Black Cats are Only Unlucky for Black Cats

Vetco Pet safety black cat
Vetco Pet safety black cat

Halloween is full of lots of fun superstition. Kids dress as ghouls and goblins..and super hero’s..peanut butter sandwiches and pretty much everything else fun. Going house to house asking for a Trick or Treat, of course, that might be different this year with Covid-19. But the thing most people don’t think about is the safety of black cats.

Black cats are at high risk during Halloween. An old superstition says that it is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. Though my black cat has brought me nothing but love, and I think that is pretty lucky, not everyone feels the same way at this time of year.

Black cats are at high risk of being stolen or even killed. This is a very sad reality and nothing that we like to talk about. However, if you have a black cat, make sure that your Puss-in-Boots stay safe and keep him or her indoors during the week of Halloween.

This is a great time of year to adopt a black cat and keep them safe.

Stop Your Cat Spraying In Your House

cat spraying
cat spraying

One of the great things about cats is they are typically very clean. They usually like to keep their toilet behaviors to a litter box or a garden. This means that if you smell cat urine in your house, somewhere other than the litter box, or find cat poo in the corner of the room, this can be a cause for concern.

There are a number of different reasons a cat might have an accident.

Marking– Cats use urine as a way to mark their territory. This is more common with unaltered males, so make sure to get your boy cats neutered. Sometimes even if your cat is neutered and you get a new cat your old cat may be feeling a bit encroached upon. They may start spraying their scent, aka urine, in corners of rooms or on furniture, to let the other can know whose house it is. If they are doing this you will want to use a cleaner that will get rid of 100% of the cat smell. Cleaners like Natures Miracle work to get rid of the smells you can smell and the ones you cant. If there is a lingering smell, even if you cant detect it, your cat will be more likely to continue to spray in that area.

How can you tell if your cat is peeing or marking?

When cats urinate to relieve their bladder they squat down. Typically they will have a fair volume of urine and will prefer to pee on a flat surface. If a cat is spraying they will stand up and often make a treading or running in place motion with their hind legs. Their tail will be up an quivering or twitching. Typically it will be a small amount of urine and it will be sprayed straight behind them onto a vertical surface like a wall. They will often pick spots near doors or windows. Curtains are often a favorite.

Retraining Your Cat

If your cat is spraying you will need to retrain them to use the litter box.

  1. Keep the litter box very clean. If they poo, remove it immediately. Leaving a little bit of urine in there so they can identify their own smell can help.
  2. If you see your cat getting ready to pee, pick them up and put them in the litter box. Doing this means you can only have your cat out when you are able to watch them because success is based on catching them doing it every time.
  3. Place litter boxes in all the places they spray. If you can’t catch them every time, the make sure you have litter boxes everywhere they spray. As they get use to standing in the litter box, start moving it away from the spray area and get them use to only going in the box.
  4. Keep it clean. Any area you do not want them to spray you must keep it very clean and make sure all smell of previous sprays are gone. You need to use special cleaners such as Natures Miracle to get out all the odors.
  5. If your cat is spraying because of anxiety due to new people, new pets, or new enviornment, you will want to help quell their anxiety. Do not leave them alone with the new person of cat. Offer gentle and supported introductions. If you are in a new environment, keep them in one small room and slowly let them explore the new house a little at a time. Putting things out around the house that have your scent, like shirts and blankets that you use, can help your pet start to feel more at home.
  6. If your cat is spraying because they see a neighbor cat outside you may want to consider putting up blinds that go up from the bottom so he can’t see the neighborhood tease.
  7. Feeling secure. Cats are less likely to spray if they feel secure in their environment. Give them places to retreat too, like boxes or perches up high.

Spraying can be a sign of a health issue. If your cat won’t stop spraying make sure to speak with your Albuquerque vet about it.

 

 

 

 

 

To Declaw or Not to Declaw

soft paws alternative to declaw

Declawing is a very controversial topic when it comes to cat ownership. Lets look at the facts.

It is a major surgery.

It is an amputation of part of the cats “finger” and not just a big trimming of the claw.

It is painful.

But when should you consider declawing your cat?

soft paws alternative to declaw

Declawing your cat is not a medically necessary procedure. It is not like a spay or a neuter. It does not benefit the physical or mental health of your cat. However, there are times when a cats clawing can become so destructive that it may be considered necessary. 

Before declawing you should try behavior modification training and tools.

How to Stop Your Cat From Clawing

Scratching post- Oh you know this one and are likely rolling your eyes reading about this but bare with me. For some cats providing a scratching post is a great alternative to your couch. If your cat is not showing interest, try rubbing cat nip on it or spraying it with a cat nip spray. Often times the biggest issue with scratching posts is that there are not enough of them. When you are training your cat to use a post instead of your couch you need to have a scratching post in front of everything they scratch. You cannot offer them an alternative that is not the scratching post. If there are things they scratch despite the scratching post, try making the scratching post smell good and the other thing smell bad. There are deterrent sprays you can get that will repel your cat.

Positive and Negative reinforcement– This takes consistency. If your cat is scratching you need to give them a negative reinforcement such as a loud whistle they dislike or spraying them with water. When they scratch on the scratching post you need to praise them with pets and treats. This tells them what the desirable and undesirable behaviors are. For this to be effective you have to be extremely consistent with your cat. If you are away for long periods of time, it may not be effective. Also, if you do not deter your cat in the moment of them scratching it won’t work. The only way they will associate a loud noise or water spray with scratching is if it happens when they are doing it. DO NOT punish your cat after scratching has occurred. 

Soft Paws – Soft paws are a great way to keep your scratching cat from doing damage. These are little rubber tips that slip over your cats nails. They keep the nails from being able to scratch and they look cute on your cat giving their nails a little splash of color. With soft paws, even if they do scratch they will cause no damage. The downside is you have to replace them every 1 to 2 weeks, depending on your cat. 

Keep in mind that scratching is normal behavior for cats. Even cats that are declawed will still do the scratching action even though there are no nails. 

If despite trying behavior training, your cat is causing too match damage to your home or to your person, then it may be time to consider declawing. Typically you only declaw the front paws as that is what is doing the damage. It is a quick surgery that takes a few days for them to recover. If you are unsure if declawing is the right option for you, then talk to your Albuquerque veterinarian and discuss your options.