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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.
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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.

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