Cat Behavior · cat toys · Foster · Human & Cat · Multi-cat Household · Uncategorized

Foster Kittens : Playpen

I am currently fostering three kittens from a local rescue group here in Denver, CO. I have fostered in the past before and have always kept them in their own room, separate from the resident cats. In the past, the kittens would have full utilization of the room and that sometimes proved to be a disaster. I’ve had some kittens rip paint from the walls, others spew diarrhea all over the floors and litter stones everywhere! I decided that I would no longer allow them to have full run of the spare bedroom and keep them confined in a 3-story kitty condo and their own playpen. Not only would it keep the messes in one area, but it would also be safer for them. Kittens are notorious for getting into anything and everything!

The playpen is a mesh tent that I purchased for my cats several years ago when I wanted to have them spend time outdoors. I’ve used it several times and it works great and really easy to set-up and store away. It’s basically like a camping tent, but for kitties! I set-up the tent in the kitten room and laid down a blanket so that their nails wouldn’t catch on the mesh. I put several noisy toys and balls in there to keep them occupied. I placed the kittens into the playpen and it was a huge hit! Several of them used the restroom on the blanket the first two days, but later realized that it was not a litter box. The playpen allows them to run, play and stretch their legs and keeps them safely in one area. Here are a few pictures of their adventures:

Tabby kitten in playpen
Foster Kittens: Playpen
Foster kittens playpen
Foster Kittens: Playpen

 

Want to buy one of your own? They are pretty affordable and easy to clean if there are any kitten messes. Amazon sells it for $39.99 and it’s free shipping! Click here to get the kitty playpen.

 

Cat Health · Multi-cat Household · Veterinary Medicine

Diaries of a Tired Cat Mom

I’m tired. I’m really tired and I’m using all my leftover energy to write this post. I officially have five (I almost said six) sick kitties. I only have five (as of now).

First it started with Ginger who is being extra sneezy early last week. I didn’t think it was serious since she was only doing it a few times a day so I attributed it to allergies. The weekend came and then the babies got sick on their first birthday. They got pretty bad the next day. They were breathing through their mouth, lethargic and having sneeze attacks.

Several times this week, I woke up at 2am to check on everyone and so far, only the three cats were sick.

Ginger got better, the kittens received an antibiotic shot and got most of their energy back and now the two older white sisters are sneezing and miserable. 10 days and I have five sick cats. The vet said it was a virus and will run its course between 7 to 10 days. 7 to 10 days and overlap of sneezy cats, worried cat mom and sleepless nights. Oh how I wish we could turn back time and I have five healthy cats.

I need a double shot.

Cat Behavior · cat toys · Uncategorized

Cat Enrichment: Playtime

Today, I read a post on 10 ways to tell if your cat is happy. Showing belly, twitchy tail, and sleeping on your lap, just to name a few. Cats are very social animals and enjoy spending time with their humans, but they also enjoy active playtime.

Cats by nature prey, hunt and catch their kills. Yes, it may be gruesome to talk about our lovely feline friends killing another animal, but it’s their natural instinct and should not be frowned upon (no discipling!). Since we have domesticated the cat and brought them into our homes, felines have lost their natural way of play, which is killing their prey.

One way to bring the nature back to the cat is 15 minutes of daily, consistent playtime. By setting a schedule to play with you cat, you are providing the activity that is so natural to them, giving them exercise and also keeping them mentally and emotionally healthy.

Cats can be stressed, bored and also be depressed. By encouraging your feline friend to play with a “prey” like toy such as Da Bird cat toy,  you are enriching their lives and their environments. Catnip-filled toys also help prevent them from getting bored, but the best toys are the one where they mimic a real-life bird, butterfly, or small mouse. The movements entice the cat and activates all of their senses. Fifteen minutes of this will make a big difference in your cat’s mental, emotional and physical health.

If you’re cat is a littler older or pickier when it comes to toys, they might enjoy active window watching or some of my favorite youtube channel of up-and-close of gorgeous birds and hilarious squirrels. Paul Dinning Wildlife

What enrichment does your cat enjoy? Comment below!

 

Veterinary Medicine

Prednisone vs. Prednisolone


Disclaimer: I am not a licensed or certified veterinarian or medical professional. Any information taken from this blog post is purely meant for informational purposes for people who love cats. Proper medical care for your feline should be discussed with your veterinarian.


AHHH! I’ve always had a hard time trying to remember which drug (prednisone or prednisolone) my cats are on and the thought of even trying to pronounce them. Tip: Google the terms and there is an English lady teaching you how to pronounce each of them.

Apparently, they are almost the same thing. So I did a comparison of the two and this is what I found out:

Prednisone

  • It’s a synthetic corticosteroid.
  • It’s effective as an immunosuppressant drug.
  • Prednisone is used to treat the following:
    • Certain inflammatory diseases;
    • Some autoimmune diseases; and
    • Some types of cancers (when given at higher dosages).
  • There is a list of mild and serious side effects.

Prednisolone

  • It’s a synthetic glucocorticoid made from hydrocortisone (cortisol).
  • It’s a steroid medication.
  • Prednisolone is used to treat the following:
    • Allergies;
    • Certain inflammatory diseases;
    • Some autoimmune disorders; and
    • Some types of cancers (when given at higher dosages).
  • There is a list of mild and serious side effects when using this medication.

______

By looking over the two, it appears that they are very similar. So what’s the big friggin’ difference?

Well, prednisone is ACTIVATED by enzymes in the liver to turn into prednisolone. They have similar uses, but prednisolone is more readily absorbed by the body.

A study conducted several years back compared the effectiveness of prednisone versus prednisolone in cats and dogs. What they found was that oral prednisolone was more effective and preferred when it came to treating cats.*

So, if your veterinarian prescribes prednisolone over the later, you now have a better idea on why it was prescribed!

* Source: Prednisone or Prednisolone in the Feline Patient; http://www.vetcontact.com/dermatology/art.php?a=640;

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.

img_6385
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.

cat-litter-box1-300x225
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