Educational Articles

Cats + Care & Wellness

  • Learning to eliminate in the chosen area is a crucial skill for pet kittens and cats. Most cats prefer unscented, fine grit clumping style litter, a deep box with at least 3” of digging material, a large area inside the box, and boxes located in quiet areas that are easily accessible. Provide lower-sided litter boxes for kittens and senior cats and multiple litter boxes for multi-cat homes. Doing our best to keep the litter clean and appealing to cats is one of the most important factors in maintaining good elimination habits in our pets. If you find a mistake after the fact, calmly and quietly clean the area, and resolve to better supervise the kitten in the future. Do not punish your kitten or cat for making a mistake. If your cat is ever seen frequently going to and from the litter box, standing or squatting in the litter for prolonged periods, posturing or standing in the litter box and vocalizing, these are all urgent concerns and require immediate veterinary attention.

  • Since cats are living longer and longer, they are also experiencing the deterioration and debilitation that goes along with aging. This includes the development of osteoarthritis. No one is in a better position to identify the subtle changes in behavior that may signal pain than human family members. You may observe changes in the following: vocalization, daily activities, daily habits, facial expressions, or posture. Your cat may show uncharacteristic behavior to other pets or family members. If you notice any of these changes, contact your veterinarian.

  • Medicated shampoos may be prescribed for a variety of skin conditions. These baths should be performed in an area that is comfortably warm, using lukewarm water. Medicated shampoo should be applied to a clean, wet coat, so start out by thoroughly rinsing your cat with lukewarm water. Shampoo should be worked into the coat thoroughly and allowed to sit for 10 minutes prior to rinsing, unless directed otherwise by your veterinarian.

  • Cats are very good at hiding signs of pain, so cat owners need to be very observant to recognize behavior changes that indicate their cat needs help. Some of the most common behavior changes are associated with grooming and litter box habits. This handout describes these and other changes to watch for, as well as advice on how to support your aging cat.

  • It may take several weeks to build up to performing a full nail trim and that is perfectly normal and acceptable. The goal is to make nail trims and positive and stress-free as possible for your cat. Taking the time to desensitize your cat to handling and nail trims will pay off in the long run, by making all of your cat’s future nail trims more pleasant.

  • Vaccinations are important to prevent serious illness in cats. Even cats that spend 100% of their time indoors should be vaccinated. Some viruses can be carried into your home on inanimate objects such as shoes and clothing, therefore infecting your cat without her coming into contact with another animal. Rabies is deadly for both cats and humans and can be transmitted by a rabid bat that makes its way into your home. Your veterinarian is your most important resource in determining what vaccinations need to be given to your cat to keep her protected.

  • This handout discusses the anatomy of the cat’s ear canal, how to safely clean your cat’s ears to prevent ear infections, and how to apply topical ear medications if needed.

  • In some cases, two laid-back adult cats can be easily introduced with minimal drama. In other cases, however, the introduction does not go as smoothly. Some adult cats may physically fight with each other, resulting in potential injuries. Even in the absence of physical aggression, introductions can provoke anxiety that leads to inappropriate elimination, decreased appetite, or other signs of stress in one or both cats. Fortunately, you can help increase the likelihood of success by introducing two adult cats slowly and gradually.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that is also commonly referred to as dry eye. It is a common eye condition resulting from inadequate production of the aqueous portion of the tear film by the lacrimal gland or the third eyelid gland. Any condition that impairs the ability to produce adequate amounts of tear film can result in dry eye. Most cats with KCS have painful, red, and irritated eyes leading to squinting. The treatment of dry eye is to stimulate tear production and to replace tear film. The prognosis for cats diagnosed with KCS has never been better.

  • Play is a very important part of the feline world and kittens need the opportunity to play in order to learn vital adult skills both for communication and for hunting.