Pet Talk
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Pet Talk

August 12, 2020

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on how to stop a cat from rejecting a new kitten

By Maneka Gandhi

Why won’t cats stop meowing?

If your cat won’t stop meowing, it could signal loss of vision and/ or hearing. If your older cat won’t stop meowing, once you’ve turned off the lights and gone to bed, she may really feel lost. 

A cat will be meowing because it might be in heat.

Typically found in older cats, hyperthyroidism displays a number of symptoms, including weight loss despite ravenous hunger, excessive activity and excessive vocalisation, if your cat is showing these symptoms and your cat won’t stop meowing.

A cat will rarely show pain, but sometimes when she’s really hurting, a cat won’t stop meowing.

 A kind of constant cat meowing or crying usually starts after you go to bed and continues until you respond, or she gets tired of calling out for attention.

Why do cats chase lasers?

Lasers are inherently stimulating to cats because of what they represent: fast moving prey. Just because your cat doesn’t have to work hard for her food doesn’t mean that she’s not hardwired for the job.

As the dot of a laser darts around the room, your cat interprets it as a small animal trying to run and hide. As such, certain inherent feline behaviours come out, notably the innate desire to hunt, pounce, and kill the prey in question. The fact that it’s merely a projection doesn’t matter very much because your cat is operating on auto-pilot, not on intellect.

How do I tame a feral cat?

Food is how wild cats became domesticated in the first place: they figured out that hanging around humans equalled regular meals. So, successfully taming a feral cat in your neighbourhood will begin by establishing a routine around food. Feed the cat at the same time and in the same spot every day. Don’t make eye contact with him when you see him; cats can take that as threatening. Sit or stand quietly nearby and just ignore the cat as he eats. Once that’s going well, you can talk to the feral cat in a calm, soft voice. The hope is that the cat will start to trust you. Once you sense that he does, move the food a little closer to you each day. Of course, offering a few cat-treats along with food can’t hurt.

Don’t attempt to touch the feral cat until you are at least confident, judging from his day-to-day reactions to you, that he’ll allow it. If he backs away, stop and wait a few days before trying again. Take care not to make sudden movements. Let him sniff your finger before trying to stroke his cheek. Once the cat seems comfortable with touch, then you can move on to petting. If this is a success, you can try gently picking him up. Be prepared for weeks of diligent effort, if not months, to get to this point. You must take him to the veterinarian for a full check-up and vaccinations, and of course, to be neutered or spayed. You’ll need to have built up enough trust with the cat to be able to get him into a crate for the trip. This may take several tries, but this step can’t be skipped when taming a feral cat — for your sake as well as his.

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How can I tell if my cat has fleas?

If you observe your cat scratching and aren’t sure if fleas are the cause, use a flea comb on your cat and observe the tiny black dots that emerge on the comb. These are commonly called “flea dirt,” but, it is the excrement the flea leaves. Smash some with a damp paper towel and the flea dirt will turn red. The red colour is residue from your cat’s blood and a warning that cat flea control is necessary.

How to get rid of fleas on your cat?

Comb the cat: Using a flea comb, comb carefully throughout the entire body of the cat. Keep a jar or bowl of diluted bleach nearby, and as you collect fleas on the comb, shake them into the jar. The fleas will die quickly.

Bathe the cat: If you and your cat are up to it, a bath will drown most remaining fleas. It isn’t necessary to use a “flea” shampoo or a “flea dip” for this purpose. Just a mild cat or baby shampoo will do the job handsomely.

Do ticks affect cats?

Ticks can attach themselves into your cat’s skin. They can transmit severe diseases that can affect both you and your cat and, if the infestation is heavy enough, can result in severe blood loss. It is essential to remove any ticks you spot on your cat’s skin quickly and efficiently to minimise harm to your cat.

What are the symptoms of tick infestation?

Ticks can cause itching, but very often there are no overt symptoms unless your cat develops a tick-borne illness. The only “symptom” you may see is the presence of a tick on your cat. Run your hands over your cat’s body when it comes home for dinner each evening to check for any lumps or bumps. A tick will feel like a small bump on your pet’s skin. They tend to attach themselves to areas around a cat’s head, neck, ear and feet.

How to stop your cat from rejecting a new kitten?

When you bring a new kitten home, it’s important to slowly introduce it to your cat. Whether you’ve done that or not, if the cats aren’t getting along, there are a few steps you can take to try to break the ice.

Food bowls: Make sure the kitten has its own food and water bowls that are not in the same location as your cat’s bowls. Feed them in separate areas so your cat doesn’t become territorial about its own food and your kitten gets a chance to eat.

Sleeping areas: Provide separate sleeping areas for both cats. Don’t try to give your cat’s old beds or condos to the new kitten. Your older cat has already established possession of these and won’t take kindly to a kitten using them without permission.

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Observation areas: Cats usually deal with “intruders” by trying to avoid them, and only display overt aggression as a last resort. Your cat should have a safe place to get away from the new kitten until they have gotten comfortable with each other. Provide your older cat with areas outside the kitten’s reach where only it can go.

Litter boxes: Make sure you have one more litter box than you have cats. This means that if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes. There should be no direct line of sight between the boxes in case both your older cat and new kitten are in different boxes at the same time.

Can you leash train your cat?

Yes, it is possible to leash train your cat. It is a great way to get your cat to safely enjoy the sights and sounds of the world beyond the house. It is also a good way to exercise your cat. Firstly, buy a good harness and leash for your cat. Make sure it’s not too tight and there should be two finger space between the harness and the cat. Start by just having him or her get used to the harness. Let the cat sniff it, present it as a gift then gently put it on. 

New noises can be alarming to some cats, so practice snapping the harness together or undoing the velcro to get your cat accustomed to the new sounds. Now that your cat is aware of the harness, slip it on him, but don’t fasten it. Provide more treats as a distraction and to help your cat associate the harness with a positive experience. If it seems comfortable in it, leave it on a bit longer, but if he gets upset, provide a food distraction and slip the harness off. It’s completely normal for cats to freeze up, refuse to walk or walk very strangely the first few times they’re wearing a harness. 

Your cat has likely never experienced the sensation of something on his back before, so it’s going to take some time to adjust to it. When your cat is comfortable with the feel of the leash, practice following him around your home, keeping the leash loose in your hand. Continue to provide plenty of treats and praise throughout this process. Once you’ve both had some practice with this, it’s time to try gently guiding the cat.

Apply a little pressure on the leash and let the cat come towards you. When he does, reward him with a treat. After some time, you can start taking the cat outside. Initially, your cat might be on high alert, so be patient and let the cat observe his environment. You may find that soon it will become comfortable being outside and will come to love being outside with you. Avoid taking him for long walks or in areas where there are dogs.

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