Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Grooming Seniors - Cat Edition

If you are a cat owner then you know most of the time you see your baby licking himself and cleaning himself. Its true, most cats are cleanliness freak and spend up to 50 percent of their awake time indulging in some form of cat grooming.

What we should know is cats licking themselves is actually good for their skin. It maintains healthy skin by stimulating the production of sebum, an oily secretion produced by sebaceous glands at the base of each hair. Licking spreads sebum over the hair coat to lubricate and waterproof the fur and make it shine. It also removes loose hair and prevents mats, and removes dirt and parasites like fleas.

But when your kitty is old they reduce this, older kitties with arthritis may be unable to lick themselves enough to stay clean.

Before we get to how to groom an older cat, lets get a basic idea of how cats groom themselves in general.

Every cat has their own grooming ritual, but most begin with the licking of the mouth, chin, and whiskers first. That's followed by each shoulder and foreleg. Then they wash both flanks and hind legs, the genitals, and then their tail from tip to stern.

But older kitties would not be able to do this themselves, leaading to ba odor, matts on the fur and skin innfections,

So thats where we come in.

Here are a couple of tips to groom a senior cat :

  • Pick a comfortable place where you feel your kitty will be comfortable, their favourite place in the house, Place a soft cloth or matt under them before you start the grooming.
  • Try to keep your kitty calm by cuddling him or giving him lot of soft rubs in their favorite spots, just to keep your him/her comfortable.

Once you feel your kitty is comfortable, you can start the grooming process.

  • You can start slowly brushing your kitty to remove any tangles, matts etc., make sure you use the proper brush depending on your kitties coat. If you have any doubts you can drop by here at PetStepin' and ask our groomer in choosing a right brush for your kitty. 
          Make sure you brush your kitty from head to toe running your hands across his/her coat. If you            find any matts your are not able to remove which are too hard, then you can bring your kitty to            PetStepin' and our professional groomer will take care of it by removing with proper grooming            equipments.

Do this daily to prevent heavy matts, and maintain healthy coat for your senior kitty. If you are planning to give a bath to your kitty, you can do the bruhing after a complete bath and dry.

Now if  you want to give your kitty a bath you can follow the below steps to make it a little easier.

Most cats do not like getting wet and you will need to work fast when bathing your cat.
  • Always use luke warm water.You can use your washrooms bath tub or a bucket. Only fill the tub or bin with enough water to cover your cat to its belly. 
  • Try to keep your kitty as calm as possible as you slowly wet your cats coat,  make sure you avoid sensitive places like the head, so as to not freak out your kitty.
  • Once your cat is wet, use a cat shampoo on your kitties coat. Gently rub the shampoo into your cat’s fur. Be careful when lathering around your cat’s ears, eyes, and mouth. 
  • Once that is completed you can rinse your kitty off completely, making sure there is no shampoo anywhere.
  • Then make sure to completely dry off your kitty with a towel or a soft cloth or you can use a hair dryer if your kitty is comfortable.
  • You can also clean your kitties ear with a cotton in order to clear any dirt to prevent ear infections.
  • It is also advisable to clip your kitties nails once a month. You can always get professional help with this, as it is not advisable to cut the nails if you are not sure of how to clip.

If you need any help or any queries you can always contact us here at PetStepin' and our certified pet stylist will be able to help you out.

PetStepin' Team

Monday, 7 January 2019

Can Cats Be Trained ?

Do you follow "Americas Got Talent", if yes, then you would have seen the act where these fluffy little cats come on stage and start doing tricks.

You havent seen it?

Then you can google it, or you can search on YouTube, all you have to do is search "Cats on AGT" and then you get the video, apparently its trending because people are in awe that cats can do tricks and learn just like dogs ....

If you are a cat parent and you are watching this video along with your kitty and wondering the same question everybody in the world is wondering...can my cat also do this?

Well there is no correct answer to your question....

If you ask some animal trainers, their answer will go something like "If training your cat to sit, stay and heel and do tricks is your goal, perhaps you should get a dog. " 

But what about the cats doing tricks on that show?

Well thats a good question, well we dont have any sure fireways to teach your cat to be the next big thing on the Internet, but we an give you a couple of pointers,

Lets break it down, in order to teach something to a cat or in order to train your cats, you will first need to know how cats learn,

They don't understand english, they can't read books or attend lectures. They learn by experience. If the experience is good, they will try to repeat it. If the experience is unpleasant, your cat will try to avoid it in the future. Cats enjoy raking the furniture with their claws, so they continue to do it. But it's quite a shock when they stick their nose in a candle flame, so they won't do that again.

The key to training a cat and understanding cat behavior is to make sure that whatever you want your cat to do is exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable. Whatever you don't want your cat to indulge in must never be rewarding or fun, in fact, it must be unpleasant.

So lets see a couple of ways you can do that,

1)Stop all reprimands and punishment.

Concentrate on making your relationship fun, rewarding, playful and interesting. Sometimes this change alone will solve your cat training problems. Cats are known to become overly active and destructive when bored. Daily play sessions and relaxing massages help your cat calm down. Cats that feel neglected will often stop using their litter box. If you schedule regular sessions to give your cat undivided attention and to play games with him, even litter box problems can disappear almost overnight.

2)Set up your cat to succeed.

In performing those behaviors you want him/her to learn so she can be rewarded. The most effective method of cat training is through rewards. This will give you the opportunity to reward and praise him/her for good behavior.

3)Set up the cat's environment.

Let's take a look at furniture scratching as an example. While making your cat's scratching post fun, rewarding and exciting, the training process also requires you to make the furniture unattractive as a clawing item. Instead of you telling the cat to avoid the furniture, let the furniture itself tell the cat to stay away. It's up to you to find something your cat does not like.

Maybe you are into training your cat to jump through a hoop, maybe you just want him to stop climbing the drapes. Whatever the case, remember that cats learn best through the use of rewards, praise and positive reinforcement.

Follow us on our social media pages to stay updated on our latest posts or articles on our blog.

PetStepin' Team

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Winter is coming !!!

Yes, the winter is coming, that needs to remind us of some chilling facts about the dangers that cold winter weather can pose for our pets! Flu, hypothermia and even death are real dangers to your dog . Most dogs’ coats are more like our hair – if you need to wear a hat to stay warm, your dog coat may need some help too! Double-coated dogs like Huskies or Saint Bernards are exceptions, but even thick coated dogs vary in how much cold they can withstand. It depends not only on the temperature, wetness, wind, how long they are in the cold, but how much food they’ve had to keep warm while they are out for their walks or playing outside. Other factors also affect how long your dog can stay out with you safely – including how much muscle, fat and fur your dog has protecting them, and how much energy they have to burn to keep themselves warm. Just like people, many young dogs enjoy playing, walking or running in the cold with us for hours. So how do you know how much cold is safe – and comfortable – for your dog?

Always play it safe, and each year when winter comes, reassess your dog’s tolerance, which will go down as they get older. Keep a close eye on your dog while they are outside with you to watch for these two deadly signs…

1) Flu

When your dog is exposed to temperatures below the normal degrees for too long, flu can set in. What you have to notice for is if a dog has a flu they will start to develop a cough that is typically moist and can have nasal discharge. Sometimes it will be more of a dry cough, In most cases the symptoms can last for few days but during winter it can last longer. If the symptoms persist and your doggy develops a high fever, red eyes,excessive coughing or sneezing then contact your local vet immediately.

2) Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the dog’s body temperature goes below normal as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, is another very real danger during the cold winter months. Symptoms of hypothermia typically include shivering, lethargy, a low heart rate, slow breathing and unresponsiveness. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately bring your dog inside your warm house or room-temperature car and contact your veterinarian.

Side Note : A dog’s internal system works extra hard in the cold to maintain appropriate body temperatures. As such,your dog needs extra fuel to burn and generate heat. Also, remember to provide plenty of fresh drinking water. It is just as easy to get dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer if proper amounts of water are not consumed.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh.

No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk during extreme cold snaps.

For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.

A cats winter guide :

For many, it seems this winter is never going to end. While many cats are pleased to stay indoors, let’s not forget about our more adventurous kitties who either stay outdoors or try to sneak out as soon as the door is opened. Keep your kitties safe this winter with these five tips:

1) Bring your kitty inside :

If you’re left shivering and shaking from a quick stroll outside, it’s likely too cold for your kitty too. Although they may be used to spending their days in the great outdoors, and as much as they may seem like they want to stay outside, their health and safety are more important.

2) Make warm and cozy places indoors :

Whether you’re using an energy-saving thermostat that lowers the temperature at night, or your windows just aren’t as insulated as you’d like, it can still get pretty chilly when you’re inside your home during the winter. Make sure Kitty has plenty of warm and cozy places to curl up inside your home – this is a great bribe for those kitties that may be reluctant to come inside. A cat bed or blanket will do the trick…although we all know she’ll probably end up sleeping in your bed, anyway.

3)Bang on the hood of your car before driving :
Outdoor cats often seek shelter from the cold under cars. Before you get in your car, don’t forget to knock on the hood to scare away hiding kitties, and do a quick peek below to make sure they’ve left.

4) Build an outdoor shelter

Outdoor cats may struggle to keep warm and find food in the winter. An outdoor cat shelter can help keep your outdoor cat (and neighborhood strays) protected and warm.

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It's easy to give them a hand.

Watch Out

(Cars are one of many hazards to small animals—warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.)

Now that we have a basic understanding to safeguard our dogs & cats how about other pets like guinea pigs, hamsters or rabbits ?

Here are a couple of tips for people with these pets :

Guinea pigs/Hamsters/Rabbits winter guide:

1) Keeping your pets hutches warm in winter is very important, hutches should be positioned so that wind, rain, snow or sleet can’t blow in. If the weather’s particularly bad, move the hutch into an unused garage or shed if it’s possible. For guinea pigs, it’s better to keep them inside in winter, in a conservatory or unused garage.

2) If your pet needs to stay outside, help keep them snug as a bug in their hutch by covering the front with an old blanket or sacking and adding extra bedding. Don’t forget you need to change their bedding regularly.

3) Check their water bottle regularly. Press the ball every few hours to keep it moving – you can get specially made bottle covers but you’ll still need to do regular checks.

4)Your pet still needs to have access to their run during the day so they can get their regular exercise.

5) Guinea pigs/Rabbits need more calories to keep warm so give them lots of good quality hay to nibble on.

Winter months can be just as hazardous to your pet's health as the summer months. But by taking the right precautions and using good old common sense, you can help protect your pets from the dangers that can accompany the harsh winter climate.