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Walking your cat on a leash: tips and best practices

Perched on the window sill, your cat seems to dream of wide open spaces and new hunting grounds to conquer. You wish to accede to his desires while fearing for his safety... The idea of walking him on a leash has crossed your mind but you don't dare to take the plunge. You should know that this solution is perfectly feasible if you take certain precautions. Our advice.

Is your cat made for walking on a leash?

Walking on a leash is not adapted to all felines and ideally, they should be accustomed to it from a young age. If you feel that your cat's fearful temperament could cause him to panic and run away from the hustle and bustle of the street, it's best to abandon your plan. On the other hand, if he is curious about everything and daring, then new horizons will open up for him. Weigh the pros and cons of a leash walk first:

The disadvantages of a leash walk

Bad encounters. During the walk, you'll probably run into other dogs. Out of his comfort zone and his usual smells, nervousness and anxiety can win over your feline and lead him into a fight. The presence of dogs likely to arrive at high speed should also be monitored;

Parasites and injuries. During the walk, you have to make sure that your little companion does not ingest anything on the ground, at the risk of catching parasites or injuring himself. In any case, contact with the outside world requires that your pet is up to date with his vaccinations and anti-parasite treatments.

The advantages of a walk on a leash

Shared happiness. Your cat will discover new stimuli and sensations that he will love. And you'll be delighted to see your cat marvel at the grass, sniff the flowers and jump after the butterflies. Beautiful moments of complicity in perspective;

Good for the morale. For an active and curious cat who spends his days watching behind the windows or on the balcony, leaving his four walls will do his morale a world of good. By satisfying his thirst for adventure, the experience will greatly benefit him to the point of becoming indispensable! So before you commit, make sure you can schedule regular outings;

Physical activity. Despite the many games available to him, an indoor cat doesn't get as much exercise as a feline who has the opportunity to explore the surroundings. Taking your cat for walks will give it some exercise and will be especially beneficial for an overweight or obese pet.

Get the right equipment

When walking a cat on a leash, it's best to get a harness because the leash attachment is located at the shoulder blades, making it much more comfortable to wear. A collar can slip over the head and as such, does not present optimal safety conditions. Moreover, a collar can get caught on a branch and prevent your cat from getting out of a bad situation if it has escaped. Harnesses that fit a cat's size are readily available in stores. If your feline is large, look for equipment designed for small dogs. Choose a thin, lightweight leash to facilitate your pet's movements. A retractable leash is possible, but you'll need to know how to operate it so you can lock it and shorten it quickly in case of danger.

Getting your cat used to the harness and leash

The first step toward walking on a leash is to gradually get your cat used to the harness and leash:
  • Initially, have her wear the harness inside the house for a few minutes each day;
  • Associate the harness with a positive action: offer treats or play with him. You can also put the harness on just before his meal, as he will forget about his equipment while eating;
  • When your cat has adjusted to wearing the harness, you can add the leash;
  • Walk your cat around your home, letting him go as he pleases. Reward him for being quiet;
  • As the days go by, impose your own directions without pulling sharply on the leash. Continue to reward him after the sessions.

Take your cat on its first walk on a leash

Once your cat is sufficiently accustomed to the harness and leash, you can take your cat on its first outdoor walk:
  • Choose a quiet, low-traffic area;
  • Once outside, put your cat gently on the ground, let him observe and sniff his new environment;
  • If he remains motionless and refuses to move, sit by his side and pet him to reassure him;
  • Don't force him to do anything and don't pull on his leash. You can encourage him with treats;
  • At first, plan short outings (ten to fifteen minutes) and always in the same place;
  • Gradually, your cat will gain confidence and begin to venture out on his own. Praise your cat with petting;
  • Gradually increase the length of walks when you feel your cat is comfortable;
  • If your pet panics, fusses, struggles, it is not yet ready for this new experience. Take him in your arms, caress him and talk to him to reassure him. Do not insist and repeat the operation another day;
  • You don't see any progress after several tries? Then the big spaces are not made for your feline. You must give up the idea of going outside and let your companion enjoy the soothing atmosphere of his "home sweet home".

Mineral requirements in the cat's diet

In order to be healthy, a cat needs to have a high quality and well-balanced diet. If you have a dog and a cat, it is not at all advisable to feed them in the same way. The cat is a strict carnivore, which should nevertheless eat a small amount of products other than meat or fish, such as some vegetables. In any case, it is very important to take care of his mineral and trace element intake. Let's take stock.

What is a balanced diet for cats?

Today, the domestic cat does not eat as it used to, if only because it no longer hunts for food. His master provides him with the food he needs on a daily basis, but does it meet all the animal's needs? Not so sure.

In order for the body to be able to provide the energy necessary for the cat, but also to meet the needs essential to the proper functioning of its organs, to the maintenance of the good condition of its cells or to the oxygenation of its blood for example, and thus to allow the cat to fight against numerous pathologies, it is absolutely fundamental that its food provides it with all the essential nutrients. Among them, minerals and trace elements have a preponderant role to play. They are :
  • Calcium, essential for bone metabolism,
  • Copper, essential for the bone marrow,
  • Magnesium, which plays an active role in the proper functioning of the cat's body and strengthens its muscular elasticity, among other things,
  • Phosphorus, essential for the cat's body to benefit from the calcium contained in the food, which proves how essential minerals can be linked to each other,
  • Potassium, which is crucial for the cells,
  • Sodium chloride, because it ensures good hydration,
  • Zinc, which limits skin problems, helps maintain cells and is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
But beware, if a deficiency in minerals / trace elements leads to health problems, an excess is not more beneficial to the cat since it can also be the cause of all kinds of disturbances. Thus, when a cat suffers from urinary problems, depigmentation of the hair or digestive problems or even muscle weakness, perhaps the mineral or trace element content of its diet is unbalanced. It is indeed necessary to be extremely rigorous in the dosage of minerals and trace elements so that your cat does not suffer from them.

For example, a good proportion between phosphorus and calcium must be respected, which must be of the order of 1 to 1.2 so that there is no imbalance at this level and thus to preserve the good bone metabolism.

The master must also do everything possible to maintain the water balance, which is possible if the diet provides the right daily intake of potassium and sodium chloride. This helps to stimulate thirst. Sufficient water intake promotes urinary dilution and therefore diuresis (or urine excretion). We know that cats are particularly prone to urinary tract infections. Feeding him food that is well supplied with essential minerals (but not too much either) protects him in part against this problem, which can jeopardize the health of his kidneys.

Feeding your cat the right food on the advice of a veterinarian

If you want to give your cat a homemade diet, that is to say one prepared at home, why not? But this requires a good knowledge of the cat's vital needs on a case-by-case basis. A consultation with a veterinarian is necessary in order to know first of all what are the specific needs of the animal according to its age, sex, breed, lifestyle and health condition.

Then, the veterinarian can give valuable advice to the owner so that he can prepare his pet's daily rations himself without ever deviating from his vital needs. Many owners prefer to buy industrial cat food, of very good quality, well supplied with all essential nutrients. They can buy dry food in the form of kibble and wet food such as canned or freshly packaged pate.

Protein, carbohydrates, fat, minerals, trace elements, vitamins and water are what our cats need every day of the year. Meat, fish, vegetables and fruits (peas, pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, green beans, strawberry, watermelon, melon, apple and banana) are necessary for him. But be careful because cats are sensitive. There are many foods that he cannot eat.

It is highly recommended to buy from specialized distributors who offer Premium food for all cats, or even ultra premium, i.e. for kittens, pregnant or nursing females, adult cats, but also for sedentary, active, convalescent, obese, sick, Persian, spayed cats... It is a tailor-made food that should not be neglected because by preparing your cat's food yourself, you risk having the least amount of weight on certain components or too little on others and, without any intention of harming your cat of course, exposing your cat to very serious health problems.

Feeding a fussy cat: how to deal with a cat's food fads?

If the cat is eating well and then sulking, the first thing to do is to make sure that it is not sick. Apart from that, the cat is not a particularly difficult animal, at least by nature, but it becomes so if it is allowed to develop bad habits or if it eats in bad conditions. Fortunately, it is possible to manage your cat's eating habits and to prevent it from becoming fussy.

Respect the routine to avoid your cat's eating habits

The cat is a very routine animal and the slightest change in its habits disturbs it. If you move his bowl, he will turn his back on it without having taken a single bite. Similarly, if he is given an unfamiliar food from one day to the next, or if wet food is suddenly replaced by dry food, he may refuse to eat.

We know that a sudden change in the cat's diet can cause digestive problems, but it can also make the animal capricious. It is therefore important to respect its biological needs by giving it small portions of food throughout the day rather than a full bowl. Moreover, cats do not like to eat food that has dried out in their bowls.

Allowing your cat to eat under the right conditions

In order to keep your cat from pouting at its meals, your cat's owner must be gentle with it. This means serving each portion in a clean container. The cat's bowl must be washed as soon as the little feline has finished eating. These hygiene measures are just as important for the water bowl.

The place is also important. His appetite is easily disturbed after a move for example but not only. If you put your kitty's bowl in the busiest area of the house, where people are constantly passing by, where children are heckling, chances are that the kitty will not rush to eat even if he is starving. Much less gluttonous than the dog, the little feline needs to be calm and does not like to be watched eating.

You should also not allow your cat to come and get small pieces of meat from its owners while they are at the table. The cat should eat in a separate room so as not to be tempted by family meals, and no exceptions to this rule should be tolerated.

Giving your cat fresh food

If the cat leaves kibble or food in its bowl, after a few hours this food dries out, or even oxidizes, loses its initial flavor and can taste moldy very quickly, especially if the ambient temperature is very high. It is therefore necessary to throw away the leftovers. To avoid wasting food, it is better to serve your cat the right proportion. But since he needs to eat very regularly, the ideal is to opt for an automatic cat food dispenser.

However, you shouldn't just buy cheap food because it's cheaper than other foods. A cat needs to be fed fresh food that is also of high quality, nutritious and tasty. The kitty is a fine gourmet who does not let himself be fooled! Note that he does not like food that has just come out of the refrigerator. So, wait a little before serving your cat and it is even possible to warm up the food slightly to release its flavors and whet your kitty's appetite at the same time.

Consult the veterinarian

It's also important to know that cats who are used to spending most of the day outdoors generally find food to eat. Either they pilfer from their neighbors' food bowls, or they hunt in basements or fields. Once he's full, he doesn't have enough appetite to eat his bowl, which he leaves behind: the cat is an animal that never forces himself to eat. There is therefore no need to worry as long as he remains in perfect health and keeps his dynamism.

On the other hand, if he seems tired and in poor general shape, it is essential to consult the veterinarian. The cat may not be having a food fad, but he may have an oral problem or be suffering from some sort of disease. She may be under a lot of stress or anxiety, which could explain why it's been difficult to feed her for a few days. If the cat refuses to eat for 24 hours, a health check is necessary to find out more.

In any case, you should not put everything on the account of whims, especially since cats are much less used to whims of all kinds than humans... Perhaps he is simply trying to attract the attention of his master who is too often absent or who is uninterested in his little companion? By giving him time to cuddle and play with him, there is a good chance that after a few days the little kitty will eat normally and with appetite again.

How often should I feed a kitten?

You've just welcomed an adorable kitten into your home. To ensure that she grows up in optimal conditions and becomes a healthy adult, you'll need to meet her energy needs with a balanced diet and at a frequency appropriate to her age. Our advice.

Feeding a kitten before weaning

At birth, kittens begin by drinking their first milk (colostrum), rich in antibodies, which protects them from infectious diseases. During the first weeks of life, they will continue to feed exclusively on their mother's milk, a source of nutrients essential to their growth. From the fifth week of life, the female cat begins to distance herself from her offspring and rebuke her when she wants to suckle. As her teeth grow, nursing becomes more and more painful for her and weaning starts gradually and is usually completed between the 6th and 8th week.

Feeding an orphaned kitten

If you need to care for an orphaned kitten, the ideal solution is to find a surrogate mother. If that's not possible, you'll need to bottle-feed the kitten until it's able to eat solid food. Before he's a month old, he can't digest or excrete anything other than milk. You'll need to get a special kitten bottle and replacement milk from a pharmacy or veterinarian (not cow's milk, which he doesn't digest well). Then, it will be advisable to feed him every 3 hours, including the night, by taking care of :
  • Sterilize the bottle and the teat in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes;
  • Dry the utensils before use;
  • Prepare the milk according to the instructions on the package;
  • Place the teat in the kitten's mouth and let him drink until he stops on his own;
  • Massage the kitten's perineum at the end of meals because at this age, it cannot relieve itself.

Feeding the kitten during weaning

A kitten that is ready to be weaned will start chewing on its mother's nipple (or the nipple of the bottle) at about 4 to 5 weeks of age. This painful behavior causes the female cat to push her kittens away and this is when the transition must take place. When it's time to wean, you should consider changing the young cat's food gradually to avoid digestive problems. To facilitate the weaning process, it is recommended to
  • Gradually reduce the proportion of milk in favor of solid food;
  • Place a small amount of special kitten food in a bowl. You can find protein foods on the market that your kitten will digest very well during weaning;
  • Offer a daily ration based on the manufacturer's instructions;
  • Add a little formula, water or meat juice to the bowl to soften the contents. Crush if necessary;
  • Leave the meal out as kittens eat mini portions throughout the day (but be sure to discard what has not been eaten within 24 hours);
  • Monitor the amount of solid food ingested daily and adjust the doses depending on whether the kitten is eating all of it or on a leash;
  • Give a few extras, such as small pieces of cooked chicken or tuna;
  • Make water available at all times.

Kitten growth: something to watch for

Kittens grow very quickly. At birth, she weighs about 100 grams, then gains 10 to 15 grams a day (about 100 grams a week). At this rate, he doubles his birth weight in 10 days and multiplies it by 6 in about 2 months. Monitoring weight during growth can be used as an indicator of a healthy kitten. To make sure your kitten is growing well, it's best to weigh her every day at set times for the first two weeks, then every week until she's 3 months old, and then twice a month. His weight should always be higher than the previous weighing. At the end of the growth period, the weight gain slows down. If it is stable for several weeks in a row, it means that your cat has finished puberty and reached its adult size. Note: before the age of 5 months, a stagnation of weight should alert you and make you consult a veterinarian.

Nutrition: the kitten's specific needs

The energy requirements of a growing kitten are higher than those of an adult cat, and remain high until 12 weeks of age, when they gradually decrease. She should be given a specific food to strengthen her muscles and bones. Each of his meals will thus include a diet composed of at least one third of animal proteins (meat, fish). In addition, it's a good idea to change the type of food regularly, otherwise the kitten may get bored or refuse the new flavors you offer her later on. At one year of age, your kitten is ready to give up the special kitten diet. There are premium adult foods available that perfectly meet the dietary needs of felines by using quality raw materials. You can choose to feed your pet at set times (two or three meals a day) or leave his bowl out all the time so he can eat whenever he's hungry.

How to recognize an albino cat ? What attention to give him?

The albinism is a genetic particularity but in no case a pathology. On the other hand, it can be at the origin of certain fragilities which impose to take precautions. Let's take stock of the cause of this anomaly, the distinctive signs that an albino cat presents and what his master must avoid or privilege so that his little feline a little bit particular is the best protected possible.

Origin of albinism

Albinism is a genetic condition but also hereditary, that is to say that it is transmitted by the parents. It can affect humans as well as all animal species. This term covers various anomalies due to a deficit or total lack of melanin, although the melanocytes have a completely normal structure.

Melanocytes are large cells scattered throughout the body, for example
  • In the basal level of the epidermis,
  • In the hair follicles,
  • In the internal tissues of the digestive tract,
  • In the heart muscle,
  • In the meninges,
  • In the inner ear,
  • In the eyes.
The role of a melanocyte is to produce the most important pigment in the body that gives color to the skin, hair, feathers and eyes. This pigment is called melanin. It plays a very important protective role against the aging process due to the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays (UV).

Consequences of albinism in cats

In an organism without genetic particularity, melanocytes synthesize melanin through melanogenesis. In the case of albinism, there is a lack of pigmentation which is called hypopigmentation. It usually affects the eyes, hair and skin. But the biosynthesis of melanin being largely decreased in the case of albinism, it also leads to an insufficient development of certain constituents of the eye or of another organ. We speak about hypoplasia.

Characteristics of the albino cat

The albino cat has a melanin deficiency that results in the following characteristics:
  • Pale pink skin on the body, pads, lips, nose, ears and eyelids,
  • Red circles around the eyes, sometimes turning red, sometimes light brown, but can also be green or blue,
  • A 100% white coat, without any colored spots, but a cat with a white coat is not always an albino cat. Also, some albino cats are born completely white and their hair becomes partially colored after a few months.
Albinism can be total or partial. In the latter case, the cat has only some of the characteristics of albinism, so that to the untrained eye, it may be more difficult to detect this anomaly. An example of this is the Colourpoint cat, which has at least partial albinism.

Protecting the albino cat because it is fragile on many levels

In order to know what precautions to take when your cat has partial or total albinism, it is necessary to look at the daily consequences of this genetic and hereditary particularity for the little animal.

The eyes

Any cat is nyctalope, which means that it sees in the dark. But the albino cat has a night vision even more developed than that of its congeners. On the other hand, it does not have a very great visual acuity during the day. Moreover, the fact that it presents a deficit of melanin at the level of the eye makes its eyes very sensitive to the light and thus more fragile. The albino cat is exposed to the risk of blindness.

Ideally, the albino cat should be kept indoors during the brightest hours of the day, taking care to filter out daylight with curtains, a dark screen or shutters.

The ears

The ears of the albino cat are sensitive in many ways. If skin cancer is diagnosed in the small feline, to limit the serious consequences to which the animal is exposed, it may be decided by the veterinarian to perform an otectomy. This is a surgical procedure that consists of cutting the ears.

Some albino cats are at high risk of deafness due to a malformation of the inner ear. If the animal doesn't seem to understand when its owner speaks to it, or simply calls it by name, it may have a hearing problem. For a long time, this lack of understanding was associated with a lack of faculties, but this is not the case. The albino cat is as intelligent as any other cat, but he may be deaf.

It's best not to let your deaf cat wander off the family property because he can't hear sounds that might warn him of impending danger. For example, he may be knocked over by a vehicle because he cannot hear it, and for the same reason he is particularly vulnerable to dog bites.

The skin

The albino cat's skin is just as fragile as its eyes or ears, because its skin is not protected against UV A and B rays. His skin can therefore redden, even burn, at the slightest exposure to the sun. Recurrent exposure can cause serious illness. It is thus necessary to consult the veterinarian as soon as one notices a redness or a swelling, even a thickening of the skin of his albino cat. Usually, the veterinarian will take a biopsy of the cat. This is necessary if actinic keratosis is suspected because it is a warning sign of squamous cell carcinoma, a rapidly spreading skin cancer.

The albino cat is therefore at risk of cancer. To protect them from the sun's rays, they should not be allowed outside in the middle of the day, at least between 10 am and 5 pm. Before and after, the exposure to the sun's rays is less direct. It's best to get your albino cat used to being walked on a leash from a young age. This allows him to go out at any time under the vigilance of his master who, of course, will make sure that his little companion can stay in the shade.

At the same time, any albino cat must benefit from a sun protection through a specific cream that can be prescribed by the veterinarian. Obviously, it is a product designed for the cat, an animal that spends a lot of time licking itself. The sun cream for albino cats is non-toxic. There is no question of using a sun protection for humans unless it is an organic sun product for children, without any chemical additives, without perfume, ultra soft and adapted to very sensitive skin.

Even if albinism is not a disease, the albino cat must be the object of particular attention because it is fragile. It is necessary to show it very regularly to the veterinarian so that a monitoring can be set up throughout the life of the cat.

The Balinese, the cat with a princely look

If you've always dreamed of having a cat with a princely appearance and who particularly appreciates cuddling, the Balinese is the breed for you. Full of affection and sparkling with joy of living, it will get along very well with children and even dogs.

Characteristics of the Balinese

Agility and elegance are the main physical characteristics of the Balinese. This breed of cat with an athletic silhouette has a long and slender body with firm muscles and fine bones. The long, thin neck is another feature of the Balinese, which also has shoulders and hips of equal width.

The tail is called "whip" and has fine hair almost identical to that of an ostrich feather. The head reminds a little that of the Sphynx. It is triangular with a flat forehead and skull. The ears are very spread out, big and wide. The eyes are almond-shaped and must always be blue, otherwise it is considered a serious defect. The coat is semi-long, silky and very fine. In the LOOF (Livre Officiel des Origines Félines), the coat must have only the colorpoint pattern. But the CFA (Cat Fanciers' Association) admits other colors such as chocolate, blue, seal or lilac.

History of the Balinese breed

Just by hearing its name, one would tend to believe that the Balinese would come from Asia. But it is not. This cat is originally from the United States. In fact, this breed has not had a very glorious history. It would be born a little bit by accident. While breeders were doing a selection work, they obtained Siamese kittens with semi-long hair. As they did not correspond to the standard, they were put aside, sometimes even sacrificed. Later, breeders finally got interested in these semi-long-haired Siamese breeds and started a proper breeding. From the 70's, the CFA, the TICA (The International Cat Association), the LOOF and the FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline) will successively recognize the Balinese.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Balinese

The Balinese has kept some of the personality traits of the Siamese. They are active, outgoing, curious and very playful. However, he has a less volcanic temperament than his cousin. But like him, it is a great talker who gets along wonderfully with children and has no problem of sociability with its congeneric nor even with the dogs. The Balinese is always asking for attention and cuddles and does not like to be alone. It is a bit of a "cat-dog" that is always following its master. As such, the Balinese is possessive of its owner and tends to become attached to only one person in the house.

Diet and main health problems of the Balinese

Amyloidosis is one of the pathologies that can affect the Balinese. This disease causes kidney failure and can lead to death. Symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, diarrhea, anemia or various inflammations. The cat may also suffer from convergent strabismus, a common condition in colorpoint breeds. As far as food is concerned, to avoid possible kidney problems, it is better to combine dry and wet food and not only too dry food.

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