Cat lovers will do almost anything for their cats. Buy organic treats, luxurious cat beds, fancy toys—anything to keep your kitty comfortable and entertained. This makes for big business surrounding pet pampering. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your feline friend may be just as happy with ‘toys’ you already have around the house. For example I’ve always heard that cats love the plastic rings from the tops of milk jugs. However, my cats have long been deprived since I tend to buy soy milk or organic milk in cartons. But thanks to my roommate, my cats have now discovered the joy of milk cap rings, and I discovered the joy of watching them play with them. Take a break from kitty consumerism and try offering a few of these reusable household items as toys. You can spice up the ‘toys’ with cat nips or treats to make them even more interesting. It’s a great way to reuse household items that were headed for the recycling bin anyway, plus have tons of fun with your kitty. Household Items that Double as Cat Toys
• Paper bags (remove any handles)
• Cardboard boxes (spice things up with a cat fort or make a cat scratcher)
• Old or torn sock (pour in some catnip to make it more interesting)
• Crumpled up scrap paper
• Tissue paper that is too old for reuse
• Milk rings (with supervision)
• Old newspaper (when you're done, donate them for animals)
• Pencils (unsharpened) or pens (remove ink) Animal Planet also suggests:
• Toilet paper tubes (try putting treats inside)
• Wine Cork
• Shower curtain rings
• Egg carton with treats inside
Note: for your cat’s safety, don’t let them play with anything smaller than a ping pong ball without supervision. Also be wary of strings and ribbons, cats can easily choke on these.
Each of my cats has their favorite style of toy. One of them goes crazy for paper products like cardboard boxes and crumpled newspaper, while the other prefers to play with anything resembling a stick, like pencils or pens. So if your cat doesn’t seem interested in one toy, just give another a try.
There is nothing like watching your cat discover something new. And you can enjoy this priceless fun for no price at all! Safer Pet Toys Some pet toys are made of petroleum-based plastics or contain harmful ingredients like lead or BPA (bisphenol A, a synthetic compound suspected of causing cancer, nerve damage and other health problems). But many manufacturers are now making chew toys and other items with organic or natural materials like hemp, cotton, plant-based dyes and safer forms of plastic. Take a look at the healthier pet toy offerings from Planet Dog, Simple Fido and other manufacturers. Spay or Neuter Your PetsI'm a big advocate for spaying and neutering your pets. Here's another rather unfortunate fact: Each hour in the United States, about 5,500 puppies and kittens are born. Yes, that's right, every hour. Compare that number to the 415 humans born each hour, and you can see why it's important to spay or neuter your pet. If you think the procedure is unnatural, perhaps you can find something natural about a puppy being killed by a car, or a kitten starving to death -- I can't.
If you are considering declawing your cat, please read this. It will only take a moment, and it will give you valuable information to help you in your decision.
First, you should know that declawing is pretty much an American thing, it's something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed "inhumane" and "unnecessary mutilation." I agree. In many European countries it is illegal. I applaud their attitude.
Before you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat's claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat's claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat's "toes". When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.
No cat lover would doubt that cats--whose senses are much keener than ours--suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.
Your cat's body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.
I have also had people tell me that their cat's personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.
Okay, so now you realize that declawing is too drastic a solution, but you're still concerned about keeping your household furnishings intact. Is there an acceptable solution? Happily, the answer is yes. A big, joyful, humane YES! Actually, there are several. The following website "Cat Scratching Solutions" provides many solutions as well as and insight into the psychology of why cats scratch. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I've found is Soft Paws®.
Soft Paws are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat's front claws. They're great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can't exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post. Soft Paws® are easy to apply and last about four to six weeks. They come in clear or colors--which are really fun. Now that's a kitty manicure! The colored caps look spiffy on Tabby or Tom and have the added advantage of being more visible when one finally comes off. Then you simply replace it.
You can find Soft Paws® on the web by clicking here or call 1-800-989-2542. You need to remember, though, that the caps and nail trimming should only be used on indoor cats who will not be vulnerable to the dangers of the outdoors.
This is what happens when you declaw. Would you want this done to you? What about your children? Would you want this to happen to them?
Notes from the Pet Nanny:
I hope you find this information helpful and please go to the website below for more information. While I'm FIRMLY against declawing, my place is not to judge. That said, when I hear someone say they are going to declaw their cat, I immediately go into protection mode for their cat who is about to undertake this unbearably painful experience and start asking them if they realize what is involved. There are occasions when the person I'm talking with truly has no clue what is involved. So I explain and they tend to change their minds. But for those who I talk to are aware of what is involved I ask them what they would do if a digit of each of their fingers & toes were cut off and forced to walk around on all fours. People who know me know I am pretty passionate about this subject. My goal here is to educate. I often hear "well I don't want my furniture ruined". Um yeah well cats scratch...that is what they do. But you can train them to not scratch on your furniture. If you have any questions on this subject, please don't hesitate to call or email me.
Not yet convinced. See pictures below
Urinary tract infections in cats are fatal if left untreated. Diagnosis in the early states can result in successful treatment and identify additional healthy risks, bladder infections or urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are a common, often reoccurring problem in cats. This type of infection is most frequently seen in male cats-both neutered and un-neutered, but can impact the health of female cats as well. In many cases, the signs of a urinary infection remains hidden from their owners because cats tend to disguise signs of pain and discomfort. However if left untreated, a feline UTI can lead to the blockage and complete obstruction of the urinary tract leading to permanent damage or death.
There are many factors that can cause a cat to develop a urinary tract infection. Some of these causes include, but are not limited to:
• Diet - Choose cat food with low levels of magnesium to reduce the risk of kidney stone development.• Environment - Ensuring the litter box is clean, adequate fresh water is available and a clean home environment will reduce the risk of feline UTI’s.
• Stress - Exposure to stressful changes, including changes to the environment or diet can increase risk factors.
• Gender - Male cats are at increased risk for developing urinary tract infections, development of kidney stones and blockage of the urinary tract.
• Age - As a cat ages, the risk of developing urinary tract infection increases. Cat owners should have their pets kidney function tested on a regular basis once they reach 7 years of age to detect infection, fungus, kidney stones and feline kidney disease.
• Urolithiasis -The formation of kidney stones in the urinary tract. They can cause infection, block the pathways of the bladder and damage the urinary tract if they are passed.
In a healthy state, the bladder is devoid of bacteria. However, when a feline urinary tract infection sets in several common symptoms are visible. These symptoms may occur individually or together.On a personal note: The topic above is very personal for me - it's something Leonardo suffered from around the age of 5 and 6 years old. In the spring he had crystals -but they passed. Then the following winter he was blocked 4 more times in a 6 week period. I was a mess. I was so worried, but thankfully each time I was able to catch it in time, I rushed him to the vet and they unblocked him. What the doctor recommended at the time was a PU operation. It basically cuts off the tip of the cats penis and opens up his urethra canal. Harsh I know. I did so much research to find a better way. There really is none I'm sad to say. I highly recommend this operation - after the surgery Leonardo didn't get blocked. I also made him an indoor cat as there was a combination of indoor and outdoor elements that contribute to getting blocked. In addition I changed his food. If you have any questions - please don't hesitate to ask me and of course call your vet for advice.
The REAL truth about declawing your pet. If you are considering doing this horrific procedure I beg you to please watch this video and look into/research what is EXACTLY being done to your cat. Most veterinarians will say "it's a simple procedure" but It's not and most cats will have life long pain - emotionally and physically. Please go to my Cat Blog in THE 411 PAGE to read more and for pictures that explain it all.