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Almost everything you need to know about pet care.

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Cats - Care

Caring for your cat is very important to its well being.  Animals generally respond well to the care and attention given.  Below are some tips on cat care.

Toilet training

It is possible to train a cat to use the toilet rather than a litter tray, however, the cat must be well trained to the litter tray first. Move the litter tray into the WC next to the toilet. Little by little say 5 cm every other day raise the litter box until the bottom of the litter box is at the level of the toilet with the seat down and lid raised. Then over the next week or so move the litter tray over to the top of the toilet. This trains the cat to jumping up to the toilet to do the business! When the cat is comfortable with this, cover the toilet opening below the seat with loose cling film plastic wrap and fill the middle with litter. Decrease the amount of litter until the cat is just using the plastic. The next stage is to make a hole in the middle of the plastic so the cat gets used to the sound of urine and stool hitting the water. Sooner or later you eliminate the plastic. The whole process takes about three weeks. It will save a fortune on cat litter and you wont have much cleaning up after your cat!

Cat Litter

There are various kinds of litter available. Some cats seem to prefer certain kinds of litter over others, you may need to experiment. A cat displeased with its litter box generally makes its feelings abundantly clear by finding a "better" litter box, such as your bed or sofa.

JadeWhen disposing of litter, it is best to wrap it up in two bags and tie securely, for the benefit of the bin men. The same for the scooped material! Some people flush solid matter, but be aware that the clay in some litters may eventually block your sewer pipe.

Do not use cat litter as a fertilizer in your garden. This it is not manure since cats are not vegetarians. It can be incredibly smelly and may attract neighbourhood cats. When an outdoor cat uses your garden as a toilet, it usually varies where it does its business and there's no concentration of faeces. If you dispose of the cat litter, it's usually concentrated in one area.

Litter Trays

Cats can be fussy about the cleanliness of their litter tray. Most people scoop solid matter out on a daily basis. If a cat is displeased with the litter tray for any reason it may well select another place in your house more to its liking!

Litter trays are shallow plastic pans. Some cats have a tendency to scatter litter outside the box when they bury their stool. This can be solved by getting a cover for the tray, available at pet shops usually as a set. Another way to minimize litter tracking is to put a soft rubber mat just outside the litter tray. You can use a litter tray liner, however, cats can rip these while burying their faeces; if the problem persists, just don't use liners. If you have two or more cats you may have to put out several litter boxes.

Disinfect the litter box and top on a regular basis to prevent illness and disease. Bleach is a good disinfectant around cats, although you should be sure to rinse thoroughly and air out all the fumes. Do NOT use cleaners with pine ingredients as these are toxic to cats.

Trimming Claws

Another aspect to cat care is to help stem the destruction from scratching by keeping their cats' claws trimmed. This is started when your cat is a kitten. . Trimming claws should be carried out weekly. Different claws grow at different rates. Claws grow constantly just like human nails. Unlike human nails, to stay sharp, claws shed the outer layers of the nail. Cats will pull on their claws or scratch to remove these layers. This is perfectly normal and is comparable to humans cutting and filing their own nails. You may see sections of claw lying around, especially on scratching posts; this is quite normal.

Use nail clippers available at pet shops. Use the guillotine type not the human variety as this will crush cat's claw and may cause injury. There are also clippers that look like scissors with short, hooked blades. These may be easier for some people to handle. With your best hand, hold the clippers. with the other squeeze your cat's paw, the claws will come out. Examine them carefully. If the claws are white and most cat's are, the difference between the nail and the quick is easy to see in a good light. The quick is the pink tissue visible within the nail at the base the claw. This is the difference between the nail attached to your skin and the part that grows beyond it.

Cat Health

Vaccination and Worming Schedule: Cat care should always include vaccination, even if your cat is a strictly indoor one. Consult your Vet if you have a kitten at 3 weeks for worming, the first vaccination will be due at about 10 weeks with booster about a month later.

On a standard annual examination, your vet should check:

  • teeth for tartar/gum swelling
  • ears for ear mites and other fungus problems
  • body for ringworm
  • faecal exam for worms, booster injections
  • eyes for normal pupil response and normal retinal appearance
  • weight,
  • heart rate
  • temperature

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