Pet Tips for Home Owners

Tips For Bathing Your Cat

Cats normally do not need help getting and staying clean. They are fastidious about their cleanliness and spend much of their day primping and preening. Cats learn from a very young age to stay clean, as the mother always teaches their young the art of bathing. Cat owners rarely need to give their cats a bath, however, there are some situations where you may find it is time to bath kitty. You never know when your cat will get so dirty that they need a little extra help. If your cat is afflicted with skin allergies or has a flea infestation, you might need to bathe your cat. Sick and older cats may have a difficult time keeping clean, too. You will find that your cat probably resists getting a bath, but you can do it if you are prepared.

Get Your Supplies

The best place to bath your cat is in a small, enclosed room. If you have a sink in your laundry room, that would work perfectly. A deep bathroom sink would also do the trick. The idea is to get your cat in a small area to help him or her feel safer during the process. Another idea is to use a baby tub and place it inside your own bathtub. This might cause an aching back on your part, but may be just the thing for your cat.

In addition, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need on hand before you begin. It will be almost impossible to stop what you are doing with a struggling cat to run and get a towel or shampoo. You will need several old towels, mild, non-irritating shampoo such as baby shampoo or pet shampoo, and a cup for rinsing. You might even consider using a turkey-basting tool to reach under the chin, around the neck, and between the legs. In addition, if your cat’s fur is matted, you might want to consider cutting these mats away before beginning.

Get the Bath Ready

When you have gotten all of your supplies where you need them, you will want to prepare the bath. Your cat will not like very hot or very cold water, so lukewarm water works best. Think of the temperature you would use to bath an infant. That is what you need when you wash your cat. Next, fill up the tub or sink. You do not need a lot of water when you bath your cat–just enough to rinse the cat off. It is also a good idea to place a non-skid mat or folded bath towel in the bottom of the sink or tub before you begin filling it with water. This prevents the cat from slipping around on the bottom of the sink or tub.

Ease your Cat into the Water

It is now time for the hard part. You have to get your cat and ease him or her into the water. This may sound easier than it is. Some cats may struggle with you more than others may. Only you know your cat’s personality. The best way to go about doing this is to lower your cat into the water. Do this by placing one hand under the cat’s belly and one hand firmly, but gently on the cat’s back. Lower the cat from its hind legs into the water. If your cat is still struggling, you might want to wrap a towel around your cat to prevent scratches. You might be surprised by your cat’s reaction. Some cats will sit there quietly and let you work. Others will be scared and will try to run from you. You will get wet, but you may think about holding the cat’s body close to your own while bathing so he or she feels more secure. Never raise your voice or move too fast, as this can send your cat into a frenzy.

Begin the Bath

After your cat is somewhat situated in the water, you can begin to bathe. Work quickly, but gently. The best method for bathing your cat is to start with the head and work your way down. Be careful not to get water or shampoo in your cat’s ears or eyes. You will only need a very small amount of shampoo. If you get too much, you will have to rinse longer. If you are treating fleas, then you will want to follow the directions on the flea shampoo at this point. You can use vegetable oil if you need to remove sticky substances from your cat’s fur. Use this sparingly because this will leave an oily residue on your cat’s fur, although it is harmless.

Training Your Cats or Kittens With Positive Reinforcement.

Pets make our home more complete by being there to greet you after a hard day at work or snuggling up to you while you sleep. Cats have been termed the most fickle of creatures; however, they are sweet lovable creatures if you raise them from infancy. Most cats recognize their owners by the sound of their voice, the car they drive, and who spoils them the most. Like dogs, cats can be trained. A cat can be trained to come to your call, to bring their toys when they want to play, as well as more domestic issues such as using a litter box. The key to training a cat or kitten is reinforcement.

Reinforcement starts at any age, but it is typically wise to start out with a kitten. Cats cannot distinguish words, but they are very astute in distinguishing tones of your voice. They will know they have done something wrong just by the tone of voice you use. This is why it is important to use your upset voice when they have done something wrong, otherwise, they will become confused. Let us go back to reinforcement. Reinforcement is either positive or negative. Water is a negative reinforcement for a cat or kitten because they typically despise being wet. Some positive reinforcement can be hugs or fully body petting, treats, or play time.

To train your kitty to come to your call is to repeat their name while they are looking at you. Look them in the eye while you are using a nice tone of voice. Another way to call your cat is to have another sound, like snapping fingers or clicking noises with your tongue. These typically gain the attention of your cat or kitten so they learn to come when you call.

Litter box training is perhaps the easiest part of having a kitty in your life. It is best to keep them confined to one room, the room you will have the litter box in to train them. They will learn by you putting them in the box and allowing them to familiarize themselves with the smell. Cats by nature understand the feel of litter associating it with dirt. You may have to pick them up when they first begin to go if they do not understand the litter box and place them inside. Occasionally a cat does not like the litter you use. They show their displeasure by using the floor. This is a time to try something new. Most female adult cats will train their kittens so it is important they do not leave their mother’s care to quickly. Food works in much the same way. Once you show them where their food bowls are they will continue to go there. Cats are creatures of habit.

Habits are how you will train your kitty to bring you toys. Some cats will simply meow when they want to play and casually bat their toy, however, if you give them positive reinforcement every time they carry a toy mouse or stuffed toy they will continue to bring the toy without the reinforcement of a treat. For an example, my kitty, Spooky, is two. She brings me a stuffed animal every afternoon or evening when she wants to play. She lays it down near the end of my couch and meows until I recognize the good deed and begin to play with her.

Cats are trainable, perhaps not to the degree; a dog is trainable with voice commands, but they you can succeed in training them in some ways. Cats will enliven any home and given a lot of positive reinforcement, they can be just as much fun if not more fun than other pets. Especially when they give you comfort by stepping on to your lap kneading and purring. These moments can take away a bad day at work within a few seconds.


Training Your Pet Parrot

Parrots are wonderful pets. You will quickly find that these birds extremely smart and their ability to learn to make them fun to train. Keep in mind that any animal that shows signs of high intelligence can easily get bored, so your job is to train your pet parrot and spend the time it takes to make your bird into a wonderful pet. It takes time and patience to train a parrot, but with the proper training, your parrot will provide you with many years of friendship.

You can train your parrot when you follow a few steps. Whenever “school is in” for your parrot, it is always best to remove your parrot from his or her cage and train in a small quiet space. Your parrot is more likely to remain attentive and retain information when it is in a new environment. The next thing you will want to do, eliminate all distractions in your home. If your parrot becomes distracted during training, it will not learn well. That means that you need to turn off the radio, television and perhaps even the telephone. Also, remember that parrots are a lot like children. They have short attention spans, so short training sessions are recommended.

In addition, try to plan your parrot’s training time around their schedule, not yours. After mealtime is always, a good time for training because your parrot will be content and will pay attention. Your parrot will also appreciate plenty of praise. Even if you find that you were not very successful, do not let your parrot see your stress levels rise. This makes it an unpleasant experience for your bird and you will have a harder time getting your parrot interested in learning in the future.

When you are ready to teach your parrot a new trick, your pet parrot will respond well to treats and praise. Remember that all animals respond better to praise than punishment. Try to avoid punishing your parrot, even if he or she is acting naughty. Ignoring this behavior is your best bet when training your pet parrot. Parrots do not understand punishment or negative reinforcement. In fact, if you respond to your parrot’s bad behavior, your pet may actually see this as positive attention. Keep in mind that while your parrot will love food treats as rewards, try to accentuate the positive and encourage good behavior with lots of praise and play time. Otherwise, your parrot may only perform the tricks you want them to when some kind of food reward is available.

Repetition is the key to successfully training your pet parrot. Repeating these basic steps repeatedly until your pet “gets” the trick is the best way to train your parrot to perform. This works well for basic commands and advanced tricks. If you have just gotten your pet parrot, start out with very simple tricks, such as teaching your parrot to sit on your finger on command. Find a word for each trick and use it every time you train. Most of all, never force your parrot to train. If you find your parrot is tired or uninterested, then stop and try again another time.

As your parrot learns more command and tricks, you can begin moving your training session closer and closer to the bird’s cage. As they get better at their new skill, they will feel comfortable performing in his or her cage and in the hustle and bustle of your household. Birds learn quickly in most cases, and sometimes just by listening when not in training, which may cause embarrassment to you if they learn something inappropriate.

Training a parrot takes a lot of time and patience. You must love your bird and have a lot of time and dedication to make this partnership worthwhile. With patient training and love, you end up with a fantastic and well-behaved pet that will be with you for a very long time to come.


Understanding Why Cats Fight

If you have a household with multiple cats, you know that cat fights do happen. Even if you cats generally get along, at times, they can still fight. While humans may not completely understand why their kitties are fighting, cats have their reasons for fighting. Some of these reasons are similar to the reasons that humans have disputes. Cats express their discontent with other cats by picking fights. The reasons why cats fight can help you determine how to prevent your cats from fighting in the future.

Fighting for their territory: Many cats fight because of their territory. One of the reasons that cats fight is because they feel like an unwanted cat has invaded their territory, even if it is a cat that has lived with them for a long time. Cats are much more territorial than dogs and the gender of the cat has very little to do with it. Contrary to what many people believe, female cats are sometimes just as territorial as their male counterparts are. If you have two cats in your home, you might notice that one cat hisses and swats at the other whenever he feels his territory has been invaded. This can also happen if you bring a new cat into the home. They are simply defending their territory.

Social ranking: Either male cats frequently threaten and fight with each other for social ranking or despite what you may think; even neutered males may do this. If you have multiple cats, especially more than one male cat, one cat is usually considered the “alpha male” and will be at the top of the cat hierarchy. Two cats might posture their bodies, then begin howling and screaming at one another. If one of the cats walks away or backs down, then the catfight is usually avoided. However, if neither one wants to throw in the towel and surrender, then one cat will attack the other by jumping forward and attempting to bite the neck. The other cat will fall on his back and tries to bite or scratch the attacker with its hind legs. The two cats might go through this several times before walking away. There are usually no injuries sustained in these kinds of fights. You may even notice that kittens or young cats play with one another this way. Most of the time, you will not need to interfere.

Aggression: Cats also fight as a result of some kind of redirected aggression and this is quite common, especially with indoor cats. Your cat might be looking outside the window at another cat or dog crossing the yard. Your cat begins to feel territorial and aggressive at this cat, but since this other cat cannot be reached, he may instead attack the other family cat. Another example is if you are giving your cats treats. One cat may reach the treat first and begin eating. The other one wants a bite, but the cat that is eating may become aggressive over the treat and begin to swipe or yowl and the other cat.

If you find your cats fighting occasionally, you should know that this is common and quite typical of cats. Most of the time, you will be able to tell whether or not your cats are fighting for “blood” or just playing around. The time to stop a fight is when it gets nasty otherwise; allow your cats to work it out themselves. If you feel the need to stop a catfight, then you should do it carefully. Even the most loving cat can bite or scratch you in aggressive passion. To stop a fight, you should make some kind of loud noise, such as a handclap. Since cats are startled by loud noises, they will both stop to see what is making the noise. You can also spray water on them to interfere with the aggressive behavior..

When you find your cats fighting, it is best not to punish the cats for their fight. Cats do not understand punishment and fighting is a natural instinct in cats. The best thing to do is only interfere when necessary. If you find your cats are fighting more than they should, it is time that you find out why. Do they fight over a litter box, a food bowl or a prime window location? Make sure each kitty has his or her own “things” and a place to retreat when they feel overwhelmed by other pets in the house. This will go a long way in preventing real catfights.


What To Do About Litter Box Accidents

There is probably nothing more frustrating to a cat owner than litter box accidents. In fact, habitual litter box accidents are the number one reason why cat owners give their cats up to animal shelters. When your cat refuses to use the litter box, there is usually an underlying reason. Before you become exasperated by your cat’s inability to make it to the litter box, here are some common causes for this problem.

Litter Box Woes

One of the main reasons why a cat begins to refuse to use the litter box is because their own litter box is dirty. Many cats are extremely fussy about the condition of their litter box, while others will use it no matter how full it looks. If your cat has a litter box accident, the first place you should check is the litter box. Some pets prefer that their litter box cleaned out after each use. While this is time-consuming for you, it may be a simple fix to this problem. You should start a daily routine of cleaning out your cat box and you may find that this solves your problem.

Another common problem related to the litter box is there are not enough litter boxes for the number of cats you have. For example, if you have four cats in your home, and you should have at least one litter box per cat. Cats like to have their own space, and this is especially true when it comes to their litter box. In fact, many veterinarians recommend that even if you have only one cat, you should have at least two litter boxes.

In addition, when it comes to litter box accidents, look at the type of litter you are using and the size and shape of the litter box. If you have a tray litter box without a lid, maybe your cat would feel more secure in a closed box. If you have an older cat, or a young kitten, you cat may have a difficult time getting in and out of a closed top box. Watch your cat carefully when he or she uses the litter box. If you find that, they are having a difficult time getting in and out of the litter box and consider getting a different box. Also, look at the type of litter you use. Your cat may be extremely fussy about the smell or texture of the litter. Many people preferred using the scoop away litter; however, many cats will not use this type of litter, because it sticks in the paws. You may also find that the litter you use causes a lot of dust that is disagreeable to your cat.

Health Issues

Your cat may be refusing to use the litter box, because of health-related issues. If you have tried all the above tips and nothing seems to be working, then it is time to visit your veterinarian. Cats that have bladder problems, urinary tract infections, kidney failure and diabetes are more prone to litter box accidents than healthy cats. You need to take your cat to the vet and have a thorough health exam performed to find out if your cat is suffering around an ailment. If this is the case, your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help your cat.

Habit and Your Cat’s Territory
If your cat has been ill or has stopped using the litter box for any of reason, you may find that your cat returns to their old ways out of habit. It is extremely important that when your cat has a litter box accident, that you clean the area thoroughly to get rid of any odors that may remain. In addition, your cat may not have stopped using the litter box at all but instead, your cat is marking his or her territory. This is especially common in multi-cat households or when you bring in new pet into the home. This is also more common in males than females. Even male cats that are neutered can mark their territory by spraying urine.

When you determine why your cat is having litter box accidents, you can find a solution. It takes time and patience; however, this is much more preferable than getting rid of your cat.

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