Our Top 5 Questions From Cat Parents in 2021

When it comes to pets, cats sure make us ponder some puzzling questions! We received dozens of questions from cat parents across the country, and we’re rounding the top 5 here. Have you wondered the same things about your cat?

How many treats should my cat get in a day?

Q: My cat is obsessed with treats. She will sit beside the cupboard where they are stored, just waiting for it to be opened so she can get a treat or two. Now that we’re home more often, her demands for treats are more frequent. How many treats should she be getting in one day?

A: In much the same way that small handfuls of a favourite snack can add up to a lot of extra calories for us, too many treats can add unneeded calories to your kitty’s daily diet. Moderation is key – treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calorie intake. If you’re finding that your cat is very treat focused, try making her work a bit harder for her nibbles. You can use feeding puzzles or snuffle mats to allow her to hunt for the treat or have a short play session with her favourite toy first. Your cat may actually be more excited by the attention she gets when you bring out the treat bag than the treats themselves.

Why does my cat do his business in the bathtub?

Q: Hello, I am in need of some advice from you in regards to my cat Moka. He’s been doing his business in the bath even if his litter box is clean and I can’t understand why. Could you enlighten me, I really want to correct this behaviour!

A: That is unpleasant for you! I’m glad you ruled out that his problem is not that his litter box isn’t clean enough! I suspect that he is telling you that his litter box isn’t large enough for him to feel comfortable in. I suggest getting a clear, colourless, large storage box (for sweaters or gift wrap storage) or, if you can’t find a low long box, then you could buy a larger storage box and cut an opening into one end. Boxes need to be about 1.5-2X the length of a cat. Remove the lid so he doesn’t feel trapped. It could also have to do with where the litter box is located; can he get into and out of it easily and be sure that no one might “ambush” him? Most cats prefer sandy litter rather than novel textures, and they don’t like deodorized litters. Picky, picky! If this doesn’t work, you can try putting the open, clean litter box into the bathtub. Not great, but it beats having the tub used….

How can I help my older cats welcome our new kitten?

Q: We have 3 female cats aged between 10 and 14 years old. We RECENTLY rescued a baby male cat. Now all three cats are urinating all over the floor and doing their business on our beds! What can we do to solve this problem? Thank you!

A: Oh dear! How distressing! This sounds like they are vying for territory. (Your bed is territory, as well.) Depending on what the interactions between the three long-term roommate girls is, they could be trying to claim some from each other to care for the kitten OR they may be together rejecting the kitten by telling him that all of the house (and resources) are already theirs. How newcomers (even kittens) are introduced is really important for long-term harmony. It’s not too late to fix things. Try starting over like your kitten has just arrived – keep the kitten and your older cats in their own spaces. Allow them to explore each other’s smells (let them trade spaces for short periods of time), and then try feeding them on opposite sides of a closed door, so they associate the positive experience of food with those smells. Then, you can gradually introduce everyone in a series of planned, calm encounters.

Why does my cat bite me when we’re playing?

Q: Why does my cat bite me when I play with her and pet her? She is 8 years old, and I’ve had her for 7 months.

A: Cats sometimes get confused. Because they are designed to hunt 24/7, they can get their “wires crossed” and switch into hunt and kill mode. It is really important to not have her attack your hands, so it’s better to play with her using a wand with a feather or something you toss. When you pet her, try to notice what happens (body language) just before she switches into attack mode so that you can learn to stop petting her before you get hurt. Even if YOU don’t mind it, it can be a problem if she bites/scratches someone else.

Why does my kitten beg for my food?

Q: Why does my 6-month-old kitten beg for human food every time I eat anything?

A: Awwww, adorable! But, this is a behaviour that we have created. The first few times our furry friends ask, we give in and share, or we may even offer them something to see if they like it. Cats are s.m.a.r.t. and realize that they don’t need to do a lot, other than look cute and ask (and ask, and ask) to get these tasty morsels. We have reinforced the behaviour that we now find annoying. As cute as it is/was, most of the time it is best to have an intervention. No more table food. If you do still want to share some of your animal protein (meat, poultry, fish, cheese) with them, give it to them when you are NOT eating. It takes some willpower. Why stop this? Beyond disruptive, because cats are so small, even a few tablespoons of milk or a 1 cm cube of cheese can a) result in too many calories, and b) cause a nutritional imbalance. As a guideline, treats should not make up more than 10% of our cats’ daily caloric needs. Also, the ways we prepare our food can cause problems for cats – using ingredients that are toxic to cats.

No matter what questions you have, we’re here to help. You can browse questions from other cat parents, or submit a question of your own below.

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