Cats, kittens and spring!

It seems like it is finally spring! After a long, cold, snowy winter the sound of birds singing, trees and grass starting to look green again, and longer days, we can actually look forward to the long awaited spring days. We see baby calves, baby birds, and all kinds of baby animals, including baby kittens.

The Lincoln Area Humane Society is helping to reduce the number of feral or unwanted kittens. To date, we’ve spayed and neutered over 100 community cats in our Trap Neuter Return program and there seems to be fewer kittens this year. If you are having a problem with stray cats or kittens, please contact the Humane Society and we will try to help you.

Perhaps you already have a cat or kittens. I have some feline facts, health tips and ideas to help you with your pet.

If your cat is an indoor cat, there are two ways to prevent your house from smelling like litter box odor. The first is to make sure the litter box is cleaned every day. The second is to sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter. It is not toxic to cats and will help keep odors away.

If you are wondering whether to feed your cat wet or dry food, it is simply a matter of choice. Wet food has more water content and may help prevent urinary tract disease and reduce the workload of the kidneys. Dry food encourages cats to drink more water and keep hydrated in this way. Some thought is that dry food is better for the cats teeth but actually cats often don’t chew their food but swallow it whole. So many vets question the benefits of dry food for dental health. According to my research, wet food appears to be better for urinary health and dry food appears to be better for thyroid health. In the end it is a matter of choice, maybe feed some of both.

Speaking of litter boxes, (I know it is a dirty subject) have you ever wondered why your cat goes outside the box? This can be a major problem for cat owners but most of these problems can be solved. Medical issues can be a common reason for cats not using the box so the first thing you should do is take your cat to the vet. Second step is to make sure the box is clean. It should be cleaned daily and if you have more than one cat, you should have the same number of litter boxes as cats. Third, make sure the box is big enough. Ideally the litter box should be big enough the cat can comfortably turn around inside without his body hanging over the edge,

What if the cat stops covering his (mess)? If the cat suddenly stops covering her bowel movements it could be the type of litter you are using. Some cats might not like the feel of the texture on their feet. Some cats who feel like they are the alpha cat will not bury as a way to mark their territory and make sure everyone knows where they have been.

What if your cat is scratching the furniture? This is a good way for cats and humans to ruin their relationships. There are also easy ways to solve this. First make their favorite area undesirable by applying double-stick sticky tape to it or draping it with fabrics that do not feel good to scratch. Next try directing them to stable scratching posts placed directly in front of the blocked areas. If a cat is a carpet shredder, use a horizontal scratcher too. Finally whenever you catch them scratching their posts, reward them with treats for good behavior.

Another cat problem could be hairballs. Hairballs are slimy piles of regurgitated cat hair mixed with digestive juices. As cats groom themselves, their sandpapery tongues pull out loose hairs which they swallow. While most of this hair passes out to the litter box, some remains in the stomach and forms a hairball. The best way to prevent hairballs from forming, brush your cats often and remove loose hair. If your cat seems to have an unusual number of hairballs, talk to your vet.

Have you ever wondered how to calculate your cat’s age in “cat years?” Cats age much faster in the first two years of life. Your cat reaches the human age of 15 in his first year of life. At age 2, his human age is 24. Each year thereafter he ages 4 “cat years” for each human year. Thus a 7 year old feline would be approximately 44 in human years. Outdoor cats age far more quickly, perhaps twice as fast as an indoor cat. A 7 year old outdoor cat could be considered approximately 64 years.

One last important fact about your cat. Dogs are known for their sloppy wet kisses and greeting you when you come home. Cats are more likely to whisper their affection. When your cat looks at you and then slowly blinks her eyes, it’s her way of blowing you a kiss and showing you some love. Chances are she would love it if you would say “I love you too.” It is as easy as blinking your eyes back at her.

Remember the Lincoln Area Humane Society is always ready to help you with animal problems. You are welcome to give us a call, and if you are interested in helping animals, we would love to have you become a part of our group. If you are interested in volunteering a little time, providing pet food or monetary support, temporarily fostering a cat or dog in transition, please contact us. Enjoy your spring and your pets!!

Lincoln Sentinel-Republican

P.O. Box 67
Lincoln, KS 67455