8 Common Cat Problems and How to Solve Them
Keep the peace between you and your feline friend with these solutions to common cat problems.
8 Common Cat Problems and Their Solutions continued...
Play-induced biting and scratching. Cats and kittens love playing.
Through each swat, pounce, and kick they are enhancing physical coordination
and honing social skills. Yet sometimes felines can get too frisky with their
people playmates, leaving behind bites or scratches that can get infected.
Fortunately, you can still play with your cat -- and not need stitches later.
To minimize kitty's rough play:
- Provide your cat with lots of enrichment: toys, perches, and outdoor
enclosures, as well as paper bags and boxes to explore. You may even think
about getting your cat a kitty companion.
- Play with your cat for at least 10 minutes twice a day. Use dangly toys,
balls, catnip toys, wadded up paper -- the sky's the limit.
- Don't encourage your cat to play with your hands or feet. Kittens who grow
up playing with and nibbling on fingertips often grow up to be powerful cats
who play bite -- hard!
- Don't punish your cat for play bites and scratches -- it's easy for kitty
to interpret a slap as rough play, or to become afraid of you.
Foiling fleas. If your kitty is chewing, scratching, or licking
often, if she's losing hair, or has irritated skin, she may have fleas, the
most common external parasite troubling pets.
It only takes one flea hitching a ride inside to start an invasion, but
fortunately you can tackle fleas easily. Talk to your vet about flea control
options, then be sure to treat all the cats in you house: If one has fleas,
they probably all do. And because some flea control medications for dogs can be
fatal to cats, be sure you use only drugs made specifically for cats.
Tackling tapeworms. While fleas are the most common external parasite
on your cat, tapeworms are the most common pest inside kitty. That's because
where there's fleas there's almost always tapeworms, since cats usually get
tapeworms by swallowing a flea. The end result eventually appears at kitty's
end: Look at your cat's feces or around their anus, if you see tiny wiggly
white worms, or something that looks like dried grains of rice, your kitty has
Tapeworms aren't dangerous, but they can lead to weight loss, tummy pain,
and other problems in your cat if left untreated. While garlic has been a
popular home remedy for foiling tapeworms and fleas, there's no proof it works
-- and it's very hard to get kitty to eat it! Stick to the to tried-and-true
tapeworm treatments offered by your vet.
Yowling of a cat in heat. When a female cat is in heat, she'll often
become very affectionate and vocal, meowing and yowling as she attempts to
alert a potential mate of her fertile status. Likewise, a male cat may become
talkative when he's hearing or smelling a female cat in heat. This yowling and
other mating behaviors may repeat themselves every 18-24 days throughout a
cat's eight month breeding season.