Why Do Cats Purr?

There is no doubt that purring is the most common noise that any cat will make and you’d be surprised at the many, different reasons as to why do cats purr. You could also factor in meowing, hissing and of course growling as common noises, but those noises can’t refer to multiple moods, feelings or situations as the purr does. Has your cat been doing a lot of purring lately? If so, they may be trying to tell you something. The question is: why do cats purr? The key is to pay attention to your cat and notice the purring when they are doing certain behaviors as well as what you do on your end to make the purring cease, such as give them food, water, a toy, etc. Here are a few, common reasons that answer the question “why do cats purr.”

Your Cat Is Trying To Tell You They’re Hungry or Want Something.

Not all cats, but there are many cats that will start purring around meal time. However, this is a specific type of purr. It is more of a purr mixed with a mew that can sound more like a baby cry and your cat may do this because they are aware that this type of purr gets more attention than a normal one. When they aren’t hungry, but just want something like your attention, they will purr but it won’t sound the same as when they are yearning for a meal.

Your Cat May Be Happy

If your cat is happy and in a good mood, then that is always a good thing! A sign when this is the case, is when they are purring. Although most of your cats purrs will sound the same, you can tell that they are happy if they are purring and very relaxed or on their backs with their eyes halfway closed. Cats don’t smile, but if they could, this would be their way of doing so.

Your Cat May Be Trying To Heal Itself

DId you know that when your cat purrs, it sends vibrations through their body that can help them heal certain health issues? This is a fact and has been verified by scientists as well as veterinarians. These vibrations can lessen any pain and swelling that they may be experiencing, heal any fractured or broken bones and wounds, ease their breathing, and build and repair any torn muscles or tendons. Research actually shows that many cats get better, faster when they do consistent purring.

Could this be the reason as to why most cats can survive things such as falls from high places? It could be. Little did you know that your cat has their own healing and pain relieving mechanism and similar to a child sucks their thumb so that they can feel better, a cat will purr if anything is wrong to return to their normal state.

Conclusion: Why Do Cats Purr?

These are a few, great answers to the question “why do cats purr?” The best thing to do, which you should already be doing anyways, is to simply notice your cat’s behavior when they are purring and really pay attention to what you do on your end to make it cease. This way, you and your cat can communicate with each other much better and you can have a deeper relationship and understanding with them as well.

First Time Cat Owner? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Are you a first time cat owner? If so, congrats! Having these little rascals around us and in our everyday lives truly is a treat and something worth living for. Cats are sweet, affectionate animals that really don’t require much maintenance. But are you truly prepared to take on the responsibility for your very first cat?

For the most part, you may think that you have everything down pat based on what you’ve observed from any other cat owners that you know. However, it is still a good idea to go over the basics of cat ownership, because you’d be surprised at just how often they tend to be overlooked. With that being said, here is everything you need to know when you make the decision to become a first time cat owner.

Parasite Control

While most cat owners typically see the surface and are focused on the fleas, ticks and other pests that could latch on to the fur and skin of our cats, they tend to overlook and forget to control the critters inside and those are the parasites. You want to make sure your cat is healthy and free of parasites on a consistent basis and this includes the roundworms, hookworms, ticks, tapeworms, mites, and even heartworms which can cause diseases and other detrimental effects to your cat.

Even worse, they can even spread to you because these are creatures that need hosts and if they believe that your body fits their environment, your cat could transmit them to you. It is pretty scary when you think about it and we aren’t trying to scare you. We are only trying to call your attention to it, because it is important information that you must know as a first time cat owner.

Buying Cheap Food

If you make the mistake of buying cheap food for your cat, then it will come back on you in the form of a much more costly consequence that may result in an illness or even the death of your cat. Invest in your cat and make sure that you are budgeting enough money to buy them only the highest quality of food for them to consume. Also, it would be a great idea for you to check the label to look at the ingredients. A couple things that are very helpful to look for are any animal by-products and if that particular food item is approved by the AFFCO. They ensure you that a cat food or brand will get their stamp of approval if it meets industry standards.

Ignoring Illnesses and Injuries

When your cat becomes ill or suffers from any injuries, then you need to alter your schedule to make them a priority and take them to the vet for a check up. When illnesses and injuries are ignored, they could snowball into potentially life-threatening and fatal conditions if you don’t act fast enough. Minor things can be monitored or even removed with home remedies, but if it is something that you feel is out of your control, then you need to seek attention from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Conclusion: First Time Cat Owner? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

These are the most important things that you need to know if you are a first time cat owner. Do yourself, and most of all, your cat a great service and act quickly if there are ever any problems that may arise. Make sure you take great care of it. Give it love, quality food and regular checkups at your vet and surely they will live a long, happy and healthy life.

Is Your Cat Hissing? Here’s What It Could Mean

Have you heard your cat hissing more frequently? If so, then it could be that they are trying to communicate with you to tell you something. Cats can’t speak. We all know that and because of the fact, they still find ways to communicate with us or those who happen to be in their surroundings. They have many, different sounds to send messages for many different situations and hissing is one of the most common next to purring and meowing. However, what you need to know about cat hissing is that it doesn’t happen often. Nor is it used in a situation where they are trying to express their sense of humor.

They understand that this is for a certain time and while they may not be aware of the story of the boy who cried wolf, they don’t overuse it. Think of it as dialing 911. You only dial 911 in a very, specific situation. Technically, when you feel threatened or are in danger and need help. This is how your cat looks at hissing, but there is a twist and with that, let’s discuss a bit more about why a cat will hiss.

First and Foremost, Hissing Is A Warning

Whenever cats feel threatened, they will often hiss at whoever they may feel threatened by. Regardless if it is a human or another animal. It is to serve as a warning sign, because cats don’t want to engage in physical confrontations. If you approach a cat the wrong way, or if a dog is near, they my hiss to send a message to stop doing whatever may be bothering them, or to keep a distance.

What To Do About Repeated Hissing

If your cat hisses every time you pick her up, then it would be a good idea for you to take her in to your veterinarian for a check up as soon as possible. They could be trying to tell you that they are in pain, and when you grab them a certain way, you could be hurting them. So, be careful how you pickup your cat if they happen to be hissing repeatedly, because if you cause them too much pain, they could attack you and this is normally in the form of a scratch or digging their claws into your skin.

Conclusion: Is Your Cat Hissing? Here’s What It Could Mean

Primarily, these are the the causes of your cat hissing and what it could mean. Usually it serves for specific situations, mostly when they feel threatened, but it could also be their way of trying to get your attention and your help to solve a problem that they may have. The best thing in this situation is to observe your cat’s behavior and find out what could be causing the cat hissing, and what puts an end to it. As a result, if you are able to effectively pick up on these signals that they are sending out, this will allow you to establish a deeper connection with your cat and to be able to communicate with them much more easily.

The Best Cat Bed For Your Little Feline Friend

Are you looking for the best cat bed for your little feline friend? If so, then you are definitely in the right place. All pets require a home, and of course, within that home they need a comfortable place to sleep. Although cats can actually sleep anywhere, wouldn’t it be nice if they had their own bed just like you? Along with wanting our cats to live and maintain long, happy and healthy lives, we also want them to get quality, restful sleep so that they approach each day well rested and full of energy. Of course, we also want them snuggly, warm and toasty when it is cold outside. With that being said, if your goal is to purchase the best cat bed for your little feline friend, then you will want to take a look at these beds that we have selected as our top choices.

K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Heated Pet Bed

It is a fact that cats are warm blooded animals, but they still need a warm, cozy place to sleep and the K&H pet products thermo-kitty heated pet bed is the perfect bed to provide them this luxury. This bed is often recommended by veterinarians because it offers thermoregulation which is very helpful for any cats that may be of old age, or if they suffer from health problems such as arthritis. The thermoregulation helps to heat up any knotted muscles and lubricate joints to allow them to move effectively.

2-in-1 Tube Cat Mat and Bed by Kitty Shack

This is one of the best cat beds and has been one of the top-selling because of how cozy it is for a cat. It is triangular shaped and can serve as both a bed and a blanket for your cat. It is made from super plush material that has great electrostatic properties and this allows it to attract any fur or hair that has been shed by your pet. This is a great bed for keeping the area around it clean and really minimizing cleanup and grooming time on your behalf. If you have a member or a guest within your household that may happen to be allergic to cat hair and fur, then this would be the best bed to purchase.

Curious Cat Cube Cat House/Condo by MidWest

It is a cat’s nature to be a predator. This is why they like to sit high up on things and not only does this curious cat cube/condo provide them a cozy place to sleep, it also serves as a stand on which they can sit on and look down from. This is a multi-purpose bed and can serve as a play place, a sleeping place and a place to hangout and sit on top of. It also comes with two jingle balls on the side that your cat can play with if they are looking for something to alleviate their boredom or curiosity.

Conclusion: The Best Cat Bed For Your Little Feline Friend

If you were to select one of these, indeed you would have the best cat bed for your little feline friend. What we encourage you to do is take a look at your cats needs and really experiment with different beds to find out what they like best, as well as what will enhance their life to keep them healthy, happy and full of energy.

Cat on right side looking up

How To Choose The Best Cat Food!

When it comes to choosing the best cat food, pet owners really need to be aware of exactly what’s inside many different brands and foods. Additionally, they need make sure that their cats are getting nothing but the best nutrition to live long, healthy lives. For first time cat owners, purchasing food can be a challenge and we totally empathize!

You want to make sure you get the right food for your cat but most importantly the right food that your little feline friend will enjoy as well. So with that said, here are some helpful ways on how to choose the best cat food to keep him or her happy.

Find Out What Is Missing From Your Cat’s Diet

The best way on how to choose the best cat food for your cat is to simply take a look at their diet and find out what is missing. Just observe your cat – and pay attention to their behavior and keep note of the areas where they may be week or experiencing a decrease in performance. Share these observations with your vet, and then from there, they will tell you the nutrients that need to be supplied in your cat’s food to help them in those areas. Based on the areas in which they are healthy, whatever you’re feeding them seems to work in that area so keep feeding them their regular meals, but swap out some days with foods that may be packed with nutrients that they lack in.

Check For Animal By-Products

We all want to make sure that our cats are getting the best and highest quality food possible, and we do this by checking the labels for animal by-products. If cat foods are of the highest quality, then they will contain animal by-products such as liver, lungs and other animal meats which are okay for cats to consume and get a great source of protein from. If cat foods are of the lowest quality, lthen they will contain animal by-products such as fur, feathers and other things that may be hard for your cat to digest. So, look at the labels, thoroughly, and really pay attention to what different brands may be putting in your cat’s food.

Make Sure Your Cat’s Food Is Certified By The AAFCO

While you’re at it checking the ingredients for any possible animal by-products, you may as well check to make sure your cat’s food is certified by the AAFCO. The AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials and they make sure they put their stamp of approval on all pet food products that meet industry standards. If you see the AAFCO approval, then you can bet that it would be a great choice for your cat. However, you still want to be cautions and check the ingredients and the label to make sure that it is suitable for your cat.

Conclusion: How To Choose The Best Cat Food!

These are the top three approaches that you should always take when figuring out how to choose the best cat food. Following these tips will ensure that your cat is happy, healthy and gets the nourishment that it needs to live a healthy life!

dog paw wrapped in gauze hand of human

Cuts, Scrapes & Injuries On Your Pet

By Cate Burnette

Minor Injuries You Can Care For At Home

When a pet sustains an injury, concerned pet parents often have a lot of the same questions as human parents, such as, “How bad is this, really? What should I do to treat this? Is this an injury requiring immediate professional medical care, or can it be dealt with at home?” That’s why it’s good to have an understanding of what the difference is between a major and a minor injury in your furry companion.

What is the difference between a major trauma and a minor injury?

Major traumas include:

  • Bite wounds
  • Puncture wounds
  • Burns and scalds
  • Snake bites of any kind
  • Deep lacerations
  • Broken bones

These injuries should NEVER be treated at home and your pet needs to see your local veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. A deep cut can get infected and require stitching and even small burns or scalds can send an animal into shock. Snake bites – both poisonous and non-poisonous – can cause pain and extreme inflammation and, of course, broken bones necessitate professional care.

Minor injuries are issues like torn nails, bruises, skin scrapes, insect bites or stings (without allergic reaction), and/or minor intestinal problems such as occasional constipation or diarrhea. You can treat most of these matters at home and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Home Treatments for Minor InjuriesInjured orange cat with paw wrapped in gauze in the hands of a vet with gloves

As concerned pet parents, you know that your veterinarian needs to be called for traumatic wounds, ongoing illnesses and sudden, acute disease symptoms. However, for any inconsequential injuries, there are treatments you can do at home with items from your medicine cabinet and kitchen to help your pet heal quickly and pain free.  


  • Bumps, Bruises, Twists, and Sprains – Tenderness, swelling, limping and mild to moderate pain can indicate a bruise, sprain or strain of limbs and paws. Keep your pet quiet and restrict exercise by crating if necessary. If the signs continue for more than 2 or 3 days, contact your veterinarian.
  • Torn Toenails – Dogs and cats can slice up their nails in a variety of ways. Everything from a too-close nail trim that nicks the quick, to running outdoors over sharp rocks. When the bleeding doesn’t stop, dip the hurt nail into a tiny amount of styptic powder, typically found on the shaving aisle found in most commercial pharmacies. If you don’t have styptic powder available, corn starch or regular baking flour will also curtail the bleeding.
  • Cuts and Scrapes – Please Note: If the injury site is swollen, bruised or bleeds excessively, you must assume your pet has sustained a bone break or sprain and you should allow your veterinarian to provide treatment and pain meds immediately. For minor cuts and scrapes with no other signs, clean the site of dirt with a cloth or towel and a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Apply a cold compress (you can use a bag of frozen veggies) and keep it in place for a few minutes to alleviate any inflammation and pain. Place a dab of 3-in-one antibiotic ointment on the cut and bandage lightly to keep your pet from licking the area. Contact your vet for further advice and additional treatment.
  • Bug Bites or Bee Stings – Bug bites or stings typically occur around the face and head of a dog or cat. Once you notice the area, apply a cold pack to the bite to reduce swelling and itching. Look for a stinger. If one is still in the skin, use a credit card or other flat, rigid object (NOT tweezers) to scrape it out. Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any swelling in the head or neck area that can affect breathing or if you find a stinger in the tongue or the roof of the mouth.
  • Swallowed Objects – In many cases, if your dog swallows an inappropriate object, you can take a wait-and-see approach to watch if the item passes without any trouble. However, swallowing sharp objects, extremely large objects, or any type of long item, is very dangerous.  Additionally, cats often swallow tinsel, fishing line or thread that can become wrapped around the tongue. In those cases, or if your pet shows signs of consistent vomiting, has a distended or painful abdomen, or is not having bowel movements, contact your veterinarian for immediate emergency treatment.
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Hairballs, and Other Minor Digestive Issues – Most pets, at one time or another, experience digestive upsets that last for a few days and disappear. If these upsets are not related to other major health issues, then a dose of canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) can do the trick. Veterinarians recommend giving 1 teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight either as a treat or in the normal diet one or two times a day until the issue resolves. Pumpkin is rich in a soluble plant fiber that eases the pains of both constipation and diarrhea.


If the symptoms of any injury or trauma are excessive – or continue for more than 1 or 2 days – contact your veterinarian for treatment. Remember, if your pet is sick or injured, it’s important to protect yourself and anyone else who may be caring for or handling her, so using a muzzle on dogs or a pillowcase on cats may be necessary. Even the most docile and gentle of pets can bite in response to pain or fear.


Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

Cat playing with toy mouse while laying on floor

It’s Cat Playtime!

Cats and Playtime

Did you know that cats need playtime just as much as dogs? Just consider how cats live in the wild, and it’s easy to understand why.

Cats can spend up to 16 hours per day asleep – and wild cats, when they aren’t sleeping, spend their time hunting prey or teaching their young to hunt prey. Pet cats obviously don’t have this to keep them active, so they need the exercise that play provides.

Gray cat sleeping on couch next to blanket

Besides exercise, playtime also offers several other benefits. For starters, it can help relieve stress and anxiety, which can be harmful to cats and promote the development of behavioral problems such as urine marking or aggression.

As cats are naturally curious, playtime can also relieve boredom by adding engagement and challenge to the cat’s day. Playing with your cat helps him feel more comfortable around you and other pets and people, and this can even have the added benefit of making visits to the vet easier. And playtime is fun, and having fun makes your cat feel good – just like it does for you.

So make sure to give your cat plenty of playtime! Cats love toys, catnip, and scratching posts, so provide these for entertainment.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Throw your cat’s favorite toy across the room and watch him run after it!
  • Bat a crumpled piece of paper around and encourage your cat to get in on the action.
  • Lay an open paper bag on its side for your cat to crawl into – then scratch and poke the sides.
  • Use light – a reflection from a watch or phone, for instance – to catch your cat’s attention.
  • Keep a shipping box and put it on the floor.  Your cat will have endless hours of fun jumping in and out of it.  And may even turn it into a comfy new bed.

There are lots of fun ways to play with your cat!  What is your cat’s favorite? Let us know in the comments.

PS – When you use VIP Pets, your pet sitter will make sure your feline friend gets lots of playtime to keep them happy and occupied in your absence.

yellow cat getting shot by vet with gloves

Dog and Cat Immunizations – What’s Necessary and What’s Not

August is National Immunization Awareness Month for the veterinary community.

As pet parents, we need to learn which vaccines our pets absolutely must have to protect against disease and the ones they don’t necessarily need.

Because we understand the debate going on as to how often our furry companions need vaccinations, we advise that you gather all information you can regarding your pets’ health and discuss a schedule with your veterinarian. Many modern vets are looking at their patient’s ages, health problems, environment and lifestyle before recommending ongoing vaccines.

How do immunizations work in the body?

Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of minor infection, however, does not cause illness; it causes your pet’s immune system to produce T-lymphocytes (white blood cells) and antibodies.

Once the ‘imitation infection’ goes away, your animal’s body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that disease in the future. It typically takes 10 days to a few weeks for the body to produce these lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a pet that was infected with a disease just before or just after vaccination could develop symptoms and the illness, because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Normally, vaccinations become part of your cat or dog’s annual exam, and, depending on the type of vaccine and your vet’s discretion, will be administered either yearly or every 3 years. Your veterinarian can best determine a vaccination schedule for your dog or cat depending on the type of vaccine, your pet’s age, medical history, environment and lifestyle. Modern versions of feline and canine rabies and canine distemper vaccines are given every 3 years.

When your puppy or kitten is around six to eight weeks of age, your veterinarian can begin to administer a series of vaccines at three- or four-week intervals until the baby reaches 16 weeks of age. This allows your baby to gradually build up the disease antibodies until full immunity is reached. Veterinarians urge you not to have your new puppy or kitten around unvaccinated animals until after all inoculations are completed.

What types of vaccines are used on companion animals?

Typically, there are 3 types of vaccines used on pets: 1) modified live vaccines, 2)  killed vaccines, and 3) recombinant vaccines. The type of vaccine used depends upon the manufacturer and your veterinarian.

  • Modified live vaccines fight viruses. These vaccines contain a version of the living virus that has been weakened so that it does not cause serious disease in people with healthy immune systems. Because live vaccines are the closest things to a natural infection, they are good teachers for the immune system. Ex: Distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza for dogs. Panleukopenia, calici and herpes virus for cats.
  • Killed vaccines also fight viruses. These vaccines are made by inactivating, or killing, the virus during the process of making the vaccine. Killed vaccines produce immune responses in different ways than moderated live vaccines. Often, multiple doses are necessary to build up and/or maintain immunity. Ex: Corona virus, leptospirosis, Lyme disease for dogs. Chlamydia, leukemia, and rabies for cats.
  • Recombinant vaccines include only parts of the virus or bacteria, or subunits, instead of the entire germ. Because these vaccines contain only the essential antigens and not all the other molecules that make up the germ, side effects are less common. Ex: Distemper and Lyme disease for dogs, feline rabies.

What are the core vaccines?

Core vaccines are considered vital to all dogs and cats based on the risk of exposure, the severity of disease, and/or transmissibility of the disease to pet parents.

Dogs – Canine parvovirus, distemper, rabies and hepatitis
Cats – Panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline calici virus, feline herpes virus type I (rhinotracheitis) and rabies.

What are the elective, or non-core, vaccines?

Non-core vaccines are given depending on your pet’s risk of exposure.

For example, if your dog loves the outdoors and swimming in lakes and streams, you may want to vaccinate against Lyme disease and Leptospirosis. The brown dog tick carries Lyme disease and leptospirosa bacteria often reside in lakes and streams. Your indoor cat may not need the Chlamydia, FLeuk or FIV vaccines, but vets recommend that all outdoor cats be inoculated against these deadly diseases.

Dogs — Bordetella bronchiseptica, Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi and Leptospira bacteria.
Cats – Feline leukemia virus, Bordetella, Chlamydophila felis and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

What are the risks involved with vaccinating your pet?

Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as a fever or slight diarrhea. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity. However, some particularly sensitive pets may develop symptoms of anaphylactic shock.

The inoculation site may become hot, inflamed and itchy. You might notice your pet having problems swallowing (drooling, unable to drink) or breathing (coughing, gasping for air). The face, paws and ears might become swollen or develop hives. Your pet may become sluggish, not want to eat, or collapse. Some animals are known to have seizures. Any of these symptoms constitutes a veterinary emergency and your pet needs to see a vet immediately for relief of the symptoms.

If you have any questions, reach out to your local veterinarian.
cat looking up at camera in arms of lady

5 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Shelter Cat

Happy Adopt-A-Cat-Month!

We thought we’d give you some questions to think about and some homecoming tips when you decide to rescue a shelter cat.

Before you go to a shelter – ask yourself and your family these 5 very important questions.

1. Are we financially, emotionally, and personally ready to take on the responsibility of a new cat?

An indoor cat can live as long as 20 years if it is well-loved, its health maintained, and good nutrition. Are you prepared for 15 to 20 years of annual clinic visits, possible procedures and medications, the cost of high-quality food, the initial vet clinic visit, vaccinations and spay/neuter, plus other emergency expenditures that might – and usually do – come along? Are you willing to have your heart broken when your much-loved pet eventually passes to the Rainbow Bridge? How do you feel about changing litter boxes daily and sweeping up cat hair?

If the answer to any of those questions is in the negative and you might have second thoughts. If you answered an exultant “YES!” to all of those questions, congratulations! You’re on the road to adopting your new feline friend.

2. What age and gender do I feel would fit best in my home?

Some people prefer males – some people prefer female cats. Which gender of feline you choose to adopt is typically a matter of personal fondness. However, when it comes to determining the age of the cat you may want, there are factors to consider.

Kittens and young cats are typically playful and can get into all kinds of mischief. Climbing the curtains, chewing on electrical cords, and Cat on couch playing with toy on a stringcrawling up in the bedsprings are just a few of the ways a kitten can endanger itself and make your life more trying. Additionally, kittens may come to you with necessary health requirements – spaying/neutering, the series of kitten vaccinations and wormings – that older cats have already passed through. If you’re ready and able to deal with the circumstances just described, then a kitten or young cat may be just the pet for you.

Older cats come with a different set of issues. While it may already be spayed or neutered by the rescue veterinarian, an older cat most likely has a set personality. Not as malleable or trainable as a kitten, the adult cat already knows what it likes and dislikes, what it needs, and what it disdains. Your mature cat may have some undetected health issues and you already know you probably won’t have it around as long as you would a kitten. If none of those issues bother you, then adopting an older cat may be exactly what you want to do.

3. Is my family an active one that loves to play outside, travel, and see new places and people? Or are we more of the ‘couch potato’ variety?

If your family is of the loud, boisterous variety that likes to play active games and exercise, then a more energetic cat breed such as the Balinese, the Siamese, or the Russian Blue may be just the breed for you. For a more laid-back, relaxed breed, look to the Ragdoll, the Persian, or British Shorthaired.

Since most of the shelter cats you’ll be looking at are not purebreds, you’ll need to watch how each cat interacts with other shelter inhabitants and how it reacts to strangers. You can also check with shelter staff as to each cat’s personality and how it might fit in with your family.

4. Are there young children at home and what are their responsibilities towards a new cat or kitten? Are the kids cat-friendly?

Children should not chase or corner cats and both cats and children should always be supervised when together. If you can, choose a calm adult feline that has lived with children. Your house needs to accommodate high areas, such as cat trees and shelves that are inaccessible to children. Baby gates will also help create sanctuary areas for the new cat.

You’ll want to teach your young children gentle touches and how to learn when the new companion wants some private time. Older children can be taught how to feed and water their new pet and scoop litter boxes when necessary. Delegating age-appropriate responsibilities to children has been proven to provide kids with confidence, self-esteem, and compassion for animals.

5. How are my other pets (if you have them) going to react to a new cat in the home?

gray cat crouching down  Your new adopted cat must fit in with your other pets. Introductions will go faster and smoother if your resident cat is cat-friendly. Some cats just don’t like other cats. Ideally, the new adopted cat should be similar in age and energy level to your resident cat and have successfully lived with other cats. Pet dogs should be cat-friendly, never chasing or hurting cats. When integrating dogs and cats into a household, adopt a dog-friendly cat.

At various extended times during the early introductory period, consider keeping your new cat in a crate where all of your animals can smell and interact with each other, yet not cause undue stress. Once you notice that calm curiosity reigns over your pets, then you can try letting your adopted cat into the room with the other pets. Keep a safe room or the crate handy for retreat until the new cat feels safe and comfortable.

Health concerns of a shelter cat.

Cats come to the shelter with varied histories and health problems. Despite careful screening, occasionally an animal may develop a health problem soon after it is brought into a new home.

You’ll need to take your new cat to your veterinarian within a week of the adoption for a complete health exam and any appropriate vaccinations and health care. Some vets give special discounts for animals adopted from rescues, so be sure to show your adoption contract on your first visit.

Your vet will want to do a complete body exam to look for skin, ear, and flea problems. He or she will also ask to run a fecal test to check for intestinal parasites and blood tests to determine if your new cat has FLeuk, panleukopenia, or FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus). These diseases that can be transmitted to other cats in your household. Blood tests can also determine any systemic organ disorders. You’ll want to keep your new cat separate from other animals in the home until your vet gives it a clean bill of health.

Some of the common conditions affecting the health of shelter cats include:

  • Upper Respiratory Infections
  • Ear Mites
  • Fleas and Ticks
  • Ringworm
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Flea Allergies
  • Stress

orange cat on floor looking at camera

Adapting your shelter cat to a new home.

Your new cat has had a rough day already, and will probably be stressed by the time you bring her home. She is most likely used to the close environment of a shelter cage, so it would be best to keep her confined in a small safe room for the first few days, especially if there are other cats in the house.

Let your cat set the rules at first. Don’t be surprised if she hides under the bed for several days. As long as she has access to food, water, a litter box, a place to sleep, and a toy or two, then she will be okay. Chances are when you are not in the room, she will be coming out to eat, use the litter box, or explore.

Gradually increase your together time. Talk to your cat when you are in the safe room. You may want to sit in a chair and read a book. She’ll come around when she finally feels safe with you, but don’t rush it. When she finally jumps up and settles in on your lap, you’ll know that she is now your cat, and no longer a shelter cat.

Have you added a shelter cat to your pet family and need someone to check in on them while you’re at work or on vacation? We’re here to help – contact us today!


kitten in the litter box, isolated on the white

Why Your Cat Stops Using The Litter Box

Cats learn very quickly how to use a litter box because their instincts in the wild tell them to bury their urine and feces. They’re easily box trained and, typically, never stray from its use. However, when your cat’s burying preferences include your shoes, the laundry basket, or the living room rug, you need to determine what is causing the problem and really understand why your cat stops using the litter box.

We have listed some of the most common reasons a cat is choosing to eliminate outside her box with some ideas on how to change the behavior. Please note: If your cat is straining to urinate or defecate, or you notice blood in the urine, see your veterinarian immediately.

  • Dirty Litter

If a litter box is not scooped or cleaned on a regular basis, your cat may find the odors of standing feces and urine offensive and stop using the litter box as a means of protest. The highly acidic odor of cat urine may hurt your sensitive cat’s eyes and nostrils, and, like her human owner, she may not like putting clean feet into fresh poop or wet, soggy litter.

Make sure you scoop every litter box at least daily, and clean and scoop out dirty litter on a weekly basis. You may need to change the litter more often if you have more than one cat or you notice your pet is not using the box. If you’re using a pet- or house-sitter while on vacation, leave explicit instructions so that the sitter know when and how often to scoop and clean litter boxes.

  • Health Issues

If you notice your cat straining to urinate or defecate in her box, you need to take her to her vet for an examination as soon as possible. She may be constipated, have a urinary tract infection, or, in the case of male cats, be developing “blocked cat syndrome.” This disorder, caused by bladder stones that block the end of the male cat’s urethra, makes him unable to pass urine out of the bladder.

A cat whose urinary tract is blocked can die within hours or suffer irreversible organ damage from the buildup of toxins in his system. Don’t wait around thinking the problem will clear up by itself. And don’t be fooled into thinking that your cat is constipated. It could happen, but it’s more likely to be a urinary problem. Without immediate veterinary treatment, all of the illnesses described here can worsen and become life threatening very quickly. 

  • Too Close to Eating Areas

Cats don’t like to eat and eliminate in the same area. If your cat’s litter box is placed close to her food or water dish, move the box to another room or a different corner of the room so that there is distance between her food and her toilet. This could be a primary reason why your cat stops using the litter box.

  • Box Located in a High Traffic Area

Many cats feel uncomfortable eliminating in front of other pets or people in the household. They, just like their humans, prefer a bit of privacy. Moving your cat’s litter box to a quiet room of the house allows your pet to feel safer and more relaxed when the time comes. You may want to buy a covered litter box if changing the box’s location is not practical.

  • Cat is Sensitive to a Particular Litter

Don’t assume all cat litter is the same. Your cat may not like the smell or texture of the litter you’re putting in her box. Clumping litters are particularly fine and your pet may be getting the sand-like particles up her nose or caught between her paw pads, making her uncomfortable at best, and causing trauma at worst. Multiple-cat litters typically have fragrance added to cover up the odors of feces and urine, and your cat may be allergic or simply not like the smell. It may take several trips to the pet store to test out the litter that works best for your cat. 

  • Behavioral Issues

Some cats learn over time not to use the litter box as a way to get attention from their humans. Others mark their territory when they become nervous as a way to assert themselves or to express anxiety. Look to see if there have been any major changes in your cat’s home environment and try to help her adjust by placing her litter box in a quiet spot in your house and focusing more attention on her emotional needs.

VIP pet sitters always pay close attention to litter box habits while caring for our cat clients. Please contact us to discuss what we can do to help!