Overcoming 7 Obstacles to Cat Ownership
Just as shedding hair is normal for people, so is it for cats. Felines usually lose more hair in spring, as the weather warms. But cats also shed because of medical issues such as stress, poor diet, allergies, medication, infection, and sunburn. To help minimize normal kitty hair loss, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests:
- Feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Brush and groom your cat regularly.
While grooming your cat, check for suspicious hair loss, redness, bumps, cuts, fleas, ticks, or other parasites. If you see signs of any of these problems or just aren’t sure why kitty is shedding so much, visit a veterinarian.
Cat Litter Box Issues
If the thought of litter box smells is keeping you from getting a cat, you’re not alone. With daily care, however, litter box odor is easy to control. And keeping a clean litter box will also help ensure that your cat will use it. To help minimize odors and maximize the chance of your cat using a litter box consistently, try these strategies:
- Buy scoopable (clumping) litter, or small-grained clay litter, as research shows that cats seem to prefer fine-grained litter. As with any litter, you’ll need to clean the litter box daily, and dump the entire box and start fresh about once a month.
- If bringing home a new kitty means you’ll have more than one cat in the house, be sure you’ve got enough litter boxes -- ideally, one for each plus one more. For example, if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes. If a cat can’t use the litter box due to cat traffic jams, or if the box is consistently dirty, he may begin to go outside the box.
- Don’t overfill a litter box to avoid cleaning it as often. Clean litter up to twice a day if there are multiple cats using a box. Aim for about an inch or two of litter per box.
- Some cats prefer a cover on the litter box, but most don’t. Covered boxes tend to trap and magnify odors, so they need cleaning more often. Large cats may also have trouble maneuvering in them. The answer? Try both kinds of boxes, covered and uncovered, before settling on one.
- A cat that consistently eliminates outside a litter box may have a medical problem. Always talk to your veterinarian before presuming the issue is unsolvable. It could be something that’s easy and inexpensive to address.