do that anymore). What happens when he can’t find a hair tie, though?
It’s funny when my cats carry things around
He makes do with something else, like an old foam ball toy, or one of our hand wraps. He’s been known to carry a small, rolled up ACE bandage around like this, too. I have had so much trouble catching him on video carrying something around in his mouth, but I was recently successful. I found him at the top of the stairs with an old ball in his mouth, and he didn’t seem to want to drop it. Watch the video below:
Why do cats carry things around?
Cats carry things around like this for various reasons, which usually boil down to bringing us a gift, or finding a suitable place to hide or bury their prey. For example, one of Chase’s favorite toys is a mousie attached to a string, which is attached to a stick. It’s a homemade wand toy. He loves catching the mousie in his mouth, and then walking off with it. Where does he take it? Usually to a pair of my boots, where he then “buries” it.
Cats are only partly domesticated, but even fully domesticated, they would still be creatures of instinct. Carrying things around and looking for suitable places for them, or delivering them to the “alpha” of their home, are catering to the more wild parts of their instincts. Cats carry things around because it caters to their instincts. In short, they do it because it they’re cats.
Do you ever hand wrestle with your cat? Rub her belly until she curls around your hand, for instance, or tickle her hind legs until she playfully nips at you? Do you run your hand over the carpet like it’s a toy, and then play until she gets too feisty? Hand wrestling cats is fun, and nearly impossible to stop doing, even if you know it’s not the wisest idea on the planet.
My own sordid history with hand wrestling cats
I love hand wrestling with Chase and Kali. When they were tiny kittens, they had tiny needle claws and teeth, but they weren’t big enough to really do much more than scratch the top two layers of skin. I hand wrestled with them all the time because they were too cute not to.
As they grew, and as with every other instance of hand wrestling cats in my life, I found that they could actually injure me. Their teeth got bigger, their jaws got stronger, their claws got thicker and sharper, their paws got stronger. All the usual things that happen when kittens grow up.
Fortunately, they don’t bite very hard. Kali has only broken my skin once with a bite, and that was when I was trying to give her a pill and she was just not having it (we use pill pockets for medication now). Usually, though, she barely puts any pressure behind her bite.
Chase is even gentler; his teeth barely touch me. When I hand wrestle him, he goes to nip, and he goes to bite, but his teeth barely ever touch me. He almost “bites” with his lips only. It’s like he knows he’d be biting the hand that feeds him if he actually bit me.
Their claws, though? Those are another story. I do trim them sometimes, but there’s no stopping cats from using their claws. Even when you’re playfully hand wrestling cats, the claws will come out. It’s just how they are. If those claws are in any way sharp, they’ll cut you.
Okay, so this is foot wrestling.
This is why hand wrestling cats is not a good idea
If you’re like me, you’re very familiar with dealing with cat scratches, but they can cause problems. So can bites that break the skin. Even when they’re indoor-only, hand wrestling cats is a bad idea for these two reasons.
Cat scratch fever
Cat scratch fever is a real bacterial infection that you can get when your cat scratches you hard enough to break skin, or when she licks an open wound.
Fortunately, this bacteria doesn’t spread very easily. Your cat has to fight with an infected cat, or get the bacteria through fleas. If your cats are indoor-only and don’t have fleas, then your risk of contracting cat scratch fever is low. It’s not gone, but it’s lower than it would be if your cats went outside. However, because scratches are open wounds, hand wrestling cats can make you more susceptible to other infections, too.
Cat bites, on the other hand, can be much, much worse. Cats carry a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and when they bite hard enough to break your skin, it’s like they’re just injecting all that bacteria right into you. Furthermore, these are small puncture wounds that tend to be much deeper than typical scratches, and they seal quickly, which traps that bacteria inside.
Both cat bites and cat scratches can cause cellulitis, which is a painful, deep-tissue infection that can spread quickly throughout your body. Symptoms include redness that spreads, pain, tenderness, swelling, warmth, fever, red spots, and skin dimpling. It’s important that you see your doctor, or go to the ER, as soon as possible if you ever experience any of these symptoms following a scratch or a bite.
I really need to take my own advice regarding hand wrestling cats, because honestly, I’ve been lucky so far. Even the one time Kali bit me hard enough to break my skin, while I was trying to give her a pill, only caused a very minor, localized infection that was easily treated. That situation could have been much worse.
If you’re like me and you like hand wrestling cats, try your best to stop. I know that I’m working to stop. It’s best to use toys to play, because then you don’t have to worry about how rough and feisty they get.
There is a certain disease that cats can get that’s very similar to HIV in humans. In fact, it’s so similar it’s called feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Like HIV does in humans, FIV in cats compromises the immune system. However, there’s no reason to fear that FIV is a death sentence for every cat in your house. It’s not even an automatic, quick death sentence for your FIV-positive cat.
Admittedly, I have no experience with FIV. All of my cats, despite having been strays at one point, never contracted FIV or FeLV (although we did have a cat with FeLV when I was little). FIV is a “slow virus,” meaning it multiplies slowly and takes a long time to start causing symptoms. It’s important to note that you can’t catch FIV from your cat and have it turn into HIV, and your cat can’t catch HIV from you and have it turn into FIV, despite the similarities between the two viruses.
Where in the world do you find FIV in cats?
FIV in cats happens throughout the world, but in some places more than others. Here in the U.S., it occurs in about 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the feline population (although infection rates may be as high as 15 percent in some places). It’s most common in free-roaming, aggressive male cats. Most of these cats will be feral, but some will be stray, and a few will be owned. Indoor-only cats are far less likely to find themselves exposed to the virus than outdoor and indoor-outdoor cats.
What do you do if you have an FIV-positive cat, and other healthy cats?
Do you have to separate them now, or get rid of your FIV-positive kitty, no matter how much you love her and your other cats? Worse, do you now have to have her put down?
No, no, and no. Unlike the ease of transmission with FeLV, FIV is transmitted mostly through bites. So if you have multiple cats, but they all live well together and don’t fight, you shouldn’t have to worry about FIV spreading in your house.
FIV in cats is also slow enough that, provided you keep your FIV-positive cat inside and take all reasonable precautions to avoid common infections, she can have a near-normal to normal life expectancy, with a normal quality of life. Unless she gets sick enough, without much hope for recovery, euthanasia isn’t necessary for FIV in cats, despite some vets’ recommendations.
Is there any treatment or cure for FIV in cats?
There is currently no known medical treatment for FIV in cats. However, keeping them indoors, having them spayed or neutered, feeding them nutritionally-balanced (preferably species-appropriate) diets, and taking them to the vet every six months for checkups are all vital to keeping FIV-positive cats as healthy and happy as possible.
If you suspect your cat is sick, whether you think it’s FIV or anything else, please consult with your vet. It’s also important that you ask your vet for as much information as possible about FIV, should you receive that diagnosis.
A tiny kitten weighing less than two pounds was dyed purple, and brought to a rescue with multiple puncture wounds and lacerations. The Nine Lives Foundation took the tiny, malnourished and injured purple kitten in, and said it looked like the poor thing had been used as a chew toy in dogfight training. Unfortunately, it’s very common for people who run dogfighting rings to use kittens as bait. It’s also sick.
This poor, purple kitten was found alone in a box
CNN reports that someone found the purple kitten in a cardboard box, with lemon slices and rags, on a street in San Jose. They brought the little, abused kitten to the San Jose Animal Shelter, which took him over to Nine Lives. Veterinarian Monica Rudiger said that his injuries were consistent with being used as a dog’s chew toy.
“I don’t know what happened to him, but my best guess is that he was used as a chew toy. We have a cat with multiple puncture wounds and abrasions. He can’t tell us what happened to him, but I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen kittens be used as bait and chew toys for other animals. It makes sense to me.”
She shaved the purple kitten’s fur off, but his skin is also dyed purple. Rudiger believes that whoever did this used an undiluted garment dye, and thinks he may be purple for a very long time, if not the rest of his life.
Dogfighting may be illegal, but it still happens and isn’t punished harshly enough
Dogfighting is illegal, but secretive, and it’s hard to find and break up a dogfighting ring. Infamous football player Michael Vick was caught running such a ring, but only because law enforcement stumbled upon it while investigating something else. The federal government charged Vick, but that’s highly unusual in cases like this.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to make animal fighting easier to prosecute and punishable with stronger penalties than those that currently exist. Fighting is one of the worst forms of animal abuse, and this purple kitten is evidence of that.
The purple kitten, named Smurf due to his color, has received dozens of offers for adoption, and while he’s on the mend, it will be quite awhile before he’s fit to be adopted out. He’ll always bear the scars of what’s happened to him, and nobody can say for sure just how well he’ll recover. Watch a video of the kitten below, via Nine Lives’ Facebook page:
SMURF update! Today SMURF was playing with his 2 new friends, feeling so much better! Thank you to everyone who has…
One problem that we cat parents can run into is our cats eating too fast. You might not think this is that much of a problem if you’ve never experienced it, but for many of us, our cats eat too fast and then vomit right after they’re done eating. If they’re free fed, they might just go back and eat again, but if they’re not, then they’ll be hungry until their next mealtime. Plus, frequent vomiting is not healthy. How do you get your cat to slow down her eating?
We have a problem with one of our cats eating too fast
When we free-fed our cats, Aria had a bad, bad habit of gorging until she threw up, and then she’d go right back to gorging. We had to pull her away from the food bowl sometimes to get her to stop gorging and let the food she had in her stomach settle down a little.
She was less able to do that when we put them on a feeding schedule, but even on a raw food diet, she still manages to do it. Cleaning up slightly used raw cat food is not the most pleasant experience in the world, plus, this isn’t good for her. We’ve often wondered what we can do to slow down her eating.
If you have cats eating too fast, there are ways to stop it
Feed your cats smaller meals more frequently, or consider getting a slow feeder. Feeding small meals has two effects. The first is obvious: She can’t eat too fast now. The second is weight control. If you feed her on a schedule, you can better control her calorie intake and thus, her weight. Slow feeders can help to accomplish this, too.
Spread your cat’s food over a larger area, like a tray, instead of a bowl. This makes it so she has to slow down as she moves around the tray to get the food.
You can also soak dry food in water to make it expand, because that’s what happens in your cat’s stomach. If the food has already expanded, then not only will she eat less of it and be less likely to vomit right afterward, but it won’t be able to further expand in her stomach.
One other thing you can do is buy a feeder ball and make her play to get her food. This slows down her eating a lot, and also gives her exercise.
Here’s how we stopped Aria from eating too fast
We split Aria’s food into two bowls, so she has to look for the second portion of her meal. This gives her a chance to start digesting the first half, and makes her feel fuller so she eats the second half a little slower. So far, she hasn’t vomited up an entire meal because she ate too quickly again.
If you’ve got cats eating too fast, try these things to get them to slow down. Cats eating too fast isn’t healthy for them, and you yourself have got to be sick of cleaning up after them for it.