In general, cats are clean animals who make an effort to avoid messes or odors. Though even with their reputations for being clean, some cleanliness and etiquette problems still ensue. There are many reasons for this – from being removed from their mothers before they could learn proper etiquette to just needing a good brushing. Whatever the reason may be, in this section we will try to cover all of the problem areas we have seen with cats.
*Shedding. Unless your cat is the hairless sphinx, there is no avoiding shedding. With all that fur, it has to go somewhere, but you can control it to some extent. How to fix it: By brushing your cat on a regular basis, you can eliminate much of their lost fur before they ever reach your furniture or favorite shirt. To get the best effects, we recommend brushing your cat for 10 minutes 2-3 times a week. Depending on the length of your cats fur and thickness, you will need to use either a comb or a slicker brush or alternate the two. If your cat loathes being brushed, try to find a small comb that’s easily hidden in your hand so you appear to only be petting them. By not brushing your cat, you’re leaving them to swallow much of their fur and that can create hairballs.
*Hairballs & vomiting. Though it may seem crude – cats vomit, it’s what they do. Vomiting can mean several things for a cat and sometimes you must seek the advice of your vet to know exactly why. If the vomit is bloody, contains mucus, or is reoccurring, your cat is sick and you must contact your vet immediately. Never yell at your cat for vomiting, remember that it’s not their fault. How to fix hairballs: Hairballs occur when kitty has ingested too much of their own fur. By brushing your cat regularly, as recommended in our shedding section, you can help eliminate hairballs. If you hear or see your cat working up a hairball, give them catnip immediately. Catnip helps their digestion and will calm the urge to get it out. To help your cat pass the hairball through their system, add 1/4th of a teaspoon of canola oil to their next meal. How to fix vomiting: Whether or not there is a fix to this all depends on why your cat is vomiting. If there is a medical reason for it, you will have to see your vet. There are several medical issues related to this and only a professional would know which it is. If your cat is vomiting soon after their meals, there is a good chance that they’re eating too fast. If this is the case, feed your cat in increments of a tablespoon so they are forced to wait for the next serving. If your cat is still vomiting, you may consider switching their food. Certain dyes and proteins can be hard on a sensitive stomach. It’s best to avoid dyes altogether, your cat doesn’t care what their food looks like, and go with a lamb, chicken, or fish based food. Anytime you change an animals diet, please do so gradually so their systems can adapt to the change. Always remember that throughout their life, your cat will vomit even if there seems to be no reason behind it. Like stated earlier, it’s just what cats do.
*Messy eaters. Not every cat will be a clean, delicate eater. They may drop food on the floor, by accident or purposefully, and they may also get it on themselves. Leaving food on the floor can attract bugs or even begin to stink, so please clean up after your cat. How to fix it: We see this most commonly when cats are eating wet food. They leave traces of their meal all around their dish, get it on their whiskers and chins, and sometimes even have a glob of it on their paw. You can switch your cat to a dry food, however, wet food is more beneficial for a cat. By combining wet and dry, you may get much of the wet food to adhere to the kibble and leave less mess behind. By feeding your cat on a place mat, you can remove the mat after feedings for a quick wash. As far as your cat getting food on their face, you will have to wipe off what they can’t reach with their tongues. By putting your cat’s food on a plate or in a shallow saucer, they won’t have to use their paw to reach the last bit of food, keeping their paws clean. If you feed your cat dry food, you will have to either pick the dropped kibble up yourself or use a place mat.
*Litter box odor and etiquette. In our experience, we have smelled some foul litter boxes and have seen some litter box etiquette that’s been off the beaten path. Ever hear the saying: “Adult cats know their way around a litter box”? Although true, some cats just have an odd way of proving that. We’re not always sure of their reasoning behind it, but we’ve had to laugh at some of their attempts. How to fix odors: First, you will want to clarify if it’s a normal odor or if it’s especially rank. When a cat’s feces smells above and beyond the norm, your cat may have parasites, an infection, or another illness. Please call your vet if you notice any changes in their stool. If you’re having problems containing and eliminating the smell, there’s a few things you can do. Begin by scooping the litter once or twice a day and always change the litter once a week or every other week. Clean boxes smell less and will also encourage your cat to keep using them. Next, consider what type of litter you use. If it’s unscented, you may want to switch to the scented kind. If it’s non-clumping, switch to clumping. If you like the litter you use, you can try adding a deodorizer. This can be baking soda, added in a light layer on top of the litter, or an odor-control powder (available in your pet aisle). Keeping your litter box somewhere apart from your living area will help contain the smell, more so if that area is well ventilated. Lastly, if you don’t have a covered box, think about getting one. How to fix poor etiquette: Is your cat leaving litter scattered all over the floor or do they not fully understand the mechanics of getting in and out of the box? If you find yourself sweeping up litter all the time, purchase a litter box mat. These are plastic or rubber mats with small prongs that sit outside the box, cleaning your cats paws as they exit. Try to buy a mat created for this purpose as other similar items can be displeasing to a cat’s paws. If your problem lies with your cat’s etiquette while they’re using the box, you may want to buy a covered box or an extra large one. In most cases, the covered box will be your best bet.