How to Get Sticky Substances out of Cat Fur

How to Get Sticky Substances out of Cat Fur 

If you’re a cat owner, chances are a time will come when your favourite feline gets into somewhere they shouldn’t, and returns covered in anything from oil to chewing gum! While it’s hard to prevent cats getting into sticky situations, there are a number of household remedies to make sure they get cleaned up properly afterwards. Read on for our top tips on removing sticky substances from your cat’s fur.

Oil and grease

The best solution for cleaning oil or grease from cat fur is a mild washing up liquid. Lather the soap into the affected area (undiluted) and then rinse your cat in a tub of warm water until the suds have all disappeared.

Chewing gum 

Any home with cats and children is likely to come across this sticky problem at some point. The good news is you can tackle it in the same way that you would remove chewing gum from clothes, by applying an ice cube to the gum; freezing can make it easier to gently pull out. If this doesn’t work, try massaging in some vegetable oil or another edible, non-toxic oil, and leave for around 15 minutes before removing the gum and then following the above tips to wash the oil away.

Glue or resin

If your furry friend’s been at the stationary drawer again, don’t panic – all the ingredients to remove glue from fur can be found in the average kitchen. Again, start with a natural oil, such as olive oil, and rub a little into the area for about 10 minutes (do it as part of a cuddle to make your cat a bit more cooperative). Leave for a further 10 minutes, then try to comb out as much glue as you can, being careful not to pull on the hair root. Finish by working in a small amount of peanut butter and leaving for another 10 minutes, before washing your cat with mild detergent, and rinsing thoroughly.

Household cleaners or chemicals

If your cat has a toxic substance stuck in its fur, such as petrol or household cleaners, try to prevent them licking themselves by using a collar or wrapping them in a towel until you can clean the area. Try to trim away the contaminated fur with hair or nail scissors, using a comb to pull the fur away from the skin. You can use cooking oil to rub away the substance if it’s a small area. After using either of these methods, wash your cat using a mild detergent and warm water.

Safety tips

  • If you’re dealing with a hardened substance that won’t budge, such as paint, it’s usually easier and more effective to cut away the affected fur.
  • Remember, your cat’s first instinct is to lick its fur, so don’t use any harsh chemical products to clean them, such as paint thinner. Certain natural oils are also poisonous to cats, including tea tree, eucalyptus and citrus oils.
  • If you think your cat has ingested any chemicals, call your local vet or RSPCA centre for advice.
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Are Your Pets Right or Left Pawed

Yes, you read that right pets are like humans right or left pawed in the case of humans right or left-handed. There were two studies done one in Turkey and one in England. In the study done in Turkey it was discovered that the majority of domestic cats are right pawed that’s 50%, 10% are ambidextrous and 40% prefer to use their left paw. Now when it comes to dogs the study in England discovered that 50% of them tend to be left pawed with a smaller number being ambidextrous.

Interestingly enough it appears that it also depends on the gender of the animal as to which paw they will tend to favor. Female cats and dogs will prefer to use their right paw while their male counterparts will prefer the left paw. Now if your pet happens to be spayed or neutered at an early age, this particular distinction goes away. You can’t just play with your pets to determine their preference because unlike with humans they will weekly express which paw they prefer so it takes some time to see a pattern.  Now here I can say that our cat Sid prefers his right paw because this is the one with which he constantly bats my hand while I’m putting his dry food into his bowl. While he is lying in the window you can see that he has stretched out his dominant right paw and it sure is a big paw.

The best way to determine about your pets is to see which paw they most often shake with, which they reach out with when playing or trying to catch something and which they reach for a treat with like my Sid with his right paw reaching for his dry food. I never though about any of this because I had no idea about it until I discovered it on the Internet and decided to share these amazing facts with you.

CAN CATS BE TRAINED TO WEAR A HARNESS?

By feline behaviour consultant Anita Kelsey

The answer is absolutely!

How do I know?

DSCF7273

Zaza on holiday with us at Wasdale, Lake District

Because I have trained my two cats to go out with me on a harness.

I won’t say it’s easy but with patience, perseverance and lots of understanding you can train a kitten to become accustomed to wearing a harness. I would say the older the cat is the harder to achieve so always try to start as young as possible. It took me 6/8 weeks to slowly introduce the process.

Obviously cats have different personalities so if you feel your cat would hate to go out on a harness or if your cat shows any signs of major distress  STOP – AND LISTEN. This is not about you .. it’s about what’s best for your cat.

Now… here’s how to do it:

  • Buy a kitten/cat harness from your local pet shop
  • Throw in with kitty’s toys so that they familiarise themselves with it. Play with them and the harnesses everyday for at least two weeks.

Now comes the hard part! Without putting the main lead in, try putting the harness on the kitten before his/her main meal time. Always associate this with meal times or treats so that the kitten associates putting on the harness with something nice. At first there will be a struggle but the motto here is try try try again. Never give up!

Walking in all weathers. Norwegian Forest cats have thick water proof coats and fur tufts between the pads on their paws so they are well protected against the snow

Walking in all weathers. Norwegian Forest cats have thick waterproof coats and fur tufts between the pads on their paws so they are well protected against the snow

Start with 5 minutes a day congratulating them and reassuring them every step of the way. They will soon realise that the harness leads to treats and cuddles and all good things. This part of the training takes the longest so be very patient. As you see your kitten getting more comfortable with wearing the harness extend the time that it is on. Soon they will be playing totally unaware that they are strapped up in a strange gizmo and you can give yourself a pat on the back that the hardest part has been conquered!

  • Make sure you leave enough space around the neck of the harness so that it is comfortable and not too tight. Test this by putting 2 fingers between the neck of your kitten and the harness. This applies to the body of the harness too. NEVER EVER leave your kitten unattended wearing the harness as it could get caught up on anything during playtime and lead to strangulation!
  • Once you can see that your kitten has adapted to this strange looking thing around it’s body then you are ready for the next step, attaching the lead. Do this process slowly. Remember small steps will eventually lead to major leaps! Let your kitten walk along at it’s leisure with the lead dragging along. Don’t attempt to lead the walk, as it will never work! Even when you get to the stage where you go out with your kitten on a harness you will never be leading, they will!

Kiki and Zaza, as kittens, playing with their harness

Kiki and Zaza, as kittens, playing with their harness

  • My kittens tended to play with each others leads and not much walking was done so I tried to separate them first which they didn’t really like so I quickly had to jump onto the next stage, taking them out, so that they understood what the lead was for. It’s difficult to know where to go that is A: quiet and B: dog free. One great place I have found is my local cemetery which says no dogs allowed. Doesn’t say cats!!! ;-). It helps if your road is quiet but if it’s a busy road try taking them out at night.
  • Make sure the harness is on secure. Be patient and always offer words of encouragement and reassurance. Make sure you attach the lead BEFORE they take their first steps out into the big world. My kittens made my job easier at this stage as they really enjoyed being outside and, although nervous at first, they soon had a ball sniffing the grass, chasing butterflies and climbing trees! If your kitten does go to climb a tree that’s great but don’t let them go to high. Always be in control and hold that lead TIGHT!

    This is a retractable lead which attaches easily to a harness. It gives more freedom on walks and is the best lead for your cat

    This is a retractable lead which attaches easily to a harness. It gives more freedom on walks and is the best lead for your cat

    When you are both relaxed at this you can buy a small puppy extendable lead which will give kitty more freedom to run along and chase things. It is never going to be like walking a dog. They go where they want to and when they want to so you just have to let them be cats and enjoy watching them lead YOU all over the place.

    DSCF7235

    Me with both cats in Lake District. The loved the mountains and watching sheep at a distance

Please be aware of dogs and foxes in your surroundings!

Most dog owners have sense and will cross the road with their dog when they see you have a kitten/cat on a lead. Don’t panic as this just strikes fear into your cat. Be observant and if you feel uncomfortable about a particular breed of dog, not on a lead, pick your cat up and turn your back on the approaching dog.

My cat Kiki at Wastwater, Wasdale, Lake District.

Happy walking folks.

Please let me know how you get on.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza. Her debut booked is published by John Blake and is called Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer.

Please contact info@catbehaviourist.com should you wish to book a home cat behaviour consultation.

To subscribe to Anita’s new monthly newsletter on cat news and mog tips please visit:  http://www.catbehaviourist.com/subscribe/

First Aid Tips for Cat Guardians that could save a Kittie’s Life this Summer by Blue Cross

Blue Cross shares first aid and life-saving tips for cat guardians this summer

As a cat guardian, one of the scariest things can be if you witness your pet getting hurt. There are many situations where cats may need quick-thinking first aid before you are able to get to a vet. This can be particularly true as we approach summer and felines fall foul of broken bones after tumbling out of windows or are surprised by stings after chasing a bee.

National pet charity Blue Cross has provided some top tips for basic first aid for your cat, in a bid to help cat parents have more chance of saving their beloved animal from even more harm.

Caroline Reay, Clinical Lead at Blue Cross pet charity, said: “Not a lot of people are aware of the important and sometimes life-saving first aid they can give to their cats. Though the first point of call always needs to be phoning your vet, we have a great array of basic first aid instructions, so cat parents can feel confident to give the initial help to their feline friends, if needed.”

Always phone the vet first to make sure help is available at the clinic, for advice and to book in an emergency visit; always keep a pen handy to write instructions, follow the advice given and keep calm.

First aid for cats – top tips

  • Don’t Panic!
  • Be prepared! Create an animal first aid kit for your home, pressure bandage material, saline/hibiscrub solution, old sheet as a stretcher, etc.
  • Be careful when handling your pet as animals may bite suddenly when they are injured. Use gloves, towels or blankets to protect yourself although cat teeth can easily penetrate even a thick blanket. If you do get bitten contact the NHS for advice – cat bites can be dangerous
  • Never give human medicines, including painkillers to a cat, and do not offer food or drink in case your pet has to have an urgent anaesthetic
  • Any cat that is collapsed or unable to stand should be handled carefully and gently, particularly if they have breathing difficulties or are breathing with an open mouth. Many of these patients are dangerously ill and can collapse suddenly if upset
  • Casualties should be kept warm
  • If you have to put an Elizabethan collar on your cat, do not let the cat outside afterwards, as it may prevent your cat seeing traffic
  • Drive carefully when going to the surgery and always have the cat in a closed box or carrier for transport

Basic resuscitation – Put the animal on their right side and check that breathing has definitely stopped (hold a wisp of fur to the nostrils). Open the mouth, pull the tongue forwards and check for obstructions, such as blood. Be careful not to get bitten when removing any material.

If breathing does not start, extend the head (pointing the nose forwards). Hold the mouth closed, and blow into the nose about ten times per minute. If you cannot feel a heartbeat, push on the chest just behind the forelegs every one or two seconds. Give two breaths into the nose for every 15 pushes on the chest. If after three minutes, your cat has made no improvement, sadly you may have to consider that there is nothing more you can do.

Broken bones – Deal with any serious bleeding by applying a bandage but do not apply a splint – it is painful, and can cause the bone to break through the skin. To put a bandage on your cat apply a layer that won’t stick to the wound such as a clean towel or cloth, add a layer of padding such as cotton wool to protect the wound, secure in place with a bandage that isn’t too tight and get to a vet as soon as possible. Confine the patient to a well-padded carrier for transportation to the vet.

Burns and scalds – Immediately place the area under cool running water and contact your vet. Do not apply ointments or creams, although you can cover the wound with a saline-soaked gauze pad while awaiting treatment. Remember to keep the patient warm.

Poisoning – Some of the common symptoms of poisoning are staggering; vomiting; dribbling; collapsing; and difficulty breathing. Try to find packaging from the substance swallowed and have it with you when you phone the vet. If chewing of plants is suspected, try to find out the name of the plant, and cut a sample. Call the vet immediately and do not make your cat vomit unless the vet says to do so. Take any packaging or plant cuttings with you to the vet.

Coat contamination – If a substance such as paint or tar has got onto your cat’s coat or paws, prevent your cat licking it as the substance may be toxic. Use an Elizabethan collar if you have one but do not delay veterinary attention to obtain one. You may be able to clip off the small areas of affected hair, but never use turpentine or paint remover on your cat. Contact the vet, as bathing may be necessary. Sedatives may be required to do this thoroughly.

Stings – If the stinger is visible it can be removed by pressing below the poison sac (try to avoid expressing more venom), then bathe the area in water or a solution of bicarbonate of soda. Soothe with ice. If the sting is in the mouth or throat, contact the vet as it may swell and interfere with breathing. Keep a watch on your pet for signs of weakness, breathing difficulties or severe swelling which could indicate an allergic reaction.

For more first aid tips and additional advice on many other medical emergencies, please visit www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/basic-first aid-cats

To find out more about the pets we help, or to help them yourself by making a donation towards their care, visit www.bluecross.org.uk or contact your local centre.

Cleaning products can kill pets, warns PDSA

Hi everyone,

Today we’ve got an important message from our friends over at the PDSA in regards to cleaning products.

Just like many of you we too like our place clean and tidy but often people forget that certain cleaning products can be more than just a little harmful to our fur friends…

That’s why the below information from the PDSA is so important to the wellbeing of our little ones.

Vet charity PDSA has warned that a simple ‘summer clean’ could be fatal to pets after revealing one animal has died and several others have suffered serious injury from exposure to cleaning products.

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

In one particularly harrowing case, the charity said its vets had to euthanize a dog after they were exposed to laundry detergent which caused severe caustic burns to their paws, legs and mouth. Other cases in the past 12 months include a cat that was left foaming at the mouth after he licked a floor that had just been treated with disinfectant and a dog who suffered chemical burns to his scrotum after coming into contact with a cleaning product on the floor.

PDSA also dealt with a number of emergency incidents where pets had been poisoned by either ingesting or coming into contact with bleach.

Rebecca Ashman, PDSA vet, said: “With many households doing their summer cleaning, it’s important to ensure products are safe to use around pets.

“Millions of us use bleach, oven cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry detergents all the time in the home but we need to realise how dangerous they can be to our pets.

“Products such as bleach and detergents are highly corrosive and cause permanent and even life-threatening damage to a pet’s skin or insides ifswallowed.

“Some pets will naturally explore or chew boxes and containers, so it’s really important to keep cleaning products safely locked away. Also, if you’re cleaning floors or other areas pets use, please keep them out of harm’s way and rinse the areas after cleaning.  Using products at the correct dilution also helps to ensure pets don’t come into contact with concentrated chemicals.”

Rebecca added that it was vital for owners to seek emergency veterinary treatment straight away if they suspect their pet has come into contact with anything corrosive or poisonous.

She said: “It’s important to seek veterinary advice urgently. Don’t try to make your pet sick as this can sometimes cause further harm.

“In an emergency situation it’s also useful to let the vet know as much as possible about the offending substance, so they can give the appropriate treatment. So always keep the packaging and take it with you if you need to go to the vet”

Case study

Bootsie

Tabby cat Bootsie was rushed to PDSA Leicester Pet Hospital after drinking bleach from his owner’s toilet.

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

The chemical caused severe ulceration to his throat and he was poorly and unable to eat, so he required tube-feeding for several days while his burns healed.

Bootsie’s owner, Sophie McDowall, 24, from Northfields, Leicester, said: “I bleached the toilet and bathroom and hadn’t thought anything more about it. However, in the morning I woke to find Bootsie lying lifeless on his blanket with his tongue sticking out, dribbling everywhere and making a very strange noise.

“I called PDSA and they told me to bring him straight down. He was kept in at the hospital and I was so worried about him, it was heart-breaking.”

Bootsie had ulcers in his mouth and vets carried out tests to rule out other conditions before giving intensive treatment for his exposure to bleach.

The three-year-old pet was kept in hospital for several days until he was well enough to return home on painkillers.

Sophie added: “I can’t thank PDSA enough for the treatment Bootsie received. I’m now much more careful when cleaning the bathroom and ensure the lid to the toilet is always closed and the door kept shut to avoid anything like this happening again.”

PDSA vet Rebecca said Bootsie had been lucky and warned pet owners to be extra careful when using cleaning products.

She said: “Thankfully he didn’t have any permanent effects from drinking bleach but he is among the lucky ones, as it could have been much worse.

“Bootsie received emergency care through our A&E service, which has received a fantastic funding boost from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

“We really want to try and prevent pets coming into contact with everyday household cleaning products and want to raise awareness of the possible dangers.”

Symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals or substances in pets include:-

  • Ulcerated or irritated skin including inside the mouth
  • Vomiting or coughing
  • Lethargy and collapse
  • Difficulty eating and excessive salivation/foaming at the mouth
  • Pawing at the mouth

For more information about how to keep your pet safe, please visitwww.pdsa.org.uk/poisons

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

The feline diabetes crisis: How can owners tackle this worrying trend?

The feline diabetes crisis: how can owners tackle this worrying trend?

By Rachel Mulheron, helpucover

There’s no doubt about it – the UK is a nation of cat lovers with the latest statistics estimating that there are around 7.5 million cats as household pets and this figure is rising every year.

It is estimated that one in every 100-200 cats are diabetic compared to one in 16 people. It seems that dangerous health trends impacting UK consumers, like poor diets, overeating, weight gain and low levels of physical activity are now affecting our cats too!

Pet owners need not become too worried though, as the condition is treatable, and if managed properly, will not impact on your cat’s quality or length of life.

What is feline diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is a lifelong condition that affects many species of animals, including cats. It is caused by the inability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin. Insulin deficiency causes blood glucose levels to rise and the body can no longer use glucose as a source of energy.

Is my cat at risk?

Feline diabetes is very similar to Type II diabetes in humans and is only very rarely a result of an immune disease (Type I diabetes). It is most common in older cats, with the risk increasing if the animal is neutered and/or overweight.

You can reduce the risk of your cat developing diabetes by keeping them at a healthy and consistent weight, ensuring they’re physically active and being alert to any sudden changes in your cat’s behaviour or build.

How to spot the symptoms

Depending on whether a cat is experiencing high or low blood sugar levels, symptoms will be different so to help, we’ve listed some of various signs to watch out for below:

High blood sugar levels:

  • Overeating or disinterest in food
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle weakness or tiredness
  • Shivering
  • Loss of coordination
  • Reduced eyesight

Low blood sugar levels:

  • Increased thirst and appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Tiredness

Symptoms can differ in severity and combination. However, if you notice any of the above changes in your cat, it’s best to take them for a professional check-up as soon as possible. A vet can diagnose feline diabetes in a simple physical examination and by doing blood/urine tests.

Long-term management

Once a cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, the underlying causes will be explored and the best course of treatment decided. If diabetes is a side-effect of treating a secondary health problem, this treatment should be gradually withdrawn and replaced with an alternative.

The most effective treatment is the use of insulin injections daily or twice daily. Cats will not find this painful and your vet will provide support and advice to ensure the safe administration and storage of the insulin.

Feline diabetes can also be managed through diet and normalising bodyweight. This can be achieved through reducing calorie intake and increasing exercise levels – ask your vet for tips!

Normally, a last resort is the use of oral drugs. You can only get these on prescription from a vet and they will explain the best ways to get your cat to take them.

As this is usually a life-long illness, a reliable pet insurance plan can assist with covering the cost of vet fees and treatment for diabetes.

The bright side

The majority of cats who develop diabetes live long and happy lives if diabetes is recognised early enough and treated effectively. So keep an eye on your cat’s overall health, look out for any behaviour or body changes, and make sure you are registered with your local vet in case any health problems arise.

How to help your cat exercise

How to help your cat exercise

You don’t often see someone taking their cat for a walk on a lead. So how exactly do you make sure your cat gets enough exercise?  If they don’t get an adequate amount, they could end up being overweight, which in turn, could lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes or even arthritis.

Read on to discover what is the best exercise for cats and what happens if they don’t get any.

Why is exercise important for cats?

Obesity in cats is ever-increasing and recent veterinary studies have shown that a quarter of the UK’s cats are affected.

Obviously limiting the amount of food that you give your cat would be the best starting point but exercise also helps shed those pounds, whilst helping keep their joints and muscles mobile and healthy.

Not only does exercise help your cat maintain a healthy weight, but it can also benefit their mental state too. Exercise can keep pets mentally stimulated, which keeps them happy and helps to avoid any behavioural problems.

Exercise is also a great way to build trust between you and your pets, as well as with other animals.

How often should you exercise your cat?

You should try to engage your cat in exercise for around 10 – 15 minutes, several times a day. You will find that, especially kittens, love repetition and won’t tire of game, long after you have!

Older cats will be harder to convince as they tend to sleep longer and are more likely subject to health conditions such as arthritis. The best thing to do is find something that peaks your cat’s interest and start with a few minutes a day, gradually building up to quarter of an hour.

How to exercise your cat

  • Toys – A great way to increase activity is to introduce an interactive toy – these are especially popular with kittens. One of the best cat exercise toys is a simple wind-up mouse, which your feline friend can chase until their heart’s content.
  • Other favourites include Kong toys, which are plastic dome shaped toys, which when bounced, spring off in a different direction, allowing plenty of opportunity for chase. Cats also enjoy laser pens as they like to follow the red light across a carpet.
  • Chasing and hunting games – Cats love any excuse to use their innate instincts to hunt. You can easily do this with things at home. You could also try hiding a healthy treat for them to find or get them to chase a stick or toy that you move around for them. A toy such as a ball which dispenses healthy titbits as it moves is a great way to encourage cats to run about.
  • Some of the best exercise toys for cats are empty kitchen rolls, old socks or crumpled paper. There’s no need to spend lots of money on fancy items if you don’t want to!
  • Scratching posts – One of the key reasons why cats put on weight is that their muscles are not kept active and fat is not being effectively burnt. A scratching post helps cats to exercise as they can jump up and claw at the post. A post also makes an efficient tool for keeping their claws nice and short.
  • Hydrotherapy sessions – While this can be quite costly for sessions, it’s a great way to deal with overweight cats as the water relieves pressure on joints. It’s also a great way to get a cat active again after surgery.
  • Hopefully you have learned a few tips to give your cat exercise. Remember, if you are still unsure about starting exercise for cats, you can always visit your vet and ask them to create a tailored regime for you both to follow. It is always a good idea to get cat insurance to protect yourself from any unexpected costs in the event of injury or accident.