Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How To Clean Up Cat Urine

How To Clean Up Cat Urine 
By Staff Writer -

As any cat owner will tell you, cat urine has a particularly intolerable - not to mention resilient - odor. On top of that, cat urine can stain carpet and hardwood floor alike. There are many reasons why cats might urinate in improper places - stinky litter boxes, stress, age and illness being among the common reasons. You'll be able to clean up stubborn cat urine using the following techniques.

a. For Hardwood floors.

Cat urine smell foul as it sinks into your hardwood floor. Worse still, it can stain and rot your floor if ignored.

Absorbent cloths. Blot the urine-soaked area using your dry cloth. Make sure you have some of these on hand in case of cat urine emergencies. A white cloth works fine (or many paper towels if you don't have a cloth), but cloth diapers absorb much better.

Wipe away residue. Wipe the spot gently with a warm, damp cloth, and then blot the wood dry.
Household cleaners. You can then apply one of several household agents to the urine stain. 

Many people swear by hydrogen peroxide to remove cat urine. If your peroxide is diluted to about 3%, you can spray it over the cat urine to remove both stain and odor. Let the peroxide sit for about five minutes before blotting. For an even stronger cleanser, add a couple squirts of hand soap and a sprinkle of baking soda to this spray. Shake it up, and watch it work.

Diluted white vinegar can help you remove your cat urine as well. It's best to dilute the vinegar to about 25-30%. Spray the warm solution onto the cat urine and then, after a couple minutes, blot once more with the cloth.
Baking soda alone has been known to get rid of superficial odor-causing urine, but it won't help you remove urine stains in the wood.

NOTE: No matter what kind of cleaner you use or what surface you're cleaning (wood, carpet or furniture), you would be well advised to try the cleaning agent on a small, non-visible patch of the surface before applying it to the urine accident.

Wipe once more. Use another warm, damp cloth to wipe the residual cleaner from the floor, and then blot the floor dry.

Store-bought urine cleaners. From your pet store, you can buy special anti-urine cleaners armed with necessary ingredients to break down the bacteria and enzymes of urine, fighting the stains and odors. Nature's Miracle, Urine-Off, Simple Solution and Stain Gobbler are just a few of the available brands. Either substitute these cleansers for the household ones above, or use the store-bought kind after the household variety. 

b. For carpets.

Cat urine on carpet is more than a nuisance; it can penetrate through the fibers and into the padding, causing mold to go along with that awful smell. 

It's easier to clean wet urine. The quicker you can respond to the urine, the easier your job will be. But if you are trying to clean up and deodorize a dried-up urine stain, your task will be simpler if you dampen the stain with some  warm water before proceeding.  

Absorbent cloths. Blot the affected area as described in the hardwood section above. If you blot with pressure for about half a minute, and the cloth is dry, then you can continue to the next step.

Store-bought cleaning agents. Though you can try the aforementioned household cleaners first, your best bet is a heavy-duty store-bought cleaner designed specifically to target the bacteria and enzymes of cat urine accidents (you can find these at your pet store). After blotting with the cloth and applying pressure to remove as much of the liquid urine as possible, apply one of these urine cleaners, following the instructions on the package. 

Blot again! After letting it sit, blot the cleanser up using a fresh cloth until it seems dry. Finally, using a warm, damp cloth, apply a little pressure once more before blotting one last time with a dry cloth (to get any residue of cleanser out of there). 

You may have to repeat the cleansing step a couple times.

c. Upholstery. It seems crazy, but cats can occasionally have accidents on your furniture as  well. 

Blot with that dry, absorbent cloth. Blot again with the aforementioned vinegar solution. Use one of the store-bought stain and odor removers. Let is sink in as per the package specifications.

Dab the spot dry.

What to do when you can't find the urine. Sometimes the odor of cat urine can permeate a living area, making it difficult for you to actually find it. Yet find it you must! Did you know that cat urine glows under a black light? If you smell urine, yet can't find it - and especially if you anticipate the kitty behavioral problem persisting - a black light is a smart investment. 
One final reason for vigilance. Make a concerted effort to respond quickly and fully to cat urine - if you still smell urine after cleaning it up, then the cat can still smell it too. And that means the cat is more likely to urinate there in the future. 

If you find yourself battling cat urine odor and stains, be comforted by the knowledge that you're not alone! Rapid response is best to prevent permanent stains. The most important strategy, of course, is prevention. Examine your cat's living environment, stress level and health. If your cat starts urinating outside of the litter box on a regular basis, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to determine whether an underlying health concern exists. Clean thoroughly and, if you determine any causes of stress, try to eliminate them from your cat's life. 

Additional Tips: Whether you have cats or dogs, finding pet friendly hotels will help with all your travel plans.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How to Bathe a Cat

By Bar10dr98
Please wash your cat! Do you dread bathing your cat as much as your cat does? Here's a simple guide to make the process as painless as possible!

Things You’ll Need: Cat, Cat safe shampoo, Bathtub, Cup, Towel, Band-aids 

Step 1

Fill bathtub with warm water BEFORE taking your cat into the bathroom, about 2-3 inches of water. Leave cup, shampoo, and towel within reach during bath. 

Step 2

Assuming you are right-handed (reverse this if left handed) take your left hand and reach under your cat, placing your index, middle, and ring fingers between his front legs, and thumb and pinky fingers on the outside of cat's legs. Cat should be sideways with his head on your left side. Keep pinky and thumb far enough forward to where it limits how much movement cat can make while bathing with his front legs. You will be keeping your left hand in place for the remainder of bathing. 

Step 3

SLOWLY lower kitty into bathtub. Take your time, using your right hand to hold down on the back of cat's back. When the cat has settled down, slowly use cup to pour water from the front of cat's back to the tail, stopping and holding the cat's back with your right hand if he becomes agitated. The key is to prevent the cat's claws from getting traction, they love to climb your arm to get out of the tub! Be careful around your cat's head during bathing, avoiding ears and eyes. Shampoo, and rinse. If your cat will let you, wrap him up with a towel and you're done with his bath! Hopefully you won't need the band-aids! 

Tips & Warnings
a. If you close the bathroom door, it can make things a lot easier if your cat does escape the bathtub!
b. Make sure water is not too hot or cold, that will only add to your cat's displeasure.
c. Take your time, if you seem rushed or irritated, your cat will pick up on this. You want to make it a pleasant bathing experience so the next time around won't be so bad.
d. Most cats do not like bath time, and will not be shy about letting you know!
Make sure to use a cat safe shampoo, especially when using flea control shampoo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How to Tell If Your Cat is Pregnant

By Chris Beazer
Expecting Kittens? As Bob Barker says, you should spay and neuter your pets. However, sometimes having a pregnant cat is unavoidable and sometimes the pregnancy is done intentionally for breeding purposes. Here are a few simple ways to tell if your cat is indeed pregnant or just fat and moody.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Pregnant

Step 1; Look for observable changes in behavior. A cat that is pregnant will often display a change in behavior. Most will become overtly affectionate instead of their typical anti-social behavior. They may also start "nesting". This means that your cat will start taking blankets, toys, or anything else it can get a hold of and begin making a warm, safe place for her kittens. 

Step 2; Check the underbelly. Most pregnant cat's nipples will start swelling and become more pink and prominent. This will happen especially towards the end of the pregnancy or after she births her litter. 

Step 3; Gently feel the belly. Do not poke or prod the belly because this can cause miscarriages and other complications and it can also cause your cat to rip you to shreds. Feel for small lumps about the size of a golf ball. Once again, make sure to gently stroke the stomach. Don't prod or try to grab the lumps. 

Step 4; Look at your cat's sides. If your cat is just fat, there will be fat all over. A pregnant cat will have a good amount of swelling on its belly and not in the rest of its body. You can usually tell when your cat has had its babies as well since there will be a dramatic change in appearance.

Tips & Warnings
Most cats do just fine with their pregnancy. If you are breeding your cat, you may still want to see your veterinarian just to be sure that the pregnancy goes as planned.
If your cat is pregnant, you may want to take extra precautions if you have small children. Too much rough housing with your cat can cause miscarriages or other serious complications that could quite possibly kill your cat and her kittens.

How to Look After New Born Kittens

By K. T. Logan
Taking care of newborn kittens can be a tough, yet deeply satisfying, endeavor. Whether you're taking care of kittens because their mother abandoned them or died, it’s important to prepare yourself for your new caregiver role. Newborn kittens are fragile and must be handled with care to be able to thrive. Take the time to learn how to provide them with the best possible start to life.

Things You’ll Need: Kitten formula, Bedding, Bottles, Blankets, Cotton balls 

Step 1; Gather the essential equipment. Visit your local pet store to purchase materials like kitten formula, nursing bottles, and blankets. Ask for store personnel recommendations on kitten bedding and cleaning tools. Locate a sturdy box or plastic container to serve as home base for the kittens. Your veterinarian will also be able to provide guidance on the materials you’ll need. 

Step 2; Create a suitable environment for the kittens. Much like newborn babies, kittens aren’t able to regulate their body temperature as well as their adult counterparts. Use clean towels or blankets to line the bedding solution you have chosen to provide warmth for the gentle newborns. Place their new bed in a quiet location where you can keep a close watch on them. Newborn kittens sleep through much of the day and should be housed in a quiet nurturing environment. 

Step 3; Find a reputable veterinarian. The newborn kittens should receive a general physical from the veterinarian to determine any congenital health problems or acquired health conditions. Specialized care instructions may be given in order to provide the kittens with the best individual care plan. Choose a veterinarian that is comfortable handling small kittens and that will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding their care. Keep their phone number nearby for reassurance during this process. 

Step 4; Feed the kittens on a regular basis. Newborn kittens should be bottle-fed formula every few hours. Make sure the nipple system you’re using has a hole sufficient for the formula to easily drip. Clean and sterilize the bottles after each feeding to cut down on the spread of germs and bacteria. Keep an eye on the kittens following feedings for signs of stomach upset which include bloating and fussiness. Contact the veterinarian if the kittens refuse the bottle or are irritable after meals. 

Step 5; Keep the kittens clean and dry. Use a damp cloth to wash away debris and waste material from the kittens’ fur. Avoid immersing the kittens in water to help keep the kittens healthy. Wet kittens are more susceptible to disease and unregulated body temperatures. 

Step 6; Stimulate the kittens to potty. Although this job isn’t glamorous, the kittens will gladly thank you for it. Kittens are unable to relieve themselves without assistance until they reach 2 to 3 weeks of age. Wear gloves as you gently rub their genital area with a cotton ball to stimulate their urge to relieve themselves. Although newborn kittens are stimulated by their natural “scooting” behavior, it’s important to ensure they don’t become constipated due to lack of stimulation.

Tips & Warnings
Provide the newborn kittens with lots of love and affection to help ease their fears.
Never be afraid to ask your veternarian questions regarding the care and well being of the kittens.

How to Determine the Age of a Kitten

Kittens mature rapidly in their first three or four months. You can tell their age very approximately by several methods.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy 

Step 1 - If they still have their umbilical cords they are probably between 1 and 3 days old. 

Step 2 - If their eyes are still closed they are probably between 1 and 10 days old. By 10 days their eyes should be open. 

Step 3 - Open their mouths and look for teeth. Do you see little nubs coming in? About 2 weeks. 

Step 4 - Are they attempting to stand? Possibly 2 to 3 weeks. 

Step 5 - Are they starting to play? Figure their age at about 4 weeks.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Check out the itch spots

Written by Dr.Laxmi Iyer 
Fleas. No! They are not lice, nor ticks. Ctenocephalides felis...That's how they were named. For our convenience, we call them fleas. The dog fleas are rightly called Ctenocephalides canis. Fleas are those quick on their feet, clever little creatures that you can see, but never catch. They move in nano second time...quick as ever.

These pesky little creatures merrily romp all over your pet's fur and before you can catch a single one, they are all gone...hiding in the jungle of your pet's fur. The more long haired your pet, the more difficult to trace and eliminate fleas. Sometimes, it may be a long while before you realize that your pets have fleas. Then, when you do, the flea population in your home has already reached epidemic levels. That's because fleas breed fast. 

In flea bite infestations your cat's skin often feels bumpy all over. If you observe closely, you will see that in several places there are small raised red patches covered with crusts. Your vet will call this feline miliary dermatitis. 

Flea infestation can be dangerous for your cat's health. Besides causing a severe allergic reaction on the skin and damaging the skin, fleas can also transmit tapeworms and filarial infections. If you stroke your cat's back against the direction of the fur, you may see little specks of black stuck to your pet's skin. Those are the tell tale signs of flea infestation. 

The places where you can see them; most of these crusty, small red bumps and the black dots are the abdomen, neck and the back end of your cat's back and the base of the tail. Your cat may or may not feel very itchy even with a lot of fleas playing hop, skip and jump all over. This is especially true if the flea infestation has been there for some time. 

Once you recognise that one of your pets has fleas, after taking your pet to the vet, the next most important thing that you need to do is to keep your pet quarantined. Fleas eggs do not stick to the fur unlike lice eggs.

Flea eggs fall all over the fur. When your pet moves around...hundreds of eggs may find a new place to grow... on carpets, bedding and upholstery. In no time, you may find a flea colony happily breeding in your home....under carpets, on cushion covers and even on your mattresses - if you don't watch out.

Both flea eggs and larvae are nearly invisible. It takes only three weeks for eggs to mature to adults. Warm, sunny places make ideal conditions for fleas to breed. Often, flea infestations happen when you are away on that long holiday and you've left your pets behind in the boarding place. Of course, this need not be, but many times, because boarding places have large numbers of cats and dogs staying together, it may happen that a few adventurous fleas land on your pet's back.

More important, you need to remember besides causing a severe allergic reaction on your pet's skin and fur, fleas can also transmit tapeworm infections and filariasis in pets.

The Horrors of Declawing

Written by Dr. Laxmi Iyer 
Declawing is a fashion. A popular culture to keep your cat in control...keep them out of mischief, so to say. Declawing is what people do to their cats who are mischeivious and playful. Isn't that an awful thing to do? 

Declawing suits your lifestyle. A declawed cat means never again furniture that has been scratched or cushions with scratch marks. But...have you ever thought how horrifying it is to be a cat without proper claws? It's terrible. It's awful. The truth is it is a cruelty that can be done without.

Don't declaw your cat's claws. Your cats need those claws. Declawing is a monstrous thing to do to cats. A cat without proper claws doesn't feel like a cat anymore. It's awful for a cat's sense of locomotion, balance, self respect and identity.

Aloof and independent creatures, a declawed cat becomes painfully handicapped. A person who truly loves his or her cats would never declaw. It's one of the worst sins of cruelty to a cat. It cramps their expression, their instinctive desire to express themselves by scratching on wooden barks, tree trunks.

What are the commonly used veterinary procedures? One of them is onychectomy - the cutting of the claw and related bone and muscle tissue. The other is tendonectomy where the cat's tendon is cut so that the cat cannot use the claw. It sounds absolutely barbaric to do that. Yet, it is being practised in some parts of the world - specifically the US and Canada even in this age and time. 

On April 7, 2003, the West Hollywood, California City Council decided to ban cat declawing. It is great news for cat welfare activists because this is the first city in the US to take measures against declawing. One hopes that before the end of this year, the fashion of declawing cats will become extinct.

If you care deeply about your cats and the cats in your neighbourhood, be the whistle blower and cheer leader. Make this issue a community campaign and fight to protect your cats. 

List of some useful websites that give the facts on declawing