Health & Care

Why Is My Cat Panting? Are They Okay?

A white and black kitten looking at the camera with its mouth open and tongue sticking out.

While panting is usually a behavior associated with dogs, it can also be normal for a cat to pant. I say “can” be normal because in certain instances, such as when they’re hot, stressed, or anxious, a cat will pant. 

However, panting in a cat can also indicate that something is wrong. In order to know when your kitty needs help and when they just need a little cooldown time, it’s essential to understand what causes panting.  So let’s look at some of the reason why your cat might be panting.

What is Panting in Cats?

If you’ve ever been around dogs, you’re probably more than well aware of what panting is. It is that open-mouthed, tongue hanging out, faster-than-normal breathing that dogs use to cool down. They also may pant if nervous, stressed, or excited.

On the other hand, cats don’t use panting as a cooling mechanism as frequently as dogs, usually because they prefer not to get hot in the first place. 

When a cat pants, they too will breathe open-mouthed with their tongue hanging out. Their breathing will be faster, and you will probably notice their belly and chest rising and falling with each breath. You will usually recognize the inciting cause: they are hot, they were just running, or they are going on a stressful car ride, etc.

What is not normal for panting in cats is if they appear distressed or are having trouble breathing. Any wheezing or loud noise associated with inhaling or exhaling air is a cause for concern. If you can’t determine a reason for their panting or if they have to forcibly move air in or out of their lungs, your cat needs to see a veterinarian.

Normal Reasons That a Cat May Pant

A close-up of a yellow and white stripped cat with its mouth open and tongue sticking out.

As we kind of hit on before, cats need more of a reason to pant than their canine counterparts do. They might simply need a little downtime to recuperate, or they could have a condition where a veterinary visit is imminent. 

1. Overheating

Cats lack sufficient sweat glands to cool their bodies, so they have to rely on the prevention of overheating or panting to cool off. Most cats will opt to take preventative measures, such as not being active when it’s hot by finding a shady, cool spot to hole up in until it’s cooler, rather than use panting to cool off. 

However, there are times when cats, especially the active ones, will get themselves a little too warm and need to pant to cool off. If your kitty is panting due to heat, help them find a cool spot and let them relax until they’ve reached a more comfortable temperature.

2. Exertion

For those wild, off-the-wall type cats, exertion can be a cause for panting. Also, outdoor hunters may work themselves to the point of panting. Again, helping them find a cool, calm spot to wind down will typically put an end to their panting.

3. Stress/Anxiety

If your kitty doesn’t enjoy the infrequent car ride or hates to share their space with visitors, panting can be in response to stress or anxiety. Along with panting, they may also be extra vocal, skittish and jumpy, or even growl and hiss when handled. 

Giving your kitty a familiar spot, putting an end to the stressful activity, and letting them collect themselves should stop their panting.

When is Panting in Cats is a Concern?

A close-up of the face of a grey cat with black stripes and some white batches closing its eyes while lying down. Its head is resting on a white cushion.

Anytime a cat’s panting can be linked to other symptoms, such as a fever or difficulty breathing, is a reason for concern. You should also be worried if you can’t find an inciting cause, like the temperature or the fact that they just ran for 40 minutes straight. Certain health conditions can cause panting and should be looked at by a veterinarian.

1. Heart Disease

When a cat’s heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, oxygen doesn’t get delivered to the tissues sufficiently, causing a cat to pant simply as a way to try to increase their oxygen intake. Heart disease may also cause lethargy, coughing, and exercise intolerance.

2. Respiratory Disease

Along the same lines as above, any condition affecting the lungs can inhibit the amount of oxygen that a kitty takes in, making panting a last resort to up their oxygen levels. 

Respiratory diseases can also come with coughing, sneezing, noisy breathing, fevers, and lethargy. Kitties having difficulty breathing may also stand with their elbows pointing out or stretch out their body as a way of expanding their chest to allow more air in.

3. Pain

Pain can be caused by several health conditions, including injuries and illness. A cat in pain may pant as a stress response due to the release of cortisone. Cats in pain may also cry out, be irritated, have a limp, or an obvious wound that could be causing it.

4. Fever

Fevers due to illness can have a kitty panting as the body’s way of trying to cool itself down. While some fevers show up without any accompanying symptoms, most of the time, a cat will give off some other clues as well. Lethargy, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, or watery eyes and a runny nose may be other signs of illness.

Should My Cat See a Vet For Panting?

A close-up of a yellow cat with brownish stripes closing its eyes and lying down. A man's hand is holding the cat's head, while the other hand is holding a stethoscope on the cats torso.

Most cat parents will rarely catch a glimpse of their cat panting, and most of the time, that panting will subside with a little rest. 

However, if your kitty’s panting isn’t getting better with a little relaxation or if your kitty seems distressed by it, see your veterinarian. 

Also, if you have never seen your cat panting before, and now they just can’t seem to stop, you need to see your veterinarian. If there are any other accompanying signs or you just can’t put your finger on a reason for their panting, see a veterinarian.

Your vet will examine your kitty, check their temperature, listen to their heart and lungs, and possibly do some blood work and x-rays to find out what’s behind it all. 

Panting in cats can be a normal behavior. While it’s not as common as panting in dogs, it is one of their ways of cooling off and showing stress or anxiety. However, panting can also mean that something more serious is wrong and needs to be looked at. When in doubt about your cat panting, ask your veterinarian.

Why Does My Cat Lick and Then Bite Me?

A grey, brown cat with some white patches is lying down on a black and white blanket, holding someone's hand with its paws and biting their finger.

Biting is usually seen as a form of aggression in cats, but what if they were licking you first? Why in the world would a cat lick you first only to bite you a few seconds later?  

When a cat licks and then bites you, it can be for several reasons, including showing you affection, telling you they’re done with this interaction, or trying to spark a playful exchange. To know where this licking and biting is coming from, you’ll need to look at some other clues as well.

1. Licking and Biting as a Sign of Affection

A black cat lying on a blue sheet with white dots (possibly a chair or sofa cover) biting the finger of a woman.

You’re undoubtedly aware that when cats groom themselves, their tongue is the main tool used to smooth and clean their hair. Long, luxurious licks are often coupled with quick bites or nibbles to remove dirt, seeds, or mats. 

Cats are social creatures. In the wild, they will often live in clans where multiple cats share in the hunting, sheltering, and even the grooming duties. When cats groom other cats, they will also lick and then bite in order to get their haircoat in peak condition.

Your housecat considers you part of their clan. They will groom you just as they would any other furry member. So, while you’re busy petting and loving on them, they may try to return the favor by grooming you-often with a lick and then a bite or nibble. These types of bites aren’t hard and don’t break the skin. You won’t find any other signs of aggression, such as growling, hissing, or tail switching. They will most likely be calm, have their eyes half-closed, and continue to lick you after the bite. 

You usually don’t have to do anything to correct this behavior. But if you aren’t a huge fan, you can try ignoring your cat to let them know you didn’t appreciate their love bite.

2. Licking and Biting as a Form of Play

A close-up of a grey and tan cat with patches of white and black stripes is seen biting the hand of someone.

When you’re right in the middle of an epic petting session, your kitty may see this as an opportunity to turn that attention to something a little more rambunctious. Sort of a “while I have you here” action.

This type of biting isn’t usually hard; just enough to get your attention. They may also curl up and play-kick you with their hind legs, or immediately jump up and dart around as if in pursuit of something. This will be more common in younger kitties that are prone to playing anyway.

Again, no aggression here. Although, they may stand back and twitch their tail as they prepare to pounce on you for the next round of play. If this isn’t what you had in mind, simply ignore the behavior and move onto something else. Don’t punish your kitty for play-biting, and don’t continue to play with them until they’re ready to play nice. Make sure you use a toy as a middleman so that your cat won’t abuse your fingers or hands.

3. Licking and Biting to Tell You They’re Done

A light brownish cat with some patches of white and black stripes is behind a cushion, grabbing on to someone's outstretched hand with its paws. The cat's mouth is open, seemingly to bite the person's finger.

Even the greatest and most relaxed petting sessions can’t go on forever. While we are usually the ones to end these fluffy lovefests, sometimes your cat may decide that enough is enough. They may start by licking you as a way of saying thank you for the attention and then bite you to signal the end of the interaction.   

Often, a cat will get up and leave after they bite you if this is the message they are trying to convey. However, if you happen to be sitting in their favorite napping spot, they may prefer that you leave instead. This might bring out a little aggression with some soft hissing or growling or even some claw-less batting until you get the idea and leave. 

With this type of behavior, ending the interaction is exactly what they want. Walking away and ignoring their behavior may not be the best way to let them know you don’t appreciate them biting you. 

Instead, you’ll want to end it on your terms. Try to watch their body language and stop petting them before they bite. They may get tense, pin their ears against their head, or start to squirm around a little before biting you. You can then stop petting them and even set them down on the floor or move them away from you so that they understand that this was your idea and that they don’t need to bite you. 

Are Cat Licks and Bites Unhealthy?

A small grey kitten with black stripes and some light brown matches is licking the fingers of someone (close-up shot).

Cat’s mouths aren’t the most sanitary places to hang out, but a few harmless licks or nibbles on your skin isn’t going to cause much of an issue unless you have open wounds. However, it’s never a bad idea to wash your hands and arms after petting or playing with your cat. This helps to remove excess germs and dander that may cause your allergies to act up.

Most bites after licking that you receive from your cat aren’t going to break the skin. They probably won’t even leave an indentation. If that’s the case, you’re good to go. If a bite does break the skin, it’s best to wash thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the chance of infection. 

Cat bites can commonly cause abscesses, and a more severe condition caused cellulitis if left untreated.

Cats have many behaviors that we often view as strange, with licking and then biting us topping most of our lists. However, it can be completely natural for cats within their cat community (of which you are part). Most of the time, take your cat’s licking and biting as a sign of affection and acceptance. Just be sure you can tell the difference between being playful and when they mean more serious business. 

How Long Do Cats Live?

A grey cat with black stripes sitting on a woman's lap. The woman is putting her arms around the cat. Someone's (male) arm can also be seen sitting next to the woman.

In a purrrfect world, our feline friends would live forever. However, most kitties only live between 12-18 years.

Of course, there will be a difference between the longevity of strictly indoor cats and those that venture outside. In addition to their lifestyle, other variables will influence lifespan as well. Let’s dive into how long cats live and some ways that you can keep them around just a bit longer.

What Factors Affect a Cat’s Lifespan?

A grey cat with black stripes seated on a white chair. There are 2 other white chairs around a white table with no one sitting in them. On the table is a cup of orange juice, a plate with a stack of pancakes in front of the cat, and a white vase with pink and white flowers in it.

To give your cat the longest life possible, you need to understand what influences their lifespan: 

1. Inside or Outside Cat

Probably the most significant factor affecting longevity in cats is whether they go outside. Going outside not only leaves the comfort of the indoors behind, but it also leaves the safety and security of it. The outside world is a dog-eat-dog (or cat?!) world with many dangers to our domestic kitties. There’s the threat of cars, predators, and diseases that can cut some outdoor cats’ lives short.

2. Nutrition

A good diet sets a cat up for good health and increased longevity. Since cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need a lot of meat, the cat food you choose should reflect that.

Choosing a product that is “high protein” isn’t good enough. You need to choose a high-quality protein as well. Look for cat foods made with whole meats and fewer fillers. It should be easily digestible and will have some added benefits like omega fatty acids and antioxidants to help up a cat’s lifespan.

3. Health

While proper nutrition goes a long way in keeping a cat healthy, preventing diseases, parasites, and other health issues should be considered as well. Regular checkups with a vet, along with proper vaccinations and preventative medications, can help your kitty live a longer life. Maintaining a proper weight through diet and exercise is also extremely important. It’s hard to admit, but most of our indoor kitties are overweight, leading to things like joint issues and diabetes.

4. Intact vs. Sterilized

There’s more to having your cat spayed or neutered than just whether you want kittens or not. Cats that are sterilized tend to live longer.

The reason behind this is they don’t have that drive to roam around looking for a mate.  This usually means they are more likely to at home, which provides them with safety.

Many diseases, such as certain types of cancer and uterine infections, go along with holding onto those reproductive parts that can lead to an earlier death.

How to Help Your Cat Live a Longer Life

A white cat with black stripes and beige patches is lying down on a wooden bench sleeping. The hand of a woman can be seen stroking the cat on it's head.

The lifespan of cats is based on two main factors: genetics and environment. While you really can’t change your cat’s genetic makeup, you can influence their environment to get as much time with them as possible.

1. Keep Your Cat Indoors

First and foremost, if you want your cat to live longer, keep them indoors. Don’t subject them to the dangers that come with being outside. If they still desire a little fresh air, consider an enclosed cat porch or supervised time out only.

2. Regular Visits to Your Veterinarian

Seek regular veterinary care; this includes staying up-to-date on vaccinations and having your kitty spayed or neutered. Your veterinarian is there to answer any questions you may have on nutrition, exercise, disease symptoms, and prevention. And believe me, they would rather help you prevent a health condition than treat it later on.

3. High-Quality Diet

Provide your cat with a high-quality diet based on whole foods that give them the protein they need without the extra fillers and stuff they don’t need. Again, your veterinarian is an excellent source of recommendations for this.

4. Fresh Water and Exercise

Always have fresh water available and give your kitty plenty of exercise. If you just rolled your eyes at the thought of taking your cat for a walk, hold it right there. Cats can get plenty of exercise through play, especially if it’s with you. Look into interactive toys that get your cat up and moving, or find them a furry friend that doubles as a workout buddy/playmate.

5. Love

Finally, if you want to help your cat live longer, love them. Kitties are social animals, and they thrive better when they’re part of a clan. Give them attention every day, include them in family activities, and let them know that they matter to you.

Do Some Cat Breeds Live Longer Than Others?

A collage of different species of cat's faces. (5x5 = 25 cats).

There are some breeds of cats that live longer than others, on average. This is partly due to their genetic makeup, making them more or less prone to certain types of diseases.

Specific Breeds That Tend to Live Longer:

  • Siamese
  • Burmese
  • Ragdoll cats

All of these breeds commonly make it into their late teens, if not 20s. Russian Blues and Savannah Cats also have lengthier lifespans.

In general, mixed breeds tend to live longer than purebred kitties due to “hybrid vigor.” Purebred cats are purebred because they come from a very limited genetic line. There are rarely new genes introduced.

This means if some of those genes lead to a higher propensity for cancer, all offspring will be at a higher risk. Mixed breed cats are getting new genes mixed in all the time, helping to dilute out those bad genes that can decrease a cat’s lifespan.

So, while the above breeds tend to live longer, that doesn’t mean that a Heinz 57 cat that you pick up at the shelter won’t experience a life just as long if not longer.

Conclusion

No kitty is born with their lifespan mapped out. Many factors can influence how long they will live, most of which can be affected by you. If you want your cat to live longer than the average, take good care of them, frequent your veterinarian, and give them the attention they deserve.

How Often Do Cats Pee?

A black and white cat on a white toilet looking over to it's right.

When it comes to their litter box business, cats try to be fairly private. Most of the time, we cat parents don’t mind, but sometimes knowing how often your cat pees, the color, odor, or consistency can help us tell if our feline friend is sick or dehydrated. So, what’s normal when it comes to cat pee, and what’s not? Let’s find out.

Is My Cat’s Pee Normal?

A big yellow cat with white patches pointing it's butt to some green pushes and peeing.

Most kitties pee between two and four times a day. With that being said, for some cats, it’s normal to pee more or less often than that. 

The frequency of urination can be affected daily by water intake, whether it’s hot or humid, how active your cat is, and what they have eaten. 

What’s more important than the number of times your cat pees per day is noticing any different trends. Maybe your kitty is usually a five-a-day urinator but has only gone once a day for three straight days. Or maybe they go just a couple of times but flood the litter box with each visit. Noticing sudden changes in your cat’s urination habit will help you know if something could be wrong.

Peeing more than normal, coupled with increased water intake, can indicate kidney diseasediabetes mellitus, or a urinary tract infection. Peeing less than usual is a sign of dehydration or a urinary blockage. All of these issues should be addressed by your veterinarian.

What Color Should My Cat’s Urine Be?

Someone's right hand wearing a white glove holding a test tube of urine.

You may hear the term “straw-colored” to describe the normal color of cat pee. That just means a light yellow color. Some cats may even have urine that’s more clear but is still considered normal. What you don’t want to see is cloudy urine with ‘floaters’ in it. 

Cloudiness or debris in urine is often white blood cells or bladder epithelial cells. Both can signal issues such as a urinary tract infection or a bladder tumor. Other changes in the color, whether darker or lighter, can also indicate that something is wrong, and of course, pink or blood-tinged urine definitely warrants a trip to the vet.

Should Cat Urine Have an Odor?

A young woman wearing a grey top holding her nose with her right hand to indicate something smells unpleasant.

If your kitty is spayed or neutered, their urine shouldn’t pack too much of an odorous punch. However, if you waited a bit too long to get your male kitty fixed, they may have developed that telltale tomcat, testosterone-fueled ammonia odor that will drive you out of the house. 

Urinary tract infections can also lead to a foul odor in your cat’s urine and possibly some discoloration. Let’s not forget that neglecting the litter box cleaning for even one day in a multi-cat household can also create unwanted and unpleasant odors.

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box?

A grey and black kitten with white patching looking down at the floor with a white and green enclosed litter box behind it.

Even though most of the time, using a litter box comes as second nature to a cat, there are times where you may find accidents outside of those four walls. Not using the litter box can happen for several reasons, including:

1. Not Cleaning the Litter Box Frequently Enough

Kitties like a clean space, so much so that even one dirty clump will have some kitties searching elsewhere to do their business. Clean your litter box at least daily, especially if you have multiple cats. You can also increase the number of litter boxes in your household or get a self-cleaning one if this frequency is a problem.

2. They Don’t Like the Litter

Some cats can be picky about the litter in their box. They may not like the texture, fragrance, or the way it sticks between their toes. Unfortunately, some cats decide that the living room rug is a better place to do their business.

3. They Can’t Get Into the Box

If your kitty is getting older or has some medical issues that impede their mobility, getting into a high-sided or top entry litter box can be hard to do. Some kitties might have the ability but lack the desire to enter one of those harder-to-get into litter boxes. For these kitties, choosing a litter box with a lower entryway or a more open design may help.

4. Other Medical Issues

Besides mobility issues, other things like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or diabetes could have your kitty peeing outside the litter box. This is often because they are drinking and urinating more, and sometimes, they have to go…now! They just can’t make it to their litter box. 

Sometimes, as with urinary tract infection or blockages, it’s painful to pee, and they associate that pain with the litter box. Their fix for this is to avoid the litter box to prevent the pain.

Anytime your kitty isn’t using their litter box properly, see your veterinarian. They will be able to rule out medical issues and recommend products that may help your kitty love their litter box again.

Conclusion

How often your kitty pees and what that pee looks like can tell a lot about their health. If, as a cat parent, you’ve come to take your feline friend’s potty breaks for granted, it’s time to get nosy. Understanding what’s normal urination for your cat will help you to determine when something is abnormal. It can also help you and your vet quickly get a handle on an issue before it becomes a more serious problem.

How to Groom Your Cat: A Complete Guide

A light brown cat with white patches and black strips being groomed by a brush under its chin. The person grooming the cat with a blue grooming brush is also holding the cat's face.

 

You’ve probably noticed that your cat spends the better part of their day grooming themselves. The constant licking, primping, and nibbling is for a good reason – they are trying to rid themselves of tangles, snarls, and filth so that they look their best at all times.

While your cat may be a professional at grooming, they sometimes need a little help. That’s where you come in, along with some handy tools, of course. No idea where to start? Let us help you.

How to Groom Your Cat

Cats possess the ultimate all-in-one grooming tool- their tongue. We’re not going to ask you to whip out yours to get this process started. Instead, let’s look at how you can groom your cat go over some of the tools that might help you along your way.

 

1.  BrushingA tan and white cat on its back lying on the floor, with someone holding its legs with one hand and brushing it with the other hand.

Let’s start with the grooming activity that you’ll spend the most time on and will do most frequently – brushing. Depending on your cat’s hair length and shedding style, you may need to do a thorough brushing every day. Brushing is that important.

Brushing your cat’s hair helps remove dirt and dander, untangle snarls to prevent mats, and distributes natural skin oils to give their coat a healthy shine. It also allows you to collect some shed hair that would otherwise wind up on your couch, carpet, and clothes. For your cat, brushing is like a massage that stimulates blood flow to the skin and further deepens that human-animal bond.

For short-haired cats, once a week brushing will usually suffice, especially if they’re doing a good job of grooming themselves. Long-haired or thick-coated cats, like Persians and Himalayans, may benefit from more frequent brushing. Your cat’s brushing schedule will depend a lot on their hair coat type and their temperament.

 

Brushing Short-Haired Cats

  1. Use a metal comb or rake. Start at the head and gently brush or comb your way down the neck and back.
  2. Continue down the sides, ending with the chest and belly, brushing in the direction of your cat’s hair growth. This will help remove tangles and large pieces of debris.
  3. You can then follow the same pattern using a bristle or rubber brush to remove smaller debris and loose hairs.
  4. Brush their legs and tail last, since most kitties aren’t huge fans of these areas being brushed.

For heavy shedders, nothing works better than a Furminator. This tool has a fine comb with very closely spaced teeth that grab onto that loose hair and gently pull it away and hold it so that you can dispose of it in the trash later on.

 

Brushing Long-Haired Cats

  1. Start with a metal comb or rake and comb the tangles out, starting at the abdomen and combing the hair upwards towards their head. This will help ensure that you get tangles out of the undercoat.
  2. Comb their legs and tail by making a part down the middle and combing through each side.
  3. Follow up with a bristle or slicker brush in the same pattern to get smaller debris and snarls and to spread those skin oils.

Furminator makes a long-haired version as well to help decrease shed hair around your home.

Take your time and make brushing a fun and pleasant experience. Detangle their hair gently, being careful not to pull at their hair. Also, don’t try to rush and go faster than your cat is comfortable with. While you brush, be sure to look at your cat’s skin for any irritation, discoloration, or pests. This also gives you a chance to look for new lumps or bumps that might need veterinary attention.

 

2.  BathingA grey, light brown cat with black stripes in a bathtub being given a bath. Someone is washing the cat's belly with one hand, and the other is holding a shower with running water that is going on the cat's back.

The majority of kitties are only going to need a bath every couple of months as they get extra greasy or any time they get something sticky or overly dirty on their fur. If this is your first time bathing your cat, it never hurts to have an extra pair (or two!) of hands to help out.

  1. Brush your cat first to remove excess debris and hair. This will make the bathing process a whole lot easier.
  2. Gather your supplies. You’ll want to have everything within arm’s reach once you get the water going, so have your shampoo and a towel ready. If using a bathtub, a bathmat works well to provide traction.
  3. Fill the tub or sink with 3-4 inches of warm water. Gently place your kitty inside. Using a spray hose or cup, wet your cat down while trying to avoid spraying them directly in the face.
  4. Massage a gentle shampoo into the hair. Human shampoo can be too drying, so stick with a pet labeled product for the best results. Shampoo from head to tail, avoiding the face and ears as best you can. Work the shampoo down to the skin.
  5. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo from your cat’s hair using the spray hose or cup. Make sure you have every last bubble gone, or else it can severely dry your cat’s skin out.
  6. Use a washcloth to wipe the face and ears.
  7. Dry with a towel.

Bathing can be extremely stressful to a cat, so be sure to take it slow and only do what they will tolerate. Having another person help you hold the cat will allow for better control and ensure that everyone stays safe.

 

3.  Nail TrimmingA close-up of someone pushing on a cat's paw to expose its claw nail. The cat's face can be seen in the background.

Even though a cat’s toenails are retractable and you rarely see them, they can still get too long. Trimming your cat’s nails can prevent pain or problems caused by nails that are too long. It can also keep you safe by blunting the ends should you get caught by an errant nail.

Depending on your kitty, you may need to trim nails once a month, while others might only need it a couple of times a year.

 

You’ll Know It’s Time to Trim Your Cat’s Nails If:

  • They start getting their claws hooked in blankets or the carpet.
  • You hear that tell-tale click as they walk across a hard floor.

Older cats may need more frequent trimmings.

This is another project where having another person will help, but it isn’t always necessary.

 

How to Trim Your Cats Nails

Only attempt a nail trim when your kitty is at their calmest. Times that might work well are when your cat just wakes up from a nap or right after dinner. Let them warm up to the idea by first playing with their feet.

  1. With a firm grip on your kitty’s paw, extend the nail by pushing on the toe pad.
  2. Make a note of where the quick is so that you can avoid cutting the nail too short. The quick is the nail’s blood supply and will appear as a pink triangle that protrudes into the clear nail.
  3. Using a comfortable and easy to use pair of nail trimmers, trim off as much of the clear nail as you can without cutting the quick. Do as much as you’re comfortable with. For some, that might mean only taking the sharp tip off, and that’s okay. Whatever you can trim will make a difference.
  4. Continue through with the rest of the toes, rewarding your kitty when you finish. Repeat the process with the remaining paws.

*Note:  Not every cat appreciates their feet being handled. If this sounds familiar, you’ll want to start by working with their feet before introducing the nail trimmers. While brushing, petting, or playing, be sure to touch their feet. You can even gently hold onto them so that they get used to the idea. Make sure your cat is comfortable with this before you try to trim toenails.

 

Grooming Your Cat’s Ears, Eyes, Teeth, & Anal Glands

Grooming your cat doesn’t end there. You’ll want to clean their ears, eyes, and even teeth periodically.

 

1.  EarsA woman putting cleaning drops in a white and light brown cat's ears. The cat is resting on the woman's lap.

Cats get ear infections, ear mites, and hair in their ears. All of these can lead to scratching, head shaking, and general discomfort. Cleaning their ears can help prevent these issues and also give you a chance to notice other problems. Cleaning ears can be done as part of a bath, or anytime you have notice discharge, odor, scratching, or head shaking.

  1. To clean your kitty’s ears, use a gentle cleanser, such as Epi Otic.
  2. Pour the cleaner into the ear until it fills the ear canal. Watch out for head shaking as you do this; kitties tend not to like their ears filled with fluid.
  3. Then massage the base of the ear to loosen debris and hair.
  4. Using a paper towel over your finger, gentle dry out the ear as well as you can. Cotton swabs usually aren’t necessary and can cause some damage if you’re not careful.
  5. Repeat for both ears.

If your cat has a lot of dark-colored discharge or is extremely itchy, see your veterinarian as they may have an infection or ear mite infestation brewing.

 

2.  EyesClose-up side profile image of a grey cat with black stripes. Its green and black eye stands out.

Your kitty’s eyes aren’t going to take a lot of cleaning, usually. However, some cats have a touch of allergies or even an illness that may cause occasional discharge. If that’s the case, wiping them with a wet, warm washcloth will typically take care of it.

 

3.  TeethA close up of a grey, light brown cat with black stripes having its teeth exposed by someone pushing its top lip up. A white toothbrush can be seen in frame, ready to brush the cat's teeth.

Believe it or not, there are vets out there that will tell you to brush your cat’s teeth. And, believe it or not, some cats will let you! If your cat is one of these, great, do it! Using a tiny toothbrush or a finger brush, apply a good flavored toothpaste, and brush those teeth at least once a week.

While brushing their teeth is the best way to avoid dental disease and loose teeth in your cat, it’s not always possible. What you can do instead is provide hard kibble or treats to clean those teeth mechanically. But above all, monitor your feline friend’s smile for bad breath, dirty teeth, or red gums. Then see your vet for a dental cleaning as needed. A quick lift of the lip during brushings or baths is all that it takes to check.

 

4.  Anal GlandsTo the left, a black kitten, and to the right, a white kitten. Both are facing away from the camera, with their anus clearly seen.

Most cat parents will want to leave this to a professional, but it’s worth mentioning. While anal gland issues are more commonly a dog problem, they can become impacted in kitties. Signs of an impaction include excessively licking their hind end, difficulty defecating, and a strong odor. Cats don’t often scoot the way that dogs do; it’s too indecent for their tastes. Having your vet manually express those anal glands will clear this issue up right away.

When grooming your cat, fun should be had by all. Don’t look at it as a chore and make sure your cat doesn’t view it as a punishment. Grooming keeps your cat’s hair coat clean, healthy, and shiny. It also gives the two of you a chance to bond and is the perfect time to check for abnormalities that could be detrimental.

 

 

Cat Vitamins and Supplements: Does Your Cat Really Need Them?

A dark brown, plastic bottle with a white cap and light green/dark green capsules inside, standing up on a grey carpet. There is also a grey cat with black stripes closing its eyes in the background. There is some white pills or possibly a cover next to the medicine bottle.

 

Cats require a nutritionally balanced diet just like any other animal or human. Most high-quality cat foods from reputable brands provide the balanced nutrition each cat requires, but in some cases, your cat may need a little nutritional support with supplements.

Usually, supplements are required in addition to their regular diet if there is an underlying health condition your veterinarian has diagnosed. Some of the most common conditions that require supplementation for cats include kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease (including hairballs), decreased immune system, joint disease, behavior conditions, dental disease, and liver disease. There are thousands of various supplements and vitamins on the market for pets. Make sure to be judicious in your use of these supplements and only use those recommended by your veterinarian.

Does My Cat Need Vitamins or Supplements?

There are eight main areas in which your veterinarian might recommend supplements for your cat. These areas are:

  1. General immune system support
  2. Kidney support
  3. Gastrointestinal support
  4. Skin and haircoat support
  5. Joint support
  6. Liver support
  7. Dental support
  8. Behavioral support

Here is the list of several quality supplements that are available under each category.

 

1.  General Immune System SupportA cute, light brownish cat with black stripes on what appears to be a cushioned chair, licking paste off of someone's hand.

There are two typical supplement types for general immune system healthy support:

  • Lysine Supplements
    • These are helpful supplements for cats for general immune system health and additional respiratory and eye support, especially from a viral disease such as Feline Herpesvirus.
  • General Health Vitamins and Supplements
    • These supplements are found as tinics, multivitamins, immune supports powders, or gels that provide additional immune support for older, sick, or otherwise immune-compromised cats.

There are several reasons why a cat might have a decreased immune system. One common reason is viruses that can weaken the immune system.

Some viruses that cats are especially susceptible to include:

Cats who have been diagnosed with these viruses should receive immune support under the direction of their veterinarian. Immune supplements can include L-lysine supplements, vitamins, fish oils, minerals, and more.

 

 1.  Viralys

Vetoquinol Viralys L-Lysine Supplement for Cats
Daily L-Lysine supplement for cats helps support a strong immune system and eye &

respiratory health.

Helps manage common feline health issues such as sneezing, runny nose and watery, inflamed eyes.

L-lysine is an essential amino acid that some studies show blocks the replication of Herpes virus cells and possibly decreases the virus’s shedding. Overall it supports the immune system. This supplement comes in powder to mix in wet food, or gel which has a molasses-like consistency.

 

2.  Enisyl

No products found.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.

 

3.  Imuquin for Cats

Nutramax Laboratories Imuquin Immune Health Supplement for Kittens 6 Weeks and Older and Adult Cats
Veterinarian formulated mixture of vitamins and minerals to help support every day health.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.

This is a great immune health supplement with a variety of ingredients including Beta Glucan to support healthy immune system function, Marine lipids as a source of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, and vitamins and minerals to maintain a normal immune system and cellular activity.

 

4. Nutri-Cal

Nutri-Cal Nutrical High Calorie Gel
A high calorie supplement for cats and dogs.

Nutrical is a supplement that is high in calories and helps when a sick cat doesn’t have a great appetite. It is great for adding calories to the diet of an underweight or immune-suppressed kitty as well. This is a thick, molasses consistency gel that contains fish oil, vitamins, and protein.

 

5. Liqui-Tinic

Liqui-Tinic 4x Flavored Vitamin and Iron Supplement for Dogs, Cats, Puppies & Kittens
Iron, B-complex vitamins, and amino acids that is palatable for your pet and can help to support the healthy growth of young cats.

This is a flavored supplement that provides additional iron, vitamin B, and amino acids. Your veterinarian might recommend this product if your cat is deficient in any of these nutrients.

 

6.  Pet-Tinic

Pet-Tinic Vitamin-Mineral Supplement for Dogs and Cats
Contains iron, copper and 5 essential vitamins for pets that may not be receiving complete nutrition.

Pet-Tinic is another liquid dietary supplement that your veterinarian might recommend to supplement nutrients your cat may be lacking. It contains iron, copper, and vitamins.

 

7.  Vetriscience NuCat

VetriScience Laboratories - Nu Cat Multivitamin for Cats
An all-in-one multivitamin and mineral supplement that provides total health for cats of all ages.

NuCat has multivitamins that are great for additional nutrients to support your cat’s immune system. The multivitamin has essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids such as taurine, and omega fatty acids. It comes in tablets and chews, and they even provide additional supplements for senior cats specifically. This is an all-around quality supplement to support a sick, elderly, or otherwise immune-compromised cat.

 

2.  Kidney SupportA grey cat with black stripes lying down on a carpet, looking a little sick with its eyes half closed.

Kidney disease is common, especially in older cats. They require not only general immune system support but also kidney-specific health supplements. There are different aspects of kidney disease that can be supplemented, depending on the stage of kidney disease. There are potassium supplements, phosphorus binders, and probiotics specific for kidney health.

As cats age, they are prone to kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease. This disease occurs in several different stages that require additional nutritional and hydration attention.

Kidney disease has no specific treatment but can be supported through special care, including increased hydration and fluid intake, providing increased calories and high-quality nutrition. Adding supplements may help with secondary issues that kidney disease causes, such as anemia, increased phosphorus, decreased potassium, protein loss, blood pressure changes, and urinary issues.

 

1.  Azodyl

Vetoquinol Azodyl Kidney Health Supplement for Dogs & Cats
Azodyl probiotic caps to help support kidney function; safe for cats & dogs of all ages and sizes

Contains beneficial bacteria to help promote good kidney health & manage uremic (renal) toxins.

Azodyl is a special probiotic and prebiotic supplement that specifically supports kidney health.

 

2.  Epakitin

Vetoquinol Epakitin Chitosin-Based Phosphate Binder for Cats & Dogs – Renal Support
Chitosan-based phosphate binder is highly-palatable & supports renal function in dogs & cats.

Soy protein-based nutrition powder naturally supports normal kidney function & health in dogs & cats

This supplement helps to control rising phosphorus levels in the bloodstream as kidney failure advances. It contains phosphorus binding ingredients as well as protein supplementation.

 

3.  Renal K +

Vetoquinol Renal K+ (Potassium Gluconate) Potassium Supplement Powder for Dogs and Cats
A potassium gluconate supplement that is highly palatable & supports normal renal health in dogs & cats.

Renal K + is a supplement that helps potassium deficient cats in kidney failure. It provides additional potassium in the form of a powder or gel.

 

4.  Hydracare

Hydra Care Pro Plan Supplement
Nutrient-enriched water to support healthy hydration in cats.

This is a nutrient-enriched water supplement that provides osmolytes to increase water absorption. Cats diagnosed with kidney disease are prone to dehydration and can use hydration support in any way possible. Hydracare comes in a small packet that can be added to your cat’s food or fed alone.

Here is a video explaining it in detail.

 

3.  Gastrointestinal SupportA brown cat with black stripes and white chest is looking up with its eyes closed, and looks to have a big smile on its face.

The health of the gastrointestinal tract is essential.  This is where cats digest all its nutrients. Supplements to support the gastrointestinal system are important, especially in cats who have underlying gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, food hypersensitivities or are prone to hairballs. These include probiotics and omega fatty acid lubricants.

Cats that have frequent hairballs, vomit regularly, or have loose bowel movements, should be checked out by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend a probiotic supplement to replenish the good and beneficial bacteria in the cat’s GI tract.

 

1.  Proviable-DC

Proviable DC for Cats and Dogs
A multi-strain probiotic supplement to support gastrointestinal health in cats.

Proviable is a probiotic supplement that provides billions of beneficial microorganisms to your cat’s intestinal tract. This can be helpful for long- or short-term episodes of gastrointestinal upset. These probiotics help stimulate the immune system, digest nutrients, and produce vitamins and essential fatty acids. This probiotic comes in a paste or sprinkle capsule.

 

2.  Fortiflora

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Probiotics Cat Supplement
Probiotic supplement for the dietary management of kittens and adult cats with diarrhea.

This is another probiotic supplement that provides beneficial bacteria to a cat’s GI tract. It comes in packets of powder that are sprinkled over a cat’s food daily.

 

3.  Propectalin

Vetoquinol Pro-Pectalin Tablets for Dogs & Cats
Supplement that contains probiotics that support digestive and intestinal health & microbial floras.

Propectalin comes in a flavored gel or tablet form to provide beneficial bacteria to the GI tract and includes kaolin and pectin to aid in firming up loose stools. It helps maintain proper pH in the GI tract and supports normal digestive function.

 

4.  Laxatone

Laxatone Original Maple Falvor
An oral gel that is palatable, gentle, and an effective lubricant that aids in the elimination and prevention of hairballs.

Laxatone is a thick molasses-like gel given as a supplement to lubricate the GI tract to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats. It contains mineral oil, molasses, and omega fatty acids.

 

4. Skin and Haircoat SupportYoung Asian woman kissing a yellow and white cat

Fish oils provide sources of omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and nails.

Cats that suffer from allergies, hair loss, skin infections, poor grooming, dandruff, dry skin, or dull haircoats can benefit from a daily fish oil supplement providing omega fatty acids. There are many different fish oil supplements for cats. They come in oil pumps or capsule varieties. They help nourish and support the skin and fur.

 

1.  Eicosa3FF SnipCaps

Dechra Eicosa3FF SnipCaps
Concentrated form of beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a free fatty acid form recommended to aid atopic dermatitis, dry skin or haircoat.

This is one of many varieties of fatty acid supplements. The free form fatty acid is well digested, and the snipcap variety is formulated to make dosing easier in cats. You simply snip off the tip and squirt the oil over your cat’s food.

 

5. Joint SupportA yellow cat lying down, being held by someone with green gloves. The cat's right front legs is wrapped in gauze.

Cats are prone to arthritis as they age, just like dogs and humans. Providing a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement is beneficial for joint health.

As cats age, they are prone to arthritis and other joint diseases just as dogs and humans. While cats are smaller and, therefore, don’t have as much weight on their joints, they can still have difficulty navigating stairs, jumping on and off furniture and cat trees, and overall have decreased mobility. Supplementing with a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement will help support the joints. These kinds of supplements are also beneficial in cats who have had accidents or injuries affecting their musculoskeletal system.

 

1.  Dasuquin Advanced

Nutramax Dasuquin Capsules
Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health

Dasuquin Advanced comes in a capsule that is sprinkled over the cat’s food or a tasty chew treat.

 

2.  Cosequin

Nutramax Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules for Cats
Contains 125 milligrams FCHG49 Glucosamine and 100 milligrams TRH122 Chondroitin Sulfate per capsule to help maintain joint health.

Cosequin is another supplement for cats that provides a high-quality source of glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. It also comes in a sprinkle capsule or chews.

 

6.  Liver SupportA veterinarian examining a yellow cat with brownish stripes. The cat is lying down on the exam table, and the vet is using a stethoscope on the cat's stomach. The cat is looking directly into the camera.

Cat diagnosed with liver diseases can benefit from supplements that support liver health and function such as SAM-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) and Silybin A+B (also known as milk thistle).

 

4.  Denamarin

Denamarin Liver Support Supplements for Cats and Small Dogs
Provides liver protection, detoxification, and maintain the health of your pet's liver.

Denamarin is a supplement that contains both SAM-e and milk thistle in one tablet.

 

7.  Dental SupportA grey cat with black stripes having it's teeth cleaned with a toothbrush by a woman.

Dental disease is as common in cats as it is in dogs. Dental treats, chews, and plaque removing supplements help support the health of your cat’s gums and teeth.

Not only is it important to brush your cat’s teeth and provide regular dental cleanings, but you can also help support your cat’s dental health with supplements to remove plaque and tartar and help prevent inflammation in the mouth, such as stomatitis or gingivitis.

 

1.  Feline Greenies

Feline Greenies Natural Dental Care Cat Treats, Chicken Flavor
Crunchy texture helps clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup, and freshen breath.

Made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients; nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats.


Greenies are not only specially formulated dental chews and treats to remove tarter and promote dental health, but they are also a tasty treat that cats love to crunch on.

 

2.  Plaque off

Proden PlaqueOff Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Promotes healthy teeth, gums and fresh breath.

100-percent natural oral supplement made from a specific strain of seaweed harvested from above Scandinavia.


This is a natural supplement made from seaweed to help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and support overall dental health. It comes as a powder to be sprinkled over food.

 

8.  Behavioral SupportA light brown, grey cat with black strips and white patches is in a room, looking angrily to the camera. In the background, there is a shelf with a small white lamp that is very blurry.

Many cats have behavioral issues from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression or obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Supplements that decrease anxiety and stress can be beneficial to help with these bad behaviors.

Cats can have various behavioral disorders and concerns from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression, overgrooming, or other obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Supplements can help curb these undesirable behaviors before prescription medications might be needed.

 

1.  Feliway

FELIWAY Classic 30 Day Starter Kit Plug-in Diffuser & Refill for Cat
Diffuser emits an odorless copy of the facial Pheromone clinically proven to reduce scratching and urine spraying in 9/10 cats.

Feliway is a cat-specific pheromone that promotes calming and reduces anxiety. It comes in a travel spray, plug-in diffuser, and wipes to help cats with anxiety, stress, and inappropriate behaviors.

 

2.  Composure Chews

VetriScience Laboratories Composure, Calming Formula for Cats
Uses the natural power of Colostrum, L-Theatine and Thiamine to ease nervousness without effecting your cat's personality.

These are chews that support calming behaviors in cats, especially when exposed to stressors in the environment. They contain bioactive proteins from colostrum to help normalize brain function to encourage stress-reduction and relaxation.

 

3.  Zylkene

Zylkene Vetoquinol 75mg
Non-drowsy nutritional supplement to help manage pet behavior problems; helps promote sense of calm.

Zylkene contains a calming natural milk protein that is lactose-free & simple to administer daily.


Zylkene is a hydrolyzed milk protein that has calming properties and helps cats relax. It can also help make a cat more receptive to behavior-modifying training.

 

 

Frequently Asked QuestionsA light grey and white cat with black stripes staring at something on its right side. The background is all black.

Here are some of the most asked questions people have about giving their cats vitamins and supplements.

 

1. Why Does a Cat Need to Have Supplements?

Your cat might need to have a supplement added to their diet if they aren’t receiving adequate nutrition, have a virus that suppresses their immune system, has cancer, is a senior cat, or is otherwise sick or unhealthy.

 

2. How Do You Choose the Best Supplement?

The best and first thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian about which supplement is appropriate for your cat based on its health status. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and run specific diagnostic tests to determine what parts of the body might benefit from supplementation.

 

3. What Are the Advantages and Benefits of Supplements?

  • Some advantages and benefits of supplements include:
  • They protect and support the immune system.
  • They help fight illness and infection.
  • There are supplements to support nearly every body system.
  • They can help correct nutritional deficiencies.
  • They can help the body absorb nutrients.

 

4.  What Is the Best Way to Use Supplements?

There are several different varieties of supplement formulations. Some come in powder, capsules, sprinkle capsules, gels, paste, or tablets, to name a few. Most supplements are administered orally.

 

5. What Kind of Controversy or Precautions Are There for Using Supplements?

Most supplements are considered nutraceuticals, meaning they are products derived from plants that claim a health benefit. The FDA regulates nutraceuticals as food instead of under the drug and pharmaceutical category. They should be administered under the direction of a veterinarian.

 

The Best Cat Carriers for Nervous Cats

Black and white cat sticking its head out of a dark greenish-bluish and light tan cat carrier. A woman is touching the cat with her left hand on the cat's neck

 

Choosing the Right Carrier for a Nervous Cat

If traveling with your cat falls under the category of “worst idea imaginable,” it might be time to invest in a new cat carrier.

Now, nothing will have your cat jumping eagerly at the door, begging for a car ride, but choosing one of the best cat carriers for nervous cats can make any cat-accompanied trip much more enjoyable.

Don’t believe me? Reading this article might change your mind!

1.  Best Overall for Nervous Cats: Amazon Basics Two Door Top Load Hard Sided Pet Travel Carrier

AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier
Simple, hard-sided carrier that is durable and easy to assemble.

Two-doors, with a top entry option to making loading easier.

This cat carrier from Amazon Basics is just that-basic. Which when it comes to nervous cats, sometimes the simpler things are, the better.

This hard-sided carrier is meant to stand up to scratchers and clawers, and the front metal door will keep errant paws from causing trouble.

This carrier comes in two sizes, a 19″ and a 23″ length so that you can accommodate any size kitty. The larger carrier is convenient for placing a comfortable bed, while the smaller size may help your fraidy cat feel more confined and secure.

For cats that are more nervous with loading in a carrier, the Amazon Basics features two doors, one at the front and one on top so that you and your cat can choose which one is more comfortable.

The top door also opens to either the left or the right, again adding convenience. This carrier comes apart in the middle so that the top can be lifted off in case you have a nervous cat that doesn’t want to come out once they go in.

But don’t worry, it secures with latches and screws when you don’t want it to come apart.

Always be sure to securely latch the top door as it also serves as the carrying handle and can come open when you lift it if you’re not careful. This is especially a problem when carrying multiple kitties or cats on the heavier side.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to Use
  • Two-door access
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Top door may come open when lifted
  • Not as comfortable as a soft-sided carrier

 

2.  Easiest Storage: SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier

SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier - Front Door Plastic Collapsible Carrier, Gray and Tan, Medium (Pack of 1)
Durable, easy to clean, and can fold down for easier storage.

Can accommodate pets up to 25 pounds.

This unique carrier from SportPet features a triangular shape, rather than the more common rectangle. This shape is what makes a hard-sided cat carrier foldable for more convenient storage.

The shape also makes it easier to fit on the floor of your car. While it might seem like a triangular carrier wouldn’t be as comfortable for your kitty, this one is large enough for a smaller cat to stand or sit up as well as sprawl out. This carrier can hold cats up to 25 pounds!

The SportPet Designs Foldable Cat Carrier only has one door, but that door takes up nearly all of the carrier’s side, making it large enough to load even nervous cats conveniently. There is also plenty of holes for ventilation or for your cat to see out. The plastic sides are durable to stand up to any rough and tumble as well as persistent claws.

Since this carrier can fold for storage, always be sure that the sides and door are secured before trusting your kitty inside. A cat escape issue can occur if this carrier isn’t correctly latched when reassembled.

Pros

  • Easy storage
  • Unique shape for more convenient stowing
  • Durable plastic for easy cleanup

Cons

  • Needs reassembling if folded
  • Cats can escape if walls aren’t properly latched

 

3.  Most Versatile: PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier

PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Cat Carrier Soft Sided Foldable Top & Side Loading Pet Crate
Optimal ventilation cat carrier with four access panels and adjustable shoulder straps for more comfortable transport.

Adjustable seatbelt loops, locking zippers, and reinforced seams makes it a good carrier for traveling by car.”]

For cats whose nervousness makes them difficult to load, the PetLuv Happy Cat Premium Carrier offers four access options. All four sides double as doors should you need them to coax your nervous kitty in or out.

These four doors are made of rubber mesh so that this carrier feels more open for those claustrophobic or curious felines. It also has roll-down solid curtains should your cat want some privacy.

This is a soft-sided carrier, making it convenient to fold and store, as well as comfortable to carry. It comes in many different sizes, some even with wheels. The different size options will allow you to outfit your kitty with a comfortable bed to make them feel more at home.

The doors open with zippers that can be locked to block any clever escape attempts. It also comes with seatbelt loops to securely fasten your cat into any car seat to prevent rolling and tumbling while on the road.

Since this is a soft-sided carrier, it’s not meant for destructive travelers. Kitties on an escape mission should be able to tear through the rubber mesh and get away. It works best for kitties who are more afraid of the entry than actually being in the carrier.

Pros

  • Provides lots of visibility or privacy
  • Easy access for quick loading
  • Convenient storage

Cons

  • Material can be scratched or clawed
  • More expensive

 

4.  Most Private: Prefer Pets Hideaway Duffel

Prefer Pets Hideaway Pet Airline Approved Travel Carrier Duffel Bag & Backpack
Easy to carry and airline approved.

Privacy covers can roll down for extra privacy.

Side pocket is convenient to hold small items like snacks, medication, waste bags, etc.

If comfort, or lack thereof, is the reason for your cat’s nervousness about travel, look at the Prefer Pets Hideaway Duffel. This duffel is easy to carry, provides plenty of seclusion, and even blocks some noise.

The mesh top and sides allow for extra ventilation or can be covered with lined, roll-down curtains to block out the world.

This carrier has three doors, one at the top and one on each end, to provide quick loading and unloading access. There is a harness clip inside should you want the added security of fastening your kitty inside of the carrier.

There is also a large storage pocket located on the outside of this carrier to store treats, catnip, or other travel necessities to keep your kitty calm.

This is a soft-sided carrier, making it a risk for destructive cats. It also doesn’t have zipper locks to keep the doors securely fastened, and some persistent cats can push through the doors by unzipping the zippers. You can place your own lock on the zippers, though. It just doesn’t come equipped with them.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Provides seclusion and privacy
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Can be unzipped
  • Mesh can be clawed or scratched

 

5.  Most Durable: Petmate Sky Kennel

Petmate Sky Kennel, 28 Inch, IATA Compliant Dog Crate for Pets 15-30lbs, Made in USA
Heavy duty plastic shell makes this carrier very sturdy.

Carrier meets most airline cargo specifications for easy and safe travel, but you should always confirm this with individual airlines.

Petmate Sky Kennels are designed for airline travel, so this one should solve your durability issues if your cat’s escape plan includes digging themselves to freedom.

It also features a metal door that serves as structural reinforcement, which may be necessary when traveling by plane. This door is large, making the loading game a bit less tricky.

This cat carrier also has metal screens on the sides that serve as vents or windows for those curious travelers. However, there is still ample enough room for those cats that prefer to hide behind the solid parts of the walls.

The Petmate Sky Kennel comes in a variety of sizes to get the perfect fit for whatever size your cat, or cats, may be. Larger sizes may be more comfortable and easier to load your cat into. However, smaller sizes may be easier to carry around.

When choosing a size, the measurements listed on the chart are for the outside dimensions. Keep in mind that the inside dimensions will be slightly smaller, so when in doubt, go for the bigger one. The larger sizes tend to be heavy as well, so be careful when using the carrying handle as it can break when lifting heavier kitties.

Pros

  • Ready for airline travel
  • Many sizes to choose from
  • Sturdy and durable

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as other carriers
  • More expensive than other carriers

 

Best Cat Carrier for Nervous Cats Buying GuideBest Cat Carrier For Nervous Cats Buying Guide

If you have a nervous kitty, having a comfortable and secure cat carrier is a must. When choosing that perfect carrier, there are several things to consider.

 

What Makes Cats Nervous When Traveling?Grey, brownish cat with black straps coming out of a purple soft carrier. The cat looks a little timid coming out of the carrier.

To find the best carrier for your nervous cat, you first need to understand what makes them nervous. For some kitties, their nervousness comes from being pushed into a cramped, dark, plastic box.

And who could blame them?

For kitties that dread the loading procedure, look for a cat carrier with multiple door options, especially a top door.

This allows you to set your cat down into the carrier rather than trying to push them in. Having larger and more ventilation “windows” may also help the cat carrier appear more open and shed some light on the interior, easing some cat’s apprehension.

For other cats, the nervousness isn’t in the loading; it’s in confinement. Maybe they don’t like the rough and tumble of being jostled around. Or they don’t appreciate four walls closing in on them.

This may cause them to scratch, claw, wail, or look for another means of escape. For kitties that scratch or claw, look into a hard-sided cat carrier. While they might not be as plush and comfy, they’re more durable and able to withstand some nervous slashing.

If, instead, your kitty seeks more comfort, look into a soft-sided carrier that can easily be toted. Adding a soft bed and windows/openings that can open or close (depending on whether your cat wants to look out or would prefer to be unseen), is an excellent option for comfort.

 

The Safety of a Cat Carrier for Nervous CatsGrey cat with dark orange eyes half way out of a purple hard case carrier. The carrier is in the car, and the cat is looking over to the left.

Your next big concern when choosing a cat carrier for your bundle of feline nerves is safety.

Safety is always a priority when traveling with your furry friend, but especially so with nervous cats. They are more likely to devise and execute escape plans. If your cat is a scratcher, you will want to get something that can withstand cat claws.

You may also want something with lockable doors. Whether they close with zippers or springs and pins, the ability to lock the doors will prove invaluable if you have a feline Houdini. You’d be surprised what a persistent kitty can do.

Many can push zippers open and pop the metal spring, especially if it isn’t closed correctly. Some cat carriers may come with locks or secondary buckles already in place, while others may provide the ability without the actual lock. Whichever the case, always backup the closing device of your cat carrier.

Whether you’re planning to fly or spending long periods in a car, the durability and sturdiness of a cat carrier may become important.

There may be a lot of jostling, packing, and stacking when you travel by airplane, so make sure your carrier can hold up. You also may want to make sure it has some stability if in a car accident.

If you choose a soft cat carrier, go with one that can be buckled in with a seatbelt. You may also choose a carrier that allows your cat’s harness to be fastened to the inside. This will prevent your kitty from busting out whether they can get the door open or not.

 

Other Features of Cat Carriers for Nervous CatsSmall multi-colored kitten in a white cat carrier. Kitten is lying down looking towards the left.

Once you have your safety and loading capabilities chosen, it’s time to pick out the perks. After all, if you’re more comfortable when traveling, your cat will be as well.

You need to pick a cat carrier that will be big enough to be comfortable for your cat, but it can be awkward and heavy for you to carry. If that’s the case, consider a cat carrier with wheels. Or for soft-sided cat carriers, one with a shoulder strap. The more conveniently and comfortably you can carry your cat, the more at ease they will be.

You can also look into a cat carrier with pockets for storage of necessities like treats and leashes. Finally, look at your storage situation when the carrier’s not in use. If you’re worried about where you’ll store it for the rest of the year, think about a model that folds or can be taken apart easily.

 

Conclusion

Traveling with any cat is usually no picnic, but traveling with a nervous cat can be downright unpleasant. Choosing the best carrier for your nervous cat buddy is essential. It can help make traveling more comfortable and safer for your cat and make the loading process much easier for you.

When Do Cats Stop Growing?

One adult grey cat sitting next to small grey kitten. Both are looking at something in the distance

 

When Does a Kitten Become a Cat?

The day you bring home your cute little mischievous kitten is one of the most exciting days of a new kitten owner. Holding her in your hand might make you wonder how a creature so small could have such a big attitude. You might even wonder when she will grow into this big personality she already shows off.

Kittens grow rapidly into full-size cats; it often seems to be right before your eyes! It is good to know what to expect as your kitten grows up to ensure you are providing the best nutrients and environment for their health and safety.

When Do Cats Stop Growing?Small yellow kitten climbing out of a blue basket. The kitten's mother is in the background watching.

As your kitten grows up, you might wonder when they will stop growing.   At what point is a kitten considered an adult cat?

The answer varies based on several different factors, including what breed or sex of cat you have. In general, a cat is considered an adult by around 12 to 15 months of age. They will have some filling out to do at this point, but typically at a much slower pace than their first year of life. On average, a full-grown cat can be expected to weigh about 10 pounds but can range anywhere from 8 to 18 pounds.

 

Cat Growth Cycle

1 to 6 monthsTwo newborn kittens in the palms of 2 people's hands

  • Newborn kittens are born with both their eyes and ears closed. They start opening around 1 to 2 weeks of age. By 2 weeks old, their deciduous (baby) teeth start to erupt.
  • Kittens are raised with their mother until about 8 weeks of age, which is when they can be weaned.
  • Until about 6 months of age, a general rule for a healthy kitten is they will grow about 1 pound per month. A 1-month-old kitten will weigh about 1 pound; a 2-month-old kitten will weigh about 2 pounds, and so on until about 6 months of age.
  •  A kitten’s baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth once it is around 3 or 4 months old and continue until 6 months of age.
  • Kittens up to about 6 months old are equivalent to human babies and toddlers.

 

6 to 12 monthsCute fluffy grey cat with bluish greenish eyes looking at the camera

  • Kittens reach sexual maturity during this juvenile period. It is often around this age that your veterinarian might recommend having your female cat spayed or your male cat neutered.
  • By this age, a kitten will have their adult teeth.
  • A kitten from 6 to 12 months is considered similar to a human preteen and teenager.

 

1 to 2 years

Yellow brownish cat with black stripes lying down looking at something in the distance

  • Once a cat is a year old, they are considered full-grown and comparable to a young adult human.
  • It is from year 1 to 2 that they mature into a fully developed and mature cat.

 

How Big Will My Cat Get?Huge white and brown/yellowish cat licking its nose

The average cat will weigh right around 10 pounds. The size and weight of your adult cat will vary based on several factors like breed, sex, and diet.

 

Breed differences

The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 71 different types of registered purebred cat breeds. This doesn’t even include all the varieties of mixed breeds commonly referred to as domestic short, medium, or long-haired cats.

While cats don’t genetically differ much from their ancestors, different breeds can have drastically different looks. From the hairless Sphynx to the large fluffy Maine Coon, there are many various colors, hair lengths, and sizes of cats.

 

Small Cat Breeds

  • Singapura cats are one of the smallest breeds that you can find. They typically don’t weigh more than about 5 pounds full-grown.
  • According to Purina, a few other small cat breeds include the Munchkin, American Curl, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, and Siamese. As adults, these cats tend to weigh between 5 and 10 pounds.

 

Large Cat Breeds

  • Purina also lists some of the largest cat breeds.
  • Maine Coon cats have long been known to take the record, literally the Guinness World Record, for being the largest domestic cat breed. On average, a Maine Coon can weigh between 15-25 pounds!
  • Some other large cat breeds include the Persian, Savannah Cat, Norwegian Forest Cat, Birman, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, and Chausie.

 

Male Versus Female

Like many species, males tend to be larger than their female counterparts. There is no specific range or exact difference, but they tend to have a larger muscle mass and stand taller and longer than females.

 

Spayed or Neutered Versus Intact

Cats that have been fixed (spayed or neutered) are not necessarily bigger but tend to gain more weight and are more prone to obesity than their intact feline friends.  This is because sex hormones help keep a cat’s metabolism in check. Once a cat is spayed or neutered, those hormones go away, and often the cat leads a more sedentary lifestyle and thus is prone to weight gain.

 

What Is a Healthy Size or Weight for My Cat?Vet putting a tan-ish black Siamese cat on a scale to check its weight

As mentioned above, several factors lead to a cat’s adult weight. It is important to take your cat for yearly veterinary checkups to make sure they are at a healthy weight for their age and breed.

 

Body Condition Score

Most veterinarians will use the body condition score to determine if your cat is underweight, at an ideal weight, or overweight. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has a standard chart that you can also use at home.

Ideally, you should be able to feel your cat’s ribs as you run your hands down their sides. You don’t want to see the ribs or hip bones sticking out. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel a lot of fat covering their ribs or have a big belly hanging down when they walk.

 

Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can cause or predispose cats to weight loss or weight gain. Cats losing weight might have gastrointestinal disease, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, dental disease, or cancer. Cats that are obese are often predisposed to diabetes. It is essential to talk to your veterinarian if you are worried about your cat’s weight.

 

What Is the Best Food to Give a Growing Cat?

The best way to know how much food to feed your cat at any life stage is to talk to your veterinarian.  Feeding your cat according to the guidelines listed on their food bag is a good place to start. You can adjust this based on whether they need to gain or lose weight.

Most veterinarians will recommend that you feed your cat meals as opposed to free-feeding or leaving the food out all day. This will make it easier to measure the amount of food your cat is eating and to monitor how much they are eating. It is also easier to track weight loss and weight gain this way.

Typically, the best cat foods are from well-known brands rather than boutique brands.

Kittens

Newborn kittens should nurse from their mother or be fed kitten milk replacer until their teeth come in, and they start eating wet or canned food, which is typically around 3-4 weeks From 4 weeks to about 6 weeks, kittens can transition to eating dry kitten food. A kitten should be fed dry kitten food or a mixture of wet and dry kitten food until a year of age.

 

Adult Cats

Once a cat is a year of age, they can eat regular adult cat food.

 

Senior Cats

When your adult cat grows into their senior years around 10 years of age, they should be transitioned to a senior-specific cat diet.

Cornell University has some great resources for feeding your cat and healthy weights.

As mentioned above, many interesting factors determine how big your little kitten will grow up to be. When you adopt a kitten, there usually isn’t much information about their history, so it can be hard to predict. The most important thing is to enjoy seeing your kitten’s personality blossom as they grow into adult cats.