Cats International Cats International Logo
Cats International
Cats International - Printable Booklet

Table of Contents


  • Feline History
The Human – Feline Relationship ……………………………………… 5-7
Know Your Cat …………………………………………………………… 8-9
Your Cat’s Social Life …………………………………………………… 10
Welcome Home …………………………………………………………. 11
Amazing Cat Facts ………………………………………………………. 12-15
How to Tame the Tiger in Your House ………………………………. 16
Two Are Better Than One …………………………………………….. 17
Choose Your Next Cat or Kitten Carefully …………………………… 18
If You’re Really Brave Adopt a Kitten ………………………………… 19-20
Kitten-Proofing Your House ……………………………………………. 21-22
Kitty Kindergarten ………………………………………………………. 23-25
Can You Socialize a Kitten? ……………………………………………. 26-27
How to Keep Kitty Out of the Christmas Tree ……………………… 28
The Truth About Declawing ……………………………………………. 29-30
What Really is Declawing? …………………………………………….. 31-32
How to Build a Scratching Post ……………………………………….. 33-34
Save Your Couch From Your Cat ……………………………………… 35-37
What Kitty Doesn’t Want You to Know ……………………………… 38
Play Therapy …………………………………………………………….. 39-41
Examples of Remote Corrections …………………………………….. 42
Behavioral Deterrents ………………………………………………….. 43-44
Clicker Training ………………………………………………………….. 45-46
Lapsed Litter Box Users ………………………………………………. 47-48
Prevention of Litter Box Problems ………………………………….. 49-50
What to Do if Your Cat is Not Using the Litter Box ……………… 51-52
Eliminating Cat Urine Odor Using Oxyclean ………………………. 53
The Happy Homecoming ……………………………………………… 54-57
SmartCat Natural Litter ……………………………………………….. 58
The Importance of a Good Introduction ……………………………. 59
Lashing Out …………………………………………………………….. 60-62
Treating the Stressed – Out Cat ……………………………………… 63-64
Social Aggression Between Cats Sharing a House ………………… 65
May I Introduce Fido …………………………………………………… 66-67
Cats are Much Safer Indoors ………………………………………….. 68
Are Our Cats Killing Our Song Birds? …………………………………. 69
Booklist for Cat Lovers …………………………………………………. 70
  • Cats International™ Thanks You!

Feline History



Cats are the descendants of Felis Sylvertris Libyca. Their ancestors were worshiped in ancient Egypt. They protected the ancient granaries from rats and vermin. During the 18th century was mans only ally against the brown rat which was responsible for the plagues that swept across Europe. For 5,000 years cats have been loved and valued for what they were designed to do…..hunt. In fact, cats are so perfectly designed they have not changed or further evolved in many centuries. They are essentially the same today as their ancestors were multiple millenniums ago. They also bear strong similarities to their cousins the TIGERS !!


There is a tiger in every house cat: only now we have confined them in homes, apartments and condos. They no longer have a job. Their predatory instincts are still intact and ready to react but they have nowhere to go with them. Of course, there are compensations for living in the safety and comfort of four walls, but the pet parents must understand that food and shelter are not enough. What cats really need is for us to love and understand the tiger that is within them and to supply some of their tiger needs.


The Human – Feline Relationship

They care for us in so many ways:
  • They comfort and soothe us with their magical purr.
  • They make us laugh and show us the joy in life.
  • They assume their role as kitty nurses by sitting near us when we are feeling sick or sad.
  • They are sensitive and intelligent and often misunderstood.
  • They try to communicate with us in so many ways but we don’t always listen.
  • There are so many reasons to love them.
 Here are 21 Ways to Love Your Cat….

FishinFrenzy copy

  • Cats love attention. They are social animals. Cats “meow” to people, not to other animals. Always acknowledge your cat’s presence in the room and talk to them using their name.
  • Feed the best quality foods available. There should be no wheat, corn, soy or dyes in the dry food ingredients. The moisture in canned cat food is necessary for urinary tract health – feed both.
  • A large bowl of fresh water should be available to the cat at all times. Cat drinking fountains are very popular.  See “Pioneer Pet® Fountain” .  There are many selections to choose from.
  • Cats, like children, need toys. Provide a variety of safe toys and rotate them frequently so they don’t get bored.  “Pioneer Pet Toys” .
  • Interactive play is the most fun for cats. Fishing pole toys and laser lights provide exercise as well as mental stimulation.
  • Cats tend to bond to the people who play with them.  Cats love to have their special hideouts. They prefer high perches. It gives them a feeling of security and superiority. (We all need an occasional ego boost.)
  • Every cat needs at least one scratching post. The post should be 32” high, stable and covered with a sisal material or rope.  We highly recommend  “The Ultimate Scratching Post™”.  Ideally it should be in a room where the cat spends a lot of time and where the cat owner can reinforce the appropriate scratching behavior with lots of praise.  You can make a scratching post (see our article “How to Build a Scratching Post“).
  • Declawing surgery is elective mutilation and it often results in biting, house soiling, temperament problems and joint problems when the cat is older.  Also it associates a life time of PAIN.
  • An important and necessary surgery is the spay/neuter surgery. Overpopulation of cats results in large numbers of homeless and uncared for cats.  It is also healthier for them long term.
  • Cats, unlike dogs, do not respond to direct punishment – it only frightens and confuses them. NEVER PUNISH a CAT!  It could spoil your relationship with your cat and compound the problem.
  • Remote corrections such as a 2-sided sticky tape (also can be purchased through Pioneer Pet “Sticky Paws™”), motion detectors and other deterrent products keep the cat from problem areas. This way the environment, not you, is associated with the  correction.  See our article on “Remote Corrections”.
  • Cats are like children in many ways but they do not have a sense of “right and wrong” – they do what comes naturally to them and what is necessary to express their instincts as cats.
  • Cats are not spiteful, but they do respond to STRESS. The stress trigger in the cat is the bladder. Upsetting the cat will make the problem worse and could create a health issue.   The number one problem of house soiling.
  • Cats and people like sanitary bathrooms. Scoop your litter boxes every day.  Refill clean litter on top so the litter box will remain to a proper of depth.
  • Cats love routine. They feel more secure when they can predict what is going to happen – it’s comforting and predictable for them.
  • If you have to make a change, introduce the cat to the new situation very gradually.
  • Cats are wonderful but too many in a house can result in problems.  Each cat will have their own personality which can create turf wars and problems between the cats. All cats deserve to live without fear and have the opportunity to relax in their home and enjoy life.
  • If your cat’s behavior changes suddenly, take the cat to the vet as soon as possible, these are signs of a health issue.  Let your veterinarian make that determination.
  • Cats love to nap in the sunshine. While licking their fur-warmed by the sun they are also ingesting an essential vitamin. They need sunshine and love to lay or play in the sun.
  • Cats live longer and safer lives when kept inside. Some lucky cats have owners who make an outdoor enclosure for the cats so they can enjoy the outdoors in safety.
  • Protect your cat from small objects that can be swallowed. String and yarn are deadly. If you wouldn’t give an object to a small child, don’t give it to the cat.
  • Your love for your cat benefits you and your precious companion.iStock_000003591112Small




For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Know Your Cat


  • Body language – quiet, controlled, and dignified.  A mere flick of the tail, the slightest movement of the ears, the mildest dilation of the pupils – these messages are worth a thousand words to another cat.  This is how they communicate with each other.
  • Cat personality = genes + early experience. If they grow up without the opportunity of playing with other kittens, they do not develop the skills of proper cat behavior. It is not always possible to predict what type of personality a cat will develop.
  • The position of the ears will usually give you the most accurate clue to your cat’s behavior and thinking.
  • Body language. When the cat feels genuinely secure the pupils do not dilate because the “fight-or-flight” response is not activated (by adrenaline) as it would be if in a frightened, defensive cat.
  • Marking- Sebaceous glands at the base of the hair follicle secretes an oily substance with distinct smell. They also mark with urine and feces odors, and have scent glands in their pads.
  • Cats are content to depend entirely upon us for their own survival. They allow us to act as surrogate mothers, providing them with love, food, protection, warmth and security.iStock_000002229054Medium
  • Wool-sucking – It’s a neurotic behavior the kitten does from being taken from their mother too soon.  The behavior will stay with them into adult hood sometimes.  The kitten will try to suckle the wool or something they find soothing in replacement of their mother.
  • Humans and cats are almost ideal social companions as they do not represent any kind of threat – we do not compete for food, territory, or hierarchy. The cat regards us as their mother.
  • House cats which are altered (spay or neutered) don’t have the competition of mating and will retain their youthful kittenish behavior if nurtured.
  • Cats find stroking pleasurable because the sensation is similar to that of grooming.  It should be included in the kitten’s socialization period.
  • Kittens should be handled for at least 40 minutes each day from 2 weeks of age onward. The more handling they receive when young the more they will enjoy future handling.
  • Cats are nocturnal and most active at dawn and dusk (hunting times).
  • Cats can get along with a dog, etc. if introduced properly.
  • Cat pregnancy cycle.  Term is 63 days.  4-5 weeks after conception there should be golf ball sized swellings; nipples will be pink. Halfway through pregnancy the embryo is already a perfectly formed miniature kitten. At birth kittens weigh 3 ½ ounces.

Siberian catThe intervals between births can be as little as 5 minutes or as long as 2 hours. She may only deliver some of the kittens, feed them and go into labor up to 24 hours later.  The mother rarely leaves the babies for the 1st 48 hours of life.

Later the mother moves from the soiled birthing area when her kittens are 4 days old. Kittens are born blind and deaf so they have heat receptors on their face so that they can locate their mother.

If the distance between the birthing area is too far, the mother may move her litter one at a time to a midway rest station and then on to the new home.  Never disturb the kittens during this process.  It may scare the mother away and she won’t return for the baby. She will be too busy protecting the other babies.






















For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Your Cat’s Social Life

Friendly, relaxed, confident cats are not necessarily born that way.  To a large degree they can be altered by us. Genetics may have some influence on a cat’s unique individuality, but we also know that nurturing can often overcome some of nature’s strong influences. Everyone wants a cat that can be petted by friends, that can be a part of the family life, that likes to play, but not every cat owner knows that there is much that can be done to encourage the development of an out-going, confident personality. Cats that are talked to, cuddled, and played with, are going to be affectionate, lap-sitting companions. Cats that are ignored and seldom handled become aloof and independent, frightened of many things.

The notion that cats are loners has persisted throughout the centuries. Perhaps this is due to the fact that cats are solitary predators, unlike dogs who are pack hunters. In the wild the dog’s survival depends on his ability and willingness to work as a member of a team to run down prey. The cat, on the other hand, doesn’t have to associate with others to obtain a meal. In fact, the cat’s method of hunting which involves stalking, hide-and-wait, and pounce cannot be successfully practiced in a group. However, when cats are provided with ample food and shelter and there is no need to compete with other cats for the basic necessities of life, they have proven to be highly social animals. Their sociability is often overlooked by humans because the cat’s greetings and displays of affection are so unnoticeable and much different than a dog. A nose touch, a slow eye blink, a tilt of the tail, is not nearly as obvious as the well understood face-lick of the dog, but it is just as sincere and deliberate, and they are happy to see you.



For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Welcome Home



Cats are much more attention needy than most people think. They can become bored and depressed if they are ignored consistently. Some develop “negative attention syndrome” – they misbehave just to get their pet parents to notice them. They will try to get your attention good – or bad.


If the only time the you talk to your cat is when they scratch the sofa or stroll down the kitchen counter, then you can bet that is what they will do. They will perform these feats when you are near, and not acknowledging them, as a form to get your attention.


Just picking up your cat and putting them on the floor from the counter …. the cat gets his reward, you acknowledged them and they got picked up even for a brief moment.  (Cats and small children have a lot in common!)


When you get home from work, take the first few moments to acknowledge your cat. Talk to them and give them a good stroke if they come to you.  Forget looking through the mail, or making dinner for awhile.


Your day may have been hectic and stressful, but your cat has had no choice but to spend many long hours in a quiet house without any stimulation, they have been waiting for you.


You are, without a doubt, the most exciting part of their  day. Talk to them, call them by name and say how wonderful they are, stroke and play with them. You both will be happier and healthier for the time you have spent together.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Amazing Cat Facts



 A single pair of cats and their offspring can produce as many as 420,000 in just seven years.
That’s the equivalent to 60,000 per year
  • Outdoor intact (Tom Cats) males cover 3 to 5 miles of their trails of previously marked territory.  Daily rounds assure the cat that his turf is well scented
  • 10 million more cats are kept as pets than dogs
  • Every cat carries the Tabby gene
  • Most adult cats lack the enzymes necessary to digest milk
  • Most of a kitten’s growth takes place during sleep
  • As a kitten matures, it’s 26 milk teeth are replaced by 30 permanent teeth
  • The kitten’s permanent teeth grow in between the ages of 12 to 18 weeks
  • The hunting instinct is buried deeply in the mind of even the youngest kittens.  Rather than just eat its food, a kitten visually examines it and will paw at it, as it would an animal brought back from the hunt, to check if it is safe to approach
  • Cats are most active in the morning and evening (dawn and twilight)—the prime hunting hours
  • After a successful hunt for mice or a toy, many cats engage in a tension releasing dance. It builds the cats self-esteem and confidence
  • Cats prefer foods at body temperature—the temperature of freshly killed prey
  • While hunting the whiskers can reach forward to give information about the prey they stalk
  • The cat’s whiskers have developed into antennae and help detect movement nearby
  • A cat’s sensitive whiskers can detect even slight changes in air pressure and air currents—giving the cat “radar” at night, or insight of a storm about to come
  • Cats are either right- or left-pawed (handed), showing a distinct preference for one paw over the other
  • When cats purr, it is an expression of intense emotion, meaning pleasure or pain
  • The domestic cat is the only feline that can hold its tail in a vertical position while walking, wild cats must hold the tail horizontally or tucked between their legs
  • Cats, camels and giraffes walk with 2 right and 2 left legs
  • Humans have 206 bones in their bodies—an average cat has 244 bones. They have 60 vertebrae.  Nearly 20 of these bones are located in the tail for flexibility
  • Cats have 517 muscles—enabling them to move the front and rear halves of their bodies in opposite directions
  • The cat has 26 facial expressions and the same parts of the human and feline brain correspond to emotion
  • Each ear is controlled by 32 muscles and can turn 180 degrees.  Humans have only 6 muscles
  • A cat’s sense of taste has only 473 taste buds compared to a humans 9,000.  A cats taste buds are located only on the tip of their tongue
  • A cat’s heart beats 2 to 3 times faster than a humans.  A cat’s heart beats 150 to 210 per minute compared to a humans which is 60 to 80 beats per minute
  • Scent glands are located between the cats eyes and ears, used to mark humans and other cats.  Scent glands located on the mouth, lips and under the chin are used to mark inanimate objects
  • The skin glands of a cat are located at the base of their hair and secrete oils to waterproof their fur while grooming (licking)
  • A cat’s tongue has rows of hooked scales that are used to groom and comb its fur
  • When cats drink water, their tongue curls under and scoops water into their mouths
  • Hair grows for 60 to 90 days then falls out after a 40 to 60 day rest period
  • Shedding is controlled by hormones and ambient temperature as well as outdoor light or artificial light
  • A cat’s fur has 60,000 hairs per square inch on the back and 120,000 hairs per square inch on the underside
  • In cold weather a cat’s hair stands on end to trap a layer of air that acts as insulation, they have receptors at the tips of their fur to sense cold
  • Cats can tolerate temperatures up to 124º
  • A healthy mature cat spends about 15% of its life in deep sleep, 50% in light sleep, and 30% in awake time.  Cats attain full alertness faster than any other creature
  • Cats have 200 million odor sensitive cells in their nose, humans have only 5 million
  • A cat’s use of smell, they put their tail in the air is an invite for another cat to smell them
  • A cat’s sense of smell is 14 more times sensitive than humans
  • Cats have 25% less taste buds than humans, and they have NO sweet tooth
  • Cats walk on their toes which gives them greater speed and agility
  • Cats have an extraordinary  ability to grab, cuff, tap, hold, and snatch things.  A cat’s front paws possess a versatility unique to felines
  • Cats have 5 toes on their front paws and 4 on their back paws.  A polydactyl cat has more than the normal number of toes, usually caused by inner breading
  • Cats have nails in the front paw that retract.  However the back nails don’t retract at all, they remain visible
  • Of all animals, cats have the most delicate sense of touch
  • When leaping, cats can lengthen their bodies by 11%. The human equivalent of the cat’s ability to leap would be jumping the width of a swimming pool
  • From a standstill a cat can jump 5 times the length of its body
  • A healthy domestic cat can reach speeds up to 31 miles per hour but can’t maintain sprinting speed for more than a minute
  • Neutered cats require fewer calories than intact cats do
  • Cats do not meow to other cats, the meow is reserved for communicating with humans
  • Cats can make 100 vocal sounds compared to a dogs 10 sounds
  • Cats vocalize using 8 consonants, 5 vowels, 2 diphthongs, and 1 triphthong
  • Cats use the same pitch, volume, and intensity of sound as humans use in speech
  • At the higher levels of sound, human beings can hear sounds up to 20,000 cycles per second, dogs can manage up to 40,000 cycles per second, and cats can hear up to 100,000 cycles per second
  • Cats are extremely sensitive to sounds, including frequencies beyond the range of human hearing
  • Cats are color blind, they see red-green equivalent to color blindness in humans
  • They can see very well in low light, with poor detail
  • Cats are able to see in 1/6th of the light that humans require
  • Cats can see up to 120 feet away, especially if there’s movement
  • Cats night vision is 5 times better than a human
  • They can see 280º around – peripheral vision
  • Cats are far-sighted and don’t see well in close range
  • Domestic cats have slit pupils and big cats have round pupils
  • Unlike domestics, the big cats have only hazel or copper eyes
  • The oldest cat on record lived in England and was 35 years old
  • Black cats are considered lucky in Great Britain and France
  • In China cats have been used successfully as earthquake predictors for years
  • The Turkish Van is known as the cat that loves to swim
  • Cats were declared sacred in Japan in 1000 A.D.
  • Many famous people have been cat lovers, including Mark Twain, Auguste Renoir, J.R.R. Tolkien, Teddy Roosevelt, and Britain’s Queen Victoria

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

How to Tame the Tiger in Your House

The difference between cats and dogs:

There’s a tiger lurking in every kitten and cat. Just look at the way kitty stalks and ambushes your feet. Those hunting instincts are as strong as his ancestors’ who roamed northern Africa nearly 5,000 years ago. Actually, cats haven’t changed much during the time that they have been living with man; they are essentially the same in mind and body as their wild ancestors.

Dogs, on the other hand, have been domesticated for 15,000 years and during that time they have been selectively bred for service to man which has resulted in many genetic changes.

Dogs are pack animals – their ancestors and wild counterparts relied on teamwork to hunt and capture a meal. The pack requires that each dog has a particular ranking in the social hierarchy. All but the alpha dog must submit to a more dominant member of the pack. The family becomes the dog’s pack. When corrected, the family dog willingly conforms his behavior to suit the other pack members. Dog training is straightforward: reward for good behavior; correct for unacceptable responses.

Cats are solitary predators and have depended solely on their own hunting abilities and have had no need for group living. The idea of being corrected or dominated by another individual is foreign to them. Any attempt to punish a cat is counterproductive as it only confuses and frightens the animal. Rather than associating the punishment with the crime, the cat associates the punishment with the owner. This approach to training may damage the cat’s temperament and ruin its relationship with the owner. It also may result in the cat learning owner-absent behavior. Since the corrections only occur in the owner’s presence, the cat feels free to engage in the forbidden behaviors when the owner is asleep, not watching, or at work.

Reward for acceptable behavior; use remote correction for unacceptable behavior.  See the article on “Remote Correction”.

As in dog training, praise and food treats are important to reinforce desired behaviors. Problem behaviors in cats, however, are best discouraged by the use of remote correction techniques in which the environment is booby trapped so that the particular behavior becomes self-correcting. Since the behavior, not the owner, is associated with the negative experience, the cat learns not to scratch the furniture, jump on the counters, eat the plants, etc. even when the owner is absent. Fortunately for us, cats delight in routine and are truly creatures of habit, so once a bad habit is broken and replaced by a new behavior, the new behavior becomes routine.

Happy cat and a happy pet parent are the results of proper corrections for unwanted behaviors.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Two are Better Than One

(or maybe three???)


While we may pride ourselves on how we pamper our pets with the best of everything, we may be denying them what they need the most – the companionship of one or more of their own species.


Most feline behaviorists agree that cats generally lead healthier, happier lives if there is another feline in the household with them. Even if the cats never become best buddies, just sharing the house with another living creature while you are away helps to break the monotony and loneliness. Of course, if they become playmates, there is the added benefit of exercise and entertainment that is especially needed by kittens and young adult cats.


Many cases of playful aggression directed toward the owner as well as various forms of household destruction, can be prevented if the cat’s energies are focused on a playmate. Young males (3-24 months) have an especially strong need for a “buddy”.  While owners of rambunctious young males often hesitate to take on another cat, those who take that “leap of faith” and get another young male are generally delighted to see how much the “boys” enjoy each others company.  You won’t have to entertain him as much, he now has a friend.

Introductions: The resident cat will see the new cat as an intruder

To make the introduction as stress – free as possible:

1.  Reassure resident cat – spend time with him

2.  Give the new cat his own room for a few days

3.  Alternate rooms – familiarity by odor

4.  Gradually expose the cats to each other

5.  Have patience – it may take weeks or months before they except each other


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Choose Your Next Cat or Kitten Carefully

When selecting a feline companion for your resident cat, keep your cat’s personality and activity level in mind. If you are too casual about this important decision, your house may become a war zone. Consider the following guidelines when choosing your next family member. Remember that they are only guidelines and that there are occasional exceptions to the rules.  Every cat has a different personality and their needs are different.


  • If you have an adult female who has been an “only” cat for some time, it is best to get a younger female. Males, even friendly ones, can over-power and frighten females. Male kittens, while more easily dominated by the female, still grow up to be rambunctious teenagers that engage in a style of play that involves pounce and wrestle (not an adult female’s idea of fun).
  • iStock_000045417370SmallIf a young, active male is your family pet, he would really enjoy having a male buddy who shares his enthusiasm for vigorous play.  Rescue and adopt a cat the same age as him; best to get a male kitten.
  • A laid-back, older (neutered) male cat may enjoy “mothering” a kitten – male or female. They usually make better mother substitutes than spayed females. Females (in most cases they are less accepting of newcomers) prefer to be more solitary.  Male or female, younger, older or the same age.  Not all females have the same personalities however, there are exceptions to every rule, some may accept anything.
  • Males tend to bond with each other unless both have dominant personalities. A dominant cat engages in a lot of rubbing – scent marking behavior, likes to rest in high places (for surveillance purposes) and in doorways (to control the entrance to certain rooms), and shows little or no fear.
  • Females will also show some of the same behaviors, they will sometimes bond with a sibling while growing up together. They also will rest in high places (for surveillance purposes) and in doorways (to control the entrance to certain rooms).  Generally, the males will learn to respect the female cat.  She will show them who’s boss quickly, and they really get the message fast.
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

If You’re Really Brave, Adopt a Kitten!


Side view of Highland fold kittens walking in line, isolated on white





It’s Spring again—green grass, flowers and kittens.

In spite of our valiant efforts to control the cat population with spay/neuter programs we always seem to have a bounty of fluffy babies in the Spring. Maybe this is our reward for enduring a long, boring winter. Kittens are never dull or boring. They are enthusiastic and energetic—the embodiment of Spring.   Now if you are in the market for a new feline companion, we have some guidelines that can make this experience unique and wonderful. It will take a little work at first, but the reward for your efforts will be a benefit to you and your cats for many years.

    • Your first important decision is to determine the proper time to adopt the pet. If the kitten is under 8 weeks of age, it should stay with its mother and litter mates until they are at least 10 weeks old. Kittens learn valuable social skills from the mother cat and the siblings at this time, such as how to inhibit biting, proper play and the all important litter box habits.
    • Kittens love to play and hunting is their game. If you don’t want to be the prey, then take out your fishing pole toy or laser light and let the games begin. If it moves, kitty will chase it.
    • If you are really clever, adopt two kittens at the same time. They will naturally bond with each other and play together—giving you and your household a break. When it comes to kittens, 2 really is better than 1. Please see our article “When Two is Better Than One”


  • Another popular kitten sport is climbing Mount Everest aka your drapes or anything they can obtain height from.  This muscle-building activity drops off when kitty learns to high jump.  Be sure to get a good scratching post for kitty to climb.  The Ultimate Scratching Post™ is highly recommended.
  • Now if this doesn’t sound like fun to you, then go down to your nearest animal shelter and select a sweet older cat that will be thrilled to sit in your lap and purr your troubles away.  Don’t get a kitten.
  • If you are still insistent on getting a kitten, here are a few more tips that will keep your kittens safe and healthy.
  • Like small children, kittens need to be protected from injury. Kittens love to explore and can get into dangerous places.  Kitten proof your house from any dangers they might find to play with and explore.
  • Know where your kitten is before you start any appliances or even sit down on the couch. Kittens can get wrapped up in cords and choke on small items in the house. When you are not able to watch them, put them in a kitten-proof room.
  • Plan to have your kitten spayed or neutered before 7 months of age or it is possible you will have urine marking problems. This surgery is healthy and necessary.  Talk to your vet.  Sometimes they can be altered at even an earlier age, the sooner the better.
  • Declawing surgery is a very painful amputation of their toes and can result in biting problems and litter box avoidance. Scratching problems are easily solved. Please read more on what declawing is. We have several articles on what declawing really is.
  • Everyone wants a cat that is friendly and sociable. This may be the most crucial lesson of all;  it involves confidence-building and trust. Ideally the kittens will have experienced gentle handling from birth. It is your job to introduce your kittens to a variety of experiences and people and other friendly animals. You are there to protect the kittens and make sure the experience is a safe and positive one.  They will trust in you not to let anything hurt or frighten them.
  • It is also important to introduce you kittens to a variety of foods including dry and canned foods. Cats that are brought up only one type of food may later refuse to eat anything else, rejecting more nutritious foods.iStock_000026506324Small
  • Most of all, your kittens need your attention. You are their security, you have become their mom.  Pet them and play with them but never let anyone play with the kittens with their hands and feet. That type of play encourages biting and it can be painful and dangerous especially when they are older.
  • Cats have a need to hunt and play so it is important to select safe toys that can amuse your cat while you are gone. Pioneer Pet® has several toys for this purpose.  With the proper up-bringing you will enjoy your cats for many love-filled years.  All of your hard work will be rewarded in the end.  Love your baby!
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site


Kitten – Proofing Your House

Kittens are curious creatures capable of jumping onto high surfaces or squeezing into the smallest of spaces. To protect your kitten in his new environment, and to safeguard your belongings, kitten-proof your house.


  • Kitchens/Bathrooms:

iStock_000006962446SmallUse childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets • Keep medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies in a safe place • Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet • Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinetry or behind washer/dryer units • Make sure they haven’t jumped into the dryer before you turn it on • Keep foods out of reach (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be).





  • Bedrooms:

Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if chewed and in-jested) • Keep any medications, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces (like the bedside table) •Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing.



  • Living/family room:

Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, televisions, stereos, and phones out of reach • Keep kids toys put away • Put away knick-knacks until your kitten has the coordination not to knock them over • Check all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn’t fit, but your kitten does, and for dangerous items like string, and small objects.


  • Move house plants:

iStock_000016161030SmallSome plants can be poisonous, keep them out of reach, including hanging plants that can be jumped onto from other nearby surfaces • Be careful that you don’t close your kitten in closets or dresser drawers • Make sure all heating/air vents have a cover • Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread.












  • Garage:

playing with cardboard two cute kitten playing with cardboard

• The best way to protect the kittens is to never let them into the garage at all..  When they see any door opened, to them its another area to explore for adventure (trouble).  Boxes will attract them to play in, there could be danger everywhere in the garage.

• It’s best to keep the garage safe should the kittens get in it accidentally.  You could prevent a costly vet bill or even the loss of the kitten.

• Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors.

• Clean up all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to a kitten.

•Bang on your car hood to ensure that your kitten has not hidden in the engine for warmth.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Kitty Kindergarden

It is generally accepted that the first three years of a child’s life are the most important in determining the personality of the adult. It is also true that the handling and experiences a kitten receives during its first three months of life has a large impact on the temperament and behavior of the adult cat.

This socialization period can mean the difference between a happy cat that likes to be petted and held, is calm when traveling and is friendly to strangers or an unhappy cat that avoids human contact and is nervous and defensive.

While it may be impossible to fully compensate for a lack of socialization early in life, cats, like people, learn throughout their lifetime and may respond favorable to a systematic program of socialization later in life. Considerably more time and patience is required when working with the older kitten or adult cat.

    • The Sensitive Period – 2 through 7 weeksgroup of little kittens

Research has shown that gentle petting, playing, and talking to kittens during this period helps to increase their attachment to humans. In fact, forty minutes a day produces kittens more attached to their handlers than fifteen minutes a day. Early-handled kittens tend to be more confident and out-going, approaching strange toys and humans without fear.

During this period the kittens are also learning important lessons from the mother cat and their litter-mates. Kittens learn by observation and they learn best by watching their own mother. Social graces such as using the litter box are learned from mom. How to behave toward other cats is learned from interacting with siblings.

Kittens that are weaned too early often play rough with people, not having learned to inhibit playful biting and scratching from litter-mates. They may also be socially handicapped when dealing with their own species later on. Some early-weaned kittens develop oral fixations – sucking or chewing on objects or their new owners by trying to replace their mother.   Kittens should not be separated from the litter until they are at least eight weeks old (ten or twelve is even better).

  • Time to Meet the World – 8 through 12 weeks

iStock_000000741616SmallOnce the kitten is away from the litter, he is ready to form an emotional bond with his human parent who now takes on the roll of “mother cat,” providing food, water, shelter, and emotional security to the baby. In order to develop mentally and physically, the kitten must be allowed to explore his world, but always under the supervision of the protective human parent.

A young animal that is not allowed to explore his natural curiosity will grow up in fear of the unfamiliar things that surround him.  As an adult he will be nervous in new environments and unfriendly to strangers. During this acutely impressionable stage, it is extremely important to provide the kitten with a variety of positive experiences which will give him a sense of control over his world and to avoid disciplinary training or any other unpleasant experiences. (This is the time when kittens are most likely to develop an avoidance-response if subjected to physical or psychological trauma).

Introduce him to a cat carrier and get him used to wearing a harness and leash when away from home, if you take them with you.  Make sure he meets new people and other friendly animals. In short and sweet sessions accustom him to having his paws, ears, and mouth gently touched so that in the future he will accept handling by the veterinarian and nail-trimming and tooth brushing by you.

A conscientious effort to socialize your kitten during this critical, but brief, period will produce a relaxed and tolerant companion that you and your family will enjoy for the next twelve to twenty years.

  • Kittens Just Want to Have Fun!

Another way to build your kitten’s self-confidence and help him to become more extroverted is through regular 10-15 minute sessions of interactive play. While you are waving a fishing pole toy, kitty will be exercising his muscles and his predatory instincts in a constructive way. Direct the kitten’s playful aggression toward toys and away from hands and feet. Never allow him to playfully bite into the skin as he will retain this dangerous habit into adulthood when it will be more painful and injurious to his human companions.

Provide him with 12 to 24 kitten-safe toys. (If it isn’t safe for a small child, don’t give it to your kitten!) Rotate the toys so that he doesn’t become bored with them. Some of the best toys are home-made: paper bags (if they have handles …. cut them so they don’t get tangled in them), the plastic rings off of milk bottles, crumpled- up paper balls, old cotton socks stuffed with cotton balls and catnip and tied in the end.



  • Training is Easy and Rewarding

Kittens at playIf your kitten can walk, he is able to learn to come when called.  Just sho
w them a wonderful food treat and call “Here kitty, kitty.” When he moves toward you, immediately reinforce the behavior with the treat and praise. (It’s best to call them by their name, they will learn quickly just what their name is)

Place a morsel of food on the top of the kitten’s sisal scratching post. He will soon discover that climbing the post can be very rewarding.

Teach him to jump to the spot where your fingers are tapping (your lap, a chair, his bed, etc.) Call him to you. Give him a verbal command while holding the treat between your fingers. Reward him as soon as he responds.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Can You Socialize a Kitten


Most people do not think about socializing cats or kittens. The whole behavior thinking process of a cat is different from a dog since it is believed cats are mostly solitary. As household pets living with a family and exposed to all kinds of situations it is beneficial to give your cat the best and most interesting life you can. It will help if you expose your cat to many different things.  They will learn not to be frightened by new things.


Instead of socializing, you could call the work you do with a cat “desensitization.” This means they are calm or cooperative in many new or different situations. As a cat owner you are probably saying it can’t be done. Yes cat training is possible and can start at a young age. In fact, most people have never bothered to work with their cats and believe all the old myths floating around about our finicky feline friends.  Cats are extremely intelligent and are eager to learn new things.

Cat peeking out of its cage


Some of the things to think about doing with your cat are: traveling, teaching them to allow you to restrain them, brush them, check their eyes, ears, paws and teaching them what proper scratching items are!  They can benefit by traveling around with you on errands, spending playtime on a leash in new areas, and being exposed to new people and animals in controlled environments. All this work will pay off as the kitten grows into a cat.


The more you involve your kitten in activities and interactions with others, the calmer they will be. The benefit is that they will be more likely to respond without fear or defensiveness as they grow older. Your veterinarian and the groomer will love you for it!


Teaching your kitten right from wrong at an early age will prevent them from challenging you as they get older too. They will not necessarily like what it is you want them to do but they will be more likely to cooperate if you have worked with them early in life.


iStock_000010548177SmallWorking with your cat should be done in short calm sessions. Brushing them is a good place to start with since it is so pleasurable. Next you can examine the ears by rubbing them. As you rub you can look in their ears, and touch different parts of the ear with your finger. This is great if you have to clean ears or medicate the cat later in life. GO SLOW! The biggest problem most people have is moving too fast with this type of work.  You need to make the cat think anything you do to them is really their idea.


Holding the paws and gently applying pressure to extend the claws is another useful practice. You can do some amazing things with your cat if you take the time. Nail clipping, touching your cat all over, and other types of restraint will be easier if you work at it slowly. Later invite friends and neighbors to come over and visit. By socializing your cat to people they will be more calm around strangers later in life.


You can also help develop your cat’s intelligence by exposing them to lots of new things. A different amount of toys that are changed or rotated are a necessity. You can see some suggested toys from Pioneer Pet®.  The most favorite toys can be pretty simple. Paper bags, the rings off of milk bottles, rolled up foil and other household items make great play items on a budget. They always seem to be the favorites over anything else too!








Teaching a cat to crate or enter a carrier is one of the more critical things to teach. Placing bedding in it or traveling with the cat in the crate will get your feline comfortable with it. This is a critical tool for disaster evacuation, temporary housing during travel, and restraint. Many people have lost their cats because they were moving and did not think about securely putting their cat into a carrier or separate room for their safety during the move.


It does not matter if you get a pure bred kitten or rescue an alley cat since they all need the same loving care and guidance. Spend the time with your new family member and they will grow into a very secure and loving pet.


The reasons listed below will help show you what will make your cat happier, healthier, more secure and perhaps a bit more cooperative despite their independent nature.


 The Benefits of Play
  •  Exercise
  •  Physical fitness
  •  Mental stimulation
  •  Physical coordination
  •  Bonding with owner
  •  Relief from stress and boredom
  •  Distraction from unwanted  behavior problems
  •  Cure for behavior depression
  •  If only one cat in house – gives cat play stimulation otherwise achieved with other cats
  •  Fun for both cat and parent
While playing with you the cat exercises the following hunting skills or behavior: stalking. chasing, pouncing, batting, catching, throwing, fishing, natural instincts and communication.
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

How to Keep Kitty Out of the Christmas Tree

The arrival of the Christmas tree is a big event for Kitty. Life was boring and “ho hum” before you brought this wonderful piece of the great outdoors inside. From the feline point of view this is definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts you have ever given your well-deserving companion. And if the tree wasn’t enough, you so thoughtfully added all those sparkly and dangly toys from its branches! Now how do you break the news to Kitty that the tree is really not for him.


Christmas tailFirst of all, this is the time to present Kitty with all the gifts that you were planning to save for December 25th. Of course, if one of those just happens to be a floor-to-ceiling cat tree, your troubles are over. Let’s face it, part of being a cat includes the drive to be up high and they love to climb.  It gives them a feeling of security and domination that is so essential to the feline psyche. A few well-made catnip toys and some interactive play with a new fishing pole toy will also help to compensate Kitty for what he is not getting The Tree!). Be sure that your cat has a tall, sturdy, sisal scratching post (we recommend  “The Ultimate Scratching Post™”) to which he can direct his instinctive scratching behaviors.


Kitten and the christmas tree
For the safety of the cat, the ornaments, and your household, be sure the tree is stable and cannot be tipped over.  A heavy tree stand will help but it is also wise to screw a hook into the ceiling and attach a string from the hook to the tree top in case Kitty makes a leap for the tree when you are not looking.


The ornaments on the bottom branches should be tied on, not hung (green twist ties work well) and they should be unbreakable. Remember that pets love to drink the water out of the tree stand, so don’t add any preservatives that could be harmful to your furry family members, which includes your dog.


In order to maintain that holiday spirit of peace and goodwill it is important to devise remote corrections to keep Kitty out of trouble. Please see out article “What Kitty Doesn’t Want You to Know” .   This means that the environmnt, not you, tells Kitty to stay away from the tree.  Direct corrections (yelling or squirting with a water bottle) will only teach the cat “owner absent” behavior. These methods can be confusing and frightening to the cat and the added stress may result in other behavioral problems such as not using the litter box.



Take your time and redirect your cats attention to proper toys for them,

it will make for a very MERRY CHRISTMAS for all!





For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

The Truth About Declawing

Declawing is an inhumane, unnecessary procedure that has many alternatives. It is never in the cat’s best interest.  Simply put it’s “Training vs. Amputation”.


Training a cat to use the proper scratching surfaces is really simple. Destructive scratching problems are 100% preventable and correctable. Providing the cat with suitable scratching areas (posts) to satisfy this instinctive behavior and encouraging the use of a proper place is generally all that is required.


The term “declawing” makes people think only the claw is removed, but a more appropriate description would be amputation/mutilation. Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee.  Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. It doesn’t matter how the procedure is preformed, scapula, guillotine or laser.


The end result is the same “EXCRUCIATING PAIN”















Declawing is actually multiple amputations comparable to the removal of human fingertips at the first knuckle. Sensory and motor nerves are cut, damaged, and destroyed. Recovery from the surgery is a slow and painful process. The pain from declawing is life long and normal cat behaviors are forever gone.  This procedure keeps our cats from enjoying pain free things such as walking, running, springing, climbing, and stretching. This crippling  procedure keeps our cats from a life of fun, energetic normal cat behavior without pain.

This cruel procedure is evident when the cat is waking up from the from anesthesia following the brutal surgery.  It results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of the excruciating pain.  Cats that are more stoic huddle in the corner of the recovery cage, immobilized in a state of helplessness, by the overwhelming pain. Much different than routine recoveries such as from neutering or spaying surgeries, which are fairly peaceful when over.


recently-declawed-in-louisiana mailedD2


Cat parents who elect to have their cats paws declawed generally do so with the belief that they will never have to deal with fabric damage due to destructive scratching problems or children being scratched.  They don’t realize exactly what the process is.  However, paw sensitivity (pain) resulting from the declaw operation may result in bitting, destructive chewing and litter box avoidance.  Another set of other problems have developed from this procedure, now what do you do?  You have your beloved cat crippled for life and now unable to preform necessary natural cat instincts.  It hurts to walk on the litter, they can’t get a good stretch and the pain is causing them to bite out at the fact they can’t use their claws.


Some cats after a declaw procedure can become nervous and defensive and display an undesirable temperament or behavior change. Usually when this happens the person responsible for the declawing would rather take the cat to a pound or shelter or have it euthanized by their veterinarian. Even worse, turn them out into the streets, totally defenseless and in pain.  Not even trying to understand what they have done to their cat for them to behave this way.  It’s a NO win for the cat!


While declawing is a popular and lucrative practice in the United States, it is not practiced in European countries. It is, in fact, against the law, in many countries including England, Germany, and Switzerland

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

What Declawing Really Is ………..


Thank you for learning the importance of your cat’s claws.


images-4A cat needs to scratch on a surface so they can exercise their bodies.  Providing them with a good scratching post designed to maximize your cat’s scratching pleasure and giving them an appealing target for territorial marking, exercise, and natural cat exuberance is very important.


The claws also allow the cat to grasp and hold objects as well as establish footing for walking, running, springing, climbing and stretching. By regularly trimming your cat’s nails and offering a suitable scratching target, you are providing a natural outlet for a normal, happy and healthy behavior and you will be rewarded with a satisfied and confident companion. You can purchase a scratching post from SmartCat “The Ultimate Scratching Post™” or we have directions on how to make a post your cat will love.

 Let’s use this example of bringing a new puppy home:

Think about it… If you had just brought home a new puppy and the puppy was digging up your expensive landscaping, scratching hardwood floors while running in the house, jumping on furniture and digging to find or hide a bone, would your first thought be to have your puppy’s claws and toes surgically removed?  Your answer would be “NO”. I expect that you would naturally and intelligently start the puppy in a training program.

Trying to understand why people think so naturally to alter a cat’s behavior by removing the claws instead of suppling and training the cat to use a post versus something else inappropriate should be unheard of.Let’s give our cats their dignity by letting them keep the claws they were born with.

trimming nails

Ok, so now let’s take a moment to understand just how important the cats claws are to them.

The cat is born with five retracting nails on each front foot and 4 nails on each rear foot which don’t retract (they remain exposed and don’t hide within the paw).

Scratching Problems: The Easiest of all Feline Problems to Solve:
  • Get several good scratching postsclaw
  • Reward appropriate behavior
  • Trim nails regularly
  • Temporarily cover their previous scratching targets
  • Relieve cat’s boredom with interactive play and toys
A Cat’s Nails are Necessary for:
  • Balance when walking, running and climbing
  • Exercise normal cat behavior
  • Scratching for a good stretch
  • Good interactive play
  • Climbing
  • Playing
  • Grasping
  • Defense




The average person doesn’t understand what declawing is and how it permanently affects their cat. Please read our article on “The Truth About Declawing”

Opposite to what most American cat owners think, declawing does not “save” cats, or training time, even money, or sofas. It frequently does the exact opposite. Declawed cats can be expensive and dangerous because declawing is the number one cause of litter box problems and biting problems.

Onychectomy_inflammationDeclawing is an amputation of the cat’s toes to the first knuckle of each joint. Declawing removes claw, bone, tendon and ligament. The cat will be in pain for the rest of their life.

If your cat is already declawed, don’t beat yourself up, it’s over and now is the time to educate yourself and spread the word to other cat lovers what you have learned.  It’s all about being informed and educated.  So many people don’t realize how detrimental declawing is, the veterinarians never talk about it.


Please NEVER even consider declawing, and save a cat from this brutal and unnecessary procedure by stopping someone else from doing what people don’t understand.  Help educate people around you, tell them what you have learned.  Also tell them to tell everyone they know, we need to STOP this procedure.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

How To Build a Scratching Post

Here is a list of the SUPPLIES NEEDED: (supplies can be purchased at any building supply store)


  •   One cedar post that is about 30″ tall and at least 4″ in diameter or larger
  •   A bundle of non-oiled sisal rope measuring 1/2″ wide in diameter
  •   A piece of 3/4″ plywood to make a sturdy base (at least 16” x 16” square)
  •   1/2″ roofing nails
  •   Sand Paper
  •   Four 3/4″ 16d coated sinker nails

The requirement for this type of scratching post has come from our “cat testers.” The reasoning behind this cat post is simple; a post should be as high as your cat is tall when he is fully stretched out plus a few inches.


The post should also be wide enough that your cat can sit on top and survey his surroundings. The base should be sturdy enough that the post will not tip over. Once a post tips over on a cat it is very hard to persuade your cat to use the post again, they will be frightened. The reason the post should be wrapped with sisal rope is because cats love a good surface to dig their nails into.  Using a carpeted post can send a mixed message to the cat, leaving them to think that a carpeted  surface is ok to scratch on.



Before you begin, you will want to make sure your post is dry so that there will not be any shrinking of the post after the sisal is wrapped on. To make the post you might want to wear a pair of work gloves when you wrap the sisal around the post.Cat Scratching Post Close-Up on Black Background


Before assembly take sand paper and smooth away any rough edges on the post and base.  Now you are ready to start.  You will want to nail (use 1/2″ roofing nails) the beginning of your rope in 3-4 places to keep the rope from loosening as you wrap the rest of the post. Then you wind the rope around and around the post very tightly so that there aren’t any spaces between the rows of rope. This process will take you all the way down to the bottom of the post.  Once again nail the end of your rope in 3-4 places around the bottom of the post. Next you will want to nail the base on to the post.  Use the four nails and pound them through the bottom of the plywood base and into the bottom of the post.


Congratulations you now have a cat-approved scratching post!  A post your cat will love to use.









Cute Cat with Closed Eyes Scratching a Scratching Post

To introduce the post to your cat you can use catnip as a lure, rub the catnip right into the rope so that the cat can smell that wonderful smell. Once your cat has smelled the catnip and is showing interest, scratch your nails gently along the surface of the rope. (NEVER take your cat by the paws and drag them to the post and mimic  a scratching motion with their feet) this process will offend your cat.   Let your cat come to the post on his own to see what you’re doing.  Your cat will love the sound and will want to make the same noise. This will help teach your cat where to scratch.


Once your cat begins to scratch, praise your cat, tell them what a good cat they are, throw a small party.  Reward them with a food treat, cats love treats. You can also place a treat on the top of the post, to motivate them even more.  This post will save your furniture, if a cat is given a place to do what comes naturally to them SCRATCH.


For example, If your cat is using a certain corner of the couch for a scratching post, put your neIMG_1158 copyw post right by the area of the couch. Cover that corner of the couch with double-sided sticky tape that will be completely unattractive to your cat. This will repel your cat away from your couch and right there is a post that they now can mark and will love to make their own special scratching area.

IMG_1171 copy

SmartCat makes a product called Sticky Paws™ that is very effective. Once your cat is using the post regularly, you can move it slowly to the area where you would like to have it.  Leave the sticky tape in place for a bit to make sure they don’t go back to an old habit.


The SmartCat scratching post can be purchased if you prefer.  It has been cat tested and approved by various felines. The post is made with sisal and is called the Ultimate Scratching Post™.  It was designed after the post described above.

The cats are attracted to and will love this post.  It’s a updated manufactured version.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

The Definitive Guide to Saving Your Couch from Your Cat


When bringing home your new kitten or cat and they start scratching on your furniture, would your first thought be to have your cat declawed?  Your answer should be “NO”.  Elective mutilation, also referred to as “declawing” is never a humane option. While some cat owners feel that they are solving the scratching problem with surgery, they may discover that this choice has created more problems, like not using the litter box, biting and chewing. The cat may want to avoid the litter box completly (declawing is very painful) because it hurts to step into the litter (they will associate the litter box with pain), as well as other problems, such as shyness and fear.  If you take away one form of defense from the cat, (the paw swipe) the cat will use its teeth.  This is only natural, that’s all they have left.

Cats can be trained as well as dogs. It is just a different approach.  Cats don’t think like dogs, they are cats.

It’s really very easy to train a cat:  praise and reward the good behavior (positive reinforcement) and discourage the undesirable behavior with the use of humane deterrents. (negative reinBootsieComboScratch_3831forcement).

Recommended by Cats International is SmartCat® “Bootsie’s Combination Scratcher™”.  It’s great because it can be used for horizontal scratching or wall mounted for vertical scratching.  It’s also excellent for smaller spaces.

Does this situation sound familiar?
Kitty starts scratching at the couch or your favorite chair…

You and other family members run from all parts of the house to chase kitty away from scratching the furniture. From kitty’s standpoint, this event rates as high as a favorite party game. (One little scratch and the family is on their feet!) … (WOW I get all of this attention.)  Now, if the family chooses to yell and chase the cat around the house, this kitty game has now become a favorite pastime. Cats love attention!  They will use this as a form to start a game of chase, a great game for them.

Now how can we undo the damage we’ve done?
  • First we must understand scratching for a cat is a natural instinct, they not only like to do it, they must do this behavior.
  • Let’s start with an understanding that scratching serves many useful and healthy purposes for cats, they need to stretch and exercise and condition their nails.
  • Every home with a cat should have at least two cat-appealing scratching posts in high-traffic areas to allow for territorial satisfaction.  You will notice some cats will run to their scratching post when they see you coming into a room.  They want to hear you tell them what a good cat they are, and please do praise them!
  • The post should be at least 32” high and you can build your own.  Please see our article on “How to Build a Scratching Post”, or you can purchase one.
  • It should be sturdy and unable to move or be tipped over.
  • Sisal material or rope are the preferred scratching materials (don’t use carpeting, this sends a mixed message to the cat that it is ok to scratch on carpet!)
  • Place the post in front of the area where the cat has started to scratch.  Show him the post by scratching your nails on the post to get him interested.  Don’t physically take the cats paws and hold them to the post.  They will find this offensive and will avoid the post altogether.
  • Praise the cat every time he uses the post (positive reinforcement—it really works!)


Now we all know that cats are very territorial animals and marking is an important occupation for cats.  In order to feel secure in their home or territory, they routinely patrol the area and mark it by rubbing or scratching.  The scratching post offers an excellent outlet for this natural behavior.

Introduce your cat to the post by rubbing some catnip on it.  Scratch on it with your fingernails to get them to want to use the post.  Don’t think for a moment that kitty hasn’t forgotten his old haunts and he may be interested in re-visiting the old scratching areas.  (After all, he worked hard to mark them!)

This is your shining moment to stop your cat from reusing the areas.  We have a rather unfair advantage, as there are many ways to help us change his favorite scratching places.  When kitty checks out an old spot or is looking for a brand new one, we can go to our list of things to make him change his mind.  The best part is that there is no yelling or running around involved and it even works when you are sleeping or out of the house.

These are our “Secret Weapons”

Sticky Paws

This clear, double-sided tape is inexpensive and can be applied to almost any surface.  Cats dislike anything sticking to their paws.  Can be found in most pet stores or can be directly purchased through Pioneer Pets  “SmartCat Sticky Paws™” (it comes in various sizes)

Feliway Spray

If sprayed in problem areas on a regular basis, it will give the cat the impression that the area has already been marked—no need to scratch.  It has a calming effect on the cats.  Use it to spray in a cat kennel before going to the vet, about 20 minutes before putting in the cat.  It can be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog (1-800-826-7206) or found at most pet stores.


This motion detector hisses when the cat approaches the problem area.  Even the most fearless of cats clear the area when it activates.  This product can be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog (1-800-826-7206)

Vinyl Carpet Runner

Use the back-side of the vinyl carpet runner. It has a very prickly feel, it can be cut and placed in the area that you want your cat to avoid.  They won’t want to walk on the points of the carpet runner.

Solid Air Fresheners

Cats dislike perfume.  An air freshener may keep the cat away from an area until it has evaporated.  (Never put it near the litter box, scratching post, sleeping or feeding areas).  Scented dryer sheets may have the same effect.

The Mini-motion detector

This product can be purchased at Radio Shack.  The alarm chimes when the cat approaches and it stops and resets its self when the cat leaves the area.

Scratching Problems

The Easiest of all Feline Problems to Solve
  •  Get a good scratching post
  •  Reward appropriate behavior
  •  Trim nails weekly
  •  Temporarily cover previous scratching targets
  •  Relieve cat’s boredom with interactive play and plenty of toys
A Cat’s Nails are Necessary for:
  • Balance – Defense
  • Exercise – Grasping
  • Digging – Playing
  • Eating – Climbing
  • Grooming – Hunting

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

What Kitty Doesn’t Want You to know

Direct correction or punishment of felines only results in owner-absent behavior, so put away the squirt gun. It’s time to come up with more creative solutions, strategies that will work when you are asleep or not at home as well as when you are monitoring Kitty’s activities.



Playful Ginger Cat Biting Cat Toy

Let the environment, not you, convince your cat of what he does and doesn’t want to do. Booby traps, also known as remote corrections, are the secret to keeping Kitty from forbidden areas when you are at home and not paying attention or are away. They allow you to be the “good guy” which is very important for Kitty’s mental health. Some of these cat repellents are: solid air fresheners, especially citrus-scented ones, vinyl carpet runners turned upside down (with pointed side up – ouch!), eucalyptus oil on cotton balls, a mini-motion detector from Radio Shack (it’s battery-operated with an alarm chime and costs about $25), and we recommend Sticky Paws™ (sold by Pioneer Pet®), double-sided carpet tape or contact paper (to divert scratching activities.) Important: For every activity that is changed by these deterrents, there should be many more acceptable places for Kitty to jump on or to scratch.  Create a safe area for your cat where they can be curious and adventurous, and most importantly have FUN !!

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Play Therapy

We can take the cat out of the jungle, but we can’t take the jungle out of the cat. There is a little tiger in every house cat; a solitary predator that needs to exercise its hunting skills on a regular basis. We may have confined this little tiger within four walls, provided them with the finest of feline foods, but we can’t ignore their basic need to do that for which it was so perfectly designed – to HUNT.  Fortunately, it is not always necessary for the prey to be alive, but it must move.

Two cats playing on white backgroundOwners are often frightened by the playfully aggressiveness in cats and kittens because they look quite intense when they play. They silently ambush feet and ankles as they pass by surprising, upsetting, and sometimes, even hurting a family member. In some cases the cat owners have not intentionally trained their cat to be a feline terrorist by playing with it as a kitten with their hands or feet. Now that the cat is bigger and stronger, those playful pounces and bites can puncture skin and become more painful.   The solution is to direct the cat’s playful, predatory, energies toward toys instead of moving hands or feet.


Two kittens playing and fighting

Of course, the easiest solution, and perhaps the best, is to get another cat or kitten of the same sex and approximately the same age and activity level as a playmate for them.  Although you will now have two mouths to feed, the wear and tear on you and your home will be greatly reduced, or eliminated. If getting another pet is not possible, then it will be your responsibility to provide your playful cat with scheduled sessions of controlled play.


Schedule two or three (more, if necessary) interactive play sessions a day for times when Kitty is most rambunctious.  Cats love routine, so try not to change the play times. Depending on how athletic your cat is, the sessions may last 10-20 minutes each; every cat and kitten will be different and require more or less time.   A fishing pole type toy enables the pet parent to be stationary while controlling the cat’s activity level with a wave of the arm. Some of the best commercially sold toys for this purpose are the “Da Bird”, and the “Cat Charmer”.  The play sessions should not stop until the cat is exhausted, lying on his side and batting at the toy because he is too tired to jump or chase after it.



During the play session make the toys move as wild prey-a little mouse or bird. Don’t dangle it in the cat’s face. It should hide behind objects in the house and occasionally jump into the air. Build up Kitty’s confidence and enthusiasm by allowing plenty of “captures”.  Fishing pole toys should be carefully stored out of the cat’s reach after the a play session, as kitty could become entangled in the toy which could cause great harm.

As kittens mature, the play patterns of male and females change. The rough-and-tumble, pounce-and-play sequence of male play behavior will continue and may not be appreciated by the female.  When she is older he may be greeted with hisses and spitting, this is normal, she is simply telling him to slow down and back off.

What to do if the Little Monster still Attacks you Playfully…

First of all, playful attacks are not bitting with hissing and growling. A natural reaction to being grabbed or bitten, even playfully, is to swat at the cat. Don’t do this! Physical punishment may cause your cat either to fear you or to engage in even more aggressive rough play, where they will think they are being attacked and challenged. If your cat becomes afraid of you, you may face a bigger problem – that of defensive aggression. If the attack can be anticipated, a blast of air from a compressed air can (obtained from any office supply store), a squirt from a water gun, or a shaker can (empty soda can with pennies in it) may discourage the behavior if produced at the moment of the attack. Timing is everything. If “used” a second or two after the incident, the means of distraction will not be connected with the attack in the cat’s mind and no training will take place.  The cat will be frightened of you and confused.  You can also carry a supply of soft toys to be given to the attacker, to redirect the play aggression from your skin to a toy.


Playful Ginger Cat Biting Cat Toy


Perhaps the best means of distraction  is the one that is always at hand – one’s voice. A loud and shrill “Eek”, followed by a sharp “No!” can be very effective with some cats. The next step is to shun the cat for the next ten minutes. This means paying absolutely no attention to the cat. Don’t lecture or scold the cat and don’t pick them up to put it in a separate room. Any attention at this point can be reinforcing the bad behavior, so totally ignore the cat. This is precisely the way a kitten learns to inhibit his biting when playing with another kitten. If one becomes a little too rough, the victim will squeal and run away. The aggressor will watch his playmate run away and wonder what happened. Eventually he learns that if he wants to extend the play session (which he always wants to do), then he will have to be more gentle.

The Benefits of Play


Physical fitness

Mental stimulation

Physical coordination

Bonding with owner

Relief from stress and boredom

Distraction from behavior problem (e.g. aggression)

Cure for behavior depression

If only one cat in house – gives cat play stimulation otherwise achieved with other cats

Fun for both cat and owner

While playing with the owner the cat exercises the following hunting

skills or behaviors:

stalking. chasing, pouncing, batting, catching, throwing, fishing and communication

 To Make Kitty’s Life More Interesting:

Get a companion/playmate

Train kitty to walk on leash

Provide or build an outdoor enclosure

Buy “Catnip Video”

Hide toys for kitty while you are at work

Get an aquarium (with cover top)

Rotate kitty”s toys – keep small soft toys not being used in an airtight container filled with catnip

Devote 10 minutes before leaving for work and 10 minutes after returning, exclusively to kitty

Give kitty a massage, or grooming session

Provide kitty with his own furniture – scratching post, cat tree condo, etc.

Occasionally put something new on the floor for kitty to explore (e.g. paper bag, cardboard box)

Plant an indoor garden just for kitty

This training method works well – if you are patient and consistent ……… Just go SLOW !!


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Examples of Remote Corrections

The best defense method so a correction wouldn’t be needed would be to have a scratching post and other items to entertain your cat already in place.  This will help for your cat not to establish scratching targets inappropriate  areas.

What if kitty thinks that the back of the couch or the arm of the favorite chair is his own workout center?  No problem. Scratching is a very natural and healthy behavior. We want to change the location of the scratching, not eliminate the scratching behavior completely. First, place a tall, sturdy, sisal-covered post (we recommend Ultimate Scratching Post™) in front of the target area. Next, cover the previously scratched areas with Sticky Paws™ or a few strips of doubled-sided carpet tape. When kitty goes back to freshen up their mark, they will redirect the scratching behavior to the post, the sticky tape will not agree with them.
It’s not easy to out-smart a cat but these deterrents will help:
  • Vinyl carpet runner with the spiky side up (this makes sure the surface is uncomfortable to touch)
  • SSSCat a motion detector on a can of compressed air (effective with even the boldest of cats!)
  • The mini-motion detector sold at Radio Shack
  • Solid (not spray) air fresheners will repel cats from a small, localized area (cats dislike perfume, especially citrus)
  • Sticky Paws™ (comes in sheets, strips, also sold on a roll) are specially designed to keep cats from scratching on previously marked areas)
  • Feliway stops territorial scratching as well as spraying problem
Behavior problems often signal serious needs:


Don’t assume that kitty is misbehaving just to torment you. They may be reacting to some stress or trying to communicate an urgent medical need. For example, if they urinate on the floor in front of you, this may indicate a health problem or the litter-box may need cleaning. If they chew your houseplants, they may need their own Kitty Garden. Perhaps the problem is just that they want your attention and they know how to get it. It’s up to you to show your cat which proper behaviors provide the most attention. We may take the cat out of the jungle but we haven’t succeeded in taking the jungle out of the cat, nor do we what to. By inviting this little bit of wildlife into our homes, we are accepting the responsibility of supplying kitty’s basic tiger needs. When we are successful at supplying these needs, we are rewarded with a healthy, happy, well-behaved, interesting and affectionate companion.

For any other information on cat behavior, please visit our web-site

Behavioral Deterrents – our “Secret Weapons”

 Sticky Paws™

This clear, double-sided tape is inexpensive and can be applied to almost any surface. Cats dislike anything sticking to their paws. Can be found in most pet stores or can be directly purchased through Pioneer Pets “Sticky Paws™”


Feliway Spray

If sprayed in problem areas on a regular basis, it will give the cat the impression that the area has already been marked—no need to scratch. It has a calming effect on the cats, use it to spray in cat kennel before going to the vet, about 20 minutes before putting in the cat.  Can be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog (1-800-826-7206)



This motion detector hisses when the cat approaches the problem area. Even the most fearless of cats clear the area when it activates. This product can be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog (1-800-826-7206)


Vinyl carpet runner

If the back-side of the vinyl carpet runner has a very prickly feel, it can be cut to the size needed and placed in the area that you want your cat to avoid, they won’t want to walk on the points of the carpet runner.

Solid Air Fresheners

Cats dislike perfume. An air freshener may keep the cat away from an area until it has evaporated. (Never put it near the litter box, sleeping or feeding areas.)   Scented dryer sheets may have the same effect.


The Mini-Motion Detector

This product can be purchased at Radio Shack.  The alarm chimes when the cat approaches and it stops and resets its-self when the cat leaves the area.



Training Tools

Catnip, tuna or any fish oil, liver, whatever food treats appeal to your cat, favorite toys, intriguing sounds.


Lemon/orange peels, solid citrus air fresheners, bitter apple spray (for chewing problems), upside down vinyl carpet runner, white vinegar mixed with water, double sided carpet tape, aluminum foil, upside down mouse traps, strong perfume or cologne on cotton balls or highly scented dryer sheets, squirt bottle (an attractant to some cats), air sprayer loud noises (shaker can, owner shouting, “NO!”), not everything will work for all cats, surely there is one that will do the trick.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a science-based way to communicate with your cat. It’s easier to learn than standard command-based training. You can clicker train any kind of cat, of any age

With insight and products designed to help you improve your training, you can start training your cat and interacting in ways you never thought possible


Fifteen Rules for Getting Started with the Clicker
by Karen Pryer
Don’t worry, at first, about getting rid of behavior you don’t like. Instead, start with some good things you want the cat to learn to do. Keep notes (the refrigerator door is a good place.) Jot down what the cat was doing when you started. Once a day or so, jot down what you have achieved with each behavior. You will be surprised at the progress! Reward YOURSELF for the cat’s improvements. Here are some simple tips to get you started.
Push and release the springy end of the clicker, making a two-toned click. Then treat. Keep the treats small. Use a delicious treat at first: little pieces of tuna, say – not a lump of kibble.  Make it something special the cat will want to eat, you will get better results.
  • Click DURING the desired behavior, not after it is completed. The timing of the click is crucial. Don’t be dismayed if your cat stops the behavior when it hears the click. The click ends the behavior. Give the treat after that; the timing of the treat is not important, the click is.
  • Click when the cat does something you like. Choose something easy at first, that the cat is likely to do on its own. (Ideas: sit; come toward you; touch your hand with its nose; go through a door; walk next to you.)
  • Click once (in-out) If you want to express special enthusiasm, increase the number of treats, not the number of clicks.
  • Fix bad behavior by clicking good behavior.
  • Keep practice sessions short. Much more is learned in three sessions of five minutes each than in an hour of boring repetition. You can get noticeable results, and teach your cat many new things, by fitting a few clicks a day here and there in your normal routine.
  • Click for voluntary (or accidental) movements toward your goal. You may coax or lure the cat into a movement or position, but don’t push, pull, or hold them, never force the action.
  • Don’t wait for the “whole picture” or the perfect behavior. Click and treat for small movements in the right direction. You want the cat to sit, and it starts to crouch in back: click. You want it to come when called, and it takes a few steps your way: click.
  • Keep raising your goal. As soon as you have a good response – when the cat is voluntarily lying down, coming toward you, or sitting repeatedly – start asking for more. Wait a few beats, until the cat stays down a little longer, comes a little further, sits a little faster. Then click. This is called “shaping” a behavior.
  • When the cat has learned to do something for clicks, it will begin showing you the behavior spontaneously, trying to get you to click. Now is the time to begin offering a cue, such as a word or a hand signal. Start clicking for that behavior if it happens during or after the cue. Start ignoring that behavior when the cue wasn’t given.Cute cat enjoying himself outdoors
  • Don’t order the cat around; clicker training is not command-based. If your cat does not respond to a cue, it is not “disobeying,” it just hasn’t learned the cue completely. Find more ways to cue it and click it for the desired behavior, in easier circumstances.
  • Carry a clicker and “catch” cute behaviors like cocking the head, squinting their eyes, or rolling over. You can click for many different behaviors, whenever you happen to notice them, without confusing your cat. If you have more than one cat, separate them for training, and let them take turns.
  • If you get frustrated and angry, put the clicker away. Don’t mix correction training with clicker training; you will lose the cat’s confidence in the clicker and perhaps in you.
  • If you are not making progress with a particular behavior, you are probably clicking too late. Accurate timing is important. Get someone else to watch you, and perhaps to click for you, a few times.
  • Above all, have fun. Clicker-training is a wonderful way to enrich your relation-ship with your pet.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Lapsed Litter Box Users

One in every 10 cats will have a litter box lapse in his or her lifetime. 

 Here are the most common reasons:
  • Sad catThe cat is suffering from a medical problem involving the urinary tract (If the UTI is bad enough, some blood in the urine may be visible.) It’s called a Urinary Tract Infection
  •  This should be the first thing to check out.  Take your  cat to the vet to rule out illness.
  • The cat experiences a bout of geriatric constipation.
  • The cat has not been spayed or neutered and is marking territory.
  • The caretaker does not keep the litter box clean.
  • Not enough litter in the box.
  • The litter box has a hood on it (most cats don’t like to feel trapped, this also traps the odors and makes the cat think the litter box is dirty, even right after it has been cleaned.)
  • The owner uses disposable plastic liners (urine can get trapped into the folds of the liner and if litter is low in box the cat can catch their paws when digging.)
  • The litter is scented (cats dislike a perfume odor!)
  • The litter brand and type was suddenly changed (this should be a gradual transition.)
  • The owner buys a new box and throws out the old one.  Boxes should be placed next to one another, don’t get rid of the old box until the cat is using the new box consistently.
  • The litter box was washed with a harsh cleaning product and the scent is still present.  Several rinses with clean water should be done to eliminate the odor.
  • The litter used is sharp and uncomfortable and it irritates the cat’s sensitive paw pads.
  • The cat has been declawed and finds walking or digging in the litter painful.  Find a very soft to the paws litter.  We recommend SmartCat® Natural Litter (see tips on use).
  • There are not enough litter boxes in the house (1 per cat, plus 1 is recommended).
  • The litter boxes are located all in one area.  They should not be next to one another.
  • The cat is kept from using the litter box by another family pet or children.
  • The location of the litter box is too busy or too remote. Don’t create an obstacle course for your cat.
  • The owner suddenly changes the location of the litter box.  You can add a new box in another location, but leave the existing box where its been located, slowly relocate the box to a new location.
  • The cat accidentally gets locked out of the room where the litter box is located.
  • The cat was never properly trained to use the litter box in the first place.
  • The cat is stressed by a change in routine or the environment, including work schedule changes, overnight guests, new furniture, remodeling, outside animals seen through the window, etc.
  • A loud noise can startle the cat while using the litter box or in it’s vicinity; they associate the frightening experience with the litter box.
The stress target in a cat Funny red-haired catis the bladder!



For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Prevention of Litter Box Problems


  • The rule of thumb for the number of litter boxes is: one per cat in the household, plus one. Extra litter boxes are necessary because some cats like to defecate in one and urinate in another. Sometimes others will not use a box that has already been used by another cat. Different areas for the litter boxes can prevent location-avoidance problems. If space is an issue, try a Corner Litter box™ from SmartCat®.
  • Clean the litter boxes DAILY. The single most common reason for a cat’s refusal to use a litterbox is because the box is dirty.  The box should be scooped daily, add fresh litter to top and keep depth of litter to about 3”, and the litter box washed when soiled. The cheaper clumping litters that break-up easily will need to be dumped more frequently than the non-clumping litters. (Bacteria left in the litter box will smell to the cat even if you can’t smell it.)
  • Choose a litter that appeals to the cat. Recommended litter SmartCat® Natural Clumping Litter (see “tips on how to use“), most cats prefer the texture of the sand-like clumping litters. Be sure to select a brand with no dust,  that clumps into a firm ball, making scooping easier and cleaner. As a health precaution for kittens that might be prone to ingest the litter, use a non-clumping litter until the kitten is four months old.
  • NEVER use scentiStock_000000741616Smalled litter. Perfumed, chemical scents repel cats. When you wash the litter box, use hot water and a mild dishwashing liquid, rinse several times.  Do not use harsh chemicals that will leave a lingering odor.
  • Do not use litter box liners–they can trap urine between the folds of liner and can be irritating to some cats when digging. Also covered, or hooded litter boxes can be offensive to cats as they do not satisfy the cat’s need for escape potential when eliminating. They also trap the odor inside, creating an “outhouse effect”. The litter box should be uncovered and at least 24″ x 18″ for an adult cat.
  • Place litter boxes in quiet, private places that are easily accessible to the cat and where it will not be disturbed by children or ambushed by other pets. Noisy areas near washing machines, furnaces, or under stairs, may frighten the cat away from the box. A house with several stories should have a litter box on each floor. NEVER place litter boxes near food and water dishes.
  • On guardWhile kittens have a natural instinct to use a litter box easily seen, they may also choose other, more convenient locations if a litter box is not in sight. You should limit their territory until they learn that the litter box is the only acceptable place to eliminate and they know where the box is located.  Praise and rewards will speed up the learning process. Like small children, when kittens are playing they get distracted and  the urge to eliminate hits them quickly.  They should not be expected to travel very far to find their bathroom areas; they won’t make it.
  • When introducing a new cat into the home, confine the cat to one room with its litter box, bed, food, water and toys until the cat has used the litter box several times and shows an interest in exploring the rest of the house. Once you have decided on the placement for the litter boxes in your house — Don’t move them! If they must be moved, do it slowly!
  • Help your cat feel comfortable in his home territory. Play games with him, give him a massage, talk to him frequently using their name. Give him positive and affectionate attention, LOVE them.  A confident, secure, contented and relaxed cat does not need to relieve anxiety and stress by such extreme measures as urine or fecal marking.  They will be willing to use their litter box.
  • Cats enjoy using their litter boxes if they are in a safe place, clean and have an acceptable litter. Its all a natural instinct.
Secrets of Litter-Box Success

90% of all litter box problems are caused by the pet parent not knowing what the cat needs are.

Litter box Do’s and Don’ts:
  • Do have your cat spayed or neutered
  • Do provide 1 litter box per cat; plus 1
  • Do clean litter boxes daily
  • Do find a litter that appeals to your cat
  • Do place litter boxes in quiet and private places
  • Don’t use scented litter, litter box liners, or hooded litter boxes.
  • Don’t wash the litter box with harsh chemicals that leave an odor
  • Don’t expect the cat to travel a long distance to get to it’s litter box
  • Don’t punish the cat if they’re not using the litter box – punishment increases the cat’s stress and worsens the problem; find out why they stopped using the box
  • Don’t insist that a declawed cat use a clay-based litter; a sand – like scooping litter or an empty litter box may be more acceptable and easier on the paws

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site




What to Do if Your Cat is Not Using the Litter Box


  • Have your cat examined by a veterinarian for a health problem even if there are no obvious symptoms. (Some problems can only be diagnosed through testing.) Be sure to mention their urination and defecation habits to your vet.  If a cat’s elimination is painful, it may associate the litter box with pain and choose to eliminate somewhere else hoping it’s not going to be painful.  This is the number one reason for litter box avoidance. When the cat is healthy again, a careful reintroduction to the box will be necessary.  Retraining the cat to use the litter box will be necessary.
  • Carefully check the article on “Prevention of Litter Box Problems”.  Are you following all of the steps listed? Perhaps the solution is as easy as adding more litter boxes, cleaning more frequently, or changing the brand of litter. Try to accommodate kitty’s preferences for location (by placing litter boxes where the “accidents” occurred) and add boxes whenever possible. Special consideration should be given to declawed cats as paw sensitivity may be the cause for litter box avoidance and kitty may require a box or tray without litter, try shredded newspaper.
  • iStock_000000752160Medium copyNever punish the cat for eliminating outside of its litter box. House soiling occurs when the litter box, its contents, or its location is offensive to the cat or when the cat is stressed by the environment. Punishment only increases the cat’s stress and may worsen the problem. HOUSE SOILING IS NEVER DONE TO SPITE THE OWNER!  The cat is trying to communicate to you something is wrong.
  • If a health issue or aversion to the litter box can be ruled out, consider that the problem could be anxiety related. Has there been a change in the household? Any intrusion on the cat’s territory, whether human, animal, or even a new piece of furniture, can cause a cat to feel threatened, insecure, and stressed. This may result in his need to mark his territory. This is usually accomplished by spraying urine on vertical surfaces, or less frequently, by squatting and urinating or defecating on horizontal surfaces. The more cats in the household, the more likely that one or more of them will spray.
  • conflict between catsTry to relieve or eliminate the source of the cat’s anxiety. (For example, pull the drapes so that kitty cannot view the antics of the tom cat next door.) If the environmental cause that triggers the territorial behavior cannot be identified or eliminated, consult with an experienced feline behavior counselor.
  • Whatever the cause of the inappropriate elimination, a brief confinement period may be necessary in order to clean the soiled areas, place deterrents in these spots, and to purchase more litter boxes or new litter. The confinement room should be comfortable and equipped with two litter boxes, fresh food and water (not near the litter boxes!)  a bed and toys. They are not in cat jail, just being retrained. Visit them regularly, but don’t let him out until the home environment has been cleaned and the litter box situation has improved. (Please note that extended periods of confinement may be detrimental to the retraining process.)
  • In order to thoroughly clean the urine soaked area an ultraviolet light may be used to identify the soiled areas. Then a strong enzymatic cleaner such as OxyClean (see the article Eliminating Cat Urine Odor Using Oxyclean to clean and neutralize the area see page #26.)   To repel kitty from previously soiled areas, cover them with solid air fresheners (preferable a citrus scent) or a mini-motion detector (available from Radio Shack.)  When the carpet is dry, a vinyl carpet runner (spike side up!) can be placed over the problem areas. Cats are very location oriented so deterrents should be left in place for at least six weeks after they have been using the litter box regularly to make sure that old habits have been broken and properly cleaned with no odor present.
Solving house soiling problems is possible with patience, persistence, and a systematic plan for retraining.
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Eliminating Cat Urine Odor Using Oxyclean


Oxyclean is a good product to remove the urine and fecal odors from the home.  This product actually eliminates any odor during clean up.  It is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions but we have added some personal tips which are proven to work.


As with all cleaning products, a test spot in an unnoticeable area is recommended. The longer a cat has been spraying on your furniture or carpet the more applications of the treatments you will need.



  • The manufacturer’s suggested dilution for carpet spots (one scoop per gallon) seems to be a good concentration for treating carpet and furniture. Note that the water must be warm or hot to dissolve and activate Oxyclean, but a cooled solution is probably safer for fabrics and carpet. Oxyclean can be added to a wash cycle for all  launder-able items.
  • Mix enough Oxyclean to thoroughly saturate the area that has been soiled with cat urine. Remember that furniture cushions and carpet padding tend to absorb a greater percentage of the urine than the surface of the fabric or carpet as gravity pulls it downward. Thoroughly saturate the areas affected by the cat urine – allow the Oxyclean solution to work for 30 minutes or longer. Vacuum, or blot up the excess liquid until no more moisture can be extracted from the fibers. Follow up by saturating the areas again with a second treatment.  Finally rinse with a solution of 3 parts water/1 part white vinegar solution – allow to work for 5 minutes or more. Again, extract the remaining moisture in the same manner. Repeat this rinse process at least three times.
  • Multiple rinses ensure a good removal process. The urine odor should not be present if you have successfully treated the entire area. A light vinegar odor is normal for a few hours. If the urine scent returns after the area is dry, the area will have to be re-treated.
  • An upside down laundry basket is a good way to prevent traffic as the area dries. Deterrents can be placed at the site to discourage continued interest of the cat in re-visiting the area.  Please see our article titled “ Examples of Remote Corrections”.
  • For areas that have been repeatedly soiled over a long period of time, the cleanup may need to be more extensive, such as removal of old carpet/padding, replacement of floorboards, etc. Unsealed concrete or flooring that will eventually be recovered and where discoloration isn’t a concern, can be treated with a strong bleach solution. These suggestions are the result from our personal experience, and are only one approach to the cleanup of cat urine. As with any cleaning process, it is advisable to consider manufacturer recommendations for cleaning carpeting and furniture whenever possible.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

The Happy Homecoming

 First impressions are important—welcome your new cat to the household by providing them with a cat-friendly environment:
  • Don’t let the neCat peeking out of its cagew cat meet any other animals or people in your household until they are safely put into their own room.  Keep the kennel covered to reduce stress.
  • Just set the kennel down in their room and open the door, quietly back away and wait.  Let them come out of the kennel on their own time; everything is very frightening to them.  They have to adjust to the sight, sounds and smell of their new environment.  Sit quietly and patiently in the room and wait for them to come out.  It may take several hours so be prepared to wait or quietly leave the room with a small light on and let them settle down for a few hours before you re-enter.
  • Give Kitty a room of their own for the first 7-14 days or until they show an interest in exploring their new home.  Have this all set up and in place before you bring home your new addition.
  • Make sure Kitty’s room has a few good hiding places for their comfort and the feeling of security.  (Never drag Kitty out of his hide-outs—he’ll come out when he’s ready);  this will only frighten them. Provide a good quality canned and dry food as well as a large bowl of fresh water.
  • Most cats prefer litter boxes without covers or hoods and a great clumping litter that is unscented.  We recommend SmartCat® All Natural dust-free, odor-controlling and of course,  KEEP BOXES CLEAN.  For correct litter usage please view the document titled SmartCat® Natural Litter.)
  • A tall sisal-covered scratching post will last a long time and will provide Kitty with exercise and an acceptable target for his scratching needs.  (we recommend “The Ultimate Scratching Post™”)
  • Don’t consider declawing as it can result in serious behavior and temperament problems. Nails can be trimmed.
  • Destructive scratching problems are easily corrected.  See our other articles for any other help in this area.
  • Don’t overwhelm the cat with visitors the first week.
  • Check your home for dangerous items that might be chewed or ingested by your cat.  (Rule of thumb:  if it would pose a danger for a toddler, it is a danger for your cat.)
  • Never hit or yell at your cat.  For training tips please see our other articles pertaining to this subject.
  • When kitty is relaxed and comfortable in his new home, offer him safe and stimulating toys. Play is serious business to a cat.  Its how they express themselves and begin to develop their personality, it also will help to build their confidence and self esteem.  It’s a good way to bond with your cat and have some fun with them.
 Making New Friends

This method of introduction will maximize the success of achieving a compatible relationship:Tabby and Calico Looking Away from Camera


  • Before introducing the new cat to the resident cat or cats, be sure the new cat is thoroughly checked by a vet.
  • Let the cats get used to each other’s scent before seeing each other.  Swap bedding, brush both cats with the same brush and alternate rubbing both with the same towel separately .
  • When the door is still closed you can attach two toys together with a suede shoe lace, putting a toy on each side of the door.  This way the cats can begin to play with each other safely.  This is just another way to associate something good when both cats are in the same area.
  • After a few days, let them see each other but not make physical contact.  This can be accomplished by opening the door a crack—just enough to see each other but not squeeze through.
  • Feed the cats delicious food treats on both sides of the door for several days or more until they relax in each other’s company.  This way they associate good things when they see each other.
  • After several days and things are clam, put the resident cat into the room with door closed.  Let the new cat explore the house.  Do this for about 1 hour for several days until both cats are comfortable.
  • Two Thai cat are sittingWhen they are calm in each other’s presence, give them some supervised time together and gradually increase the time they spend together.  This process may take days or weeks depending on the temperaments of the cats.  If any aggression happens from either cat, separate both and start over.
  • Remember to never discipline the cats if there are hostilities—just separate them.  Scolding or punishing will only make the experience more frightening for both.
  • Praise them profusely if they are calm in each other’s presence.  Friendship requires trust and that can take time.
  • Due to the different variables and animal dynamics in each family, you may need additional information. If you have a dog or other pets please see our articles pertaining to that subject.
Kittens are a Lot Like Kids!
  • Kitten PortraitKittens require careful supervision until they are four months old.  They need a “nursery” or kitten-proof room to be safe.
  • Kittens can get tangled up in cords, chew plants, swallow small objects, get stepped on, and so on.
  • Always supervise children when they are with the kitten or serious injuries can be sustained by both.
  • Kittens need lots of gentle handling and attention but they also need frequent periods of uninterrupted rest.
  • Let the pets get used to each other without feeling stressed or threatened.
  • The more careful and gradual the introduction, the more likely the pets will be life-long friends.
 Play Therapy—Good for Everyone!

iStock_000006514575SmallSide view of an Higland straight kitten playing with a ball, isolated on white

Congratulations!  You have just adopted one the most intelligent of all companion animals
  • Cats are closely related to their wild ancestors and their large cousins, the lions and tigers.
  • Their behaviors are largely determined by their instincts and their interactions with people.
  • Hunting is big, serious business and play is so important to cats.
  • To satisfy this basic need schedule two or more 10- minute interactive play sessions a day.
  • A fishing pole toy works well to simulate the movement of prey animals and it exercises the cat without wearing out the human.  (Be sure to put away the toy when finished so that the cat doesn’t chew, get tangled or swallow the “prey”.)
  • Playtime helps rambunctious cats and kittens release extra energy in a positive way.
  • It helps shy cats to become more social. Couch-potato kitties are inspired to exercise.  And best of all, the cat forms a bond with the individual who plays with him.

Playful Ginger Cat Biting Cat Toy







What Comforts and Relaxes Cats?
  • Familiar scents – especially their own or their favorite person’s
  • Listening to owners voice – a slightly higher than normal tone of voice is calming, while a low voice creates fear
  • Gental grooming or massage
  • Uninterrupted daily routine
  • Familiar surroundings
  • Playing with the owner
  • A good meal and a sunny window

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

SmartCat® Natural Litter- tips on how to use

This litter is like NO others!  It not only absorbs the urine in the litter, it also is the strongest clumping litter sold today.  The stronger the litter clumps, means the cleaner the box after scooping.  The cleaner the box means the fresher the box and your home 

Tips on how to maximize the effectiveness of SmartCat® Natural Litter

  • Use a high sided litter box.  Lightweight and natural litters have lighter content than the heavy clumping litters and can get kicked out of the box much easier.
  • Place at least 3” to 4” of litter in the litter box.  Most cats will dig in the litter box before eliminating.  This litter is designed to be used at a minimum of 2-1/2 inches.
  • Some cats urinate in the same spot every time.  It may help after scooping the box clean to leave extra litter piled up in that spot for greater absorption, when the cat uses it repeatedly before daily cleaning.
  • Scoop your litter box clean every day but wait about 20 minutes after your cat has used the litter to allow the litter to clump firmly.
  • A good mat for catching the tracked litter, placed at the box opening is recommended for when a cat leaves the box.  The area around the litter box must be maintained as well. The mat can be shaken over the box when scooping is done to put litter back into the box for use.
  • This litter eliminates scraping of litter on the side of the litter box. Just let the litter properly dry and the litter clump will actually pull away from the side of the box.
  • When the proper depth of litter is maintained, you will find cleaning the box to be hassle free and take much less time than other litters.  You will find that your scoop just floats through the box with almost no effort.
  • We think you and your cats will find SmartCat® Natural Litter to be the best litter available.  It will naturally attract your cat to the box. The litter is very friendly to the cats paws; they will find digging, eliminating and covering effortless. You will find cleaning and maintaining the box to be equally as simple.

Enjoy using the most innovative litter ever made.  Your cat will THANK YOU!

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

The Importance of a Good Introduction

Planning to add a cat to your household?  The introduction process is extremely important. First impressions can be lasting impressions for felines.


In the wild cats take great care to prevent chance encounters with other cats through scent-marking behaviors. By them “reading” the marked areas, cats can tell who was there last and at what time the spot was last visited. The territory can then be used by different cats at different times of the day–the feline version of time-sharing. In order to get your cat used to the idea of sharing the home turf with another feline, a gradual introduction is a must.

Sad cat


Time and patience are the keys to successfully introducing a new cat into the household. The new cat should have a room of their own for a few days. Exchange the new cat’s bedding with that of the resident cat so that they can become acquainted with each other through the all-important sense of smell before they have the opportunity to see each other. When they are relaxed about this step, crack the door of the new cat’s room so that they can see each other, but can’t push the door open. Give the cats treats on both sides of the door. Two small toys joined with several inches of suede lacing and slipped under the door will encourage parallel play. When the cats are calm in each other’s presence, it is time to let the new cat out for a few minutes.  Next, rotate rooms. Let the new cat explore the rest of the house while the resident cat spends some time in the new cat’s room. The length of the visits can be increased gradually each day. This process may take a few days or a few weeks or a few months depending on the personalities of the cats. Usually it takes less time when one of the cats are under four months of age.

young blue-eyed cat

Throughout the introduction process, speak quietly and calmly to the cats. Praise them generously when they are tolerant of each other’s presence. Never scold or use harsh tones when they are together or they will associate unpleasantness with being near each other. Give special attention to the resident cat as it is this cat’s territory that is being invaded and it is this old friend who is likely to need the most reassurance. Until they become friends, give the new cat loving attention only when the resident cat is not around.  If at any time the cats become fearful or hostile, return the newcomer to its room and close the door.  Start the process over.  This is a sign that the process of introduction was going too fast for the cats.

Two Thai cat are sitting


A minor setback will not ruin the budding friendship, but a fiercely aggressive encounter will be remembered for a long time and should be avoided at all costs. Whenever you run into a problem, back up to a previous stage of the process and then move carefully forward again. Only the cats can determine the pace of the introduction process. The time you spend gradually habituating your cats will eventually be rewarded with years of harmonious feline companionship.

Be patient, gentle and work slowly through the process.  All of your hard work will pay off in the end.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Lashing Out

Identify 5 causes of feline aggression toward people and learn the most effective solutions

Aggressive behavior toward people can be a sign of stress. Knowing the cause of aggression (stress) helps you choose the proper solution. Distinguishing between a truly aggressive cat and one that may have medical problems is necessary.


Your cat’s aggression might stem from arthritis pain or hyperthyroidism. Ask your veterinarian to rule out common medical causes before you assume your cat’s aggression is strictly behavioral. Your veterinarian can also advise you on safely handling your cat to avoid scratches and bites.


After obtaining your veterinarian’s advice and a clean bill of health for your cat, try to identify which of the following types of aggression your cat displays.


 Types of Feline Aggression Behavior  Aggressive Behavior Toward People:

                                          Play aggression

                                          Redirected aggression

                                          Fear aggression

                                          Petting – Induced aggression

                                          Status – Related aggression

FishinFrenzy copy



Causes: You might unknowingly contribute to play aggression by using your fingers as toys. This sends a message that it’s OK to bite flesh. A kitten separated from litter mates too early might not have learned proper social behavior such as scratching and biting.


Solutions: Use an interactive (fishing pole) toy to put a safe distance between your cat’s teeth and your fingers. Use the toy to stimulate their natural hunting instincts. Allow them to attack the toy and show off their hunting skills.  Schedule two 15 minute interactive sessions a day. Cats who don’t experience enough energetic interaction might ask for playtime through the attention-getting behavior of biting.

In many homes, the only stimulation available to the cat comes in the form of people’s moving feet. If your cat attacks your ankles, it probably indicates a need for more play.



CausesRedirection aggression can appear when the cat is stressed or in a situation that they can’t control.  For instance, an indoor cat at the window spots an unfamiliar cat in the yard. Agitated, the cat jumps from the windowsill, runs to the nearest animal or human and attacks without provocation. You must then find what has caused the aggression in your cat.  What has caused this unusual behavior.conflict between cats


SolutionsDon’t try to hold or touch the cat. Move slowly and get them into a quite room by themselves (make sure shades are pulled and lights out)  so he can calm down.  It may take several hours, just let them alone and they calm down. While the cat is in the room you must remove what triggered the situation.  Cover the window for days until they dissociates it from the episode.  After several hours crack open the door (quite room) and let them come out by themselves, on their own time.  Don’t try to hold or comfort them.  Just let them alone and they will come to you when they are ready.  Don’t try petting them if they go to your lap.  Sit still and give them more time to settle down.  Take things slowly and quietly.  Any signs of aggression, return them to their quiet room.


Causes: Any cat can exhibit fear-aggression as a normal survival response to a potential threat. A fear aggression posture is actually one of many conflicting emotions exhibited as the cat tries to avoid confrontation. The cat will growl and hiss in hopes of scaring off an opponent. If that doesn’t work, the cat will crouch, using body language to send two messages at once: “I’ll fight if I have to, but I’d rather get the heck out of here.” The cat’s front end faces the opponent but the back end faces sideways, ready to escape. Children often become victims of fear  aggression when they try to hold cats against their will. Teach children to recognize a fearful posture and not to force affection or intrude on a cat’s “safe” area. Many cats get labeled as aggressive because their fear signals weren’t respected. They learn they can communicate only through aggression.


Solutions: If your cat displays fear aggression, don’t cuddle too much, as this could be misinterpreted as restraint. Offer a safe retreat because a frightened cat always looks for escape. Set up hideaways in your home and consider getting a cat tree because many cats feel safer in elevated locations.

If a cat begins showing initial signs of fear, behavior modification can be done in the form of low-intensity interactive playtime for distraction. If caught early, you may be able to change his mindset as you trigger his prey-drive.


Causes: You affectionately stroke your cat’s fur. Your cat seems to enjoy the attention until suddenly turning and biting your hand. Blame overstimulation. Some cats initially enjoy repeated stroking but it can escalate into the cat becoming overstimulated.  Every cat is different.


Solutions: Observe body language. A cat reaching the limits of tolerance will usually give warning signs, which can include skin twitching, tail lashing, flattening or flickering of ears, cessation of purring, low growling, looking back at you and shifting positions. Learn your cat’s time limit. If your cat gets irritated after five minutes, stop petting after three. Leave your cat wanting more. You might even have to avoid petting altogether for several sessions before working up to one stroke.  Again go slowly, on the cats terms.



Causes: The cat feels they are superior to a particular person in the house.  Some cats need to control their surroundings and react aggressively to interaction they don’t initiate. A display similar to petting-induced aggression may occur if you begin petting without the cat’s “permission.” The cat might bite or merely grab your hand.



Another display includes blocking an owner’s path to certain rooms. The cat might give a direct stare with a slightly lowered head, flattened ears and lashing tail. Status-related aggression may target a single member of the household.




Solutions: If your cat displays this aggression while in your lap, keep arms and hands still and stand up so your cat gently falls to the floor.  If your cat solicits attention in a dominant way, refuse to interact by turning away and ignoring them or giving a squirt from a water bottle or compressed air-can until your cat resumes normal behavior. People in the household can carry water pistols or noisemakers and squirt or startle the cat at the earliest signs of aggression. Signals to watch for included skin-twitching, growling, staring, hissing, tail lashing or quivering, and flattened ears.


Reward positive behavior with a treat or affection. Clicker training (see our article on clicker training) often works with status-related aggression because the cat immediately makes the connection with the good behavior. Never strike or yell at the cat. Have targeted person take over feeding duties, playing with the cat, and only in the evenings when the cat is more receptive. Gradually, additional sessions can be added during the day.  After a week of behavior modification, the cat will began to relax. They will start associating the target person with positive experiences and eventually let them initiate petting sessions, demonstrating that concerned cat owners armed with knowledge can transform an aggressive cat into a loving, well-behaved pet.




For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Treating the Stressed-Out Cat 

Black cat.

If your cat shows persistent or significant behavior changes, take the cat to the veterinarian. Illness may be the stressor that is producing the behavior changes and any medical issues should be ruled out first. If the cat has a clean bill of health, then it is up to you to determine what may be stressing the cat. If you are aware of the stressor, and you can remove it, the solution is simple. For example, if the stressor is the neighbor’s cat who likes to sit outside the window, the shades can be pulled during the time of day that the cat is most likely to appear or maybe the neighbor can be convinced to keep his cat inside. Other stressors, such as a change in owner’s work schedule or the daughter’s sudden absence from the home when she leaves for college, can often be compensated for by giving the cat more attention when you are home. Gentle grooming or massage combined with an interactive play session a couple times a day has solved many stress-related behavior problems.


Cats find consistent routines and predictable environments very comforting, so try to keep your cat’s activities on a schedule. Playtimes, mealtimes, and bedtimes should occur at approxiStock_000049930300Largeimately the same time every day. If the household is unusually chaotic due to visitors, the holidays, or a planned move, the cat should be given a room where he can feel safe and secure and where he will have all his necessities (food, water, litter box, favorite toys, a sunny window, etc.) until the commotion is over. Remember that cats find familiar scents – their own or their favorite person’s – very reassuring, so put some of your worn, but not washed, clothes in the cat’s room. (Feliway, an environmental spray that can be purchased from most pet stores, has been proven to have a calming effect on cats when sprayed on objects in the room.)  When used according to the directions, it is also effective in solving territorial spraying problems.


When you talk to a stressed cat, use a slightly higher than normal pitch to your voice and speak very softly. Deep voices create fear and loud voices can be grating on the cat’s sensitive ears. You can “calm” your cat with your voice and this can have a wonderfully soothing and healing effect on your pet.


If the stressor cannot be removed from the cat’s environment, for example when the source of the cat’s anxiety is the new baby, by rewarding the cat with food and attention as you expose him to the baby. Through this process, the cat learns to associate a pleasurable experience (food and attention) with the stressor he fears.


iStock_000004466874LargeTo illustrate this method, in the case of a baby, the scent of the baby can be introduced to the cat by putting baby blankets in the cat’s sleeping areas. Then tapes of the baby crying can be played (at low levels at first) while the cat is eating something delicious. Finally, when the baby is in the room with the cat, Kitty should be petted, played with, and given food rewards.

Whether the anxiety producing stimulus is a baby, another cat, or the vacuum cleaner, these suggestions will reduce, and eventually, eliminate the cat’s anxiety. Instead of a pet that is hissing, hiding and possibly soiling the house, your efforts will be rewarded with a confident, friendly, and relaxed member of the family. (See our article “Bringing Home Baby”).


Removing the Anxiety: 

This process involves exposing the cat only to parts of the feared anxiety which are so mild that little or no anxiety is provoked. The intensity of the anxiety is then increased in gradual stages until, finally, the level of the anxiety which originally provoked the unwanted behavior can be presented without inducing massive anxiety. This is best achieved by first relaxing and distracting the cat through feeding or petting.  Slow, soft voices.  Reassure the cat there is nothing to fear. Changing  the environment that is stressing the cat.  Adding a little more attention to redirect the cats stress will help greatly, try not to get angry it will only make things worse.  Go slow!

Common Reasons for Stress in Cats?
  • New person or pet in the home
  • Behavior and body language of owner
  • An animal outside viewed from the window (invasion of territory)
  • Change in environment (e.g. cat or dog scents on family members)
  • Overcrowding
  • Loud Noises
  • Illness



For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Social Aggression Between Cats Sharing a House

conflict between cats

This type of aggression is commonly referred to as “territorial” aggression. However, it is not always territorial concerns that motivate the attacks. The aggressor cat may attack only one cat in a multi-cat household and, while the victim cat is usually a newcomer, it may occasionally be a cat with which the aggressor cat has previously had a good relationship. These disputes generally arise when either cat reaches maturity at about 8-24 months of age. The aggressor cat is not necessarily the first cat that was introduced into the household or the oldest cat.


This type of aggression usually develops gradually (unlike redirected or fear-induced aggression). It begins with hissing and growling; progresses to swatting and chasing; and finally involves attacking and fighting. The victim cat may become progressively more afraid of the aggressor cat and may begin to hide in remote areas of the house, coming out only when the other aggressor cat is not around. Occasionally, litter box problems occur because the fearful victim cat is too afraid toSad cat leave the hiding place. It is very important to provide the victim cat with a safe haven in the house to protect them from injury and stress.


While many pet parents who experience this problem want to find a new home for one of the cats, this is not necessary.  You can begin to systematically desensitize the aggressor to his victim cat. This is the same procedure that we recommend for introducing a new cat into the household or reintroducing two suddenly hostile cats (refer to our article “The Importance of a good introduction”.  After desensitization and counter-conditioning steps have been taken, it is essential that the owner be prepared to carefully monitor the next very important step – their interactions once they are allowed to be together again.


closeup of two cats in a conflict over white background

Any sign that an aggressive encounter which may be brewing should be stopped and the cats should be separated immediately. Further attacking and fighting between them will only increase the hostility toward each other. Have a large squirt bottle handy to douse the aggressor cat when he makes a threatening advance towards the victim cat.  Stop spraying the cat when he backs away. Do not shout or scold, as this will frighten the victim as well.  If your timing is perfect, he will get the message.


Social aggression is not usually due to medical issues; it is associated to behavioral problems.


If you do not see progress with any of the suggestions above, you may want to read the chapter “Give Peace a Chance” in Dr. Nicholas Dodman’s book, The Cat Who Cried for Help, before consulting with your veterinarian.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

May I Introduce Fido?


When introducing a dog to a cat, the question is really one of proper dog training. Dogs usually want to chase and play with cats, and cats are usually afraid and defensive. After all, the cat has a lot more to lose if the relationship gets nasty. Once the cat is confident that the dog does not pose a threat, then the opportunity opens for a wonderful friendship to blossom.

Keep the dog on a leash at all times when the introduction is to start.  If the dog sees the cat keep them from barking, growling or lunging toward the cat. Reward the dog with treats or a favorite toy if he obeys. (NOT a squeak toy, this will frighten the cat.)  Don’t yell or scream at the dog for not obeying as this behavior will only scare the cat and the cat will associate your yelling and fear with seeing the dog. NEVER allow the dog to chase the cat, if this is allowed to happen, just one time, getting the two to accept each other will almost be impossible. Keep the dog on leash at all times until the time when he sees the cat he does not get aggressive towards them. The dog generally just wants to play and chase the cat. The cat on the other hand associates this behavior with fear, and will want to get away.


  • As with all animal introductions, scent is the all-important factor in getting acquainted. Before letting the pets have visual contact with each other, let them sniff each other’s bedding.
  • The dog should know some basic commands like “sit”, “down”, “come”, and “stay”. Reward obedience with food treats so that the motivation to comply will be strong enough to withstand the distraction of having a cat in the room.
  • After the basic training is mastered, it is time for a face-to-face introduction in a controlled manner. Wearing a training collar and a leash, give your dog the command to either “sit” or “down” and “stay”.  Reinforce compliance with food rewards. Have a family member enter the room and quietly sit down with the cat on his lap.  At first the cat and dog should be on opposite sides of the room. Repeat this step several times until both the cat and the dog are tolerating each other without signs of aggression or fear. Don’t restrain or hold the cat against their will; this will only frighten the cat further and they will associate the fear while being around the dog. If the cat wants to escape, let them and try the introduction at another time.  After you accomplish this step you can move on, but not until all is calm.bernese moutain dog and cat
  • Next, move the animals closer together, with the dog still on the leash and the cat gently held in a lap. If the cat does not like to be held, you can use a wire crate or carrier instead. If the dog gets up from his “stay” position, he should be firmly re-positioned, and praised and rewarded for obeying the “stay” command. If the cat becomes frightened, increase the distance between the animals and progress more slowly. It must be on the cat’s terms.
    Initially, the dog should always be wearing a training collar and a leash when the cat is present so that any attempt to bark at, or chase, the dog can be halted instantly.
  • Praise and food treats should be lavished on the dog when he is calm and obedient in the cat’s presence. (If he is only punished when the cat is around, he may redirect aggression toward the cat, associating the cat with being punished.)
  • Be sure that the cat does not have to pass by the dog’s area to get to the litter boxes or they may look for a safer and more convenient place to eliminate.  As some dogs enjoy “raiding” the litter box, it may be best to place a baby gate across the entrance of the room to allow the cat in, but not the dog to pass through.
     Precautions: Keep the dog and cat separated when you are not home until you are certain that the cat will be safe.

    This needs to be done slowly, once the cat is not afraid of the dog and the dog shows no concern with the cat in the same room you will have peace and harmony. A happy cat and dog. They will become long lasting friends. You may even find them sleeping together.

Golden Retriever puppy and ginger kitten
                                                                                 GOOD JOB!!
                                              WHO SAYS CATS AND DOGS CAN’T GET ALONG??
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Cat’s are Much Safer Indoors

Two Stray Cats on Garbage Bins


It’s a fact that an inside cat lives a longer, healthier and happy life than the cat that puts paws on the pavement. An indoor cat never faces the dozens of dangers waiting outside your front door like cars, other cats ready to fight for love or territory, exposure to diseases and parasites, and sickness or death from eating spoiled food or poison. Not all people are kind to cats running around the neighborhood as well.


A cat let outdoors will need to see the veterinarian a lot more often than an indoor cat, and that means higher vet bills. Fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, cuts, diarrhea, a dull coat, or weight loss are all signs of trouble and are most often seen in outdoor cats. Remember, when you let your cat back indoors, you are letting everything your cat encounters outside into your home.


Outdoor cats are more prone to get lost too. Searching for a lost cat with or without an identification tag is a time consuming and often disappointing effort, and there’s nothing more heartbreaking than wondering for years if your missing kitty is alive and well, or suffering, abused, or dead.


Sleeping Kitty

Cats raised indoors are perfectly content with their indoor world. Cats that have experienced the outdoors will need some time to get used to being kept strictly indoors, but eventually they will learn to relax and enjoy the comforts of home.


They will realize the many wonderful things that come to being indoors. Number one is their safety, easy access to food and water, clean litter box and no threat to their territory. A warm loving lap to curl up onto.

For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Are our Cats Killing our Song Birds ???

It is an undeniable fact that cats are carnivores


There was a study on the stomach contents of feral cats and it showed that most of their diet consisted of rodents and insects-a very low percentage of song birds.

Birds can and do kill other birds. Even where domestic cats are not a factor and cats must hunt to survive, feral cats are not the sole predators but exist in a complex relationship with the prey species and other predators.

Abandoned street cat eating food.

What do cats eat? Primarily, cats are opportunistic feeders, and will utilize whatever food source is most prevalent, including supplemental feeding by humans, and garbage. Of the cats that rely on hunting, the majority of their diet consists of meat. The feline hunting style of wait and pounce is unsuitable for flying birds. Frequently, the flying birds consumed are injured, sickly or already dead.

Two Stray Cats on Garbage Bins

It is much more apparent that in our normal, everyday environments the actions of humans have a much greater effect on vulnerable and threatened species. Urban sprawl, fragmentation of forested ecosystems, the increase in motor vehicles and the related increase in roads, and the use of pesticides, fertilizers and poisons do much more damage to bird and small vertebrate species than do domestic and/or feral cats.


All cats, and feral cats in particular, have become convenient scapegoats for the loss of many species, especially songbirds. However, we can no longer ignore the role that we humans have played in this process. Before we can sentence cats to death for being carnivores, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and what we have done to our ecosystem.


For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Booklist for Cat Lovers

 *These are some of our favorites*

Curl up with these books (and your cat, of course) and you will love what you learn about your incredible feline friends


  • Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, 2000.  This book is essential for all pet parents.  Valuable advice on a large range of important topics.
  • Cat vs Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, 2003.  Help for the multi-cat family.  Learn how to keep the peace.
  • Cat Be Good by Annie Bruce, 2001.  An easy-to-read, sensible book that your cat wants you to read.
  • The Cat Who Cried for Help by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, 1997.  The author illustrates with his own case studies how feline behavior problems can be solved using the latest information on pharmacology and feline behavior.
  • Cat Watching (the Illustrated Edition) by Desmond Morris, 1994.  A beautifully illustrated old favorite that presents and answers fascinating questions about cats and cat behavior.
  • Cats for Dummies by Gina Spadafori and Paul Pion, D.V.M., 1997.  Don’t let the title put you off.  This book is a great resource for those that have extensive experience with cats as well as the first-time cat owner.  Its detailed index makes it a handy reference book.
  • Clicker Training for Cats by Karen Pryor, 2000.  A professional animal trainer reveals the training techniques you need to communicate effectively with your cat.  Teach good behavior as well as impressive tricks with just a click!  Fun for cats and owners.
  • 51 Ways to Entertain Your House Cat While You’re Out by Stephanie Laland, 1994.  A selection of recreational ideas offers entertainment for home-alone kitties and peace of mind for hard-working humans
For any other information on cat behavior please visit our web-site

Enjoy Your Loving Companion



Funny red-haired cat

Your cat and Cats International™would like to take this time to thank you for reading this booklet.




We all appreciate you taking the time to learn how and why your cat behaves the way they do. Having a good understanding of your cat’s wants and needs will help you and your cat have a happy life together.



 Please encourage your family and friends to do the same.  Spread the education about your cats to everyone.



LOVE your cat as they LOVE us unconditionally!!

Betsy Lipscomb, founder of Cats International™ & SmartCat® has dedicated her life to educating people on cat behavior

Thank you Betsy.  Without people like yourself, many cats would not have been

saved from a world of misunderstanding and abuse