Tag Archives: cat behavior

Creating a Catio

Do you have a screened porch or patio? If so, you’ve got a perfect spot for a catio! Our feline friends are definitely much safer staying indoors, where they are protected from hazards like weather, predators, traffic, and chemicals. However, they do enjoy getting some fresh air and watching butterflies, birds, and squirrels. Why not give Fluffy the best of both worlds? Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet offers some great tips on making your furry buddy a catio.

Plants

Many of our feline pals love to nibble on plants. Just be sure to choose pet-safe options. If you like potted trees, you can get an Areca palm, a Ponytail palm, a rubber tree, or a money tree. Ferns are also safe, and look great. If you have a brown thumb, you may want to get something hardy, like a spider plant or cast iron plant. African violets and hibiscus are good for pops of color. You can also add some herbs, like thyme, rosemary, and basil. (Bonus: you’ll also have fresh ingredients for cooking.) Catnip is also a must, of course. Check the ASPCA website here for a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Furniture

No catio is complete without some kitty furniture. A cat tower is a great option here! Your cute pet will gain a napping spot, a jungle gym, and a nail-care station, as well as a place to sunbathe and spy on local wildlife. You can also get Fluffy some soft beds, scratching posts, or even a kitty fountain. For extra purrs, plant some cat grass in a shallow storage tote or an old litterbox. Once it’s grown in, your feline buddy will have her own little ‘lawn’ to look smug on. Don’t forget to add a few pieces for yourself! You may find that your kitty’s catio is a great spot for reading, chatting on the phone, or drinking coffee.

Toys

Don’t forget to add a few toys for Fluffy! You may want to opt for plastic or rubber playthings, though. Catnip mice and other fuzzy/fluffy toys will soon get dusty and rained on. You can also try a mechanical ‘swimming’ fish, or a remote-controlled mouse. This is also a good spot to keep a laser pointer on hand.

Is your furry friend due for an exam, vaccinations, or parasite control? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!

Fluffy’s Goals for 2020

Happy New Year! Are you making resolutions for 2020? If so, your feline buddy will no doubt monitor you closely as you strive to make your new goals. Kitties certainly do like to keep a close eye on their owners! In fact, if Fluffy could make resolutions of her own, she may very well vow to supervise you more carefully. What else do you think your pet would want to achieve? A Roanoke, VA vet lists some options in this article.

Sleep More

Sleeping, as you may know, is Fluffy’s favorite pastime. Some of our feline pals can spend as much as 20 hours a day snoozing! Your drowsy furball may try to improve her napping times this year. Or, she may just want to experiment with dozing off in new places or positions.

Catch That Red Dot

Kitties are always super cute when they’re feeling playful. Interactive play is great fun for Fluffy. If you are controlling that red dot or feather toy, your frisky pet won’t know what her prey is going to do next. Try to play with your cat every day.

Help Around The House

Fluffy is very grateful for the love, food, and care you offer her. Your thoughtful pet may try to reciprocate by giving you a helping paw. Don’t be surprised if your furry friend tries to ‘assist’ as you change the sheets, wrap gifts, or fold laundry!

Distribute Fur More Evenly

Our feline friends have beautiful coats, and they thoughtfully try to share them with us. Fluffy may want to spread her fur around a bit more evenly this year.

World Domination

You may have heard the quote about how cats have never forgotten the fact that the ancient Egyptians considered them divine. Kitties certainly do have a very smug, superior look at times. Have you ever wondered why there are so many cat memes and videos on the internet? Is Fluffy actually trying to take over the world? 2020 may be the year we find out!

Spend Time With The Humans

Kitties are very emotional little furballs, and are always happiest when they feel loved. Fluffy may want to squeeze in more cuddle and lap time this year.

All of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, want to wish you and your pets a wonderful new year. Please contact us anytime!

Adorable But Sneaky Ways Your Cat Manipulates You

Did you know that June 24th is Cat World Domination Day? Of course, if you were to ask Fluffy, she may very well insist that every day should be Cat World Domination Day. Actually, many of our feline patients already have their humans wrapped around their paws! Read on as a Roanoke, VA vet lists some ninja-level kitty manipulation tactics.

The Meow

One of the most adorable things about cats is the way they vocalize. Fluffy’s chirps, squeaks, and meows are super cute, and have a way of keeping us smiling. As it turns out, our feline pals may have started meowing specifically so they could boss us around. They don’t meow at each other, at least once they’re fully grown. They usually only ‘talk’ when they want to give their humans orders.

Indecision

Although we recommend that cats live indoors, we do understand that our feline friends do enjoy going outside. And then back inside. And then outside again. Actually, Fluffy seems to really enjoy making her humans get up to open a door for her, even if she has no intention of actually going through said door.

Finicky Felines

Does your kitty sometimes cry to demand her dinner right meow, only to turn that cute little nose up at what you put in her bowl? To be fair, Fluffy does have a reason for being finicky. In the wild, cats always eat their prey fresh, and instinctively avoid anything that smells even slightly off. That said, there certainly are some spoiled furballs out there!

Adorable and Comfortable

Cats spend a rather ridiculous amount of sleeping. They also have a special way of looking almost impossibly cute during their naps. You may feel bad about moving your furry little friend when she’s clearly both extremely comfortable and, for some reason, completely exhausted. This is also why many kitties are able to take over the ‘lion’s share’ of their humans’ beds at night!

Computer Skills

Have you ever noticed that the internet seems to have a rather disproportionate amount of cat memes and videos? Are we slowly being brainwashed by these cuddly little furballs? Is this why Fluffy likes to sleep and walk on our computers and keyboards? We have our suspicions …

Please contact us, your Roanoke, VA vet clinic, for your feline overlord’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Adorable Things Your Cat Will Do Over the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us! Many of us enjoy partaking in special seasonal traditions at this time of year. For instance, you may watch a certain movie, play your favorite carols, or go to some annual holiday gatherings. As it turns out, our feline buddies also have a few holiday customs. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some of them below.

Play With The Tree

At this time of year, many of our feline patients turn their attention to those beautifully decorated trees. Kitty-proof your tree by hanging only sturdy, unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches. Put fragile decorations on the higher part of the tree, where Fluffy can’t reach them. You may also want to secure the treetop to the wall or ceiling with fishing line. If you have a super-frisky cat, opt for an artificial tree. (Note: ribbons, tinsels, pine needles, electric lights, and ornament hooks are all hazardous to kitties. Keep these things out of paws’ reach.)

Nap Under The Tree

Once your furball has tired herself out batting at holiday ornaments, she may curl up under the tree for a nap. This makes purrfect sense: cats are precious gifts!

Supervise The Humans

Cats are fairly nosy little furballs, and like to keep a close eye on their humans. Fluffy will monitor you as you are cooking, cleaning, and getting ready for holiday festivities. Your thoughtful pet may even lend a helping paw with giftwrapping and changing sheets!

Sleep On Guest Coats

Are you having company over in the next few weeks? If you ask your visitors to put their coats on a spare bed, you may want to close the door to that room. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll find Fluffy snoozing on someone’s jacket!

Play With A New Toy

Your kitty definitely deserves a special present. After all, Fluffy is part of the family! Offer your pet a few new playthings. Classic options, like catnip mice, are always a good option. You can also try something more modern, like an automated laser pointer or a mechanical ‘swimming’ fish.

Try New Boxes

After everyone has finished opening their presents, set a few boxes aside for Fluffy. As we all know, cats absolutely love boxes!

Season’s Greetings from all of us here at Old Dominion Veterinary Clinic. Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, anytime.

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!