Monthly Archives: September 2017

Information on Extreme Cat Urine Cleaners

Cat toilet training in easy steps:

Toilet training your cat is an easier task than you might think. Several techniques can be used for training your cat to use the toilet, and you can even buy products that will assist you in toilet training a cat.

The advantages of cat toilet training:

Teaching your cat to use the toilet can hold several advantages for any cat owner. The biggest advantage of having your cat use a toilet is that eliminates most of the disadvantages that using cat litter holds. Cat litter is expensive. After toilet training your cat, you won’t ever need to buy cat litter again. Cat litter boxes needs to be cleaned regularly or they will become smelly. With cat toilet training, the water in the toilet masks most of the offending smell and all you need to do is flush regularly – much simpler and easier than cleaning a litter box. Going away for weekends or holidays also becomes easier for your neighbor – instead of asking someone to clean out the litter box, all they need to do is flush your toilet once in a while (when they come around to water your plants and feed your cat).

How to toilet train a cat (do it yourself):

Toilet training your cat depends entirely on the cat’s personality. Toilet training sociable cats that love being praised make the training task much easier. You might want to adapt the toilet training technique described below to fit your cat’s personality. Training your cat to use the toilet can take anything between 2 weeks up to 3 months, depending on the individual cat’s personality.

Cat toilet training basically consists of a simple procedure: gradually moving your cat’s litter box closer and closer to the toilet, finally placing a bowl with cat litter inside the toilet, and removing it altogether when your cat is comfortable and used to it. Toilet training a cat is a gradual, step-by-step process, consisting of making small changes to the location of the litter box and only continuing to the next step when your cat is entirely comfortable with its current situation. You might have to wait anything between 2 days or 3 weeks before moving on a next step in cat toilet training. You might even have to go back a step once or twice when it turns out that your cat wasn’t ready to move on to the next toilet training step. Beware – cat toilet training takes a lot of patience!

Cat toilet training steps:

1. Start gradually moving your cat’s litter box nearer to the toilet until finally it should be next to the toilet. Ensure that your cat is always comfortable and sure of its litter box’s location.

2. Now start elevating the cat’s litter box. Put something non-slippery like newspapers or cardboard underneath the litter box. A normal rate to increase the height of the litter box would be about 5cm a day, but be very attentive to signs that your cat is not comfortable with the current height, and adjust the pace of raising the litter box accordingly. The cat litter box should be raised until it is at a level height with the toilet bowl. Throughout this process it is very important to keep the toilet lid open and the seat down, because your cat will get used to it and might even start climbing on the toilet seat in order to reach its litter box.

3. Move the litter box to rest on the open toilet seat. Keep it there until your cat seems comfortable with this arrangement.

4. Buy a metal bowl or tray that will fit snugly inside the toilet bowl. It would be advisable for the metal bowl to have small draining holes. Fill the bowl with cat litter (preferably the flushable type). Now remove your cat’s litter box entirely. If you have reached this step successfully you are very close to having a toilet trained cat!

5. While your cat is using the metal bowl inside the toilet, be attentive to where its paws are. The goal is teaching him to squat with all four paws on the toilet seat rim. You can move the cat while it is using the toilet and praise it (or reward it) when it is sitting in the correct position. Normally the cat will first sit entirely inside the metal bowl, then with front paws on the toilet seat, and finally it should sit with all four paws on the toilet.

6. Start using less and less cat litter. This can get smelly, so be sure to clean the bowl after every time your cat uses it. Cats scratch in sand or cat litter to cover up the smell (this is out of instinct), so if the bowl becomes too smelly your cat won’t be comfortable using it (and you probably wouldn’t be comfortable with using your toilet either). Using flushable cat litter makes cleaning the bowl very easy – just throw out the contents in the toilet and flush down, rinse out the bowl, refill with correct amount of cat litter and replace. A handy tip is to place newspaper on the floor around the toilet to help keep the room clean should your cat scratch in the cat litter. Decrease the amount of cat litter in a pace that your cat feels comfortable with.

7. When you basically don’t use any cat litter inside the bowl anymore, start gradually filling the bowl with water. The water will also help mask the smell so your cat will be more comfortable using the toilet. Be attentive to your cat’s behavior through this whole process – if your cat stops using the bowl inside the toilet, you may be moving on too fast and might need to go back a couple of steps.

8. When the water level in the bowl has reached about 4cm and your cat has no problem using it, it is time to remove the bowl entirely. Your cat should now be toilet trained. Remember to always leave the toilet seat up and flush regularly!

Products to assist you in toilet training your cat:

There are several cat toilet training kits available on the market. They basically consist of a tray that fits inside the toilet, and with a hole in the middle that you can gradually make bigger. When choosing a cat toilet training kit, ensure that you buy quality. The cat training kit should not be flimsy and should be able to support your cat’s weight even when the hole becomes large. Be aware of cheap, flimsy products you buy at toy stores or pet stores, because if your cat falls in, it might loose interest in toilet training completely.

The disadvantages in toilet training your cat:

Not everyone agrees that cat toilet training is such a great idea. They argue that it is unnatural for a cat to use a toilet, as it goes against their natural instincts to cover up their smell. Toilet seats can also be slippery and there might be the risk of your cat injuring itself. Even if your cat doesn’t fall in at all, he may become anxious whenever he uses the toilet and going to the toilet can become an unpleasant task.

A litter box also has the health benefit in that you can easier monitor your cat’s urine for signs of infections or sickness.

Moving locations will also be harder for the cat, because a litter box can be moved easily but the cat will first need to get used to using the new toilet. With some cats this is no problem and they can become comfortable with the new toilet very fast, while other cats might be less adaptable.

Why Is Your Cat Overweight

Food

Dry food has been a recommended staple diet for cats by many experts for a number of years. It is an easy option to leave a bowl of dry food out constantly; something that cannot be done with tinned food. Unfortunately though, it’s not a natural food source and has been developed by humans using many additives and un-natural products. Cats, like humans, will eat until they fill themselves up. However, dry food has many more calories and carbohydrates than a natural food source, which leads to the cat taking in far more than necessary just to feel full-up. Many owners assume that their cat is just greedy, but in many cases it is not the quantity of food being eaten, it is the quality.

Naturally, cats are obligate carnivores; meaning they only feed on other animals. The cats prey however, are generally herbivorous and have various vegetable and plant matter in their guts. All of which, will be consumed by the cat. Domestic cats have been shown to have longer intestines than wild cats; proving they have evolved over hundreds of years to cope with more plant and vegetable matter (carbohydrates). Still, this is no excuse to turn a carnivore into an omnivore. Rather, supplementing the diet with small amounts of carbohydrates is acceptable.

Many consumers believe that dried food is actually better for cats. The manufacturers have implemented the belief that all these additives such as corn and grains are an important part of a cat’s diet, implying ‘the more the better’ approach. Although very small quantities of these may benefit the cat, too much will be detrimental to their health.

Kidney disease is one of, if not the biggest killer in cats. Kidney disease is usually a result of lack of water and unfortunately, cats have a very low thirst drive. Although they may drink when eating dry food, they will generally only take in half of the liquid necessary for their health. A cat’s prey item consists of around 75% water, canned and raw foods have a similar amount. Dry foods on the other hand usually have a maximum of 10% water content. It is obvious therefore, that canned or raw foods are an absolute must to maintain a healthy cat.

Cats need a high level of protein in their diet which must come from animals. Plant protein differs from meat protein, and should not be substituted. When protein is calculated in canned food, the moisture content must be subtracted from 100 and the protein percentage worked out from the result. For instance, a canned food with 8% protein and 75% water means that the true protein value should be worked out like so:

Non-Moisture Content = 25% so: 8 ÷ 25 x 100 = 32

Therefore: True Protein Value = 32% which is ideal.

The amino acid ‘taurine’ is also an essential part of a cat’s diet, and can only be found in meat products. It is recommended that a quantity of 2000mg/kg or 0.2% should be available in canned food. Other vitamins and minerals should also be included. Preservatives, colouring and added flavours are used more for the customers benefit rather than the cats. If it looks and smells nice to a human, there is a higher chance of them buying it.

There are very few foods on the market which actually have an ideal amount of everything included. Many diets have concentrated on having high a protein and moisture diet with low carbohydrates, but lack in having enough taurine or vitamin B. If this is the case, offering other canned foods on occasion that are better in these areas should be considered. This will also help stop the cat becoming addicted to any 1 food type. Inter-changing the various meats such as beef, chicken and fish will also benefit by offering varying amounts of vitamins, minerals and oils.

Buy quality, not quantity. Most cheap cat foods are cheap for a reason. Avoid buying canned foods that say ‘meat’, ‘by-products’, ‘bone meal’ or ‘animal digest’. Chemical preservatives such as ‘BHA’, ‘BHT’, ‘ethoxyquin’ and ‘propyl gallate’ have been seriously questioned as being detrimental to the health of cats, and should also be avoided. Canned foods are a must for adding much needed calcium into the diet, which is essential for building healthy bones and teeth.

High energy food has been designed for cats with high energy levels. This food will not benefit a cat which sits around all day, in fact in will make the situation worse. High energy foods will not make a less active cat become energetic.

There is a common misconception that canned food is bad for your cat’s teeth, and dry food is good. Unfortunately neither statement is completely true. Neither food types are actually good for the health of teeth. Dry food is hard and crunchy, completely the opposite of what a cat’s teeth are designed to do, which is tear away at meat. I recommend you brush and rinse your cat’s teeth on a regular occasion.

There are two methods to feeding a cat. The first is to leave a bowl of food out all the time. This is obviously done with dry food and not meat. Since we recommend feeding a diet of canned or raw meat, this method is not acceptable and you should opt for the second method. This is to have a feeding regime of 2 to 4 times per day. Feeding this way allows a more controlled amount of food being eaten. You need to decide how many times per day you will feed your cat. The more often the better, but if you are an owner which is out during the day several times a week, it may be better to opt for a twice a day routine. Alternatively, cat feeding dishes which are set on a timer can be purchased and are a good option if you only go out on occasions.

The total amount of canned food your cat should is listed below. It is important to divide this total amount of food up equally among all of its feeds. The chart below is appropriate to cats that are getting their appropriate amount of calorie intake per day, which is approximately 25 calories per pound in weight. This chart is for healthy adult cats weighing approximately 8-10lbs. Not overweight or obese cats.

Type / Age of Cat Weight of Canned Food

2 – 10 Years 200g

Geriatric (10 Years +) 160g

Neutered or Spayed 160g

Inactive or Indoor 160g

Treats

Treats are given to cats for different reasons depending on the owner. Surveys have shown that overweight humans are more likely to have overweight pets. They show that overweight people are unable to control their own weight properly due to lack of will power. They have the same lack of will power when their pets are ‘begging’ for treats.

Treats are often given because it is a way of making the pet feel more welcome. If the owner is out of the house all day, they often make up for it by giving treats. This is the easy way of doing things and totally unhealthy. Rather, making up for it by spending just 5 quality minutes with the pet is far more rewarding. You may decide to simply brush the cat, or you could play with it by throwing a small toy mouse or ball around. Either way, the cat will enjoy being with you more than it will eating a treat, and exercise will aid its health.

Some owners offer treats because they think the cat doesn’t eat enough dinner. The treats are designed and flavoured to be ‘irresistible’ to the cat, and they will eat it whether they are hungry or not. Treats should not be offered for this reason. Providing your cat looks healthy and is the appropriate weight, it will be feeding just fine. If your cat is a poor feeder, they should be tempted by other feeding methods, not with treats.

Higher Risk Cats

Neutered or Spayed

I would like to point out before anything, that the act of neutering or spaying your cat will not make it overweight. Rather, it is how you care for it afterwards that will affect its weight.

A neutered cat loses its desire to ‘roam’ like an ‘intact’ cat would do. They are not as inquisitive and generally get less exercise than intact cats. Because of this, their metabolism is slower than normal by around 20-25%. With a slower metabolism, comes a lower need for calories. A neutered or spayed cat should intake approximately 20% less calories.

Breed

Some breeds of cat are naturally slimmer than other breeds; such as the Siamese and Ornamental Short Hair. These breeds are far better at maintaining a good body condition than larger breeds. Pedigree cats are also generally fitter than non-pedigree individuals.

Age

Cats are most likely to become overweight from about 2 to 12 years of age. Younger cats have a much higher metabolism and are more energetic than older individuals. Older cats often eat far less, and it is more common for geriatric cats to become skinnier rather than heavier.

Indoor Cats

Indoor cats have many factors weighing them down. To start with, the most obvious factor is being indoors all the time. There is little stimulation inside, and they will not get the exercise that an outdoor cat will be able to. Many static toys that are offered to indoor cats become boring. They will soon lose interest in scratching posts and similar toys. Repetitive electronic toys can also become predictable and boring. The most enjoyable form of playing for the cat is to interact with the owner. Waving string around or rolling a small ball around will keep the cat amused for far longer.

Being inside all the time also means more contact with the owner is likely. This usually means more treats are given.

The temperature is an important factor too. An outdoor cat will use more energy and have a higher metabolism simply to maintain its body temperature. Cats living in centrally heated houses don’t have to use much energy to get their body temperature controlled.

Social Environment

This is an area where you just can’t win. There are advantages and disadvantages of having one cat or having multiple cats.

Only cats do not have the same competition for food that a multi-cat household may have. Therefore they may not be as eager to eat as much food and as quickly as a cat in competition with other cats will do. However, only cats are more likely to become bored and have less stimulation around them compared to a cat living with others. Cats have been known to take on habits like humans, such as eating when bored like an only cat may do. They may also eat more when they are stressed, like a cat living in a multi-cat household may do.

A household with more humans is far more likely to inflict extra weight onto a cat. It means more people offering treats, and more people to feed the cat dinner. It is common for many households to become confused as to whether or not the cat has been fed, and if in doubt they will feed it again.

Disabilities

This applies to humans and pets alike. Humans with physical disabilities are less likely to play and exercise their pets. The situation becomes worse if the cat is an indoor cat.

Disabled cats are often ‘over-protected’ by their owners. Most are automatically turned into indoor cats if they get a disability, and become an excuse for more treats to be offered. Most cats can still exercise and have their mind stimulated with various disabilities. In fact many cats with disabilities will deteriorate quicker if they are not exercised and the mind stimulated properly.

Neighbours

Do you have cat friendly neighbours? Do you know if your cat has gone into other people’s houses before? It is common for other cat lovers to feed a cat that has wondered into their house.

How to Identify a Neglected Cat

Many people think their cat’s behaviors are because the cat was abused or neglected. I want to clear this up for you. Abused cats are rare. Most cats are just wary of strangers. Bad behavior is usually because they were never taught correctly or played with aggressively. So, how can you identify an abused or neglected cat? Let’s look at what cat abuse and neglect look like and then we can talk about the cat’s responses:

Cat Abuse can be intentional or unintentional. Usually, unintentional abuse is called “neglect” and is addressed by humane societies all over the world. There are actually three levels of abuse. Neglect, Over-Discipline (over use of discipline tools) and Intentional Abuse. This article addresses the Neglect, which is the most benign form of abuse.

Description of Neglect –

Neglect means not addressing the animal’s primary needs for survival – water, food, shelter, rest and hygienic elimination. Then there is the more severe type, where a cat is forced to live in filth, confined to a cage all the time, or denied companionship with people or other animals. Many times, this can be caused by not spaying or neutering your pet. Unwanted kittens, or too many cats, is the primary cause for almost all of this type of abuse. Sometimes, a person is too ill or has allergies. Maybe a person is trying to keep a cat in an environment that makes it impossible to properly care for a cat.

I remember many years ago, seeing a homeless man walking down the street with his belongings in a shopping cart. Homeless people were harder to find then, so he stood out. He was pushing the cart with one hand and had a carrier with a cat in it, in the other. I felt sorry for both, but being a child, I didn’t know what to do. The cat was experiencing neglect, but felt much love. The man, I’m sure, didn’t know he was doing harm to the cat. He just knew that he couldn’t let his beloved cat go into a shelter – at that time all the shelters I knew of were kill-shelters.

An older cat (over a year) has little chance of coming out of a kill shelter. Most people want a kitten. The grown cats are often given no more than 2 weeks to find a home and then euthanized. This heartbreaking situation often occurs when people lose their homes, develop allergies or find that they just don’t want to deal with the discipline and behavior problems that developed in the cat. The single biggest reason people give up a cat is inappropriate elimination. Next, come allergies, followed by death of the cat’s owner. Some cats are surrendered because the person moves and is unable to find pet-friendly accommodations.

I understood the man’s feelings of love and concern for his feline companion. I also understood that the cat couldn’t live in that carrier for long. There was no safe place for them. No homeless shelter would take a man with a cat. In this case, I think the abuse is unintentional – neglect, by description. However, I think the heart of both the cat and the man were in the right place, just that the situation was unfortunate.

In news reports, we sometimes hear of breeding farms where cats are bred to the point of exhaustion and kept in sub-optimal conditions. We hear of people who just keep bringing home strays until they are over-run and can no longer take care of them, and the cats become a neighborhood problem. All of these situations can produce neglect.

Now, let’s turn to the cat’s response to neglect. How does a cat respond? Why does it do that? By understanding the specific situation and response, we can address the resulting problem behaviors with love, patience and training.

Effects of Neglect

A cat left in a cage with other animals nearby is often skittish and afraid of people. It expects food and a clean litter box on occasion, but cuddles and attention may make it uncomfortable. These cats often have no privacy issues in the cage, but once free, they are very private about their litter habits. If the cat was kept in a small carrier, it may soil itself, or hold back elimination until it is very uncomfortable. It may be dehydrated and need medical attention. The cat will be overweight from lack of activity. It may be apathetic when play is offered, not knowing what is expected. Electric lights may be something that set off a fear response in the cat because it means that people are coming. In other cases, darkness may be scary at first. Once the cat’s eyes adjust to the light level, it will be all right, but when the lights are turned off or on, the cat may cry or hiss. In the case of a cat kept in the dark except when people are coming, it may be fearful the entire time the lights are on, while also expecting food, water and a clean litter box to be provided.

What Can We Do to Help These Cats?

These cats don’t do well with handling. The less you try to pet, hold or cuddle these cats at first, the better. Let the cat come to you. It will, given time. Be sure to care for it’s creature comforts – food, water, bed, clean litter box – but don’t expect a cuddly cat for a while. That will come when the cat feels that it can trust you. It may be afraid of the sound of your feet on the floor. It may run when you come into a room. As time goes on, the cat will stay and just watch you. Another time, you may be able to approach and offer a scratch behind the ear. Eventually, you will be able to give a full cuddle. Do not try to pick the cat up, but you can pet it and the cat won’t run away or feel assaulted. When the cat responds with a purr, an offer of a cheek or an ear, or you can stroke the spine and the cat isn’t trying to run away, then you have a cat that is only cautious of you. Continue until the cat comes for cuddles, which may already be happening. Still do not try to pick the cat up. If it wants your lap, it will come. This cat may still run from you if discovered in a windowsill, on a dresser or surprised in the litter box. Say your cat’s name in a conversational tone and the cat will eventually not run away and perhaps allow a stroke. In the case of the litter box, just say the cat’s name, but never try to cuddle a cat in the litter box. If you can provide a privacy screen, the cat may stay in the room.

These cats need socialization. They need to learn to live with others outside of a cage. They need gentle discipline and may not know the meaning of the word “no.” They will love feeding time but be afraid if you need to walk near their food bowls, and run from the food. Give them time, move slowly and talk gently in their vicinity. They need to learn what people are about in a good way.

Once your cat has learned to trust you a little bit, enough to not run away when you enter a room or even starts to come to you, then you can begin to bond with your cat. A tickler wand is your best friend for this. Gently shake the wand so that the end twitches. Your cat will be interested, but may only watch at first. If your cat goes for it, excellent! When your cat gets hold of the business end of the wand, allow your cat to feel the success by keeping the wand steady for a few moments. When the cat lets go, you can start to twitch it again. The cat will play with you in this manner for quite a while. When the cat tires, put the wand up out of the way so that your cat is forced to play with you, not just the wand. If your cat grabs the wand in it’s mouth and tries to run away with it, offer resistance and don’t let go of the wand. Some cats want to take the wand and hide it under a couch or in a corner so they can worry over it for a while. Don’t allow this – the cat needs to play with you, not just the wand. After about ten days of playing with the wand, you will see your cat become more accepting of its new circumstances. Your cat should assimilate into the household well. There may be people it does not accept, and those persons can also play with the cat to promote bonding.

Under no circumstances should you perpetuate the abuse or neglect! Any discipline needs to be done gently and with care. A squirt bottle, long a favorite tool for discipline, should only be used in the beginning stages of training, while the cat is learning the word “no.” After that, you should not need it. Redirection is your best training technique. When your cat gets into or expresses interest in something that you don’t want to see it getting involved with, redirect it’s attention to something that it is allowed to be involved with or have.

Some of these cats can be clicker trained, but the bond with the person needs to be present, first. Concentrated training to condition the cat to the clicker will be needed. Some cats may be so skittish that even the best treats will not condition the cat to the clicker. If your cat runs from the clicker after a week of conditioning, do not continue. Your cat will never be comfortable with the unexpected noise it makes. You are better clapping your hands and saying “no” to stop bad behaviors than trying to clicker train for positive behaviors.

These cats will be extremely grateful for good treatment. One expression of that love, biting, may not be acceptable – especially if the cat bites hard and uses the canine teeth. Push your hand or finger into the mouth instead of pulling out so that the cat will not be able to bite down and cause you injury. You can push in hard enough to cause the gag reflex, but never harder. Never cause the cat injury in response to an injury to your person. Hitting is never acceptable – but raising a flat hand so that the eyebrow whiskers can feel it is acceptable.

If you must pick up your cat, as in putting the cat in the carrier or removing it to another room, pay attention to the cat’s body. Be sure to pick the cat up by the ribs and the hind legs at the same time to minimize stress to the cat. If the body is stiff, don’t hold the cat to your chest. Allow the cat to struggle, but stay out of the way of the claws. When you place the cat down (don’t let it jump), stroke its back if you can. Talk to the cat. It will stop a few paces away and look at you. The cat may come to you for a scratch if offered. Always talk softly and lovingly to your cat.

In Closing –

With all these admonitions and dos and don’ts, you may think that a neglected cat is too much trouble. Not that much, really. They take some time getting used to people, but once they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart, these cats will come to love you very much. The early stages with a neglected cat are the most critical. After that, you may find a loving, caring, demanding cat. Demanding because it may never want to be separated from you. Demanding because whatever it was denied before it will crave from you. Moreover, you will be loved, very deeply. It will care about you in its fashion. If your are down or blue, possibly sick, the cat will worry over you and try to find a way to comfort you. These cats are very responsive to their people. Hypersensitive is a good description. Empathic is another good description of their behavior. Some cats even approach a symbiotic relationship with their people.

Give love and patience, and love and patience will be returned. Give concern and care and those are returned. A neglected cat is one of the best pets for a single, older person. The cat will be tuned to that person in short order. It will give love and affection to ease the loneliness and loss these people sometimes experience. When the person is ill, the cat will understand and be there to comfort, while allowing the person to care for him or herself.

Why It’s the Best Diet For Your Cat

The biggest myth surrounding cat ownership is that cats are worry free, self-contained and self-providing pets that require little or no maintenance. Cats are so good at giving people the impression of independence and self-reliance that people believe they don’t have to provide the highly focused attention to cats that, say, dogs require. The fact of the matter is that cats do require the same attention to detail that any dog does, and maybe even a little more, in some cases. This is especially true when it comes to probing the controversy regarding whether raw cat food is better that canned cat food or kibbles for your feline ward.

It’s a sad thing to look around our country these days and see so many people who have allowed themselves to become overweight and then have to deal with the consequential suffering and ill-health effects of obesity. Diabetes, shortness of breath, constant exhaustion from lugging around so many extra pounds and lowered self-esteem. Of course, the garment industry is singing happy tunes with all the extra thread they have to put together. There’s no shortage of explanations for why this situation has come about, but I think when it comes down to it we can only blame ourselves at the individual level for allowing such a condition to take root. After all, how many pounds overweight does one have to get before they realize that something’s not right and becoming a problem? 10, 20… 50 lbs? And how long does it take to realize that the magic pills, diets, elixirs and effortless, lose-weight-with-no-work-out machines are products being marketed to your ego, to separate you from your bank account, and not to solve your problem? No… the only way to find an ideal normality is with thorough research, discovery and a lot of hard work accompanied with a healthy life style change. But, enough sermonizing about the human condition. This is about cats, their eating habits and raw cat food.

One thing needs to come along with this discussion from the previous paragraph. Most people are not experts in animal nutrition and rely on others to lead them in the right direction. The source for most ‘experts’ available to a person for their daily decision making and selection of choices usually comes to us through the traditional media of radio, newspapers, television and now, the internet. Media offers two kinds of resources. Investigative reporting which is presented in newscasts or opinion pieces, and secondly, the marketing hype that provides commercial broadcast funding. The former is reliable enough to put credence into and might call for further research on your part if it interests you. The latter really only wants you to spend your money with them. That’s not necessarily bad… it does ultimately put people to work and provides many with an adequate, and even comfortable living. Unfortunately, the bottom line is… corporations only have one objective in the end. That is to feed their bottom line. Now recent events have caused many to reconsider the morality behind a corporations goals. But, as long as this market structure is the paradigm for our economy, the ultimate goal for big business will always be to maximize their profit-loss statements towards the profit end of the spectrum, any way they can get away with, and at your expense… literally.

So, what does this have to do with cats and if raw cat food is what you should be feeding them? Simply put, most people rely on the marketing hype to base their decisions regarding the food they feed their pets. Which is exactly the wrong source for basing such a critical decision. Take the cat for example. It’s not only a scientific fact, but a cultural one also, that the cat is described as an obligate carnivore. This defines cats as creatures who derive most of their food nutrients from the animals they hunt and consume (raw cat food). When a cat devours it’s prey, she will eat everything including not only muscle meat, but the brains, organ meat and the stomach and its contents which may consist of grasses and grains. One thing she doesn’t do is fire up a stove and saute or bake her dinner, or prepare a nice sauce to go with it. She eats it raw. Cultural purists use this description as an argument that feeding cats store bought, mass produced canned or dry cat food is doing your cat a disservice by depriving her of the natural nutrients she would normally get in the raw cat food she captures in the wild, and for which she was biologically designed.

Pottenger’s cats
Francis M. Pottenger, Jr. (1901 – 1967) was the son of Francis M. Pottenger, Sr., the physician who co-founded the Pottenger Sanatorium for treatment of tuberculosis in Monrovia, California. Between 1932 and 1942 he conducted what is know as the Pottenger Cat Study. One part of this study was what effect heat had on the nutrient value of raw food. In other words, what happens to food when you cook it.

“Pottenger used donated laboratory cats to test the potency of the adrenal extract hormones he was making. The adrenal glands of these cats were removed for the experiments and Pottenger noted that most of the cats died during or following the operation. He was feeding the cats a supposedly nutritive diet consisting of raw milk, cod liver oil and cooked meat scraps of liver, tripe, sweetbread, brains, heart and muscle.

When the number of donated cats exceeded the supply of food available, Pottenger began ordering raw meat scraps from a local meat packing plant, including organs, meat, and bone; and fed a separate group of cats from this supply. Within months this separate group appeared in better health than the cooked meat group. Their kittens were more energetic and, most interestingly, their post-operative death rate was lower.

At a certain point, he decided to begin a controlled scientific exploration. Pottenger conducted studies involving approximately 900 cats over a period of ten years, with three generations of cats being studied.

Meat study:

In one study, one group of cats was fed a diet of:

  • Two-thirds raw meat, one-third raw milk, and cod-liver oil
  • A second group was fed a diet of two-thirds cooked meat, one-third raw milk, and cod-liver oil.

The cats fed the all-raw diet were healthy while the cats fed the cooked meat diet developed various health problems:

  • By the end of the first generation the cats started to develop degenerative diseases and became quite lazy.
  • By the end of the second generation, the cats had developed degenerative diseases by mid-life and started losing their coordination.
  • By the end of the third generation the cats had developed degenerative diseases very early in life and some were born blind and weak and had a much shorter life span. Many of the third generation cats couldn’t even produce offspring. There was an abundance of parasites and vermin while skin diseases and allergies increased from an incidence of five percent in normal cats to over 90 percent in the third generation of deficient cats. Kittens of the third generation did not survive six months. Bones became soft and pliable and the cats suffered from adverse personality changes. Males became docile while females became more aggressive.
  • The cats suffered from most of the degenerative diseases encountered in human medicine and died out totally by the fourth generation.

At the time of Pottenger’s Study the amino acid taurine had been discovered but had not yet been identified as an essential amino acid for Cats. Today many cats thrive on a cooked meat diet where taurine has been added after cooking. The deficient diets lacked sufficient taurine to allow the cat’s to properly form protein structures and resulted in the health effects observed. Pottenger himself concluded that there was likely an “as yet unknown” protein factor (taurine) that may have been heat sensitive.

Milk Study:

In another study, dubbed the “Milk Study,”, the cats were fed 2/3 milk and 1/3 meat. All groups were fed raw meat with different groups getting raw, pasteurized, evaporated, sweetened condensed or raw metabolized vitamin D milk. The cats on raw milk were the healthiest while the rest exhibited varying degrees of health problems similar to the previous cooked meat study.

This particular Pottenger cat study has been cited by advocates of raw milk as evidence that it is likely healthier for humans than pasteurized milk.” +

Though Pottenger’s experiments don’t conclusively verify that raw cat food diets are better for sustaining a healthy support for the physiological needs of cats than cooked (canned) or dry kibbles, (because he didn’t use canned cat food or kibbles in the experiments) certain conclusions can be drawn.

  • Cooking meat can destroy certain food nutrients, namely amino acids (proteins)
  • Cats thrive more healthily on raw meat rather than cooked meat with less degenerative results
  • Cooking meat for your cat requires the replacement of the essential amino acid taurine, and possibly other nutrients destroyed in the cooking process

Pet food marketing hype says that “XYZ” cat food products are healthy for your pet because it adds “ABC” nutrients, vitamins and minerals to their product which safeguards your cat’s health. Fortunately, marketing laws require that the ingredients in any given product be listed on the packaging of your cat’s food. Ultimately, it is left up to you to make the decision about which is the best shelf product for your cat.

There Are No Bad Cats

Believe it or not, there are no bad cats. Cats are just unique. They live in a cat world and do what cats do, no matter what you try to say or do to convince them to adjust to your world. The most important thing for you as a cat parent is to understand why your cat does what it does. Cats do not go to obedience school. If they had their way, you as a pet parent would go to obedience school to learn how to deal with your pet.

A cat is not a dog; a cat does not act like a dog, think like a dog or behave like a dog. If you want a pet that behaves as a dog, get a dog not a cat. That said, let’s get to the point of understanding cat behavior. Punishing a cat for wrong behavior is like trying to empty the ocean one-cup at a time. Try as you may, you will never empty the ocean or get your cat to understand why you are punishing him/her.

Punishment will never cure bad behavior; it will only make your cat frightened and leery of you. Cats are smart enough to know that once punished for a misdeed they will not do it again, in front of you. They will wait until your back is turned or you are out the door. Though you may believe your cat understands what you are saying, or rather yelling about, it will pay you no heed except to run away, ignore you or wait to do it again later.

A perfect example is our male cat Smokey, he dislikes our female cat Tiger and every chance he gets he will chase her. However, if he starts out to chase her and then sees me he stops, looks at me and then will turn away as if he was just out taking a walk. He knows I will say “No” quite loudly and scold him. Of course, it doesn’t do any good to scold him, but it makes me feel better.

There are several good reasons why your cat does what it does to annoy you. First of all, cats really don’t have a good grasp of the English language; they are not furry little people. However, they do understand positive and negative responses to their actions. Cats love praise, pets and treats and this is our secret weapon. Screaming, yelling, spanking or throwing (heaven forbid) will only traumatize your cat and make it fearful of you.

Stop for a moment and think about the life your cat is leading (okay, you wish you could lead that life) take into consideration its day. You are at work all day and may get home late and tired. Your fur ball has been sleeping all day and wants to play.

You want to sit, eat and watch TV. You give your cat a few pets and while you are doing that he/she gives you a little nip on your hand. You react by jumping up and possibly yelling and chasing him/her. Hey, this is fun your cat got your attention and you are “playing.” We humans sometimes reward our cats for their bad behavior by giving them the attention they want.

In our house I am the perfect example of what not to do. Our Smokey is a night eater. Why? Cause he sleeps all day while I am at work. He started at a young age to come into our bedroom and nudge me with his head when he wanted to be fed, even though I would feed him before I went to sleep. Knowing what he wanted I would get up and feed him. This would happen several times a night and I would get up (truthfully this has been going on for years.)

However, since I started doing research for this book I suddenly came to realize that this is silly, the cat is not starving and I do not have to get up at all hours. I gradually started to push him away (nicely) whenever he nudged me and quietly said “No” as a result he moved over to the nightstand where he likes to sleep and laid down. It has been several weeks and he will once in a while nudge me and I say “no” and he goes away and waits until he sees me stir. Most cats when they are doing “wrong behavior” are really doing exactly what a cat should be doing.

Cats need to scratch and stretch their claws. It is a natural thing to do and it feels good. It is up to you as the pet parent to provide scratching material, whether it is the couch or a scratching post, it is immaterial to the cat. Cats learn by experience, if they do something and it turns out to be a good experience in their eyes, they will do it again, a bad experience may eliminate, the behavior or they just might try it again to see if something good happens.

One important thing to remember, if your cat suddenly starts doing things that he/she never attempted before and the behavior is not to your liking, observe the current situation in your household. Have there been sudden and unusual changes in the household routine, new furniture, new people or a new pet? Has there been a change in your cat’s bathroom routine; is kitty eating, do you notice any changes in your cat’s grooming habits?

It does not take much to disturb the serenity of a cat’s world as cats like routine and changes can cause reactions, which are not always to their liking. Also, consider medical problems, your cat may not feeling well and this too can cause behavioral problems. Since cats cannot talk they may misbehave in order to show their concern or displeasure to the changes that have occurred.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind while you are trying to reform kitty.

First of all stop all reprimands and punishment– they seldom do any good anyway. Make life with your cat fun and rewarding. Create an environment for yourself and your cat that satisfies you both. Remember a cat does not read minds and has little knowledge of English.

Help your cat understand what you want it to do by making the “yes” experiences rewarding and finding ways to eliminate most of the “no” experiences. We are going to list below some typical behavioral problems and possible solutions. It is important should you have any questions about your cat’s behavior that you consult your vet to discuss it.

Aggressive behavior: Can be caused by fear, being disturbed when napping, injury or sickness, or being in a bad mood.

Solution: Should the cat nip or scratch you while petting, say NO and stop petting. Do not play rough with your cat as it does not know nice from not nice. Were you petting or scratching in
a sensitive area of the cat’s body? If your cat hisses or its ears are flattened back, leave the cat alone. Check for injury.

Begging: Can be caused by the cat being hungry or just wanting attention.

Solution: Feed the cat just before your sit down to eat or if the begging is for attention take a minute or two to pet and talk to your cat a little quality attention will go a long ways.

Constant meowing: Females that are not spayed will meow constantly while looking for a “fellow.” Or your cat may need some quality time with you, remember just a few minute of undivided attention will do wonders. Another thought is your cat may be ill or hurt.

Solution: Spay or neuter your cat (really should anyway), give your cat some quality time, cats need to know that they are loved, or your cat maybe sick or hurt, especially if the crying occurs when kitty is trying to go to the bathroom. If so, take a quick trip to the vet or call for advice.

Jumping on the counters and/or furniture: Cats love high places and cats are generally nosey, exploring is part of a cat’s nature.

Solution: When it comes to the counters, stove and the dining table in our house, a consistent NO and placing the cat on the floor worked fine. It took several tries at this, but it worked. Another solution is put double sticky tape on the counter for a day or two, the cat will walk on it and get stuck, not a good experience and will stop, as it is no fun. Also keep food and other attractive smells off the counter or table. Things that make noise and may fall off the counter also work, as it will scare the cat. Cats do not like to be scared.

If your cat is getting on the furniture and you do not want that, provide a comfortable nesting place high up if possible. There are window seats that you can fasten to a window sill. We have a small bed on top of a section of our entertainment center where our female can escape.

If you have a particular piece of furniture you do not want the cat on, put foil, plastic or some inexpensive netting that you can buy at a fabric store over it when you are not at home. Cats do not like the feel of that and will stay off it and soon will ignore it. There are also things called “scat mats” which can be purchased on the Internet or at major pet stores.

Fighting with other cats: Cats are inclined to protect their habitat, they might be looking to mate, and some cats just want to show who is boss.

Solution: First of all spay or neuter your cat as they make much better pets and are less inclined to fight. Never break up a cat fight with your hands. Use a hose to spray them, throw a towel on them or make a loud noise to scare them. If your resident cats are having a dispute, separate them by putting them in separate rooms for a while. Usually they will simmer down and become tolerant of each other again.

In our household a sharp “No” works for a while with our male and female. Be certain to give each one plenty of affection, out of sight of each other. Some cats are like people and they just don’t like each other no matter what you try to do.

In our household our female is wise enough to stay out of Smokey’s reach. Smokey doesn’t want to fight with her, he just wants to chase her.

Spraying: A cat operates on smell and spraying is a natural way to mark its territory. Also a cat will spray if it feels threatened, stressed or anxious.

Solution: Spay or neuter your pet to decrease the need to be overly territorial. Give your pet a lot of pets and attention, as it may feel stressed and/or unloved.

Provide a safe haven preferably high up (off the ground) if you pet feels threatened by another household pet.

If your cat is spraying near or on a window your pet may be marking its territory because of an outside cat. Keep curtains or drapes closed.

Do not punish your cat for spraying as it may increase his/her anxiety. Using a citrus-based cleaner will remove the scent and keep kitty hopefully from doing it again. We have found that the male cats usually do spraying, we have not seen our females do it, though they might. Interestingly, when our one male cat sprayed there was no odor after we had him neutered. However, the spraying left an oily substance that had to be cleaned up. There is a spray you can buy that has a calming effect on cats and has helped in stopping the spraying it is called “Feliway” and it can be purchased at major pet stores and on the Internet.

Scratching and tearing furniture: Scratching is a natural instinct of a cat. Boredom or a lack of a scratching post can cause the problem.

Solution: Scratching is part of a cat’s life it provides exercise, an opportunity to stretch, relieves stress and allows them to shed their claws. If your cat is a house cat and does not have the opportunity to find a tree or post to scratch, it is up to you the pet parent to provide one. Cats are not overly particular about what they scratch as long as it fulfills its criteria.

Couches and stereo speakers fit the bill nicely. Providing a good scratching post (actually several are better) is a great alternative to your couch. You can make your own with a little effort or buy one at your favorite pet store. A good scratching post should be at least 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, be sturdy enough so it won’t fall over and scare the cat and be covered with either hemp rope or the reverse side of some leftover carpet.

Do not use the right side of the carpet for a post; use the backside as it provides the proper grabbing material. Actually you can make a post that lies on the floor, as long as it is long enough for the cat to stretch out on. There are some inexpensive ones made of cardboard that have a catnip scent that cats enjoy.

When teaching your cat to use the post it is a good idea to rub some catnip on it to attract the kitty. Whenever you see your cat using its post, praise the cat and give it a small treat, this conditions the cat into thinking this is a great thing to do. If you cat is scratching the furniture punishing will not help the matter. Remember that a cat knows better than to do something it has been reprimanded for in front of you.

If kitty is still going back to his/her old tricks the solution is to make the article of choice unacceptable. Cover it with a piece of plastic, foil, double-sided sticky tape or netting you can buy at a fabric store when you are not home. Continue to show kitty the scratching post, give praise and treats for using it, persistence pays on your part and soon kitty will leave your stuff alone.

Some people resort to having their pets declawed. We have a chapter on Declawing in this book. We do not recommend doing that, as there are other alternatives such as clipping your cat’s nails or using the nail covers that are sold in pet stores and glue on the claws.

There are also spray repellents sold in pet stores to use on furniture that make the furniture unattractive to your cat. Scat mats are also available at major pet stores and on the Internet, they give a “static” type shock to the pet that climbs on it (it is not harmful, just annoying.) We have covered what we feel are the most common bad habits of cats in this chapter.