Doing The Impossible: Cleaning Cat Urine

Most of us would probably agree that there are thousands of things we would rather be spending our time doing than cleaning cat urine. Don’t forget that cleaning the stuff up will be much more pleasant than smelling it for years to come: Ask any cat owner that has had a cat relieve themselves on a carpet, article of furniture, hardwood flooring, etc. Once the smell seeps in, it can really seem impossible at times to get rid of it.

Tried & True Method

First and foremost for when you start cleaning cat urine: Soak up as much of it as you can with paper towels, wet/dry vacuum, etc. Don’t let it soak in to the area any longer than is possible.

Next, generously sprinkle baking soda all over the affected area, then spray or pour some diluted vinegar on it (pure vinegar can be used, but not diluting it may discolor fabrics).

Use an old scrub brush or rag and thoroughly wipe the area.

Now sprinkle some more baking soda on and follow up with some hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of dish soap (or laundry detergent).

Scrub again and don’t forget the “elbow grease.” Follow up with a vacuuming.

Any areas that don’t have fabric can be bleached. Bleach is actually the most effective home remedy for cleaning cat urine, but it will destroy clothes and carpets.

If all else fails, or you don’t want to spend time using the method above: Look for commercial products with enzymes in them specifically designed to break down the smell of cat urine. Don’t feel like you’re alone in thinking that cat urine is one of the most offensive and hard to destroy smells that will grip your home: It is and can be quite embarrassing having a friend or neighbor point out the smell while you’re having dinner or drinks.

Find out more on cleaning cat urine.

4 Cat Illness Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

It’s important that you as an owner, are aware of most of the cat illness symptoms that can indicate your furry friend is in need of some help. Most cats will display a number of symptoms when they become ill and a little watchful observation by you will go a long way to maintaining their health. Some feline sicknesses can be dealt with at home, while others may require you to get to your veterinarian for a closer examination.

See below for 4 symptoms you should be aware of:

Depression: This is a tough problem to tackle, as our ability to communicate is at a significant disadvantage. Feline depression may be brought on by an untreated physical illness, or can be caused by loneliness, change in surroundings (I.e., moving to a new house, new owners), bullying by other pets, or mental illnesses that can be hard to diagnose.

Discharges from the eyes and ears: A discharge similar to mucous is normal from the eyes in small amounts, but if you see a lot of discharge from the eyes and/or the ears, it could be a sign of infection.

Frequent/Infrequent trips to the litter box: A healthy cat will urinate once every 2 – 3 hours and should move their bowels 2 or 3 times per day. If they are at the litter box every hour, or urinating all over the house, these are cat illness symptoms that cannot be ignored as they could be developing feline diabetes (especially if your cat seems to drink a lot of water) or have a urinary tract infection. Constipation can be serious, or they may need a higher quality food with more fiber content.

Hair-loss: This is one of the less common cat illness symptoms, but is usually caused by malnutrition or a variety of skin conditions such as dermatitis, fleas and bathing with the wrong shampoo (cats have oils on their skin that are essential to the health of their coat). Hair-loss and skin issues are cat illness symptoms that normally require intervention, so be on the lookout.

How To Keep Your Pet Healthy

The family pet is an important part of American homes, often just like part of the family itself. Of course, we don’t go to the extent of inviting our pets over to the dining table, but our love for them is very clear. Keeping our pets healthy is a top priority, given how much we care for them. Here are a few steps to help you make sure that your pets enjoy long and fruitful lives.

Make sure to annually vaccinate your pets. Despite this, a lot of pet owners are declining vaccines due to the safety issues involved. That still shouldn’t stop you from having your pets vaccinated, as it may help them avoid contracting certain deadly diseases like the canine parvovirus. You can protect your pets from these diseases with a standard vaccination, and save money in the long run – they can be very expensive to treat otherwise. The standard costs for treatment can often go over $1,000, including the costs of hospitalization and medicine. Vaccines cost much less than that.

The next thing to consider is dental care. Make sure you have your pets’ dental check-ups scheduled on a regular basis. Dogs that regularly get fed human food are especially in need of regular dental care. Do not take this lightly as liver, heart and kidney diseases can easily set in if your pets’ teeth aren’t well maintained. In fact, there are studies that show that 80% of all pets over three years old have some form of dental disease. It may not really sound like fun, but brushing our pets’ teeth can greatly reduce the risk of dental disease and other health issues in our pets. For our pets’ teeth, preventive measures are just as important.

Finally, we need to carefully monitor our pets’ weight and diet. Usually, monitoring our pets’ diet and making sure it is balanced is the best preventive measure. Choosing a good brand of pet food can help set us in the right path as pet owners to prevent obesity in our pets. Overweight pets may seem cute on the surface, but be aware that an overweight or obese pet can develop serious health problems. Among the health problems an overweight pet can acquire are joint pain and arthritis, as well as cardiovascular issues. A dog treadmill can be an excellent way to exercise your pet if the weather is bad or you live in an unsafe area.

Improve Your Health – Get A Pet

It’s a well-known fact that owning a pet can be good for companionship, but it can also be good for your health. Recent studies have proven that companion animals can help improve our physical and mental health. Lowered anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure and stable heart rate are three health benefits that pets can give their owners.

Most pet owners are young children and their families, and pets have been known to enrich their lives – but they can also be very helpful in assisting the elderly. Pets have been proven to help elderly owners extend their lives, stay healthier and avoid stressful situations. Studies from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society compared independent seniors with and without pets, and the senior citizens with pets proved to be stronger physically and mentally. Thanks to their pets, they live less stress lives and are more physically active and happier.

Owning a pet and maintaining it can seem like a lot of hard work for some of us. However, when a pet owner takes the time out to actually take care of his or her pet, including the usual maintenance, feeding, bathing and walking, these activities lead to a reduction in anxiety, tension and blood pressure, a reduction in heart rate and the proper release of beta-endorphins in one’s body. Taking care of your pets in the simplest ways can be a workout of sorts, improving heart rate and keeping your joints flexible and mobile by performing actions like changing your pet’s water or opening the pet door to let your pet dog in or out. It may not be a real workout, but it helps pet owners stay healthy.

Of course, a lot of a pet’s benefits cannot be seen by the naked eye. Having a pet around the house allows for companionship for the owner, love and affection, and a play companion in the absence of children. Pets can step up to the plate as well for older pet owners without close family relatives or friends. When faced with a tough emotional situation, pet owners can turn to their pets for additional support. For those living alone by choice or by fate and for elderly folks in nursing homes, pets can provide much-needed social protection.

Pets are ideal companions for older people, as they provide support, keep them motivated and interested in living their lives to the fullest, and allow them to take care of routines like buying groceries or simply leaving the house. Indeed, pets’ interactions with elders are a great help to their physical health while at the same time keeping them stress-free.

When Do You Discipline A Cat?

Although a concerned cat caregiver may find occasions when discipline is necessary for a behavioral problem, more often than not, that behavior is the cat’s way of letting its human know that there is a problem with something in the household. Cats are basically pretty well-behaved critters, and rarely “act out” unless there is a problem. For example, a cat will not urinate on your bed because he is “mad” at you, nor scratch the arms of your favorite chair because he is “stubborn.”

Effective correction of a true behavioral problem is a three-fold process:

  1. Determine first, if it is really a behavioral problem
  2. If not, find and correct the real causes of the undesirable behavior
  3. In the rare cases of a true behavioral problem, find and use a correct means of discipline or retraining.

We’ll explore each of those steps more fully with a few common undesirable behaviors. Rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel” I’ll directs you to behavior-specific articles, when indicated.

Litter Box Avoidance
The classic example is a cat who suddenly starts urinating outside the litter box. You’ll need to eliminate the possible causes, starting with the most urgent, which could be a urinary tract infection or blockage.

What NOT to Do
Never, ever rub a cat’s nose in his pee or feces. He has no idea why he is being punished for performing a natural body function, and it teaches him nothing, except perhaps that you are a big bully with nasty manners. For the same reason “spanking” is an ineffective discipline for the above or any other violation.

Inappropriate Scratching
Cats are born to scratch. It provides a means of “sharpening their claws,” which is really the process of removing the grown-out sheath that covers them, and it offers the kind of stretching, pulling exercise that helps build strong muscles, tendons, and joints. (Think isotonic excercise.) A cat who scratches furniture needs a scratching post. If he already has one, he needs another one or two, of different sizes, textures (carpet, wood, or sisal) and configurations (tall, flat, or inclined).

What NOT to Do
Obviously, do not declaw because of property damage. There are many other humane alternatives.

Fighting or Bullying Other Cats
Cats sharing a household will often “play fight.” It’s a way of honing their skills, and is usually harmless fun. However, if one participant is clearly “out of his league,” real damage is being done, or one cat seems to be stalking and bullying another, you need to hone your own investigative skills. It could be something as simple as a strange cat lurking outside a window.

What to Do
First, clap your hands and shout “No!” to get their attention. Next, if possible, remove the cat on the short end of the fight to another location. If the bully seems intent on bloodletting, try throwing a large stuffed toy near him to help him redirect his aggression.

What NOT to Do
Never try to physically separate two cats bent on doing damage to one another. You can be seriously scratched or bitten.

Painful Scratching and Biting (of Humans)
This form of behavior is most often caused because your cat is not in the mood for a belly rub. Learning to read his body signals will go a long way to prevent future “attacks” by your cat.

What NOT to Do
Don’t jerk your hand away or you may be seriously scratched. Never shake a cat, hit or spank him. Shaking can cause internal injuries much like “shaken baby syndrome,” and as one forum member said, “All the cat knows is the human they love hit him, and he doesn’t know why!”

Jumping on Counters (Tables, etc.)
Training a cat to stay off forbidden areas is possible, but will take some patience and creativity on your part. Here are some Countering Counter-Surfing ideas.

What NOT to Do
Never throw a cat off a counter; you could inflict serious injury to him. If he is in immediate danger (close to a gas stove), approach him without alarming him, then pick up up and gently place him on the floor.

Almost all other behavioral problems can be corrected by the three methods discussed at the beginning of this article.