Monday, February 27, 2012

Memories with Janelle

Here's a good memory, here's a video from June 13, 2011 - this was my third day having her as a pet. Here's me talking about my cat and me :) Lots of information.

How To Clean a Litter Box

How To Clean A Litter Box:

Here are the steps to take in cleaning your cat's litter box, this should be done once a day.

1) Get two plastic bags. They can be grocery bags. Take one plastic bag and put it inside of the other plastic bag. This is so that if the litter rips against the inner plastic bag there is still the outer plastic bag and the litter won't go all over the place.

2) Invest in a scooper that is great at sifting through the litter. You want to use the scooper to dig into the litter and then shake it from side to side so that all the excess litter gets out and all you are left with is the poop and urine clumps.

3) You want to continue to do this until there is no more poop and urine clumps within the litter box.

4) You take the two plastic bags and tie them up and then throw them on the back porch or go straight to the garbage can and do it that way, just make sure it isn't in the house because that will stink up the house.

5) Wash your hands, I can't stress enough how important it is to wash your hands.

Nine out of ten times your cat will use the litter box immediately after you clean it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cat Litter Annoyance

There needs to be a way for cat litter to be disposed of in a more eco-friendly way as well as a more pocket-friendly way.

As of right now we purchase the PETCo brand cat litter that is refillable and it clumps and it doesn't do much for de-odorizing, but the fact that it clumps is wonderful, but when it is time to clean out her poop and pee for the day with the little scooper - I scoop all the droppings into two plastic bags (grocery store bags usually) and tie it up and then throw it on the back porch.

Eventually the bags will pile up on the back porch and Dennis will take them all out to the dumpster.

There really needs to be a better way to do this. I have heard of flushable litter, but that hasn't gotten many good reviews and I have heard it really messes up the piping. So, it would be great if there was a cat litter out there that would clump as well as decompose itself as in, you could just throw it out into the background and it would all just take care of itself.

I'll look into it and report my findings.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

All she wants to do is meow

Janelle the cat has a new favorite hobby: meowing.

She has always meowed, but lately it is getting a bit ridiculous.

I will be upstairs laying in bed or just upstairs on my laptop and I'll hear from the bottom of the stairs a long MEEEEOWWWWW. I'll scream "WHAT?" and this will just continue. She will meow, meow, meow and meow. I will shake a bag of cat treats which will get her to come upstairs, but after she gets her treat she goes back downstairs and meows.

Another instance is when I leave. When my boyfriend and I just leave for two seconds to maybe go put the laundry in the dryer or washer (less than 100 feet away) we will walk back to the house and hear MEOW MEOW MEOW MEOW from the outside. We wonder if when anyone walks by our house when we aren't home that they can just hear her meowing all the time.

Sometimes she will just start meowing randomly and I go downstairs and look and just see her staring back at me.

Sometimes it concerns us, because we are good cat owners. We will be watching a movie and all of a sudden we hear MMEEEEOOWWWW, and we want to go see what's up, and usually she is fine.

The other day last week for a photo project Dennis had to do for class he took pictures of me on the back porch, Janelle was inside, behind the door which has glass so she can see where I am, and she kept meowing. She was staring at us and knew we were right there, but she just kept meowing and meowing and meowing.

When we are opening cans of food or eating it's normal for her to meow and when we come home and she is greeting us or when she is hungry, but this random meowing throughout the day is really getting a bit ridiculous. I can predict though that the reason behind her meowing isn't too serious - she is probably just seeking more attention, even though she always gets attention, but we will see how this progresses.

Here's a video to show you what I mean:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Clipping your cat's nails

Clipping your cats nails can be an extremely difficult process. The first time my boyfriend and roommate tried to clip Janelle's nails they tried wrapping her up in a blanket like a kitty burrito and doing it that way, but she ended up slicing through Dennis' shirt and causing him to bleed. It was not a fun experience. Since then we have figured out a way to make it easier to clip her nails, sometimes she is compliant and sometimes she will still put up a fight, but here's some tips on clipping your cats nails:

You want to make your cat comfortable with you touching her paws. So play with her paws sometimes and practice just holding her hand. Press down on the little pads on her paws so that her nails become visible, make it so she gets comfortable with you holding her paws and knows that she's not in danger.

Make sure you have treats readily available, to try and coax your cat into letting her nails be clipped give her treats between every nail getting clipped.

It is going to be a process, you cannot clip your cat's nails all at once in one sitting unless you have a really relaxed cat, but I know that my cat is not like that at all. Do one paw at a time, and then take a break and then resume.

When you go to do the first clip make sure you don't clip the "quick." The quick is the red part and if you clip that part there will be blood and your cat probably won't trust you the next time you try to clip her nails. So, take her paw and push on the pad so that the nails come out.

Next you want to be fast with this. Take the clippers and as quick as you can clip the nail. She may not be cooperative after the first one, she may start to try to bite your hand or try to scratch you, but offer her a treat and she'll most probably be a bit more compliant, or she'll run away.

The process of clipping the cat's nails will probably take half an hour or more, depending on the cat. If your cat is really skiddish you may need to hold her down, clipping the cat's nails is usually better if there are two people involved. One person holding the cat and giving the cat treats and the other person doing the actual clipping of the nails.

You should clip the cat's nails every week or so. Some people are against clipping nails, but it's better than getting a cat declawed - which is considered amputation!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cleaning your cat: waterless shampoo

Regardless if you have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, your cat will get dirty. Cats spend a lot of time licking themselves, but their saliva alone cannot kill all the germs that can accumulate on their fur. My roommate Craig would give my cat baths without me knowing, I'd come home and she'd be soaking wet and all sad. He wouldn't use any soap because we don't have any cat-friendly soap.

So, I came across this product called Pet Head and it was waterless shampoo. It was on sale at PetCo for $4, and I was there anyway picking up cat litter and food - so I thought why not try this product!

Even though it is waterless, the cat doesn't like it any better, but it is easier. You squirt a bit into your hand and it comes out as a foam. The type I got was scented as peach and when I put my foam filled hand to Janelle's fur she ran away. It took me about seven squirts and three tries to actually massage the stuff into her fur and have it actually clean her. It says that it is good "between washes," but I think that this could basically be used as a substitute if someone didn't want to wash their cat. It markets itself as being "No Rinse, perfect for frisky cats."

However, if your cat has some claws you may not have as easy a time. Taking care of your cats claws will be the next blog topic of discussion.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cats and Human Food

Cats are not like dogs, and when I first got Janelle I was so over protective. I went to all sorts of cat web sites and looked at all the human food that was dangerous to her and tried to keep her away from it, I soon realized that if she only had one lick or bite of something it wouldn't kill her, but I was rather annoyed when I found out my boyfriend tried giving my cat beer when I was away - but what is more common from Janelle is for her to beg for food.

Whenever someone gets any food, even if she has no interest in it, she will climb up to that person and bat at them relentlessly. She will try to take anything off your plate just so she can bite it, play with it or eventually eat it.

If I go into the kitchen and take out a can of anything she will automatically assume it is a can of cat food for her and starts meowing relentlessly. She will meow and meow and meow when someone is making a tuna sandwich, the trick is to not give her any. She will harass me the most because I am the one who feeds her her own food so she can always try to get me to give her some of my food. That's probably why she is gaining so much weight.

Here are five foods that you should definitely keep your cat away from (knowledge I picked up from various internet searches over the past 8 months):

1) Onions - Onions are very bad for cats, I read on Pet Safety that onions contain a substance that destroys red blood cells and can cause anemia within cats! Garlic also contains that substance, but to a lesser degree.

2) Chocolate - Vet Medicine on talks about the toxicity of chocolate for cats and dogs. And Cat World talks about how chocolate acts as a diuretic to cats and can drain them of their fluids, the caffeine in chocolate can cause their hearts to race very fast and that's not good, and they could go into a coma, have a seizure or even die.

3) Grapes / Raisins - Cats can bat around grapes on the floor and play with them, but if a cat eats a grape or raisin they can get severe kidney damage, according to Cat World.

4) Sugar - Sugar isn't exactly a food, but it is in food. It can lead to obesity in your cat so you should definitely keep your cat away from anything that has a lot of sugar.

5) Dairy Products - As kittens cats can digest milk, but as they get older they can't digest lactose as well. Dennis and I will let Janelle drink the milk from our cereal that is left over, but we try to only let that happen a couple times a week or less. Milk and cheese can cause diarrhea and even vomiting, so maybe now and then give a little bit, but don't make it a habit.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Choosing the right cat food

It may seem simple, you go into PetCo and pick out some cat food that is reasonably priced, but for the longevity of your furry friend it's important to read labels and find out which cat food is the best.

When we brought Janelle home from the shelter they gave us a bag of "Science Diet" cat food. We noticed that she was going to the bathroom a lot and then we read the label. Science Diet claims to be number one recommended by vets, but it contains stuff that isn't good for cats. The first ingredient is chicken byproduct. The word "byproduct" in itself suggests that it would be something gross. What is chicken byproduct? Chicken byproduct is the heads,bones, feet, lungs, intestines, liver, etc. It is basically the stuff that we humans choose not to eat. The stuff is really just a filler for cats and doesn't have any true benefits for them. Another ingredient that Science Diet includes is corn, it may not be "common knowledge," but cat owners that are educated about the well being of their cats would know that corn is not something that cats should be consuming. It's just not healthy and it makes the cats go to the bathroom more.

The pet stores have all sorts of different cat food for those who need to lose weight, those with hairball issues, etc. I did a lot of searching at PetCo to find the perfect fit for my cat. The L.I.D brand (Limited Ingredient Diet) was a good one for a little while, my cat liked it a lot, but it was a bit expensive. Blue Buffalo claims to be the best with all natural products, but it is so expensive.

I choose Purina One Beyond. All the ingredients are natural and even the packaging is made out of recycled materials. A six pound bag can go for around $13 which is a really great deal. The flavor of choice that my cat loves the most is the Salmon flavor. It has brown rice as well which is good for cats and the first ingredient is salmon, real salmon, not any chicken byproduct or corn meal. Here is the list of ingredients in its entirety, taken from the web site:

"Salmon, chicken meal, whole brown rice, soybean meal, whole barley, whole oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soy protein isolate, brewers dried yeast, dried egg product, dried beet pulp, natural flavor, fish oil, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, whole cranberries, caramel color, dried tomatoes, dried spinach, salt, potassium chloride, taurine, choline chloride, calcium phosphate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite."

Always make sure to feed the cat the right amount. A cat that is 5 to 9 pounds should get 1/3 - 2/3 a cup twice a day, whereas a cat that is over 10 pounds can handle 1/2 cup to an entire cup twice a day. Make sure to always measure it out and to not just assume, luckily the shelter gave me a measuring cup so that I can make sure she eats the appropriate amount. She has gained some weight, but that's probably due to the treats she gets and when she gets human food (We will discuss cats and human food in the next blog post).