Litterboxproblems

Toxoplasmosis: The Facts

Toxoplasmosis is a fairly common zoonosis (a disease that can be shared between humans and animals); 30 to 40 percent of adult humans, and roughly the same percentage of cats, have antibodies that indicate prior exposure to the organism that causes the disease. Nevertheless, theres still a lot of misinformation regarding toxoplasmosis. The disease poses a threat primarily to fetuses and to immunosuppressed patients, but an understanding of the organisms life cycle, how transmission occurs and can be avoided, and the signs of infection can greatly reduce the risk of serious disease.

Keep Your Home Sweet Home

For all the companionship and love your cat brings into your home, theres also one dirty downside to living with him: the scooping and changing of his litter box (lugging home the heavy stuff isnt much of a treat, either). Luckily, there are ways of making this unpleasant job a little easier. If you use the right materials, create a litter-changing routine and keep the necessary supplies in a convenient place, this chore can definitely be made less labor-intensive. We share some tips to reduce litter drudgery.

Choosing an Alternative Litter

Over the past decade, numerous products have entered the cat litter market as "alternative" litters. The chief claim of many of these litters is that they are made from plant-based or recycled materials, as opposed to clay, the basis of "traditional" kitty litters. Potential Benefits. As with most products or groups of products, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using alternative cat litters. One advantage that makers of these specialty litters feel appeals to cat owners with environmental concerns is that alternative litters - because they are made of biodegradable substances - present less strain on landfills. Some brands are even marketed as being "compostable" and/or burnable. Additionally, alternative litters are made of materials that often give off little to no dust - which can be a benefit to a cat with upper respiratory issues. "Our general advice to owners of asthmatic cats is to limit environmental exposure to potential irritants of all kinds," says Carolyn McDaniel, VMD, a consultant with the Cornell Feline Health Center. "This includes aerosol cleaning agents, perfumes, cigarette smoke … and dusty cat litter."

Strange Litter Box Behavior

You walk into the bathroom and find your cat sleeping contentedly in her litter box. (Luckily, you had just cleaned it.) Is this normal behavior? Should you get her out or let her stay? Your cats litter box can sometimes trigger unexpected behaviors from her. Some of these habits might seem weird or annoying to us, but they are, actually, perfectly normal to your cat. But there are other behaviors that are more dangerous and require your intervention. Here are the most "common" strange litter habits and what to do about them. It may not seem like the best place to play to you, but cats will often convert their litter box into a sandbox. Often this starts in kittenhood and continues into adulthood with an occasional playtime in the box. "Some cats like to sleep in their litter, even hide in it," says Stefanie Schwartz, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist with Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. "This is normal if the litter is clean - or even a bit soiled, but dry."

Alternative Kitty Litters

Within the past several years, a number of products have entered the cat litter market as "alternative" litters. The chief claim of many of these litters is that they are made from plant-based or recycled materials, as opposed to clay, the basis of "traditional" kitty litters. As with most products or groups of products, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using alternative cat litters. One advantage that makers of these specialty litters feel appeals to cat owners with environmental concerns is that alternative litters - because they are made of biodegradable substances - present less strain on landfills. Some brands are even marketed as being "compostable" and/or burnable.

Short Takes: 05/07

We can almost see the ads now: "Tests at a major university prove our product eliminates cats inappropriate elimination problems."And indeed, thats more or less what a study at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine (as published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Vol. 9, No. 1) proved: ". . . use of Zero Odor litter box spray appears to decrease litter box odor and increases the attractiveness of litter box(es) to cats."

Litter Changing Made Easy

It's one of the unpleasant aspects of living with cats, but there are ways to make the chore a bit more efficient.

Stain and Odor Removal

There are products made especially for cleaning after our pets. But there are some ordinary household products that can help, too.

Mind of the Cat: 06/06

We humans are often quite offended when our cats mark inside our houses. It is true that some marking behavior can have unpleasant consequences....

Mind of the Cat: 03/06

I recently received a letter questioning why a cat would choose to eliminate on an Oriental carpet. If we cannot understand the exact reasons, well then, can we at least fix this problem? There are many potential reasons for a cat to eliminate on a carpet. As always, a medical diagnosis is needed. But once your cat receives a clean bill of health, one possibility to consider is marking behavior. Check for evidence of social…

Mind of the Cat: 12/05

Why in the world are there so many types of litter boxes available? Does box style really matter? Most cat owners purchase litter boxes that are inexpensive and readily available. Sometimes, designer litter boxes become attractive options - maybe some people figure, if we have to deal with the mess, at least we should have an aesthetically pleasing container. …

The Clean Litter Box

This essential part of your cats daily routine has to meet her needs first (hint: Forget the perfumed scents). Heres why.