JustAnswer PixelPaws and Effect

Belladonna on her cat tree with the words "Short Shots" superimposed in the upper right cornerThis week, we’re launching a new feature — Short Shots: Quick answers to quick cat questions.

It all started when we asked the fans of our Facebook page to ask us some questions that we could answer in a sentence or two. Our little “ask us anything” went over so well, we decided to share some of our fans’ questions and answers here.

Our first question comes from P.D., who asks “How often should my cat be groomed? Link seems to shed lots every couple of days, I use a zoom groom on him. Was wondering how much to shed is usual? He doesn’t groom himself much, my other cat does though and doesn’t shed a lot of fur.”

It really depends on the cat. Long-haired cats need to be groomed at least once a week, while Persians and other Persian-type cats need to be combed every single day to prevent mat buildup. Short-haired cats are pretty good at grooming themselves, but during shedding season you can help them get rid of that excess undercoat with a de-shedding tool like the FURminator (which we love and recommend, by the way).

J.G. asks “Where’s the best place to pet a cat?”

The sides of the head just under the cheek bones are always a good bet. Be sure to introduce yourself politely before going in for the pet, though. And be sure to approach from the side or below the muzzle so the cat doesn’t get startled. In the video below, you can watch Thomas give a demonstration of the best places to pet a cat.

(Can’t see the video? Watch it here.)

B.Y. writes “Love bites….I have a cat rescued from a kill shelter, I vetted him and I want to find a home for him, he’s about 6 months old. He’s very loving and friendly but seems to get so worked up he gives tiny sharp bites. This lessens his adoption chances.”

Try watching for his signals of being overstimulated — tail twitching/lashing, pupils getting dilated — and stopping with the petting before he reaches the point of needing to bite. Also, play with him more to work off some of his kittenish energy. Purrs, and thank you for rescuing!

N.B. asks “Why does my cat paw around the water dish and even try to scoop water out of it?”

Pawing around is kind of like hiding resources. Scooping water is probably just playing. But maybe the dish is too deep — if his whiskers rub the sides of the dish, it may be causing an unpleasant feeling called whisker stress. Try a wider and/or shallower water dish, and don’t forget to rinse it out and fill it with clean water every day. Read more about whisker stress and what you can do about it on CatTipper.com.

Siouxsie eats a meal from a raised dish with a wide, narrow mouth.

Reduce whisker stress by providing a wide, shallow dish.

M.T. asks, If my cat starts purring at me as soon as we make eye contact, does she love me?”

Yes, absolutely! We sometimes start purring as soon as we see Mama, and it’s just because our love overflows from our hearts and has to be purred out. Mama says it’s kind of a kittenish way of soliciting affection.

M.B. writes, “My cat has fleas. Hasn’t had them in a long time. What do you recommend for getting rid of them?”

The most effective flea control can be found in the topical products sold by your vet. If you want to go with a less toxic method, we recommend weekly baths, treating carpets and furniture with food-grade diatomaceous earth, frequent vacuuming, and washing all bedding in hot water at least once a week. For more information about non-toxic flea control, read this article Mama wrote for Catster.

Dilute tortie cat scratching an itch. Photo CC-BY-SA Robin Corps

Keep fleas at bay by using monthly topical preventives. Photo CC-BY-SA Robin Corps

Do you have any quick questions you’d like answered? Share them in the comments and they may be featured in a future Short Shots column!