Multi-cat households can work well under the right circumstances. A harmonious multi-cat household can also run into fair share of upsets at times. Cat siblings that have been brought up together can develop strong bonds and become best pals. Even so they still disagree sometimes aggressively. Then there are cat sibs that cannot be in the same room without hissing or instigating a fight.
In a multi-cat household, you need enough space to give each of your cats a place to call home. This means having plenty of snuggle spots, window perches, hideaways, and other in-demand cat locations so no one has to fight over who gets comfortable place to nap and view the outside world. Play the role of a mother cat in charge of this big, happy cat family. Set some ground rules and take time to properly introduce new cats to the house. Watch for bullying, and know when to intervene if cat play turns into foul play.
There are few important factors that influence success for maintaining a sane household.
- Cats are territorial creatures. Some are clearly more territorial than others, so the time required for the introduction process varies greatly depending on the cats involved. A two-week introduction process with gradual, supervised “meetings” between new cat and the in-house crew eases stress for everyone.
- Accommodate cats’ need for space, privacy, and resources (litter, food, water). Set two food bowls in the kitty eating area, and contain the dominant cat for a short time during mealtime if he scares away timid cats.
- Provide two (or more) litter boxes. A dominant cat may leave his waste uncovered to mark his territory. Some cats demand private litter boxes. Observe behavior and set up litter stations to accommodate everyone.
- Create territories with hideouts, cubbies. Cats need somewhere safe to rest, free from danger and interference, preferably off the ground.
If your cat is shedding dandruff, the cause may simply be dry skin. The lower back and base of a cat’s tail are subject to dry skin. It is usually most commonly found on the face and along the back and the base of the tail but any part of the body can be affected. Dandruff can be hard to see on lighter coloured cats. A cat comb or brush can also help you diagnose dandruff if your cat has thicker fur. Cat dandruff can be caused by a variety of factors both medical and environmental. Common triggers are:
- Skin loses moisture during dry winter months. Dry skin gets worst in certain climates where there is a lack of moisture in the air.
- If your cat is on a low-fat diet, skin can flake from lack of oils and fats in the skin.
- An older or obese cat may have difficulty grooming himself and will develop greasy, flaky skin.
- During a bath, always rinse shampoo out of your cat’s coat completely until suds disappear. Use a moisturizing shampoo and follow with a conditioner.
- If bathwater is too hot, dry skin is also likely to develop, your cat’s skin responds the same way yours does after a long, hot soak.
- Parasites can also be a cause of dandruff. Allergic skin reactions due to fleas and other parasites will also cause dandruff to become more prominent in your cat.
Low-end cat food doesn’t have the nutritional value your cat needs to maintain a healthy coat. Make sure the food has essential fatty acids, like Omega-3. Read the labels and know what to look for. Proteins and vitamins B and E nourish the skin and fur. Give your cat a small amount of wet food every day to keep his coat glossy and his skin moisturized.
If dandruff is persistent, consult your vet. Dry skin may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as mange, flea allergy, ringworm, or seborrhea. Heavy dandruff can also signal hyperthyroidism or diabetes.
Cat urine odours are notoriously difficult to remove. Male cats contains hormones which make the urine smell much stronger than that of females or neutered males. These hormones serve a purpose, to enable the male cat to mark his territory. Male cats exhibit this behaviour to attracting females and deterring any possible competing males.
Cat urine smells the moment after she urinates or sprays. The longer that urine sits, the worse the stench becomes. The main odor-causing culprits, urea. Bacteria have the ability to hydrolyze the urea, which releases ammonia. It is also part of why cat pee glows under a black light. Most cleaning products easily take care of urea , but detergents and soaps will not remove uric acid. Uric acid crystallizes and bonds to porous surfaces, such as carpet, fibres, which makes is very difficult to remove. Often, we think that urine is gone once they dry up and crystallised. The truth is cat’s sensitive noses can smell the uric acid and will return to the same spot to urinate.
On a humid day, the odour is released when the crystals absorb surrounding moisture. To remove uric acid, use a solution specifically formulated to remove cat urine odours. Using an enzyme cleaner breaks up the crystals in the uric acid to permanently remove the smell.
Most enzymatic cleaners require several applications to fully remove uric acid, especially if the stain is old. While enzyme cleaners come in a spray bottle, spraying a light coat over the stain would not do much. For best results, remove the sprayer and douse the spot liberally. Allow the enzyme cleaner to air dry, letting the cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The drying time break down the uric acid salts, allowing the resulting gases to evaporate. After which blot up as much of it as possible with a clean cloth. Remember not to use ammonia or an ammonia-based product to try to remove cat urine. Cat urine contains ammonia, cleaning urine with an ammonia product will just encourage your cat to return to the area.
All cats experience hairballs, except perhaps, the Sphynx cat. The culprit, their prickly tongue. All cats groom themselves, cats that shed a lot or who groom themselves compulsively are more likely to have hairballs. Hairballs occur as a result of your cat grooming which forces any ingested hair down a one-way street into their stomach. The cat’s digestive system is normally able to handle the hair and it simply passes through the intestinal tract and out in the feces. But over-time, some of these hairs remains in the stomach and gradually accumulates into a wet clump rather than passing through the intestinal tract, these accumulated hair is vomited out by the cat instead.
The typical cat regurgitation of a hairball involves two spurts – one a little drab of liquid, and the other, a wad of hair in a larger puddle of liquid. As long as the wad has come out, your cat is fine. She will not have lost her appetite, and you do not have to give her any medicine or take her to the vet. To minimize and possibly prevent the development of hairballs and their complications, you will need to step up your grooming of her or feed her a hairball remedy once or twice a week to prevent most future problems.
But if hairballs seem to be a regular occurrence in your home, despite regular grooming, and especially if your cat tends to be constipated (look for hard, small stools), she may need a touch more lubricant and/ or roughage added to her diet.
This can take the form of:
- Hairball-remedy food (check cat food labels)
- A little bit of vegetable oil (such as olive oil) mixed into her food
- A commercially prepared hairball preventive that often comes as a gel in a tube or as crystals that you can sprinkle on food. If the product contains mineral oil, be sure to give Kitty a vitamin supplement, because mineral oil can deplete her body of vitamin A.
- A half spoonful of finely grated or cooked, pureed raw carrot or cooked, pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, or winter squash. For convenience, look for a jarred baby food version of this that is pure vegetable without any added salt or garlic; you only need a little bit at a time, so freeze it in spoonful-size dabs on a sheet of waxed paper and then store in an airtight container in the freezer (thaw before giving to Kitty).
- Cat grass (wheatgrass or other grass; avoid giving Kitty alfalfa or other sprouts)
- A pinch of ground psyllium mixed into the cat’s food daily
Being aware and monitoring the behavior to see and able to tell whether their cat’s hairballs are routine or no laughing matter. If your cat has stopped eating and is severely constipated, she may have developed a hairball that has gotten too stuck to vomit out. Rarely, a hairball can grow large enough to be life-threatening and require surgical removal. Obviously, prevention is key to keeping Kitty in tip-top form, particularly if she belongs to long-haired breeds, such as Persians and Maine Coons..
One aspect of environmental enrichment that is often misunderstood or overlooked is the need for the cat to have hiding places. Cats loves cozy hiding places, and they’re always seeking out new spots to nap. You should not get too worried if your kitty disappear for a while, she may have found a new secret hiding place where she can enjoy some privacy. If your cat misses mealtime or doesn’t respond to the rattle of her favorite toy after a couple of tries, she could be stuck somewhere or hiding out because she’s sick. That’s your clue to start scouring the house.
Cat hiding places can be created with things you already have around the house. Pay attention to whether your cat prefers to nap in an elevated location or on a mid-level as that will help you in terms of where to place the cozy napping hideaway. Here are some common hiding spots:
- Behind doors
- Inside boxes or bags
- In the bathtub
- In the spaces behind the drawer and the back panel of a chest of drawers
- Under a dining table or a chair
- On top of a cabinet or tall piece of furniture
- Behind the toilet especially on a hot day
- Inside a reclining chair mechanism
- Under or behind large pieces of furniture, such as beds, sofas, armoires, and chests of drawers
- Inside cabinets
- Inside low drawers, especially those con-taining clothing or linens
- Behind curtains
- Under blankets or bedclothes
- Under pillows on the bed or sofa
Providing your cat with safe, suitable places to relax will assist in minimizing the chance they will find a place of their own. This is even more important in multi-pet families. Some hiding places can be dangerous. Always check inside the clothes dryer and other large appliances before closing the door and inside a reclining chair mechanism or sofa bed before closing it. If your cat goes outdoors in cold weather, always knock on the hood before starting the car; cats will sometimes crawl up into the engine compartment for warmth.
Cat acne is one of the top five most common skin conditions that vets treats. This can evidently be identifiable from breakout of blackheads on your cat’s chin. Most occurrence of cat acne are usually linked to stress, although the the exact cause is not known. Poor grooming habits and, some say, also certain foods may trigger acne. Cat acne could also signal a weak immune system or the onset of other skin diseases, such as ringworm or allergies. If your cats constantly scratch her chins and lips, you should take a look at her under chins for signs of redness or inflammation.
Feline acne is stubborn. The infection is limited to the chin area, and it may appear once in a cat’s life or for the life of the cat. Feline acne can affect cats of any age, sex or breed. You can control, but not cure, feline acne. First step is to bring it to your your vet to rule out other skin disorders. This is usually done by collecting “skin scrapings,” performing a skin biopsy, or taking culture and sensitivity tests.
You can treat the acne at home by gentle washing of the chin once or twice daily with a mild soap, benzoyl peroxide (3 percent or less). This can break down excess oils to prevent blackheads from forming. Topical vitamin A (0.05 percent Retin-A) is also used, but the drying formula may irritate some cats. If your cat is prone to acne, gently wash his chin after eating with warm water.
Severe cases of cat acne are usually treated with oral medications. Anti-inflammatory medication such as prednisone may be use to control the situation initially. Acne outbreaks can be triggered by allergic reactions, so consider switching your cat’s food bowls to stainless steel. Avoid plastic ones as may contain irritant dyes or retain bacteria. Finally, remember never use human grade medications on your cat without first checking with your vet first.
Cats are carnivores by nature. Although their prey may have dined on grains and vegetables, these elements are only present in small amounts within the animal’s digestive system. Some cats enjoy chomping on plants every once in a while to get roughage or fibre. Along these same lines, cats chew on and eat grass in order to throw something up, like a hair ball that’s caught in their throat.
If cats do not eat herbs or vegetables in the wild. So, why do pet food manufacturers add grains such as brown rice, vegetables, herbs, and even fruit to cat food? The answer? To appease the owners, who may have been adding whole grains, vegetables, herbs, and fruit to their own diet. These owners think cat needs to eat likewise.
Cats get certain key nutrients from meat. They need nutrients such as taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B12 which cannot be obtained from herbs or vegetables. Without a steady supply of these nutrients, cats can suffer from liver and heart problems, not to mention skin irritation and hearing loss. Taurine is one of the most important nutrients present in meat but it is missing from plants. Taurine deficiency will cause blindness and heart problems in cats.
A diet high in plant material can make cat’s urine too alkaline. This can cause very painful stones to form in the urinary tract. The fiber in plant matter can cause diarrhea or gas and interfere with your cat’s ability to digest both the offensive plant and other, healthier foods. If you wish to give your cat grains and vegetables, it should comprise no more than 25 percent of his diet. Compared with 30 percent protein and 40 percent fat derived from chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, or fish.
Be particularly skeptical of any pet cookbook that advocates giving your cat considerable quantities of grains or other plant material. Especially books whose ingredient lists include garlic, which is toxic to cats.