What’s the Furr’d Word?

BP-thumb-v1Boss Paws here. I’m going to be coming atya on a regular basis, sometimes a few times a week…so get your tail ready! I’m going to give you the scoop without the poop about everything that goes down in Sniff-It Park!™

As you may have guessed, I call this scoop the Furr’d Word™. The Furr’d Word is not only a blog, it’s the news feed that circulates throughout Sniff-It Park. So if something goes down, there’s no way all the Critters aren’t going to find out about it. I even bark about some of the crazy stuff that goes on with the Bi-Peds when I hang out in Bi-Ped City. Those Bi-Peds do some mutt-nutty stuff! I’m not the only one who has something to say about it.

Hobo-Kitty-thumb-v1You undoubtedly will hear from my partner in crime, Hobo Kitty. I can’t lie, she’s kinda gangsta. I can’t get away from her and there’s a whole story behind that, but apparently that’s going to come out in my chapter book. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can check out my picture book, t-shirts, and other cool stuff at BossPaws.com/shop

Now back to the Furr’d Word! Ok, Hobo Kitty just yowled at me and said I need to mix in some info about pet health, behavior, training, products, and pop culture. Hmmmm…what’s pop culture? I’ll have to wag my brain about that one. Anyway, fine…I’ll appease her by including some of that stuff. I don’t want to get on her bad side…even though I don’t really think she has a particularly good side. Uff-Wuff!

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Alright, so let’s start with pet behavior…in particular cats. Hey, Hobo Kitty, you said you wanted me to include this stuff, so here we go. Cats in Sniff-It Park hang out all over the place, but in Bi-Ped City, many of them chill indoors. Does this mean they never look outside or never have urges to go outside? Not a chance. And sometimes they may even let you know that they aren’t happy about what is going on outside. You know what I mean? I’m talking about spraying…and I don’t mean what you do to the car with a waterhose. Cats are known to mark their territory with urine. This can be caused by various things, but one thing that can trigger a pee party is seeing another cat or other furry critter outside the window. You might even see them do that funky cat-scratchy talk that apparently is their way of yelling at the other critters to get outta their yard.

Unfortunately, cats sometimes go further than talking and start the pee party in effort to claim their territory and let the other Critters know whose house it is. As you can imagine, the Bi-Peds are not a fan of this behavior. One way to try to end the pee party is by covering up the view outside. This can be done with what’s called “window film” which blocks the cat from seeing outside but still allows light to come in.

Cats are very complicated. Shocker huh? Therefore, there are several other reasons a cat may urinate or spray inside a house (or outside for that matter). A cat may be upset that the litterbox is not clean enough, she might be stressed about something that changed in the daily routine, she might be all furred up about moving to a new house, she might oppose furniture changes, and she might not be down with the introduction of a new pet or a baby Bi-Ped. She could even be urinating outside her box because she is sick. For example, she could have a blockage, a urinary tract infection, kidney disease, and mutt-mutt more.

A cat may spray or “mark” in order to create a familiar scent. She may also spray a Bi-Ped’s belongings in order to self-soothe by mixing scents. A confident cat might spray to display the winning of a confrontation with another cat. I’m not kidding – basically peeing because a battle was won. A not-so-confident cat might spray in order to warn another cat that she’s not happy. She may choose to spray instead of physically fighting with the other cat. In a nutshell, spraying and marking is a way of communicating. And yes, in all fairness, we dogs mark our territory too sometimes, although I don’t think we are quite as sensitive as cats. Hobo Kitty might disagree though. She tends to disagree with me quite a bit.

Anyway, it’s important to find the cause of the pee party in order to find the best way to fix the problem. There are lots of options that include visiting the vet to rule out a health condition. Although I don’t enjoy going to the vet, this is actually a good first step to take when trying to figure out what’s going on. If the vet doesn’t find a health concern, then decreasing stress may solve the problem. Oh, and FUR your information, here’s a TAIL TIP: Easing a cat into new changes can reduce the risk of marking and spraying that may result from stress. Spaying and neutering also reduces the risk of marking. It reduces the risk of getting some types of cancer as well.

OK, so you’ve ruled out a health problem, now it’s time to take action. Cleaning soiled areas thoroughly is a must in order to stop the pee party. Certain products help eliminate urine smell (i.e., Cat Odor-Off by Thornell, Nature’s Miracle, a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water can possibly help). Animal Gambill has used Cat Odor–Off as well as vinegar and water for particular situations when fostering cats in Bi-Ped City.

As mentioned earlier, restricting a cat’s view through doors and windows can help. Not seeing Critters outside can decrease anxiety and/or the desire to mark the perimeter. Pet pheromones (i.e., Feliway – which Animal Gambill has used at times as well) can help decrease anxiety and marking/spraying problems. Pheromones are funky, but cool. They are chemicals released by glands of an animal (cat, dog, etc.). Pheromones are a very important part of cat communication. They allow felines to attract mates, define territories, promote a sense of comfort, and let other cats know who and where they are. These pheromones are released from different parts of the body (i.e., forehead, cheeks, bottoms of the paw) and are present in urine. Products that contain pheromones can help decrease a cat’s urge to mark by calming and relaxing a cat naturally. Sometimes, however, a vet may prescribe medication to try to decrease marking, reduce anxiety, reduce aggression, and calm a pet.

Hobo Kitty never seems to get stressed, but she does like to show her confidence. I had no idea that cats sometimes spray in order to voice their victory after some kind of kitty argument has taken place. I hope this doesn’t become some kind of cat trend in Sniff-It Park. Uff-Wuff!

This is Boss Paws – All Wag No Drag!