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Birmingham, MI 48009
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The Cat's Meow Tips

Each month in The ScooP newsletter we feature a member provided cat owner tip. Here are all the tips collected in one place for your convenience! We'd love to share your helpful tip. Email us at .

Treat Jars can be Hidden Hazard (January 2017)

My cats know treats are in a glass jar on the counter and come running when I open the jar. But I never thought they would help themselves! In the middle of the night the sound of glass breaking is startling. Fortunately I was home and quickly cleaned up the mess before kitties had a chance to get into the broken glass. NEVER leave treats on the counter and NEVER put them in a breakable jar!
-- Contributed by: Linda Wasche, Sylvan Lake

Battery-Operated Candles Safe Around Pets (November 2016)

This holiday, instead of traditional candles, opt for battery operated ones instead. You will get the same ambience, but without the risk of flaming candles getting knocked over. I learned the hard way when I was taking a bath with lit candles. My Calico, Lily, jumped up on the tub and her tail caught fire. Luckily it went out when she ran into the bedroom. Since then, I have found that battery-operated candles are a much better choice. I especially like the ones with timers.
-- Contributed by: Linda Wasche, Sylvan Lake

Terry Cloth Strips Can Simplify Teeth Cleaning (September 2016)

Brushing your cat’s teeth is one of the best things you can do to help prevent plaque and tarter buildup. But using a tooth brush in kitty’s mouth is not always easy. Instead of using a toothbrush, I cut up small strips of clean terry cloth towel about 1 inch by 4 inches. Take the strip of towel, wrap it around your index finger and apply the toothpaste. (NEVER use human toothpaste. Get specially formulated feline toothpaste from your veterinarian or pet supplies tore.) Use the piece of towel to rub toothpaste on kitty’s teeth. Discard when done. 
-- Contributed by: Linda Wasche, Sylvan Lake

BassinetOld Bassinet Provides PURR-fect Elevated Sleep Space (July 2016)

If you have a baby bassinet that is no longer in use, hang onto it! I have found that a bassinet makes a PURR-fect sleeping space for my two cats, Crowley and Castiel. Cats love elevated spaces so it didn’t take them long to find this one, and as you can see, they are enjoying it immensely! They love climbing into the bassinet and have made it their special hiding place. Put a kitty bed, pad or blanket in the bottom for extra comfort!
-- Contributed by: Elise Wells, Bozeman, MT

Litter boxHelp for litter kickers (May 2016)

I have multiple cats so there is always at least one of them kicking litter out of the box. The only solution seems to be lots of sweeping and vacuuming. Now I place old beach towels and blankets around the litter boxes. They are much easier to fold up, shake out and just throw into the laundry!
-- Contributed by: Linda Wasche, Sylvan Lake

prevent littering magnetHelp Spread the Word About Cat Spay/Neuter (March 2016)

Help Prevent Littering this spring by speading the word about the importance of cat spay and neuter. These adorable cat-themed Prevent Littering items are designed by NOOTERS Club®, a Michigan company that works to raise awareness about pet overpopulation. See their selelction of CAT, DOG and RABBIT cartoons and sayings on t-shirts, tank tops, pet t-shirts, vehicle magnets and more at www.NOOTERSClub.org.

DURING MARCH, NOOTERS CLUB® will donate $5 to The Cat Practice’s Rufus Memorial Feline Fund for every REGULARLY PRICED adult and ladies t-shirt sold. (Does not include specials or other promotions.)
-- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

Manage Litter Box Misses (January 2016)

Our cats have a tendency to back right up to the edge of the litter box. Occasionally, urine spray goes outside the box and leaks underneath to the floor. We now place the litter box on an adult Depends-style bed liner. Any spray is absorbed by the liner and prevents it from seeping under to the floor. The liner can be changed when necessary and saves a lot of additional cleaning.
-- Contributed by: Lynn Sarosik

kids furniture for kittyShop the Kids’ Aisle for Cute Kitty Furniture (November 2015)

Kid-size chairs and sofas are perfect for kitty lounging. Plus they are typically kid-proof meaning sturdy construction with washable fabrics. We found a cute kids’ chair and ottoman (pictured at right with our Emma) at Home Goods. We have also seen some cute kids’ furniture on Amazon.com. Plus the prices for kids’ furniture are less than what you might spend at a specialty pet store!
-- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

food scale for weighing kittyBaby Scale is Purr-fect for Weighing Kitties (September 2015)

If you have a sick or geriatric kitty, you might be watching his or her weight. I found the PURR-fect answer in this baby scale that I found at a garage sale. The weight limit is 25 lbs. – so ideal for most cats-- and the curved top really makes it easy to position kitty in place. This one was made by Sears. I have seen the same model on eBay.
 -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

Pet "playpen"Pet “Playpens” are Great for Acclimating New Kitties (July 2015)

If you bring new kitties into your home, you might be looking for a place to acclimate them before making them part of the household. I used to keep stray and found kitties in a puppy crate, but have found a better solution. This pet “playpen” has eight sides with zippered openings. The bottom protects floors and carpets. Its soft sides make it a perfect temporary home for rescued or scared kitties. See a large variety of colors and styles at Amazon.com. Prices start at around $24.
 -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

FlashMake sure timid cats get enough food at mealtime (May 2015)

My 20-year old cat, Flash, is timid around my other cats and walks away if they hover around when she is trying to eat. After trying to shoo the others away countless times, I finally decided to set up a special eating spot for Flash in the first floor half bath. She has her food and water bowls in there and knows exactly where to go for mealtime. An added plus – Flash loves the fact that there is a heat vent right next to the toilet – so that has become her new favorite perch!
 -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

KittyblockKittyblock Offers Unique Climbing & Hiding Places (March 2015)

We recently discovered the Kittyblock at Cass Corridog pet supplies in Detroit’s Midtown. This patented cube is U.S.-made and designed by Understated Corrugated, LLC in Brighton, Michigan. Each Kitty Block is made of corrugated fiberboard bound by non-toxic starch-based adhesive. The blocks are cut by hand and are about 15 by 15 inches on the outside and 10 by 10 inches on the inside. See info at http://www.mykittyblock.com/.
 -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

cat food bowlsFancy – and Less Costly – Option to Pet Food Bowls (January 2015)

Stainless steel or glass cat food bowls from the pet supplies store can cost $4 a piece or more. If you have more than one cat, this can add up! Instead, look for human dessert bowls at resale stores and garage sales. Make sure they are made of thick glass (not fragile glass or plastic) and are not chipped or cracked. I got all SIX of these lovely glass bowls at a resale store for $2! My cats love eating from these fancy dishes!
 -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

treat of the monthMonthly “Treat of the Month” for Cats (December 2014)

This is the cat gift that keeps on giving! Get Pet Box (www.getpetbox.com) offers a variety of feline (and canine) gift boxes that are shipped monthly. Our cats love the surprises in each new box! Makes a great holiday gift for the cat lover in your life. All pet foods and treats are made in the U.S. A variety of gift box sizes are available.
-- Contributed by Cindy Houlihan, DVM, The Cat Practice

Soft Wood PelletsLitter Box Alternative / Soft Wood Pellets (October 2014)

Clay litter can be difficult to scrape out of litter boxes and often gets tracked through the house. We were looking for an option and found Wayne Davis Quality Bedding equine soft wood pellets. The pellets do a good job of controlling odors, are easy to scoop out and do not track as much as clay litter. Plus, they are only about $6 for a 40-pound bag! It took our cats a few weeks to get used to it. The pellets are sold at feed stores. For locations, go to www.tributeequinenutrition.com. -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

cat drinking waterHow to get your cat to drink more water (September 2014)

My cat, Owen, didn't seem to like water. I take a medication that requires drinking lots of water. He was always trying to drink from my glass which was always near me. So I got him a glass with a larger top, sat it beside mine, and many times he would come and take a drink from "his" glass while I was drinking from mine. It seemed to work very well. -- Contributed by Carol Petersen of Rochester Hills

pill pocketsKeep Pill Pockets Fresh by Freezing (August 2014)

Many people use Pill Pockets treats to give their cats pills. But after opening a new bag, the moist treats tend to dry out, even though the bag is resealable. Try keeping the bag in the freezer, and just take out a treat a few minutes before you need it – it will thaw quickly and remain moist. -- Contributed by Marcia Fast and “Julie” of Birmingham.

water hangerFor Kitties Getting Fluids, the Perfect Bag Hanger (July 2014)

If your kitty is on subcutaneous fluids for kidney disease, pancreatitis or other illness causing periodic dehydration, you may be wrestling with where to hang up the fluid bag. I use what I think is a plant hanger that I got at a resale shop. The bag slips right over the tip of the hanger’s arm. You could also use a coat rack or the base of an old stand up reading lamp – minus, of course, the light bulb! -- Contributed by Chris Jarosz of Sylvan Lake, mom to Bailey and Julius

Cat dining areaHideaway Cat Dining (June 2014)

Area Our kitchen is small and guests often tripped over kitty food bowls. So when we installed a new pantry, recessed back from the main kitchen, our contractor included a pull out kitty dining “table.” This drawer-like feature enables our kitties to leisurely dine, and when food bowls are empty, the drawer goes back under the pantry. The drawer design also keeps stray food from going all over the floor. A water fountain is in a separate area of the kitchen. -- Contributed by Linda Wasche / Sylvan Lake

BuckyGPS Tracking Signals When Cat Leaves Area (May 2014)

Here is the web site for the GPS system that we use with Bucky: http://www.pettracker.com. It's great to know that we will be notified by text and or email if he leaves the home area and that we can track and find him where ever he goes. -- Contributed by Lawrence Trinkaus

How to Save Money on Kitty Prescriptions (April 2014)

Save on kitty prescriptionsPrescriptions for pets can get expensive, especially if it's a long-term medication. Many generic medications are available for $4 at retail pharmacies at Target, Kroger and Wal-Mart. The quantity of pills is usually 30 tablets, and since most cats are on 1/4 to 1/2 doses, 30 pills for $4 can last several months! Check retail pharmacy websites (or call) to find out if your cat's medication qualifies for the $4 special." -- Contributed by Tabitha Owens of The Cat Practice.

Medication Station Simplifies Treating Diabetic Cat (March 2014)

Medication Station"Do you have a diabetic cat? Then you have syringes, lancets, cotton balls, glucometer tester, test strips and treats among the stuff needed for a twice-a-day routine. I suggest setting up a "medication station." This is a dedicated place that includes a compartmentalized tray for keeping everything organized and at hand. I have my medication station up in an upper kitchen cabinet, directly above the counter that Newton and I use twice a day for our routine.” - Contributed by Kevin Larsen and Newton of Royal Oak
Newton’s Medication Station. Photo courtesy of Kevin Larsen.

Avoid Medication Mix-Ups (February 2014)

Save on kitty prescriptionsIf you are getting multiple medications for your kitty and at least two of them come in capsules, they can be very easy to mix up once they are out of the pill container. Avoid having to second guess which medication you are giving to kitty by asking the technician or veterinarian (or pharmacy if you are reordering) to order your prescriptions with TWO DIFFERENT SIZE CAPSULES. Having one capsule slightly larger will enable you to distinguish between two identical-looking medications. -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

Finicky EatersOne Way to Encourage Finicky Eaters (January 2014)

I have noticed that oftentimes WHERE my cats eat is just as important as what they eat. If you have a picky eater, BEFORE you change foods, try moving his/her food bowl around. One of my cats will only eat away from the other cats, preferring the floor in the half bathroom. Another likes it if the food bowl is placed on the back of the sofa where she likes to lounge. So before you throw out that expensive food, move that bowl. A little ambience goes a long way! -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake.

Prevent houseplant diggingStop Houseplant Digging (December 2013)

To prevent your cat from digging in the dirt around your houseplants, go to your local craft store and buy a few pieces of the plastic needlepoint mesh. Cut it to fit the pot, with a slit and an opening for the plant.
-- Contributed by Tabitha Owens of The Cat Practice.

Use Treats to “Gauge” Feline Health (November 2013)

As you know, it can be difficult to tell when one of your kitties isn’t feeling well. Try different treats to find your cat’s favorite. (We choose only U.S. or Canada made treats.) Make getting a treat special so that you can observe your cat’s behavior. This will become a great “gauge” for you to test how your cat is feeling. In our house, if one of the cats doesn’t run into the kitchen for a treat, we know he or she needs to go to The Cat Practice! -- Contributed by Linda Wasche, Sylvan Lake

Diabetic Cats – Make Drawing Blood Easier (October 2013)

The Cat Practice treats a number of cats with diabetes. If you have such a cat, you know the importance of frequent blood draws – done from the cat’s ear -- to test glucose levels. Make it easier to get enough blood by taking a very warm (not hot) washcloth and holding it on the cat's ear. Wait about one minute and you will now be able to draw the blood more easily. -- Contributed by Gen Perian, LVT, The Cat Practice, who learned this trick caring for her cat, Buddy.

Artsy scratch padArtsy Way to Make Scratch Pad Part of Your Décor! (August 2013)

Here is way to create a cat scratching pad that will become part of your décor!
1. Use an interesting picture frame that fits your room.
2. Fit the frame with a piece of felt glued where the picture should be.
3. Secure the frame at cat-scratch height on your wall with damage-free sticky tape or a nail.
Kitty gets all the fun of a scratch pad you get a piece that blends into your room! -- Contributed by Emily McNeilly of The Cat Practice.

Easy Way to Get Kitty to Swallow Medication (July 2013)

If your kitty is one any form of pill or capsule medication, getting kitty to take his or her medicine, can be a real pill. Next time, try blowing gently on kitty’s nose to get him or her to swallow and get that medicine down more easily. -- Contributed by Emily McNeilly of The Cat Practice.

Food scale to weigh kittyGet a Food Scale for Monitoring Kitty’s Weight (May 2013)

Do you have an ill kitty or one with a chronic condition? If you do, your veterinarian will constantly ask you, how is his or her weight? Make it easy to monitor kitty’s weight by getting a home food scale. Look for one that will accommodate kitty’s size and weight (many go up to only 11 pounds, which is not enough for most cats). check amazon.com for good variety and reasonable prices. Many scales are under $30. – Contributed by Dr. Cindy Houlihan, DVM, The Cat Practice

Make Grooming More Pleasant for You and Kitty (April 2013)

Does your cat repeatedly bite his or her comb at grooming time? When it's time to comb your kitten, I fill a non-breakable cup with water. Before I comb each section of her fur, I lightly dampen the comb. Instead of biting the comb, our kitten now briefly licks the comb and then purrs with delight as I comb her! Now, grooming time is a much more pleasant experience for both of us! -- Contributed by Sharon Suess and Norway

Bring the Outdoors in! (February 2013)

Overstock cat treesCold temperatures mean less action going on outside. Kitties can get bored or depressed (like some people!) in the winter months. But you can create a stimulating indoor environment to keep kitty occupied.
If you don't already have one, get a tall cat tree and place it near a window. Great prices are at http://www.overstock.com/search?keywords=cat+furniture&SearchType=Header  Get an outdoor birdfeeder to entice birds and critters to entertain your kitty as he/she watches out the window. Indoors, use interactive toys, like mice or feathers on wire, for your kitty to stalk and pounce on. This type of play is great for bonding time and will keep your kitty occupied during cold months! -Contributed by Dr. Cindy Houlihan, DVM of The Cat Practice

Prevent chin acnePreventing Chin Acne (December 2012)

Some cats, especially those with allergies, can develop dirty chins leading to painful pimples that require medical treatment. Plastic food and water bowls are a big culprit since plastics are porous and hold oil and debris which deposit on your cat’s chin. Switch to stainless steel, glass or ceramic bowls, and run them through the dishwasher regularly (daily cleaning is ideal). -- Contributed by Tabitha Owens of The Cat Practice

Scoop litter into plastic grocery bagsReuse plastic grocery bags for scooping litter (October 2012)

Plastic bags from the grocery store provide an easy way to throw away scooped litter. Just shovel litter clumps right into the bags, tie them up and dispose with the trash. For convenience, store them in a container near the litter boxes. Just be sure there aren't any holes in the bottom before you start scooping into them! -- Contributed by Tabitha of The Cat Practice, Cloud, Titus and Lulu

Fleece blankets protect furnitureUse Fleece to Keep Furniture Clean at Nap Time (September 2012)

Are you tired of your furniture being covered in cat hair when you have company? Cats love to sleep on cozy, soft things. The next time a fabric store (like Joanne's) has a sale or you get a coupon, buy pieces of soft fabric like fleece and use them to cover favorite sleeping spots. Simply remove before company comes! -- Submitted by Dawn, LVT of The Cat Practice (and Ute, Ari, Ebi and Ira)

Black light flashlight finds urine spots (August 2012)

Black light to find urine spotsAnimal Planet's "My Cat From Hell" features an eccentric cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, who uses a black light flashlight to find cat marking areas around the house. This tool can be very useful in identifying problem areas, but there are a few things to know before buying one.

Different wavelengths associated with UV light determine the quality of the light. The lower the nm (nanometer) number, the higher the light’s quality and intensity. Many UV black lights are in the 400nm range and are inexpensive, but steer clear. Numbers in the 380-385nm range are a good starting place, but lights around 365nm are going to be the best.

One LED flashlight on Amazon is 380-385nm and costs $17.60: http://www.amazon.com/.

iPad Apps Cats Will Want to Get their Paws On! (July 2012)

iPad apps for kittyYour iPad isn’t just for you anymore! A search of “cat and iPad” on YouTube reveals thousands of videos of transfixed felines watching moving objects on the tablet’s big screen. There are a lot of apps available to amuse your cat. Most of these are on Apple’s iOS platform and work best on the iPad. It’s unlikely that the smaller screen of the iPhone will amuse your pet quite so well, and don’t be surprised if they prefer to use the Smartphone itself as a toy . . . However, the iPad is the perfect size, and its scratch-proof glass can even resist kitty’s claws!

Look for these free apps:
• Cat Fishing and Cat Fishing 2.
• Friskies JitterBug
• Tasty Treasures Hunt
• Party Mix-Up!
Worth checking out paid apps:
• Game for Cats
• Paint for Cats
• Cat Piano Concerto
-- Contributed by Barbara Gucfa.

cat trees at overstock.comGreat Prices on Cat Trees at Overstock.com (June 2012)

If you are in the market for a cat tree or any type of cat furniture or scratching posts, check Overstock.com. They have a huge selection, excellent prices, frequent, promotions and shipping is only $2.95. Go to overstock.com/Pet-Supplies/Cat-Furniture/3647/cat.html?sort=Top+Sellers -- Contributed by Dawn Hamill, LVT, of The Cat Practice.

Giving Multiple Medications at Once (May 2012)

Empty gel capsulesIf your kitty is on multiple medications, this tip will save you time and enables kitty to swallow multiple medications in one gulp! Get an EMPTY GEL CAP capsule from your veterinarian or pharmacist. (The Cat Practice has 5 different sizes.) IMPORTANT NOTE: USE ONLY NEW GEL CAPS AND AVOID EMPTYING AND USING PREVIOUSLY FILLED ONES AS THEY COULD STILL CONTAIN RESIDUE. Pull apart the two ends of the gel cap. Take the pills or pieces of pills that have been prescribed to your kitty and insert them into the ends of the gel cap. Put the two gel cap pieces back together. You will find that one gel cap is easier for kitty to swallow than most pills!

Make pill giving easier (April 2012)

Pill organizerIf your kitty is on medication, make it easier for you (or your cat sitter) and save time by pre-cutting pills and pre-loading gel caps for morning and evening doses. Get a daily pill organizer – one for morning and one for evening -- if needed. The organizer makes sure that kitty gets the correct medication at the right time, on the right day. Make up the organizer for the upcoming week! -- Submitted by Tabitha Owens, LVT at The Cat Practice (who appreciates this trick for boarding guests!)

"Fish tank"Toy “Fish Tank” Provides Hours of Fun (March 2012)

This small unit (about 10 inches by 8 inches) contains a colorful rotating back-lit panel that gives the illusion of a fish tank. Plug it in, turn in on, and kitties will have hours of amusement as they watch the fishies “swim” by. Can stand on tabletop or wall mount. I found mine recently at CVS for $10. - Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake

Don’t assume kitty is just misbehaving (February 2012)

ALWAYS check to rule out an underlying medical condition first -- before you assume your kitty is misbehaving. My Maine Coon, Oscar, was urinating on throw rugs around the house, just about daily. The Cat Practice did a urinalysis and found that Oscar had a urinary tract infection. He didn't have any other symptoms. After a shot of antibiotics, and 30 days of anti-inflammatory medication, Oscar is no longer wetting the rugs! -- Contributed by Linda Wasche of Sylvan Lake, MI

Watch that water bill! (January 2012)

Drippy faucetDoes your cat love to drink from a trickling faucet? Some people leave the faucet on at a slow drip so kitty can drink anytime, which is what Donald Petersen did for his Abyssinians, Ruta Lee and Skipperdee. Both cats have kidney disease and need extra water. The girls enjoyed the lightly-dripping water for several months until Donald’s 3-month city water bill came in the mail and was $2,000! Needless to say, the faucet no longer runs all day! If you have to pay for city water, keep an eye on dripping faucets! Instead, try a pet water fountain or place multiple bowls of fresh water around the house! -- Contributed by Donald Petersen, Ruta Lee & Skipperdee