Friday, June 03, 2005

More Friday cat blogging--Adopt a Cat Month

June is Adopt a Cat Month. As much as I like to see cats and kittens get adopted, it frustrates me to no end how difficult people make cat care when it is so easy. Following is the DED Space cat care myth-buster:

Cats aren't friendly.
Cats, for the most part, are very affectionate creatures. Unlike dogs, they are not pack animals, but they do want company, in human, feline, and appropriate canine form. And they love pets, grooming, and play. Most like to be held, and most like to sit in laps.

Cats should be outdoors or they will not be happy.
Outdoors, they are likely to be contract diseases, get hit by cars, mauled by dogs and other cats, abused and frightened by sickos, and sometimes even get stolen for lab use. They will disturb your neighbors by soiling their gardens, scratching the finish on their cars, and disturbing their indoor pets by lurking around windows.

They are very happy indoors if they are given the right environment: windows to sit in, a cat tree for climbing, at least one snug retreat, a variety of toys, and something to scratch. Given the right environment, a cat has no desire to go outside. Contrary to what people say, cats are not "wild"--they (other than ferals, of course) are domesticated animals. Another advantage to having an indoor cat is that you avoid most of the vaccinations, which have been shown to be harmful, and--at any rate--are given far more often than needed.

They will tear up my furniture.
No they won't, if you give them what they want. Scratching on a sofa or rug is very unsatisfactory for a cat, but s/he will do it in desperation. An actual log works well, but a good sisal tree is just as good. The best scratching tree made is the Felix Cat Tree. Get the large size and don't throw away the metal wedge; you'll need it to secure the post. Our cats have a large Felix tree and a very tall cat tree (with condos) that has sisal posts. They also sometimes use their old kitten post when they are in the back of the house and need a good scratch. And they have a two-story cat perch with narrow logs for posts.

Declawing is out of the question. It is illegal in more sensible countries.

The litter box is too hard to maintain and smells bad.
Again, not if you do it right. The biggest mistake people make is to put a lot of litter in the box, thus trappping urine, which is what causes the bad odor. The other mistake people make is buying clumping litter or "deoderizing" litter. Scams. Get plain old-fashioned clay litter. Better yet, if you want to save the mines in Kentucky, get pine litter. The third mistake they make is using one of those stupid litter scoops that picks up solid waste but lets the litter itself fall through the cracks.

Put no more than a couple of inches of litter in the box. If you use the pine type, be very careful--it expands like mad. Once or twice a day (depending on how many cats use the box or boxes), lift out the solid waste with a solid spatula. Then tilt the box, which is easy to do when there isn't much litter in it. You will see the clumps; lift them out and toss them, then level the litter. Once a week, scrub the box with a non-toxic cleaner and rinse very thoroughly. You will have no bad odors if you use this method. We have had five cats at once and no odors.

I am allergic to cats.
For this problem, I refer you to Anitra Frazier's The New Natural Cat. Her method of avoiding allergy triggers works, and it is much better for the cats.

There are other things to consider if you have cats. They must be groomed regularly and their claws must be clipped. That, too, is easy to do if you do it the right way. Be sure to invest in a Zoom Groom, the best grooming tool ever made.

Dry food should be used sparingly, if at all, because cats tend to have trouble with their kidneys, and kidney trouble is triggered by an absence of sufficient moisture. "Quality" cat foods like Science Diet and Iams are not much better than regular grocery store junk. However, there are some high quality cat foods available.

Cats make wonderful pets. Do adopt a cat or kitten from your local shelter, but please pay no mind to the common cat care myths.


Also, modern medications like Allegra and Claritin defeat cat allergies without unpleasant side effects. The thing I've found is that my boyfriend's cat allergies tend to only flare up if we are late on the once-a-week dusting and vaccuming routine.

By Blogger Amanda Marcotte, at 10:58 PM  

Excellent points! Cats are every bit as satisfying as dogs can be, for a wonderful companion.

As you say, cat litter box issues don't have to be! Scoop the boxes, clean them regularly, and make sure you put enough boxes for the kitty to use.

Many people don't realize that there are a lot of cats who want two boxes to deposit their "stuff" in; one for urine, and one for solid waste.

Great post!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:25 AM  

I will definitely check out the site you mentioned for allergies - the only reason I don't have a cat! I have 2 dogs and they both would love cat companionship, as would I.

My problem is that not only do I have allergies, I have allergy-induced asthma. I only get asthma in the presence of cats (my sister has 3) after hanging around them for 2 or more hours. The scary thing is that my lungs nearly close up. They're fine a few hours after I leave cats' company. Sometimes I have to use Primatene inhaler to get my lungs to open up again.

Claritin, et al, work great for the sneezing & eye watering stuff. For the asthma though, it does nothing. So, if any of you know how to prevent the asthmatic symptoms, I'd be really grateful.

In fact, I just was at the neighborhood pet supply store, where a really nice cat/dog rescue that I've helped in the past was holding a cat adoption. So many cuties! I was able to get in my kitten fix for the week.

Thanks again for all the information. I am going to copy your post and send it onto all my animal lover friends, esp. the one who volunteers at the Burbank shelter, so she can pass it onto people who might not otherwise adopt!

See what good today's entry did?


By Blogger Unknown, at 4:01 PM  


Actually, the Frazier reference is a book, not a website. Her theory involves the digestive gland's role in the production of dander, and her solution is simple. She also suggests some dietary adjustments for the humans with the allergies.

Whether Frazier's solutions apply to asthma, I don't know, but they would be worth a try.

By Blogger Diane, at 4:11 PM  

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