Tag Archives: cat behavior

Your Cat’s Aversion to the Litterbox

Has your cat been eliminating outside of the litterbox, creating messes on your carpets and floors? About one in every 10 cats will experience a litterbox aversion at some point in their life! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you what to do if your feline friend has shunned her bathroom.

See the Vet

First things first—schedule an appointment to have your cat examined at the veterinarian’s office. There is a chance that medical issues, including infection, injury, or disease, could be the cause of your cat’s behavior! You’ll want to have any medical problems taken care of so that your cat doesn’t suffer further.

Many of our older feline companions suffer from arthritis, which can make it difficult for your cat to hoist themselves into the box. Try using a litterbox with low sides if you have an arthritic cat.

Placement

One of the main reasons that cats decide not to use their litterbox is because of where it’s located. Our feline friends are picky about this sort of thing; they don’t want to be disturbed while doing their business. Put the litterbox in a quiet, low-key area of the house where your cat won’t be interrupted by human family members or other pets. In most homes, a basement or laundry room works well.

Cleanliness

Who wants to do their business in a dirty bathroom? Not your cat! If you don’t clean Fluffy’s litterbox often enough, she may decide to go elsewhere. We recommend scooping out your cat’s waste on a daily basis, and changing all litter about once a week. This will ensure that the litterbox stays fresh and will further entice your cat into using it regularly.

Litter Preference

There is a wide variety of litter types out there, and different cats like different ones. There are scented versions, different granule sizes, different base materials… the list goes on and on! You may have to do some experimenting to find a litter type that your cat enjoys using. Ask your veterinarian for help.

Negative Association

If your cat was startled or injured while using a litterbox early on in life, she may associate negative things with the litterbox now. This kind of issue might take the help of a professional animal behaviorist or trainer to correct; ask your vet to put you in touch.

For help with your cat’s bathroom habits, call your Roanoke, VA vet.

Catnip: Your FAQs Answered

Most people have heard of catnip, but there are many questions surrounding our feline friends’ favorite indulgence. To get answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding catnip, read on as your Troutville, VA vet goes over the basics.

What Exactly is Catnip, Anyway?

Catnip is actually an herb, classified together in the same plant “family” as mint. Catnip plants in the wild stand a few feet tall and are a leafy green with white flowers. The plant is originally from Europe but has since spread to many different parts of the world, including most of North America.

Catnip is dried and processed to create the product you’ll purchase in a pet store. Raw catnip looks almost like dried basil or oregano that you probably have in your spice cabinet. Catnip can also be infused into toys, sprays, and a variety of other products made just for cats.

How Do Cats React to Catnip?

Cats respond to catnip in several ways. Some run around erratically; some rub their faces and bodies in the area where catnip has been sprinkled; others simply stretch out their limbs and relax in a state of bliss! It all depends on your cat.

Why Does Catnip Affect Cats?

The oils of the catnip plant contain a chemical substance called nepetalactone. It’s this substance that triggers a chemical reaction in your cat’s brain, producing the results that you see. Experts liken nepetalactone to a sort of aphrodisiac-like substance—it’s believed that catnip produces a nearly sexual response!

Typically, the effects of catnip wear off after only a few short minutes. The potency of catnip, and therefore how long the effects last, does depend on the type—raw catnip is usually more potent than catnip that’s been included in toys or other products.

Why Isn’t My Cat Reacting to Catnip?

Have you tried using catnip on your cat to no avail? Don’t worry—your feline friend isn’t broken! It turns out that cats require a specific gene, inherited from both parent animals, to feel catnip’s effects. If your cat does not possess this gene, catnip won’t have much of an effect at all!

Is Catnip Harmful in Any Way?

No, catnip is not harmful to your pet. There is no possibility of your cat “overdosing,” and you can give your cat catnip as often as you’d like.

For more information on catnip, call your Troutville, VA veterinarian.

4 Cute Ways to Spoil Your Cat

Kitties are very popular pets, and with good reason. Fluffy is not only super cute, she’s also very lovable and cuddly, not to mention entertaining. She’s also quite an easy keeper! Giving your feline buddy good food, a clean litterbox, and regular veterinary care will see to her most essential needs. But what does it take to really pamper a cat? Read on as a Troutville, VA vet lists some super cute ways to spoil your feline friend.

Kitty Garden

We recommend that cats live indoors, as they are both safer and healthier as indoor pets. However, you can still give your furball a taste of nature. Set out some pet-safe plants for Fluffy, so she can peek out at you from behind green leaves and pretend she is a ferocious predator. Just be sure to only choose non-toxic plants. You can find a full list at the ASPCA website here.

Vertical Space

Kitties can’t see very much from floor level, so they often like to climb to higher vantage points to get a better look at their kingdoms. Consider getting Fluffy a cat tower, so she can peer down at her domain. This will also provide Fluffy with a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a manicure station. Your furry friend may also enjoy some wall-mounted furniture, like kitty shelves or a catwalk.

Playthings

Playing is very important to your kitty’s health and well-being. A fun play session will not only get Fluffy off the couch and moving, it will also provide her with beneficial mental stimulation. Classic pet toys, like catnip mice, are fine, but you can also offer your furball a cute modern toy, like a robotic mouse. Offer Fluffy a variety of playthings, and see what she likes best. We also recommend playing with your cat regularly. It will be fun for you both!

Love and Cuddles

We may like to joke about how Fluffy is cold and calculating, but the truth is, kitties are really very emotional, and form very strong bonds with their human pals. Spend time with your feline buddy every day, and pay lots of attention to her. Purrs and kitty kisses are both truly precious gifts in our book!

Please contact us, your Troutville, VA veterinary clinic, with any questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care. We’re dedicated to providing excellent care!

Fluffy’s Scratching Habit

Do you sometimes find your cat using your sofa as a nail-care station? Is your kitty slowly shredding your carpets and furniture? Kitties have many adorable habits, but their nail-care routines aren’t always very popular with their human buddies. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses Fluffy’s scratching habit.

Why Kitties Scratch

Even if your feline friend looks tremendously pleased with herself after scratching your sofa, she isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your things. Cats have a strong, instinctive urge to take care of their claws, and with good reason. In the wild, kitties need their claws for survival. Although your pampered pet may never need to hunt for her dinner, climb a tree to escape a predator, or defend herself against anything but the vacuum cleaner, she’ll still feel driven to sharpen her claws.

Choosing A Peticure Station

If you want your furry little diva to stop scratching your things, you’ll need to provide her with a suitable nail-care station. Choose something that is tall enough to allow Fluffy to stretch out to her full length. Make sure it doesn’t wobble: if your furball’s scratching post isn’t sturdy, she may become wary of it and stop using it.

Teaching Good Habits

If you just tell Fluffy not to scratch your couch, you’ll probably just get a yawn and a meow in reply. What you’ll need to do is get your cat to form a bad association with improper scratching and a good association with her scratching post. When you see your kitty scratching improperly, do something that will startle and/or annoy her: make a loud noise, squirt her with water, or stamp your foot. Your furball will probably bolt for a quieter spot. When you see Fluffy using her scratching post, reward her with toys, treats, praise, and ear scritches.

Last Resorts

If you aren’t having any luck, contact your vet to set up a nail-trim appointment for Fluffy. This is painless and temporary, just like a human manicure. Claw caps are another option. These cute fake nails for kitties come in many bright colors. Like nail trims, they are also painless and temporary. (Note: we don’t recommend these options for cats that go outdoors, as they need their claws for defense.)

Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA pet hospital, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!