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Adopting an adult cat: tips and best practices

Unlike a kitten who has only known his mother and who has everything to learn, an adult cat has a life experience that must be taken into account when preparing his arrival. Explanations and advice.

Adopting an adult cat: advantages

Attracted by their cute faces, many adopters turn to a kitten or a young cat. However, adopting an adult cat has the advantage of being more relaxing because the feline is less turbulent and its daily life is already punctuated by phases of rest, meals and play. His character is forged, so you will know right away if he is calm, active, cuddly, fearful... The only possible disadvantage is his past (mistreated, lost...) that you do not always know and that can make his adaptation longer than that of a kitten. But rescuing an adult is a source of unparalleled happiness.

Choosing an adult cat in a shelter

It's a great initiative to offer a second chance to an adult cat. When you visit the cattery, trust your instincts and if your attention is drawn to a resident, see how he reacts: Does he approach you easily? Does it let you pet it? His behavior gives clues about his character. To confirm your choice, ask the shelter's staff to tell you if the animal can adapt to your lifestyle: the presence of young children, a garden, other animals... Depending on the reasons for the abandonment (moving, death of the owner...), you can obtain information on the animal's background (age, health, understanding, habits)... By combining your desires with the staff's advice, you will meet the animal that suits you.

Preparing for the arrival of an adult cat

To help the hairball acclimatize, you'll need to provide it with a space conducive to its well-being. The cat is indeed a territorial animal whose domain is generally divided into four zones with distinct functions:
  • Play. The choice of the living room - where the family often gathers - is ideal to install its toys: balls, mice, scratching post, cat tree, corks or other bits of string;
  • Meals. Provide bowls for fresh water and food that are easy to clean. Put them on the kitchen floor or at a height accessible to the animal;
  • Natural needs. A regularly cleaned litter box should be placed in a quiet (away from traffic and noise) and well-ventilated area, such as a balcony or bathroom;
  • Sleep. Even if cats sleep wherever they want, choose a strategic and cozy place (near a radiator, for example), without any passage or draught, to set up his basket.

Provide other basic accessories

In addition to the equipment mentioned above, you will need additional accessories such as
  • A transport box for travel;
  • Toys to develop its physical and mental capacities;
  • Litter and a scoop;
  • A blanket to protect your couch or bed from its hair;
  • Hygiene products (nail clippers, brushes or grooming gloves, shampoos);
  • Possibly soothing pheromones or essential oil blends that will make it easier for her to adapt to her new home.

Let the adult cat acclimatize

When you arrive home, open the carrier and let the cat grow naturally, at its own pace. Respect its behavior and don't force it to do anything; it will come out when it feels ready. Little by little, it will start to find its feet by exploring every corner. With a soft voice, indicate to him the zones which are reserved to him: basket, litter box, bowls, toys... When he will have discovered his territory, let him come to you. Do not hesitate to caress him. If he is afraid, let him hide in the place of his choice, he will eventually come out to eat or go to his litter box. Be patient, play with him when he wants to and let him sleep when he wants to. If you have a yard, don't give him access to it. When he gets used to the inside (allow a month), you can allow him to go outside. For the food, ask the shelter to plan a gradual transition with the food you have chosen for him.

Introducing the new cat to a fellow cat

If you already have a cat, it will naturally have the status of leader and may consider the newcomer as a threat (for its resources: food, cuddles, games ...). Don't panic if they growl, spit or paw at each other. Try to intervene as little as possible and do not take sides with the second cat. If things get really heated, it's best to isolate the newcomer in a room of the house, surrounding him with all his accessories (bowls, games, basket, litter box). This will allow the two felines to get to know each other through the door. When you feel they are ready to live together, bring them together. It may take days or even weeks for them to get used to each other. If they don't play together, it doesn't matter, the important thing is that they agree to live under the same roof, even if they don't care.

Antioxidant requirements in the cat's diet

The cat is a strict carnivore and its feeding behavior is different from that of the dog. This is why, when you have a cat and a dog, you should not make the mistake of feeding them in the same way or at the same frequency. The cat absolutely needs proteins but not only, and to eat little at a time but over a period of 24 hours, it must be able to make up to 15 or 20 small meals. It remains to know how to balance his diet so that his daily ration perfectly meets his needs. This is the key to keeping him healthy. To do this, the kitty must receive essential nutrients, including antioxidants. What are they used for and which cat foods are rich in antioxidants? Let's find out.

What is the role of antioxidants?

The term antioxidant means "one that slows or reverses the process of oxidation". Among the antioxidants present in cat food, we find :
  • Carotenoids such as:
    • Beta-carotene,
    • Lycopene,
    • Lutein.
  • Vitamin A,
  • Vitamin C,
  • Vitamin E,
  • Polyphenols, including dicaféylquinic acid or cynarine, which is extracted from artichoke leaves.
Antioxidants are molecules that interact with free radicals in the body. Their role is fundamental to :
  • Fight against oxidative stress responsible for cellular aging,
  • Stabilize free radicals,
  • To slow down the process of peroxidation which, if it is too important, damages the healthy cells,
  • Participate in the maintenance of an efficient immune system.
Giving antioxidant food to your cat helps his body to limit the impact of free radicals, which are largely involved in the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases. This is a serious topic that should be of interest to all cat owners.

A diet rich in antioxidants for the good health of your cat

When a small cat's diet meets its antioxidant needs, the animal is less exposed to the risk of infection and cellular damage due to aging is delayed. But for the best long-term results, it is essential that the cat receive all the necessary antioxidants, not just one, through a perfectly balanced diet of high quality. Indeed, the antioxidant balance helps prevent cell damage.

We can therefore include in the cat's home diet foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as
  • Lettuce,
  • Pumpkin,
  • carrots,
  • Blueberries,
  • Cranberry,
  • blueberries...
It should be noted, however, that for a cat, vegetables should not constitute more than 15% of its daily ration and fruits 5%.

Finally, a cat can and should eat cereals such as corn, which is rich in antioxidants. Contrary to popular belief, cats are quite capable of digesting the starch in cereals very well. For a perfect digestibility, it is highly recommended to buy cat food containing a balanced rate of corn for example from a manufacturer using the extrusion cooking method.

The method of manufacture is important for all foods given to a cat, as it can degrade the antioxidants, which are very sensitive to heat, but can also be oxidized by light or oxygen. This is why it is important to pay attention to the choice of industrial food that you buy for your little friend. Ideally, you should contact your veterinarian to get all the dietary advice you can and ask him or her about the best food products for cats.

Dermatitis in cats: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Sometimes called eczema, dermatitis is a skin inflammation that causes severe itching in cats. If left untreated, the animal will scratch a lot, which exposes it to the risk of superinfection. But in some cases, the cat may suffer from asthma attacks in connection with allergic dermatitis. Spotlight on this dermatological disorder.

Dermatitis in cats: causes and symptoms

This condition of the superficial layers of the skin can be caused by :
  • An allergy to flea bites: we speak of DAPP (Allergic Dermatitis to Flea Bites) which manifests itself rather in autumn.
  • A contact allergy (plastic, nickel, etc.),
  • A food allergy: fish, beef, chicken and dairy products are the main foods that can cause allergic dermatitis in cats,
  • Ringworm,
  • Parasitic dermatosis,
  • An autoimmune dermatosis,
  • An allergy to a medication,
  • Hormonal imbalance.
Cats with miliary dermatitis develop skin lesions such as crusts or papules, usually in very localized areas. The signs appear mainly around the mouth, on the paws or on the back, but may also appear on the neck. The cat frequently licks itself to relieve the itching and even pulls out its own hair from biting.

The veterinarian can also identify atopic dermatitis. This is more commonly known as atopic eczema. The cat scratches in an untimely way to the point of inflicting lesions and one can notice hot zones with red spots where the itching is virulent. Vesicles then yellowish crusts appear and finally, a film forms on the lesions. The skin then becomes very dry, and at any time in the case of chronic atopic dermatitis, the itching reappears.

Be careful, itching accompanied by oozing patches may be due to an eosinophilic granuloma. This is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by an external cause, such as the cat's infestation by a parasite.

Feline dermatitis: diagnosis and treatment

Identifying the cause of dermatitis in cats is not easy, especially if the origin is a food allergy, because the reliability of the tests is not 100% guaranteed. The veterinarian therefore sets up an eviction diet with the animal's owner. This consists of eliminating one food at a time to check whether or not the symptoms of dermatitis continue to appear. This diet should be followed for at least one month.

In general, to identify the cause of a dermatitis, it is necessary to proceed by elimination but a blood test may be necessary to check the immunoglobulin level, especially when atopy is suspected.

A treatment is in any case essential to heal the lesions and then to relieve the itching. An antiparasitic is prescribed when necessary.

To prevent dermatitis, it is very important to fight against any parasitic infestation. Deworming, flea control products, regular cleaning of the cat's environment, treatment of all pets that may contaminate each other, are all precautions to be taken. If the allergy is to food, it is necessary to be patient because with an eviction diet, one does not obtain convincing results quickly. And when you have to reintroduce the evicted food, it is very important to keep a close eye on your cat in order to react as soon as possible if the symptoms of dermatitis reappear.

Loss of milk teeth in kittens: everything you need to know

Just like humans, the cat's first teeth will not be permanent, they are called milk teeth. Indeed, these teeth will be replaced during the kitten's growth by teeth more adapted to its needs, these are the permanent teeth.

But how does the loss of milk teeth in a cat occur? Should we worry about it? Should we intervene? All the answers to these questions can be found in this article.

The appearance of the milk teeth in the kitten

Before talking about the fall of milk teeth in kittens, let's first talk about their appearance. Just like humans, kittens are born without teeth. Until he is about two months old, he only feeds on the milk provided by his mother, and this by sucking. He does not need teeth at this age.

However, the first milk teeth will appear from the second or third week. Even if they are not yet useful for eating, they will be used to learn to hunt by playing with his brothers and sisters, among other things by biting them.

Also, until about three months of age, the kitten's jaw is not yet developed enough to accommodate permanent teeth, which are larger than the baby teeth.

Loss of baby teeth in kittens

By the third month of life, the kitten's jaw is large enough to accommodate permanent teeth. They will then start to grow, loosening the baby teeth as they come in (except for the molars, which are permanent from the start), a process that will last until the kitten is about six months old.

The incisors will first take their place during the third and fourth months. They will then be followed by the canines, which will gradually emerge from the gums between the fourth and fifth months, and finally, the premolars will come in between the fourth and sixth months. At this point, the kitten will have 30 permanent teeth that will serve her throughout her life.

Between the kitten's third and sixth months, it is not unusual to find a baby tooth on the floor. It is not essential to keep it, you can throw it away, or if you wish, keep it as a souvenir.

The kitten's behavior during the loss of its milk teeth

Just like for human babies, the loss of milk teeth, and especially the growth of his permanent teeth, is a real ordeal for the kitten, since it can cause him more or less strong pains (but nothing insurmountable, rest assured).

His behavior may be slightly disturbed during this period, we can then observe him doing unusual things. It will be possible to see him drooling or bleeding slightly from the mouth, and he will be much more irritable because of his pain.

In addition, he may have trouble eating and, like teething babies, will have a compulsive need to chew. So don't hesitate to provide him with all sorts of toys that he can put in his mouth to relieve himself.

Finally, some cats may try to pull out a tooth with their paw, but it usually doesn't work. In any case: don't worry, it's not dangerous for him.

What to do when your cat loses his baby teeth

First of all, there's no need to panic. It's a completely natural stage in a cat's life. You'll just have to be more careful with his jaw than usual, such as not pulling on a toy in his mouth.

If you can, feed your cat food, which he can chew much more easily than kibble. If you can't replace the kibble, then wet it to make it softer.

Also, respect his moods. Try to soothe him when you can by cuddling and petting him, but avoid forcing him when he's in a foul mood.

Finally, avoid cleaning your kitten's fangs during this time, so she doesn't associate brushing her teeth with pain. This may make it harder for her to accept it in her future life, if she ever does.

The vegetable litter: which advantages for the cat?

More and more cat owners are adopting vegetable litter because it is more ecological than mineral litter. But it's important that the kitty also likes it so that it continues to use its toilet house because the little feline is very demanding. Let's take a look at the particularities of vegetable litter, also known as natural litter, its different variations and those that offer real advantages for cats.

Characteristics of the vegetable litter

Contrary to mineral litter, the vegetable form is elaborated only from vegetable components. Its specificities are the following:
  • 100% natural litter, since it contains no chemicals,
  • Ecological,
  • Biodegradable,
  • Can be integrated into compost,
  • Lightweight,
  • Gives off little or no dust depending on its component,
  • Does not contain any product that could be toxic or allergenic.
It should be noted that some vegetable litters are a little more expensive to buy than mineral litters. However, it is possible to get by if you choose a highly absorbent component that allows you to change the litter less frequently.

Also note that some natural litters can be disposed of in the toilet: this is always indicated on the bag and can be useful when you don't have a garden.

The different types of vegetable litter

There is a wide choice in this area, but some varieties are more suitable for cats than others. A vegetable litter can be composed of :
  • Of cassava: it is not found in all pet shops but it deserves to be tested. Its fibers are rich in starch so it is very absorbent, which cats appreciate, especially since it does not let odors escape.
  • Flax: its advantage lies mainly in its absorbency, which allows the cat not to wade in its urine. On the other hand, linen does not retain odors at all. This can deter some cats.
  • Wood:
    • Either in pellets: these are made from sawdust. The pellets do not stick to the pads because they are quite compact.
    • Or in shavings: wood fibers stick easily to the paws, which the cat does not always appreciate, and it is not very pleasant for its owners to have to clean the floor each time their pet leaves its box.
  • Barley (organic fibers): less common than other vegetable litters, it seems to be appreciated by even very delicate cats because it absorbs odors well.
  • Hemp: this component is ultra-absorbent and does not give off dust, two advantages for the cat. Hemp is perfectly suitable for asthmatic animals.
  • Recycled paper: this is the preferred vegetable litter for cats with all kinds of respiratory problems, since it emits no dust.
  • Corn cob: its main advantage for the cat is that it does not stick to the paws.
  • Straw: rather used for rodents raised in cages, straw is only appreciated by some cats. It has no particular disadvantage for small felines.
This list is not exhaustive. You should therefore take the time to discover all the natural litters available in your favorite store, and in case of hesitation, ask your veterinarian for advice.

How do I know if my cat likes a natural litter?

You can buy a natural litter and find out that your cat is running away from the litter box, even though the component is supposed to be well appreciated by small felines. Cats are sensitive to the smallest detail and if they don't like their litter box, they know how to make their master understand. You must therefore be attentive to his behavior.

If he enters his litter box and then turns around and hesitates to relieve himself, it means that something is wrong. If he remains seated in front of his tray or turns around without settling down, and meows insistently, it means that it does not suit him. In this case, you should not hesitate to change the product. On the contrary, a cat that is comfortable in its litter box does not hesitate to settle there, and takes great care to bury its excrement. The product that offers the best benefits to the cat should not stick to the paws, but should also absorb enough odors and not emit dust.

Choosing a litter box is not as easy as you might think, and the pet store aisles don't make it easy, as there are many varieties. It's best to choose a litter that's perfectly suited to your pet so that he'll continue to use his litter box rather than relieve himself in a corner of the house. It is important to know that the animal will not force itself to return to its toilet house if it does not like the litter. In any case, it is in the owner's best interest not to use the wrong product, because his cat uses a little more than 200 kg of litter in one year! You might as well choose an eco-friendly product that is not dangerous for your cat's health...

How do you teach your cat to use the toilet?

There are many things you can teach your cat, even those that are of no use to him, such as to use the toilet of his owners. Some owners are not concerned about the discomfort that this can cause their little friend, but want to save money and get rid of the chore of cleaning the litter box. When you adopt a small feline, the goal is not to turn it into a circus animal. Anyway, let's first try to answer the question asked, but let's also take stock of the dangers linked to the use of the toilet by a cat.

Why do some owners force their cats to use the toilet?

At a time when one aberration follows another, we are no longer surprised by anything, such as seeing the family's toilet replace the cat's litter box. It is a new fashion that seduces more and more masters for the following reasons:
  • To completely remove the toilet house of the cat because it is not very glamorous,
  • To release place in the house,
  • Not to have to undergo any more the bad smells when the cat urinates and defecates in its litter box,
  • To be rid of the chore of cleaning the litter box,
  • No more seeing in the house the grains that the cat scatters after scratching to hide its excrements,
  • Save a lot of money by no longer buying bags of litter,
  • Reduce the pollution generated by the used litter we throw away.
If this annoyance is considerable, the best way to get the cat to stop using the litter box is to open the door or the window when he wants to go outside or, even better, to install a cat flap so that he can relieve himself outside when he wants to.

Why shouldn't you teach your cat to use the toilet?

No cat spontaneously uses its owner's toilet. In order for him to do so, he must be taught to do so, and this is often against his will, at the cost of stress that can have a serious impact on the animal's health. Moreover, this does not correspond to the functioning of the cat which, with its urine, marks its territory. The toilet does not meet the cat's basic needs.

If, in spite of everything, one wishes to push the humanization of his cat to its paroxysm, it is possible to buy for a hundred euros a specific kit. The designers have understood that this type of accessory can be sold very well, and their commercial argument hits the nail on the head with many people who think they are making their kitty a "member of the family". The kit is designed to change your cat's behavior and should, in the long run, make your cat lose the instinct to bury its waste... Touted to eliminate the inconveniences related to litter box maintenance, this kit is well and truly designed in the interest of the owners.

And precisely, pushing your cat to relieve itself in the toilet is disapproved by many animal behavior specialists, who are unanimous about the changes it causes in the nature of the little feline. This act is absolutely not instinctive but moreover the cat is forced to adopt a position qualified as unnatural.

What the masters of this stupid concept ignore is that the cat installed on the toilet bowl adopts a dangerous position, especially since it is on a slippery material. The risks of falls are numerous and it only takes one time for the kitty to be traumatized for life. The consequences are extremely serious as the cat can develop a total aversion to any form of litter. Every episode of urine and/or feces elimination is then disrupted. This leads to urine retention, which multiplies the risk of urinary tract infections and has unavoidable health consequences for the bladder and the kidneys.

Why is it dangerous to humanize your cat?

Already they share their bed with their cat, which is neither hygienic, nor in correlation with the instinctive needs of the kitty, so here are some owners trying to teach their little feline to relieve themselves in the toilet. In addition to the sanitary problems that this entails because the cat can transmit many diseases to humans, the question of respect for the animal arises. We have come to over-humanize our kittens and it is interesting to wonder who benefits from the crime. Not the cat, at least since making him use the toilet is absolutely unnatural and, as we have seen before, dangerous for his mental and physical health.

Of course, you can always obtain some satisfactory results by dint of insistence, but it will always be to the detriment of the little feline. This absolutely useless training tends to generate additional stress in an animal that is already easily distressed. Let's not forget that stress can lead to behavioral problems and psychosomatic diseases. Letting your cat relieve itself outside or providing it with a litter box is more ethical. Welcoming a cat into your home is a commitment to assume its responsibilities and to do everything possible to ensure that it lives happily, but certainly not to make it a human clone.

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