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Common Rescue Cat Behavior Problems

By November 27, 2019 Uncategorized
It’s a well-told fallacy that cats who wind up in the shelter do so because they have behavior issues. The truth is, this is usually not the case. Some cats (and dogs) find themselves being left in shelters and rescues for reasons that have nothing to do with their behaviors at all. But that’s another discussion …
Sadly, what does tend to happen is that some of these cats live in the shelter for such a long time awaiting their forever homes that their behaviors begin to change. What may result is the development of specific issues borne of displacement and panic.
These are the cats who need to be adopted the most desperately, so they can get past their newfound issues and become the loving pets they once were. Although these cats are usually overlooked, they’re the ones who tend to become the most loving kitties you could ever wish to adopt. (I can attest to this firsthand). Here are a few issues you may discover once you take your rescue or shelter kitty home, and how to help your new buddy to overcome his nervousness and fall in love with you.
1 Apprehension of others
2 Aggression or isolation
3 Not eating
4 Inappropriate elimination
5 Separation anxiety

7 Steps to Creating a Cat Friendly Home

Your cat spends the majority of their time in your home so make sure it’s a kitty haven with these 7 tips for creating a cat friendly home!

1. Expand your cat’s world: create vertical space.

One of the most important aspects of creating a cat friendly home is making sure your cat has vertical space. The creation of vertical space is HUGE for cats. It opens up their space, makes it easier for cats in a multi-cat household to get along as they can “time-share” their space/assets because there are enough spots to go around, and it lets them survey their world from on high. It also encourages exercise, sorely lacking for many indoor cats, by giving them somewhere to jump to. There are many awesome (and attractive!) ways to create vertical space for your cats: amazing cat trees, cat shelves, and the connection of these vertical spaces to create “cat super highways.”

2. Provide a dining experience free of whisker stress.

Did you know the high sides of your cat’s dish bother his delicate whiskers? It’s true. Whiskers are extremely sensitive. A wide, low-sided dish suits cats best. 

3. Give your cat a cocoon, not a hideaway.

Every cat friendly home needs good places for your cat to hide away and snuggle up. You should therefore provide a spot for your cat to disappear in plain sight so he can still be a part of family life but feels safe and secure. If your cat is able to “hide” by crawling into a “secret” spot off to the side of the living room.

4. Offer a room with a view. Cats love to look out windows.

Create a lookout point for your cat with a window perch or an appropriately situated shelf or bookcase. You might never know what your cat is thinking about when they spend all day staring outside, but a perch is always a kitty favourite. Though be aware that the outdoor presence of neighbourhood cats can disquiet indoor cats. 

5. The multi-bathroom home.

“Cat Daddy” Jackson Galaxy recommends the “plus one” rule, meaning when determining how many litter boxes you need, count the number of cats you have and add one; if you have two cats, you’ll want three litter boxes, situated in locations with social significance to your cats. Unfortunately, your cats would like their litter boxes placed where you spend most of your time. We get that you might not want a litter box in your living room but perhaps you can compromise; if your cats spend a lot of time by certain windows or doors, place the litter boxes in these spots or in the bathroom that you use.

6. No “gas station” bathrooms please.

Cats want a clean and non-stinky place to do their business and who can blame them? Consider improving your cat’s bathroom situation by upgrading to a litter box that fights odour issues.

7. Place scratching posts where your cat wants them, rather than where you want them. 

There are a number of reasons your cat is choosing the sofa and the doorjamb of your bedroom for scratching. They are important locations to your cat, marking key territory. Just reflect how much time you spend between these two locations; your cat wants to leave her mark in these key outposts to indicate her co-ownership. Instead of tucking away scratching posts where you’d like them, place them in these spots (or wherever else your cat seems to want to scratch).

Make sure the scratching posts you choose are super sturdy and provide for a variety of scratching positions—horizontal (aka what the arm of your sofa used to provide), vertical, and inclined. “Scratchability” is also important—it doesn’t help that the couch and door frames are usually made of ideal scratching material, so make sure the alternative on offer is satisfying for your cat to sink her claws into. Remember, cats aren’t just making their mark when scratching but are also stretching their back muscles and removing the outer nail sheath.

Dealing With an Aggressive Cat? 7 Reasons Why Cats Become Aggressive

Even the most experienced cat caretakers can find themselves charged up on adrenalin when having to face a cat in the midst of a fit of aggression. But encountering a hissing, growling, screaming, and possibly even scratching and biting cat can strike terror into the hearts of people who don’t know how to handle an aggressive cat. But cats don’t just suddenly go crazy: There are almost always warning signs and there’s almost always a good reason for cat aggression. Here are seven reasons why cats become aggressive and how to handle an aggressive cat.
1. Cats Become Aggressive Because They’re in Pain
2. Fear Can Cause Cat Aggression
3. Hormones May Cause a Cat to Become Aggressive
4. Cats Can Get Aggressive Due to Frustration
5. Cat Aggression Happens Due to Stress
6. An Aggressive Cat Might Be Responding to Trauma
7. Chemical Imbalances Can Cause Cat Aggression
The bottom line on handling an aggressive cat

No matter what the cause of the aggression, there are almost always warning signs. If you understand feline body language, you’ll be able to see that your furry friend is getting wound up before the situation escalates to a crisis point. If you have a highly reactive cat and you want to help him or her, be aware that it will take time and patience — but take it from a person who has rehabilitated traumatized cats: The reward is so worth the effort!


Is It Normal for Cats to Lose Their Teeth?


Should you worry if your cat loses a tooth? Is it normal? It depends on whether you’re talking about a kitten or an adult cat. Here’s a closer look at kitten and cat teeth so you’ll know when tooth loss is normal and when you need to visit the vet.

Do Kittens Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Like humans and all other domestic animals, cats do go through two sets of teeth throughout their lives. At only a few weeks of age, kittens will begin to get their baby teeth, which are also called “milk teeth” or deciduous teeth. The incisors—the small front teeth—are the first to erupt at 2-4 weeks of age. The premolars—larger teeth towards the back of the mouth—are the last to appear at 5-6 weeks of age, for a total of 26 baby teeth.

Adult Cat Teeth

Around 4-7 months of age, permanent (adult) teeth will start replacing the baby teeth. You may never even see the teeth as your kitten loses them, as they are often lost during mealtime or through play. Long before their first birthday, your growing kitten should have 30 permanent teeth. Barring injury or oral disease, these should keep your kitty chewing into old age.

What If Kittens Don’t Lose Their Baby Teeth?

The most commonly encountered tooth problem in kittens is the retention of baby teeth. If the baby teeth are not lost when the corresponding permanent teeth are coming in, it can result in abnormal tooth position and bite, tartar and plaque buildup, and even abscesses. But there are typically no complications if retained baby teeth are removed promptly by a veterinarian.

Is It Normal for Adult Cats to Lose Teeth?

It’s not normal for adult cats to lose any teeth. In adult cats, dental disease can start to escalate, and tooth loss can occur in cats suffering from severe dental issues. 

Dental Disease and Tooth Loss in Adult Cats

While cats do not develop cavities like humans do, this does not make them exempt from dental disease and tooth loss. In fact, dental disease is such a common feline ailment that approximately two-thirds of cats over 3 years of age have some degree of dental disease. Of course, not all tooth loss is caused by dental disease, and not all dental disease results in tooth loss.
As with humans, cats accumulate bacterial plaque on the surface of their teeth. If the plaque is not removed quickly, it becomes mineralized to form tartar and calculus. If dental disease is caught at an early stage, a thorough dental scaling and polishing may be able to save most of your cat’s teeth. However, if gingivitis is allowed to persist untreated, then irreversible damage to the bone and ligaments that support the tooth will lead to excessive tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss.
If you notice that your adult cat is missing a tooth, or you find a cat tooth around your house, please seek veterinary care, as this is a major sign of painful dental disease.

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