Cat Pregnancy

Female cats can have a heat cycle anywhere from three to five times a year. The first time this happens may be as early as five or six months old or it may be that a cat will not have it’s first heat cycle until it is a year old. Cats do not have any predetermined breeding cycle so a cat going into heat can happen at any time of the year.

A cat will usually have the kittens about 65 days after conception. It is hard for the first few weeks to tell if a cat is pregnant. It is important to allow the pregnant cat to have normal exercise and proper nutrition for the duration of the pregnancy. It can be an exciting time for your family to use the pregnancy of the cat to show young children the progression and birth of the kittens.

Cats will generally become very loving and affectionate toward their family during the pregnancy. As the end of the pregnancy comes closer you will want to set up several safe quiet birthing areas for the cat and allow her to choose which one she wants to use. The mother cat will probably end up moving the kittens several times after the birth to a spot that she thinks is safe. So be prepared to find baby kittens in strange places.

You will want to take the cat to the vet on a routine basis during the pregnancy in order to assure everything is going well. You will want to allow the mother cat and the kittens time to bond after the birth.

If this was an unplanned pregnancy then of course you are going to have to make the decision to allow it to continue or end the pregnancy by having the cat spayed. What every you decide remember this is a loved member of your family so be gentle and kind with either choice.

Cat Spraying

Cats are known for being fastidiously tidy when it comes to their bathroom habits. Kittens are born with natural instincts that make litter box training them nearly effortless. Cats automatically seek out private, sandy areas to relieve themselves and instinctively bury their waste to control odors.

However, there are times when a cat may spray urine on vertical surfaces around the home, such as walls or furniture. This can be a concern to potential cat owners, but cat spraying is often an easy problem to identify and correct.

In their natural environment, male cats spray vertical surfaces, like trees, to mark their territory. While this behavior is instinctive for cats, it is typically exclusive to unneutered male cats. To prevent this behavior from developing, it is vital to neuter male kittens before they reach sexual maturity, which typically occurs around 6 months of age. Once a cat has been neutered, his body will stop producing the hormones that drive him to spray.

It is possible for cats of either gender to spray in situations where they feel their territory has invaded. This sometimes happen when a new pet is introduced into the household. The best solutions for this are to introduce new pets slowly, to provide separate litter boxes and food dishes, and to use products such as Feliway that help to eliminate territorial behavior in cats. It is also vital to thoroughly clean any urine markings by using enzymatic cleaners. Cats often spray or urinate in areas where they have already detected urine, and their noses are much more sensitive to lingering odors than humans’.

If neither of these reasons explain the cat spraying, it is also important to consider a medical cause to the inappropriate urine. Cats may urinate outside of their litter box if they have a urinary tract blockage. A cat should be brought to the vet immediately if a medical cause is suspected.

Cat Grooming

Whether you are a new cat owner or a long time lover of these furry little bundles of joy, a few tips on grooming can be very beneficial to anyone. Generally, cats are very clean animals. A cat will bathe by licking itself numerous times a day. This is helpful with the cat grooming process, not only to the cat maintaining good hygiene, but also to the owner in that they do not need to bathe the cat very often. If your cat has short hair, it will typically not need to be brushed more than one time a week. This should be done gently with a wire brush first and repeated after with a rubber brush or a mitt brush to remove dried skin and dead hairs. If your cat has longer hair, you may need to brush several times a week to keep the fur from getting matted. So play with your cat a little to get them relaxed and then have a cuddle session with the cat and the brush.

If you have ever seen the movie Homeward Bound, you know that cats in general do not like water. Bath time can be one of the more stressful cat grooming processes, so try to be gentle and loving with the cat through this process. Gently massage the shampoo from head to tail and rinse at a good temperature.

Nails on cats need to be trimmed to keep them from getting too long which can be painful to the cat as well as your beautiful sofa or carpet. Gently grab the cat’s paw and put a little pressure on the palm with your finger to allow the nails to pop out. In the middle of the nail you will see the quick, which is the vain that runs through it. Try to avoid cutting this as doing so will cause slight bleeding. Nails grow at different rates, so this is not something that should be done every week or two, just when you see they are getting too long.

Always remember to place the litter box in a consistantly accessable place and never use cleaning products that smell similar to the litter as this may cause confusion. Don’t forget to love this animal and enjoy the time you have together.

Cat Neutering

"Neutering" a male or "spaying" a female cat involves the surgical removal of the animal’s sexual organs. There are many reasons one might elect to have this surgery performed on their pet. Whatever your motives though, it is best to be as informed about this routine 10 to 20 minute procedure as you possibly can.

Spaying and neutering have been used as behavioral modification tools, as the removal of the organs will calm excitable or aggressive animals. Although many veterinarians traditionally demand that a cat be at least 6 months of age prior to undergoing this surgery, early age neutering has become more popular as recent research has indicated that there is no risk of increased complications.

Spaying and neutering are, of course, common techniques used as a method of pet population control. With so many abandoned and otherwise feral cats in the world, it is no wonder that many owners choose neutering. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that up to 60% of un-neutered cats become feral in 3-5 years and this may account for the fact that their numbers in the US are upwards of 60 million.

Once you’ve had your precious kitty spayed or neutered, you can expect to see some changes both in appearance and in behavior. Cats who are neutered may exhibit weight gain, but this is not a necessity, as the tendency can be corrected through modification of diet. Your cat may seem more lethargic if neutered or spayed during maturity, and while this is natural during its recovery from surgery, your pet should quickly return to its normal self.

Neutering and spaying cats can be a great boon in the prevention of many health problems commonly associated with mature pets. By consulting your veterinarian concerning neutering, and what to expect, you can make the best decision to ensure that your sweet feline friend stays healthy, wholesome and happy.

Cat Health Problems

So, your kitty isn’t acting his normal self. Just like us, this could be something serious, or perhaps he is just a bit under the weather. It is important for us, as cat owners, to know which cat health problems need medical attention.

All cats have the ability to make themselves vomit. They do this when something is in their stomach that just doesn’t feel good, like hairballs. Unless there is blood in the vomit, the cat is vomiting every time he eats, or there are other symptoms present, this is usually not an indication for a trip to the veterinarian.

If your cat is experiencing diarrhea, and there is no blood or vomiting, you can wait a few days and see if the problem stops. You may want to give him a bland diet and keep him inside so he doesn’t eat anything that will further upset his system. The important thing to remember with both vomiting and diarrhea is to make sure your cat is not dehydrating. A kitten can dehydrate rather quickly, it is important to keep an eye on them and seek medical attention if they are not able to hold down any fluids at all, or are really lethargic.

Other common cat health problems include worms, fleas, and infections. It is very important to get your cat all his vaccinations. Cat cancer has been proven to be more common in cats that have the feline leukemia virus; for which there is a vaccination. When you take him to get his vaccinations you should also get him wormed.

Most of the time, being aware of your cat and how he is behaving will let you know the seriousness of any cat health problems he may be experiencing. If he is behaving in a completely new manner a trip to your veterinarian certainly wouldn’t hurt him; and it will ease your mind as well.

Dealing with Cat Fleas

Cat fleas can be a very frustrating and tough problem to deal with. Cat fleas (scientifically referred to as Ctenocephalides felis) are the most common type of flea out there, and despite the name, not just limited to the feline species. Cat flea saliva is similar to leech saliva in that it contains an anticoagulant called apyrase which makes the blood free flowing so they can ingest a high amount of blood. Cat fleas are very stressful on the animal and the owner so it’s important to treat the problem as soon as possible and to be gentle with the animal so it doesn’t create even more stress.

The easiest and most efficient way to check to see if your cat (or other animal) has cat fleas is to lie the animal down and gently pet it against the grain of the fur while looking for small black specks (that tend to hop). If you take some paper and lay it under the cat and rub the fur quickly to knock the fleas off. Then mist the paper with water and if the little black specks start bleeding red then you have fleas (the red being the bloody stools from the cat fleas).

If indeed your pet does have fleas, it’s best to immediately wash it (which may be difficult if indeed the animal infected is a cat!) with a flea control shampoo. This will offer immediate relief for the poor animal. Make sure the shampoo is made specifically for the animal you have and be sure to read the directions. Also, make sure to avoid the animals sensitive areas, such as the mouth, eyes, ears, and nose. You can also mix baby shampoo in as it is gentler on the animal, but not that efficient as a flea reducer.

Next, you’ll need to purchase a topical flea treatment. Wait till the animal is clean and dry and read the directions carefully. But most topical treatments work the same way. You’ll part the animals fur at the shoulder blades and apply a small, thin line of flea treatment. Generally, treatments work by attacking the cat’s nervous system and start to take effect in less than 12 hours.

Treating your pet however, is just the first step. As flea eggs aren’t sticky, like lice eggs, once the fleas lay them they fall off. So you’ll want to clean everything and everywhere where your animal has been. Vacuum everything, your carpets, rugs, couches, chairs, and then vacuum again, and maybe even again. Then wash any bedding your animal has laid on in hot water multiple times. It would be a good idea to bug bomb your house too, and if the animal goes outside, lay flea killer outdoors as well.

Cat Adoption

If you are thinking of adopting a cat, there are some things that you might want to take into consideration so that you have a successful experience. When adopting a cat the first thing you will want to do is decide what type of cat you would like to bring home. There are many choices, so take some time and do some research. Next you will want to determine where you would like to get your cat and if you want to spend money on an adoption. Deciding that you may want to take a cat that is free to a good home may seem like a good idea, however you need to be prepared to take the cat straight to a veterinarian.

For a cat adoption, there are many places to purchase your new pet from on the internet. You may also want to check first with your local humane society and community rescue programs. There are many cats that have been abandoned, rescued, or recovered from an injury that are ready for a good, loving home. Once you have chosen a place, make sure you are aware of all fees that will be associated to the cat adoption. Sometimes the services go beyond the adoption fee and you don’t want any surprises when you are are ready to pay and take your cat home.

With the cat adoption complete, you are ready to bring your newest family member home. It is key that you have the following ready for the cat’s arrival:

-food and bowls
-litter box and litter
-collar with name and vet

Fun things like toys and scratching posts can be purchased as well, but can be added later. Your cat adoption will be very rewarding if you understand the commitment of a pet, and are willing to provide some extra attention to your new friend.

Cat Toys

Cats are fun to watch when they play. Born natural hunters, the instinct to stalk and wrestle is innate. They are naturally athletic and are a joy to be around when there needs are met. Playtime is an important need. Engage your kitty with cat toys for their health and happiness. Giving them an outlet for their creativity and energy is a key to raising a happy cat.

Luckily cats are not picky when it comes to the price tag on cat toys. Homemade toys and objects from around the house can be immensely entertaining, especially when you are a part of the play time. Some cats will even play fetch. For this, all they need is a crumbled up ball of paper and a patient owner. Nearly anything that they can swat and chase is a wonderful toy for them. Ping pong balls, corks, toilet paper tubes can all be rolled in front of the cat to see what they will do.

Cats also love to play in paper bags and empty boxes, just setting one on the floor may be enough incentive for the cat to explore, while jostling it a little can make a reluctant cat play. Try shining a flashlight or laser beam around the room to see what they’ll do. Some cats love that game.

Purchased cat toys can break up the monotony and introduce something brand new to the cat. Bells and feathers, plastic balls and furry mice are all interesting to a cat. Setting the toy out for them to discover on their own may cause the toy to get more use, than if it was given to them.

Since all cats are different, you will soon discover what their favorite toys are, but continue to introduce other varieties from time to time. Even consider putting certain toys away for a while and then reintroducing them to kep life interesting for the cat.

A Short Guide to Cat Food

If you choose to buy commercially made cat food products, be selective. Your feline will need to obtain all necessary vitamins and minerals from the cat food you offer. Do not settle for something that will only fill your pet and not provide all the things needed for healthy body function.

Cat Food Filler
In nature, cats primarily survive on meat, not carbohydrates. If you offer your pet a cat food that contains a high amount of carbohydrates, he or she will not get much needed proteins. Avoid foods that utilize carbohydrates as filler. These can be difficult for your pet to digest properly and lead to health problems later in life.

Desirable Cat Food Ingredients
Meat is vital to good feline health. When you read the labels on your next cat food purchase, always search for the protein-rich ingredient which should appear first in the list. Other important ingredients include calcium ascorbate and alpha tocopherol (Vitamins C and D). The amino acid Taurine is also vital because feline bodies do not produce it the way human bodies do.

Cat Food Labels: The Fine Print
Always read labels and make sure you are not being misled. The primary source of protein should be specified as well as the source of fat. Before you buy also check the expiration date. It can be easy for a bag or can of cat food to sit on a shelf for a long time then be sold for your pet’s daily meals. Expired food should be discarded.
When it is time to make your next cat food purchase, read the label and be aware of what you are buying. Spend less on vet bills by sticking with high quality cat food products that will keep your pet healthy. Provide your pet with a cat food that will promote a healthy body and long, happy life so you can enjoy many years of companionship together.