Siamese and Babies!

We often hear that “the cat resents the new baby” or “the cat is jealous of the new baby.”  This may be true, but do not assume this is the cat’s motivation for house soiling. We have found that is usually not what is going on.  Pottying is about going to the bathroom, not about jealousy.

Cats often quit using the litter box while the lady is pregnant.  Her husband is supposed to be cleaning the litter box, but he does not meet the cat’s standards.  The next difficult time is when the baby comes, and the cat box is not getting attention because NO ONE but the new infant is getting attention….

Purchasing any one of many automated litter cleaning products such as Litter Robot, Litter Maid, Cat Genie, etc. will keep the cat’s litter clean even when you are gone or preoccupied.  This is one time that money can buy happiness!

Another pit fall of new babies is that they soon grow into toddlers.  The most common reason cats and toddlers do not get along is that toddlers ambush cats in the litter box.  I am not picking on your parenting skills or your baby.  This is true of most homes and most toddlers.

Providing a safe place for kitty to potty will prevent trouble.  Not providing a safe place means your kitty will select a safe place.  Chances are, it will be an elevated location such as a bed or furniture.  Kitty will choose something nice and adsorbant that offers a good view of trouble on the way.

From the cat’s point of view, once you wash the bedding or clean the furniture, it is ready to “go” again!  Remmeber that the most important thing about a litter box is that the cat likes it and feels safe using it.  Your decorating ideas simply do not enter into the cat’s decision making process. So keep it clean, and keep it safe , and all will be well.. well at least with the litter box!


Hairballs! Ewww!

With the coming of Spring, you will start to notice your cat grooming more often and shedding its coat.  Licking this loose hair can create another problem: hairballs!  Your cat’s swallowed hair normally passes in  the litter box. But, when it does not, the hair forms a mat in the stomach.  When that mat builds up your cat will vomit this hair and we call these “hairballs”.  The coughing, the choking, and  the wet surprises stepped on in the night are no fun.

Here are a few ways you can help your cat to keep hairballs from forming:

Grooming –  many cats accept or enjoy brushing to remove loose hair. Better yet, brushing also helps keep hair off you and your home. My favorite cat grooming tools are:

  • Slicker brushes whose metal pins quickly remove loose hair even from long coats
  • Soft rubber curries which work better for older cats with sensitive skin and on really short hair

Fiber – special food and treats add bulk and moisture to help hair to pass in stool

Laxatives – flavored hairball treatments coat swallowed hair and pass it in stool.  Some cats refuse these but will eat butter or other oils such as bacon grease and the oil from tuna.

We joke about hairballs because they are nasty and inconvenient for you and your cat but, hair balls can cause serious blockages. If they are more than a seasonal irritation, please see your veterinarian.

How to take better Holiday photos of your kittens!

Kittentanz’s Customers often do not believe how easy it is to get good photos of your favorite Kittentanz Kitty!  During these holidays, when you go to take pictures of your furry friends,  we hope that these pointers will make you get better results!

The first thing we must discuss is your camera.  Here at Kittentanz we use a Nikon d-90 with a 70-135 lens.  This allows me the flexibility for slightly different exposures and the speed and response to get good photos.  I know many of you might have cell phones and Ipads and those can still work to make great photos.  However, there will need to be much more planning or luck for these devices to get the picture that you can get with even a lower level digital camera.  So if you have one, or are asking Santa, use a mid level camera such as this – Panasonic Lumix ZS20  (http://tinyurl.com/n9edmdm).

You want to use Shutter priority.  For those who do not know what that is – it is a setting on your camera that you can set where you control the shutter speed.  250 or above please!

Use Burst mode – if you have it -to take several pictures at the same press of the shutter.  (It feels like you are a pro!  Click click click …ha!)

Natural light !  Let me say that again — NATURAL LIGHT! — or bright indoor lights.   That means NO FLASH!  This is super important –  getting your kitten posed in natural light or good indoor light,  allows you to work without scaring the kitten with the flash and no annoying “red eye” to deal with.

Close ups!  Close ups are better!  Close ups allow you  to see your kittens’ eyes or to illustrate the emotional moment.  That makes for better pictures!

Focal point is important..  and I don’t mean that the picture is clear… but, the subject is obviously what you intend the viewer to see.  If it is your wife and her new kitten, frame your wife and the kitten as the only major elements in the photo.  Get down to your kitten’s level and take the photo there the focal point will be better!

Focus.. ah.. the last major point..  How to get good focus.  I always make the eyes as the place where I focus the camera.  The eyes are truly the window to the soul, using them as THE element to focus on is a “can’t miss.”  If you are using a cell phone or an Ipad to get your pictures, focus can be difficult. But, closeness and patience will get you better picture!  Remember no flash on that cell phone.

Photoshop is your friend…  A good retouch with a photo editing program is often a good idea.  Removing the little fuzz balls, or the odd piece of litter or dust will make your photo better.  Contrast adjustments and brightness are important too!

I hope these tips will help you take better pictures and remember, I want all of those terrific Kittentanz kittens on our Facebook page!  Send them to me at catman@kittentanz.com


Cleaning carpet for the holidays

I had a conversation today about a timely topic with folks thinking of company.  If you have pets and/or children and have carpet, too, then you need to clean carpeting!  My back ground is industrial cleaning chemistry, so I can help.

My favorite products are Resolve carpet cleaner and Bissell Proheat Pet deep cleaner.  The Bissell cleaner is as easy to use as a vacuum.  It has 2 features that separate it from other carpet cleaning machines:

It heats the water as it applies it to the carpet.  This really boosts cleaning performance.

It uses a single bucket, so it is lighter weight and easier to operate.

Keys to good , clean carpet that does not resoil quickly are using as little soap as possible, water as hot as possible, and extracting the soap thoroughly.  Here is how I do it.

First vaccuum really thoroughly.  Next spray Resolve spot treatment on obvious stains.  Use Bissell’s hand tool to mist high traffic areas lightly with carpet cleaner that is diluted according to directions.  With the machine still set to the hand tool, operate the cleaner over the high traffic areas and stains.  This is to let the power brush scrub the soap into the stains and soiled areas.  Finally, switch from hand tool setting to water only and floor cleaning.  Extract the carpet until water is no longer soiled.

The carpet should look clean when you are done, but some stains will wick up and be visible again the next day.  Spot treat those again and extract again.  Deep stains or heavily soiled high traffic areas may need several cleanings, but since the Bissell is easy to use, I just keep it out until I am satisfied.

What a great tool.  Happy entertaining!  Michelle