The Myth of Cat Care for Beginners - Catnip, Nail Trimming, Bathing and Skin Allergies
Why does cat love Catnip? Let us start off with an interesting topic about cat – the Catnip. Cat owners who have a cat probably try this trick before by putting a little bit of catnip on the floor and having fun seeing their cats rolling over it. What is Catnip actually? It is a fragrant herb which is known as “Nepeta Cataria” or catnip, catswor or catmint. It is commonly found in Europe & West Asia and this plant contains feline attractant - “nepetalactone”.
When our cats sniff on catnip and they will start to rub on the herbs and by doing that it will release oil from the leaves. Catnip stimulates playful responses from cat and it helps to boost activity level of a cat. Some cats will chew on catnips and in fact it is non-addictive and safe to eat. Alternatively, catnip serve as a training aid to encourage your indoor cats for some exercise.
90% of the cats will react to catnip by genetic factor but if your cats don’t react to catnip and that is totally normal. Use of catnips promote relaxation by engaging them for play session. However, cat owner needs to be moderate for using catnips on their cat as it might lead to over aggressiveness among cats.
Cats are low maintenance pets. Most of us have the first impression that cats are arrogant and not an affectionate animal. Oh no! It is not true that cats need minimum care and in facts cats are sensitive with human emotion too and their behavior are depending on how much attention the owner give them. Also, cats are not type of social animals and it is always a challenge to take care cats.
For an example, the old cats can’t get used to it when we try to introduce a new dog / cat into the house. They will feel defensive and started to chase and unfriend other pets initially. We can start the desensitization process between the old and new pets by letting them slowly getting used to each other. Start with separated room for feeding & resting and gradually to exchanging both of the bedding & blanket to let them adapted to each other smell.
Cats do self-grooming themselves. Some of the people will have this wrong perception that cats can take care of their own hygiene. Well, it’s definitely not 100% correct. Let’s learn for the tips on how to brush your cats to reduce shedding in them.
Rule # 1 Do the brushing when your cat is relaxing or in a good mood.
Rule # 2 To remove “dreadlocks”, brush against the hair growth direction. After removing the tangled fur, followed by the hair growth direction.
Rule # 3 Do not use the same brush for different cats at home to avoid transmission of skin diseases
Rule # 4 Suggested frequency of brushing for your cats
Long hairs cat: 1- 2 times daily
Short hairs cat: 1- 3 times weekly
Why we need to brush our cat? It will stimulate “Sebaceous glands”, a form of oil glants that keeping their coat & skin healthier. For long hair cats, it helps to prevent tangled fur or “dreadlocks”. In short, brushing is good for the following reason too:
- Eliminate dandruff
- Inspecting for wound and flea on cat
- Stimulate blood circulation
Below are some of the recommended soft brushes type suitable for short-medium to long coat cat that hate to be groomed.
- Bristle brush - closely-space teeth to make your cat coating shine.
- Slicker brush - comes with small steel pin to remove tangles and dander, suitable for medium-hair cats.
- Matbreakers - long blades that remove mats without damaging the coating.
- Furminator - Suitable for all types of cats to remove loose hair from a cat’s undercoat.
You shouldn’t declaw your cat just to stop them from unnecessary scratching. Declawing is cruel, inhumane and bring no medical benefits to cats. It is a process involves the amputation of the last bone of each cat toe. If it is performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Alternatively, we may do regular nail trimming for a cat to avoid serious damage on household item from scratching. In addition, we may prepare a scratching board near to our cat’s favourite spots and train them to do the scratching over there.
Kitten start to scratch as early as 8 weeks old. We need to understand the theory behind cat scratching behavior. Cats need to scratch to remove dead husks from their claws and to stretch their muscle.
How to trim a squirmy cat’s nails? Always do this when the cat is in a good mood. Sit on her back and gentle press on her footpad, claws appeared and use a cat nail trimmer to cut at the tip of the nails.
- Do it slow and relax. Reward your cats after nail trimming
- Cat nail can grow quite fast. Trim your cat’s nail as frequent as you trim your own nail
- Avoid trimming the lower part of their nail as there are red blood vessels over there.
Even indoor cats need to be bathed too. Older cats need to be washed regularly as they will get greasier and lazier to move actually. Apart from that, overweight cats might not able to reach every part of their body for basic self-bathing. Please bear in mind that saliva is not soap and can’t kill bacteria & germs. Therefore, cat need to be bathed especially they have developed skin & flea problem. Bathing helps to remove mats, dreadlocks, dirt and bad odor too.
Cats hate water generally. As an owner, we may use some of the tricks below to make sure both the owner and cat enjoy the bath session pleasantly.
Step 1 Trim their toe nail before the bath session
This is to avoid the cat to hurt the owner when he displayed an aggressive defense reaction during their bath time.
Step 2 Brush their cat to remove loose hair first
Step 3 Make sure the right water temperature (approx. 38 to 40 degree Celsius).
For kitten, you may use a water basin to fill with water. For older cats, you may put a foldable bath towel or anti-slip bath mat in the bath tub to let them stand on it when bathing to avoid over-panic with water.
Step 4 Shower sequence
Wet the limbs with water first, then squeeze an appropriate amount of body soap on your hands to bathe them, follow the order from the neck-back- belly-limbs and tail. Ensure the water level is always lower than their back.
Step 5 Dry and rinse your cat with towel
For long-haired cats, you may use hair dryer to dry the body thoroughly
Skin problem and allergies among cats.
Infections - Cats are prone to fungal, parasite & virus. It is easily transmitted to other pets within the same house and it will lead to itchy scratching, redness and swollen
Food Allergies - Pay attention on the amount of protein intake in cat’s food. In addition, some cats will have lactose intolerance issue and do not feed the cats with cow milks
Environmental Allergies - External element such as dust, mold or cigarettes may cause other cat’s skin problem such as hair loss, dry skin, acne and unpleasant odor.
Genetic Factor - Some cats are born with sensitive skin or a predisposition for skin conditions. In addition, some diseases — such as certain cancers and the adrenal disorder called Cushing's — may lead to skin problems in dogs and cats.
How to treat a cat’s skin problems
- Use an antibacterial bath wipes or flea-removal pet shampoo for cat
- Wipe off cat’s paw after an outdoor trip
- Switch your cat food to food which is rich with Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
- For fungal infection, opt for an antifungal & anti-ich medication