How to take your cat to the vet

Taking your cat to the vet can be a scary experience for you and your cat! Here are some tips on how to take your cat to the vet and take the stress out of the trip for both of you.

Understanding your cat’s behavior

Cat’s are most comfortable with the familiar and need time to adjust to the unfamiliar. A visit to the vet can be stressful because the carrier, the car ride, and the vet’s office are all unfamiliar. They are also very attuned to their human’s frustration and anxiety, so the more you can remain calm the more you will be helping your cat.

It begins with training. Cats do not learn from punishment or force, they learn from rewards to encourage positive behavior. They want to please you, therefore, you must let them know when they’ve done so.

Begin with handling

You should begin (and begin early) by handling your cat in all the ways she may be handled at the veterinarian’s office. This should continue as often as possible, and in the beginning may only last a minute or two. When your cat is calmly in your lap, touch her paws, her ears and open her mouth to have a look at her teeth.

Each time she allows you to touch one of these sensitive areas reward her with food, play or affection. Only you know what best motivates your cat.  Be persistent and reward every time she complies.

Cat, meet carrier!

The goal here is for your cat to learn to associate the carrier with a positive experience and eventually enter voluntarily on a routine basis.

Once again this training should start early on by leaving the carrier out in a place where your cat spends a lot of time. Initially, you can place an item of your own bedding or clothing with your scent inside the carrier to make kitty feel more secure. You can also place a few treats, catnip, or toys inside the encourage your cat to enter the carrier at home. You may notice the treats go missing during the night. Continue to replace them and eventually you will catch her inspecting the carrier in your presence. Reward immediately!

This process could take days, weeks or even months. Be patient and calm with your cat and always reward desired behavior. If you still have trouble getting her used to the carrier you may need to re-evaluate the carrier itself.

What type carriers are best?

Choose a carrier that is sturdy and secure for the cat, as well as easy to carry for yourself.

Carriers should be seat-belted in the car to keep kitty safe and reduce as much of the bumpiness of the ride as possible.

Some cats like to see out when traveling, while others may be less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent them from being exposed to unfamiliar sights.

The best carriers are hard-sided carriers that can open from both the front and the top. It is especially helpful if it can also be taken apart in the middle, leaving the bottom half open. This way a cat who is anxious or fearful can remain in the bottom half of the carrier. The vet can often perform the exam without removing the cat at all, which helps reduce stress.

What if my cat is unwilling?

Getting an unwilling cat into the carrier can be a challenge, but the following may help:

  • Put the carrier in a small room with few places for kitty to hide
  • Move slowly and calmly, do not attempt to chase the cat into the carrier
  • If kitty just will NOT walk into the carrier and the carrier has an opening in the top, gently cradle the cat and lower her into the carrier.
  • Use familiar bedding in the carrier, such as a piece of your own clothing
  • Consider the use of calming feline pheromone spray in the carrier about 30 minutes prior to transport

Coming home-keeping the peace

Cats are VERY sensitive to smells, and unfamiliar scents can result in one cat no longer recognizing another if it smells like a stranger. If you’re bringing a cat home from the vet into a multi-cat household these suggestions can help avoid problems between cats following a veterinary visit:

  • Leave the returning cat in the carrier for a few minutes to see how all the other cats react
  • When everyone appears calm and peaceful let the returning cat out of the carrier
  • If you sense any tension take the carrier into a separate room to let the returning cat out. Provide a treat and spend some time petting her and letting her roam to regain the more familiar smell of home
  • The use of a synthetic feline pheromone spray can help provide a sense of familiarity

Final thoughts

I hope you find these suggestions on how to ease stress for you and your cat during a visit to the veterinarian helpful. If you have other suggestions of your own I would love to hear about them. Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Thanks! Have a paws-atively wonderful day!

Kyle Ann

Large cat tree by Go Pet Club

This is one of the best extra large cat trees on the market. It has received nearly 5,000 reviews on Amazon and has a 4.5-star rating. This item along with several others from Go Pet Club have the Amazon’s Choice rating as well.

Go Pet Club cat trees

The Go Pet Club brand name is synonymous with quality products and great customer service. They make multiple sizes and configurations at different price points. I decided on this one to review today as I feel it is a solid mid-range choice good for both families with multiple cats or only one pampered pet!

I own a slightly different model of cat tree from the same company, so I do have personal experience with their products. I have owned my cat tree for nearly 7 years and it has gone through use by 4 cats and is still going strong. I keep hoping it will fall apart so I can replace it because I actually like this one better!

Cat tree decision criteria

The factors I feel are important when choosing a cat tree for your home includes the following:

  • Attractive design – we want a cat tree that we are not embarrassed for visitors to see when they come into our home.   It should be designed to fit into most any decor with a nicely balanced geometry and neutral color scheme.
  • Sturdy build – kitties should feel safe while climbing onto any level of the cat tree, whether she weighs ten pounds or twenty pounds.
  • Multiple functions – kitties should be able to use their cat tree for exercise and play, to nap without interruption, and as their preferred (especially by us!) place for scratching which is a necessary part of a cat’s grooming routine.
  • Ease of assembly – this criteria applies to us as the pet parent but is every bit as important. If you can’t put the darn thing together how is kitty ever going to be able to enjoy it? Not only that, if it arrives missing a few screws how responsive will the company be to ensure your satisfaction?

Go Pet Club products = a great reputation

The Go Pet Club company makes many different variations of cat furniture, some smaller and lighter weight, some larger and sturdier. In all reviews, the few customers who had issues with understanding the assembly instructions or encountering missing parts reported a fast and friendly customer service response. This is backed up by the Amazon’s Choice label, which applies to products which are highly rated, well priced ready to ship immediately.

Go Pet Club cat tree specifications

Go Pet Club’s 62″ Tall Brown Cat Tree will help keep your feline friend off your furniture. This cat tree has plenty of sisal rope covered posts to keep your cat from scratching your furniture. It also provides hammocks, perches and baskets for your cat to nap with the soft faux fur covering.

  • Posts covered by natural sisal rope.
  • Covering Material: Faux Fur.
  • Board Material: Compressed Wood.
  • Easy to assemble with step by step instruction and tools included.
  • Weight – 41.1 pounds
  • Overall Size : 38″W x 27″L x 62″H
  • Base Board Size : 26″W x 19″L
  • Size of Condo : 10.5″ Dia x 12.5″H
  • Size of Top Perch : 13.25″W x 13.25″L x 2.75″H
  • F67: Beige.   F68: Brown.   F69: Blue.   F70: Black

Conclusion – a great choice

From both my own experience with this company and the nearly 5,000 positive reviews on Amazon it is my opinion that this cat tree would be a great choice for nearly every family with one kitty or multiple cats.

This is a piece of cat furniture with a sturdy build that will last for years of kitty racing, scratching, playing or napping. The multiple levels allow multiple cats to use at the same time yet each to have her own space.

Thanks for stopping by. I welcome all questions or comments below.

Kyle Ann

Disaster Preparedness Should Include Pets

September is Disaster Preparedness Month! Disaster preparation is not something we like to think about, but with Mother Nature dealing out some of her most bizarre hands in recent memory it’s better to be safe than sorry!
The following is a list of disaster preparation tips compiled by the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States.

START GETTING READY NOW! Make sure all your furry companions have collars and identification tags that include your contact number. Most dogs wear their collars and tags full time, but cats, and particularly those who stay indoors, may not wear their collars or even have tags. And though pets with microchips are more likely to be reunited with their family, the average good Samaritan won’t be able to scan for a chip but they will be able to read a  basic tag with a name and phone number!

There are tags available now which slide onto the collars so they don’t contribute to the “jingle” noise which can spooks cats in particular. A cat harness instead of a collar is also a good option for using this style tag. These tags can hold more information than just your pet’s name. Your name and phone number should also be included, and if there’s room for your vet’s name include that too.

                                                               

PREPARE YOUR DISASTER KIT! The disaster kit for your pets should include the following items:

  • food and water for 5 days-remember the bowls and a can opener if feeding canned food
  • medications and medical records in a plastic container or ziploc bag, along with photos of your pets, and the name and phone number of your veterinarian
  • cat litter, litter box, scoop-and garbage bags for disposal of pet waste
  • sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers-the carriers should be big enough so your pet can stand, turn around and lie down since they may have to be in them for hours at a time
  • other useful items may include wet wipes, paper towels, brushes, nail clippers, and other grooming items, extra containers of water and extra trash bags, flashlights and batteries, and a small bottle of bleach

FIND A SAFE PLACE TO STAY IN ADVANCE!  Contact hotels and motels outside your area to find out which ones accept guests with pets, and if there are any restrictions. Keep a list of the animal-friendly places handy, and make reservations ahead if at all possible.

Call friends or relatives who live outside your immediate area to find out if they would be willing and able to shelter you and your pets. If you have multiple pets you may need to make arrangements to shelter them at separate locations.

IF YOU EVACUATE, TAKE YOUR PETS!  If it isn’t safe for you it isn’t safe for your pets. Pets left behind in a disaster are frequently lost forever, injured or killed!   Some companies have emergency readiness kits already prepared, like the ones sold by PetHub.

Use coupon code “PREPARE” for 20% off one of their ReadyKits!

Visit PetHub today!PetHub Cat ID tags

IF YOU SHELTER AT HOME, DO IT SAFELY!  Block up or close off any nooks and crannies where frightened pets may try to run and hide. If you have a room or basement area designated as your “safe room” put your emergency supply kits there in advance. Keep a radio handy so you know when it’s safe to come out.

AFTER THE DISASTER, TAKE IT EASY!  Your home may be a very different place after an emergency, and as hard as it is for you it will also be hard for pets to adjust. Don’t allow them to roam free until you have thoroughly checked things out for safety.

If flooding has occurred check for displaced wildlife in the area around your house. They could pose a threat to both you and your pets. Call a trained expert to have wild animals safely and humanely removed and relocated.

BE PREPARED FOR EVEN SMALL EMERGENCIES!  A traffic accident may strand you on the road home from work for hours, or worse yet if you’re one of the parties involved you may need to be taken to the hospital. Plan ahead for a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to have a way to enter your home to care for your pets in case of a sudden short-term emergency.

Hopefully, these small steps can make a huge difference in your life and the lives of your pets in an emergency situation and will help you recover and more quickly to return to normal.

Cat Breeds That Are Hypoallergenic

Many people these days suffer from allergies of various types: grass and pollen, dust and mold, foods, and last but not least pet hair and dander. In the case of cat lovers, there are a few breed choices that produce fewer allergens and can, therefore, be considered potentially hypoallergenic. These recommendations are anecdotal and should in no way be taken as medical advice. One should always check with their physician or have a specific test done to determine if an allergy-causing agent is present in a kitty before welcoming her into your home.

Causes of cat allergies

Although many people believe it is a cat’s fur that causes the allergic reaction surprisingly it is more often the saliva, with dander also potentially allergy-inducing. Once a kitty grooms (licks) herself the residual saliva dries and becomes airborne, or gets onto us through petting them which is what causes a persons itchy sneezy allergic reaction. There is an enzyme called Fel D1 that is the root cause of many of these problems, although some other factors may also contribute. Continue reading “Cat Breeds That Are Hypoallergenic”

Top 5 cat toys review


I’ve owned cats for over 50 years, calico cats, tabby cats, Persians, Siamese, mixed breed and pure breeds. The one thing all cats have in common is the desire for play. Here I’m going to give you the pros and cons on what I feel are among the top 5 cat toys available today.

#5-Friends Forever Interactive Cat Toy

Pros: This toy uses 3 “AA” batteries (not included), it will run for 15 minutes and automatically shut off, and it changes patterns so kitty doesn’t get bored just going in a circle. It also has 3 different speeds.

 

Cons: It is very lightweight (10 ounces) and while it works well for kittens a bigger heavier cat can easily knock it over. It is also on the higher end price wise at $25.

 

#4  Bergan Turbo Scratcher

Pros: I’ve had several of these turbo scratchers and they have been popular with both younger and older kitties. The cardboard scratcher at the center is replaceable and can be made more enticing with a sprinkle of catnip. I’ve had 2 cats in particular who became so adept with this toy they could stop it and change direction in a split second. I think they would have been ping pong champions! The price is right at just over $10.

Cons: The only con I’ve experienced is with aggressive clawing the bits of cardboard can get spread around the area of the toy.

 

#3 Petstages Tower of Tracks

Pros: This is another favorite. Similar to the previous toy it consists of 3 levels of balls in tracks. An agile cat or multiple cats can really get them spinning! There is a bar over the center hole so kitty can’t get her head stuck. Also reasonably priced at $11.

Cons: None that I’ve found.

 

#2 Catit Senses 2.0 Digger

Pros: I really like this toy which consists of different diameter tubes in a stand. It is sturdy, can be taken apart for cleaning, and can entertain more than one kitty at a time. I also like that it engages more than one of kitty’s senses. By placing a few treats in only a couple of the tubes kitty must determine which tubes contain treats (sight and smell), use her paws to dig out the treats (touch) and is rewarded for her determination with treats (taste). The price is a plus coming in at under $10.

Cons: None that I’ve found.

 

#1 Youngever 20 Cat & Kitten Toys

Pros:  This is an amazing collection of toys for kittens and cats. Included are a collapsible cat tunnel, teaser wand, interactive feather toy, fluffy mice and crinkle balls. There are enough toys to entertain 20 animals, and at just $12 this is a great value.

Cons: The only con occurs when you move the sofa to vacuum and find felt mice and crinkle balls everywhere! Other than that there are none.

 

I hope this list gives you some ideas about the great toys available on the market today to keep your kitty entertained and out of trouble!

Kyle Ann

What’s up with kitty litter?


So you think your kitty is not using the litter box correctly. There could be multiple reasons why, we will try to pinpoint some of the common issues here.

This litter stinks!litter

There are as many types of litter boxes and litter as there are breeds of cats. That’s a LOT, and there’s a reason for it. Cats have individual preferences in food, toys, and yes even in their litter boxes and litter. Some will prefer wide open boxes while others may choose to have a bit more privacy with a covered box. Some cats will prefer pelletized litter while others may like a more sand-like texture.

If you get your cat as a young kitten she will more than likely adapt to whatever you provide. She knows you as her keeper and protector and will trust your judgment. That means it is up to you to do what is in your kitty’s best interest.

A cat adopted later in life may or may not have developed a preference, which you will find out by trial and error. I suggest putting a washable towel or rug under the litter boxes. Kitties who don’t like their litter will sometimes hang over the side of the box instead of staying within its confines.

Some kitties will leave their deposits right on top and walk away, others will attempt a world-class excavation. If the sides of the box are too low, or the box is too small this could cause a major indoor sandstorm!

Sand and clay, paper and pine

With multiple kitties you need the same number of boxes as cats PLUS one. So for 2 cats you should have 3 litter boxes. If you have a multi-story home there should be a litter box on more than one level. For single story homes the boxes should be accessible in different areas of the home as opposed to all in one room. For just one kitty the boxes may be kept together. Continue reading “What’s up with kitty litter?”

HELP! My kitty is lost


 

There may come a time when an inquisitive kitty who has spent her whole life indoors will dart outside to see what she’s been missing out there and become lost.

Where to look for a lost kittykitty hiding outdoors

The first thing to remember is that most kitties will actually stay fairly close to home. While you may not be able to see or hear her, she may be in the hedge just beside your house. She may be so overwhelmed with all the new sights, sounds, and scents that she just “freezes” in place.

Or another possibility is that she may actually have chased another small animal, a lizard or even a bug into a dark undercover place and is so focused on actually catching her first prey that she tunes you out when you call her. Not to worry, there are several methods available to you to recover her and bring her home safely.

Food will almost always win

If you have developed a consistent routine of sleeping, eating and playing, around the next meal time she will begin to feel familiar hunger pangs, and remember that it is time to fill her tummy! This would be a good opportunity to fill her bowl and bring it outside near the door from which she made her escape. Continue reading “HELP! My kitty is lost”

How to introduce a new kitty to existing pets


 


For those of us with multiple pets who didn’t all come into our lives at the same time here are some tips and tricks on introducing a new kitten into a home with existing pets.

Why do you want another cat?

There are many factors that go into the decision to bring a new kitten into your life. It should be well-thought-out and well planned and never spur of the moment. For me, after 10 years of having my dog Lucy and two sister cats Chloe and Zoe, I was asked to take in a 14-year old male cat, Titan, who had once belonged to my Son but had been living with his ex-wife since their divorce 5 years ago. Suddenly she no longer wanted him and was threatening to take him to a shelter if I didn’t want him. Well OF COURSE I wanted him. I knew him to be a sweet loving and very unique (Pixie-Bob) polydactic, or 5 toed, cat.Titan In this situation it was a bit spur of the moment, but since I knew the cat I was getting it made it easier.

Initial preparation tips

Whether it’s an adult cat or a new kitten the steps to prepare for its introduction to your existing pets are the same. I followed them for taking in Titan, and copied the same process just weeks ago with my new kitten Misha.

For the first few days or weeks, depending on how the introduction goes, the newest family member should be sequestered in a “safe room” by itself. This space should include everything the kitty needs, food and water, toys and a bed, and of course a litter box. Continue reading “How to introduce a new kitty to existing pets”

My backstory: our pets impact our health


 

It takes a lot of “get up and go” to keep up with an active kitten. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself so you can take good care of them. When I had health issues my pets saved me.

Are you worn out yet?Sleepy cuddle

After several times a day playing with your kitten to keep her active and healthy you may be wondering “how much longer do I have to do this…I’m TIRED”!

That may be a clue you need to start focusing on taking care of YOU so you can continue to be great at taking care of everyone and everything else in your household. As a sixty-something-year-old woman with 2 cats, a dog, and seven grandchildren I have learned the importance of keeping my own energy level up. If I get too tired to say…run the vacuum a couple times a week my carpet tends to grow its own fur coat. Not a good look.

There are several new activities I have begun to incorporate into my routine over the years. I’ve always been a believer in vitamins. Now that so much of our food is processed the nutritional content is badly lacking. Even “fresh” fruits and vegetables are grown in nutrient barren soil and picked so early for shipment they don’t have time to reach their full nutritional potential. Continue reading “My backstory: our pets impact our health”

Preparing your home 4 kitten play


 

There are some definite “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to the safe preparation of your home for a kitten.

Where’s my kitty?kitty in a basket

Kittens, by virtue of being small and curious, can find hiding places you wouldn’t have thought of in your wildest imagination. One of my own most frightening experiences happened when I couldn’t find my new kitten for an entire afternoon. I called and called, spent hours getting up and down off my hands and knees peering under every piece of furniture that was more than 3 inches off the floor – because they can also flatten their little bodies and army crawl with the best of them. Exhausted and nearly in tears, I sat down in my recliner, raised the footrest, and voila…there she was. She had crawled into the sling formed by that piece of fabric between the chair seat and footrest when it’s in the down position.

In the picture shown here another of my kittens had gone to sleep in the basket where the dog toys were kept. Once again calling and calling didn’t bring her running. Only once she awoke and made her little mew was I able to pick her out from the rest of the plush toys in the basket.

So remember, there is nearly no place too small for kitty to claim as her own for those all-important cat naps! Continue reading “Preparing your home 4 kitten play”