Caring for Your Cat

Caring for Your Cat

1. All about claws

You may be wondering just how long your existing furniture will last against prickly kitty claws. Horror stories of new pet parents giving up their love for nice furniture is not an uncommon story, however, it is not as bleak as you think. With proper preparation, there is a way to have a cat and enjoy your favorite leather sofa too.

The first thing to remember is that the act of sharpening claws is an instinctual behavior for cats. No matter how much he loves the meals you prepare for him, he will still feel a need to scratch an appropriate surface to communicate or to keep his claws in tip top shape. It's never because they just hate you, don’t worry.

The trick is to have surfaces which are more appealing to scratch than your furniture. This does not need to be expensive. It can be as simple as untreated sissal rope wound around a stable vertical surface or even a D.I.Y cardboard tower. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a few hours over the weekend.

On the other hand, if you just don't dig how traditional cat furniture looks, then just take some time to go shopping. From chic modern to medieval fantasy --you'll surely find something that suits your style.

Now, introducing your cat-dedicated scratching surface can be made more pleasant by rubbing a familiar scent on its surface. Once that’s covered, place the new scratch post somewhere you'll be staying for extended periods of time. The furniture should be in a comfortable spot where your kitty can scratch to his heart's content and still see his favorite human.

In cases where kitty has already begun scratching human furniture, place his furniture nearby. Encourage him to use it by introducing familiar smells and discourage him from your sofa by using double-sided tape. Hopefully after a few "sticky" attempts he'll be more enthusiastic about using his swanky new cat scratcher.

2. Grooming is not a cat-only activity

While cats are quite the groomers themselves, they do need a bit of human intervention when it comes to, say, cleaning their ears or trimming their claws. Sometimes scratchy kitty tongues are just not enough to get the goo out and you'll need to step in with an appropriate cat ear cleaning fluid and an oversized, pet-friendly, cotton swab. It is important not to overdo it as kitty ears are quite sensitive. Never poke farther than your eyes can see and do not force the issue if your feline friend is in a panic. Take it one step at a time and make the activity more pleasant with a treat or generous praise for good behavior. Establish this as a routine early on and it'll be smooth sailing all the way.

As for trimming their claws, choose a pet nail trimmer that you feel comfortable using. Have some styptic powder ready in case of accidental cuts. It is safer to cut only the tips, watching out for the quick. The quick is the dark, blood vessel-filled part of your cat's claws. Nicking this is painful for your feline friend, so it should be your top priority to avoid grazing this altogether. Stay calm and follow the instructions that come with the styptic powder in case of a minor cut. A sharp nail trimmer is better than a dull one as the latter can put a lot of pressure on the claw. Remember that there's no need to cut a cat's claws too short and that you do not need to accomplish trimming all his claws at once. If he starts to fidget after one then take a break and wait for another opportunity to clip the rest.

3. There is a right way to pet a cat

Ever wonder why a cat nips at you after you pet it? No, it doesn't mean he's just neurotic. This is probably because you have pet him absent mindedly and he’s had enough. Nipping at you is his way of telling you to give him some space.

The best way to avoid this is by getting to know your cat's preferences. Some cats can tolerate being patted at the top of the head for a longer period of time than being touched along their backs. Some prefer being rubbed at the back of their ears while other still prefer a cheek rub. The way to find out which spot your cat prefers is by sitting beside him as you normally would and then placing your hand near him as if to pet him. Usually, cats will respond to this familiar gesture by rubbing whichever body part they want you to touch. Indulge him by petting him there and stop after a few strokes. Rinse and repeat. This gives your favorite feline a way to communicate with you properly and you get to have a lap cat that doesn't turn into Mr. Hyde after a few strokes.