Monday, August 22, 2011

Cat Talk: Claws, Litter, and Fur Shedding

Today I'm going to address three topics that are common among cat parents, including myself, with some simple solutions or ideas on how to keep the whole family in balance at the same time.

Simon making his Puss In Boots face!

When we rescued Simon a few years back, he had a problem with little Rocky. I talked about it in a Previous Cat Talk Post. At that time, Simon was attacking Rocky and it even resulted in some scratches. In fear of Simon ripping Rocky's eye out, kitty received regular nail trimmings and SoftClaw applications. Since this past winter, peace has been restored in the house, no more SoftClaws for Simon, and he now just gets regular nail trims. He no longer attacks Rocky, but not because he fell in love with him, its because we rescued Shirley, a dog who wouldn't stand for anyone being mean to anyone else in her pack

Shirley saves the day!

There are many other instances where your cat child may be causing doom and gloom with her claws. Many cats kneed on furniture or even scratch up the entire house. It is also not uncommon in the world of rescuing animals, to encounter feral or non-feral cats who just want to claw the crap out of you! Declawing is NEVER the answer. SoftClaws and similar nail covers is a better and more humane alternative. Thankfully it was temporary in my household and since, the canines and felines created their own boundaries and territories. I really didn't have to do too much there. However, if your fur children aren't making their own space and separating themselves, you may want to create a space for each, in which they feel comfortable and safe. It takes time and is trial and error, but eventually peace should be restored. Offering scratching posts, lots of toys and play/ stimulation, is also always a great idea.

There are always issues when it comes to litter. The mess, the strong fragrance, the way your cat reacts to litter, if your cat favors a particular brand or not, and so on. There is also the potential harm to your cat's health and the environmental impact to think about. A lot of clay-based litters that contain perfumes and other chemicals are risky for cats, especially since cats are such keen groomers and are prone to ingesting these chemicals. Alternatives are fragrance free litters or natural pellet and pine litters. I've heard a rumor that the small natural company that owns Feline Pine, has been bought by Arm & Hammer. I am still researching this, but if this is true and A&H is still testing in animals, then obviously Feline Pine would not be a vegan-friendly recommendation  However there are many other natural litters available, and other pine products. Another perk of using clay-free litters is that you don't have that dust cloud when you are pouring litter into the box. That is kind of gross.

Fur Shedding
Whether your cat child is a short haired breed or long haired breed, chances are you're dealing with fur everywhere. Embedded in your rugs, on your furniture and clothing, and even clumps slowly breezing by like tiny tumbleweeds. Well, regular brushings help keep everything under control, and also will create a bond between you and kitty. Also, some groomers have a brush that trims a little while it brushes, if your cat is very fury. For rugs and such, I notice that a hard bristle broom (plastic bristles work great) will get the hair unstuck. Just sweep as usual, applying firm pressure to your rug and sweep into a dustpan. You may also want to use a small handheld sweeper. I usually take Simon's fur from the rugs and brushes and put them outside in the yard for the wildlife to make nests with. Its always funny to see nests made with an array of materials, including your cat's old rug fur! It must keep the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other wildlife nice and warm in the fall and winter months. Not to mention it must make a soft and comfortable home for them.

Do you have any neat animal companion tips or stories?

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