Saturday, February 23, 2013

Kitty Tube Insulated Cat House



Keep your outdoor cats safe from wind, rain, hail, extreme heat and cold with a kitty tube cat house.  This tube will provide your cat with a comfortable outdoor resting place. The interior is roomy; three cats can sleep comfortably.  
If you are providing your indoor/ outdoor cat with a kitty tube cat house then set it up on your porch, patio, or deck.  However  if you intend to provide stray or feral cats with an outdoor cat house then you will need to choose an area that is away from human traffic.   

A good location for the kitty tube would be behind evergreen shrubs or tucked under bamboo or ornamental grass.  Any location that is quite and hidden is ideal for a feral cat house.


If you reside in an area that gets snow and heavy rain then elevate the kitty tube. 

The higher elevation protects the cat and bedding from water drainage and snow.   If you do not have higher ground then build a platform base of cement blocks and then set plywood that is an inch thick on top of the cement block.  



Tips:

The kitty tube comes with a thermal pad.  Feral cats are more accustomed to straw than they are to a thermal pad. They prefer to burrow into straw and then sleep.  I removed the pad and gave it to my indoor cats.  I then filled the kitty tube with straw.  Feral cats tend to mark the straw.  You will need to check the straw bedding and if it soiled then remove and add fresh straw to the cat house.


Secure the kitty tube with bungee cords.  This will protect the cat house from being uplifted when there is a strong wind.


The door design on the kitty tube provides easy passage for your cat and keeps predators out. 


The tube is a safe and secure place for outdoor cats to give birth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Training Cat to Use Scratching Post


Cats that are not accustomed to using a scratching post will pass it by because their scent is not on it.  Get your cat to use the post with repetitive training, tasty treats and cat pleasing scents. 

Choosing a Scratching Post
Determine what type of scratching post would appeal to your cat. Look for clues by examining your cat’s favorite scratching spots.  For cats that scratch the carpet get flat floor type like the kitty scratching lounge. If your cat prefers the side of your sofa or the wood trim on your wall than an upright post would appeal to your cat. 


Setting up Post 
Location matters to your cat.  It is best to set up the scratching product in an area that your cat frequents.  If you cat hangs out in the living room most of the day then set the scratcher there, if your cat has a few hang outs then buy more than one scratching post so your cat will be able to scratch as needed. Assessable scratching posts are the key to training your cat.


Training Cat to Scratch 
Make the scratching post more inviting by setting cat toys next to it.  When you do this the cat will be more accepting to the post.  Attract your cat to scratch by tossing some tasty treats around the post, setting up cat toys around the base of the post and spraying the entire scratching area with liquid catnip. Be generous with the catnip training product. 

Keep your cat close to the post by making the area positive and fun.  Play with your cat with the da bird a life like bird on a stick that all cats love.  Run the bird up and around the scratching post.  Your cat will then instinctively jump up on the post and mark the post with their scent.

What Works - Doesn’t Work
Many people train by putting the cat’s paws on the post.  I tried this and it did not work, my cats hissed at me and ran away.  Cats are smart they know what to do; they will scratch on the post when they are good and ready.  If they have never used a post then they will take their sweet time in getting use to it.  Training with catnip works as the cat will rub their body on the side of the post, they may rub their head on it too.  They are marking the scratcher with their scent.  If your cat hangs out to sniff the catnip then they will naturally scratch.   

Notes:

Watch your cat for inappropriate scratching.   If your cat goes to file their nails on the carpet or your favorite wicker chair  then pick up your cat and bring them back to their scratching post.

Some people do not think that training their cat to use a scratching post is worth the effort and will opt to have the cats claws surgically removed.  

I do not recommend declawing a cat as it is very painful and can cause the cat to have improper balance and behavior problems including biting.    

One of my rescued cats was declawed.  She was left in the woods by my home. She could not climb a tree for safety, fend off predators or hunt for food.   As a result of the declawing she cannot jump on the sofa.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Choose a Healthy Cat - Adoption Tips



When it comes time to adopt a new cat you will want to choose a healthy cat that has a friendly behavior towards humans.  

 Make a point to spend time with the cat before you adopt them to look carefully at the cat and to examine them for specific health concerns. 

Choose a cat that is outgoing and friendly with people.  A cat that comes to you and rubs on you is a people friendly cat. A cat that runs and hides or hisses at you is afraid of you.  

 Newly socialized feral kittens will hide from you or they will hiss at you.  Even though feral kittens have been socialized they need time to acclimate to their new surroundings and may hiss or hide out of fear of you and their new surroundings.

Check the cats general health do this by looking at the cat’s ears to make sure there is no black discharge or staining on the inside of the ears.  The staining on the ear is a sign that the cat has ear- mites.  If you are adopting an outdoor cat or a feral kitten then this is normal considering that they live outdoors.  

Open up the cat’s mouth if you are able to do so to check their teeth and gums.  Look for pink gums with no evidence of ulcers or loose teeth.

Look at the cats eyes; make sure that they are clear with not tear stains.  Then look at the cat’s nostrils to make sure they are clean with no nasal drainage.  If the cat has a runny nose or is tearing then this is a sign that the cat may have feline herpes or an upper respiratory infection.

A healthy cat will have a shiny coat with no thinning of the hair or bald spots.  If you note that the cat has dry flaky skin that looks like dandruff then this is a sign that the cat has external parasites, or a thyroid condition.  If you are adopting a feral kitten or an abandoned cat that lived outdoors then external and internal parasites are expected. This condition can be remedied by taking the cat to veterinarians for parasite treatment for cat and kittens.  

If possible check the cat’s feces to make sure that stool are well-formed and that there are no white specks. White specks are a sign of tapeworms. 

Adopt a kitten when it is 8 weeks old and has been weaned from its mother, not taken away from its mother and forced to eat solid food at a younger age.  Kittens need their mother’s mild to build a strong immunity. When the kitten is weaned from the mother cat it is ready to be adopted. 

Interview the adopter to find out about the health of the cat, booster vaccinations, ask to see the veterinarians wellness check-up, inquire about the cat food and if the cat was treated for tapeworms or other parasites. 

Before adopting an adult cat ask if the cat was tested for Feline Leukemia, Feline immunodeficiency virus, and Feline herpes.  Find out if vaccines are current and if the cat has been spayed or neutered.  Ask to see the veterinarian’s wellness exam on the cat and inquire about the type of food the cat eats as well as internal and external parasite treatments.

Tips:
I use revolution topical treatment for every cat that comes through our shelter doors. Revolution kills adult fleas and flea eggs and ear mites. It also prevents heartworms, hookworms and roundworm parasites in cats.  .   

Get your home ready for a new cat by treating your home with diatomaceous earth food grade to kill fleas, ticks, lice, mites and other home pests safely without being harmful to your family or other pets.  Treat your home before you bring home your new cat.