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Frequently Asked Questions

Which cats are friendlier: males or females?
Though in general male cats are thought to be friendlier, each cat is an individual and has his or her own distinctive personality.  Female cats do tend to be more independent and conduct friendships on their own terms.  Often, males will be more affectionate on a regular basis: always looking for a nuzzle and greeting their humans at the door when they come home from work.

Do male cats spray?
Male cats who are neutered at an age appropriate time (usually around six months of age) are not likely to develop the habit of marking their territory.  Neutering your male cat while he’s still young and not yet full of testosterone will help ensure that your home is spared from this experience.

Why should I spay or neuter my cat?
Unless you’re planning on using your cats for breeding, it is always a good idea to spay or neuter your pet.  There are several sound reasons that “fixing” your cat is a good idea:

Stopping certain behavior before it starts:  Un-fixed cats behave very differently from those that have been spayed or neutered young.  They usually don’t have the same drive to procreate that causes spraying, howling, and attempts to escape to the great outdoors.  Spaying and neutering your cat will also let them be more friendly and cuddly (in both males and females), than cats who are left intact.  
Keeping your pet in good health: Many of the same reproductive illnesses can affect humans can also target cats, such as testicular and prostate cancer in males, and mammary and uterine cancer, as well as mastitis in females.  Spaying or neutering your pets might just spare them from one of these illnesses later on.
[Click here to learn more about Spay and Neuter]

Should I adopt more than one cat?
Cat lovers with multi-cat homes frequently joke, “What’s one more?”  It’s true that having two or three cats generally doesn’t cost much more than having just one and after a short adjustment period, your cat will appreciate the company.  

Cats are independent creatures, but when they have an owner that works all day, sometimes they need their own companion to liven things up.  This is not to say that any two cats put together in one house for long will immediately become best friends, but the companionship will far outweigh the occasional spats and disagreements and most importantly, will keep them from being lonely.

How do I introduce my cat to another pet?
If you decide to bring another pet into your home, you’ll want to go about it carefully to ensure that the transition will be easy on your established pets as well as the newcomer.
When choosing a new cat to keep your “only-child” company, make sure they have both been spayed or neutered (or, in the case of a new kitten, that they are spayed or neutered at an appropriate age).  Whether your new pet is a cat or a dog, make sure that they are up to date on their vaccines, and have been given a clean bill of health by your vet.  Getting a younger kitten or puppy might also make things easier on your established cat, as they’ll see the newcomer as less of a threat.

Use plenty of patience when integrating your new pet to the household.  For a smooth transition, try the following steps:  

Keep a door between them.  Through a closed door, your pets can smell each other and get used to the presence of a newcomer.  There may be some hissing, spitting and growling at first, but once the aggression subsides, move on to the next step.

Separate litter pans and food dishes. Your current kitty should not have to share litter, food or water during the first few weeks.  Try to keep his or her daily routine as uninterrupted as possible.

Towel them off.  Rubbing each pet with a towel and then rubbing the towel on the other pet is another way to get the animals used to each other’s scents.  

Face to face.  Once your pets stop showing aggression and seem to be used to the scent of the other, it’s time for a face-to-face meeting.  Begin by giving each pet a treat, across the room from each other or have a play time with new toys or teasers. 

And repeat.  If the third step goes well, move them your pets a little bit closer during the next meeting, progressing this way until they are next to each other.  If there is aggression shown at any time, go back to step one.

With patience and proper introduction, your pets will be able to form a lasting relation – if not one of love, at least of mutual respect.
Click here to learn more about Bringing Your Kitten Home!

Is it true that all white cats are deaf?
A common myth existing in the cat world is that all white and especially blue-eyed white cats are deaf.  This is not true.  Only a very small percentage of white cats are deaf or carry the gene for deafness.  At Boutique Kittens, our cats have been tested and none of them carry the gene for deafness.

How do I determine if my cat is deaf and if so, what can I do?
If you suspect that your cat or kitten is deaf, there are a couple of ways that you can tell.  First, have one person stand in front of your cat and keep its attention while you stand behind the cat, but make sure not to move and cause vibrations that your cat can feel through the floor.  Make noise, like a loud yell, or bang pans together, but don’t stomp.  If your cat can hear, he or she will probably run in fright.  If your cat can hear, but not well, he or she will at least turn their ears to hear the racket better.  If your cat is deaf, they will show no reaction.

You can also try watching your cat for a period of five minutes or so.  Cats with good hearing move their ears constantly, monitoring noises.  Deaf cats will usually keep their ears still and pointed straight ahead.  If your cat sits still for at least five minutes and doesn’t “scan” with his or her ears, he or she is probably deaf.  To confirm your diagnosis, schedule a hearing test with your veterinarian.

If you find your cat is deaf, make sure that you keep them inside to protect them from the cars and dogs that they can’t hear coming.  Your cat will soon be able to tell when you are approaching, by the vibrations of your feet, but until they do, always approach them from the front to avoid startling them.  Getting another cat as a “companion” can also help, as a cat with normal hearing can become the ears for your deaf cat.

Do all cats need to go outside to be happy?
Keeping your cat indoors (preferably from kittenhood so they are less likely to want to roam) is the best way to keep your pet healthy and safe.  Cats kept indoors will be spared from dangers like disease, and injuries from traffic and larger animals.  Contrary to the myth that cats need to go outside, keeping your cat indoors will help them live a longer and happier life.  But there are things that you can do to ensure that your cat gets the stimulation they need to stave off boredom:

Consider a screened-in porch or an enclosure in your backyard that your cat can bird watch from.   When keeping your cat in such an enclosure, however, make sure that you are around to supervise.

Buy or make a carpeted “cat tree” to keep in a sunny spot, so that your cat can climb, perch, and sunbathe.

Plant cat grass in a pot near a window so that your feline can graze.

Give your cat another cat, or even a dog, for companionship.

Set aside time each day to play with and spend time with your cat.  Make sure that you have a selection of toys that he or she can claw, pounce on, and drag around to their heart’s content. 
[Click here to learn more about Keeping Your Indoor Cat Happy.]

My cat is shredding my furniture.  Should I declaw her?
Declawing should not be confused with nail trimming.  Declawing your cat is a surgical procedure that involves removing the entire nail, and sometimes even the end of the toe bone that includes the cells responsible for nail regeneration.   The practice of declawing has lost favor in recent years, and has even been outlawed in some countries unless medically necessary, because it is a very painful and largely unnecessary process.

We at Boutique Kittens do not declaw our cats.  Here are a couple other, more humane options that you can try instead to save your furniture and peace of mind:

The most popular alternative to declawing is buying a scratching post.  A little bit of catnip will make a cardboard- or sisal-covered scratching post an appealing alternative to your $300 drapes.  Use patience and maybe a dangling toy or two to teach your cat that scratching posts are more fun than furniture.

There are cat repellent sprays that can be found in most pet stores.  With cat-noxious odors that are virtually undetectable to humans, these sprays can be beneficial in keeping your pets away from trouble spots.

Nail covers are a unique way to keep your cat’s sharp claws from doing damage to surfaces in your home.  They can be found in some pet stores and online and come in fun colors like pink and purple, similar to stick-on fingernails for humans.

Trimming your cat’s nails regularly can also prevent unnecessary damage to furniture.  You can use regular human nail trimmers or the specialized guillotine-type pet trimmers, but be careful not to cut too close or you’ll nick the skin. 
[Click here to learn more about the Declaw Debate.]

My cat is litter trained, but won’t use the box.  Why?!
If your cat is normally very good about taking care of his or her needs will little fuss and muss, missing the litterbox or ignoring it completely might be a sign that something is wrong.  Here’s a list of possible causes and solutions.  Please remember that if nothing else seems to work, you should talk to your veterinarian.

The litterbox may not be clean enough for your cat’s exacting standards.  If emptying the box every two days isn’t enough, try the clumping litter and scoop out messes everyday.  

Some cats prefer different types of litter medium.  If you’re using the chunky gravel variety, try a finer grade or an unscented brand.

If your cat seems to be shy about using the box, consider a lidded variety or relocate the box for more privacy.

Anxiety over change can cause a disruption in your cat’s bathroom routine.  If you’ve brought home a new puppy, a new baby, or recently moved, this could be the cause of your pet’s sudden change in habits.  

Cats can be very sensitive.  If your cat was frightened by something in or near the litterbox, they will associate the fear with the box itself.  Using calm and patience, reassure your cat just as you would with a frightened child.

Medical reasons are a main cause of litterbox avoidance.  Just as with the fear association mentioned above, if urinating or defecating is painful for your cat (as it can be with urinary tract infections, diarrhea, or constipation) they will attribute the pain to the litterbox.  Talk to your veterinarian to learn more.

What should I do if my cat is not eating?
If your cat is not eating, this is not automatically a time to panic.  Consider a few things first:

Did you just bring your cat home?  This type of behavior is normal when adjusting to new surroundings, however, if he or she does not show any inclination to eat after one day, they should be taken to a vet.
Is a member of your family slipping table scraps to your cat?  This should be stopped (your cat needs cat food, not people food) and your cat’s appetite should immediately recover.

Do you change your cat’s food frequently?  Changing a cat’s diet is fun for your cat because of the variety, but you may have created a finicky eater, or in some cases an upset tummy or diarrhea.  If you are having trouble with your picky eater, we recommend Life's Abundance Cat Food.

Do you empty and clean your cat’s food and water bowls daily.  Cats are very sensitive about the freshness of their food and water.

Are your kitty’s food and water bowls in an area near their litter pan?

If you answered no to the above questions, you should take your cat to the veterinarian.  Loss of appetite can be one of the first signs of illness and you don’t want your cat to lose more weight than he or she can afford to.  

Is it okay to cut mats out of my cat’s fur when grooming?
If your cat has long hair, the inconvenience and discomfort of a matted coat are another very good reason to keep him or her indoors.  These mats can form in the underarm and leg areas, usually by repeated exposure to the elements.  Sometimes, matting can get so bad that a cat’s movements can become restricted and the mats catch on branches and brambles, pulling the fur out and leaving bald areas or open wounds.

If your cat develops mats, first try a de-matting comb to detangle it.  Rather than try to get the mat out all at once, brush gently every day to gradually work the matted areas out.  A consistent grooming routine will keep them from forming again.

If you’re tempted to cut the matting away, make sure to take your cat to a veterinarian or groomer.  You can inadvertently do serious damage to your cat’s skin with a nick or a cut, since it’s difficult to tell where the tangles end and your cat’s skin begins.  Heavily matted fur can contain dirt and bacteria that can cause infection to quickly form in any broken skin.  This type of grooming is best left to a professional, trained in the correct way to remove mats.
Click here to learn more about Cat Grooming!

Does my cat need to have his teeth brushed?
Cats and other animals are just a susceptible to plaque, tartar and gum disease as any other animal.  If your cat has yellow or brown teeth and bad breath, this may be a sign of gingivitis or tooth decay.  If you have a young cat, you can work tooth care into your grooming routine.  If your older cat wants no part of this, consider having your vet do this as part of your cat’s regular checkup.
[Click here to learn more about Dental Care for Cats.]

Are longhaired cats more likely to get hairballs?
With all the grooming that your cat does, hairballs should come as no surprise, especially with longhaired felines.  You can treat this nasty occurrence with a hairball paste (most pet stores and vet clinics carry them in tasty flavors), fiber supplements (check with your veterinarian), and regular brushing.  We have wonderful luck with Purr-fectly Natural Gourmet Cat Treats, Hairball Formula.
[Click here to learn more about these and other Life's Abundance products.]

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