Basic Necessities for Happy Cats

Rita Reimers was recently asked to be a Guest Blogger for The Pet Tracker. Below is the article she wrote for their website.

pinky peanut boobooCats now outnumber dogs as the number one household pet in the United States. While it is wonderful that more people are discovering the joys of cat ownership and becoming first-time cat parents, there is much more to having a well-adjusted cat than simply giving them food and shelter.

Here is a list of the basic necessities you should provide your cat so he remains a healthy and happy member of your family.

  • Size Appropriate Litter Boxes: Make sure to provide a litter box that is right for the current age and size of your cat. A 3-month old kitten needs a much smaller box than a full grown 20-pound rag doll cat, for example. As your kitty grows, the size of the pan offered will need to change as well. Make sure the litter box can fully accommodate his entire body, so he will not hang over and accidentally go on the floor.
  • Cat Trees and Cubby Holes: Sometimes a cat needs to get away from it all and be away from the action of a busy household. Cats feel safe and secure in high places and out of the way corners, so be sure to give your cat a high cat tree for climbing, and a few cubby holes in various places where he can observe uninterrupted.
  • metal cat dish

  • Metal or Ceramic Food Bowls: It’s important to use metal or ceramic food dishes and bowls for you cat. Plastic dishes can harbor bacteria that can cause cat acne and other illnesses. Some cats are actually allergic to the plastic, and mouth ulcers can result from using plastic dishes and bowls. Be sure to wash out those metal and ceramic bowls regularly with hot water and a mild dish soap.
  • Scratching Posts and Pads: Providing scratching posts that are vertical, as well as scratching pads and boxes that are horizontal, will give your cat an appropriate outlet for his scratching needs. Not only do cats need to scratch to stretch their toes and maintain nail health, cats are also instinctively driven to scratch in order to mark their territory with the scent glands in their paws. Sprinkle the posts and pads with catnip to attract your cat, and encourage their use by offering praise and treats when he does.
  • suzyToys and More Toys: Cats love to play. It’s how they interact with one another, with their humans, and in the wild it’s how they sharpen their natural hunting instincts. Catnip toys are loved by cats, especially the long plush ones that cats can hug and kick with their back feet. Wand or fishing pole type toys are great for imitating hunting behaviors and are a wonderful way to play with your cat, deepening the bond you have with one another.

By understanding your cat’s nature and meeting his physical and emotional needs, you and your cat will enjoy a long lifetime of happiness together.


Lux the 22-Pound Cat is at “The Pound”

AP Photo/Lee Palmer
AP Photo by Lee PalmerThe worst has happened, just as I feared. Lux is now in the custody of Animal Control at the Multnomah County Animal Services shelter, aka the pound. The family is still “deciding” if they will keep him or not, but I believe that statement is just to keep people from beating down their door. You can read the developing story here, Lux At The Shelter.

Lux’s fate is now in a precarious state. Shelters don’t usually let people adopt an animal that has been “violent” and only allows rescues to pull an animal that has been tagged as having an aggressive history.

It is my sincere hope that a local rescue in Oregon will save Lux, otherwise he has no future. Perhaps my colleague Jackson Galaxy can step in to save him. With his TV show, he may be in the best position to help Lux than any other cat behaviorist, me included.

I am simply heartsick over this situation, which was completely avoidable. And I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other cats and dogs living through the same thing right now. I pray for them all, as I hold my own 18 former rescue and shelter cats just a little tighter today…


The Future of Lux, the 22-Pound Cat

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The Future of Lux, the 22-Pound Cat By now everyone has heard the story about Lux the cat. Angry cat lashed out at the 8-month-old who pulled his tail, horrified father kicks cat, traumatized cat corners the family who then has to call 911 for help. It’s a sad story for everyone involved, including the [...]

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It’s Kitten Season… Again… SPAY AND NEUTER!

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The Season of Kitty Love It’s springtime, and with the spring and summer seasons also comes Kitten Season. That’s right, kittens do have a season, a time of the year when there is a sharp rise in the number of litters born. The rescues, shelters, and back alleys become inundated with sweet furry babies wanting [...]

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When Kitty Won’t Use the Litter Box – 7 Things You Can Do

March 6, 2014

Cat ownership brings much joy and companionship into a person’s life. But when kitty begins “missing” her litter box, the relationship between a cat and owner can become strained. Not knowing what else to do, often the owner will surrender kitty to a shelter or rescue. Left abandoned, these troubled cats are usually not re-adopted. [...]

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Choosing a Kitten

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You walk into a pet store, and one of the local shelters is holding adoptions. You walk over to the cages, just to say hello, but once you see the kittens you are hooked. You impulsively decide to adopt one (or two!). It’s so easy to fall in love at first sight when you look [...]

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It’s a Lifetime Commitment

January 22, 2014

I am compelled to write to you about a very serious subject today. For the 6th time in recent months, someone I know, a cat sitting client, is choosing to dump their cats because they are moving in with someone. In this case, the other person has dogs, so the dogs get to stay but [...]

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It Takes Time

January 21, 2014

One of the first things people ask me when I’m conducting a behavior consultation is, “How long is it going to take before I see results?” My answer is always the same: Expect it to take some time. It’s not realistic to expect immediate results and perfect behavior after just a day or two of [...]

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Your Medications are Deadly to your Pet

February 25, 2012

A friend and fellow cat rescuer of mine is experiencing a devastating loss. His 5-year-old kitty passed away suddenly because of a horrible accident, and he may never forgive himself. After taking some ibuprofen, my friend placed the child-safety cap onto the bottle to keep his cats from getting into the contents. But instead of [...]

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