Here at PrettyLitter, we care about your cat's health first and foremost. So we did some digging into the real reasons why pet parents tend to be leaning away from traditional clay litter and toward healthier alternatives.

Like many medical professionals on the pet and human sides of the aisle, we plundered the depths of scientific research databases and came up with nothing. While no scientific research studies have been done yet on the effects of clay litter on cat or human health, we found a staggering number of stories from physicians, veterinarians, and pet parents about the hazards of clay litter.


Here's what we found.

How It’s Made

Clay cat litter was invented in 1947 by H. Edward Lowe, a successful businessman in the building supply industry. First, wet clay is gathered from below the earth's surface (about 30-40 feet down) and carried away to processing plants for drying. The clay is then broken into smaller pieces and loaded into a 2000-degree F kiln, which bakes away any moisture.

Next, the clay is crushed, sifted, crushed again, and ground up. Clumping clay litters go through an extra step where sodium bentonite, another type of natural clay that swells when it contacts moisture, is added to the mix. Some companies then add dust-reducers and scents to their litter before sending it off for packaging.

Since clay can be found in the natural world, pet parents and manufacturers assumed it'd be a safe potty-box medium. However, the aluminum silicates and minerals clay is made of have some problematic traits.

Cat Health Problems

Feline Asthma

One of the most common issues clay litter causes is feline asthma, also known as feline allergic bronchitis (FAB). Despite the fact that many clay litter manufacturers add dust reducers to their products, the issue remains. If your cat is using a clay litter, those airborne particles can be inhaled and cause irritation, an allergic reaction, and even an asthma attack.


According to vets at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, repeat exposure to allergens like clay dust cause the immune system to go into hyperdrive. Cats who develop this allergy suffer from inflammation, irritation, swelling, and constricted airways.


Symptoms of feline asthma include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hacking
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing

Like allergies in humans, feline asthma gets progressively worse the more your cat is exposed to the allergen. If your cat uses a clay litter box, his condition could worsen every time he needs to go.


Feline asthma is difficult to treat and can be fatal. So most vets recommend using a dust-free, unscented litter. Unfortunately, no clay litter is completely dust-free.

Blockage

Another serious medical concern associated with clay litter is the potential for an internal blockage. Kittens are particularly at risk. Naturally curious, kittens will often lick their litter.


The problem is that the granules in clumping clay litter can expand up to fifteen times their size once they come in contact with moisture. If your cat ingests these granules, they can cause a life-threatening internal blockage.  


Adult cats are also at risk as these granules often stick to your cat's paws and can be ingested during your cat's many daily grooming sessions. If you're a multi-species household, dogs that get into the litter box or lick up tracked litter are also at risk.

Bacterial Breeding Ground

Unlike cat litters that encourage moisture to evaporate, clay cat litter holds onto moisture. While this is necessary to maintain the convenient clumps, it also means bacteria are encouraged to reproduce.


Cat waste can contain bacteria that are extremely dangerous to cats and humans alike.

Human Health Problems

In addition to being a natural irritant for people with asthma and other respiratory issues, clay cat litter can lead to toxoplasmosis infection, which is particularly hazardous to pregnant women.


Most people have heard the rumor that pregnant women shouldn't be around cat litter. While the litter itself isn’t the problem, there is a foundation of truth to the rumor.

The problem with clay cat litter for pregnant women is that it can transmit harmful bacteria. Toxoplasma gondii is a one-celled parasite often found in the feces of cats that eat raw meat. Indoor cats who are given raw meat or outdoor cats who catch and eat mice, birds, and other critters can bring Toxoplasma gondii into the home when they deposit waste in the litter box or in the soil around the home.

Cat feces containing Toxoplasma gondii dries out in the litter box. When the litter box is changed, contaminated clay litter dust in the air can be inhaled and can transmit the parasite to you.


Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis. If a pregnant woman is infected, it can lead to birth defects and problems later in life, like blindness or mental disability, according to the CDC.

However, while clay litter dust is one form of toxoplasma transmission, you're more likely to contract the bacteria gardening in contaminated soil, eating unwashed fruits or vegetables, eating raw meat, or coming in contact with cat feces in a sand box, says Lorie Huston, DVM.

While clumping clay litter may be the “norm,” it shouldn’t be. Now that we have light-weight, dust-free alternatives to clay litter, using clay litter simply isn’t worth the risk to your cat’s health and your own.

 

Have questions about alternatives to clay litter or PrettyLitter’s own health-indicating litter? Post in the comments below!

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has oooo’d and awww’d at the adorable (and well-dressed) cat eating raspberries and peas on YouTube, you may be left wondering if your cat could eat from your produce drawer.

But while fruits and vegetables are ideal for a healthy human diet, your cat needs a different combination of macros.

Here’s what you need to know about healthy homemade cat food.

Cat Nutrition

Cats need a specific number of calories each day depending on their age, weight, and whether they’ve been spayed or neutered. To find out how many calories your cat needs each day, use this nutrition calculator for cats.

Once you know your cat’s calorie needs, you’ll need to calculate how much of each macronutrient you should include in your cat’s homemade food. Macronutrients include carbs, fat, and protein. Each contributes a different number of calories to your cat’s diet and should be balanced carefully.

Your cat’s diet should be composed of 52 percent protein, 35 percent fat, and 12.5 percent carbs.

Protein

Cats are carnivores by nature, so restricting your cat to a fruits-and-veggies only diet can be extremely harmful. In fact, cats need at least 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So if your cat weighs 10 pounds, she needs 20 grams of protein per day. Since each gram of protein contains 4 calories, that’s 80 calories from protein alone.

The best forms of protein for your cat are animal-based proteins. Unfortunately, most dry cat foods contain mostly plant-based proteins. If you’re making healthy homemade cat food, choose options like chicken, turkey, and fish. Be sure to cook any proteins you use as raw or undercooked meats can contain bacteria that are harmful to your cat.

Some cats may also enjoy lean red meat like lamb. Avoid options like beef or pork as these can include unhealthy additives, excess sodium, and tend to be higher in fat than chicken, turkey, or fish.

Fat

After protein, fat is the next most important component of your cat’s diet. Fats help your cat breakdown and use essential vitamins and are the primary source of energy. However, fats contain 9 calories per gram, so your cat only needs a tiny amount of fat to meet her daily needs.

Fat should account for about 35 percent of your cat’s diet. If you’re using fatty fish like salmon in your cat’s diet, you may not need to add much else. Healthy sources of fat for your cat’s homemade food include unsaturated vegetable oils and animal fat.

Some cats with health problems require low-fat diets, however. Check with your veterinarian to make sure you’re giving your cat a healthy amount of fats.

Carbs

By nature, cats need a minimal number of carbs. In fact, your cat’s tongue doesn’t even have sweet taste receptors. Plus, your cat’s digestive system isn’t equipped to break down starches. So choosing the right carbs to include in a small amount is critical.

The best source of carbs for your cat is unprocessed, natural foods with a high water content like fruits and vegetables. However, options like grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and avocado are toxic to cats.

For healthy homemade cat food, stick to apples, pears, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, and watermelon.

If you’re thinking about making your cat’s food from scratch, there are a lot of great benefits, but understand that it’s a labor of love. Pay attention to the ingredients you’re using and make sure you’re meeting all of your cat’s nutritional needs. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.


Does your cat love your cooking? Share your stories with us on Facebook or in the comments below!

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Arguably, the best part about having pets is bonding with them. But cats are notorious for being aloof and apathetic. So does your cat really need together-time?

You bet!

Cats Are Like Introverted Kids

Like humans, all cats have unique personalities. What’s more, all cats show signs of affection in different ways, times, and quantities. So it’s important that you get to know your cat’s unique personality - and that may change over the course of her life, too.


Cat’s aren’t pack animals like dogs are, but they do form strong bonds with specific individuals. For instance, think of dogs as your most outgoing, extroverted friend and cats are more like your more reserved, introverted friend. Like introverted humans, cats prefer to form strong, special bonds with select individuals.

This is why many cats will latch onto one particular person in a family or why some cats like to sleep with one particular owner. Oftentimes, the person a cat forms the strongest bond with is the person they interacted with most as a kitten. If you adopted an adult cat, it may be the person who spent the most time with your cat as she was adjusting to her new environment and needed a parent-like figure.

Cats Reflect Affection

Cats are highly intuitive, instinctual animals. At the same time, they’re also highly emotional. Together, these impressive traits allow cats to pick up on and reflect the emotions of those around them.

For a cat, signs of affection are not given freely. Rather, they’re a way to show their human counterparts that they love and need them - or maybe need something from them, like a fresh scoop of food. However, if you’re distant, aloof, or just not interested in cuddling with your cat, she won’t want to have anything to do with you either.

A 2015 study found that cats were significantly more likely to approach their owners if the owner was smiling or acting positively. This and other studies on cat behavior indicate that cats are attuned to the emotions of other beings and they act accordingly. So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “Can my cat understand me?” - the answer is yes, in a way.

While this may be a survival instinct that cats have developed over the years to avoid confrontation with other creatures, we think it’s just plain cool!

Cats Need Together-Time

The answer is yes - your cat does need together-time. However, it’s impossible to know how much. Each cat is different and may require more bonding time on some days than others.

As you get to know your cat, respect her boundaries. If you pick her up to cuddle and she walks away, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you; it just means, “Not right now.”

There will be other times when your cat comes to you and demands attention. This may be in the form of nuzzling, rubbing against your leg, meowing at you constantly, or any other cat-ish signs of affection.

In time, you’ll start to learn the signs and develop a language of your own with your cat. And that is one of the most meaningful bonds a person can have with another living thing, and is why cats are downright awesome.


Do you and your cat have a special language? Tell us about it on Facebook and Instagram @PrettyLitterCats.

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Loving funny cat photos, memes, and videos is the most common guilty pleasure in America. Ok, we made that stat up. But we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s absolutely true.

Every once in awhile, we need to indulge in that guilty pleasure and let the belly laughs roll.

Woof Woof

Cats have a strong reputation. But there’s the occasional odd ball who decides to break out of the feline sphere and take on a whole new persona. These are our favorite cats acting like dogs.


(Thanks to FunnyJunk.com)

Tug of war… not just for dogs anymore.



(Thanks to FunnyJunk.com)

This cat exudes dog-ness, from the adorable panting to the canine-like twitch of his ear.


(Thanks to CatsAreOnTop.com)

Most cats keep their distance 23 hours per day. Dogs are the ones who usually don’t understand the concept of personal space. Guess this cat didn’t get the memo.

Cheep Chirp

You wouldn’t think cats would ever act like their prey, but it happens. Here are a few Sylvesters acting like Tweetys.


(Thanks to Pinterest.com)

Bird bath, bird feeder, watering hole…. It’s all the same, right?

(Thanks to Pinterest.com)

Ever wonder what it feels like to be a field mouse? This cat wants to show you.

Well, hello there.

Then there are the cats who may have spent too much time with humans. They’ve taken on some of our more… shall we say, iconic characteristics.


(Thanks to DailyMotion.com)

If this little guy reminds you of one of your kids, you’re not alone.



(Thanks to Pinterest.com)

Apparently eating from a bowl is so below this furry guy. He prefers his bacon crispy, his pancakes fluffy, and his coffee black as night. And he’s not afraid to send it back to the kitchen if it’s not right.


(Thanks to DailyMotion.com)

We all see the resemblance. We don’t need to talk about it.



(Thanks to DigitalSpy.com)

If you’ve ever accused your cat of laying around all day not doing a lick of work, this guy wants an apology.



(Thanks to Fan of Pets via YouTube.com)

At the end of the day, we all just want someone to relax with, be it cat, dog, bird, human or… No, it needs to be a cat.


Does your cat get confused about his species? Share your funny pics with us on Instagram @PrettyLitter.

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are pretty common in the human world. But did you know that their a major problem for cats, too?


Urinary tract infections in cats can cause serious health problems. Since cats are good at hiding signs of urinary tract disease, it’s up to cat parents to know how to prevent and treat cat UTIs.

Here’s what you need to know to protect your fur baby from the agony of UTIs.

Who’s most likely to get a UTI?

Urinary tract infections in cats are certainly more common in some groups than others. Young cats, for instance, rarely get UTIs. If a young cat is showing signs of a UTI, there may be a more serious problem like kidney disease or feline idiopathic cystitis.

Older cats and females are more likely to get UTIs. However, UTIs in male cats are far more dangerous simply because of male anatomy.

Male cats have a narrower urethra than female cats. When a UTI occurs, the bacteria can cause a change in your cat’s urine pH. High pH can lead to the formation of crystals to form in the urine. If those crystals become lodged in the narrow urethra of a male cat, it can cause a blockage.

A blocked urethra is deadly and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.

Signs & Symptoms

Urinary tract infections in cats are caused by bacteria that travel up the cat’s urethra. Sometimes the bacteria can travel through the urethra into the bladder causing an infection called bacterial cystitis. In severe cases, bacteria can also invade the ureters in the kidneys causing an infection called pyelonephritis.

To prevent these and other conditions, it’s crucial that pet parents know what to look for when a urinary tract infection first strikes.

When cats suffer from urinary tract disease, they often show signs of difficulty urinating. For example, your cat may feel pain when trying to urinate in her litter box, so she may start to associate the litter box with pain and try to urinate outside of the litter box. Other signs of painful or difficult urination include:

  • Visiting the litter box more often than usual
  • Spending a longer than usual amount of time in the litter box
  • Visiting the litter box but not leaving any deposits
  • Blood in the urine
  • Attempting to urinate in other parts of the house
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Not eating as much as usual

Detecting & Preventing UTIs

The best way to know if your cat is at risk is by using PrettyLitter. Because bacteria can change the pH of your cat’s urine long before your cat starts showing outward symptoms, PrettyLitter can give you a heads up. If your cat is using PrettyLitter, the granules will turn blue to indicate that your cat may have a urinary tract infection or other health problem.

Taking steps to prevent urinary tract infections in your cat is crucial. Start by always keeping the litter box clean so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to spread. Your cat’s diet is also a contributing factor. Diabetic and overweight cats are at greater risk of urinary tract disease.

Some cats can experience urinary tract disease as a response to stress. Playing with your cat, letting her get plenty of exercise, providing perches and hiding places, and offering at least one food and water bowl per cat are easy ways to reduce stress. If you know your cat is going to be facing some changes in the household - like the addition of a new pet or a baby - make the transition as easy as possible.

Treatment

If you suspect your cat may have a UTI, take her to the vet immediately. Treating cat urinary tract infections can be a simple process if the problem is caught early.

Your vet will likely recommend dietary changes that will prevent UTIs and the formation of crystals in the bladder. If your cat is suffering from a blockage, she will most likely require hospitalization to drain the bladder and safely remove the blockage.

Some cats are more susceptible to urinary tract infections than others. A cat that has had one UTI is more likely to have another in the future. Monitor your cat’s urinary tract health with PrettyLitter so you’re always three steps ahead of the problem.

Have a story to share? Tell us about how PrettyLitter has helped your pet!

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Whether your baby or your cat was here first, they’re going to have to find a way to get along. The best way to make that happen is by starting with a good first impression.

As a parent, there’s a lot you can do ensure your cats and babies share a healthy, loving bond for life.

Start Slow

Like us, cats need an adjustment period. Whether you’re bringing a new cat into the home or you’re adding a new bundle of joy to your cat’s territory, it’s going to take time for your cat to come around to the change of scenery.

Rather than forcing introductions, let your cat call the shots. Take your time and let your cat come to you and your baby. Cats are naturally curious, so he’ll make his way around to saying hello sooner or later. But things will go much smoother if it’s on feline time.

First Interactions

Think about your first impression of a coworker, a neighbor, or a friend. That initial impression may have changed over time, but you always remember those pivotal first few seconds. Cats are the same way.

When you’re first introducing your cat to your baby, keep a close eye on both parties. Toddlers in particular tend to be eager to explore their surroundings and may want to grab at the cat. Help your child redirect any attempts to grab into soft petting. This will teach your child how to interact with your cat while also teaching your cat that your kiddo is a source of loving attention.

Get to Know Their Personalities

Just as babies are born with unique temperaments, cats have unique personalities. Some cats are introverted, shy, or reclusive, and others are outgoing, affectionate, and downright talkative. Also, some cats are more prone to bonding or may become attached to one particular member of the family.

Enjoy the journey of getting to know the personalities of your cat and your child as they grow together. Respect whatever temperament or personality each has. Talk to your child about your cat’s personality and help your little one appreciate what makes your cat special.

Teaching Boundaries

One thing your child and your cat have in common is they each think they’re in charge. Whether it’s meal time or nap time, kids and cats naturally think their needs come first.

As your cat and child spend more time together, they’ll inevitably cross a boundary that one or both isn’t comfortable with. In most cases, it’s the cat who feels like things have gone too far. While kids tend to be cuddlers and believe play time should never end, cats aren’t always inclined to agree.

Teach your child from an early age that when a cat leaves the room, runs away, or retreats to a hiding place, it’s best to let him be. Cats who don’t want to play or be picked up are more likely to scratch or nip when their patience is tested.

Keep Watch & Prevent Mishaps

Until children are old enough to interact with pets on their own, parents should always keep an eye on their kiddos when they’re around the family cat. While cats and babies can certainly form strong bonds, there’s also plenty of opportunity for mishaps.

Start by teaching your child the dos and don’ts of having a feline sibling - like that kitty litter isn’t an approved snack and cats don’t enjoy having their tails pulled.

If you’re concerned about your cat scratching your little one, consider using Soft Claws or a similar product. Rather than declawing - which is a painful, debilitating, and traumatizing event for your cat - Soft Claws are a humane way to prevent scratches.

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.


Cat and baby bonding is a beautiful thing. As your fur baby and human baby get to know each other, share with us your best awww-worthy snapshots on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats

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Cat behavior is a conundrum. From the random gallops through the house to impromptu yoga poses, learning how to read your cat’s body language can make you a better pet-parent.

Here are some of the more enigmatic types of cat body language you may see on your journey to develop a psychic connection with your feline friend.

We’re All Equal

The first key to understanding cat body language is by viewing the world through your cat’s eyes. According to Dr. John Bradshaw, anthrozoology researcher and author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, cats view humans as equal to themselves. In other words, we’re all just big cats.

This means that your cat uses the same body language to communicate with you as he does with other cats.

The Slow Blink of Trust

If you’ve been living with your cat for some time and he hasn’t tried to kill you, you’ve likely seen him give you the slow blink of trust. This highly-desirable form of body language usually happens when your cat is sitting or lying down and looking directly at you. You’ll see your cat slowly close his eyelids, pause for a moment, then open them again. 

While this signal can be easily confused with snobbish boredom, it’s actually your cat’s way of saying that he trusts you.

Cats are survivalists by nature, which means they’re always on alert for threats. It’s the same reason why your cat seems to challenge every new visitor to your house to a staring contest. When your cat is unsure of someone, he refuses to take his eyes off the suspect. But when he feels safe, he lets you know by willingly closing his eyes and letting his guard down.

So the next time your ferocious fluff ball gives you the slow blink of trust, give it right back. Congratulations - you’ve just bonded with your cat a bit more.

The Gaping Snarl

Usually when we see animals (or people) snarl, it’s a sign of aggression or annoyance, right? Not so with cats. When a cat opens his mouth slightly and curls back his lips in a semi-smile, he’s actually trying to play “Guess That Smell.”

Unlike other mammals who rely on smell, your cat has a leg up. Your cat has an extra smell-sensing organ in the roof of his mouth called the Jacobson’s organ. This odd facial expression is actually called the flehmen response and lets your cat maximize his smelling superpower.

No need to worry. He’s not mad at you. He’s just trying to decide if he likes the flavor of the air.

Belly-Up Yoga

This one probably has you snapping pictures and saying “awww” every time. It’s when your cat lays on his back and lets his paws flail about. Some cats take to a graceful twist while others look like dropped pancakes.

Whichever form your cat takes, when he’s belly up, don’t pet him. While it’s true that being belly-up is a sign of vulnerability and trust, it’s not an invitation for contact. In fact, touching your cat on his belly while he’s in this position can make him feel threatened, anxious, or defensive - hence the horrid scratching 3 seconds later.

Resist the urge to bury your face in that adorable, fuzzy belly and save the petting for when your cat is laying on his side or when he comes to you.

Talking Back

While your cat expects you to catch on to his language, he’s also picking up what you’re layin’ down. Over the 9,000 years that cats have been living as domesticated pets, they’ve caught on to the fact that humans are vocal creatures. This is why your cat will meow at you when you speak to him.

Oddly enough, cats use very few vocalizations with other cats, say researchers at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Those meows are just for you. So you should feel pretty special the next time your cat tries to speak your language.

In fact, cats will use specific sounds when they want to tell you certain things. Every cat has his own vocabulary, so our glossary of meows will look different than yours. But if you pay attention to the sound your cat greets you with when you come home, the sound he makes when his bowl is empty, and the way he claps back when you say his name, you’ll start to notice patterns.

Couple that with your new-found knowledge of how to read your cat’s body language, and you two will be in perfect harmony.

Here's a little "cheat sheet" for you to keep

Does your cat have some odd or adorable body language? Snap a pic and share it with us on Instagram @PrettyLitterCats or tell us more on Facebook.

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Cats are silent sufferers, which makes it nearly impossible to know when your cat first starts feeling ill.


As a good pet parent, it’s your job to take care of your fur baby. Keep an eye out for these critical signs of pain so you can get your little loved one help before the problem gets out of control.

Ingrained "Toughness"

Unlike other animals that may cry out or show obvious signs of being ill - humans included - cats are naturally programmed to hide their pain. It’s an evolutionary defense mechanism that has carried through to our domesticated feline friends.


In the wild, injured cats are more vulnerable to predators and other cats who may try to infringe on their territory or resources. To protect themselves, cats go above and beyond to hide any signs of internal illness or injuries.


Understanding this natural inclination is the first step in learning how to tell if your cat is in pain.

Changes In Mood

Cats have a lot more in common with us humans than you might think. When you’re sick, you have very little patience and may be more irritable than when you’re healthy, right? Your cat’s the same way.


If your usually-friendly kitty suddenly starts nipping, scratching, or avoiding you, take notice. Out-of-the-ordinary behavior can be a sign that your cat isn’t feeling well. It doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t love you anymore. Rather, it’s a natural defense that means “Leave me alone. I’m not feeling well.”


But don’t listen to your cat. Pay attention to his behavior and habits. Take special notice if your cat seems annoyed or aggressive when you touch him in a particular spot, which may indicate tenderness or pain. Then call your vet.

Breaks In Routine

Cat’s are highly routined creatures. One of the best signs that your cat is unwell is changes in his routine. Things like eating less, drinking more water, or refusing to play with his favorite toy can be a signal that your cat isn’t feeling his best.


It’s also important that you maintain your routine with monitoring your cat’s health. If you’re using PrettyLitter and your cat has been leaving healthy yellow or olive green deposits for quite some time, don’t get complacent.


Sometimes we take our pets’ healthy status for granted and assume everything’s OK. Keep checking your cat’s litter. If you notice red, blue, or bright green stains, take your furry friend to the vet as soon as possible.

Unwelcome Presents

One of the symptoms of pain your cat might show is avoiding certain places that he associates with pain, like the litter box. If your cat is suffering from a bladder infection, crystals, or blockage, he may have trouble urinating or experience painful urination.


After a few attempts, he’ll assume it’s his litter box that’s causing the pain. As a result, you may see that your cat leaves unwelcome presents - like urine stains or feces - around your house in places where he thinks he’ll be more comfortable.


This is a serious sign of trouble and should be dealt with as quickly as possible.


Now that you know what to watch out for, you may be asking, “What can I do?” The answer is simple: call your vet.


While knowledge + PrettyLitter can alert you that your cat may be facing a health battle, only a trained veterinarian can diagnose your feline friend. Talk to your vet, share your insight, and let the pros treat your fur baby knowing that you’ve done your job.


If you have questions about changes in your cat’s behavior, leave a comment for us below.

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One of the questions we get a lot here at PrettyLitter is, “How much should my cat weigh?” So let’s talk healthy cat weight, weight loss, and management for a minute.

How Much Should My Cat Weigh?

Like people, all cats are different. Some breeds tend towards a smaller frame, while others are naturally long, tall, or squatty.

However, most healthy domestic cats tend to hover around the 8 - 10 pound mark. If your cat exceeds 12 pounds, he’s likely overweight.

A good way to judge your cat’s health is by checking his belly fat. Have your cat stand up on all fours, preferably on a counter or table where you can easily look at his torso at eye level. On a cat of healthy weight, the belly shouldn’t dip below the elbows.

While there are some exceptions to this rule - like the infamously cute Munchkin breed - it’s a good health barometer for the vast majority of domestic cats. If you’re still not sure about your cat’s weight, take him for a visit to the vet.  

Is My Fat Cat at Risk?

Yes! If your cat is overweight, he’s at high risk of many health problems.

Cat obesity can lead to a number of health hazards, including inflammation, urinary blockage, and feline diabetes, says Dr. Geoff DeWire, a graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and recipient of the Pfizer Clinical Achievement Award for Excellence.

While a 13 or 14 pound cat may be cute in all his fluffy, squishy goodness, he’s actually extremely overweight. For example, if your cat’s ideal weight is 8 pounds but he’s actually 10 pounds, then he’s carrying around an extra 25% of his body weight.

In human terms, that would be the equivalent of a 180 lb adult man putting on an extra 45 pounds. And you probably know what your doctor would say about that - time for a change.

How Can I Help My Cat Lose Weight

 

Helping your cat lose weight is a lot like helping a person lose weight. It all comes down to two key components: diet and exercise.

Start by finding a healthy brand of cat food that includes meat and vegetables in its top five ingredients. Healthy options include chicken, liver, salmon, duck, carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. Stay away from any products that list “by product” or grains (like corn, soy, white rice, rye, potatoes, or tapioca) in the first five ingredients.

Next, make sure you’re measuring your cat’s portions. While it’s tempting to just fill up the bowl and let your little guy be the judge, he’s just as bad at stopping himself from indulging as we humans are.

Take a look at the portion guide on your cat’s food packaging. Find your cat’s ideal weight and serve him up a portion that’s right for the weight he should be, not the weight he is currently. If after about 4 to 6 weeks you don’t see a change in your cat’s weight, you may need to reduce his portion a little more. You can also use a pet weight calculator to estimate your pet’s daily calorie needs.

Finally, get your furry friend on the treadmill. In cat terms, this usually means whipping out the laser pointer. Schedule your play time every day and commit to it like you would an important appointment - because that’s absolutely what it is.

Help your cat burn off a few extra calories by running him around your living room. You can even get creative and set up a track over the couch, under the coffee table, and up the cat tree. Keep him guessing and you’ll both have a blast. (And yes, posting your cat’s funny workout on YouTube is encouraged.)

Maintaining a healthy cat weight doesn’t have to be a challenge. Figure out the healthy portion your cat needs and add a bit of exercise into his daily routine. He’ll still get to nap, lounge, and watch the birds, but he’ll be doing so in a healthy body that you’ll both get to enjoy for years to come.

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Are you guilty of not always following the doctor’s orders?

We humans are like that. But don’t let that bad habit extend to your fur babies.


When it comes to following the Vet’s recommendations, these are the big four that your cat’s doc really wants you to remember.

Litter Boxes

One of the hardest recommendations to get cat parents to comply with revolves around litter boxes. Have you ever wondered how many litter boxes you need? According to veterinarian Dr. Geoff DeWire, households with multiple cats should have at least one litter box per cat, plus one.


For example, if you’re a two-cat household, you should also be a three-litter-box household. If you have four cats, you should have five boxes. And so on.  


Also, each litter box should be located in a different part of the house, says Dr. DeWire. This ensures that each cat can have his or her own privacy if your cats need to use their boxes at the same time.


It may seem strange to think that an animal who has no problem licking himself in the middle of the living room floor needs privacy, but when it comes to potty time, cats have different standards. From an evolutionary perspective, using the litter box is the time when a cat thinks he’s most vulnerable to predators, which may include other cats. Giving each cat his or her own space can go a long way to reducing stress and health problems for your furry friends.


Of course, it’s not always realistic to expect cat parents to accommodate this request when they have two or more cats. It’s pretty challenging to find three or more places around the home you’re willing to surrender to your cats’ bathroom habits. Try to get as close as possible to meeting the “1 box per cat + 1” rule and your cats will thank you for it.

Home Environment

Despite the fact that cats have been domesticated for hundreds of years, there’s a fine line between your pampered cat and her natural instincts. Cats are driven by instinct, even today. That’s why they love to look out the window, watch birds, and hunt down any little critters that may get in or near your house.


When cats can’t express their natural instincts, they can become stressed - and for cats, stress often manifests as illness. Make sure that your home has plenty of environmental enrichment that caters to your cat’s natural instincts, recommends Dr. DeWire.


This means setting up perches where your cat can survey her territory both inside and outside the home. If your cat is of the indoor-only variety, be sure she has access to windows where she can keep the birds in check.


Your cat also needs to hunt. Since we’re not proponents of pitting your cat against another living thing, we recommend investing a couple bucks in a cat-friendly laser pointer. Spend 5 to 15 minutes each day playing with your cat so she can let out her wild side. Not only will she get some much needed exercise, but she’ll also get to scratch that instinctual itch and relieve any pent up stress.

Food & Water

Like fighting over or waiting for an available litter box, your cat doesn’t want to struggle to get food or water either. What’s more, when it comes to food and water cats can be territorial, meaning they will protect what’s theirs even if it means causing another cat grief or physical harm, says Dr. DeWire.


If you’re a multi-cat household, make sure each cat has his or her own space. Observe your cats and note where each one likes to hang out. Chances are, each of your cats has a favorite lounge spot, perch, or hide out.


Those are the areas that each of your cats have claimed for themselves. Respect their self-imposed territories and give each cat a food and water dish within his or her own borders.  

Weight Gain

This is a big one, says Dr. DeWire. Since the days of Garfield, the big fat cat phenomenon has been an uphill battle for veterinarians. While many cat lovers find large cats to be cute, funny, or even normal, it’s an epidemic that needs to stop.


It may seem like no big deal if your cat has a bit more to love around the middle, but it’s actually a major health hazard. Even one to two extra pounds can lead to problems like inflammation, urinary blockage, and diabetes.


Consider this: a healthy cat weight is about 10 pounds for domesticated cats. If your cat gains 2 pounds, that’s a 20 percent body mass increase. That would be the equivalent of a 150 pound adult woman gaining 30 pounds.


Preventing obesity in cats should always be a top priority for pet parents. If your cat is overweight, there are things you can do to help your cat lose a few pounds.


Start by reading the label on your cat’s food. Most pet parents simply fill their pets’ bowls to the top and let Fluffy be the judge. Help your cat with portion control by only giving your cat the recommended amount of food based on his ideal weight.


All cats need exercise, too. If your cat is an indoor cat, he’s likely not getting the daily exercise he needs. Spend at least 10 minutes giving your cat a cardio workout by playing with him. Use a laser pointer, a feather, or any toy your cat’s shown an interest in to get him moving.


By preventing overweight and obesity in your cat, you’ll go a long way to preventing disease and enjoying a long, healthy life with your fur baby.


Have more questions about pet-parent best practices? Ask us in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter @PrettyLitter. We’ll consult our feline experts and get back to you with an answer.

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