Tagged: grooming a cat

Feb 19

Outlaw the Declaw

OUTLAW THE DECLAW
This digital sticker is my original artwork, it is free to download. All I ask is that you use it for good, don’t resell it and link back to this article.

This is a painful subject. This post isn’t funny or cute or entertaining, but this is an important post because it’s about keeping the furry critters healthy and happy and, more over as their guardians, keeping them from unnecessary harm. So if you’re already against declawing, you may want to pass on this article, it’ll just make you sad. (but do click here to get some digital stickers if you’d like). My only hope is that this article will reach and inform someone considering declawing their cat.

I can’t think of a single good reason for declawing a cat, but I just don’t believe in unnecessary, painful and mutilative surgeries for people OR animals. Especially when there are easy, inexpensive alternatives like trimming your cats nails or products like Soft Claws.

You may not know but what the vet does when he declaws a cat is to completely remove the last joint in each toe of the cat’s paw. The inhumanity of the declawing is clearly demonstrated by the nature of the cats’ recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, presumably by overwhelming pain. Relating this information overwhelms me and makes me sick. Declawing is amputation.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, look at your own hand or foot, think of having the end of each of your fingers or toes cut off, think of having your sensory and motor nerves cut, your tendons and ligaments cut right through the first joint and then think of having to write or walk that way. Declawing is amputation.

Now if you’re still not convinced, do a google image search for declawing. I’m not going to show you these types of graphic images here, but what you will find there is nauseating. Declawing is amputation.

I’ve recently read that declawing is primarily a United States practice and that many other countries have outlawed this barbaric procedure. And I wonder “Why in the world is declawing still legal in the United States? Don’t we love our animals just as much as other people in the world? Do Americans really care more about our couches than our companions?”

So I’m just wondering, what if every pet lover in the United States started only visiting vets who are against declawing?

Interested in reading more? Please go to this well informed article on the truth about declawing.

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Feb 17

Basic Cat Ownership – A Down and Dirty Primer

i say let sleeping cats lie
Please to let the
sleeping cats lie!

Cats are basically simple pets to care for and are very adaptable to a wide range of living situations. This makes them just as good a pet for city dwellers with small apartments as they are for people with large homes and property. A cat’s basic needs are high quality cat food (I like grain-free kibble best), fresh water, a very clean liter box, a scratching post, fun toys and a good veterinarian.

First, please get your pets fixed. Low cost spay and neuter programs are available in most cities nationwide. (Just google “low cost spay and neuter” with the addition of your city name and you’ll find one.) Spaying or neutering your cat, will make it a happier and healthier individual and will help to cut down shelter crowding and needless euthanasia of unwanted animals.

If you are planning on breeding your cat, please think twice – Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized. And at least 25% of these animals are owner surrendered pure breeds. More shelter stats from the ASPCA here.

Cats don’t require baths or daily walks and can be left alone for 3 or 4 days at a time with a proper food and water supply and clean litter boxes. When I go out of town, I just have a friend stop in every couple of days to check on my babies, clean up boxes and replenish food and water. As well, there are a great number of bonded pet-sitters who can be hired to check in (Always ask for references). If you will be out of town for an extended time, your cat can be boarded with your vet or a specialized pet boarding facility. Look for a boarding situation with lots of opportunity for exercise, play time and interaction.

Once you have a cat or kitten in your home, you will find that they will decide where they like to sleep and how they like to spend their time. No matter what kind of fancy, fluffy bed you purchase, your cat will invariably choose to sleep on the clean laundry or whatever piece of nice clothing (especially black) you’ve set down for 2 seconds while you look for your shoes. Best advice? Get a “Lint Pic-up” roller, they are at Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens…basically everywhere (just like cat fur!).

Speaking of fur, an exception to ease of care of cats would be a long haired cat, such as a Persian or Himalayan. These breeds with long, thick, silky fur are prone to matting and need daily brushing. Once their fur is allowed to become matted, the only way to remove the mats is to have a groomer cut them out. An alternate to daily combing and brushing is to have a professional cat groomer do a nice “Lion Cut” for your cat. I have all short hairs, but I keep a nice brush handy by the couch anyway. Brushing kitty is always an excellent bonding experience and even helps you to de-stressify and lower your blood pressure. Sometimes I just hold the brush in my hand and all interested parties take turns coming up to rub on the brush, combing themselves.

Scratching posts are a requirement. Cats have a natural need to scratch and the best way to save your couch from being completely shredded is to provide a good alternate (or two or three). The nice thing is that now there are many cat tree manufacturers who make attractive posts and trees, so you don’t have to get that uber ugly beige carpeted thing you saw at the local petamatorium. I’m completely against the inhumane act of declawing (which is, in all honesty, toe amputation), so I use a combination of nail trimming and routine sprinkling of catnap on the posts.

While cats spend a good percentage of their time sleeping, they also love to play. My cats all have very different personalities and like different types of cat toys. We have an assortment of bouncy super balls and rabbit fur covered “mice”, Cat Dancers and catnip filled toys. But sometimes they think a plant is a good toy, so watch for plants that are poisonous to cats. Many cats just love a long piece of yarn (watch for string swallowers, though!) or an old box. I’ve had a hilarious time watching my big fatties try to fit themselves into a shoebox!

When looking for a vet, ask friends and family for recommendations. Heck, if you’re outgoing, ask pet store employees and customers, people at the dog park or neighbors who have pets (you might even hook up with a new friend!). It may take a few visits to different folks, but I think finding a good vet is just as important as finding a good doctor or dentist. Here in Dallas, I was even able to find a partnership of vets who are open extended hours and weekends, who are all so loving, caring, honest and qualified. Shout out to Hillside Veterinary, we all love you Dr. Huskey and Dr. Sinapi!

Quickly, yesterday when I got my eBook on cat ownership from Karen, there is a good point in it I had never thought of and it’s funny I didn’t because I have this “little” problem (I’m obviously in denial). If you have never lived with a cat and are thinking about getting one, it’s smart to find out of you are allergic. Many pets are surrendered due to dander and fur allergies. Now, like I said, I have this problem. I found out just a year ago, that I register about 10 on the Richter scale for fur and feather allergies (my boyfriend is telling me that a 10 is epic level and has never been recorded in history, he’s also telling me about Bolivia earthquakes and nuclear bombs, he’s a facts and stats kinda guy), but I’ve chosen to get weekly allergy shots to deal with my allergies. I just can’t imagine giving up my pets, ever, and my allergist has assured me that I won’t have to.

Most importantly, pet ownership is a serious commitment. A pet depends upon you for care, sustenance, love and medical attention. Giving a pet proper care in not inexpensive. Animals bond to people, this is why we love them, they give back to us in so many ways. If we take one into our care, we must be there for it’s lifetime.

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Feb 10

Kitty Mani-Pedi Day

I trim all of my cat’s nails about once a month. Since I have 8 indoor cats, that means I trim 188 nails on kitty mani-pedi day!

I think these are the
best style of nail trimmers
for cats (and dogs)
groommax nail trimmers

I start by paying attention to when the cat is mellow and chill, then I sit with him or her, petting and talking in a low tone (I flatter them a lot, too…it can’t hurt). Most of my cats just sit on my lap while I do their nails. A few of my squirmy babies get (gently) sat on, though.

I’m right handed, so with my left hand I take one of their paws and gently push under the pad with my thumb and on top of the nail where it meets skin with my index finger (or or reverse thumb and index, depending on what seems like the best position). When the nail is extended I trim it with the nail clippers in my right hand within the white part of the nail.

Do not cut into the pink part of the nail, that is the quick of the cat’s nail. If you cut it, it will bleed like crazy and be terribly painful for your cat. Not to mention, cutting into your kitty’s quick will make your pet very distrustful of you when you touch it’s feet.

click to visit laughing cat arts

Use real pet nail trimmers from the pet store. Nail clippers made for people aren’t the right shape for your pet’s nails, so don’t even try to do the job with the wrong tool. (It will end in tragedy for all!!)

When we’re done, I always give out a hefty round of kitty treats. Celebration for a job well done!

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Jan 31

Cat Bath? Ways to Avoid.

I’m really not for cat bathing unless it is absolutely necessary. By absolutely necessary, I mean he has completely soiled himself, requires a medical bath, run into a skunk or gotten into something really, really horrible you don’t want spread around the house. Even then, I think twice. For the most part cats are little self-cleaning appliances; no muss, no fuss. I just think there is little reason to subject a cat or yourself to bathing stress.

Try unscented Kitty Wipes
on your messy puss!
kitty wipes

If one of my cats has gotten into something unsavory, the first thing I try to do is to get a paper towel or washcloth and wipe my cat off. If the job requires soap, I prepare three paper towels; one with a little soapy water, one with just water and one to dry; then I take him to the kitchen floor and get to work. Afterward, I just comb through his fur and it’s all good. It’s so much easier on both of us, and my cats seem to be less worried by the kitchen than the bathroom. Another thing you can try is Kitty Wipes or unscented baby wipes (your cat really doesn’t want to smell of perfume nor does he want to taste it during his own grooming session).

That said, I have a very old Siamese (18 years this Spring) who developed a bad patch of ringworm after I’d brought in stray kittens. The vet told me to do a medical soak for 10 minutes every day. I had a cow. This cat is old, she’s fragile, she’s going to have a breakdown and I’m going to end up in tears. So I decided to see what would happen if I sat in the bath with her. Misery loves company, you know? Well, it worked. In fact she leaned back and propped her elbow on my leg like she was kicking it in the hot tub with her soul mate and I came out completely unscathed. I’ve never seen anything like it.

I would also recommend not flea bathing or dipping. Flea bath is a neurotoxin and for me it’s exposure to too much poison that has too great a chance of being ingested and causing a bad reaction. (And yes, I have had this experience while dipping in the past…never again!) Much better solutions that are applied topically, like Advantage and Revolution, have been developed over the past years for killing fleas and ticks and even internal parasites. But go to the vet for topical flea and tick treatments, I really don’t recommend buying over-the-counter, they just don’t work.

A long while ago, I moved into a house that unknown to me had a hideous flea infestation. Within the first few hours of being there all of my pets were in agony and I had bites all over, too. So, I carted all the pets off to the vet expecting to have to do a massive flea dip and have professional exterminators out to the house. Instead the vet told me to try Advantage. At the time, I’d never heard of it, but its packaging stated that it would stops fleas from biting in three to five minutes, and start killing fleas withing an hour AND that within 12 hours of initial application, 98-100% of all existing fleas on pets would be dead. Honestly, this product worked exactly as it said and I didn’t even have to get an exterminator. I’ve used it ever since.

I’m in North Texas and we get horrible fleas and ticks, but a beginning of summer treatment and an end of summer treatment with Advantage takes care for the entire year. Simple and stress-free.

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