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Five Simple Ways To Manage The Water Intake Of Your Cat – And Thus Nip Bladder Problems In The Bud

by Matt Libben


1.Get a drinking fountain.

A cat prefers running water (they instinctively know it's fresh), so the benefit of this is that they will drink more.

Another advantage (for you in this case) is that you generally only have to add a bit of water to a drinking fountain sometimes. Because there’s a filter (similar to one in an aquarium), the water remains clean and fresh for a long time. This is in contrast to a water bowl, for example, which you have to put new water in at least twice a day.

For example, if you are a few days away from home, such a drinking fountain is perfect, and you are doing your cat a big favor.

It’s also a real asset to your home, because most drinking fountains are true art pieces, and the rippling sound of water also creates a calm, soothing atmosphere in the home.

A good drinking fountain for a pet will cost around 50 dollars. That might be an investment, but I’ve had mine for four years now, and it still works.

Make sure with a drinking fountain that you replace the filter material every so often.

2. Every now and then gently turn the tap on.

Most cats love to drink from the tap. Maybe you even have a tap at home that nobody uses anyway. In that case you don’t have to drink from the same tap as your cat, because I can’t imagine anyone finds that a nice idea.

Only do this, though, if you’re yourself at home, or if there are other people in the house. Never leave a tap turned on when no one is at home, not even gently.

3. A ping pong ball in the water dish.

Your cat will play with it, and the movement of the water has a tendency to encourage drinking.

4. A drop of gravy, cat milk, or a piece of meat (chicken, fish) in the water.

The cat finds the water tastes better this way, so they will drink more.

5. Drop containers in the yard drop to collect rainwater (for cats who go outside).

Keep in mind that you can’t leave those dishes alone for months without having to clean or replace them.

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A Super Simple Way To Measure The pH Of The Urine Of Your Cat So You Can Keep Track Of Whether The Risk Increases (again ) For Bladder Stones

by Matt Libbenga

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What you need are those pH strips that you use, for example, to measure the pH of aquarium water.

Just put one in your cat’s urine, and the discoloration that occurs can be compared to a color chart on the package, so you know what the pH of the urine of your cat is.

The ideal value, the magic number is 6.6

If this is the value for the urine of your cat (it may of course differ slightly up or down, but not too much), then don’t worry about bladder stones.

And you don’t want to guess because, as I said earlier, bladder stones can be life threatening for your cat. They can block the ureters, causing kidney failure. And in that case it can go fast, because symptoms generally occur only when the atrophy of the kidney is already at an advanced stage (80%, to be exact).

By checking the pH of the urine of your cat regularly yourself, you can protect your cat from this disaster.

And it's really very simple, as follows. First, you will need:

- The pH strips

- A clean litter box

- Non-absorbing cat litter (from the vet)

On the package of the strips is the color scheme you need to determine the pH value. You do not have to buy anything separately.

And the litter box must be clean because a dirty litter box contains bacteria that give a bad test result.

With non-absorbent cat litter (available from the vet) you only have to put a little bit in the box. Just enough to cover the bottom is more than sufficient. The point is just that they can dig a bit so it feels normal. I once used aquarium gravel for this, but I won’t recommend it because unlike special non-absorbent cat litter, it’s always a little absorbent, and also has some influence on the pH level.

Then – when you have the litter box ready – just wait until your cat uses the box.

If you have multiple cats or litter boxes, it might be advisable to put the cat concerned in a separate room with the specially prepared litter box. Ensure that the cat has enough water there.

Most cats have a more or less fixed schedule on which they do their business, so try to be aware when they go so you can accurately estimate those times.

When your cat has used the litter box, it’s important to be there as soon as possible. Fresh urine gives the most accurate results.

What you do is you tilt the tray slightly upward, so that urine runs to one side, and then you dip the pH strip in the urine. Then you let it drip and shake any excess urine off, and then you hold the colored strip next to the color chart, so that you can read the pH of your cat’s urine.

If your cat is healthy, as I just indicated, then the pH is about 6.6. In that case, you can rest easy, because there are no crystals in the cat’s urine.

If the value is much lower or higher than 6.6, then it is important to immediately take your cat to the vet because in that case, there’s a good chance that crystals are forming are in the cat’s urine.

Important: If you measure the pH level just before or a few hours after your cat has eaten, it may be that the value is higher than 6.6. But this is no reason for panic. It’s probably because the cat has no DL-Methionine in its system. In that case, it’s best first to test once or twice, otherwise you might go to the vet for nothing.

See how easy this whole procedure is? You can do it whenever you want and as often as you want (I myself do it monthly), and your cat has little stress giving a urine sample this way.

Indeed, there are a few other methods, which are mainly used by a veterinarian, such as stimulating the bladder to obtain a urine sample, but I would not recommend you do this due to the stress it causes your cat.

You now know the easiest way to get a urine sample if you need one for an examination at the veterinarian.

What you have to remember is not to provide the urine sample in a jelly jar, because it may be that the test results falsely show that your cat has diabetes.

Urine samples are best kept in the refrigerator.

Isn’t it easier to hold the test strip just in a puddle of urine on the ground?

No. Just like with a dirty litter box, bacteria in the ground affect the pH level. The self-monitoring and maintaining the pH value of the urine of your cat is, in combination with dietary changes, a super strategy for the prevention of the formation of crystals in the urine of your cat.

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The Most Common Stress Trigger For Cats – And How You Can Eliminate Or Reduce It

by Matt Libbenga

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In the 90s you had a rap song, “Mo Money Mo Problems “

Which basically means that, the more money you have, the more problems you will have.

The same applies to cats... The more of them you have, the bigger the chance that problems will occur.

For example, research has shown that something like spraying in the house is proportional to the number of cats you have indoors – as a specific example…

I have two cats. I started with one. But because that one was alone so often, it seemed better to get another one.

Makes sense right?

Then they can keep each other company a bit... Unfortunately it turned out differently.

That first cat was very affectionate to me and to my girlfriend, and got all of our attention, and therefore had no intention of sharing that attention with a newcomer.

Result:

I had to sleep with the new kitten (which was still very small, the other was now six months old) in the guest room the first few weeks, and during the day we had to keep them separate because the first cat would not leave the new kitten alone,

And not in a nice way. No, she tried to murder her.

Ultimately, the first cat even became ill from the stress that it caused her. She stopped eating, sat all day at the aquarium, and her fur was standing up all the time.

In short: she was not at first very happy with her surprise. And now, 6.5 years later, she still isn’t.

Both cats only tolerate each other, but they never became friends, and never will be.

Does that mean they go to blows every day?

No. There have been some skirmishes, but really fighting, like males do (injuries to the face, ears, etc.) doesn’t happen.

And it’s precisely for this reason... I mean, what good is it if you have to risk a fight with another cat every day (sometimes several times). You’re then covered with scratches, wounds and in the worst case, you can even lose your life.

Cats are smarter than that.

Indeed, there are many effective ways to get to your opponent.

Remember the following:

Cats are masters of psychological warfare.

That they do not fight does not mean that all’s well between them.

A common strategy is to deny access to the litter box (and/or other strategic places in the house), or to make it very difficult for the other cat to get to the litter box.

Cats are also another very sneaky. So often, the owner doesn’t even know this is going on.

For example, imagine that the little box is at the bottom of the stairs. And that is the only route to get there. What do you do as the dominant cat? Right, you go in all your innocence and sit down on one of the steps. It seems to the owner as if nothing is wrong, you’re just sitting there... But the result is that the other cat no longer dares to pass, because she knows she will get slapped if she does.

Result : Fear. Stress. Pain.

I mean, cat pee is a common substance, but it can dissolve entire walls. So you can perhaps imagine what its effect is on the bladder of your cat.

What would be a solution in this case?

Difficult, because we don’t have all the details... But to start, we could place multiple litter boxes in different places in the house. No cat can simultaneously monitor three or four containers…

The same applies to feeders, water, scratching posts, places to relax, etc.

Make sure if you have multiple cats in the house that every one of those cats always has its own safe places and facilities. This is extremely important. As with people, the struggle is often over these facilities. Human attention should also be seen in this light. If you give one cat more attention than the another, it can create jealousy.

I just indicated that as an owner, you often don't even notice it when cats are on the warpath. Just like parents, or teachers in school often don't notice it when a child is being bullied.

What you often see is that such children are behaving “weird”, because they are literally on edge, and go through their own personal hell every day... Then they get even more pressure, from their parents/guardians because they behave “different”, and that makes their misery complete. Suddenly it seems as if the whole world is against them... I mean, how would you feel?

Can you conclude that the parents are to blame? The answer is no, because they do not know what’s going on with their child, or why the child is behaving that way. If they knew that, they would probably react very differently.

If a perfectly normal cat suddenly starts showing abnormal behavior, such as aggression, spraying/urinating in the home, try not to make it into a value judgment like, “What a terrible cat. He’s just doing this to piss me off.” It’s rare that this is actually what’s going on.

And if you then punish the cat you make it only worse, both for yourself and for the cat. The peeing/spraying in house will in fact increase as the cat becomes more stressed. Just like people will, for example, use more drink or drugs as our problems increase.

There are serious people who will advise you in such a case to take your cat by its head and put its nose in the pee. NEVER DO THIS!! Your cat will not understand it, and you will probably never have his trust again. Think of a child that has just gotten beaten up at school and then, when he comes home, gets a few blows off his parents because his clothes are a mess and he’s covered in bruises... Don’t do it!

How do you find out that this is going on in your house?

First of all, recognize the possibility. What we were just talking about is that if cat’s don’t fight with each other, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is good. So you don’t so much go looking for the bullying itself... no, you look at the reaction of the potential victim to the possible culprit.

So imagine that you're playing with him... and suddenly that other cat appears on the scene. What’s his reaction? (It can also be multiple.) Does he stiffen suddenly, or leave the room – or does he continue to play as if nothing is wrong?

In short: There’s often little to learn from the perpetrator, because the behavior will not show if you're there, or only in a way that you don’t notice it... But the reaction of the victims often speaks volumes.

Some indications that it may not be going well between your cats are:

  • Your cats avoid each other as much as possible and don’t sleep/rest together.

  • If one cat enters a certain room, the other cat leaves that space.

  • Your cat does not play if any of your other cats is there.

  • Your cat suddenly no longer wants human attention when one of the other cats enters the room.

  • One cat can drive the other from his favorite resting place just by staring.

  • One of the cats in the house is sitting in strategic places to deny the other free access.

  • They actively fight with each other while eating or when in narrow corridors.

  • They fight with each other when returning from the vet.

  • At least one of the cats is overweight.

  • There is a lot of excessive scratching at certain places in the house (furniture, carpeting, stairs etc.)

  • Urinating in the house.

  • Urine spraying.

  • One of your cats every so often suffers from urinary problems. It keeps coming back.

Some indications that perhaps all is well:

  • They sleep/rest together.

  • They tend each other’s coat.

  • They make friendly noises at each other in greeting.

  • They greet each other when they have not seen each other for a long time.

  • Playing together.

  • Rub their heads together (to exchange smells).

How often do you see your cats do this? And do they do it at all?

Now imagine that, on the basis of these points, you have found that the relationship is no good, and that there is bullying... What is the solution? And where does it come from?

These questions are not so easy. It can be because of many things. I mean, why is someone being bullied at school or at work? Often it is a combination of several factors that makes the bullying occur.

The causes can primarily be divided into:

1. Victim

2. Culprit

3. Environment

Think of it as an interaction …

If for example you take the victim away, then the behavior doesn’t occur…

If you take the perpetrator away, or there is no environment in which victim and perpetrator are together... same story –

You always have three causes then (and I 'm not talking about fault), and at least three possible solutions.

You keep the cats away from each other, meaning that one of them will have to clear the field, or you arrange the environment so that they cannot come together... Or (3) you re-shape the environment in the hope that the behavior will no longer take place. And the latter is naturally the most ideal option, so I'm going to focus on that in this article.

But before I do that, I want to say that some cats just really do not get along, and that nothing in the world is going to change that.

In this case, you actually have no choice but to remove one of them from your home or to arrange your home in such a way that the cats can not be together, so they live separately (which I personally do not find ideal, but I know people who do it – one cat upstairs, the other downstairs).

Happily I haven’t had to make that decision, and I do not think I could... But I realize that sometimes love is letting go... If anyone (be it a human or an animal) is not happy in his current environment, and are so disturbed by it... that they become ill…

Well, let's not dwell on it too long because it’s a sad subject, and the point is clear. Mind you, I'm talking about cats who absolutely cannot live together and where they and everyone in the household are suffering... Where I 'm clearly not talking about is getting rid of the cat without first doing everything possible to find a solution.

And speaking of solutions... Let’s continue. We now focus therefore on the environment.

And let's start with the question that has to be answered in order to create the ideal environment for cats indoors.

We now know that it is important that each cat has its own facilities as much as possible, and that there must be plenty of safe places where they can retreat (and, very importantly, where they are not disturbed).

We talked about guarding the litter box, and how you can solve that by placing multiple boxes in various locations in the house. The reasoning behind this is that it is difficult, or even impossible, for a dominant cat to guard them all.

How many litter boxes?

That depends a bit. The golden formula, as I mentioned earlier, is: 1 litter box per cat + 1 ...

So if you have two cats, you'll need three boxes. If there are four, then five…

But in situations where you have six or seven cats in a relatively small area, that’s not really desirable, because then you have more litter boxes than floor space... In that case, you have to make a compromise.

For the other facilities (scratching posts, water, food bowls, etc.) you can keep the same formula.

If you only have one scratching post, and several cats, that can lead to competition, that 's the idea here.

There is no fixed rule for the placement of the facilities, because this depends on your house. But if one of your cats is always upstairs, for example, and the other down, then it is not wise to put everything upstairs or downstairs. Each cat needs its own things.

Suppose you cannot get along with the neighbor, but you always have to use their toilet and eat at their table... That’s how your cat will experience it too... So if he has everything in reach, and doesn’t have to leave his safe area to meet his basic needs, this will be bring stress levels down drastically.

Always try to reason from your cat’s perspective. What is the easiest for him and gives him the least stress?

But don’t go nuts here. It has to remain within the realm of reason. Like what I just said about litter boxes: If you have seven cats, and you already don’t have a lot of space, then you obviously don’t put eight litter boxes down...

Regardless of whether it’s wise in such a setting to have seven cats in a home, that's a whole other discussion.

There is indeed – even in between – no fixed rule for the number of cats per m2. This is in contrast to what some experts would have you believe. It totally depends on the situation and the cats (and the number of cats in the immediate vicinity of your house). Sometimes two or three is too many, sometimes it goes well with nine. But what’s true in almost all situations, is the more cats, the more problems.

So rest assured, no nine litter boxes, nine scratching posts or a whole “cat jungle” of climbing frames, etc.

At least, that's not what appeals to me personally. And honestly I don’t have the room to do that.

What I do have are cabinets and shelves where the cats can be. And that helps, because cats can’t only be on the ground. Note once again, if a cat is afraid, he will immediately climb. Think about a cat shooting up a tree because a dog is after him. And instead of three scratching posts (two cats), I have a triangle-shaped piece of carpet fastened a on the wall in two different places, and only one scratching post.

The thing with scratching posts is that the smaller ones are more or less useless. They need to be at least as high in length as your cat when she stretches completely. So that forces you more or less to buy a big one, which may not look all that elegant in your home, or otherwise it’ll be a waste of money.

Also, most scratching posts are vertical and cats also require horizontal surfaces to scratch (especially when they have just woken up). You must have noticed this with your own cat. Just put her down on the carpet or on a rug and she will most likely start doing it.

So if you don’t have a cat jungle, but want to make to make do with what you have, try working with what you’ve already got. And if your space is small, you can still create more space for the cats by building upwards.

Or maybe you have a room or space that you aren’t doing anything else with... Maybe it's a good idea to use it as sort of an amusement space for cats.

How do you do something like that? Simple. Think of ropes... Carpeting against the wall... Shelves, empty cardboard boxes, etc... In short, chaos.

I once read about two cats who tore up the house when their owners went to work or were sleeping. The exact reason for this behavior I do not know, but it was pretty bad. One solution was to build a room that people didn’t use, just for the cats’ amusement. Result: You couldn’t get those cats out of that room and the problem was solved.

...

Even when feeding your cat you can make progress.

I said it earlier in this book, cats spend about six hours a day hunting for prey. That's almost a whole day if you go by people schedules... But a cat that cannot or should not go out doesn’t have that chance. You will understand that eating twice a day is not really stimulating for your cat. Or let me put it another way, it's not natural for them. Cats are, as it were, “wired” to work for their food. That gives them satisfaction and reduces their stress levels.

So let them work for their food. How do we do that? Not by going to the pet shop for a load live mice, we do it more simply. And I think I may have gotten this from Vicky Halls... who writes great books, but never mind that. What we do is, we hide small portions of dry food in different places in the house. So for example in a cardboard box or a paper bag.

Your cat will need to investigate to find his food himself.

Leave in the beginning just a bit this way, leave a little bit in front of the bowls, because not all cats are equally good at tracking. And especially in the beginning, this change can cause some stress for your cat, and that is exactly what we do not want.

But on the other hand, you should not be too soft on your cat and give up too soon. Just don’t make it too difficult in the beginning for them to find the pieces, and then gradually build up the difficulty.

What you can do (and this is one of my personal favorites) is make a kind of pyramid with toilet or kitchen rolls, using glue.

Next, place a small amount of kibble in a few of those rolls, but put it in there good, so that your cat needs to get it out with its paw.

And each time, you put them in different rolls. And sometimes you don’t put any in there. You will see your cat staring at the empty rolls in the hope that “the victim” suddenly appears.

Change it up a bit. Sometimes leave something there, and sometimes not. This keeps your cat alert, and it’s the same mechanism that makes something addictive, like gambling, for us humans. You win once, and then you win nothing; you can’t predict it, so you keep trying.

Another thing you should do with your cat is play. The best game for a cat is one where a person is at the other end.

Playing reinforces the bond between you and your cat, makes sure your cat gets necessary exercise, and brings his stress level down.

The problem is that we humans often have little time or energy to play with our cats.

I know that myself. You start out very excited, but you after five minutes you’re done, while the cat could go on and on.

Even so, it’s important that we do it, because it is essential for the well-being of your cat.

There are books written about games that your cat can play. Personally, I like to keep it simple, and I limit myself to balls (ping pong are the best!), toy mice, and an orange fish with string attached to a stick. The latter, I believe I got in a package of cat food, and it’s been a favorite toy for five years now.

No, where games are concerned there is in my view nothing better than an object (can be anything) with a string attached to a stick.

If you like, you can even easily put something together.

This is also one of the least strenuous games you can play with your cat. From your side at least, because for your cat because it’s a complete fitness workout, while you only have to hold onto a stick. You can do it while you 're watching television.

Besides playing, it’s also important that you comb your cat, and that you are vocal with him. And by that I mean talk to him (if you are female, then you probably already do this). Petting alone is not enough.

Make sure that you give each cat the same amount of attention, because otherwise you get jealousy, which in turn can lead to competition and stress.

How long playing per day?

At least twenty minutes. More is always better. And what you can do if you don’t have much time is to divide that twenty minutes into two times ten, or four times five minutes (although twice ten is my preference).

Well, you now have the environment for your cats in order (the facilities), you have a new feeding regime established where they have to work a bit for their food, and you play with them, comb them, and talk to them.

This should, in principle, be sufficient to keep their stress levels low, with the result that the peeing/spraying in the home stops.

But there are other things you can do…

I myself have good experiences with synthetic cat pheromones.

You can buy it in spray form or as a plug that goes into the socket. The most famous brand is Feliway, but there are others.

How does this work exactly?

Cats give off pheromones by rubbing their heads on things, or by scratching somewhere.

These pheromones mark the object (which can also be a human or another animal), and give the cat a sense of security. It is also a signal to other cats along the lines of “this is my environment, human, animal”.

In short: The synthetic pheromones from such a spray or plug give your cat a reassuring feeling, make him feel at ease.

Synthetic pheromones can be used for numerous things. For example, spraying the cat transporter when you go to the vet with your cat. But... remember that it certainly is not a cure-all. Synthetic pheromones always work best in combination with other things. What I mean is that it only works if you do it in conjunction with other strategies in this book. Only using pheromone spray and forgetting everything else will not solve the problem. But unfortunately that is how it’s marketed.

Additionally, you can also use homeopathic remedies to bring down the stress level of your cat. Regular medications are also an option, but I would only use them as a last resort, or in situations where there is no alternative, such as for a neurological disorder. They usually have all kinds of side effects and are also toxic. Hence, the liver function of your cat will have to monitored with medication. On top of that, most medicines are not made specifically for cats, and there are even veterinarians who make you sign a disclaimer. This means that if the drugs have a bad effect on your cat, causing damage or death, you can’t hold the vet responsible.

What’s important in using medicine, whether it’s synthetic or homeopathic, is to always consult with a physician. With humans, this is not always necessary, or usual, but with cats it should be done.

What you can best do in this case is just to call the assistant at the practice where your cat normally goes. They can then consult the file and give you advice. This prevents you from having to take the cat in, and that saves you money.

To sum everything up for you:

1. Make sure every cat as much as possible has its own facilities within its own area. Plus, there should be sufficient facilities in general locations. Stick to the formula “number of cats + 1”. Also make sure that your cat has a number of safe places where he can go if it’s all too much for him. This can include under the bed, or in a closet, just see what the possibilities are.

2. Let your cat work for their food by hiding small amounts of dry food in different places in the house. This corresponds to how it works outside, in nature, and it encourages them and also keeps them busy.

3. A regular routine of playing at least 20 minutes a day, combing your cat, and communicating with her through voice/sounds, because petting is not enough.

4. Synthetic pheromones in combination with the above strategies.

5. Homeopathic remedies in consultation with veterinarian. (Ask about Bach's Rescue Remedy.)

What we have actually done is that we have created an environment in whichyour cat will first feel safe, and in which, second, they are sufficiently engaged because there is plenty to do.

Many problems with indoor cats stem from boredom. Think of using food as compensation, scratching everything up, peeing in the house, bullying behavior…

Idleness is the devil's workshop. For cats, this is certainly true. The less there is for them to do indoors, the greater the probability that there will be trouble.

 

 

 

 

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