RSS Feed

Tag Archives: cat grooming

Feline Friday: National Hairball Awareness Day

Posted on

That blue bed is as hairy as Seren-Kitty!

Do you know what today is?  It’s National Hairball Awareness Day! RomeoTheCat and FURminator are once again co-sponsoring an event to bring attention to this big-hairy-deal.

Have you ever discovered the latest squishy “kitty creation” by stepping on it, barefoot, at 3 a.m.? Ewww!

Cats, and some dogs (Pomeranian owners, am I right?!) swallow fur during self-grooming. Hopefully it ends up in the litter box or yard. But when it comes out the other end, the cat vomits hotdog or cigar-shaped hairballs.

Cats spend 30% of their lives grooming.

 Shedding season increases the odds kitty will “urk” more often, especially in longhair cats. The techie term for hairball is a “bezoar.”   I warn you, don’t click that link until after breakfast. I’m not posting a picture cuz I don’t want readers to “urk.” (Turns out, humans get bezoars, too, Ewww!)

I’m fortunate that Seren has short fur, but even that can accumulate and be swallowed. We kid that fur in a pet home should be considered a condiment, but if kitty swallows too much, it stops up the system. Baseball-size hairballs have been removed from cats. Most cases won’t need surgery, though, and most hairballs can be easily eliminated.

That's a wad won't go into the cat, or stain my carpet on the way out.

The no-brainer solution is to groom kitty and pull off the fuzz before it gets swallowed. I have grooming tools–the dog Furminator (above) is awesome and works especially well on the Magical-Dawg. (I don’t even wanna think what size bezoars he’d produce!)

I received a kitty-size Furminator to test on Seren-kitty for this month. She is IN LOVE…I have the handy grooming tool next to my chair. Each evening Seren arrives for a session of lap-snuggling and purr-icity while the kitty Furminator massages her whiskers to tail. She has not “urked” up a hairball this whole month, ever since we began getting rid of the extra fuzzies.

Here are more ways to manage hairballs. Do your cats get hairballs? What do you do to prevent ’em? What about your DOGS and hairballs? Cats that groom dog friends increase their hairball risk, too. Do your fur-kids like or loathe grooming. What are some tricks you use to keep a handle on fuzzy-icity? Please share!

Groom the cat. The cheapest, easiest hairball cure is to regularly comb and brush your cat. Any hair you remove won’t be swallowed to end up staining your upholstery. The Furminator eliminates up to 90 percent of shed fur.

Feed a hairball diet. A variety of commercial products are designed to prevent hairballs. They include extra nondigestible fiber. That helps push swallowed hair through the digestive tract, so it is eliminated naturally with each bowel movement.

Add some fiber. If you’d rather not switch foods, just add fiber to kitty’s regular diet. Mix in a teaspoon of plain bran or Metamucil to canned meals. Flaxseeds or psyllium husks, available in health food stores, also act as natural laxatives and work well. Add ¼ teaspoon of flaxseeds or psyllium for every meal.

Offer pumpkin. Canned pumpkin—the plain type, not for pies—is very rich in fiber and cats often love the taste. Get a jumbo-size can, and divide into teaspoon-size servings and freeze in an ice cube tray. Thaw one serving at a time, mixing into the regular food or offer as a treat once or twice a week.

Give a bit of honey. If your cat doesn’t appreciate canned pumpkin, you can offer a natural laxative, two or three times a week. Combine raw oatmeal, honey, and olive oil into a paste. Offer one to two tablespoons as a treat when hairballs are a problem.

Lubricate the gut. Butter will make your cat purr, but it won’t help hairballs. Digestible fats like butter can cause diarrhea and usually get absorbed before they can move the problem out. Instead, offer non-medicated petroleum jelly. It looks nasty but many pets like the taste. It will coat the hairball to make it slide more easily out of the system. If kitty refuses to accept a finger-full scraped into his mouth, just spread the jelly on his paw so he has to lick it off as he grooms. Commercial hairball remedies often add salmon or malt flavoring to similar petrolatum products. Take care to follow label instructions or your veterinarian’s advice, though. Overuse of these products can interfere with the pet’s use of fat-soluble vitamins.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Scaredy-Cats, Ask Amy & Why Cats Groom

Posted on

Does your new kitten hide under the bed? Do your adult cats disappear when visitors ring the doorbell? Does the new puppy send your kitty into hiss-terics? Learning why cats act scared helps you know how to avoid fear triggers.

Scaredy cats react with fear to unfamiliar people, places or situations, because if they haven’t had a good experience, they assume the worst. Many kittens are clueless, but as the cat matures, this “stranger danger” behavior protects them so they don’t walk up to hungry critters, dogs or people. Find out more about kitty fear and what to do about it in this Paw Nation article about understanding scaredy cats. In fact, some cats that get upset simply groom a bunch and lick-lick-lick themselves bald.

.

Most cats are neatniks, and spend up to 50 percent of their awake time indulging in some form of cat grooming. However, grooming is learned by copy-cat behavior during kittenhood. So if the mom-cat is a slob, chances are Junior may get a bit dingy and care less about his appearance. Kittens learn to lick themselves by two weeks of age and are washing by the time they’re weaned. Learn how cats groom–and why–in this article about understanding cat grooming.

Do your cats have unique grooming habits? What about licking you–yep, that’s a cat’s way of sharing the joy of mutual grooming with a beloved human! Just as long as the kitty doesn’t snatch you bald, it can be quite a pleasant sensation. Are your cats neat freaks or do they get dingy and need baths? Have you ever bathed your cat…and lived to tell of it? Of course, there’s lots more cat-centric info in my best selling books Complete Kitten Care and Complete Care for Your Aging Cat….but what did I miss in the Ask Amy video, below? Please share!


I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Neat Freaks & Nasty Gifts

Posted on
12-12 persian kitten 2

Persians can be a grooming challenge.

We cherish the cat’s fastidious nature, and I’ve blogged before about the consequences–hairballs, ew!  But neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional and social health. Kittens learn to lick themselves by 2 weeks of age using copycat behavior, and a slovenly mother will raise kitten slobs.

Are your cats neatniks, or slobs? Seren has a very specific grooming routine, ever since she arrived as a four-month-0ld stray. Most times kittens wash themselves by the time they are weaned, and adults spend up to 50 percent of their awake time in some form of grooming. You can learn WHY are cats such OCD groomers in the rest of my NEATNESS FREAKS article at Paw Nation.

By the way, I’ll be sending in suggestions for future Paw Nation topics. Have any suggestions (dog or kitty?). Please share! No guarantees, but I aims ta pleeze. And if not there, the topic could be a future Ask Amy.

So does it seem counter-intuitive for some tidy creatures to indulge in playing mousy games with critter entrails? Ew, again! Do your cats bring you special gifts? The few times that a mouse managed to get into the house, Seren simply watched it run by with only passing curiosity. She does attack crickets with relish, though, and leaves the buggy drumsticks behind. I think one reason many of us adore cats is they’re just a paw-step away from that wild-child creature, so it’s like bringing nature closer into our lives.

The Ask Amy video offers a couple of reasons why cats bring us gifts–but what do you think?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Feline Friday: National Hairball Awareness Day

Posted on
That blue bed is as hairy as Seren-Kitty!

Do you know what today is? In celebration, Seren-kitty left me a “present.” She has good aim. She nailed the buttons on my printer, the scanner that sits next to it, AND a couple of books stacked on the scanner. One of the books was borrowed. But it’s my own fault. That hairball had to come out somewhere.

 It’s National Hairball Awareness Day! RomeoTheCat and FURminator are co-sponsoring an event to bring attention to this big-hairy-deal.

 Have you ever discovered the latest squishy “kitty creation” by stepping on it, barefoot, at 3 a.m.? Ewww!

 Cats, and some dogs (Pomeranian owners, am I right?!) swallow fur during self-grooming. Hopefully it ends up in the litter box or yard. But when it comes out the other end, the cat vomits hotdog or cigar-shaped hairballs.

Cats spend 30% of their lives grooming.

 Shedding season increases the odds kitty will “urk” more often, especially in longhair cats. The techie term for hairball is a “bezoar.”   I warn you, don’t click that link until after breakfast. I’m not posting a picture cuz I don’t want readers to “urk.” (Turns out, humans get bezoars, too, Ewww!) 

I’m fortunate that Seren has short fur, but even that can accumulate and be swallowed. We kid that fur in a pet home should be considered a condiment, but if kitty swallows too much, it stops up the system. Baseball-size hairballs have been removed from cats. Most cases won’t need surgery, though, and most hairballs can be easily eliminated.

That's a wad won't go into the cat, or stain my carpet on the way out.

 The no-brainer solution is to groom kitty and pull off the fuzz before it gets swallowed. I have grooming tools–the Furminator (above) is awesome and works especially well on the Magical-Dawg. (I don’t even wanna think what size bezoars he’d produce!)  And Seren enjoys the attention. Here are 7 more ways to manage hairballs.

So yes, I know, I already admitted this was my fault. Luckily the printer, scanner, and books cleaned up with only trace evidence of kitty DNA left behind.

 Seren just smiles. She’s always been critical of my reading material.

Do your cats get hairballs? What do you do to prevent ’em? What about your DOGS and hairballs? Cats that groom dog friends increase their hairball risk, too. Do your fur-kids like or loathe grooming. What are some tricks you use to keep a handle on fuzzy-icity? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!