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I am starting this page with a cautionary note based on personal experience.  The contributor has given permission for this to be included on my site in the hope this will prevent the same thing happening to others.

"I lost a perfect friend. He was a huge orange tabby cat who was so wonderful, patient and loving. We lost him due to urinal tract infection. I learned a lot from losing him that I feel I want to warn everyone I can.

This usually affects cats who are male and indoor cats.

If your cat starts peeing in inappropriate places in your home. This isn't bad behavior but he is experiencing major pain from the infection and peeing in the litter box is very uncomfortable for him.

If he starts this behavior get him to the vet ASAP. If this is caught soon enough then it can be taken care of. Otherwise, if it is not caught it becomes terminal for the cat.

I took him to a vet but, unfortunately, he didn't put any personal attention on it. I am sure he could have caught the problem soon enough for him to be saved. Usually Vets love the animals they are looking at. 

I looked all over the internet as to why he had started this aggravating behavior and how I could get him to stop it. Nothing was found on the fact that it could be due to an urinal tract infection. I asked local pet adoption places and people I thought would be experts. I didn't find out about it until I took him to a personable Vet when my cat was seeming lethargic and sick.

After losing such a wonderful pet I've been very angry and upset that the information is not out there. Especially when I was told that it happens quite often. Especially to male cats who are indoor pets.

Thank you for this opportunity to hopefully help someone save their precious friend."

Sent in by Sabrina Nistler

I just came across the very important message written by Sabrina Nistler. I have a cat that I almost lost because of urinary tract blockage. I am a first time cat owner and did not know the signs. Unlike Sabrina's cat, however, my cat continued to pee and poop in his litter box. However, sometimes I would see him just sitting in his litterbox not doing anything. I found it very odd and could not find any info on the net about it. I assumed he was constipated, but then I would see that he had pooped so I thought he was okay. My cat never peed outside of his box during this time. I realized something was really wrong just by his behaviour one night. The next day I brought him in and my vet said that I was lucky and that it was almost too late to save him. The vet said my mistake was a very common one. Luckily, I still have my best friend. I'm sorry for your loss Sabrina.


To make it less stressful for a cat to use a travelling basket get them to associate it with a pleasant experience by occasionally placing a dish of food inside.  This way it should not be so traumatic for the cat when it needs to be used.

Grass is important for a cat's digestive system.  If you don't have a garden this can be grown in a pot for the cat to munch on.

If you move house keep your cat indoors for at least a week to get it used to the new surroundings.  Then when you do let it out make sure it's hungry - it will always come back for it's food.

A garlic capsule (meant for humans)****** given to a cat once a week maintains its health by general cleansing of bowels and also helps control fleas.

******WARNING RECEIVED FROM Wynter Worsthorne of

I came across your site while researching the affect of Garlic on cats and dogs. On your hints and tips for cat lovers, a garlic capsule is recommended for cats. Garlic is highly toxic to cats and should never be given internally. It causes hemolytic anemia and damages the red blood cells which can lead to death. Any vet will be able to confirm this. Unfortunately not many people are aware of the toxicity. Garlic is also toxic, although less so for dogs.

Please could you check that any alternative or natural supplements/medications that are suggested on your site is actually safe for animals.

Mark Brennan also writes as follows:-

I read some advice on your site to give cats a garlic capsule once a week to deter fleas. Garlic is toxic to cats, along with onions, lilies & leeks which are all part of the same family

I think it is very worrying that there is so much bad advice being randomly put on the internet.

Sandi has respondend as follows:-

On your site, a gentleman named Mark Brennan stated that this website  says that garlic is toxic to cats, and he's concerned about bad advice, such as saying that garlic is okay, being put on the internet. I looked it up on the recommended site, and I don't think he read the site. Under the section with a question about feeding the garlic, first it refers to onion, and then refers to garlic. Here is the answer. I've highlighted some of it in red.

Dogs develop hemolytic anemia if they eat enough onions. I don't think that it matters too much whether the onions are cooked or not. The quantity of onions required is high enough that dogs can generally tolerate small doses of onions without any problem and moderate amounts of onion without clinically apparent disease, even though there may be measurable changes on lab test results. Cats are probably a little more sensitive to onion toxicity than dogs are. I can't find an exact quantity of onions required to cause toxicity problems  in dogs,  but there are several case reports of onion toxicity and they involve whole onions or sizable portions of chopped onions (like a cup or more).  I think that feeding dogs meat that has been cooked with onions is pretty safe but you might want to avoid giving them the broth from around something like pot-roast if there were a lot of onions used in the cooking, just to be safe.

Large amounts of garlic will produce similar toxicity problems in both dogs and cats. I think that the amount required is not likely to be eaten by a cat but there are probably a few dogs who would lap up a container of spilled garlic.

I believe that this supports the fact that if you give either animal small amounts of onion or garlic, that they will be okay... 

I have also received a message from a visitor stating that the general consensus of opinion is that garlic does not deter fleas.  The best prevention for fleas are non-toxic/chemical flea products.

Linda Sinclair has another viewpoint on this subject

I was reading through your cat tips and came across the tip of giving your cat garlic to deter fleas and the "general consensus" that it doesn't deter fleas. Quite a few years ago I had a dog with a very severe allergy to fleas. We followed all the vets advice and treatments, but she still had huge bald spots from chewing at herself. The vet would put her on steroids and that would calm down the problem for a while, but her hair never grew back. Someone then told me about the garlic capsules and we had a great result. Not only did the she no longer need to be on steroids but her hair grew back as well. We kept her on garlic for the rest of her life plus 2 doses of flea treatment from the vet a year and the problem never returned. On its own garlic may not deter fleas but combined with conventional treatment, it is outstanding

If your cat is sickly, burning Eucalyptus or Lavender oil in a burner can help.

WARNING - I was researching the toxicity of eucalyptus and found out that eucalyptus oil contains phenols. Phenols are highly toxic to cats. there is a place on your site that says that burning eucalyptus oil will help a cat that is sickly. I read that even if you diffuse this oil, it can still be toxic, so if you have cats, it should be avoided.

Linda Wood

Eucalyptus plants are toxic to cats.

Administering medicine to cats.

An excellent hint for dog and cat owners having to force feed medicine to an unwilling patient. After you have medicated your pet and held the jaw closed with the hope the animal will swallow it, partially release the animal's muzzle.   If he licks his lips, never fear, the medicine is swallowed and you can let go.   If he doesn't lick his lips immediately, hold his muzzle closed again.  The little "so and so" is just biding his time to spit or foam the medicine out.

Dogs and cats reflexively lick their lips after swallowing medication - I learned this from an old country vet.

Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us Jill Swigart

To stop a cat wriggling when giving medication, place it on your chest and remove hands so it has to hold on with its claws.

An alternative method is to wrap the animal tightly in a towel.  Hold its head back and place the medication at the back of its throat.   Hold nostrils together for a short time to ensure the pill is swallowed.

If your cat has the sniffles, take it into the room with you when you shower.  The steam will help its breathing.

Always ensure a cat's collar is elasticated so if it gets caught he can escape without injury.

Scratch poles are essential to protect furniture.  A log mounted on a piece of wood is ideal and lasts for years.

A sample of carpet fixed to your wall can prevent cats ruining your wallpaper.

Julie McGarvey has pointed out that this may just encourage the cat to scratch more.  You can make your own scratch post with sisal rope wrapped tightly around a post or by attaching carpet to a post if necessary. To encourage the cat to use the posts sprinkle with Catnip.

To prevent the cat scratching the wall attach a plastic solid sheet it cannot penetrate which is very quiet when the cat tries to scratch it.

Pinning citrus fruit such as orange peel in an open bag to the sofa helps deter cats.

Aluminium foil sheets, double sided sticky tape, trim nails regularly and being prepared with a water spray also works great.

More from Julie McGarvey

To get cats used to harnesses, let them wear it in the housed for a few days until comfortable.

Julie McGarvey.

Lemon scented polish keeps cats off furniture as they don't like the smell.

Rub a bar of lemon scented soap on upholstery to keep cats off.

Put orange/lemon peel, eucalyptus oil or chilli pepper powder around plants to protect them from cats.

White cats can get sunburnt very quickly so keep them out of the sun.

A cheap and easy toy for cats is a cardboard box with holes cut in the sides.

There are many boxes and baskets available for transporting cats.  It is best not to get the solid sided version as these are not too pleasant for the animals to enter.  A wire basket with top opening for ease of access may not look so attractive but has better vision all around and is easy to use.

When handling a cat if you yawn at them it tells them you mean them no harm.  Whereby, if you stare at them this is a hostile sign.

Staring at a cat is a sign of aggression, squinting is more effective.  Wearing sunglasses can also help as they cannot see your eyes.

Stack several ready prepared litter trays on top of one another, then you can remove the dirty one to reveal a new one beneath.

To stop cats doing things you would rather they didn't, say "No" firmly and tap them on the nose.  They should soon get the message!

A scouring pad (the green fibrous sort) can be used to remove cat (or dog) hairs from upholstery.

Warning - do not use Febreze on your animals.  This product is for taking odours out of fabrics.  It says on the bottle it will take out animal smells but does not say it is harmless to animals.

Hi I have a good tip for people that appreciate a clean cat, My vet said you can use baby shampoo which is safe for pets as well as babies. I use Johnsons baby shampoo on my Cat once a month as she likes to sleep on my pillow when I'm out.

I also have a great solution for cats scratching, I came across it in my Vet who said they had a website which is  or . They offer plastic nail sheaths for pets to blunt their nails. Its great for indoor cats that don't require sharp claws for defence etc.

They do them in a range of colours and the website is brilliant. there are loads of cute pictures of cats in coloured nails.

Contributed by Peter To

The cat claw sheaths Peter To mentioned in your cat tips have only one fundamental little problem, and it is the same one that artificial nails give humans - fungal nails.  There is no way for moisture to escape from the claw surfaces, so fungus regards that as an invitation to move in.   Clipping your kitties' nails isn't that difficult - you don't need to have a vet do it.  Just use a regular, sharp, pair of toenail clippers, turn them sideways to the claw, and clip about 1/3 of the way up the nail.  I do my three cats' front nails on a monthly basis, and have never had to redo their back legs at all.  They just don't seem to use those for much besides covering up in the litter box.  Oh, and if the kitties fight you about the nail clipping, you can put them into a sturdy pillow case, with just the required appendage sticking out, and you won't get scratched or bitten.  Although from the amount of noise THEY make, someone might think you are murdering them.

Frances Harrison

Peter To has responded as follows:-

I noticed there was a warning about the cat claw covers that I am a big fan of.

It is a reasonable concern but I have spoken to many vets and was reassured due to the nature of how cats shed their claws every 5 weeks. The Soft Claws will fall of with the natural growth of the nail. This eliminates any fungal risk.

Question 13 on the Q&A section on the website says:

Can cats get infections from Soft Claws the way humans get infections with acrylic nails?

No. Cats’ claws are completely different from human nails. Cats shed the outer sheaths of their claws periodically. You have probably seen this around their scratching post (or couch). The same happens when they are wearing Soft Claws. The nail cap comes off with the normal shedding of the outer nail sheath. This prevents the possibility of infection.

More useful cat tips.






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