SPOTLIGHT on HELPFUL INFORMATION
Have to move or new to the area?
Need to find pet friendly housing?
Check out this website: http://www.myapartmentmap.com/pet_friendly/
Time for your cat's annual checkup?
Veterinary services which may be helpful to our neighbors in the Alpharetta area:
Jones Bridge Animal Hospital
Lafferty Animal Clinic
The Cat Clinic of North Georgia
USEFUL TIPS and INFORMATION
AVOIDING FURNITURE DESTRUCTION
Scratching is natural behavior for cats. This is how they mark their turf. Cat's paws have scent glands that leave their own special scent on their territory. Scratching keeps your cat in shape because it pulls and stretches the muscles of a cat's front quarters. So the cat feels good when he scratches. To keep your pet from scratching your furniture, you must provide the cat with an acceptable substitution. An appropriate scratching post placed in the area that's used by the family is recommended or next to the furniture where the cat scratches. The post should be at least 28 inches tall (the taller the better) so that the kitty can stretch and should be very stable. If it is possible, more than one should be placed around a house. You can rub catnip on the post to attract the cat to it. It may also be necessary to cover furniture. carpet, etc areas where kitty has erroneously scratched to discourage him/her from reverting to this bad habit. Cover the areas with aluminum foil or doublesided tape. Because the kitty may have left a scent, you may need to use a pet odor remover on that area. Along with purchasing a scratching post, it will help if you keep your pets claws trimmed.
For more information check out this great website: http://www.catscratching.com/
If you think coyotes only come out at night, think again. These are pictures of two coyotes sunning themselves at 1PM in the backyard of a very visible home in an Alpharetta community and on a busy main street. Please watch your pets closely. They can be carried off in seconds and right from your own property.
LITTER BOX ISSUES
Did you know that in the wild, cats bury their feces so that it cannot be detected by predators, thus making their habitat a much safer place? This habit is ingrained in the domestic cats of today, making cats some of the cleanest animals in nature. Burying their "business" in a litter box is a continuation of self preservation and makes for some great personal hygene. You will notice that even if an area separate from the litter box, is used, a kitty will try to dig and cover. In most instances, a healthy and happy kitty will always use the litter box with very little training. Why will a kitty stop using a litter box? The following are considerations:
Your cat may have a health issue. Take your kitty to your veterinarian for a checkup .
You may not be cleaning your litter box frequently enough to please your cat. Increase your scooping schedule and maybe completely change the litter and wash the litter box.
The litter you are using could be a problem: scent, consistency, etc. Look for an unscented litter with more sand-like granules or even a litter that advertises a special attraction for cats.
Think about any changes that have occurred in your home that may trigger stress in your kitty. Security is a key issue for animals.
A little attention to details or extra attention to your kitty often solves the problem. Remember to thoroughly clean any areas where "accidents" have happened. Don't forget, your kitty companion relies on you for happiness and security. When any of these are threatened, cats will try to communicate their fears to you in any way they feel will get your attention!
CAT TO CAT INTRODUCTIONS
Patience is the key to success in pet introductions. Several short introductions (5-10 minutes) after a few days of acclimation to the new home are best. Confine the new kitty in his/her own room for 2 to 7 days. Take a towel and rub it over the new kitty and place the towel under the food bowl of the resident kitty. Do the same for the resident kitty and put the towel under the food bowl of the new kitty. In this way, the kitties will get used to each other's scents. Make sure that the space used to confine the new kitty is comfortable and has food, water, litter, toys, a bed, etc. It is not a good idea to confine the new kitty in the favorite space of the resident kitty. If the resident kitty enjoys sleeping with you, keep the new kitty in a spare bedroom or utility room. Another technique is to put the new cat in a carrier and let the two kitties sniff each other. Never leave new pets alone with each other. Always supervise the introductions until you are sure they are getting along. Introductions are best done during meal or treat time so that there is a positive association with the newcomer. Use food treats to reward good behavior and do not "punish" bad behavior. If growling or aggression occur, go back to the previous step for a few days, and then try again. Hissing is usually okay, as long as it does not progress to growling. It usually means "back off, I need more space." Be sure to spend quality time with the resident cat. Kitty needs reassurance that he or she is not being replaced. If a fight should break out, be very careful. You want to avoid being bitten while separating fighting cats. Use a broom to get between them, or throw a towel or water over them. After they have calmed down, examine each one to make sure there are no bite wounds or severe scratches. If cats are having a very hard time getting used to each other, you may want to try an herbal or other medicinal remedy to calm them. Again, remember that patience is the key. It can take a few days, a few weeks or a month for the cats to adjust. Some cats will never like each other or be best friends but most will come to a state of peaceful co-existence if they are allowed to acclimate in their own time and in their own way.
CAT TO DOG INTRODUCTIONS
Put the dogs outside while you bring the cat in and get it settled. Temporarily give the cat a room of his own with everything he needs (bed, food, water, toys, litter box, scratching post, etc.) Later you can make other arrangements for the cat if you want to. A utility room, bathroom or spare bedroom work fine. Ideally, the room should be in a quiet but not deserted part of the house, where the dog doesn't have automatic access. You don't want the dog camping outside the door and pestering the cat, but you also don't want to put the cat in the room and forget him. The cat does need human company and needs to bond to you. If necessary, put some kind of barrier or obstacle outside the door to keep the dog away unless you can supervise him. Or crate the dog. Put the cat in the room immediately, rather than letting him roam over the whole house. He will settle down much faster.
When the cat is settled, go and get the dog. Let him sniff the cat's scent on your hands. Bring him in on leash and let him approach the door quietly and sniff quietly. No barking, lunging, jumping, etc. is permitted. If necessary, make the dog do some obedience (heeling, sit-stay, down-stay) outside the door. Make it clear this is not a free-for-all, and you, not the dog, will decide how he behaves around the cat. When the dog is reasonably well behaved on leash (which may be immediately), let him approach the door off leash. You can keep a leash nearby in case you need it. You can also keep a spray bottle of water on hand if that works with your dog. Use your voice, too, to praise quiet behavior and to correct the dog if he starts acting up. Be sure to praise the dog and give him treats when he's behaving well around the cat, so he starts to associate the cat with good things.
To help them get used to each other's scent faster, rub a towel over the cat to pick up his scent, and then rub it over the dog. Do the same thing in reverse. Take a towel with one's scent and put it in the other's bed. Use the same brush or comb on both of them. When the dog is calm around the cat's scent (again, this may be very fast, or it may take a day or so), the next step is letting them see each other under controlled conditions. That could be through a screen door, through a dog gate, or with the dog in a crate. Unless the dog is crated, he must be on a leash so there is no chance of him chasing or lunging at the cat. If he's crated and is getting too boisterous, use the spray bottle, or distance him from the cat until he calms down. Then gradually move him closer to the cat at a slow pace so he remains calm, and reward for good behavior.
The next step is to start removing the barriers (e.g., crate) and letting them spend more time together, first with the dog on leash and then trying it off leash if all is going well. Never allow the dog to jump on, chase, or harass the cat. Keep the treats coming.
Don't leave the dog and cat alone together, however briefly, until the cat is clearly comfortable with the dog (even if they aren't especially friendly). All hell can break loose very quickly. You want to make sure the dog has grasped that the cat isn't prey and isn't just waiting for a chance to pounce on the cat.
No matter what you've done wrong, make it look like the dog did it.