Tag: cat parenting

How often should I shower my cat? (5 factors to consider)

It’s a myth that cats hate water. If they grew up being exposed to water early and having positive experiences with it, they will most likely tolerate bathing sessions at home. What most cats dislike about showering is the uncomfortable feeling they get when their fur gets wet. It takes some time for their fur Read More...

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It’s a myth that cats hate water. If they grew up being exposed to water early and having positive experiences with it, they will most likely tolerate bathing sessions at home. What most cats dislike about showering is the uncomfortable feeling they get when their fur gets wet. It takes some time for their fur to dry, making them move slowly and making it easier for predators to catch them, if they were out in the real world! If you own or care for a cat, there may be instances in which you’ll need to shower your cat. This Waldo’s Friends blog post covers:

Why you should shower your cat

Cats spend about five hours every day grooming themselves. The process keeps their coat shiny, regulates their body temperatures, stimulates blood circulation, and makes them feel relaxed. But even if cats are fastidious about licking themselves, they may need your help sometimes. 

Showering a cat on a regular basis will keep her squeaky clean and degreased. It gives you a chance to remove deep-seated dirt, matted or pelted hair, and excess oils on their skin and fur. At the same time, bathing your cat allows you to check her body for fleas, mites, or other parasites. Not only that, regular bathing sessions help reduce shedding and keep your cat’s fur healthy.  

How often you should shower your cat

As recommended by the National Cat Groomers of America, a cat should receive a degreasing bath and have her hair fully blow dried (as long as she’s agreeable to it!) every four to six weeks. However, there are other important factors to consider, such as:

1 Your cat’s coat length and type

Cats that have longer fur will benefit from taking baths more often than cats with shorter fur, as the process will avoid matting or pelting of hair.

2 Where your cat hangs out

Cats that spend most of their time outdoors get exposed to all kinds of things such as grime, parasites, bacteria, toxic substances, and more! These cats will benefit from having more baths than indoor cats. 

3 Your cat’s self-grooming skills

Some cats may not know how to properly clean themselves or may stop cleaning themselves when they get sick. Other cats that are overweight may have a hard time reaching parts of their body, ending up with itchy, flaky, or infected skin. Older cats with arthritis or joint problems may also have problems grooming themselves. 

Review the list below to discover if your cat undergrooms. She may be guilty of doing so if: 

  • Your cat smells bad
  • Your cat has a harsh or greasy coat
  • There are food particles on your cat’s face and/or chest after she eats
  • You find urine or residue stains on your cat’s paws 
  • There are small patches of matted fur on your cat’s tail or body

Cats that undergroom or those who cannot groom themselves effectively need to have regular shower sessions to keep them clean.

4 Your cat’s daily activities

It goes without saying that highly active cats require more frequent baths because their bodies get dirty quicker and easier. 

5 Health issues your cat may have

A tick or flea infestation, a skin irritation or infection, and loose stools are common cat problems that will require you to shower your cat regularly. This may be done on a weekly basis, gradually lessening as your cat’s condition improves. 

For cats with skin irritations, showering may help wash away some of the allergens on their skin, reduce itching and inflammation, and even decrease unpleasant smells.

Tips on how to give your cat a bath

Follow the seven steps on how to bathe a cat in our home grooming guide. Aside from these step-by-step instructions, take note of these tips to making shower time fun and safe for your pet cat:

  • Prior to bathing, it is advisable to brush your cat’s hair. This removes loose hair and improves the effectiveness of her shampoo. Matted hair is also easier to deal with when it is dry, so try to detangle them before bathing.
  • Use the right shampoo formulation made for cats. Since their skin’s thickness and pH levels are different from humans, never use human-formulated shampoo on them. 
  • For general cat cleansing sessions, pick a scent-free hypoallergenic cat shampoo. Following your vet’s recommendation, use conditioning products only if moisture needs to be restored on her coat or dandruff needs to be minimised. 
  • Depending on your cat’s size, you can give her a bath in a sink or laundry utility tub (small-sized cats) or in a bathroom tub or portable pet tub (large-sized cats). 
  • To prevent your cat from slipping, place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub. Fill it with three to four inches of lukewarm water before putting her in.
  • Thoroughly wash away shampoo and conditioner from your cat’s coat and skin. You do not want her to accidentally lick and swallow these chemicals, and end up with a bad stomach ache. 
  • Keep your cat’s face and ears completely dry. If needed, use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt on her face. Refrain from inserting anything in your cat’s ears such as cotton wool. These may get stuck in her ears and may stress her out. 
  • When blow drying your cat’s fur, be sure to use the lowest setting. Keep it at a safe distance away from your cat, so it does not accidentally burn her skin. 

In conclusion

As always, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to discover the best bathing schedule that will match all of your cat’s needs. You want to find the perfect balance in assisting kitty to stay clean and healthy. Be careful not to go overboard because excessive bathing may dull your cat’s fur and cause dry, flaky, or itchy skin.

Discover other cat-related posts in Waldo’s Friends! Read up on the types of milk that cats can drink and figure out how to deal with cat eye infections.

Should I get a self-cleaning litter box for my cat?

Cat parenting has its ups and downs. Though owners are rewarded with having cuddly companions for life, a drawback is constantly needing to provide for these four-legged creatures. Grooming them, playing with them (try making cat-approved DIY toys), and giving them nourishing food are just some of the things that need to be done regularly. Read More...

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Cat parenting has its ups and downs. Though owners are rewarded with having cuddly companions for life, a drawback is constantly needing to provide for these four-legged creatures. Grooming them, playing with them (try making cat-approved DIY toys), and giving them nourishing food are just some of the things that need to be done regularly. Worse, scooping out litter must be done at least once or twice a day depending on how many kitties you have. This is where a self-cleaning cat litter box comes in!  

But first… What is a cat litter box? 

A litter box is defined by Wikipedia as “an indoor feces and urine collection box for cats… They are provided for pets that are permitted free roam of a home but who cannot or do not always go outside to excrete their metabolic waste.” 

A cat litter box usually contains litter made of materials such as clay, recycled paper pellets, and silica-based crystals. These are combined with odour reducing elements such as baking soda and ammonia. The litter works to absorb moisture and odours after a cat urinates or excretes waste. After peeing or pooping, a cat instinctively uses her paws to bury her waste, and, at the same time, hide her scent. The litter makes it easier for a person to scoop out the cat’s waste and dispose of it properly. 

How does a self-cleaning cat litter box work?

A self-cleaning cat litter box is an electronic device that detects when your cat has used the box and automatically puts together the soiled litter. Goodhousekeeping.com shares that for most self-cleaning litter boxes, sensors (either a pressure pad or an infrared light) detect when a cat has used the box. After a few minutes, an electric combing mechanism sifts through the litter to collect the clumps left by the cat. It then deposits the waste into a drawer or disposable bag, which holds the waste and odours. 

Other self-cleaning cat litter boxes may use special granules, which are washed in a sanitising solution after the waste gets scooped into the bin. More advanced self-cleaning litter boxes may even be connected to the plumbing system of a home. It allows the box to immediately wash, cleanse, and dry the permanent litter pellets.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a self-cleaning cat litter box?

Advantages

  • Foul odours are reduced since the litter box always sanitises itself. 
  • A household with multiple cats or those with cats obsessed with cleanliness will benefit from having a self-cleaning litter box since it’s always ready for use. 
  • You won’t need to monitor your cat and scoop out soiled litter every time she pees or poops. 
  • You won’t need to exert too much effort cleaning the litter box as it automatically places the soiled litter into a sealed receptacle until you’re ready to clean it out.
  • Some self-cleaning litter box brands have light indicators to let you know it’s time to take out the waste.  
  • The reusable litter can last for months and help you save on money. Plus, you won’t need to do a complete litter change since most self-cleaning litter boxes use clumping cat litter.   

Disadvantages

  • Some self-cleaning cat litter boxes come with hefty price tags. Plus, there might be some setup required before the box works.
  • You’ll need to buy disposable bags, refill trays/filters, or specially formulated cat litter for the specific brand you purchase.
  • Some self-cleaning cat litter box designs are bulky or oddly shaped, thus taking up more space in a room.
  • You may need to buy batteries or connect the self-cleaning cat litter box to a power source. And since it runs on power, it may make noise as the mechanism cleans the litter.
  • Though this doesn’t need to be done on a daily basis, you’ll need to devote some time to cleaning the shifting mechanism as well as the waste receptacle. However, they’re relatively easy to clean.
  • Your cat may not want to use it, especially if she is a shy cat or one that is accustomed to using a manual litter box. As such, you may need to guide or train her to use it. 

What are some self-cleaning cat litter box brands worth considering?

Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of owning a self-cleaning cat litter box and have decided that it’s something for you (and your cat!), you can explore these brands and see which matches your cat’s needs. 

Big and small cats can safely use Cat Evolution’s Automatic Litter-Robot III Open Air. This litter box has a sleep mode and lock out feature, as well as an automatic night light for elderly cats who need to go in the middle of the night. Plus, you can adjust the cycle timer (choose from a 3-minute, 7-minute, or 15-minute delay) from the time your cat exits the box.
The CatGenie 120 Self-Washing Cat Litter Box uses high quality, eco-friendly granules that are thoroughly cleansed and dried after every use. There’s even an Auto Start option that allows you to set the CatGenie to routinely run cleaning cycles up to four times a day.
ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box PAL19-14657 is an affordable automatic self-cleaning litter box with disposable tray. The box rakes your cat’s waste after use, while the dust-free crystals rapidly absorb waste and control odours.

In conclusion

If you’re bothered by the amount of litter waste that you have to scoop up every day, you may want to consider purchasing a self-cleaning cat litter box (or two!) for your home. Speak with other paw parents about their experiences or get expert recommendations from your veterinarian. Also, consider a brand’s warranty and money-back guarantee when purchasing a self-cleaning cat litter box. 

Learn more about your cat’s intriguing toilet habits on Waldo’s Friends! Find out how often she pees, how long she can hold it in, and why some cats pee everywhere.

The Difference Between Kitten Food and Cat Food

There are so many things a first-time cat parent needs to learn, such as preparing a starter kit before your cat comes home to finding ways to groom her at home. Depending on the age of the cat you decide to adopt or foster, you’ll also need to provide the right meals so that she Read More...

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There are so many things a first-time cat parent needs to learn, such as preparing a starter kit before your cat comes home to finding ways to groom her at home. Depending on the age of the cat you decide to adopt or foster, you’ll also need to provide the right meals so that she receives the proper nutrients to make her grow into a healthy pet. For kittens, feeding her right will help her achieve her maximum size and weight. 

When it comes to food, it’s important to provide the appropriate meals for your cat’s physical and mental well-being. You should not give adult cat food to kittens, and young cat food to fully grown cats. (Also, feeding your pregnant cat is a totally different matter.) Both cats have specific needs, and letting them eat the wrong type of food may lead to malnutrition or obesity. 

Before we reveal the difference between each food type, let’s break down the components of regular cat food and discover what should be in it.

Cat Food Components

Fetch by WebMD states that complete and balanced cat food needs to have four key nutrients: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Protein should come in the form of high-quality meat such as beef, turkey, and chicken—not low-grade rendered meat. 

To guarantee you’re getting the best for your cat, check the label found on the side or back of the package. It should list the percentages of nutrients found in the cat food, starting with the heaviest weight. Aside from listing the minimum protein, minimum fat, maximum fiber, and maximum moisture, other vitamins and minerals can be indicated as well. 

Make sure to get your veterinarian’s approval before feeding something to your cat or switching brands. Some cat food may trigger stomach irritation, especially if they’re made with ingredients your cat is intolerant or allergic to. Other brands may also contain additives, flavourings, and/or preservatives that are not recommended for your cat.

The Main Difference Between Cat Food for Kittens and Adults

A kitten’s nutritional needs vary greatly from that of a full-grown cat. During this stage in her life, she is engaged in high-level activities and grows double or triple in size. Because of these factors, she needs more protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in her body—much more than what an adult cat needs. 

Protein and Fats: Fetch by WebMD recommends that kittens get approximately 30 to 40% of their energy from protein. The Nest adds that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires kitten food to have a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat, plus amino acids and essential fatty acids to help with healthy tissue growth. Meanwhile, the US FDA requires adult cat food to contain at least 18% protein and 5% fat.

Vitamins and Minerals: There should be calcium and phosphorus in kitten food to assist in proper bone and teeth growth. Aside from these, vitamin E and selenium aid in developing a kitten’s immune system. Adult cats do not need these aforementioned vitamins and minerals, so they may or may not be found in their food. 

Other Kitten Food Considerations

It is advisable to feed kittens food high in protein, fat, vitamins, nutrients, and calories until she turns one year old. Your kitten should eat specially formulated kitten food multiple times a day since her stomach can only hold a small amount of food. This will also prevent her from gorging and vomiting what she eats.

Kitten food is available in wet and dry forms. It is best to let your young cat eat canned food since it is softer and has more protein than dry food. If you prefer feeding your cat dry and canned food, it is recommended that you do canned feedings two times a day. But if you choose to feed her only wet food, do so four times a day.

What Happens If You Feed the Wrong Food to Your Cat?

Kittens that consume adult cat food may not achieve their ideal height and size. Worse, the food may not sit well in their stomach and may cause indigestion. On the other hand, adult cats that regularly consume kitten food may gain unnecessary weight and become obese. 

With the proper meals, your cat should appear healthy, active, and alert. She should have a glossy coat and energy to do her everyday activities. If something in her appearance or behaviour changes, speak with your veterinarian. 

Decipher your cat’s intriguing behaviour through our blog. Find out how long she can go without making a trip to the toilet or learn how to prevent her from sleeping in your bed.

7 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat is Always Thirsty

Have you noticed a change in your cat’s drinking habits lately? Has she been drinking more water than usual? If you answered YES to both questions, read on! One of the reasons below might lead you to find out why your cat is always thirsty.  As a reminder, this Waldo’s Friends blog post is only Read More...

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Have you noticed a change in your cat’s drinking habits lately? Has she been drinking more water than usual? If you answered YES to both questions, read on! One of the reasons below might lead you to find out why your cat is always thirsty. 

As a reminder, this Waldo’s Friends blog post is only a guide. It is not meant to replace a visit to the veterinarian, but meant to arm you with information to help you become the best cat parent there is. If you notice your cat drinking excessively and displaying unusual behaviour (i.e. a change in appetite, sleeping more than usual, and peeing everywhere uncontrollably), schedule a trip to the vet ASAP.

This Waldo’s Friends post shares:

How much water intake is considered normal in cats?

Vetwest Animal Hospitals states that a cat should drink an average of 60 ml per kg per day of water. So if your cat weighs 4 kg, she should be drinking approximately 240 ml a day to guarantee her body functions properly. 

Aside from her water intake, her diet should also be considered. If she eats wet food (which contains about 80% water), she only needs to drink about 30 ml of water per day. If she eats dry food (which contains about 10% water), she needs to drink more than 200 ml of water to make up for it.

Is there a medical term for excessive water drinking?

Yes, there is. The condition is called polydipsia. It is defined by Healthline as “the feeling of extreme thirstiness. Polydipsia is often linked to urinary conditions that cause you to urinate a lot. This can make your body feel a constant need to replace the fluids lost in urination. It can also be caused by physical processes that cause you to lose a lot of fluid. This can include sweating during exercise, eating a high-salt diet, or taking drugs that cause you to pass a lot of fluid, such as diuretics.” 

In cats, polydipsia is considered when a cat drinks more than 100 ml per kg of their bodyweight per day. Excessive drinking may be caused by one or more of the following factors: compensatory, pathological, behavioural, and environmental. Digestive issues or a change in diet may also lead to an increase in water intake. 

What are the possible reasons your cat is so thirsty?

1 Your cat could have a fever or infection.

Lamond Veterinary Clinic shares that infections or tumours may cause your cat to experience an increase in body temperature. This helps her fight the bug in her system, but at the same time, it also causes her to feel extra thirsty.  

2 Your cat may be stressed. 

Leslie Kuczynski, VMD, DACVIM of Metropolitan Veterinary Associates writes that excessive drinking could be a behavioural problem related to anxiety or stress. Examples of common cat stressors include moving homes, competing with other cats/pets, changing routines, and even having guests over.

3 Your cat could be dehydrated. 

Dehydration may be caused by overheating in warm places, dry or salty food (which may be caused by a sudden change in diet), and blood loss. 

4 Your cat may be suffering from diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. The kidneys cannot reabsorb the glucose properly, so it overflows into the urine. The process is accompanied by large volumes of water, making your cat drink more to compensate for the loss. 

5 Your cat could have hyperthyroidism. 

When the thyroid glands produce excessive active thyroid hormones, this results in hyperthyroidism. It increases your cat’s metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure—making the heart work faster and causing damage to the heart muscle. Hyperthyroidism also causes an increase in kidney filtration, which may cause dehydration.

6 Your cat may have chronic kidney disease. 

A more common affliction in older cats, this disease occurs when the kidney fails to function properly. One or both kidneys are unable to eliminate waste products effectively, balance electrolytes, produce certain hormones and vitamins, and/or maintain the body’s water balance. The kidneys are unable to reabsorb water, so excessive amounts are urinated. To make up for it, your cat drinks more. 

7 Your cat could be suffering from a urinary tract disease.

Excessive water drinking can sometimes be due to Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which may make it difficult for her to pee. FLUTD may be caused by bladder stones, bacterial infection, urethral plugs, tumors, or anatomical defects.

What to do if your cat is excessively drinking water? 

Schedule a visit to the veterinarian immediately. Before your scheduled appointment, observe how much water your cat drinks for 24 hours and inform your vet about it. Fill her water bowls to the brim and measure the amount of water left after a day has passed. 

Also, ask your vet if you need to prepare a sample for a urine test. Collect a urine sample by following these steps from Vetwest Animal Hospitals:

  1. Empty her litter tray. 
  2. Clean it with soap and water. 
  3. Place non-absorbable litter material such as Catrine crystals or a plastic bag cut into strips. 
  4. After your cat pees, place the fresh urine in a clean glass jar.
  5. Bring the urine sample to the clinic within an hour from collection. You can also place it in the fridge and take it to the clinic within 12 hours.

At the animal clinic, your veterinarian may run a complete physical exam to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s polydipsia. These may include running a complete blood count (CBC), a biochemical screen, a urinalysis, and a urine culture. 

In conclusion

Since cats are known for hiding their sicknesses, your cat’s excessive water intake may indicate an underlying illness at play. Early detection and suitable treatment of the illness work hand in hand in reducing your cat’s polydipsia. 

Discover more articles on pet parenting and cat behaviour. You can remove fleas on your kitty, help a pregnant cat, or effectively deal with cat eye problems.

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