Tuesday May 21, 2013
Hello at long last we have finally got our Mewsletter ready for release.
By producing this Mewsletter we can reach and help so many more people to understand and care for their cats. This will go out to our clients at SimplyCats and also to our clients who have signed up on our Cat Behavior Web Site. We apologise for the American spelling but 80% of the clients on this site are from overseas.
We hope to mail all SimplyCats subscribers monthly. Remember this mailing is totally free and you can un-subscribe at any time, using the link on the top of the page or at the end of this Mewsletter..
After 2 long years Sarah and I have finally opened SimplyCats on the 5th May 2009. Please see the website for more details. www.simplycats.net
We are also running a Vaccination For Life Scheme available for all our clients - read on for further details.
The idea is to select a number of articles each month that we think our subscribers will be interested in and have a direct link to how your cat thinks and his / her wellbeing. We sincerely believe the most important aspect of living in harmony with your cat is understanding how he or she thinks. You have to get inside your cats mind. This was the real passion behind creating our Cat Behaviour Guide and SimplyCats.
Being cat vets, feline behavior and cat medicine is an area of continuous interest to both of us and has a massive influence on the well being of cats and the humans owned by cats ;-). This is even more important when your beloved cat is ill or sick. Knowing about cat behavior has been the centre point of the design of our cat only veterinary practice for example CAT ONLY, NO DOGS, all kept quiet and calm with places to hide in most of the hospitalisation cages. Also very careful use and selection of disinfectants etc. so as not to disturb the cats incredible sense of smell. Remember all these facts when you are trying to make your home cat friendly, though, do remember cats can get on fine with dogs once carefully introduced.
Does Your Cat Urinate Inappropriately?
All cats, whether male, female, entire or neutered can spray. Territorial marking behaviour is more common with entire male cats but any cat may feel the need to scent mark their territory usually as a means of communication to alert other cats of their presence and to boost confidence by surrounding themselves with odours that are familiar.
Spraying indoors is a sign that the cat is feeling stressed and needs to make itself feel more secure.
Case Study 1:
Maisey is a 8 year old female, her litter tray is usually placed by the back door. She is a house cat with no current medical conditions.
3 weeks ago Maisey started urinating behind the sofa. The owner had noticed that she wouldn't go near the back door recently. On further investigation we discovered that workmen had started work on the house next door three weeks ago, the noise had scared Maisey into not wanting to use her litter tray, she was therefore urinating behind the sofa as this was a safe, quiet area away from the workmen. The litter tray was moved temporarily whilst the workmen were present and Maisey had no more problems with the litter tray.
Maisey is an indoor cat. Litter / toileting facilities are extremely important for the housebound cat as they cannot go outside . The facilities have to be safe, secure and attractive with a litter tray and litter and a cleaning regime that makes a cat want to go back, time and time again. If that goes wrong in some way then the cat feels obliged to look elsewhere. This is a very important part of cat psychology and in the wild it is one of the periods when they are most at risk of attack and hence the evolutionary need to be safe.
From all the evidence so far it seems that this cat has suffered some sort of fright associated with the litter tray. This was probably something to do with the noise or presence of the workmen who were working nearby, this scared her and made the litter tray and area seem to be a dangerous place. She thus now intends to do her business in a new safe place as far away from the litter try as possible and the best option seems to be behind the sofa.
*It is important once the cat’s normal soiling procedures have broken down to try and get them back to normal as soon as possible.
*So the easiest way is to put down one litter tray per cat (at least) and one extra tray.
*Make sure they are in safe areas and try to review such areas from a cat’s perspective. For example we put a wire mesh basket on the door to catch the post and the extra litter tray put in the spare toilet was put well away from any shelves where items may drop on the cat.
*Make sure the trays are kept clean and use a litter material the cat likes and ideally is used to.
*Remember cats also have very sensitive hearing and for example in the hall way it may be worth putting some draught excluder on the door and letterbox to reduce the clatter as post comes through.
*We also got the owner to bond again with the cat by stroking and some playing cat games with a feather on a stick. These are very inexpensive but great fun for owner and cat! Ping pong balls are also a great way of bonding with your cat.
Case Study 2:
George is a 4 year old male, who started spraying against surfaces in the living room. George was examined by a vet and no health problems were noted. On further discussion with the owners they advised that they had recently decorated and obtained new furniture. This had interrupted George's territory, he was therefore marking the territory as the area was unknown to him.
We advised the owner to cover any absorbent surfaces with a non-absorbent surface, particularly one that makes a noise when sprayed (e.g. tin foil can help). We also advised to feed George on the spraying area as this can alter the cat’s perception of the appropriateness of these areas as cats hate to eat and eliminate waste in the same area. After decorating, keep your cat out of these areas until strong smells have dissipated then rub facial pheromones around the room and consider the use of a synthetic pheromone Feliway diffuser. A piece of furniture or material e.g. a throw from another room can be put in the newly decorated room again to give your cat a feeling of family in the new surroundings.
What all cats want: especially indoor cats:
*Adequate Resources food water, heat, litter trays, scratch posts
*Feel secure and loved
*No Medical problems good cat vets: cats good at hiding pain eg arthritis etc.
*Enriched environment toys hiding places (cardboard boxes eg hoover boxes, Toys, scratching posts
The solution to inappropriate urination and spraying:
*Never punish your cat.
*Always seek veterinary advice in cases of inappropriate urination in a cat that has normally been using a tray and/or going outside or if your cat is not passing normal solid faeces.
*Once your cat has urinated or defecated at a particular location, its sensitive nose will encourage it to use that place as a regular toilet. Wash the area with a 10% solution of biological or enzymatic washing powder and then rinse with cold water and allow to dry.
*Spray the area (using a plant mister) with surgical spirit, scrub and leave to dry. Carpet is extremely absorbent and the urine often penetrates the full thickness of the carpet to the flooring underneath. If the area is badly soiled over a long period it may be necessary to cut out the section of carpet and underlay and treat the concrete or floorboards underneath before replacing.
*Restrict access to the affected area until odours have dissipated and change the
geography of the location by using pieces of furniture to block access.
*Use synthetic pheromones (Feliway) or your cat’s own facial pheromones on the area to discourage further attention.
*Locate litter trays in quiet/discrete areas.
*Limit the area your cat has to patrol to one or two rooms to help improve his feelings of security and reduce the desire to mark.
Blue Cross Tea Party
The Blue Cross is a registered UK animal welfare charity
We will be holding the event at SimplyCats Veterinary Clinic, everyone is welcome; in fact the more the merrier !
Bring your friends and family and join us on 11th July, starting at 1pm.
Pencil the11th July in your diary and we look forward to seeing you then.
If you don't know how to find us, click here for directions and a map.
More details to follow so keep checking our website regularly!
Raffle prizes to include:
* Canvas Photo Print 1 x 16" x 24" or 2 x12" x 10" (using your own photo or photographer can be
* Cat booster at SimplyCats
* Cut and colour at Hair by Daniel John, Fencehouses
* Fleeces provided by Frontline
* £20 voucher to spend at SimplyCats
* Free Gym Day Passes
* Hamper from Caffe Nero
* Bottles of Wine
* Animal Perfume
* Remote control cat toys
* Cat food
Plus many more still to come!
Gift bags, guided tour of the practice, tombola, cake stall and more...
Weightwatchers - Dubby's Diet !
Caroline, one of the receptionists at SimplyCats has three cats. Two are an ideal weight but one called Sandy weighed in on the 6th May 2009 an (un)impressive 8.85kg (19.4 pounds) . The pictures below show the introduction of a new 'toy' designed so the cat has to work for the food by pushing and generally being more energetic.
"I introduced Sandy or Chubby or Dubby (that's the word Chubby in disguise) to his new toy (Mousey) shortly after the weigh-in. I knew he had been quite inactive for a number of years, and as he is approaching 12 years of age decided that I really needed to help him lose the weight. However he was as unenthusiastic as ever which the pictures clearly show. He remained seated in the normal feeding area for at least 30 minutes, drool oozing from his mouth - in that time Maisey, one of my other cats figured out how to get the food out. Dubby moved in after she had finished and hoovered up her spillage. "
The next thing to change was the actual diet Dubby was eating. As he had gained weight by eating a variety of dried biscuits Caroline took the step of feeding him tin only.
"For a fortnight between weigh-ins I fed dubby (and the other two) solely on tinned meat, either loaf or in jelly as I know they will lick the gravy off that sort of food. It went down with all extremely well, except that poor Dubby seemed to be starving all of the time. When I look back that's actually nothing new, and vet examinations have shown that there is no obvious medical evidence to support his large appetite, other than greed! I just had to be firm and tell him that he had had his ration for that day. When the first weigh-in day came I was nervous, to say the least. Dubby was hungry as usual!"
Much to Caroline's surprise and delight Dubby had done well and lost 300 grammes, his weight being
8.55 kg (18.8 pounds). That was on the 20th May 2009 .
He will be weighed on a monthly basis so, with some good luck and good diet in the next edition of this Mewsletter there will be more positive news to tell - watch this space!
Vaccinate for life for just £70
We are currently running a ‘Vaccinate your cat for life’ option on vaccinations given at SimplyCats. For a one-off Vaccinate for Life fee of £70 paid now, you can enrol your cat into a course of annual vaccinations at no future cost.
Here at SimplyCats we are keen to promote preventative healthcare at an affordable price.
We offer a tailor made vaccination programme designed specifically for the individual needs of your cat.
Please ask a vet or nurse at SimplyCats for more information. Vaccinations are an important part of taking care of your cat, offering protection against many life-threatening or unpleasant conditions.
Complete the registration form on our website and hand it in at the surgery or pop in today and protect your cat for life.
Terms and Conditions are set out on our website www.simplycats.net
Cats Scratching Walls & Inside Surfaces
Make your mark in the world ……. or at least scratch in each corner
IMPACT ON OWNER – damage to surfaces and cost of repair / replacement (you can guarantee your
cat won’t pick areas to scratch that are easily repaired or replaced!!).
CAT’S PERSPECTIVE – totally natural behaviour!!
- can indicate an underlying issue / upset
Cat scratching functions for many reasons. (if you are a cat)!
* Claw Maintenance
Removal of the outer nail by scratching reveals the new sharper growing nail. Scratching outdoors
generally occurs on trees, fence posts, sheds and wooden gates as they provide a perfect level of resistance
to the action. Indoor cats still need to perform this natural behavior and will find what they think is a
suitable surface to scratch. Most common surfaces include soft woods, fabrics, textured wallpaper and
Scratching can become enjoyable due to the texture of the surface and can also be associated with
excitement and play.
Wallpaper scratching often follows on from a minor defect in the paper giving rise to a fun and rewarding
game of paper removal. By giving your cat attention, albeit angry, this is still seen as a positive reward
from your cat’s point of view.
* Communication/Territorial Marking
Strategically scratching in important outdoor locations will indicate a cat’s presence both visually with the
scratch marks and by smell from the scent gland between the cat’s pads.
When cats feel vulnerable, they will try to rub their own scent on prominent places in a room so that they feel more secure. If the cat is trying to increase its feeling of security, many surfaces may be scratched,particularly those in strategic places such as edges of chairs and areas nearest to doorways. Secretions of
watery sweat from between the cat’s pads leave a scent message on top of the physical marks, reassuring
your cat of his own environment. Your cat can feel threatened even by the sight of another cat through a
Please remember most importantly, your cat is not trying to be destructive! In an indoor situation your
cat is either trying to display a natural behavior or something is upsetting him and he is trying to cope.
Punishment in both cases is counter productive.
* Claw Trimming
Accustom your cat to having his paws held and nails trimmed.
* Provide scratch facilities
There are many commercially available scratch posts and activity centres available. Your cat’s paws can be wiped down the post to leave some scent on it and show the cat what to do. If you
see your cat scratching elsewhere, carry him to the post and encourage him to scratch there instead.
* Encourage Play
Increase energy expenditure of your cat to minimise destructive boredom by interacting more with your
cat, providing toys which promote hunting aptitude and allow your cat access to multiple height levels for
play and observation. Try not to encourage your cat by giving him attention when he is scratching
somewhere other than his scratch post.
* Improve security
Your cat may be signalling that he is feeling insecure by scratching at many sites. The cause of this stress
or insecurity needs to be identified. Possible causes are other cats coming into the house, conflict between
resident cats, changes within the household or fear of something outside.
* Cleaning scratched areas
If the cat is using scratching as a form of marking his territory he will continue to return to the scratched
area as the scent wears off. If the area is suitable for cleaning an effective cleaning method involves
scrubbing with a biological detergent to break down protein then wipe with surgical spirit to remove fat.
* Minimise further damage
Double sided sticky tape, bubble wrap or tin foil can be stuck over the damaged area and this will provide
an unpleasant (but not dangerous) experience when your cat next scratches there.
Remove all traces of the scratch marks by sanding down wood and treating the area with a thick layer of
furniture polish once the surface is smooth again. Suitable posts or scratching panels should be located
* Use pheromones
Cats use their cheek glands to mark their territory and the presence of these scents ( pheromones) will
make them feel relaxed. Research has shown that cats will not scratch or spray urine in areas where this
pheromone is deposited. Wiping around your cat’s face with a cloth can capture this scent which can then
be transferred to areas that have been scratched.
* Never punish a cat as he will end up being more insecure. This is very important!
For further information on any behavioural problems please see our e-book 'Purrfect Cat Behavior'. This book is normally sold however we are providing it free to SimplyCats clients and Mewsletter recipients.
Just click the link and the book will open in your browser and you can then save it to your computer if you would like.
Please keep this book to yourself.
Paul and Sarah MRCVS
It is very difficult to know how much to put into a newsletter but for the next edition we will show you the first chapter of our new book on Cat First Aid, discuss more aspects of feline behavior and how to give your cat tablets, and new ideas on a very common and distressing condition called Idiopathic Feline Cystitis.
Be creative, live long, be happy and follow your own path.
...And the emperor said "Let the party begin!"
Paul and Sarah M's RCVS
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