What To Do About Litter Box Accidents

There is probably nothing more frustrating to a cat owner than litter box accidents. In fact, habitual litter box accidents are the number one reason why cat owners give their cats up to animal shelters. When your cat refuses to use the litter box, there is usually an underlying reason. Before you become exasperated by your cat’s inability to make it to the litter box, here are some common causes for this problem.

Litter Box Woes
One of the main reasons why a cat begins to refuse to use the litter box is because their own litter box is dirty. Many cats are extremely fussy about the condition of their litter box, while others will use it no matter how full it looks. If your cat has a litter box accident, the first place you should check is the litter box. Some pets prefer that their litter box cleaned out after each use. While this is time consuming for you, it may be a simple fix to this problem. You should start a daily routine of cleaning out your cat box and you may find that this solves your problem.

Another common problem related to the litter box is there are not enough litter boxes for the number of cats you have. For example, if you have four cats in your home, and you should have at least one litter box per cat. Cats like to have their own space, and this is especially true when it comes to their litter box.

In addition, when it comes to litter box accidents, look at the type of litter you are using and the size and shape of the litter box. If you have a tray litter box without a lid, maybe your cat would feel more secure in a closed box. If you have an older cat, or a young kitten, you cat may have a difficult time getting in and out of a closed top box. Watch your cat carefully when he or she uses the litter box. If you find that, they are having a difficult time getting in and out of the litter box and consider getting a different box.

Health Issues
Your cat may be refusing to use the litter box, because of health related issues. If you have tried all the above tips and nothing seems to be working, then it is time to visit your veterinarian. Cats that have bladder problems, urinary tract infections, kidney failure and diabetes are more prone to litter box accidents than healthy cats. You need to take your cat to the vet and have a thorough health exam performed to find out if your cat is suffering around an ailment. If this is the case, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your cat.

Habit and Your Cat’s Territory
If your cat has been ill or have stopped using the litter box for any of reason, you may find that your cat returns to their old ways out of habit. It is extremely important that when your cat has a litter box accident, that you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any odors that may remain. In addition, your cat may have not stopped using the litter box at all but instead, your cat is marking his or her territory. This is especially common in multi-cat households or when you bring in new pet into the home. This is also more common in males than females. Even male cats that are neutered can mark their territory by spraying urine.

When you determine why your cat is having litter box accidents, you can find a solution. It takes time and patience; however, this is much more preferable than getting rid of your cat.

Understanding Why Cats Fight

If you have a household with multiple cats, you know that cat fights do happen. Even if you cats generally get along, at times, they can still fight. While humans may not completely understand why their kitties are fighting, cats have their reasons for fighting. Some of these reasons are similar to the reasons that humans have disputes. Cats express their discontent with other cats by picking fights. The reasons why cats fight can help you determine how to prevent your cats from fighting in the future.

Fighting for their territory: Many cats fight because of their territory. One of the reasons that cats fight is because they feel like an unwanted cat has invaded their territory, even if it is a cat that has lived with them for a long time. Cats are much more territorial than dogs and the gender of the cat has very little to do with it. Contrary to what many people believe, female cats are sometimes just as territorial as their male counterparts are. If you have two cats in your home, you might notice that one cat hisses and swats at the other whenever he feels his territory has been invaded. This can also happen if you bring a new cat into the home. They are simply defending their territory.

Social ranking: Either male cats frequently threaten and fight with each other for social ranking or despite what you may think; even neutered males may do this. If you have multiple cats, especially more than one male cat, one cat is usually considered the “alpha male” and will be at the top of the cat hierarchy. Two cats might posture their bodies, then begin howling and screaming at one another. If one of the cats walks away or backs down, then the catfight is usually avoided. However, if neither one wants to throw in the towel and surrender, then one cat will attack the other by jumping forward and attempting to bite the neck. The other cat will fall on his back and tries to bite or scratch the attacker with its hind legs. The two cats might go through this several times before walking away. There are usually no injuries sustained in these kinds of fights.

Aggression: Cats also fight as a result of some kind of redirected aggression and this is quite common, especially with indoor cats. Your cat might be looking outside the window at another cat or dog crossing the yard. Your cat begins to feel territorial and aggressive at this cat, but since this other cat cannot be reached, he may instead attack the other family cat.

If you find your cats fighting occasionally, you should know that this is common and quite typical of cats. Most of the time, you will be able to tell whether or not your cats are fighting for “blood” or just playing around. The time to stop a fight is when it gets nasty otherwise; allow your cats to work it out themselves. If you feel the need to stop a catfight, then you should do it carefully. Even the most loving cat can bite or scratch you in aggressive passion. To stop a fight, you should make some kind of loud noise, such as a handclap. Since cats are startled by loud noises, they will both stop to see what is making the noise. You can also spray water on them to interfere with the aggressive behavior.

When you find your cats fighting, it is best not to punish the cats for their fight. Cats do not understand punishment and fighting is a natural instinct in cats. The best thing to do is only interfere when necessary.

Training Your Pet Parrot

Parrots are wonderful pets. You will quickly find that these birds extremely smart and their ability to learn make them fun to train. Keep in mind that any animal that shows signs of high intelligence can easily get bored, so your job is to train your pet parrot and spend the time it takes to make your bird into a wonderful pet. It takes time and patience to train a parrot, but with the proper training, your parrot will provide you with many years of friendship.

You can train your parrot when you follow a few steps. Whenever “school is in” for your parrot, it is always best to remove your parrot from his or her cage and train in a small quiet space. Your parrot is more likely to remain attentive and retain information when it is in a new environment. The next thing you will want to do, eliminate all distractions in your home. If your parrot becomes distracted during training, it will not learn well. That means that you need to turn off the radio, television and perhaps even the telephone. Also, remember that parrots are a lot like children. They have short attention spans, so short training sessions are recommended.

In addition, try to plan your parrot’s training time around their schedule, not yours. After mealtime is always, a good time for training because your parrot will be content and will pay attention. Your parrot will also appreciate plenty of praise. Even if you find that you were not very successful, do not let your parrot see your stress levels rise. This makes it an unpleasant experience for your bird and you will have a harder time getting your parrot interested in learning in the future.

When you are ready to teach your parrot a new trick, your pet parrot will respond well to treats and praise. Remember that all animals respond better to praise than punishment. Try to avoid punishing your parrot, even if he or she is acting naughty. Ignoring this behavior is your best bet when training your pet parrot. Parrots do not understand punishment or negative reinforcement. In fact, if you respond to your parrot’s bad behavior, your pet may actually see this as positive attention. Keep in mind that while your parrot will love food treats as rewards, try to accentuate the positive and encourage good behavior with lots of praise and play time. Otherwise, your parrot may only perform the tricks you want them to when some kind of food reward is available.

Repetition is the key to successfully training your pet parrot. Repeating these basic steps repeatedly until your pet “gets” the trick is the best way to train your parrot to perform. This works well for basic commands and advanced tricks. If you have just gotten your pet parrot, start out with very simple tricks, such as teaching your parrot to sit on your finger on command. Find a word for each trick and use it every time you train. Most of all, never force your parrot to train. If you find your parrot is tired or uninterested, then stop and try again another time.

As your parrot learns more command and tricks, you can begin moving your training session closer and closer to the bird’s cage. As they get better at their new skill, they will feel comfortable performing in his or her cage and in the hustle and bustle of your household. Birds learn quickly in most cases, and sometimes just by listening when not in training, which may cause embarrassment to you if they learn something inappropriate.

Training Your Cats or Kittens With Positive Reinforcement

Pets make our home more complete by being there to greet you after a hard day at work or snuggling up to you while you sleep. Cats have been termed the most fickle of creatures; however, they are sweet lovable creatures if you raise them from infancy. Most cats recognize their owners by the sound of their voice, the car they drive, and who spoils them the most. Like dogs, cats can be trained. A cat can be trained to come to your call, to bring their toys when they want to play, as well as more domestic issues such as using a litter box. The key to training a cat or kitten is reinforcement.

Reinforcement starts at any age, but it is typically wise to start out with a kitten. Cats cannot distinguish words, but they are very astute in distinguishing tones of your voice. They will know they have done something wrong just by the tone of voice you use. This is why it is important to use your upset voice when they have done something wrong, otherwise they will become confused. Let us go back to reinforcement. Reinforcement is either positive or negative. Water is a negative reinforcement for a cat or kitten because they typically despise being wet. Some positive reinforcement can be hugs or fully body petting, treats, or play time.

To train your kitty to come to your call is to repeat their name while they are looking at you. Look them in the eye while you are using a nice tone of voice. Another way to call your cat is to have another sound, like snapping fingers, or clicking noises with your tongue. These typically gain the attention of your cat or kitten so they learn to come when you call.

Litter box training is perhaps the easiest part of having a kitty in your life. It is best to keep them confined to one room, the room you will have the litter box in to train them. They will learn by you putting them in the box and allowing them to familiarize themselves with the smell. Cats by nature understand the feel of litter associating it with dirt. You may have to pick them up when they first begin to go if they do not understand the litter box and place them inside. Occasionally a cat does not like the litter you use. They show their displeasure by using the floor. This is a time to try something new. Most female adult cats will train their kittens so it is important they do not leave their mother’s care to quickly. Food works in much the same way. Once you show them where their food bowls are they will continue to go there. Cats are creatures of habit.

Habits are how you will train your kitty to bring you toys. Some cats will simply meow when they want to play and casually bat their toy, however if you give them positive reinforcement every time they carry a toy mouse or stuffed toy they will continue to bring the toy without the reinforcement of a treat. For an example my kitty, Spooky, is two. She brings me a stuffed animal every afternoon or evening when she wants to play. She lays it down near the end of my couch and meows until I recognize the good deed and begin to play with her.

Cats are trainable, perhaps not to the degree; a dog is trainable with voice commands, but they you can succeed in training them in some ways. Cats will enliven any home and given a lot of positive reinforcement, they can be just as much fun if not more fun than other pets.

Tips For Bathing Your Cat

Cats normally do not need help getting and staying clean. They are fastidious about their cleanliness and spend much of their day primping and preening. Cats learn from a very young age to stay clean, as the mother always teaches their young the art of bathing. Cat owners rarely need to give their cats a bath, however, there are some situations where you may find it is time to bath kitty.

Get Your Supplies
The best place to bath your cat is in a small, enclosed room. If you have a sink in your laundry room, that would work perfectly. A deep bathroom sink would also do the trick. The idea is to get your cat in a small area to help him or her feel safer during the process. Another idea is to use a baby tub and place it inside your own bathtub. This might cause an aching back on your part, but may be just the thing for your cat.

In addition, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need on hand before you begin. It will be almost impossible to stop what you are doing with a struggling cat to run and get a towel or shampoo. You will need several old towels, mild, non-irritating shampoo such as baby shampoo or pet shampoo, and a cup for rinsing. You might even consider using a turkey-basting tool to reach under the chin, around the neck and between the legs. In addition, if your cat’s fur is matted, you might want to consider cutting these mats away before beginning.

Get the Bath Ready
When you have gotten all of your supplies where you need them, you will want to prepare the bath. Your cat will not like very hot or very cold water, so lukewarm water works best. Think of the temperature you would use to bath an infant. That is what you need when you wash your cat. Next, fill up the tub or sink. You do not need a lot of water when you bath your cat–just enough to rinse the cat off. It is also a good idea to place a non-skid mat or folded bath towel in the bottom of the sink or tub before you begin filling it with water. This prevents the cat from slipping around on the bottom of the sink or tub.

Ease your Cat into the Water
It is now time for the hard part. You have to get your cat and ease him or her into the water. This may sound easier than it is. Some cats may struggle with you more than others may. Only you know your cat’s personality. The best way to go about doing this is to lower your cat into the water. Do this by placing one hand under the cat’s belly and one hand firmly, but gently on the cat’s back. Lower the cat from its hind legs into the water. If your cat is still struggling, you might want to wrap a towel around your cat to prevent scratches.

Begin the Bath
After your cat is somewhat situated in the water, you can begin to bathe. Work quickly, but gently. The best method for bathing your cat is to start with the head and work your way down. Be careful not to get water or shampoo in your cat’s ears or eyes. You will only need a very small amount of shampoo. If you get too much, you will have to rinse longer. If you are treating fleas, then you will want to follow the directions on the flea shampoo at this point. You can use vegetable oil if you need to remove sticky substances from your cat’s fur. Use this sparingly because this will leave an oil residue on your cat’s fur, although it is harmless.

The Toys Cats Will Love

Do you walk through the pet store, see the many toys available for your cat, and wonder if the expense will be worth it? Cats can be fickle creatures, but a good time can be found with almost any toy. Cats are like children they go through stages and sometimes need age appropriate toys and can get bored very easily. Some suggestions for toys include the cat towers, stuffed mice, small amounts of catnip, stuffed animals, ribbons, and plastic balls.

From an early age, kittens learn to pick up things in their mouths. It is an instinct, just like using their claws. When a cat plays, they like to grab and bit their toys. Let us look at the toys listed above. A cat tower is a great way to teach you cat where it is appropriate to climb. It will keep them off the blinds or curtains while giving them hours of fun. There are many styles of cat towers from the two story towers to the ones rising to the ceiling. The answer to your question is, the more levels they have the more fun and enjoyment they will receive out of a cat tower.

A cat will use the tower for play as well as sleep. They like to bat at ropes and other items dangling off the tower as well as going through little tunnels up to the next level. If you have two cats you will have fun watching them give chase to the top often trying to knock the other off. A cat tower can be practical because they will scratch at it rather than your couch.

Stuffed mice are also important to any kitty’s playtime. Not all mice are the same; most cats prefer the small leather mice with the multi colored fur and long tails. These mice come in twelve packs or three packs, and believe me if they are anything like my kitty they will tear them apart. Cloth mice are typically second during playtime. If you find your kitty to be uninterested in mice you might want to check the type of mouse you have bought them.

Catnip toys are very popular. Catnip will cause your cat to be more rowdy, which can be a plus because they wear down faster. Catnip before bedtime is a great way to get your cat to sleep for quite a while and leave you to slumber. Catnip should be given out sparingly. You do not want to give your cat catnip everyday because it can have adverse affects to their behavior. They can start to depend on it and have mood swings.

I have found the best toy may just be your old stuffed animal lying around the house. My kitty, Spooky, will bring me a stuffed animal when she is ready to play and she has stuffed animals in her toy basket. There is nothing more amusing than watching my kitty brings me a stuffed animal bigger than she is and proceeds to toss it in the air and pounce. Cats like the feel of certain things in their mouths that is why they chew on paper, plastic and even your blankets.

The feel of the material in their mouths allows them to clean their teeth or when they are teething help reduce the pain. The stuffed animal can work in much the same way and keep them away from harmful products.

The Importance of Pet Vaccinations

When you were a child you had to have vaccinations at certain points in your life such as measles, tetanus, and other shots. This is important for your pets as well. We will specifically look at dog vaccinations, as they are a very common pet to have. Keep in mind during some of these shots are required for cats as well.

Dogs need to have vaccinations to guard against disease. When your dog is a puppy they will need a distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and corona combination between six to eight, nine to eleven, twelve to fourteen, and sixteen to seventeen weeks. They will also need these shots again every twelve months. The next vaccination is a bordetella administered at fourteen weeks and every six months. Rabies must be given at sixteen weeks and again every twelve to thirty- six months.

Vaccinations protect your dog and other pets from human diseases as well as other problems that could arise. Make sure you visit your pet on a regular schedule. A few more vaccinations are the giardia at fourteen and seventeen weeks, with a yearly dose. Lyme is another type administered at fourteen and seventeen weeks as well as yearly.

Occasionally state regulations will require a different administering chart. It is best to speak with your vet to gain the proper knowledge for your breed of dog as well as the correct vaccinations. Dogs are “man’s best friend” and thus it is important to give proper care that includes treatments.

Other care besides vaccinations can be proper baths, toenail clipping, and feeding your dog properly. Most health problems arise in a dog that is either genetically susceptible or environmentally exposed to human food. Human food because of its greasy qualities can block a dog’s artery. So proper nutrition is often found in dog food or cooking meals for your pet per vet guidelines if your dog has health issues.

Dogs also require a lot of attention and exercise. Breeds such as the Huskies or golden retrievers require special care. Huskies are breed as working dogs. They need to have a lot of exercise as well as play time with their owners. Golden retrievers are social animals, will feel lonely, and rejected if left alone for too long. Other breeds though social may not react in the same manners of the latter two. Other breeds can be content with a large yard and runner as long as they can play and eat.

Part of owning a pet, especially a dog is to provide it with love and attention just like you need. Proper care is very important on a day-to-day basis like having a routine feeding time or visiting the vet for the proper vaccinations. Vaccinations can determine the longevity of your dog just like a proper diet and exercise. While your vet has spent a lot of time, going to school for the proper care of animals it is always a great idea to be knowledgeable about your pets care.

Vaccinations when not administered properly can harm the animal. I would stay away from ordering medications and vaccinations online if you are not familiar with the products and how to give them to your dog, this may cause some medical problems. Any pet deserves the care we would give ourselves and with today’s world, we are finding better ways to make going to a vet easier.

The Advantages Of The Microchip For Your Pets

Every pet owner wants to keep his or her beloved cat or dog as safe as possible. You do everything you can do make sure your pet is well cared for and healthy. If you have an indoor pet, you may not think that keeping identification tags is important, but it is. What if your fuzzy feline accidentally slips out of the door at night and you search to no avail? What do you do, especially if your dog or cat has no identification?

Placing a collar with an identification tag is important, but collars sometimes become lost. When you consider the fact that many animal shelters only keep dogs and cats for seven days, you want to make sure that your pet is properly identified. That is where the microchip comes in handy. The microchip is the newest way to identify lost pets and helps ensure that your lost pooch or feline finds his or her way back home.

The technology of the microchip has become so popular that most animal clinics and animal shelters have the ability to scan a cat or dog for microchip identification. If you opt for the microchip, you should know that it is a painless procedure for your pet. Your vet will insert a tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice directly under your pet’s skin using a hypodermic needle. The microchip is usually placed behind the neck. The microchip contains special digital number that has been entered on a national microchip database. That information will give the person your contact information. When you pet is lost, a veterinarian or animal shelter can use a special scanner to retrieve the microchip information. It is that easy.

Pet owners love the idea of the microchip because it is permanent. You cannot remove the microchip and unlike a collar or tags, it cannot be lost or destroyed. This is one of the best features of pet microchip, especially for cats. If you place a collar on a cat, more than likely it will be a breakaway collar. If your cat climbs a tree, or is caught on something, the collar breaks off. If your cat does not have a microchip, it will be very difficult to identify your cat if it is found.

There are a few important things to remember about pet microchips. First, if your pet gets lost, you should never just sit back and wait for a call, even if your pet has a microchip. Not all veterinarians and shelters are equipped with this technology. You need to take the time to call around and place “lost pet” flyers around your neighborhood. In addition, you need to make sure you take the time to update your contact information should you move. It does little to no good to have your pet implanted with the microchip if the information on the national database is incorrect. Your veterinarian can give you information on how to update this information.

It is important to get your pet implanted with the microchip at a young age. Puppies can have the microchip at age six weeks. Even small breeds of dogs can handle this procedure. Kittens can also undergo this procedure at six weeks. The insertion of the microchip is not painful and feels like a regular vaccination shot. You can have your pet implanted with the microchip at your veterinarian office and can expect to pay between $30 and $50 for this service.

Teaching Kids And Pets To Co-Exist Peacefully

It is possible for children and pets to coexist in the same household, peacefully. Many people mistakenly think that as soon as they start having children that their pet needs to head to the local shelter. They fear that the cat or dog will not get along with the new child and it will result in biting or scratching. This is not always the case and if you take the time to introduce your pets to your children properly, your kids and pets can live in harmony.

One of the biggest concerns that new parents have when it comes to pets in the home is how it will react to a baby. Many of the old wives tales such as cats sucking the breath out of babies simply are not true. In fact, many cats and dogs readily accept a new child into the home and become fiercely loyal and protective over the baby.

When you bring your baby home from the hospital, you should introduce your pet to your new baby. Of course, these introductions need supervision. Allow your cat or dog time to sniff your child at his or her own pace. Make the introduction pleasant for your cat or dog. In most cases, your cat or dog will not give your baby a second thought. Allow your pet to adjust to the new situation on his or her own terms. When a baby comes to the house, it is an adjustment for everybody.

The other thing that you might want to consider doing when you bring a baby into the home is to make sure that your cat or dog is properly groomed. This includes trimming your dog or cat nails. Your dog may want to put a paw on your baby. If his or hers nails are long and sharp, your dog may accidentally scratch your infant. While you can never eliminate pet hair from your home, if your dog or cat clipped and brushed it will certainly help your home stay a little cleaner. Many new parents also worry about allergies. The fact is, many studies have shown that children who are exposed to pets from a very young age, actually have less pet allergies than children who are not exposed to pets.

Another good idea is to make sure that your pets do not have access to your baby’s room during naptime or at night without supervision. While your pet probably means no harm to your child, pets are naturally curious. A cat may jump into your infant crib, or in large dogs could easily a knock bassinet or cradle over. You should always supervise your pet when it is around your new baby at all times. Most of all, you should try to make sure that you are still spending quality time with your pet when possible. This especially pertains to dogs, which are used to playing in the backyard and going for walks.

As your child grows, you need to begin teaching your child proper pet etiquette. If your dog or cat has learned to respect your child, then your child also needs to learn to respect your pet. Teach your child from a young age that they should never pull or yank a cat or dog’s tail or ears. Your child can learn proper pet etiquette even at a very young age. You will also want to teach your child to respect your pet’s space. This includes making sure that your child understands that he or she should never wake a sleeping pet. This could cause your pet to become startled and could result in biting or scratching.

Reptilian Pets: The Snake Every Boys Dream Pet

Most girls and moms have an adverse reaction to having a snake or any other dangerous animal as a pet, however with proper care and the correct selection even those with aversions can become quite fascinated by the snake as a pet. The key is to do a lot of research when buying a snake. Most pet shops will sell the harmless snakes and teach you how to feed them. If you always wanted a snake as a pet when you were a boy, you might choose something a little more exotic. Tips to finding the right snake for you or your child can come in handy when you are faced with the task.

First you will want to research snakes in general. You have your garden-variety snake that is very common and not dangerous. Then there are pythons, kings, and boa constrictor snakes. Keep in mind if this is for a child you probably want a harmless snake that will not grow to large. The larger snakes mentioned above take more care and larger aquariums and are not suited for smaller children.

The species of snake you chose will have a special diet. Most species have different diets. You may have seen a pet snake in the pet store eating mice while other snakes do not. It is important to choose a snake you can provide proper food for at all times. You also do not want to keep a wild snake, as they tend to carry diseases and stress with the change in environment. It is best to shop at a trustworthy pet shop or snake breeder.

Most king snakes and gopher snakes tend to eat mice and need to have plenty of water to drink. You may have a little pond in your aquarium with a tree branches, rocks, and dirt for your snake. Like food most snakes require a special environment. You will want to research that snake before choosing the environmental accessories. Snakes are often tropical in nature so they require heat as well as moderate temperatures in the evening. You have heard of the desert being cold at night. Snakes are proliferating in the desert areas and rainforests. Being able to provide the proper environment will ensure a long life for you new pet.

Touching on food again you also need to have a feeding schedule. Some snakes do not have to eat every day. In fact, gopher snakes will not eat every day. If you are getting a pet snake for you child you will want to make sure they understand the feeding schedule. Most young adults can handle having a pet snake while little children will need you to take care of the snake.

Handling the snake is also important. The more a snake is used to human contact the more contact the more domicile they tend to be. This means those that are dangerous can be held given proper training and handling. I recommend staying away from these snakes when you first have a pet snake. It is important to take small steps when you have a pet snake to get used to their special needs.

Snakes can make great pets if you take proper care of them. Many young boys and even girls are fascinated with snakes. They have pretty colors and just the lure of a little danger can add to the interest. Make sure you are prepared for the requirements needed from you to have a pet snake before giving in to a child’s demand.