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Which plants are toxic for cats?

Countless garden and house plants are poisonous to cats. The symptoms that should alert are numerous. It is therefore important to know how to spot them in time. In order to prevent a cat from being poisoned by plants, logic dictates that the owner should prevent his pet from nibbling on all types of plants. If it's easy enough when it comes to plants in the house, it's much less so when the cat is playing in the neighborhood gardens.

Plants: a real health hazard for cats

It is better to keep your cat away from Apocynaceae, Ericaceae, Liliaceae, Primulaceae or - in the family Solanaceae - Solaneae. The same goes for the Fabaceae including some leguminous plants... These numerous plant families, and many others, are to be avoided by cats, which represents thousands of plants as shown in the following few examples.

Examples of house plants toxic for cats

  • Aloe
  • Amaryllis
  • Arum
  • Caladium
  • Chlorophytum
  • Croton
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Euphorbia
  • Ficus
  • Mistletoe
  • Mimosa of Japan
  • Monstera deliciosa (Seriman)
  • Philodendron
  • Apple of love
  • Sodom Apple Tree
  • Yucca...

Examples of outdoor plants that are toxic to cats

  • Thuja
  • Virginia Tobacco
  • Robinier
  • Ornamental pepper
  • Parsley
  • Onion
  • Lily of the valley
  • Lily
  • Laurel (all varieties)
  • Daffodil
  • Iris
  • If
  • Hydrangea
  • Hellébore
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Juniper
  • Fern
  • Eucalyptus
  • Digitale
  • Datura
  • Cytise
  • Colchique
  • Hemlock
  • Chives
  • Chelidoine
  • Boxwood
  • Azalea
  • Almond tree
  • Garlic
  • Aconit...
It is almost impossible to find an exhaustive list of plants that are toxic to cats. In order to preserve the health and, more broadly, the life of his animal, the owner must prevent his little companion from eating plants as soon as he is unaware of their effects on his organism. In case of doubt, he can refer to the veterinarian.

Intoxication of the cat by the plants: the symptoms

When a cat is poisoned by a house or garden plant, the risk of serious complications is extremely high. Depending on the case, the seeds, sap or latex contained in the plants can lead to irreparable health problems or even the death of the animal.

A cat poisoned by a plant can present disorders:
  • Respiratory,
  • Digestive,
  • Neurological,
  • Eyepieces,
  • Cardiac,
  • Cutaneous.
Many organs are likely to be affected such as the liver, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, lungs or heart. In some cases, it is not only the ingestion that causes a health problem for the cat but also the simple direct contact with the plant. This is for example the case of Caladium or Thuja.

Certain manifestations can put the flea in the ear of the cat's owner, namely :
  • Irritation of the skin and mucous membranes,
  • Hypersalivation,
  • A tachycardia,
  • Blood in the urine or hematuria,
  • An edema,
  • Suffocation,
  • Convulsions,
  • Diarrhea,
  • A great inexplicable weakness,
  • Apathy sometimes followed by episodes of hyperexcitability,
  • Poor movement coordination is called ataxia,
  • A paralysis.
Even more serious, the cat intoxicated by certain plants risks :
  • Coma,
  • Death.
It is fundamental to react in an emergency to save the cat that has ingested a toxic plant. If the animal presents one of the symptoms listed above, or any other strange manifestation, it must be taken care of imminently. This is imperative because a quick reaction can save his life.

The owner must provide all possible information so that the emergency veterinarian can diagnose the cause of the discomfort as quickly as possible and the plant that caused the poisoning. If possible, the owner of the animal should place a portion of the responsible plant in a plastic bag so that tests can be done by a veterinary clinic or laboratory to accurately identify it. Knowing the name of the plant with which the cat has become intoxicated is really very useful to ensure that the animal receives the proper treatment. Depending on the case, the veterinarian will administer an emetic, an antidote or other.

Only an animal health specialist or - in some cases, a pharmacist - can administer a medication to a cat intoxicated by an indoor or outdoor plant. It can be very serious to play the sorcerer's apprentice: you do not give any substance to your animal that shows all the signs of poisoning or intoxication.

It is however necessary to put things into perspective. If all cats were at risk of becoming intoxicated every time they graze or taste a dangerous plant, it would be a long time ago that this animal would have totally disappeared from the planet. Finally, if we refer to the experience of veterinarians, cases of serious plant poisoning in cats are not so numerous and that's fortunate.

Nevertheless, it is better to avoid taking risks and give preference to plants that are not dangerous for pets.

Non-toxic plants for cats

Having a cat does not imply that you have to give up all the plants, whether in the house or in the garden. Fortunately, humans and animals need plants. In any case, it is very reassuring to know that some plants do not present any danger for the cat and indoor and outdoor plant enthusiasts can continue to indulge in their pleasure.

These plants that are not dangerous for cats are not very numerous. In this group, we find for example :
  • Bamboo,
  • Basil,
  • Lavender,
  • The orchid,
  • The rose tree,
  • The Saintpaulia or Cape Violet,
  • The succulents.
It is therefore possible to have a beautiful garden, a pleasant and shady terrace as well as a green interior while owning a cat without risking to poison it.

What about cat herbs?

You can find catnip trays in the shops. This one is necessary for the animal's well-being. It has relaxing powers and digestive virtues.

There is also a mixture called cat grass, consisting of mint, Actinidia polygama or matatabi, sometimes Teucrium marum, a plant nicknamed Cat Germandrée. In the presence of this composition, the cat rolls on the herbs in full ecstasy because these plants exhale a very powerful perfume that does not leave the animal indifferent.

These are two solutions without any danger for cats and kittens. This type of plant preparation can be purchased regularly, which will divert the cat from house and garden plants.

We realize that a cat's good health is ultimately a matter of little importance. This is why it is highly recommended to insure your little companion with an animal health insurance company. In case of need, emergency care, medication, surgery or accident, the owner will not have to pay much. The pet insurance offers different solutions to be reimbursed at least partially for expenses incurred for all veterinary or even preventive procedures. A cat insurance comparator allows you to receive in a few minutes several free and non-binding quotes.

The Highlander, a dog in a cat's body

Cat lovers like to say that the Highlander is a dog in a cat's body. In addition to its intelligence, it is an animal very close to its master and also very affectionate: qualities that are more recognizable in the canine race.

Characteristics of the Highlander

By its unique and wild look reminiscent of the Lynx, the Highlander arouses admiration. This hybrid breed has a large size, which differentiates it from other cats. It even happens that some specimens weigh up to 9 kg. The growth of the Highlander is rather long and takes up to three years. This cat has a head neither too big nor too small. A highlight of its physique is its curved ears placed well above the head. At birth, they are straight, but as time goes by, they take on this final, incongruous shape. Expressive and large, the eyes of the Highlander reveal all kinds of colors from green, to blue through gold. The coat is another specificity of this breed. It presents round spots which remind those of the wild felines. The hairs can be short or long. The coat can have all kinds of colors: plain, snow, silver, bronze, tabby, sepia, marbled...

History of the Highlander breed

The Highlander is a rather confidential breed since it is quite recent. It was created in 2004 in the United States and is a descendant of the Jungle Curl and Desert Lynx. It is therefore a hybrid breed combining the genes of a wild cat with those of a domestic cat. At the time of creation, the cats were selected from a very specific gene pool so that the resulting breed is free of hereditary diseases and is robust. It should be noted that the development of the Highlander was mainly motivated by the breeders' desire to obtain a domestic cat with the power and appearance of a wild cat.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Highlander

The Highlander is a vivacious and intelligent animal. It is an active cat that likes to play interactive games with its owners. They are extremely affectionate and need constant contact with humans, which is why they are often related to dogs. It is a home-loving animal that prefers to take long naps rather than go hunting outside. And like most cats, it has difficulty with the change of environment. In addition, the Highlander is a sociable cat that gets along well with other cats. In short, a real hairball that does not develop any particular behavioral concerns.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Highlander

The Highlander is a victim of polydactyly. This is a congenital abnormality that causes a greater number of fingers than normal cats. Because of this peculiarity, the feline has many more claws that need to be maintained with claws. Its ears must also be monitored and cleaned regularly. Moreover, no specific disease has been discovered so far for this breed which is too recent to allow specialists to have any hindsight. As for its food, it can be based on croquettes and pâté.

The spangled Californian: a cat with a wild and elegant stature

Displaying the wild and elegant stature of the leopard, the Californian splangled is a confidential breed. Intelligent, affectionate and energetic without being aggressive, this cat is also endowed with great agility, which makes him more like his wild counterpart.

Picture Credit: Holidog Times

Characteristics of the Californian spangled

Affirming strength and power, the splangled Californian has not much to envy the leopard to whom it resembles. Its elegance and its wild aspect are other characteristics that make its authenticity. Of medium size, it has a developed musculature and strong bones. Nevertheless, its semi-foreign type body remains slender. The cat reveals a large head, in a softened triangle with a rounded forehead and skull. One will not fail to point out its large and expressive almond shaped eyes that reveal a color ranging from amber to brown.

The medium sized ears have rounded tips and are found slightly backwards on the head. The Californian splangled has a short coat. The standard only tolerates the spotted tabby pattern. The markings on the dress can be of different shapes: square, triangular, round. The cat can have a coat of any color except chocolate, lilac and their derivatives. Same for the colorpoint dresses which are forbidden.

History of the Californian spangled breed

The Californian splangled has a rather particular history since it was created with the aim of preserving the breed to which it is often compared, the leopard has been named. He was born under the impulse of the American writer Paul Casey. This fervent defender of the animal cause was saddened to learn of the leopard's extinction during a trip to Tanzania, Africa. In this context, he therefore decided to create a breed of cat that resembles this wild feline to remove the desire of local people to kill and then transform its skin into fur. Indeed, nobody wants to have on his back a garment that looks like his pet. It took eleven generations of cats and more than 15 years of work to obtain the Californian splangled as we know it today. Countless crossbreeds with Siamese, Abyssinians, British Shorthair and British Longhair have been made.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Californian spangled

Only its appearance is wild. Moreover, the Californian splangled develops all the qualities sought after in a domestic animal. It is docile and very intelligent while being endowed with sustained sociability. They are sensitive and show a lot of affection towards their owners. It is also very energetic and lively. Better yet, it develops an almost disconcerting agility. This cat is able to make jumps so high that they reach records.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Californian spangled

So far, research is still ongoing to discover possible hereditary diseases that could affect the splangled Californian. As it is the result of countless crosses, these are not to be ruled out. For the moment, it shows robustness. Its health will be better assured if it benefits from a healthy and balanced diet, low in fat and sugar.

The Brazilian shorthair, an elegant and muscular cat

All in elegance and musculature, the Brazilian Shorthair also called Pelo Curto Brasileiro is a rare cat that has the merit to be known. It is indeed active, intelligent and affectionate, everything you look for in a domestic animal.

Characteristics of the Brazilian Shorthair

The Brazilian Shorthair is a model of grace and refinement. It is neither too big nor too small and will therefore not be cumbersome in your home. It is a cat that commands admiration by its muscular appearance, robust while being slender and fine. Its legs of medium length end in round paws. The body ends with a tail that tapers to the tip. This breed owes all its characteristics to its head. It is long and reveals pronounced lower jaws and chin in addition to a curved profile, but in a half measure. It has large, very expressive almond-shaped eyes that are spaced apart and round in shape. Their color is in harmony with the color of the coat. The Brazilian Shorthair has short hairs that are silky and pleasant to the touch. The standard accepts all coat patterns and colors except colorpoint.

Brazilian Shorthair Breed History

The Brazilian Shorthair is still in the development stage. This recent breed is born in Brazil. Moreover, it is one of the first breeds recognized internationally within the country. It is said that the cat would have as ancestors, those who were brought back by European settlers in Brazil. In 1985, with the aim of creating a purely Brazilian breed, crossbreeding between street cats was launched. This initiative was carried out under the impulse of Paulo Ruschi, working within the World Cat Federation (WCF). He was one of the first to notice that ferrous cats, i.e. cats that were domesticated and then released into the wild to create populations that had become wild, had a very particular look. It was not until 1998 that the official recognition by the WCF became effective. For the moment, the main Brazilian Shorthair breeders are located in the United States. In Europe, they exist only in a very small minority.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Brazilian Shorthair

According to the return of some owners, the Brazilian Shorthair is a cat with many qualities. Easy to live with, it develops a balanced and pleasant character. He has no problem getting along with his other congeners, or even with the other pets in the house. It is an affectionate cat that lends itself to all kinds of demonstrations of love towards its masters. On the other hand, he tends to show a certain sensitivity and does not like to stay alone in the house for too long. As it is a hunter with a certain agility, beware of running away from home to satisfy its impulses.

Diet and main health problems of the Brazilian shorthair

The very recent character of this breed does not allow us to have precise data on the possible typical diseases that could affect it. For the time being, it is known to be robust and no specific pathology has yet been identified. Its well-being and longevity will depend on a healthy and balanced diet.

My cat is sick in the car: what can I do about motion sickness?

Whether it is to go to the vet, go on vacation or even for a move, every cat owner is one day or another obliged to transport his cat by car. Unfortunately, this experience does not always go well. Untimely meowing, flare-ups, vomiting, diarrhea or even vomiting, are the possible reactions of cats during trips in our motorized vehicles. You will then have to find a way to make your cat endure this moment that he dreads so much.

Causes of motion sickness in cats

There are two main causes of motion sickness in cats:


Stress naturally plays a big role in cats' motion sickness. Our feline friends are animals very attached to their habits and their freedom.

In a car, the cat is locked in a transport crate which is itself enclosed in a rolling machine. The feeling of being deprived of freedom is then very important for the animals.

In addition, they are made to leave their territory (the house or apartment), depriving them of their comfort and small habits. They then lose the feeling of security that they felt at home, and go to an unknown destination.

The accumulation of all this stress can then lead your cat to panic, and therefore to be sick in the car.

The inner ear

Motion sickness due to an inner ear problem is not just for cats. Indeed, many other animals, including humans, can get motion sickness because of the slight dysfunction of this organ.

The inner ear is essential for maintaining balance. When travelling by car, it may not properly analyze the movements of the vehicle, which can cause nausea or even vomiting.

This problem mainly affects young cats in whom the organ is not yet fully formed, so it usually passes with age, but unfortunately this is not always the case.

Techniques to help your cat manage motion sickness

Cat motion sickness can be a real ordeal to deal with, but fortunately, there are nowadays different techniques to alleviate cat motion sickness.

The technique of positive reinforcement

The technique of positive reinforcement simply consists of getting your little protégé accustomed to the car, and this, gently. This method will only work over time. Patience and rigour will be required for the cat to really manage its stress in the car.

First of all, if it is not already the case, you will have to get your little companion used to the transport crate. To do so, get into the habit of locking him up for about ten minutes very regularly, staying close to him. You will have to talk to him in a reassuring voice, caress him or even play with him through the bars so that he can gradually understand that he is not in danger in the crate.

Then the car stage can begin. Lock your cat in the carrier and place it in the car with the engine off. Just as you would to make him accept the crate, stay close to the cat and do everything to reassure him. This process will have to be repeated every day until you feel that your little fur ball has become accustomed to being placed in the car.

The next step will be basically the same, except that you will have to turn on the engine this time. Once the cat has gotten used to the noise of the engine, you can move on to the last step.

As you can imagine, you will have to pass the moving car to finish. Then place the cat in the car (still locked in the box), and make short trips while talking to him to reassure him. This should not exceed ten minutes at first so that the cat gets used to it gently.

Once these three steps have been completed, the cat should have become accustomed to the vehicle. Even if he will never enjoy being in it, he will at least know that the car is not a source of danger, thus greatly reducing his stress.

Medication methods

For cats who, despite all your efforts, cannot get used to the car, you can get medication from a veterinarian.

Generally, he will prescribe anti-vomitants and/or sedatives. Be aware, however, that these medications often have harmful side effects and should only be given when absolutely necessary, for a long trip for example. There is no need to drug your cat for a ten-minute trip.

Natural methods

There are also natural methods to soothe the cat during trips. They will certainly be less drastic than medication, but will be much less harmful to your pet's health.

For example, you can find Bach flowers or synthetic pheromones in specialized stores or pharmacies to be diffused in the transport crate a few hours before departure to soothe the cat.

Homeopathic treatments can also work.

The right attitude to have in the car

Getting your cat used to being transported in a car doesn't mean you can afford everything.

First of all, the car must be well ventilated. Remember to open the windows so that the cat doesn't feel suffocated by the air in the car.

The driver will have to drive in a quiet manner, avoiding sudden braking or violent acceleration, which will only stress the cat further.

If a family member is present in the car in addition to the driver, be sure to place the cat close to them, so that it has a soothing visual. In addition, this person will be able to pet the cat through the bars of the carrier to reassure it.

Finally, avoid smoking and turning the music up too loud. Don't forget that cats like peace and quiet.

At what age should a cat be neutered or spayed?

Neutering or spaying your cat is a very important operation when you own one or more of these small felines, and every owner must ask himself whether or not he should have his cat go through this step. But at what age should you have your cat neutered or spayed? And for what reasons? All the answers to these questions can be found in this article.

What is castration or sterilization?

For those who are less informed, it is important to remember what a castration or sterilization is. Simply put, it is a surgical operation, always performed under general anesthesia by a veterinarian, with the goal of removing the reproductive attributes of an animal.
  • For a female, the abdominal cavity will have to be opened to reach the ovaries and remove them. The wound will then be sutured to close it.
  • For a male, the operation is simpler and faster. The veterinarian will make an incision in the scrotum, through which he will simply remove the testicles (an operation called "removal of the testicles"), before closing the opening with stitches.

For what reasons should I have my cat neutered or spayed?

Having your cat neutered or spayed is in no way obligatory, it is above all the choice of each owner. Nevertheless, it can be a responsible act depending on the animal's lifestyle.

An uncastrated or unneutered cat will be a victim of its hormones, and consequently of its reproductive instincts. Thus, depending on the time of the year, we may see him act in a very different way than usual, even if it means putting himself in danger. During this period, your little protégé will have only one idea in mind: to mate to reproduce.

Moreover, seeing your cat go home pregnant is not good news for everyone. In fact, keeping your little female in good health during her gestation period represents a big investment in time, but also in money. It will be necessary to take her to see a veterinarian regularly and potentially to have her follow a treatment if everything does not go normally. Once she has given birth, it will be necessary to make sure that everything goes well with the pups, pay them their first kibbles once they reach weaning age, have them meet with a veterinarian to check their health, have them get their first vaccinations, and finally, find them new owners they can trust once weaning is complete.

Of course, all these constraints cannot be assumed by everyone, this is why it may be important to have your cat neutered or spayed.

At what age should you have your cat neutered or spayed?

For it to be carried out in the best possible way, the sterilization of the cat must be done before puberty, that is to say between six and twelve months of age.

Although you can have your little protégé neutered or spayed throughout his life, there will be much less complications and risks during the operation if it is done at this time of the cat's life.

Positive side effects of spaying or neutering in cats

Castration or sterilization are, of course, not without consequences for our feline friends. Certainly, it makes any reproduction impossible, but not only. Here are therefore the side effects which have a positive aspect for them :
  • stop running away: Cats that have not been neutered tend, during breeding periods, to run away for several days to find a partner in order to reproduce. Their reproductive hormones having been removed, they no longer have this uncontrollable need to travel long distances if necessary to satisfy their needs.
  • Fewer fights: an uncastrated male will tend to be very territorial. During breeding periods, it is not uncommon to see cats fighting, sometimes quite violently, in order to protect their territory. Once neutered, their need to feel dominant within a territory diminishes, considerably reducing the number of fights.
  • Less marking: Marking goes hand in hand with the territorial aspect of the cat, since it marks its territory to define its limits. Thus, a sterilized cat will cut your furniture with its claws much less, and will no longer propel urine into every corner of the house.
  • Less risk of developing health problems: spaying has many advantages for the health of our feline friends, especially for females. Indeed, the cat will no longer be at risk of developing cysts or tumors on the ovaries. Moreover, if a hysterectomy was performed during sterilization, she will no longer be able to have an infection of the uterus. The female will also be much less exposed to feline diseases such as leukosis or FIV (Feline AIDS), since she will be much less in contact with other cats likely to have contracted any of these diseases. Finally, sterilization drastically reduces the risk of mammary tumors.

Negative side effects of spaying or neutering in cats

Although having your cat neutered brings its share of positive side effects, there are nevertheless some negative side effects that we will cite:
  • weight gain: weight gain is a well known side effect for sterilized cats. Indeed, the decrease in activity that castration entails, as well as the decrease in the secretion of certain hormones, tend to make our feline companions gain weight if they are fed the same way they were before the operation. It will therefore be recommended to feed a sterilized animal with an adapted diet, less rich in lipids and proteins which they need less.
  • Mild health problems in males: castrated males are more likely to suffer from urinary stones and urinary tract obstruction; however, this remains infrequent and usually occurs at a fairly advanced age.

The cat's symptoms: causes, symptoms, treatments

Like fleas and ticks, the chigger is a parasite that attaches itself to specific areas of your cat's skin, provoking strong irritations that can lead him to scratch himself very hard, sometimes even to the point of bleeding.

However, our feline friends are not the only targets of these small parasites that like to feed on the cells of any warm-blooded animal. The skin of dogs, horses or even humans can then be a delicious meal for them.

Although the parasite is in no way lethal, it is still very disturbing for our pets and for ourselves. It is therefore important to know how to recognize their presence in order to act quickly and correctly against this parasite.

What is a "chigger"?

What is called chigger is not actually the parasite in its adult state, Trombicula autumnalis, but its larva. It is also called grape-picker, red mullet or puron depending on the region of France. For English speakers, it will be harvest moth or chigger.

These microscopic parasites reproduce in summer, and its larva, which is therefore the cause of all problems, is particularly virulent during the month of August, hence the name given to it, and more exactly, between the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of September. Be careful, however, with global warming, it is not uncommon for it to be present until winter.

It can be found in tall grass in meadows or fields, but also in gardens where the lawn is not regularly maintained.

It is characterized by its red color and its small size (about 0.3 millimeters), which makes it invisible to the naked eye. It is often confused with the silky trombidion, also red in color, but it is not dangerous and is larger (4 to 5 millimeters long), therefore visible.

The larva of the Trombicula autumnalis has a very particular way of feeding. It waits for its prey perched on high grass, and climbs on it as soon as the prey passes close to it. Unlike fleas and ticks, it will not bite to drink the blood of its victim. It injects an enzyme into its skin to pre-digest its cells, and then sucks them out. This method of feeding is strongly reminiscent of spiders, which also liquefy the organs of their victims with an enzyme and then suck them out. It is said that these animals are histiophagous (principle of feeding on cellular tissues.)

Once it is full, the spider will drop to the ground and go to the tall grasses to wait for new prey.

How can we recognize the presence of the dung beetle?

The cankerwort causes very specific symptoms because of its particular way of feeding. First of all, it is necessary to know the zones in which the fuzz likes to settle on a cat:
  • between the fingers,
  • on the inner thighs or underarms,
  • on the ears, especially on the area of skin duplication (called mumps).
Once installed, the mumps will then inject its enzyme which will pre-digest the cat's cells, before drinking them. The larva will then take on an orange color very specific to its species, before dropping to the ground. This will be the only time it will be visible, at least if the larvae are present in large numbers in the same place (which is not uncommon).

The enzyme in the auger will cause the following symptoms:
  • lesions on the surface of the skin, as if the animal had scratched itself heavily,
  • very strong itching on the infected area. Indeed, the enzyme of the chigger causes in the great majority of cases allergic reactions. The cat will then scratch for several days or even weeks, and often up to the blood. If it is the fingers that have been attacked, we can then observe the animal licking and biting the affected parts very regularly.
If, as said above, the attacks of this larva are in no way fatal, they are very virulent, and the cat can injure itself by scratching. In addition, the wounds caused by this itching can become infected.

The treatment against chiggers attacks: how to relieve your cat?

It is still strongly advised to take your cat to the veterinarian, even if you can easily form your own opinion on the matter, depending on the time of the year, or by observing orange spots on the cat's skin (presence of larvae).

The veterinarian will then be able to analyze the symptoms with more expertise and even observe the larvae under the microscope if they are still present on the animal's body, thus allowing him to ascertain the cause of the itching and thus prescribe a treatment adapted to the situation.

In most cases, it will be, at first, a local insecticide (in spray), allowing to eliminate the remaining larvae on the body of your feline friend. Be careful, however, that the cat does not lick the product, which is obviously harmful to his body. Prefer to spray the infected area just before a meal. Your four-legged friend will then have a busy mind and won't think about licking himself. However, if the cat can't help but lick himself, it may be necessary to have him wear a collar.

Then, the veterinarian will prescribe something to calm the inflammation caused by the enzymes if the allergic reaction is too severe. There are various types of treatments, such as tablets or lotion, but the most common is an ointment to help the wound heal and soothe the inflammation.

How to prevent a chiggers attack against the cat?

If it is easy to avoid these larvae on a dog, by simply avoiding walking with him in tall grass between July and September, it is less so for a cat who walks freely.

Using a repellent anti-parasite spray during these periods will nevertheless help your cat avoid these parasites, which will be put off by the smell of the product.

Finally, if you have a garden, remember to mow the lawn regularly to prevent these larvae from enjoying it too much, and to evacuate the freshly cut grass, in which the adults love to breed.

Cat obesity: what are the symptoms? What are the risks? Which diet?

Obesity in cats, also called overweight, is a disease that is often not taken seriously enough. If you think your little companion is cute because he has become a real "ball" of hair, it's actually rather worrisome.

Indeed, obesity is a disease that can cause many very serious and disabling health problems for him, which can even shorten his life expectancy by one to three years. Solving the problem as quickly as possible is therefore essential for your cat to live in good health.

How do you know if your cat is obese? What are the symptoms?

Obesity in cats is not obvious for everyone to notice. Moreover, it is not possible for cats to refer to a body mass index (BMI) calculation system, as it exists for humans.

The best way to know if your cat is overweight is to observe its silhouette, and especially to feel it. If you can touch his spine and ribs without having to press, he is not overweight. Similarly, if his waist is visible (i.e. if you can observe a demarcation, even a slight one, between his hips and his chest), then there is nothing to worry about.

If, on the other hand, his waist is not visible, you notice a fat pocket on his lower abdomen, and his spine and ribs cannot be felt by touch without pressing, then there is nothing to worry about, because the cat is most likely overweight, or even obese.

In addition, you may observe changes in his behavior, such as difficulty in washing in different places, or problems climbing on furniture, things that he had no problem doing before.

If you have the slightest doubt about your cat's potential obesity, don't hesitate to quickly make an appointment with a veterinarian so that he or she can advise you on the steps to take.

What are the risks of obesity in cats?

As mentioned above, obesity in our feline friends is not a disease to be taken lightly. It is the cause of many health and behavioral problems:
  • restricted agility,
  • Difficulty to wash,
  • needing food far too frequently, which will cause him to ask you to eat repeatedly,
  • problems with breathing and shortness of breath on the slightest effort,
  • Cardiovascular problems that can unfortunately lead to the cat's death in some cases,
  • Bone and/or joint problems, especially in the legs, which are struggling to carry the weight of his body.
As you can see, all of these risks represent a direct danger to the life of your little companion, whether in the long or short term. It is therefore very important to solve this problem as soon as possible.

What is the origin of obesity in cats?

Knowing the origin of your cat's obesity is almost as important as treating it. This will allow you to avoid reproducing the same mistakes, whether it is with your current cat or even with the next ones.

First of all, it is obvious that the problem comes from the diet, but not only. An overweight cat absorbs more energy than it consumes. Therefore, it is very likely that it lacks physical activity, in addition to receiving a food that is probably not adapted to it.

In fact, whether it's kibble or food, you must first of all respect a daily quantity that is specific to each brand. This quantity is marked on the can or bag containing the food in question, and represents what your cat will need each day. When this threshold is exceeded, the cat is "over-fed".

It is also important to pay attention to the type of food you are feeding your pet. A food for indoor cats, for example, will be less caloric than the one intended for outdoor cats, since an indoor cat gets less physical exercise than a cat that can go out, hunt and run more freely.

Too many treats can also make you obese. It is important to remember that these treats are high in calories, just like candy and pastries for humans. Overindulging in them will make your cat fatter for good. Giving a small reward per day is more than enough.

Some people don't hesitate to give their little companion end of meal treats. This is much more common for dogs than for cats, but it remains a serious mistake. Human food is extremely rich for any animal, in addition to being very often too salty and/or spicy. This practice is therefore to be avoided.

Finally, there are some less common factors that can promote weight gain in a cat, certain treatments such as corticosteroids for example, but also stress (when moving or a new pet arrives in the house), or sterilization. Sex hormones normally consume the animal's energy. Once sterilized, they are no longer present in the body. Keeping the same type of food means giving the animal the same amount of calories as before when it needs fewer calories to compensate.

How to make your cat lose weight? What diet should be used?

The first thing to do when you notice your cat is overweight is to consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to direct you towards a diet that is specific to your cat's needs, according to its potential health problems and age.

Most often, it will be necessary to change its diet. Of course, eliminate any excess (treats and end of meals) and provide him with an adapted diet. We often recommend the croquettes (less caloric than household rations or pâtée), from a range called "light", therefore light, and which contain more fiber, causing a better feeling of satiety.

You can also split your meals. If, for example, you used to give him two meals a day, this time you will have to give him four or five small meals during the day (respecting the daily ration indicated on the kibble packet). This will accustom your little companion to eating smaller meals, thus gradually reducing the size of his stomach. If he wants to eat outside of mealtimes, as a child does, you should obviously not give in.

Finally, it will be necessary to stimulate your cat so that he spends more energy. Buy him new toys, throw him balls, or titillate him with a cat fishing rod, all that will be necessary to make him want to play and spend energy. Weight loss can be slow, but by following these tips, along with those of your veterinarian, it should eventually pay off.

The Arabian Mau, a cat full of affection, intelligence and curiosity

Although it has existed for thousands of years, the Arabian Mau was only recognized ten years ago by the feline authorities. This cat categorized thus as "new breed" shows affection, intelligence and curiosity.

Characteristics of the Arabian Mau

In the circle of cat lovers, the Arabian Mau is sought after for its grace and athletic appearance. Endowed with a compact appearance, its morphology should not be too different from that of the felines living in the Arabian Peninsula, otherwise it will be penalized. This cat is rather muscular and high on legs. Its body ends on a tail of medium length, with a frayed tip. The Arabian Mau develops a long and round head with an accentuated muzzle. The chin is clearly visible. Oval shaped, the eyes are in harmony with the color of the coat. Their expression is such that they give the impression that the cat is awake and alert. As for the ears, they are well located on both sides of the skull and are open and large. The Arabian Mau reveals a short, relatively firm coat that should not be too soft. The coat can be solid black, solid white, brown and gray mackerel tabby or two-tone black.

History of the Mau Arabian breed

As its name implies, Arabic Mau comes from the Arabian Peninsula. It is a natural breed that has lived near hamlets and in deserts. Natural selection was carried out due to the harsh climatic conditions of the Gulf countries. The expansion of urban areas gradually destroyed the natural habitat of the cat, which had to start living near cities to be able to feed. A more serious breeding program began under the initiative of Petra Müller. After hard work, the breeder of German origin succeeded in getting the Arabian Mau accepted by the cat associations. The official recognition by the World Cat Federation took place in 2009.

Necessary living conditions and behaviour of the Arabian Mau

Despite its wild origins, the Arabian Mau is an excellent pet. Although independent, they are affectionate and have an unbridled love for their master. It also develops a great docility and a lot of calm. He has a good temperament and can perfectly live with other dogs or young children. It is a curious and intelligent cat who enjoys hunting, an attitude that he has kept from his former life as a wildcat. It is said that the Arabian Mau is a talkative animal. To communicate with humans, it will start meowing. This behavior also serves to express his joy.

Diet and main health problems of the Arabian Mau

So far, it is quite difficult to determine the specific pathologies of the Arab Mau. But we already know that it is a rather robust cat. In order to guarantee him an excellent health, it will be necessary to provide him with a quality food. Its diet must be adapted to its physical exercises, its health and its weight. It can be industrial or prepared in house.

5 ideas of games to do with your cat

It is not always easy to get your cat to play. These animals appreciate novelty and quickly get tired of a redundant activity. It's not uncommon to spend money on the latest fashionable toy to please your little companion, and to see him use it for only a few minutes, the toy ending up getting lost under a piece of furniture, no longer interesting its recipient at all. It will thus be necessary to be inventive to be able to fulfill a cat's play needs so that it can be fulfilled.

However, if you are short of ideas to make your cat play, you can find some in this article which proposes five of them.

The importance of play for a cat

Playing with your cat is an important practice for its well-being. Indeed, these little fur balls have a natural hunting instinct, which some of them can no longer satisfy because their place of living does not allow them (if they live in an apartment for example). It will thus be necessary to satisfy the hunter's instincts of his cat. And for that, what better than to make him play? This will stimulate him physically and intellectually, in addition to making you share a moment of complicity together.

On the other hand, a cat that is not stimulated by its owner may get bored in the long run, especially if it is the only animal in the house. This could lead to apathy, or even in the worst case, depression, because yes, this does not only affect humans.

It will therefore be necessary to stimulate your cat every day, without disturbing his sleep, which is also very important for his balance. It is therefore preferable to have your cat play during fixed hours, because cats are very routine animals. They will appreciate being used to having a moment of play with their owner every day.

1. Fishing rod: one of the most appreciated games

Among all the cat games that exist, there is one that they particularly appreciate: the fishing rod. The principle is very simple, a stick to the end of which is fixed an elastic wire, at the end of which a toy will be attached.

If fishing rods can be bought in shops for only a few euros, it is also very easy to make one yourself. Both the rod and the elastic thread are rather simple to obtain (in the absence of elastic thread, a simple string will suffice). For the toy, many things can do the trick. A ball previously bought in the trade, a cork, or even bird feathers, which generally interest our feline friends a lot.

The method of play is also very basic. Just shake the toy in front of your cat, as if it were a small insect. This will stimulate the hunting instincts of your little companion, who will normally start running after the toy.

2. The laser pointer: effective but disruptive

The laser pointer is known to greatly intrigue our little hairballs. On sale in most supermarkets or in certain specialized stores, this small technological gadget diffuses a laser pointer that you can wave under your cat's nose, which it will try to catch.

However, the fact that this laser has no physical constitution will greatly disturb the animal in the long term, since it will never be able to grasp it. To make your little fur ball play properly with this pointer, you will have to end the game session by placing a small treat on the ground, which you will point at with the laser. In this way, the cat will have had the impression that he has succeeded in his hunt, thus disturbing him much less.

3. The cardboard box: an essential place of exploration

Cats are animals as curious as they are explorers. To fill this need, it is not necessarily necessary to take them on vacation to a new place every weekend. Indeed, a simple cardboard box may be enough.

In addition to being a material that attracts them a lot, a cardboard box in its basic form (i.e., in the form of a box), is a superb place to hide in, and potentially take a good nap.

For the more inventive among you, it is also possible to cut out the cardboard to make a small maze. Your cat will love to explore the path you have imagined for him. You can even use the fishing rod or the laser pointer to stimulate him to explore every nook and cranny of his new playground, or even put a little treat inside to stimulate his curiosity.

4. the ball: simple and effective

It is of course easier to get a dog to play with a ball than a cat. With the cat, you'll have to get a little more involved, because where most dogs will bring it back to you, leaving you free to go about your business, it's much rarer to see a cat come back to see you with a ball between its teeth.

First of all, it will be necessary to be conscientious to choose the material of the ball. It will depend on the taste of the cat in question. Some cats like newspaper, others like classic sheets of paper. It is therefore not obligatory to buy some, even if certain types of balls found in stores, such as those with a bell inside for example, are very much appreciated by our feline friends. However, they have a major defect that you can imagine: you will have to bear the noise, or hide the ball outside of playing hours, so that you don't wake up in the middle of the night with the sound of a bell.

As for the method of play, all you have to do is throw the ball to him, after which he should run, then play with it a little bit by pushing it with his paw. He'll probably end up looking at you when he's finished, so you can throw it back to him, and so on.

5. The game of hide-and-seek: a moment of complicity

This way of playing usually only interests kittens, or those who have been used to this game from an early age.

It is simply a matter of hiding when you notice that your cat is in a good time to play. When he finds you, run and hide in another place, where he will certainly follow you. This game can easily turn into a game of "cat"!

The roles can also be reversed. Your cat will enjoy hiding under a piece of furniture, for example, when he hears you looking for him and calling him with a playful intonation in his voice.

How does a cat sleep? What is its sleeping rhythm?

It's well known, the cat is an animal that sleeps a lot. Unfortunately, its resting times are quite different from those of humans, which can cause your little companion to wake you up in the middle of the night, a period during which it is in great shape.

But what makes a cat sleep so much? And how does it sleep? All the answers to these questions can be found in this article.

The cat's periods of activity

The cat is a naturally twilight animal, which means that its most important periods of activity are at sunrise and sunset.

If your cat tends to keep you awake at night because it's in great shape, get into the habit of tiring it out before going to bed. Running him with a toy, such as a feather on a string, can tire him out. It will let you sleep.

If he wakes you up in the morning, it's a more complicated problem to deal with. Try to punish him by spraying water on him with a spray bottle that you've put next to you beforehand, so that he associates waking you up with an unpleasant sensation.

You can also try to change his meal times by giving him lunch and dinner instead of morning and evening, for example.

The number of hours a cat rests: a natural need

Over a 24-hour period, a cat sleeps an average of 15 to 17 hours, which means that our feline friends sleep about two-thirds of their lives.

However, this number of hours of sleep does not mean that cats are animals that have become lazy with domestication. On the contrary, this need dates back to when they were wild animals. They needed to hunt for food, and since food was sometimes scarce, cats slept to save their energy, while their prey remained much more awake, on the lookout for potential predators.

Cat sleep: a brain activity close to humans

Several scientific studies have been conducted using an electroencephalogram (EEG) to compare the brain activity of cats and humans during sleep. It was noticed that when we sleep, our brain activity was not so different from that of the cat. Just like for humans, the cat's sleep takes place in different successive phases.

The phase of mental rest

This phase of sleep lasts between twenty and thirty minutes. It allows the body to regenerate its cells to stay healthy. The electroencephalogram shows that during this phase, brain waves are slow and of great amplitude. Physically, this translates into slower breathing, relaxed muscles, and of course, closed eyelids.

Most often during this phase, the cat will be in a ball, or lying down all the way. This happens many times a day, and can represent nine to twelve hours of an adult cat's entire sleep. In a kitten, this phase is almost non-existent.

The REM sleep phase

After the phase of mental rest comes the phase of REM sleep, which is particularly present in kittens. According to the electroencephalogram, the brain waves are much faster and show a low amplitude.

This phase is also called the "dream phase", since during this period, the whiskers, paws, eyes, tail or ears may move, as if the cat was reacting to a dream. However, no studies have proven that the cat is actually dreaming. On the other hand, they have revealed that cats are the animals with the most REM sleep phases.

Light sleep: another form of sleep in cats

The cat's light sleep is one of the reflexes he has retained from his wild state. During this phase, the cat doesn't really sleep, he dozes off. In the wild, he would be ready to react to the slightest danger or to jump on the slightest prey that would pass in his litter.

This phase is easily recognized in the cat. Indeed, its ears are contracted, directed outwardly, and they react to the slightest noise.

Sleep problems in cats

Many factors can affect a cat's sleep. Stress, medication, annoyance such as the new presence of a fellow cat, age or illness.

If you notice that your cat is sleeping much more than usual, take the trouble to consult a veterinarian, it could be due to pain or illness.

If the cat is sleeping less than usual, it is most likely that something is troubling him. Think about what may be disturbing him, it could be a move, a new person in the house, or any major change. If nothing comes to mind, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your veterinarian either.

The Californian Rex, an affectionate but rare cat

With its beautiful athletic elegance, the Californian Rex belongs to the very closed circle of new breeds and is still not very widespread. It is a cat appreciated for its affectionate side and sociability. It also has the reputation of being a bit talkative.

Picture Credit: Holidog Tmes

Characteristics of the Californian Rex

The Californian Rex is the mid-long-haired variety of the Cornish Rex. Its physique thus resembles that of its close cousin. At adulthood, it measures 30 cm on average and weighs 4.5 kg. It develops a fine silhouette similar to that of the greyhound with its curved back and whip-like tail. Thanks to its fine bone structure, it reveals a lot of lightness. But this is only an impression, because in reality, this cat is heavy. It is also said that he looks like a dancer, because he tends to walk on the tip of his paws. Of medium size, the head is said to be in "Roman profile". Be careful, too round or triangular heads are penalized by the standard. The nose is protruding and wide and the eyes are well open, oval shaped. They are set apart from each other, but not too much either. Their color must be in harmony with the color of the coat. The Californian Rex has a mid-long coat revealing small waves. The standard accepts all colors of dresses.

History of the Californian Rex breed

As its name implies, the Californian Rex has its origins in California. It first appeared in the 1960s. As it is a recent breed, it does not enjoy much notoriety. The fact of calling it "race" even causes controversy among felinophiles. The reason is that it is quite simply the variety with semi-long hair of the Cornish Rex whose reputation is not to be made any more. The Californian Rex is more considered as a confidential breed. Moreover, it cannot take part in championships even if it is authorized to be exposed. In France, the LOOF (Livre Officiel des Origines Félines) classifies it in the category of "new breeds".

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Californian Rex breed

Like the Cornish Rex, the Californian Rex is very affectionate. He constantly asks for attention and cuddles, even if it means following his master around. Because of this character, he is considered a "glue pot". It is also a sociable cat who gets along as well with humans as with other animals. He will then know how to live with the other small tenants of the house. It is a family cat par excellence because of its very playful nature. This feline will always seek to be stimulated. It will make the happiness of the children. Its talkative side can disturb some of them, but it is the best way for him to express himself.

Nutrition and main health problems of the Californian Rex

As the Californian Rex is a recent cat, there is not enough data to determine its possible diseases and its health in general. In all cases, as with the Cornish Rex, it is necessary to regularly clean the eyes and ears which are subject to secretions. A healthy and balanced diet will ensure a healthy life for the cat.

How to brush your cat and maintain its coat?

Caring for your cat's coat is essential to keep it in good health. Indeed, the fur of our feline friends reflects their well-being, so it is very important to take care of it regularly. Be careful, however, it is not necessary to take care of it just anyhow, because with bad methods, even if we think we are doing the right thing, it will be done more harm than good.

The shampoo: a care which should not be abused

The first reflex that a human could have to take care of his cat's coat, is often to shampoo it regularly, a reflex often due to the comparison made between our hair and the hair of our feline friend.

Even if indeed, shampoo is useful to preserve the good hygiene of his cat's coat, it should not be abused. Indeed, where a human will wash his hair three to four times a week to keep it clean and silky, this is a rhythm that is much too important for cats, who have much more sensitive skin than we do. Moreover, our feline friends are themselves very conscientious about their hygiene. Thus, washing them three to six times a year will be more than enough, except of course in exceptional circumstances where it becomes necessary (when he comes home covered with mud for example).

Also be careful never to use a shampoo for humans on these small balls of hair. Instead, prefer a specific shampoo for cats, which will have a neutral pH, thus irritating the skin much less. For long-haired tomcats, applying a conditioner after shampooing will be very beneficial to them, since it will prevent knots from forming.

To shampoo one cat, preferably two, most of them hate to get wet, so there is a great risk that they will struggle. Make sure you have the right shampoo for your cat's coat (available from a vet or most pet stores) and a towel. Wet the cat's coat abundantly with warm water so as not to make the operation more unpleasant than it already is, avoiding the head. Then apply the shampoo, leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it so that no trace of it remains, as this could cause the hair to stick together. Finally, dry it well with a towel, and finish by giving it a small well-deserved reward.

Finally, be aware that for cats that are really too reluctant to use water, there are dry shampoos that do not require the animal to get wet. However, this product can only be used to maintain the hair, and will not be effective on a particularly dirty cat.

Brushing: an essential care

Brushing your cat regularly is an essential act for the good maintenance of its coat. It will stimulate his skin and muscles and give him a little massage far from being unpleasant.

Moreover, it will remove a lot of dead hair, especially during the moulting periods (spring and fall), during which the cat will lose a lot of hair that he may swallow during his grooming, forming hairballs in his stomach that he may regurgitate.

How to brush a short-haired cat?

It is very simple to brush a short-haired cat. Simply take a soft brush and brush him if possible daily, or at least once a week. It will first be necessary to brush him in the direction of the hair to remove the dead hairs, then to brush back to remove the dead undercoat. Do not hesitate to brush it after each shampoo.

How do I brush cats with medium or long hair?

Brushing semi-long-haired or long-haired cats is a little more complicated to do, since the hair tends to get tangled and form knots. While a short-haired cat can be brushed only once a week, a semi-long-haired or long-haired cat will require daily brushing.

For our long-haired friends, a soft brush won't be enough. It will be preferable to have a specific comb for this type of coat.

Begin by brushing the soft brush in the direction of the hair, then backwards to remove dead hairs. Then do the same with the comb to untangle. Again, feel free to brush after each shampoo.

If the tangled hairs are too tough, there are the Furminator brushes, known for their great effectiveness.

However, be careful not to force too much, because in some cases, the tangled hairs end up in knots, and too much force could hurt your little companion, without removing the knot.

What are the problems related to nodes and how to get rid of them?

Knot problems are a real plague for long-haired and semi-long-haired cats. These hairs are too tangled and pull on their skin, which ends up irritating them, even causing scabs, dandruff, and often itching. On top of that, knots are places where parasites like fleas love to lay their eggs. It is therefore preferable to remove them as soon as possible.

If the Furminator comb or brush hasn't been able to untangle these knots, there is only one solution: cut them. Prefer to use scissors with round ends to avoid injuring the cat, and have someone help you to hold it and thus avoid an accident.

If you are ever afraid of hurting your little companion, don't hesitate to call a groomer or a veterinarian who can do it without risk.

Nutrition: a major role for your cat's coat

Just as human food plays an important role in the quality of our skin and hair, so does the quality of a cat's coat.

Indeed, it is common for a cat fed with poor quality food to have greasy and dull hair, dandruff, even skin problems. It is therefore preferable to feed your cat with good quality food, paying particular attention to the presence of sufficient quantities of protein, vitamin A and essential fatty acids, substances that play an important role in the quality of his coat.

Foods based on salmon or containing salmon oil are particularly known to be good for the skin and coat of our pets, so do not hesitate to include them regularly in his diet.

The Pixie-bob, a cat that combines softness, elegance and a wild look

Combining gentleness, elegance and a wild look, the Pixie-bob is a unique cat. By its coat, it looks like a Lynx. But the similarities end there. This perfectly domesticated breed is appreciated for its kindness, gentleness and intelligence. Better, it is a true fan of cuddles.

Characteristics of the Pixie-bob

Medium to large in size, the Pixie-bob has a long, muscular and powerful body revealing prominent shoulders. Moreover, as in tigers, the cat displays a kind of hollow behind the shoulders. He has a swaying gait that recalls that of the Red Lynx to which it is often related. The long legs are muscular and have a dense bone structure. The head of the Pixie-bob looks like an inverted pear tells the standard. It is slightly convex and rather large. The nose is big, the forehead rounded, and the muzzle strong and broad. Of medium size, the eyes are enhanced by thick eyebrows.

This wide eyelid gives the impression that the cat has a lethargic look. The eyes can be hazelnut, golden or even gooseberry green. The ears are wide at the base with rounded tips. They are neither too big nor too small, just right. As for the fur, it contributes to the singularity of this animal. The latter has a coat either short or long. The standard accepts only brown spotted tabby dresses which can be declined in different shades.

History of the breed Pixie-bob

Coming from the United States, the Pixie-bob has controversial origins. Legend has it that it is descended from male bobcats. They would have mated with cats living in isolated farms, which would have given birth to kittens with the temperament of domestic cats, but which would have borrowed the physique of their father. The most tangible story departs from this version. In 1985, an American breeder is said to have bred two imposing cats with spotted coats that resembled the Lynx. Pixie would have been born, the first specimen resembling the bobcat which was used as a basis for breeding programs. The TICA (The International Cat Association) will only recognize this breed in 1994. In France, the official recognition by the Livre officiel des origines félines (LOOF) was made in 2002.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Pixie-bob

In the Pixie-bob, only its look is wild. In reality, it is a docile and very nice cat. He appreciates the comfort of his home and enjoys basking in front of the fireplace. Real ball of energy, he is also dynamic and very active. It is sometimes considered as a cat-dog because it is very attached to its owners, always seeks their attention and wants to be cuddled constantly. Surprisingly, he is one of the few breeds that love water. It is not surprising to see him playing near the tap or sleeping in the sink. Walking on a leash is no problem for him either. On the strange side, we can say that we are served with the Pixie-bob.

Diet and main health problems of the Pixie-bob

The Pixie-bob can be a victim of leg deformities. Moreover, it is forbidden to mate two polydactyl Pixie-bob precisely to avoid the appearance of this anomaly. Moreover, it is a robust cat able to live up to 15 years if it benefits from good care and especially, good food. As such, he prefers dry food to wet food. Premium kibbles will therefore make him happy.

Cat scratching post: how to choose it?

Seeing your cat scratching a brand new sofa or armchair is never pleasant. However, for a cat, scratching is a natural and obligatory act for its health and well-being. Fortunately, pet stores specializing in pets, and cats in particular, offer all sorts of accessories and gadgets to help you avoid ransacking your home. The simplest solution is the scratching post, an accessory that will protect your furniture from the claws of your little protégé.

Why equip yourself with a cat scratching post?

As mentioned above, scratching (also called "scratching" by veterinarians) is a natural reflex. In fact, a cat, when clawing, first leaves a visual trace that, in nature, would be made on a tree, thus putting a symbol on its territory informing potential fellow cats passing by.

In addition to this, a cat's claws are for him a weapon of defense against all kinds of dangers but also a hunting tool. It is therefore very important, even vital in the case of a feral cat, to have sharpened claws to hunt, and thus survive. For our domestic cats, this reflex is always present. It is therefore not recommended to punish or argue with a cat doing its claws in your home, even on a nice couch, because this would only cause stress and potentially fear towards you but nothing more, since this act is as natural for him as urinating or eating.

Finally, the cat, while making its claws, deposits molecules called pheromones, via glands present on its paw pads. These pheromones are most often intended for reproduction, to signal its passage to a cat of the opposite sex. Even for a sterilized cat who will not try to reproduce, this reflex will remain natural for the two reasons previously mentioned.

Cats with free access to the outdoors can do without a scratching post, since they can scratch trees without causing any problems to anyone. Apartment cats, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of having access to the outside. Therefore, this need will have to be filled with a scratching post. Otherwise, don't be surprised if it attacks your furniture.

How to choose the right scratching post for your cat?

It would be almost impossible for a person not to find the right scratching post in the market. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and for all budgets. The most important thing is to know which one best suits your cat.

First of all, it is necessary to observe your cat doing his claws at home. While most cats prefer to do their claws on a vertical support, which also allows them to stretch, some, like older cats who may suffer from certain pains, will prefer to do their claws on a horizontal support.

Here is a list of the main types of claws appreciated by our feline friends.

The "tower" scratching post: simple but effective

Scratching posts called "towers" are simple but effective. It is simply a horizontal platform on which a trunk is screwed vertically, reminiscent of a tower (hence its name). This trunk is most often covered with vegetable rope (also called sisal), a material that our little companions love to use for claws.

The cardboard scratching post: economical but fragile

Cardboard scrapers have many advantages. They are inexpensive, and their small size makes them easy to place, even in a small apartment. In addition, cardboard is a material that cats appreciate for making their claws, even if they much prefer vegetable rope.

However, cardboard scratching posts have two major flaws. First of all, they wear out quickly, they will generally have to be changed every six months to a year (depending on the model). Finally, these scratching posts crumble as the cat scratches on them, leaving cardboard films all around. It will therefore be necessary to clean them regularly.

The cat tree: a palace for our feline friends

Cat trees, it is well known, are very appreciated by our four-legged friends. In fact, in addition to having tower-shaped scratching posts surrounded by plant cordage that allows your cat to claw its way through, cat trees offer your cat cozy little nests to sleep in, as well as games.

They come in all sizes and shapes, but they are generally more expensive than "basic" scratching posts.

The cat scratching post do it yourself (DIY)

As their name suggests, do it yourself scrappers are homemade scrappers. It will be up to you to create the scratching post you want for your little protégé.

The trick is to find a material that will suit your cat: cardboard, vegetable rope, carpeting, no matter as long as the material in question is solidly attached to a support, so that it does not go away as soon as the cat forces a little bit with its claws.

If my cat is not interested in the scratching post, what can I do?

Some cats remain very attached to their good old sofa to make their claws, despite the presence of a scratching post or cat tree. Fortunately, there are simple techniques to attract cats to their scratching post.

First of all, place it near the furniture on which it usually does its claws, this will intrigue it even more and will make it interested, if only out of curiosity.

Then, take your cat and delicately rub its paws on the surface of the scratching post or cat tree on which it will have to make its claws. This will have the effect of depositing the pheromone present in its paw pads on it, which will attract it more.

Finally, if all this has not attracted him enough to make his claws, there are two techniques: the first is to soak a handkerchief with a little olive oil to rub the scratch; cats who love the smell of olives should be strongly attracted to the scratch. As a second option, you can sprinkle the scratching post with a little bit of catnip (available in most garden centers and pet stores), a very attractive and exciting plant for cats.

How to feed an unweaned kitten? What is the ideal diet?

Even though feeding an unweaned kitten may seem fun or cute, it is a difficult and rigorous act that should not be taken lightly, and should only be practiced when the mother cannot or will not take care of him, which sometimes happens for various reasons.

First of all, it is important to define what an unweaned kitten is: it is a kitten, which is not yet independent, which will still need its mother to provide for its primary needs and thus survive. Let's find out how to deal with a kitten left alone, unable to fend for itself.

When should we feed an unweaned kitten?

When a female cat gives birth under normal conditions, she instinctively takes care of all her kittens, which will therefore not need human intervention. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which a kitten of the litter, or even some or all of the litter, do not receive the care of their mother; the reasons can be various :
  • the death of the mother: naturally, it is extremely sad, but it can happen. Whether it is because the mother is too weak at the time of giving birth, which requires too much effort from her to the point that she succumbs, or there is an accident during the birth, the mother may unfortunately die and the whole litter will be left to herself. In other words, without human intervention, she will have no chance of survival.
  • abandonment of the kittens by the mother: most often, this happens because the mother's state of health does not allow her to breastfeed them, otherwise her maternal instinct would take over. Here, it is her survival instinct that prevails, pushing her to abandon her kittens to their fate, to protect her own life. It will then be up to man to take over, to give these babies a chance of survival.
  • a too large litter: a female cat usually gives birth to a litter of between four and six kittens, this number can go up to nine without danger. Beyond that, the litter is often too large for the mother to take care of all of them, and especially all of them breastfeeding. She will unfortunately have to "make a choice" and leave the weakest one or ones, to preserve the life of those most likely to survive. This may seem cruel, but in reality it is only a natural reflex. As a master, you will have to be careful when breastfeeding if one or more of the kittens are put aside by the mother, in the case of too many kittens.
  • one or more individuals too weak: this is again a natural reflex of the mother, which may seem very cruel to us, but in nature, for most mammals, if a mother feels that one or more of her kittens is too weak to survive, she will prefer to leave him or them aside, as if he or they were already doomed. In this way, she will devote more time to the survival of the young that she feels are stronger. Again as a master, it will be necessary to observe if some kittens are put aside during the nursing. If this is the case, they will have to be taken care of.

Feeding an unweaned kitten: how to proceed? With what food?

If you have to take care of an unweaned kitten, you will have to make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible, especially if he is the only one who has been put aside, because he could well have a genetic or other anomaly, which pushed the mother to part with him. The veterinarian will proceed, if necessary, with examinations to try to find out what is wrong with the kitten, and he will advise you on how to proceed with the kitten, especially with regards to food.

Once back home (or even before going to the veterinarian if you have time), it will be necessary to install a "nest" for the abandoned kitten(s). Therefore, prefer a plastic box with edges high enough so that they can't escape, of which you will cover the bottom with towels, which will have to be changed very regularly (the kittens at this age are obviously not yet clean).

It will also be necessary to take care of the heat, since newborns do not yet have the ability to move around, or even shake to increase their body temperature. The box they use as a nest must therefore be stored near a radiator, so that it reaches about 30°C. If the little one is alone, the addition of bottles filled with hot water wrapped in towels can also help to maintain an adequate temperature, since it will not be able to snuggle up against its siblings as it would under normal conditions. However, the water in the bottles will need to be changed regularly to maintain the right temperature.

Colostrum: an essential substance for the kitten's survival

During the first feedings of the cubs and up to 48 hours after giving birth, the mother transmits colostrum to her cubs. This substance is vital for their survival, since if their immune system is functional, it remains immature and therefore ineffective. Therefore, by drinking colostrum, the kitten absorbs its mother's antibodies, which protect it from germs potentially present in its environment.

When the kitten does not have access to this maternal colostrum, he becomes extremely vulnerable to all diseases. It will be necessary to contact a veterinarian very quickly (within 15 hours after birth at the most), so that he can inject him with an artificial colostrum, allowing him to be protected from his environment.

The kitten's diet: the choice of milk

The first reflex that a human could have to feed a kitten is to give it cow's milk. However, this is a mistake, since this milk, which is basically intended for animals much larger than the kitten (in this case the calf), will not be adapted at all. This milk contains far too much casein and lactose, which will cause digestion difficulties for the kitten, in addition to not giving him enough energy.

Therefore, you will have to discuss this with your veterinarian, who will most often prescribe a powdered kitten's milk, which will have to be diluted with water. This milk can be found at some veterinarians, pharmacies or pet stores. You will have to read the instructions carefully in order to scrupulously follow the indicated doses to be diluted in water.

Finally, there is a "homemade recipe" to make milk for a kitten: it consists in adding egg yolk and fresh cream 12% fat to cow's milk, but this solution must remain temporary, only until you see the veterinarian or get the adapted breast milk.

The right way to feed a kitten

Of course, before the age of three weeks, the kitten cannot yet lap the milk, so it will have to be given a bottle. Most of the time, it is present in the powdered milk box. Otherwise, you can find suitable models for kittens in pharmacies or at a veterinarian.

The milk should also be warmed up to a temperature of about 38.5°C. Above this temperature, the milk would burn the kitten's digestive system, and below it, it would cause hypothermia in the kitten.

Finally, the kitten will have to be fed a very large number of times a day, a number that will decrease as he grows, while adapting the quantity according to the indications on the milk box:
  • 8 meals a day for the first week,
  • 6 meals a day the second week,
  • 5 meals per day in the third week,
  • 4 meals a day in the fourth week,
  • 3 or 4 meals a day until weaning.
From the fourth week on, you can start adding kitten kibbles to the milk to gradually accustom your kitten to solid food. From two months of age, the milk can be stopped and switched exclusively to kitten kibbles.

The Serengeti, a wild looking cat

Even if it is recent and in development, the Serengeti seduces by its wild looks. Its mottled dress reminds us of the Serval, to whom it looks very much like. Sociable, this cat is also very energetic. A real tornado!

Picture Credit: Animal Photography

Characteristics of the Serengeti

With a strong, muscular and robust body, the Serengeti is a medium sized cat. He is between 30 and 35cm with a weight between 5 and 7kg for males and between 4.5 and 6kg for females. Graceful and well built, the Serengeti resembles the Serval even if the latter was not used for the creation of the breed. It is a tall cat on legs that are long and strong. Of medium size, the paws are round. At first glance, the head is small compared to the body. It is triangular in shape and does not reveal any specific curve. The wild look of the cat being very important, the nose must show a certain thickness and have a brick color with a black halo.

The gold to amber eyes are round and large. The standard can also accept green. The conical shaped ears are also large. They must absolutely be close on the head. The hair is short. The fur remains thick and soft. The tabby coat displays a beige or light gray with dark brown or black spots. Only the spotted tabby coat is tolerated by the standard.

History of the Serengeti breed

The Serengeti is a recent breed born under the initiative of Karen Sausman, a curator and biologist. She wanted to create a cat with the Serval look. Her research started in 1990. To obtain the breed, a cross between a Bengal and an Oriental cat was made. Even if the breeding program is still in the development phase, it is already possible to find the breed in Australia and Europe. The population remains nevertheless very low. The Serengeti can participate in shows, as it is recognized as a new breed by the LOOF (Official Book of Feline Origins). The recognition by the TICA (The International Cat Association) was made in 2001.

Necessary living conditions and behavior of the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a real ball of energy ready to run and cavort around the house. It is described as an affectionate animal that needs the company of its owners. They are also sociable and get along with other animals and strangers. Agility and speed are other traits that are specific to him. In addition, the Serengeti is said to be an outstanding hunter. In the hunting position, he starts to make a cry halfway between a sigh and a growl. He would also tend to meow a lot. Fortunately, there is no exaggeration in his vocalizations.

Diet and main health problems in Serengeti

The Serengeti is capable of living between 10 and 12 years. Since the breed is recent, there is still very little data on its health. However, as with all cats, it needs a healthy and balanced diet to avoid possible diseases.

Understanding cat shedding, can we limit hair loss in cats?

Every cat owner knows this terrible scourge that is the loss of hair that clings to our carpets, rugs and fabrics. These hairs are even more abundant, of course, during moulting periods. So what exactly is it all about? Can we limit the cat's hair loss during this moulting period? Here are all the answers to these questions.

What is the moulting period?

It is well known that cats shed their hair throughout the year. But there are periods, more precisely two annual periods, during which the shedding of our feline friends' hair becomes hell: the moulting period, which is nothing more than the adaptation of the cat's fur to the ambient temperature, in order to adapt to the climate. Thus, in winter, the cat's fur will be denser and therefore warmer, while in summer, its fur will be lighter and more airy.

It is also interesting to know that house cats are less affected by moulting than cats that can go freely outside, the former being less concerned by temperature changes than the latter.

Physiologically, just like the breeding periods, moulting periods are influenced by daylight. The shorter the days get, the more the cat will "put on his winter coat", and conversely, the longer the days get, the lighter his coat will be for summer.

However, be careful not to confuse moulting period and skin disease. The loss of hair during a moulting period is done in a uniform way. The cat must not have any holes in his coat, not even scabs or pimples. If this is the case, it is obviously necessary to consult a veterinarian.

Can we limit the cat's hair loss during moulting?

We cannot prevent a cat's hair from falling out, even though it could be tempting. However, there are a few techniques that can be used to limit hair loss.

Brushing the cat's coat

Brushing your cat daily is recommended, during the moulting period or not, for your cat's well-being. In fact, it stimulates the skin and hair to make them healthier; in addition to removing dead hair, brushing offers a very pleasant massage to your little protégé. This will be all the more advisable during the moulting period since the cat, by changing fur, will produce more dead hair that will end up on your carpet.

There are also special brushes, or rather combs, called Furminator, which are extremely effective in removing all dead cat hair. There are brushes for short hair as well as long hair.

The cat's diet

A good diet obviously has a great influence on the cat's coat. Indeed, good quality kibbles will make the coat of our feline friends softer, shiny and silky, and will also make their roots more resistant, thus holding back hair loss, unlike poor quality food, which will not bring anything good to a cat's coat, or even make it greasy and dull.

Finally, it is important to know that for cats with recurring skin or hair problems, salmon-based foods (whether kibbles or patties) will be very beneficial to them. In fact, these foods contain salmon oil, which provides many benefits to the cat, especially for its skin and hair.

Regular maintenance of the cat's skin and hair

Healthy skin and hair in a cat will make the hairs more tenacious during moulting periods, thus limiting dead hairs, and thus their shedding.

It will therefore be important to regularly treat your cat against parasites, as well as to check its skin. If you notice the presence of pimples, scabs, bleeding or holes in the coat, you will have to take the cat to the veterinarian to check its good health.

My cat is scratching the furniture, how do I fix it?

It is never pleasant to find your cat's brand new furniture damaged in just a few days by the sharp claws of our four-legged friends. Fortunately, there are techniques to prevent a cat from ransacking the couch and other furniture in the house.

Why does a cat do its claws?

Before knowing the different techniques to prevent a cat from clawing where you don't want it to, it is important to first understand why a cat acts in such an impulsive way.

First of all, a cat does its claws to satisfy a very basic need: to maintain them. Indeed, cats' claws grow continuously, and if today many owners have their little protégé's claws cut or cut them themselves, it is not a reflex for our feline friends to wait for their owners to cut them. They will therefore quite naturally cut their claws on the furniture of the house, if they cannot find a tree to satisfy their needs.

To make its claws for a cat, in addition to trimming them, is also a way to mark its territory. The cat then deposits pheromones on its paw pads where it acts, as if to signal to potential fellow cats "this is my home". Even a house cat living alone will keep this natural reflex.

The different techniques to prevent a cat from scratching on furniture

The scratching post or cat tree

The best known way to prevent a cat from scratching on furniture is most certainly to place a scratching post or cat tree in its living space.

These objects certainly take up a little bit of space, but are indispensable for a cat living in an apartment. They offer, for the simplest scratching posts, a post surrounded by rope whose material makes the cat want to make its claws on it.

The more elaborate models are called cat trees. They are generally larger and, depending on the model, have games, hiding places or comfortable baskets to allow the cat to take a nap in a comfortable place, which is very convenient since a cat claws most of the time when it wakes up. He will therefore find something to satisfy his needs close by when he wakes up, thus cutting off the urge to go and mangle your couch for breakfast.

To attract the cat to his scratching post or cat tree, if he refuses to use it, it is possible to rub the posts with either catnip or rosemary oil.

These cat scratching posts or cat trees are available in most pet stores, in some department stores, as well as in some do-it-yourself stores.


Repellents are also well known ways to make a cat want to claw in a specific place, and even to approach the place in question, since the principle of a repellent is to diffuse a scent that strongly displeases the cat.

There are chemical repellents, but there are also natural repellents such as citrus extracts (lemon, lemongrass, orange peel), pepper, mustard or white vinegar, which work very well to keep the cat away.

Be careful however not to abuse them and spread them all over your home, your cat should not feel uncomfortable at home, it would give him a lot of stress for nothing. Therefore, be very careful not to spread the repellent, whether natural or not, only in the areas you want to protect from your cat's claws.

Aluminium foil

This method is rather unknown, but is still effective. It is simply a matter of covering the surfaces on which your cat's claws are made with aluminum foil. Indeed, our feline friends do not appreciate the material or the noise that this paper makes: it will repress their destructive desires.

If you use this method, it will still be important to provide a scratching post or a cat tree for the animal to do its claws anyway: let's not forget that in addition to being a natural reflex, it is also a need.

Beware, this method has two major flaws: not only does the decoration quickly become very "futuristic", but it also wastes aluminum, which is little recycled and whose production process has serious environmental impacts. This method is mainly used to protect very specific and discreet surfaces in your living space, when you have no other choice.

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