How often should I clean the litter box?

This is a question often posed by new cat owners, who really don’t know answer. If you’re like me, you know you need to do it, but you really don’t want to think about it. The general rule of thumb is to scoop it at least once a day, twice a day preferably and to completely change the litter and sanitize the box weekly or biweekly (if you’re really good about keeping it scooped).

Just think of it this way, you really don’t want to use a dirty toilet, do you? Well, neither does your cat, most cats are very picky and won’t use a dirty box. Some won’t even use it after its been used once! If you cat is like this, you can try using multiple boxes (ideally, you want one box per cat, anyway). You can even try using one of those Rubbermaid storage tubs if your cat needs more room (you can cut a hole in the side of it).

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How do I keep my cat off the counters?

As cat owners, we all know that cats, by nature are curious creatures. They like to explore and reach the highest point in the house that they can. But, when kitty starts to become a nuisance and insists on creating havoc in the kitchen, we have to do something to stop it.

The first thing we must do is find out why kitty is getting up on the counters. Is there some tasty food up there to nibble on? Does the faucet drip? Is the counter the perfect spot to look out of his favorite window? We have to take away whatever tempts him to get up there. If there is food leftover on your plates, be sure to scrape it in the trash and rinse them before putting them in the sink. If the faucet drips, tighten it or replace it. You don’t want to give kitty any reason for being up there.

The next thing you must do is replace his favorite perch with something similar, such as a cat tree. This will allow him to climb up and survey the room, without breaking your fine china. Install the cat tree and sprinkle some catnip on it to encourage kitty to use it.

Ok, got the cat tree done? Here we go. Keeping kitty off the counter is pretty easy, you just have to associate it with something negative. For example, you can squirt kitty with a water gun every time he gets up there and yell a sharp, “No!” But, this doesn’t work when you are not around to police the kitchen. So what else? What I have found that works best is to make the surface of the counter unpleasant on his feet.

You can do this fairly easily. Find one of those plastic runner mats, the ones that have the sharp bumps on the backside. Place it bump side up on the counter top. You might want to tack it down with some packing or double-sided tape to keep it from sliding if kitty jumps up there.

When kitty jumps up on the counter, he will have these sharp pokey things on his feet, and just like you when you walk barefoot on gravel, it won’t be a fun thing. He will jump down, now, this make take awhile for him to totally get the point that the mat will be there every time he jumps up, so be patient. Keep the mat up there for a week or however long it takes to keep him off the counters. Then eventually, you can remove it and leave it off. Just remember, once you remove the mat, don’t leave anything up there to tempt him again or you will have to start over!

Another technique you can use is to take some unbaited wooden mousetraps and set them up on the counter. Cover them with a towel (remember you don’t want to hurt kitty, just scare him). When kitty jumps on the counter, it will set of a chorus of SNAPS! and will send him running from the kitchen as fast as he can. If you try the second one and catch it on video, you just might win America’s Funniest Home Videos!

Good luck! If you have any other techniques that you have used that have worked, feel free to post them in the comments section.

Can I Give My Cat Milk?

We alway see cats drinking milk, but is it really good for them? The answer is no. Many cats are lactose intolerant, which means your cat can’t digest the sugars (lactose) that are found in cow’s milk. In order to break down lactose, your body must contain the lactase enzyme, which both dogs and cats do not have.

Baby kittens must have milk, but it must be their mother’s milk. Once kittens are weaned, they require a diet of only meat and water. Cats are carnivores and therefore need a meat only diet. Cow’s milk contains no nutrition for a cat. If you cat is lactose intolerant and gets milk, she will develop gas, bloating and diarrhea.

If you want to give your cat some milk, it is best to get a specially formulated cat milk, which you can purchase from your veterinarian or from PetSupplies4Less.com. PetSupplies4Less.com carries KMR Kitten Milk Replacer, which would be a good alternative.

It’s A Sad Day

Miss Daisy Miss Daisy

My two kitties, Mister Bits and Miss Daisy have decided that after 10 months of being brother and sister, that they now hate each other. Mister Bits had to go to the vet again this morning for stitches (before we just thought that he had gotten into something and sliced his ear open — now we know the truth!). The vet said it was a pretty bad fight and it will probably only get worse. So, I’m left with the decision of giving Miss Daisy up for adoption or keeping her and trying to work it out — this of course could end up in more vet bills and tension between the two babies.

Miss Daisy is a sweet little Calico. She likes lap time and treats, which makes it surprising that she can be such a meanie to Bits, and he’s even twice her size. She is also standoffish with the baby, while Bits loves him to death.

Has anyone gone through this before, with a personality conflict and found a solution, if you have, please let me know what worked for you!