Litter Time · Nutrition

Kitty Soft Poops

I’m going to talk about a topic that may be a little uncomfortable, but completely necessary in the world of cats and that is: soft stools.

When you look inside the litter box, what do you see? If you see soft poops (stools that are soft, almost diarrhea like and not solid), your cat’s health may be telling you something. So what are the characteristics you look for and what are the tall-tale signs of poor health?

The color, texture, smell, and the frequency is important to note when your cat goes number two. When I was a cat sitter, I would be amazed on the things that I would see when cleaning the litter boxes. Cow patties, a light brown hue, runny and on the side of the box, I would make sure to inform the cat parent that this was not normal. Cat poop should be a medium-to-dark brown in color, semi-solid, but not too hard because that could mean that kitty is constipated/dehydrated, and should not be offensive in odor.

If you see soft poops, there could be a variety of things going on. Firstly, I would suspect the food that kitty is eating. Poor food choices, especially those that contain high fillers such as wheat, soy, and corn, just to name a few, can cause the poop to be soft. A diet of limited ingredient protein or a raw food diet will allow the poop to be in it’s natural state. If it’s not the food, it could be an intestinal parasite or gut issue. Bring the kitty to the vet and have them take a stool sample and do a regular check-up to ensure that it’s not a more serious issue. From there, they may put kitty on a prescribed diet, provide medication and/or recommend healthy gut probiotics such as FortiFlora from Purina.

Offensive odor and very runny poop could be the food or an intestinal parasite, as mentioned above. Typically, recently adopted kitties from the shelter or rescue group can carry intestinal parasites (multiple cats living together type situation) so it’s a good idea to make sure to follow-up with a veterinarian after adopting kitty to rule out any giardia, coccidia, or worms such as hookworms or tapeworms.

Also, the frequency of bowel movements is important. Is your kitty going at least once a day? Every other day could mean a variety of things so if your kitty is not going daily, I would talk to the veterinarian. It could indicate a health issue.

If your cat has soft poops, this is NOT NORMAL. I cannot stress this enough. I put together a checklist below to help you determine if your kitty’s stools are a-okay.

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Kiki and Messi trying to use the bathroom at the same time. What did you think I was going to show you, a picture of poop!?

Cat Poop Health Checklist:

  • Color
    • Is it medium-to-dark brown?
      • If it’s another color, check for intestinal parasites or try changing foods to see if this is the culprit.
  • Shape/Texture
    • Is it long, short or in little pieces?
      • It should resemble tiny human poops or tootsie rolls.
      • Little pieces can indicate dehydration and/or current food.
      • Feeding dry food in the morning and wet food in the evening can give your cat’s poop the right flow. If you can do wet for both meals, constipation should not be an issue.
    • Is the stool hard, semi-hard, soft, or runny?
      • Normal poops are semi-hard. Not too hard, not too soft.
  • Smell
    • Does the smell stink up your house soon after your kitty goes?
      • If so, it could be the food! Try another brand and/or protein and you may see a difference.
  • Frequency
    • Is kitty going at least once a day?
      • Daily bowel movements means good kitty health. Anything less than that may indicate a problem.

Any insight, comments or tips on the above? Post below to join in on the discussion about Kitty Soft Poops!

Human & Cat

Litter Caking

Big chunks of dried urine at the bottom and in the corners of your litter box. We can all relate to the frustrations of what I like to call, “Litter Caking”. The complications from this and the constant scrapping makes us want to pull our hair out, so we look for solutions.

Typically, the first thing we do is purchase a different type of litter. Recycled paper, fragrance-free clay, extra clumping, or pine/cedar just to name a few. Then we find that it doesn’t work and we continue to see litter caking.

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Can I have some privacy please!?

We then start to wonder if it’s the type of litter box that we have. Cats are finicky when it comes to the type of box they decide to do their business in. There are boxes with tops, round – dome like ones, ones that come with motors, etc. In all my years of being a cat parent, the best box to prevent litter caking is the large Rubbermaid storage totes.

If you don’t want to go from your current litter box to a tall, deep – uncool looking Rubbermaid storage container, the best way to prevent litter caking is to ensure you put at least 4-6 inches of litter.

If you go and check your current litter level, I bet you will have between 2-3 inches at most. Low litter level is the biggest culprit of litter caking. Just adding a few inches more to your current level will ensure that the urine stays at the top and doesn’t migrate to the bottom of the box.

Go and try it and comment below if it’s worked for you! I would love to hear about your experience with this simple trick of preventing litter caking.

Nicole @ Just Cats

Uncategorized

Itchy Cats

Every time you see a cat scratch, do you think it has fleas? Society has shown through cartoons, movies, the neighbor’s outdoor cat and wive’s tales that cats who scratch must have fleas! 

Well whenever I see one of my cats scratch more than normal, I run the flea comb several times to make sure it’s not fleas. With no evidence, I then start to think if anything in the cat’s environment has changed. Change in food, stresses, new furniture or maybe even out of sheer boredom. 

Sarny, my 11 year old Turkish Angora, has been scratching an awful lot these past few days. I’ve also noticed her overgrooming and spending lots of time up and about and not sleeping. Odd. 

We recently changed her food a few weeks ago to Natural Balance- chicken and turkey kitten recipe pate. Apparently, she really enjoyed eating one of our kittens food so we decided to start feeding her that because it’s the only wet food where she has been cleaning her plate and asking for more. We have gone through so many foods and it seemed like we found the winner!

We checked the ingredients and it appeared to be mostly meat, no fruits, veggies, grains and fillers. She ate it happily for the next few weeks with no symptoms, until recently. The cause of the excessive scratching and grooming was due to food allergies. 

Now there are two things that you can do: the easiest is to replace the food with a known food that doesn’t give her allergies and/or a trip to the vet where they will give her a cortisone shot to relive her symptoms. Since Sarny is a basket case when it comes to vet visits, we immediately replaced the food and she has been improving daily.

The cause of the excessive scratching and grooming was due to food allergies. 

Sarny is happier, we are happy that it’s not fleas and that we can identify what is causing Sarny discomfort. 

Sarny is happy
Uncategorized

Cats and Their Sleeping Spots

Cats are pretty funny when it comes to finding a spot to sleep. You could buy the cutest, most expensive cat bed on the market, but cats are drawn to “their spots”. 

So why qualifies to an acceptable sleeping cat spot? It must be warm, comfy, and a good place to keep any eye for any unwelcomed friends or predators. I was cleaning today and placed a blanket on the floor for a few minutes and Ginger found her new spot:

Ginger’s sleeping spot

My sleeping spot is usually occupied by 4 out of 5 of the cats – my giant King size cat bed. 

Kiki sleeping on the giant cat bed
Cat Behavior

Why Do Cats Scratch (my furniture…)

A common question I get asked is how to deter cats from scratching furniture, especially the expensive ones. You really can’t deter a cat from scratching because it’s completely natural and normal for them. There are ways in which you can encourage this positive behavior onto items especially for them, cat scratchers.

“But Nicole, I already have a bunch of scratchers for them!” I usually reply with “What kind of scratchers do you have?” This is an important question because just like humans, cats are particular about their furniture. There are many different kinds of scratchers: vertical, horizontal, sisal rope, cardboard, wood, carpet, etc. Figuring out which kind your kitty likes is a mystery, so instead of buying all of them at once, buy one at a time and go from there.

I would recommend starting with sisal rope and cardboard because they are affordable and most cats love the sisal rope. In regards to horizontal and vertical, vertical scratchers are better because it allows the cat to stretch their arms, legs and back.

orange cat on scratcher
Our friend Nemo on his tree, leaving some scent!

So back to the question on why cats scratch. Cats scratch for the following reasons:

  • To remove the dead outer layer of their claws;
  • To mark territory;
    • Visually
    • Leaving their scent (their pheromones are located around their paw pads!)
  • To stretch their bodies; and
    • Feels good for their arm and back muscles
  • A good way to relieve stress and emotion.

Without the right scratcher, your kitty cannot stretch, relieve stress or do what’s completely natural for them.

If you have any questions on picking the right scratcher for your kitty, or if they are still scratching our furniture and you have EVERY scratcher on the market, comment below and I will do my best to help you and your kitty!

Human & Cat

Helping Cats in Need

Donating money and resources to local animal rescue groups is a wonderful thing. Whether it’s monetary, supplies, or volunteering your time, helping cats in need is always something I think about.

Several years ago, at the end of the year, I went on a shopping spree at a local Walmart and purchased large bags of cat food, boxes of litter, and toys. I pulled up to the SPCA and had a cart rolled in, filled to the brim full of supplies.

The following year, after Christmas, I was at Petco/Petsmart (I always get the two confused!) I purchased a slew of discounted holiday-themed cat toys. I donated all of them personally to cats at the shelter and the local rescue group I volunteered for at the time.

This past year, I fostered a pair of kittens from a local shelter and paid for their vetting, food and supplies (most shelters give these things to you for free as part of the foster program, I decided to pay out of my pocket).

All of these different scenarios have two things in common:

  • They help kitties in need; and
  • They are tax-deductible.

It’s the end of the year and if you haven’t already donated to your favorite charity or have a few extra dollars to spare, please donate to the cats/kittens in this world that need our help.

Comment below and tell me what good things you have done for the kitties this year!

 

Cheers,

Nicole @ Just Cats

Cat Fans

5 Last Minute Christmas Gifts For Cat Lovers

Ah! Christmas is just around the corner and I am still shopping! I am so thankful for online shopping because it snowed over a foot at our home yesterday and the thought of getting out and shopping in sub zero temperatures did not sound like fun. If you are still struggling to finish your christmas shopping list, here are some great gifts for that cat lover (or cats) in your life!:

1. Kitty Plush Ornament – $5

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For Mew Shop – Kitty Plush Ornament

This gift would be great on a cat-themed christmas tree. It’s handmade by Stacey of For Mew Shop on Etsy and $1 of the sales goes to the Humane Society of Nevada to help cats in need.

You can find it here.

2. Pinot Meow Cat Wine – $4.95

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Apollo Peak – Pinot Meow

Made by Colorado company, Apollo Peak, this unique gift for cats is a wine that they can actually drink! The ingredients include organic catnip and beets. Cats who enjoy the ocassional wine will like this product. My cat Messi is more of a beer drinker, but I know my female cats would pour a glass!

You can try and buy it here.

3. Dapper Kit : Bow Ties and Tie – $25.50

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Furry & Fancy – Dapper Kit

Cat apparel is the new thing in town. Stylish bowties that fit on any cat collar and cute ties that kitties can wear when they go into their 9 to 5, Furry and Fancy makes these accessories from scratch. Their store is full of adorable cat bowties and we think this would be a great gift for that special kitty in your life.

Try on some bowties here.

4. Catzilla iPhone Case – $14.95

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Cheese & Olive Cats – Catzilla iPhone Case

We love Cheese & Olive cats. They are Abyssinian siblings who are Instagram celebrities. They have a slew of products in their shop that are not only creative, but hilarious and cute! The iPhone case is an awesome gift for the male cat lover in your life. Run! It’s Catzilla!

Escape town and head to their shop here.

5. Cat Paw Pizza Cutter – $17.00

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Karma Kiss – Pizza Cutter

For any chef, this cat paw pizza cutter would be purfect in a cat lover’s kitchen. Very functional and unique, the pizza cutter can be found along with other cute cat-themed kitchen accessories at Karma Kiss’s website.

Let’s buy a pizza and cut here.


You can also check out our store at www.justcatsstore.com for more cat-themed gifts. At Just Cats, we wish you a meowy christmas and a happy new year!

Best Wishes,

Nicole & Pablo @ Just Cats, Peloo, Sarny, Ginger, Kiki & Messi

Just Cats Store