It’s inevitable - if you love four-legged creatures as much as we do, there will come a time when you’ll be faced with the challenge of introducing your current pet to your new pet.

Adding pets of the same species is one thing, but it’s a bit more of a conundrum to introduce cats and dogs.

If you’re planning on introducing your cat to a new dog - or vice versa - follow these steps to make the process as smooth as possible.

Setting Your Pet Up for Success

Before you bring your new (furry) bundle of joy home, make sure you prepare. Start by making sure there’s plenty of space for your cat to get some distance and alone time. Cats are easily stressed out, which can cause all sorts of health problems. So make sure your cat has plenty of opportunities to “get away from it all.”


Since dogs tend to like to sniff, lick, and sometimes “mark” anything within reach, your best bet is to give your cat the advantage of height. Options include adding a cat perch to your home, creating high shelves, or clearing off high tables and window sills for your cat. Another option is to designate one room as a dog-free room that your cat can run to when she needs a break.

It’s best to introduce your dog and cat when your dog is still a puppy. In puppyhood, dogs are more likely to learn that it’s not OK to chase, bite, or pounce on the family cat.

Of course, if you’re adopting a dog who’s already an adult, that’s not exactly an option. In that case, it may take longer for your dog to get the memo that your cat is his roommate, not his plaything, but it’s still possible. Here’s how.

The First Meeting

Give ‘Em Room

When your dog and cat meet for the first time, make sure it’s in a room with plenty of space. Put your dog on a leash, tell him to sit (if you’re still working on this skill, this is a perfect opportunity to reinforce it), and give him a treat. Continue to reward your dog for sitting still, being calm, or ignoring your cat. Any positive, pet-parent-approved behaviors deserve a treat.

Let your cat wander around freely. Be sure not to hold your cat, trap her, or force her to interact with your dog. Your cat will gradually come around to the idea of living with a dog, but the first interaction may be brief while your cat figures out what’s going on.

Some cat breeds are more likely to make friends with canines, while others prefer the company of humans and other cats. Either way, it’s important not to force your cat into the relationship and let her escape when she’s ready to call it quits. Don’t worry - her natural curiosity will have her back in no time.

Body Language

Keep an eye on your pets’ body language. If your dog stiffens, stares at your cat, barks, whines, pulls towards, or attempts to chase your cat, it may indicate that your dog has a strong prey drive (in other words, he likes to chase and catch things he sees as prey). However, if your dog seems more curious and playful, it’s a good sign that your cat and dog will be able to live together in harmony - in time.

You’re The Boss

If your dog tries to lunge at your cat, growls, or snaps, tug firmly on your dog’s leash and say, “No!” in your best booming, parental voice. Your new dog needs to learn that you’re the boss in this household and if you say the fluffy thing with the big eyes and long tail isn’t a toy, then your dog had better listen.

Alternative Methods

When you’re not around to babysit the new odd couple, keep your dog in a kennel. Dog kennels or crates are great for teaching potty training and obedience skills, when used properly.

If supervised interactions and allowing your cat and dog to get used to one another with a dog kennel between them still doesn’t work, consider the Look At That method. This training technique teaches your dog that it’s more rewarding (treats!) to pay attention to you for a command than to fixate on your cat.

Budding Friendship

Over time, your cat will warm up to your dog as long as she doesn’t feel threatened by him. While your new dog is getting used to the way your household operates, keep him on a leash (yes, even indoors) and tethered to you whenever he’s in the same room as your cat. This will allow you to put an end to any bad behavior on your dog’s part the second it happens.

The more your dog learns that the cat isn’t a chew toy, the more comfortable your cat will feel around your dog. If your dog does threaten your cat (even if he doesn’t mean to), your dog may end up with a paw - and claws - to the snout.

If this happens, don’t punish your cat. After all, she’s just defending herself. Simply separate them and give it another go once they’ve both had time to calm down.

In time, your cat may even come to love your dog. Your dog will learn boundaries based on how you and your cat respond to his behavior. Remember to always focus on rewarding positive behavior and minimizing punishment.

Do you have experience living with both cats and dogs? Share with us your favorite family picture showing off your family’s species diversity on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.

Cat allergies are a real issue. If your cat spends the majority - or all - of his time indoors, the quality of the air in your home can play a major role in his health.

Here’s what you need to know about the irritants in the air in your home that could be causing your fur baby some major cat health problems.

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Becoming a senior citizen isn’t just for humans. Until someone creates the AARP for cats, it’s up to you to take care of your golden girl (or boy).

While some cats can show signs of aging as early as 7 years, most cats will start to experience changes in health and behavior between the ages of 10 and 12 years.

Here’s what you need to know about your senior cat, health issues to watch out for, and how to help your cat embrace the twilight years with health and vitality.

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Despite their infamously aloof nature, cats are actually very affectionate creatures.

Showing your cat some affection and making her feel safe can go a long way toward easing anxiety, decreasing unwanted behaviors, and improving your cat’s health.

Whether your cat is your “one and only” or if you split your affections between your cat and your human counterpart, Valentine’s Day is the time for showing some love.

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We get it. You’re tired of finding lines and cat claws in your rug, your curtains, and the side of your couch.

Understandable.

Sure, having your best sweater snagged and showing up to work with fresh cat scratches on your body can be enough to push anyone to thinking about the dreaded D-word.


But before you actually take Fluffy in for a (gasp!) declawing, you should know exactly what you’re doing to your fur baby.

The Ugly Truth

We’ll cut right to it:


Declawing a cat is the equivalent of removing the first knuckles of all of your fingers.


Not pretty, right?


It’s sad, but true. The process of declawing a cat literally involves amputating the last bone of each toe from poor Fluffy’s adorable paws.


In recent years, the process of laser declawing has gained popularity because many cat parents believe it’s a less harmful and less invasive way to get rid of your cat’s pesky scratching habit.


Wrong!


While laser declawing is safer and leads to less bleeding, less swelling, and less post-op care, it’s still the same mutilating process of removing bones, length, and function from your cat’s paws.


And that’s something we at PrettyLitter just can’t get on board with.

Long-Term Effects

The cost to declaw a cat is far more than just monetary, which is why the practice is banned in 22 countries.


First and foremost, declawing is an unnecessary, elective surgery that can lead to serious health complications. If not treated properly, post-operative wounds can become infected, especially as your cat tries to continue with his usual routine of kicking around in the litter box and cleaning himself.


Next, imagine you lost all of your toes. You’d have a much harder time walking, balancing yourself, and doing tasks that were once natural in your daily routine, like driving or riding a bike. That’s what your cat goes through post-op. Not only will your cat spend days recovering with painful wounds on each toe, but also he’ll have to relearn how to walk properly and find his balance as he navigates his world.


In addition to removing a vital, functional body part from your cat’s body, declawing also strips your cat of one of his most effective coping skills. Scratching is a way for cats to destress. Rather than robbing him of this innate tool, play with your cat, provide plenty of hiding places, and find ways to help your cat destress peacefully.


To top it all off, cat parents who declaw their cats to stop one bad behavior (scratching) often end up with a cat who develops several new bad behaviors. Declawed cats are more likely to be aggressive, go to the bathroom outside of the litter box, and find other, sometimes worse methods of dealing with stress and chronic pain.

Alternative Solutions

Not only should declawing your cat be removed from the list of options due to the cruelty of the procedure itself, but also because declawing your cat prevents your fur baby from doing so many things that make his life complete.

Cats scratch surfaces for many reasons, including leaving their scent on surfaces (which makes them feel safe and at home), to stretch their bodies and joints, and to remove the outer layer of their claws once it’s ready to be shed.

Declawing your cat means he can no longer do any of those things that give him his true cat-ness. Rather than stripping your furry friend of a crucial part of his identity and feline functionality, here are some alternative options for preventing unwanted scratching around the house.

Training Healthy Habits

There are ways to show your cat what’s OK to scratch and what isn’t. Cats tend to scratch the same areas repeatedly. If the back of your couch is taking the brunt of Felix’s scratching wrath, place a scratching post in front of that favored spot.

Next, rub catnip all over your cat’s scratching post and any other surfaces that are safe for him to mangle (cardboard scratchers, a claw-safe bed, his favorite blanket, etc.). Giving your cat a variety of options will help him find a parent-approved scratching spot and avoid the one or two places you want to keep claw free.

Praise your cat and use positive attention (you know your cat best: what does he like most?) when he scratches the right places. When he scratches the wrong places, say “No!”, “Off!” or “Down!” in a loud, booming voice. This will startle your cat without harming him and deter him from getting that response again.

It will take time to train your cat not to scratch your precious belongings, but with consistency and patience, you both can avoid the unsightly and inhumane terror of declawing.

Nail Sheaths

If your cat is stubborn or you want an extra buffer between your cat’s nails and your furniture until he gets the hang of the new scratching rules, try Soft Claws or a similar product.

Soft Claws are a set of silicone sheaths that can be safely glued onto your cat’s nails. As your cat’s nails grow and the outer layer sloughs off, Soft Claws fall off too. Replace each nail as it comes off, or do a full kitty manicure about once every six weeks. As an added bonus, there are dozens of fun colors to choose from.

In very rare cases - such as if a cat suffers from a deformed claw - declawing can be medically beneficial to a cat. However, in the vast majority of cases it’s only beneficial to the pet parent and leaves the cat without one of its most cherished and spectacular qualities.

Have questions about training or (not) declawing your cat? Let us know in the comments below! We’ll do our best to help.

There’s no better proof that cats are the coolest pets to be had than pop culture.

Take a look around at television shows, cartoons, and comic books and you’ll find a plethora of sleek, sexy, smart, and savvy cat characters.

Over the past 100 years, these cats top the charts in our book.

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Ahhh, New Year’s resolutions - a long-standing tradition for us humans. But your cat wants in on the goal-setting fun, too!

The New Year means it's time for upping your game as a pet parent. All those things you've been putting off... now's the time to act.

To make it easier on you, we’ve put together an at-a-glance 6-month calendar including all the things you should be doing to make your cat's life better and help her live healthier and happier.

January

Time to call your vet! Unless your fur baby had a check-up in the last three months, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Get on your vet’s calendar and go in ready to ask some important questions, like whether your cat may be at risk for feline leukemia and if the vaccination is right for her.

In addition to ensuring your little one is up to date on all her cat vaccinations, be sure to ask your veterinarian whether she’s at a healthy cat weight. A healthy, average cat weight is around 10 pounds for most domestic breeds. However, some cats may have higher or lower ideal weights depending on their breed and age.

If your vet says your cat is overweight, it may be time to look into some cat weight loss plans. Just like 21 percent of Americans in 2017, your cat’s New Year’s Resolution should be to lose weight and eat healthier.

This means:

  • Figuring out how many calories per day your cat needs - We love this cat calorie calculator.
  • Looking up how many calories your cat’s food contains - You can do a search here on the “Food” tab if your packaging doesn’t give you details. If you still can’t find a calorie count, feed your cat based on the package’s recommended daily serving for your cat’s ideal weight.
  • Deciding on a balanced feeding schedule - We recommend a half of her daily calories in the morning and the other half in the evening. Reduce one serving slightly if you also give your cat treats.
  • Increasing your cat’s activity level - We love this laser pointer and this interactive cat feeder as easy ways to get your feline friend up and moving.

February

Spring is just around the corner, which means pesky critters like fleas and ticks will be in full swing. Stock up on your cat’s flea and tick medication now so you’re ready when Fluffy needs a dose.

If your cat likes to spend time outdoors, be sure to check with your veterinarian to find out if she needs any additional preventative health medications.

March

Did you get a PrettyLitter 3-month subscription for Christmas? Lucky you! Now that you’ve seen PrettyLitter in action, it’s time to renew your subscription so you never run out of the best health indicator tool for your cat.

March is also spring cleaning month! If your cat spends much of his time indoors, it’s time to do a sweep. Look around your home for anything that can be hazardous to your kitty. Over the year, it’s easy to pick up plants, gadgets, and cleaning supplies and forget that they may not be good for your four-legged baby.


Check out this list of harmful plants and this article on dangerous indoor chemicals. And don’t forget to always put away the Pine-Sol and Mr. Clean where Kitty can’t get to them.

April

Time to check in on those New Year’s resolutions! Has your cat been able to drop the weight? Has she been exercising more and eating fewer treats? If so, time to celebrate! Treat yourself and your cat to a fun new toy. If not, you may need to check in with your veterinarian to troubleshoot your cat weight loss plan.

May

Now’s the time of year when we start gearing up for all those big, exciting summer vacations. If you’ll be traveling this summer and you plan to leave your cat at your local animal hospital or boarding facility while you’re away, be sure to update Fluffy’s cat vaccination records.


Most boarding facilities - and all of the good ones - require your cat be up-to-date on all of her shots before joining the slumber party. Call your vet’s office and ask if there are any cat shots that need to be updated.

June

June is “Perfect Cat Smiles” month! OK, we made that one up. But it is the perfect time to round out your cat’s healthy annual routine with a dental check-up. Cats can fall prey to dental problems if they go without a good clean every once in awhile - just like us humans.


If you have a cooperative cat, you may want to keep a dental hygiene kit like this one around the house. If your cat isn’t as fond of playing dentist with you, book a teeth cleaning appointment with your veterinarian and stock up on these teeth-cleaning treats for between visits.


When June’s almost through, we recommend starting this calendar back at the top and repeating each month’s checklist for July through December.


Now go enjoy the New Year’s celebrations with your feline friend! And don’t forget to share your festive pictures with us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.

We’re not sure who suffers more during the nail trimming ordeal - you or your cat. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In fact, you can make it something you and your cat both enjoy.

Never be afraid of hurting your cat - or facing the wrath of Fluffy’s claws - again. Here’s how to best trim your cat’s nails.

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One thing is certain: cat’s don’t like change… of any kind. And we’re fairly certain they don’t care if ‘tis the season.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, boarding your feline for several days, or taking a road trip with Fluffy in tow, here’s how you can make the process as gentle as possible on your four-legged babies.

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Our holiday gift guide for cat lovers will have you winning brownie points this holiday season and for the whole year to come.
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