"Animals are the Spiritual Connection Between Humans and Nature."
It may already be evident that as passionate as I am about ALL animals, cats of all sizes are my obsession. This page will be long, but 100 times as much could be written.
- Housing - Indoor vs. Outdoor:
- Litter Box/Litter - First things first: If your cat straining or unable to pass urine, TAKE HIM TO THE VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY.
- Litter Box - Covered vs. Uncovered: Covered boxes may be more pleasing to our eyes and noses, but to our cats, this may not be ideal. A larger cat may have a hard time turning around or balancing in a covered box. Covered boxes (I've even seen some with doors!) serve to contain odors, which may be great for us, but isn't so good for our cats. Imagine having to not only go into a nasty outhouse over and over with a closed door, but to also have to walk around in it. I think not. Opt for a privacy screen instead.
- Storage Boxes - I had a heck of a time finding boxes I deemed big enough, and the largest I found were not only low sided but really expensive ($18!). I use 55 liter storage boxes purchased at Wal~Mart for $5 each. With 9 cats, I needed a bunch of them and these were considerably less than regular litter boxes. I had to do some hunting to find boxes with the flattest bottoms, most are ridged, making it hard to scoop properly. Mine are a light translucent smoke color, letting the cats see out, but people can't see in as well. If you want to use the covers (I don't) you will need taller boxes. I haven't seen any that would work well that way.
- Territory, Location, Number - How many and where you put boxes are at least as important as having them. If you don't have enough boxes it's like having teenagers all trying to share on bathroom. Not pretty. If you put them in loud or high traffic places with no privacy, cats won't use them. Also keep in mind that cats have a definite social structure and a more timid cat may be intimidated by a more dominant cat away from using a particular box. You should have at least one box for each cat, PLUS one.
- Litter - Two words: Clumping & Unscented. I love SwheatScoop for rabbits, ferrets and cats. There is even a special formula for multiple cat homes. It's all natural, 100% kiln dried wheat, biodegradable, clumping, unscented (smells like baking bread when you pour it), no silica to inhale. It has a nice texture that I have never had an animal dislike. There are a couple of caveats attached to SwheatScoop however. It is a little dusty, but no more so than clumping clay litters. Some people complain that it doesn't clump very hard. I beg to differ. If you scoop instantly after your cat urinates, the natural proteins that cause the clumping don't have time to work. Give it a minute or two and it will be as hard as a rock. By that same token, it can clump like cement to the bottom of your litter box. If this happens, you probably don't have the litter deep enough. Before filling the box, give it a light coating of olive oil to prevent this.
- Scoop - Daily, at least. Think about it: you flush EVERY TIME. Unless you have the time and patience to teach your cat to go in the toilet, do them the favor of scooping.
- Companionship - Cats are NOT solitary animals like most people believe. If this was true, they would never properly bond with their humans. They are not social in the same way that dogs are, but they do maintain a loose social structure. I have found that in the great majority of cases, cats are much happier with the companionship of another cat. It is also a myth that if they have another feline friend that they will not bond to their human. Sure, it takes work to bond with your cat or kitten, but isn't it worth it? Simply have play sessions with them, interact with them, have quiet time. If you intend to have more than one cat, get them at the same time and raise them together. There is still no guarantee that they will continue to be happy house mates as adults, but the odds are stacked in your favor. Have them altered as soon as your vet deems appropriate, it will keep many, many litters from needing homes and your cats will be happier to live together and with you without the stress of raging hormones.
- Reproduction - SPAY AND NEUTER! Cats can reproduce by 6 months old if left to their own devices. No I am not in favor of mandatory sterilization laws, as that takes away Owners Rights. However, the question should be "Why should I have a liter?", not "Why not?". Unless you have champion quality animals and intend to show, why bring more babies into the world? Sure, you swear to get them all good homes, but then what? If each of those kittens or puppies or bunnies has just one litter, and each of those has just one litter... Adopt a shelter pet and show the kids a video from National Geographic of something being born. Those who insist on teaching their children about the miracle of life by allowing their pet to have 'just one liter' should be responsible for also teaching their children about the horror of needless euthanasia. Even a solitary cat will be happier if altered. They will experience much less hormonal stress and it reduces the odds of a number of reproductive ailments and cancers.
- Free To Good Homes - This is just an invitation to the less than scrupulous to make a buck. There are two groups of people who actively look for these types of ads, batchers and dogfighters. Batchers are people who collect animals and sell them in 'batches' to laboratories for testing. Dogfighters use helpless animals to train their fighting dogs to kill.
- Dishes - Glass, ceramic or metal dishes, I prefer Pyrex glass, it cleans and sanitizes easily. Plastic will scratch making tiny places for microbes to hide. If your cat seems to have 'acne' in her chin, this may be a cause.
- Food - What did "domestic" cats eat 100 years ago? It certainly wasn't commercial food mass produced from the offal of our own food production fiasco. Pet food is made from the garbage that should be thrown away, the leftovers from producing human foods. Then it is irradiated and cooked at high temperatures to neutralize any contaminates. That effectively renders the 'food' nutritionally inert, the equivalent of feeding sawdust - and in some cases it includes actual sawdust. Cats are obligate carnivores. That means that they must receive their nutrition from meat. Their digestive systems are unable to digest and use nutrients contained in grains and to some extent fruits and vegetables. An obligate carnivore's digestive tract is relatively short. Grains and vegetables (starches) take a much longer time to digest than meats, so it just comes out the other end, doing the cat no nutritional good. They are genetically desert animals, they evolved in very dry climates where running water was a rarity. Like many other desert animals, they get the vast majority of their water from their food. If they do not get enough moisture their urine becomes concentrated, leading to urinary tract problems which can kill your cat.
- Dry - Feeding a cat dry food is perpetuating dehydration. Most will drink water, but their systems were not designed to function this way. All dry foods contain grains which cats cannot digest and simply get passed. They act as fillers, your cat will eat more in an attempt to get proper nutrition, then they will pass more. All dry food (like all food) is not created equal. Brands like EVO by Innova are high protein and low carbohydrate, but are still dry. Also, contrary to popular belief, crunchy food does NOT clean teeth. The best, most natural way to maintain clean teeth is to feed raw chunks that they have to saw through with their back teeth, just like nature meant for them to do.
- Canned - Canned food is a big step up from dry, but again the quality is more important than it simply being canned. A high protein dry is better than a low quality canned. When I fed my cats all canned (transitioning to raw) I fed them 3 times daily, and they ate less than one 5.5oz each per day. The moisture content of a can of food runs about 80%-90%, versus 5%-7% in dry, however canned food is also processed at high temperature, and depending on the quality of the brand, can also be the leftovers or garbage unfit for human consumption. Stick with brands like Wellness, which has grain free varieties and a few exotic meats varieties for animals with sensitivities.
- Raw - Raw or "Prey Model" feeding is the most natural for cats. Do zoos feed lions and tigers kibble? Absolutely not. Raw meat with a percentage of organ meats and a few supplements if you're not feeding fresh whole prey items is ideal. Most veterinarians resist this idea vehemently because they don't have any nutritional education except what the pet food companies tell them. They get big perks for selling certain brands. Unless your cats needs a prescription diet, skip the veterinarians suggestion, see a feline nutrition specialist. In most cases prescriptions are unnecessary and actually perpetuate the problem. Just look at the ingredients in Science Diet: they use grains, soy, meals and by-products as staples, as well as extremely questionable preservatives. Do your research and find out about your cats particular needs. Start at: Raw Fed Cats : Cat Info : Cat Nutrition : Blak Katz : Raising Cats Naturally
- Vegetarian - Please re-read the FOOD heading; Cats are OBLIGATE CARNIVORES. Cats will die of malnutrition (a horrible way to die) if fed a vegetarian diet. If you eat vegetarian and have moral objections to feeding meat to your pets, don't get a cat.
- Treats - Try little bits of freeze-dried meat if treats are necessary.
- Propylene Glycol is an artificial preservative and sweetener that has been linked to kidney and liver failure. Avoid it at all costs. This compound is also found in antiperspirant and it is what makes antifreeze sweet. It is used in MANY soft-moist foods and treats for dogs and cats, and is in a lot of our food too. By percentage, the dose we get is much smaller just by merit of our size versus theirs, but it is one of two main ingredients (high-fructose corn syrup is the other) that I avoid in my own food like the plague. Better safe than sorry.
- Water - Fresh water EVERY DAY. Just because your cat has a liter-sized water dish doesn't mean that you can leave it for days until it's gone. Water dishes will develop bacterial and algae growths if not cleaned regularly. Even a pet fountain will need regular maintenance. Wash and refill at least once a day.
- Dishes - Glass, ceramic or metal dishes. I prefer Pyrex glass, it cleans and sanitizes easily. Plastic will scratch making tiny places for microbes to hide. If your cat seems to have 'acne' on her chin, this may be a cause.
- Health - Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, you should always do your own homework both before you choose to give a cat (or any animal) a home, and after to stay abreast of current medical concerns.
- Cat Proofing - Cats are naturally curious and can't resist investigating small spaces. Wires are also a major hazard for kittens, who seem to enjoy the chewing the rubbery casings. Keep ALL cords out of their reach.
- Fleas -
- Vaccinations -
- Grooming -
- Claws -
- Toys & Enrichment
- Toys -
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I am not a veterinarian; I can not diagnose medical issues, offer medical advice, prescribe drugs, or perform surgery.
Reiki is healing, not medicine, and should never be used in place of veterinary care. If your pet is ill or injured, call your veterinarian immediately.
All readings and personal information are kept strictly confidential.
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Last updated Saturday, February 7, 2015
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