Although cats are carnivorous, they also need some plant material in their diets, and occasionally seem to crave grass. This may be because in the wild, cat's prey will often have plant materials in the digestive track. Cat food is balanced to replace minerals and amino acids found in plant materials, but cats still sometimes turn to plants for more vitamins or extra fiber. If you observe your cat eating grass or other plants it is not necessarily an indicator or nutritional deficiency, he or she may simply be having a craving. Home-grown grass is the safest option for occasional grazing, as it is pesticide free and you can monitor the amount of grass your cat eats. Occasionally, eating grass will cause your cat to regurgitate. This should not be considered a problem unless it happens often. Cats usually only eat a small amount of grass, not daily or in large amounts. Over-eating of grass may be an indicator of a physical problem that should be addressed by your veterinarian.
It's always tempting to give your cat exactly what it desires, however, an excess of human food can cause malnutrition and diet imbalance. Many human foods are indigestible for cats, and many processed foods contain ingredients that are toxic to felines. Please be mindful of the following foods around your pet: Baby food: Can contain onion powder which is toxic to cats. Alcoholic beverages: Can cause coma or death. Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. Canned tuna (for human consumption): Large amounts can cause malnutrition since it lacks proper levels of vitamins and minerals. Chocolate, coffee, tea or other forms of caffeine: Contains theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous system. Citrus oil extracts: Can cause vomiting. Dog food: Long-term feeding may result in malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart. Human vitamins containing iron: Can cause damage to the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to other organs, such as the liver and kidneys. Fat trimmings: Can cause pancreatitis. Grapes and raisins: Contain an unknown toxin which can damage the kidneys. Green tomatoes, green or raw potatoes, contain a poisonous alkaloid which can cause violent gastrointestinal symptoms. Large amounts of liver: Can cause vitamin A toxicity. Macadamia nuts: Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive system, nervous system, and muscles. Marijuana: Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting and changes in heart rate. Milk and diary: Not poisonous to cats, but can cause stomach upset. Most cats are lactose intolerant. Mushrooms: Can contain toxins which may affect multiple systems in the body and result in death. Onions and garlic: Contain sulfoxides and disulfides which can damage the red blood cells and cause anemia. Persimmons: Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and Entritus. Raw eggs: Contain an enzyme called avidin which decreases the absorption of biotin. This can lead to hair and skin problems. Raw eggs may also contain salmonella. Sugary foods: Can lead to obesity and dental problems. Tobacco: Contains nicotine which affects the digestive system. This can result in rapid heartbeat, collapse, and death. Yeast dough: Can expand causing gas and possible rupture in the stomach or intestines. Xylitol: A sugar substitute often found in gum or chewable vitamins. Highly toxic, and can cause death or brain damage even in relatively small amounts.
Brushing your cat's teeth may sound immensely challenging, but dental care is often overlooked in comparison with the time and attention pet owners spend on their cat's grooming, digestive, and mental health. A huge percentage of pets have dental issues (almost 80% by the age of three). Dental issues can cause difficulty eating, infection, bad breath, loss of teeth and lead to series health complications. If bacteria due to dental infections is left untreated, the heart, intestinal tract, and even the joints of your cat may be affected. Specially formulated toys and treats can help prevent plaque and bacteria buildup by rubbing against your cat's teeth. Special pastes and brushes have also been developed to make cleaning your cat's teeth easier. It is easiest to start a tooth-brushing routine with a young cat, but it is not impossible to introduce good habits to an older cat's life. Another acceptable technique is rubbing your cat’s teeth with gauze, which may be more comfortable for your cat in the beginning. Tooth cleaning should happen a couple of times a week, during which time you can also check your cat's gum health. If you can see bleeding or inflamed gums you should take your cat to the veterinarian to have its teeth professionally cleaned. For techniques on proper brushing, speak with your veterinarian. There are also helpful videos on youtube. Make sure your reward your cat after a tooth cleaning-- she will appreciate it!
Feeding your cats in the same bowl or even same location is not considered a good idea for several reasons. First, animals in the wild reserve space for themselves to eat. Feeding your cats from the same bowl can lead to competition and food hoarding. Secondly, like people, cats have diverse metabolisms and body types. Free-feeding one cat may be fine for your feline that self-regulates his feeding, but not for your cat that eats whatever is in the bowl. Determining an appropriate feeding pattern and food amount for each cat is ideal, and will most likely please your cats too. You may also consider moving the water dish away from your cat's food bowls, or leaving small dishes of water in the kitchen or bathroom, as cats generally don't drink near their food in the wild.
Pooping in places other than the litter box or outside can be the result of a medical issue, but is also maybe a symptom of stress. Changes in environment such as moving furniture, moving the litter box, or house guests that are not familiar, can cause a cat stress. An unclean litter box can also cause a cat to defecate outside of the litter box. If this behavior continues and environmental stresses are ruled out, your cat should be seen by your veterinarian. Gastrointestinal issues or other illness may be causing your cat to lose control over when and where he uses the bathroom.
Choosing a cat litter is really a function of what your cat likes; most cats prefer clay type litter. More importantly, cats have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans. Therefore, scented litters should be avoided. Most veterinarians agree that Silica crystal based litters should be avoided due to the discomfort they can cause to the cat's feet. Your cat will also appreciate daily cleaning. A litter that has little dust is desirable for both felines and humans.
Most vets agree that bleaching your cat's litter box is both dangerous and unnecessary. Adding bleach to ammonia (found in high concentration of cat pee) can produce chlorine and chloramine vapors, which are toxic. Even if you appropriately dispose of the cat litter, ammonia may be left in the tray in dangerous amounts. Cleaning with bleach may also leave harmful residues in the litter box which may be transferred to your cat's paws, and later transported to the mouth during bathing. (This can also happen from shower sprays used to prevent shower build-up if your cat likes to get into the bathtub). There are many other effective methods for cleaning your cat's litter box. After emptying the litter box, the tray may be hosed off and scrubbed. A 10% bleach solution thoroughly rinsed is safe. Air drying in the sun or covered area is helpful.
When in doubt, always call the vet. Changes in behavior can signify that something is wrong with your pet. Sleeping in unusual places or avoiding normal routines can also be an indication your pet is ill. Cats often mask their pain and avoid being around people when they are feeling poorly. You know your cat best: if something seems different take your cat to the vet immediately. Early detection of a toxin or illness could make all the difference.
Feeding schedules are something that is usually unique to each cat. Many people feed their cats in the morning or at night. Some cats that can self-regulate their feeding may be free-fed from their bowl. Others gorge, thereby making it necessary to split feedings into as many as three or four. Your lifestyle and availability to monitor your cat's food will also come into play as you design an appropriate plan for you and your cat. The age and health of your cat are also something to consider. Younger cats and kittens need nearly twice the amount of nutrition as an adult cats, but have smaller stomachs. Like human babies, kittens need frequent feedings of small amounts. Older and geriatric cats may also need to be fed more often and in smaller amounts. In general, dry food for grazing in the appropriate amount for your cat's weight and age may be fed daily, and wet food offered for extra hydration. Your cat's water bowls should always be filled with clean water. Food puzzles or hiding food around the house can slow intake in cats that tend to overeat.
There are actually several possibilities for why your cat is dragging himself across the floor. First, if your cat has not been treated for intestinal parasites, he may be experiencing itchiness or discomfort. If your cat has worms he will need to be seen by a veterinarian and treated. Another possibility may simply be tickling from hair within the stool. This can happen with long-haired cats especially. When your cat grooms, hair is ingested and then passed through the stool. Occasionally hairs can get partially expelled and may need to be gently removed or wiped using a damp cloth. Your cat will appreciate the help if this is the case. A third cause may be that he needs his anal sac expelled. Cats expel a scent from glands near their anus when they defecate. Occasionally these glands can become clogged, causing discomfort. These glands will need to be expelled by your veterinarian. Changes in diet, such as increased fiber, can help prevent blockages as well.
Flea dips should NOT be used. They can be harmful to both you and your pet. Most dips are not meant to be rinsed off, allowing your cat to ingest the poisonous dip as she cleans herself. There are many advertised "natural" flea dips. These techniques can also be very harmful. Remember that anything you put on your cats body, unless in a spot your cat cannot reach, can be licked off and taken into the body. "Natural" remedies can also be hard on the coat of your cat. Oatmeal baths or other specially designed pet shampoos can be used to soothe your cat's skin if it is irritated by fleas, and may help remove fleas from your cat's body. However, medication such as Frontline or Revolution is the preferred method for killing and preventing fleas. Frequent vacuuming and washing of any of your cat's bedding will also control fleas during an outbreak.
Do not leave time sensitive or medical questions of concern here.