Cats and Aging: Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Older Cats

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

aging in cats

Is Your Cat Getting Older?

Just a few short decades ago, a cat that lived to be eight years old was considered a senior. Today, however, domesticated cat life expectancy has lengthened to the point that most aren’t considered seniors until they reach twelve years old. In fact, it’s not uncommon for vets to have a substantial list of feline patients aged twenty years old or older.

Getting your beloved cat to a ripe old age is easier now than ever thanks to incredible advances in veterinary care and a better understanding about feline dietary needs. Still, an older cat needs special care and attention if you want her to live her best life for as long as possible.

If you have a cat that is in her senior years, then here are seven healthy habits that you should start implementing into her daily routine today.

#1: Keep Your Older Cat Inside

Enjoying the great outdoors is a younger cat’s game. There are far too many dangers lurking beyond your front door that can hurt a senior cat. Not only is your older cat not as spry as she once was, but her age also makes her more susceptible to contracting diseases and other potential health problems. Plus, according to The Humane Society, cats that live solely indoors live considerably longer lives than those that live outside or spend time inside and out.

#2: Take Your Older Cat to the Vet Regularly

Going to the doctor for regular check-ups is just as important for an older cat as it is for an aging human. Being proactive with your pet’s care is essential for detecting and treating health concerns early. With cats, sticking to consistent vet visits is essential because cats are masters at hiding disease. According to The Animal Medical Center of Chicago, an older cat that is otherwise healthy should be examined by the vet every six months.

#3: Feed Your Older Cat a Balanced, Age-Appropriate Diet

Humans are always concerned about their waistlines, but when it comes to their pets’ weight, they aren’t always so aware. The problem is obesity is a common problem among domesticated cats and one that can lead to serious health risks the older the cat gets, such as joint pain, liver problems, and diabetes. One of the best ways to help keep your cat’s weight within her ideal range is to feed her a well-balanced, age-appropriate diet.

#4: Get Your Cat Vaccinated

Depending on your cat’s lifestyle and your geographic location, she may be at risk of being exposed to a variety of different infectious diseases. Getting her the appropriate vaccinations will help protect her against invisible threats.

#5: Keep Your Senior Cat Active

Along with feeding her a healthy diet, getting your cat enough exercise every day will help maintain her health and weight. If your cat suffers from joint pain, and this is causing her to be lethargic, then getting a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS) or other pain-relieving supplement through your veterinarian may help reduce her discomfort, so she can live a more active lifestyle.

#6: Create a Stress-Free Environment for Your Older Cat

Stress is just as bad for an aging cat as it is for you. So, make whatever changes you need to create a more comfortable and stress-free environment for you both. As a side benefit, keeping your pet less stressed will also make it easier to keep her mentally stimulated and alert, both of which are essential for improving her cognitive health.

#7: Keep Your Older Cat Clean and Well-Groomed

Cats tend to groom themselves, but as your cat ages, she may need help from you in this area. For example, an older cat should receive regular dental cleaning and gum health maintenance as part of her veterinary care. If your older cat is a long-haired breed, then brushing her hair frequently will not only help her suffer fewer hairballs, but it will also help her live a happier, healthier, and more comfortable life.

Living with an older cat is undoubtedly a rewarding experience, but it is one that does require a little more of your patience and attention. You will have start monitoring your cat a little more closely and be more sensitive to changes in her behavior or eating and sleeping habits. Remember, even subtle changes can be an indication of a potential health issue in an aging cat. When in doubt, always consult with your vet and make sure your senior cat sees her veterinarian at least every 6 months, regardless of whether she is showing any signs of illness or not.

What Are the Signs of Boredom and Depression in Cats?

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

boredom and depression in cats

Is Your Cat Looking a Bit Sad These Days?

Cats are best known for their insatiable sense of curiosity, so when a cat suddenly seems bored or depressed, it can cause her owner to worry about her health. But being able to determine whether your pet is depressed or just bored is important. This is because while the two states of being are similar, there are also distinct differences between them.

In this post, we will outline the key signs and symptoms of boredom and depression in cats and what you can do to help your cat return to her fun-loving self.

5 Signs Your Cat Might Be Bored

You may think it is quite normal for your cat to feel bored from time to time, but the truth is, there is a fine line between boredom and clinical depression in cats. In fact, if a cat suffers from boredom long enough, it can result in her engaging in certain behaviors that can cause depression to develop. For this reason, it is important to always monitor your cat’s behavior. If she suddenly experiences a change in her behavior, you can step in and do something about it before it leads to further problems.

Here are the top five warning signs that your cat might be suffering from boredom:

  1. Changes in eating habits: One of the first signs of boredom in cats is a change in eating habits. A bored cat will either overeat or show a disinterest in eating. Both come with their own potential for future health problems, so addressing this issue is critical. If your cat is overeating to pass the time, you should try to get her to exercise more to help prevent weight gain. If your cat is not eating, you can try changing her food to see if you can spark her interest.
  2. Sleeping more than usual: Understandably, this can be a hard one to identify because cats already spend a lot of time sleeping. But if you notice that your cat is sleeping more than what is usual for her, it could be a sign of boredom. If this is the case with your pet, you should try interacting with her more than usual to keep her engaged and awake.
  3. Excessive grooming: Cats groom themselves often throughout the day, but when it becomes excessive, it can cause problems like hair loss, sores, and increased stress and anxiety. Plus, the pain that comes with excessive grooming can cause a cat to get depressed. If you notice your cat is excessively grooming herself, try changing up her routine and look for things that might be triggering her anxiety.
  4. Destructive behaviors: Dogs aren’t the only pets that get destructive when they’re bored. Cats do as well. If your cat is scratching your furniture, ripping up your slippers, or shredding your curtains, then she could be acting out of boredom or trying to get your attention.
  5. Not using the litter box: A bored cat is more likely to try to get your attention by not using her litter box when she goes to the bathroom. But of course, this can also be a sign of a variety of other health conditions. Try changing the type of litter you use, clean the litter box out more frequently, and interact with your cat more. If she continues to go outside of the litter box, then you should take her to the vet for a checkup.

Signs Your Cat Might Be Depressed

Depression is a much more serious issue than boredom, so if you notice your cat is suddenly acting withdrawn or showing an absence of joy, then you should take her to the veterinarian to find out what is causing her depression.

While depression does share some signs with boredom, such as changes in eating and sleeping habits and weight gain or loss, there are other signs that usually accompany depression. Here are the top signs of depression in cats to watch out for:

  1. General loss of interest: Like depression in humans, a depressed cat will show a complete disinterest in things she once loved, like her favorite treats and toys.
  2. Withdrawal from usual habits: A depressed cat won’t practice her usual loving habits, such as welcoming you when you come home after work or jumping on your lap for cuddles.
  3. Lack of grooming: If your cat’s coat is becoming dry, dull looking, or knotted, then she isn’t grooming herself like she usually does. This lack of grooming is a key indicator that there is something wrong with depression being one of the possibilities.

How to Treat a Cat With Boredom or Depression

Whether your cat is bored or showing signs of depression, your first move should be to take her to the veterinarian because both issues could be a sign of an underlying health problem. If a health problem is ruled out by the vet, then something else is causing the change in your cat’s behavior. Common causes can include:

  • Moving into a new home
  • Arrival of a baby
  • Change in work schedule
  • Stray cats in the yard
  • Loss of an owner
  • Disruption in the family (i.e., a divorce or child going away to college or leaving home)
  • Owner going away on vacation

If you have recently experienced one of these life changes, then you may want to make a few changes to how you engage with your cat. Try spending more time with her; create a safe place for her to climb and hide and encourage her to play more. If your cat continues to be withdrawn and disinterested, then vet-prescribed medication may be the next step.

Cats and Summer: A Guide for New Kitty Parents and Cat Lovers Too

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

cats and summer

A Summer Guide for Cat Care: Seasonal Heat, Kittens, and More!

You know those sunny spots in your house where your cat loves to stretch out and warm their belly? Well, they’re getting hotter as the summer months continue. The beautiful weather can lead to happy cats, but the heat poses some potentially dangerous threats. With issues like heat stroke, sunburn, and cat-proofing your house on your radar this summer, we’re here to help you prepare yourself, your home, and your cat for the season.

If you’re adopting a cat or kitten for the first time or just trying to be the best cat parent you can be, the summer is an important time to study up. So whether you’re picking out your first water dish or leveling up to a water fountain, you’re in the right place. Read on for a handy guide to taking the best care of your cat or kitten during the hot months of the summer.

Summer Is Kitten Season

The summer tends to be cat-mating season, so from July to October, shelters and kitty families will be swimming in kittens. For this reason, it’s a great time to adopt. But it’s important to consider whether you’re better equipped for a baby kitten or an older cat.

Either one will require food, litter, and health care, but younger kittens also really need to socialize. Socializing is key for all cats’ mental and physical health, but where an older cat may only need a few minutes of petting and playing per day, younger kittens need much more attention. They’ll also benefit from having another kitten around – just remember: where there’s double the fun, there’s often double the mischief!

With all kittens, you’ll be meeting for the first time and it’s impossible to know what their personality will be like ahead of time. If you’re a busy bee yourself, you may want to consider opting for an older cat. This is especially true because shelters can often tell you much more about them, and they may fit into your particular lifestyle more easily.

Cat-Proof Your Home or Apartment Floor to Roof

Now that you know you’re ready for your new kitty, it’s time to put some effort into making sure your home is ready, too. Do your best to eliminate fragile or wobbly furniture to prevent unnecessary accidents. Make sure to hide all your plastic bags, medications, and cleaning products. Consider things like tying up your window blinds and covering your electrical cords for the time being – cats may be less likely to engage these objects, but kittens – not so much.

Your cat’s safety is the priority, and you’ll have to train yourself to rethink your own comfort items. Even houseplants can be poisonous, so do your research and keep things like lilies, tulips, and sago palms out of your home and away from your cat.

Summer Lovin’, Cat Style

Much like humans, cats can get sunburned when the heat is one. White-coated cats can get burned if they have naturally thinner coats, and all cats can get badly sunburned on their nose and ears. To avoid this, try to find a pet-safe sunscreen or an outdoor shelter where your cat can cool down in the shade.

Indoors, it’s important make sure to keep the house cool, as cats can also develop heat stroke in the summer. If your house is buggy, don’t keep their food out for longer than thirty minutes as it can attract pests and ants.

Make Sure Your Cat Stays Hydrated

It’s important to keep your cat hydrated in the summer, so make sure to keep extra fresh water out in a deep bowl. You can put out multiple water bowls in your house, but make sure they’re always in the shade and away from the litter box.

If your cat is struggling to drink enough water, you might consider switching to a cat fountain. Cats love moving water, and if your cat enjoys playing with the faucet, then they’ll likely treasure the luxury of a fountain.

Your Cats Will Be Grateful for Your Care

If you do your best to listen to your cat’s needs, they’ll thank you for it. Just like us, every cat is different and it’s up to you to learn what they love and how to make sure you can give it to them.

Summer is an especially important time to do so, so crank up the AC and put some ice cubes in the kitty water. And just in case you still need a little help, we’ve got you covered with another great blog on taking care of your kitty during the summer!

5 Ways You Can Show Your Cats Love This Month

pdxmattybCat EventsLeave a Comment

national cat month

Show Your Pet Kitty Cat Just How Much She Means to You

You love your cat and your cat loves you – this much you surely know to be true. It’s as close as you can get to unconditional love, in fact. You don’t need to hear much more than the start of your furry best friend’s purr to know they’re thinking and feeling the same way. Because of all this, you no doubt spoil your cat all year long. If you missed National Pet Month in May, then you might want to do a little extra for your feline friend as the summer months begin.

Why not take the entire summer, and dedicate it to celebrating your kitty BFF, and simultaneously appreciating the love she shows you every time you walk through the door. Here are five ways to show your cat just how much she means to you – even if you’ve been trapped indoors during quarantine, and your kitty to human bond is at its strongest.

#1: Devote Extra Time to Your Cat

All your cat wants is to be with you, so this summer, let her every wish be your command. Spend a little less time on social media or watching television and more time with your pet. Get on the ground and play with her, rub her belly, and play with her toys. Giving her your undivided attention is the most important thing you can do to show her how much you love her.

#2: Buy Your Cat a New Bed 

If your cat’s bed is old and tattered, then it’s time to replace it with a fresh, comfortable, new one. Buy one with memory foam, so she can sleep in absolute comfort. Or, if your cat is older, get her an orthopedic bed that’s designed to help her sleep better and more comfortably. 

#3: Splurge on Her Favorite Treats

Does your cat love certain treats or wet cat food, but you typically avoid giving them to her because you’re worried that she’ll gain too much weight? During June when you venture out of doors to make your rare trip to the supermarket a reality, put all worries aside and let your cat indulge in her favorite treats. Just be mindful not to overdo it. After all, they’re called treats for a reason.

#4: Go for a Walk

Some cats love being outside in the fresh air. If your cat longs to be outside, why not put a harness on her and take her for a walk? She may be tentative and nervous at first, but she’ll quickly grow to love it. By the end of the month, she’ll be looking forward to her outdoor excursions with her favorite person.

#5: Take Her to the Vet 

If it has been a while since your cat has been to the veterinarian, then this month is a great time to do it. After all, there’s no better way to show your cat how much she means to you than by making sure she’s healthy and fit. Schedule your cat’s appointment today, so you can keep her on the path of good health and ensure all her shots and preventative treatments are updated.

Celebrating Our Furry Feline Companions in Style This Summer

If you’re like most pet owners, then your cat is your baby, simply put. You want her to be comfortable, healthy, and happy. This summer, go the extra mile and give your fur baby a little extra pampering and love. She deserves it, and so do you. 

If It Fits, I Sits: Why Cats Love Tiny Spaces

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

cats in small spaces

How Did My Cat Ever Get Into That Tiny Box? And Why?!

If you’ve ever had a cat and a box that seems at least two sizes too small for that cat to fit into it, then you’ve seen the phenomenon we’re going to unpack in this article. For many cats, it seems that no dimensions are too challenging. They will slide, twist, and contort to get into bowls, tiny boxes, small cubbyholes, or anywhere else where it seems they just shouldn’t fit. Once inside, most of the time, rather than struggling to get comfortable, they seem perfectly content, secure in their little bubble. 

It doesn’t matter what kind of cat you have – Siamese, tabby, Persian, kitten, senior cat, boy or girl, they all seem to love seeing how small of a space they can get into and often spending as much time in that space as possible. It’s adorable, but something of a mystery. For the time being, forget about how they do it. The real question is: Why do they do it? What makes cats so attracted to tiny spaces?

Cats and Their Survival Instinct

Housecats have been so domesticated for so many centuries that it’s easy to forget about their wilderness background. Even the most civilized indoor cat carries with it countless genes from their wild ancestors—and that includes a strong survival instinct. 

Even though cats are predators, only the biggest cats are at the apex of the predator chain, and the smaller ones need to be aware of threats. When in a very tiny or a very high place, a cat feels confident that no nasty larger predator can approach them from the back or the sides, allowing them to relax. 

Sure, they know that they are safe with you in their home, but you can never be too sure.

The Comfort of a Tiny Space

In a lot of ways, cats are no different than you or I. You know that great feeling on a cold night when you pull the covers up super tight and wrap yourself in them like a burrito? Doesn’t that feel great? 

That’s exactly what your cats are experiencing when they squeeze themselves into a tiny space. Those little boxes and drawers are warm and comfortable, in addition to feeling safe.

image via: Buzzfeed

Cats Do Things Because… Well, Because They Can

Let’s face it. Now that we’ve laid it out, squeezing into tiny spaces sounds pretty good. But it looks so uncomfortable! Well, don’t forget that a cat’s anatomy is very different from our own. Their organs are arranged differently, and their bone structure is different. 

Cats can squeeze comfortably into places humans could never dream of, even if we were small enough. So don’t fret when you see your cat contorting themselves almost beyond recognition to get into a box, bowl, or drawer. They know exactly what they’re doing.

Should You Try to Get Your Cat Out of That Tiny Space?

Once your cat gets into their tiny space, how do you get them out? Well, that’s where PDX Pet Design comes in. We designed our extremely popular cat toy, the SHRU – The Intelligent Cat Companion™ to imitate the behavior of a real animal. Remember those wild instincts we talked about? Here’s where they come into play. 

The SHRU works with your cat’s natural prey-chasing instincts to get them moving and give them plenty of exercise as they interact with this toy. That’s exercise they may need after 12 to 15 hours sleeping in your mailbox!

To order the SHRU, or for more fun cat accessories and tips, visit PDX Pet Design today.

Cat Facial Expressions: Did My Cat Just Make a Face at Me?!

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

cat facial expressions

Reading Some Meaning Into Your Cat’s Facial Expressions

Cats are famously enigmatic and mysterious animals. As part of their inherent mystery,  it may not always be easy to tell how they’re feeling just from looking into their eyes. After all, their faces may often seem expressionless. This may help to explain the wild popularity of our dearly departed “Grumpy Cat” (may he rest in peace) as a rare feline with visible ‘tude on full display, always.

The truth is that cats do show their feelings in their faces, but we humans simply aren’t the best at decoding the signs they’re offering us via their expressions. Two Canadian studies have shown what physical factors we should be looking for, and just how many of us aren’t picking up on them. Read on to learn a bit more about what your cat may be trying to tell you with that funny look on their face.

Knowing the Signs to Watch for in Cats

Most people naturally know that purring cats are often content, and hissing cats are not so pleased, but what if the sound factor was taken out? 

One 1979 study looked at indicators of fear, frustration, and “relaxed engagement” in 29 cats at a Canadian shelter. The visual elements they associated with fear were “blinking and half-blinking,” as well as cats’ tendencies to look downward and to the left. Conversely, one major sign of “relaxed engagement” was a tilting of the head to the right. 

So, if you come home from work and find your cat looking up at you and tilting his head to your left (his right), he’s glad to see you; if she’s looking down at your right shoe (her left), she might be a little afraid. 

If he’s licking or wrinkling his nose, however, or raising his upper lip, he might be frustrated by being cooped up indoors, or because you forgot to feed him that morning. Tail and ear movements, in addition to facial structure, can also factor into a cat’s expression of its feelings. 

understanding cat expressions

Seeing the Signs From Your Cat Friend

A more recent study at the University of Guelph seems to indicate that, 40 years later, we haven’t gotten any better at picking up on these cues. After giving over 6,000 people in 85 countries a quiz consisting primarily of those YouTube cat videos we all love so much, researchers found that participants averaged only 59% correct when trying to determine whether a cat’s facial expression was positive or negative. 

The superstars who topped 75% (only 13% of quiz-takers) – known in the study as “cat-whisperers” – were mostly professionals like veterinarians whose jobs require an acute ability to tell how an animal is feeling, both physically and emotionally, in order to determine the best treatment if something is wrong.

Why the Signs Matter When It Comes to Cats

The primary researcher behind the study, Dr. Georgia Mason, believes that picking up on these emotional cues in cats can do a great deal to improve our relationships with them as pets. We tend to bond more readily with dogs because their emotions are more apparent – a wagging tail, expectantly raised “eyebrows,” even a beaming smile. This in turn prompts us to become more attached to them. 

We don’t always feel that immediate warmth toward cats precisely because they’re so tough to pin down feelings-wise. So if we make more of an effort to understand their expressions, we might be able to strengthen the human-feline bond between cat and cat-parent.

Caring for Cats During the Holiday Months: Can They Eat That?

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

safe cat food

Making Sure Your Cat Stays Healthy Through the Holidays

One of the things that most people connect with every holiday season is a favorite festive meal or two. Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes even New Years’ Day are all great opportunities to feast on delicacies and treats that let you know it’s a special time of the year. Dining room tables fill up with serving dishes, food gets left on the kitchen counters, and there are a ton of new faces in the house – people who your cats may not really know all that well.

With your cats in full holiday mode – hiding a bit more than usual or making new friends – habits that were once set in stone may come undone just a bit. With plenty of treats everywhere around the dining areas, your cats may head out of hiding at some point in the night, on the hunt for a snack. In theory, that works out fine for most cats, who love a good tasty meal. But just how much of your holiday table should you share with your favorite feline? Here are some guidelines so your cats can stay healthy this year.

Turkey and Cats at Thanksgiving

For some cats, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, even if they don’t know it. That’s because Thanksgiving means leftover turkey, and most cats find fresh turkey delicious. But is it safe for them to eat it? Absolutely. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have to eat meat for the protein and nutrients they need to thrive. 

Turkey is chock full of these nutrients and is in fact the main ingredient in a lot of cat food. When you do give your cat (or the neighborhood cats) turkey, though, be sure to give them just the turkey, not toasted skin, onions, sauce, dressing or any herbs or seasoning you may be adding for your human guests. Any of these could be toxic to cats, so it’s best not to take any chances.

Goose or Duck on Christmas

On Christmas, some people have turkey, while others may break out different birds like goose or duck. These are also just fine for cats, with the same caveats as mentioned above with turkey. However, you should also take special care to make sure your cat is not eating any goose or duck fat, or parts of the bird that contain fat, because this can be vey unhealthy for your pet.

Having a Holiday Ham This Year?

For some, it’s not Christmas until you’ve bitten into a juicy Christmas ham, and your cat will probably be willing to sample some. Again, it’s meat, and cats are carnivores, so this should work out just fine. Once again though, limit it to just the meat, not any of the dressing, seasoning, pineapple, raisins, garlic, onions or anything else that might be going with it.

Potatoes and Cats? What!

Mashed potatoes are another Thanksgiving and Christmas staple, but can your cats join in? If they want to, they absolutely can. Potatoes have no real nutritional value for cats, but some enjoy the taste. So again, as long as they are plain and unseasoned, without any potentially dangerous herbs, let kitty have at it!

Cranberries 

Cats and fruit don’t usually mix, but cranberries and cranberry sauce can be just fine for cats, as long as it is not high in sugar, artificial sweeteners or any other harmful ingredients. In fact, cats with urinary problems can often get relief from drinking cranberry juice.

safe cat food

Pumpkin Cats! 

Like cranberries, pumpkin can be good for your cat’s digestive system. It is rich in fiber, which is just as good for your cat as it is for you. In this case, you want to make sure to just give your cat the pumpkin, not pumpkin pie, which has way too much sugar for a cat.

What If My Cat Is Different Than Other Cats? 

The advice above is what has been found to be true for the average cat, but your cat may have different medical needs, so you should always check with your veterinarian before feeding your cat any human food. The safest thing to do is feed your cat approved cat food and treats and leave the human food for your human guests.  

But wanting to let your cat share in the holiday fun with a piece of turkey or a bit of pumpkin is usually just fine. For more ways to keep your cat happy and healthy, visit PDX Pet Design now.

September Is Happy, Healthy Cat Month! Here’s How to Celebrate

pdxmattybCat EventsLeave a Comment

happy cat month

What Is Happy Cat Month?

It’s true! September is indeed Happy Cat Month! If you’ve been counting the days until National Cat Day (October 29th), well the good news starts now. As of September 1, you can officially start celebrating your cat, all month long beginning right now!

Happy Cat Month is a holiday created by the CATalyst Council, a cat-caring society with a mission to promote the health and welfare of companion cats. Cats are American’s #1 companion and all cat companions deserve to be loved, cherished and well-cared for. And while that’s true all year round, September’s Happy Cat Month gives you an opportunity to pay special attention to your feline friends. Here’s how to do just that.

How Does One Celebrate Happy Cat Month?

So what exactly is Happy Cat Month all about? It’s all about paying attention to your cat to make sure he or she is as happy and healthy as can be. Some ways you can do this include the following activities.

Take Your Cat to the Vet

Your cat will be able to be happiest when they are healthy, which is why making sure your cat enjoys good health is the primary focus of Happy Cat Month. Just as you go in for a physical every year, your cat deserves the same treatment. 

This September, head to your vet for a checkup so the doctor can make sure your cat is the proper weight, is free from any pain, and does not have any signs of illness. You might also want to contribute to having your cat’s teeth cleaned, which is also important for good health.

Check Your Cat’s Food

Is your cat enjoying what you are feeding him or her? That’s great, but is your cat getting proper nutrition? You should always be feeding your cat actual cat food, which is designed to provide your cat with the nutrients he or she needs to be healthy. 

You should take this time to check the ingredients in your cat’s food and perhaps even check cat food reviews online to make sure your cat is getting what’s best for him or her with respect to nutrition.

Play With Your Cat

Hopefully you are playing with your cats all the time, but maybe this month you can make an effort to step up your game. Buy your cat a new toy. Pay attention to the way your cats like to play. Sometimes when your cat cries, they are trying to get food, water or a clean litter pan, but other times, they just want your attention. A playing cat is a happy, healthy cat so encourage your cat’s play efforts whenever possible.

Groom Your Cat During This Extra Special Month

Cats are great pets to have for a lot of reasons, but one is that they are pretty self-sufficient and pretty good at keeping themselves clean. But furry cats can’t help it if they shed a lot, and some of their cleaning efforts can mean uncomfortable hairballs as well as excess hair on your clothes and furniture. 

Help them out by brushing them whenever you can. It feels great to your cat, is soothing and relaxing to most humans, and can make sure a lot of that excess fur ends up in the garbage rather than on your things or in your cat’s stomach.

For more tips on how to have fun with your cat and to find cool products that your cat will love, visit PDX Pet Design today.

Summer Cuts! The Truth About Cats and (Fashionable vs. Functional) Haircuts

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

summer cat hair

Getting Your Cat a Haircut for the Summer: Wise or Unwarranted?

One question pet owners may ask themselves as summer comes is often: should they give their cat a haircut? If you’ve been poking around the Internet lately, then you know there are plenty of cat owners who believe the answer is an emphatic yes. In fact, several of those same cat owners use their cats to make sometimes wild fashion statements. 

For example, if you’ve ever wanted your home to have a prehistoric feel, then you can give your cat a dino cut. On the other hand, if your goal is mostly a functional one, then you’ll probably choose the classic lion cut. There are plenty of other options, too, like the comb cut, panther cut or teddy bear trim. But should you be giving your cat a haircut? Is it healthy? Is it good for them? Here’s what you need to know.

Should I Give My Cat a Haircut? Pros and Cons

There are a number of reasons why you may choose to give your cat a summer-time haircut. If your cat sheds a lot, then a thorough grooming can cut down on the amount of fur you find around the house, on your furniture, on your clothes, etc. 

Cutting your cat’s hair in the summer can also help your cat stay cool if it’s very hot out. It can also make your cat more comfortable if they have matted hair, or hair that has gotten debris stuck in it that they cannot lick off or that it would be unhealthy for them to lick off. Cat haircuts can also cut down on hairballs, and may make grooming easier for senior cats.

The Downsides of Cat Haircuts

There are some downsides, too, associated with giving your cat a haircut. If you have a primarily outdoor cat, for example, then you ideally want to be careful about shaving them because exposing their skin to the sun could cause sunburns and other health problems. 

Also, fur does serve an insulating purpose and can help keep cats cool – even in the summer. Naturally, in the winter, you want to leave your cat’s fur in place to help the animal keep warm.

The general rule is that if you do decide to give your cat a haircut, then it’s best to not cut the fur all the way down to the skin. If your cat appears to be experiencing discomfort after a haircut, then you should consider taking them to the veterinarian right away.

Most cats do not need all their fur all the time and probably won’t notice that some of it is gone, so even if a cat without all its fur looks somewhat sad, it is generally not cruel to shave a cat. If you don’t shave off all the fur, you let it keep its coat in the winter and your cat does not appear to be struggling to regulate its temperature after a haircut, then cutting your cat’s hair should be an okay thing to do.

Professional Cat Grooming vs. DIY

One thing is sure: you should definitely consider taking your cat to a professional groomer if you do decide to get your animal companion a haircut. Your groomer will know how to cut your cat’s hair safely and without exposing its skin to the elements. 

They will also be experienced in a variety of cat haircuts, and will be able to give you exactly the type of haircut you want for your cat. They may even be able to show you pictures and give you suggestions for both fun and functional haircut options for your feline companion.

Depression in Cats: Common Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

pdxmattybCat HealthLeave a Comment

cat depression

My Cat Is Depressed? Aren’t All Cats a Bit Sad, Really?!

Is your cat depressed? It may be tough to tell. They don’t cry, they naturally sleep a lot once they get to a certain age, and acting out is kind of their thing. On another note, normal human behavior and normal cat behavior can be very different, so it is important not to ascribe a human diagnosis to a cat. 

For example, the average cat can sleep 15 hours a day, which in a human would probably be considered a depression red flag. So, does the behavior you’re observing in your cat mean they are depressed? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Here’s why, and what you can do about your cat – possibly being a bit more than sad.

Why Cats Sometimes Seem Depressed

The type of behavior that you may note in your cat that may mimic depression is probably a response to pain. While a cat in pain may cry out, they often express feelings of pain in other ways, such as loss of appetite, by isolating themselves, being less active, or hissing. These are all signs that could easily be interpreted as depression to the layperson, but it is important to understand that your cat may be signaling to you that it is in pain.

Thus, if your cat appears depressed, you should not be Googling “cat psychologist” online. What you should do is take your cat to the veterinarian where he or she can do a battery of tests to determine the cause of the pain that is likely behind the symptoms you are observing.

What If a Healthy Cat Appears Depressed?

If the tests show that your cat is healthy, the explanation for the symptoms you are observing is probably stress. That stress may come as a result of an addition to the household of a new family member or pet, the loss of an old family member or pet, moving to a new home, or some other major change. 

In this way, cats can be quite like humans. Think of the things that are causing you stress (other than financial or romantic issues), and ask yourself if it could be the same thing that is troubling your cat.

If you can identify the sources of stress, do your best to remove them, at least for your cat. Putting the cat in as familiar an environment as possible can help, as can introducing new pets or family members to the cat on a gradual basis, giving them time to get used to the idea.

cat depression

Treating Cat Depression With Medication?

As a method of last resort, there are also anxiety medications and pheromone treatments for anxious cats. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether one of these treatments is merited, and which one you should try.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that even though your cat may feel like a fellow human sometimes, humans and cats are very different animals. They have different nutritional requirements, different sleep requirements, and different environmental states. 

If you remember this and are sure to remember to treat your cat like a cat, then you have a better chance of getting to the root of their problems faster.

Keeping Your Cat Active to Stave Off Depression

Another possibility when your cat appears to be depressed is that your cat is just bored. If you’re looking for a cat accessory to keep your cat from feeling the blues, it may be time to give SHRU a try. 

In reality, SHRU is more than a toy – it’s a cat companion that responds to your cat with behavior resembling that of a real, small animal, keeping your cat engaged, thinking, and active. To order yours, contact usat PDX Pet Design now.