Posts Tagged‘q & a’

Question from Amber:

Our kitten seems to be eating the adult food is that okay for him? And our adult cats keep eating the kitten food. Do you know why that is?

Answer from Amy:

Do you feed the cats together? If you do, when you feed them, do the adult cats take over the kitten’s bowl first or the other way around? Or do your adult cats prefer the kitten food to their own food?

Sometimes cats eat off each other’s food to show a sign of dominance. Other times it could be that they prefer that particular smell of food. Remember cats rely on their sense of smell strongly when it comes to tasting food.

In most cases, it is OK for adult cats to eat kitten food. Kitten food usually contains more protein and fat that little kittens need for their development. However, kittens should stick with kitten food until they reach adulthood so that they can obtain adequate nutrition necessary for them to build a strong and healthy body.

If your cats like to eat off each other’s food, the best way to deal with it is elevate the adult feeding bowls to higher places where only your adult cats can reach. Another option is to feed them in separate rooms.

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Question from Sarah:

I am planning on adopting a cat from a local shelter in the next few months. I am now living in a one bedroom apartment that has a very small bathroom. I was wondering what a good place would be for a litter box, for kitty and my comfort? Or if there is any type of litter box that would suit my small space situation? Thank you so much for reading this.

Answer from Amy:

Hi Sarah,

Thank you so much for considering adopting a cat from the shelter. I am very excited for you.

Cats have several litter box pet-peeves:

  1. Placing their food too close to the litter
  2. Keeping the litter box too close to their hang out spots
  3. Using the litter box in a noisy area
  4. Having no privacy while eliminating
  5. Dirty litter box

Keep Food & Water Away from the Litter Box

The reason to keep food and water as far away as possible from the litter box is because cats have a very strong sense of smell. It is their most reliable apparatus to identify objects. Cats have a blind spot where they cannot see things right underneath their chin very well, so when they are eating, they depend heavily upon their nose to tell them where the food is and how tasty it is. That explains why when cats are having a cold or a runny nose, they often lose appetite because they simply cannot smell the food. The odor from the litter can throw off their appetite if the food is placed too close to the litter.

Keep the Litter Box away from Their Hang out Spots

Question from Ceilidh:

Hi, I have a ragdoll who is almost two years old. She’s very sweet and typically well behaved. She has this very bad habit of nibbling on me! She did this when she was a kitten and it was cute then, but now its annoying, and sometimes it hurts. I’m pretty sure she is being affectionate when she does this, as she does it when we’re cuddling or at night in bed. Any ideas on how to stop this? Thank you for your time.

Answer from Amy:

Hi Ceilidh,

Thank you for coming to Many cats like to nibble on our fingers, hands, or even nose while cuddling with us. Cat nibbling could be attributed mainly to two reasons:

  1. trying to get our attention
  2. trying to play with us

They are just being cute and playful, but it can be a hassle for us since we do not have the coat they do to protect our skin. Also, cats do that sometimes at night when we are asleep, trying to get our attention to either play with them or feed them. Unfortunately, this nocturnal habit can really throw off our sleep schedule and get us cranky in the morning. Don’t fret. There is definitely hope.

When your cat starts nibbling on you while you are cuddling or resting with your cat on your lap, stand up immediately and walk away. Ignore the cat completely for a short while. You are giving her a message, saying “I am walking away from this behavior.” You can also redirect her energy or activity to toys when she does nibble. Have a stuffed mouse or animal handy. When she grabs your hand and starts nibbling, bring her a toy and allow her to engage that activity with the toy, not you.

Cats are very smart animals and can learn through trial and error very quickly. After a few tries,

Question from Dianne:

I have a 16 year old cat, one of three cats and a dog in the household.  This particular cat has started to defecate in inappropriate places.  Mostly in my bathtub but also in a cardboard box.The dog, a boxer, has been a somewhat recent addition to the family, only a year ago.  Also, we acquired a new kitten about the same time.  The 16 year old tolerates the kitten well despite his kitten rambunctiousness, but he despises the dog.I have been trying to figure out why the inappropriate defecating behaviour, and I have come to the conclusion that it could be stress related.  Our litter box is kept clean and it’s only this one cat that is having issues.  The question is what do I do? How do I deal with it?  Am I right in assuming stress is the problem?

Answer from Amy:

Hi Dianne,

Thank you so much for coming to I read your concerns and understand your frustration. You mentioned that you acquired the kitten and the dog about a year old. When did your 16 year old cat start his abnormal defecating behavior?

Older cats need more time and work when a new dog moves into the house. Dogs and cats speak different languages, so they will have to find ways to understand each other before they can trust each other. Kittens do a much better job with a new dog because they are very adaptable, but older cats may not fare so well since they are so used to their living environment and their established position in the house. Cats are not good at dealing with stress. Change of environment or an unfamiliar scent could shock them and cause them to panic. Proper introduction for the cat and the dog is very crucial. (Dogs and Cats can Get along, If introduced Correctly)

Cats rely on their sense of smell heavily to help them identify their surroundings and ensure their safety. An unfamiliar scent from a dog could throw them off guard, so it would be a good idea to help a cat familiarize with the new dog’s smell before their official meeting. We can give the cat a towel that has been used to rub down the dog’s body and leave it to the cat for a few days.

One of the possibilities that your cat is eliminating elsewhere could be that when he is trying to use the litter box, the dog or the new kitten is in the same room where the litter box is placed in. Cats value their privacy especially when it comes to elimination. If he is around with some body he does not trust, he may look for a place where he can acquire his privacy.

Spraying and defecating can also be signs of displaying dominance. Your cat may do that to send a message to the other pets in the house that he is the top cat in the house. In this case, you can use positive re-enforcement to help your cat to start enjoying being around the dog by giving him his favorite treat when he is near the dog.

Sometimes cats can be very persnickety about litter boxes. They may not use it if there is an unfamiliar scent besides being dirty, so having several litter boxes will help reduce their anxiety.

Finally, is your cat very vocal during bowel movements? If so, it could mean that your cat might be experiencing some sort of pain. Though stress could be the cause of this abnormal behavior, we cannot rule out the possibility that it could be a health issue. I think you should have your cat seen by a vet and let your vet know the behavior your cat has been showing.

Also, I would use disinfectants or a good enzymatic cleanser to clean any areas that he has soiled because the smell can cause the cat to return to eliminate again.

Cats are really good at masking their health problems or pain in general. However, their feline buddies are probably more keen at detecting what’s going on inside him. It is funny that sometimes when you see a cat licking another cat’s ear canal, it can be an indication of ear mites. Cats know each other’s problem and try to help one another in a colony.

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