Why Does My Cat Lick Me?- VyWhy

Last updated on 2021-12-18 13:31:00

2020-08-02

A cat’s tongue is one of its greatest assets. With tongues covered in “papillae,” cats use these curved spines to groom themselves – spending anywhere from 30% to 50% of their day keeping their fur…

A cat’s tongue is one of its greatest assets. With tongues covered in “papillae,” cats use these curved spines to groom themselves – spending anywhere from 30% to 50% of their day keeping their fur clean. So with all of that time spent on hygiene, many cat parents wonder: “Why does my cat lick me?”

6 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Licks You

Although it may be impossible to say for sure, researchers, veterinarians, and cat behavior experts have suggested a number of reasons why your cat may lick you every now and again. Let’s dig in…

1. To show affection

For cats, licking is not only used as a grooming mechanism, but also to show affection. By licking you, other cats, or even other pets, your cat is creating a social bond. Part of this behavior may stem from kittenhood when your cat’s mother licked to groom them, as well as to show care and affection. Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their humans to pass along the same sentiment.

Many cats carry this behavior into their adult lives, licking their owners to pass along the same sentiment. 

2. To “mark their territory”

Although there are a number of ways that cats “mark their territory,” including cheek rubbing, scratching (and unfortunately, spraying) – licking is another behavior that cats might use to claim something as their own. 

In this case, if your cat is licking you, they’re trying to ensure that other cats or animals know who you belong to – them!

3. To groom you

Even though your cat might not realize that licking you isn’t actually helping you “get clean,” this behavior is completely natural to them. As we mentioned earlier, mother cats groom their kittens in order to teach them to do it for themselves, show them affection, and create a bond.

In fact, according to certified feline behavior and training consultant Marci Koski, a group of cats living together often designate an “allo-groomer” – a cat that licks and grooms the other cats in the group.

If you find your cat licking you, they might be trying to fulfill their role as the “allo-groomer”– cleaning you and establishing your membership in their group.

4. To taste something interesting

As simple (and even silly) as it may seem, your cat may be licking you because they taste something interesting on your skin. You may have spilled something, or came into contact with something that left a residue on your skin – and your cat likes the way it tastes. If it’s warm, or you’ve been exercising, it could be that your sweat has left a salty residue, and that’s what your cat is trying to taste.

Interestingly enough, although cats’ tongues are made for grooming, they have a much more muted sense of taste in comparison to humans. In fact, cats are one of the only mammals that are known not to be able to taste sweets.

5. To get your attention

Another possible reason why your cat licks you may just be that they want your attention. Whether they want you to pet them,  feed them, or pay attention to them, your cat may lick you to try and capture your attention.

In this case, licking can be equivalent to any other attention-seeking cat behavior, like pawing at you, or meowing.

6. To cope with anxiety or stress

Finally, your cat might lick you because they’re anxious or stressed. Although sometimes excessive licking or grooming can indicate a medical issue, many times cats lick you, or themselves, as a coping mechanism for stress or anxiety.

You might find your cat licking you after moving to a new home, or experiencing a change in their environment. Typically, this kind of licking isn’t anything to worry about – unless your cat grooms themselves so much that their skin becomes raw or they create bald spots. In this case, you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about what you can do to remedy this behavior.

Why Does It Hurt When My Cat Licks Me?

A question directly related to, “Why does my cat lick me?” is “Why does it hurt when my cat licks me?” When it comes down to it, the answer is simple. 

As we mentioned earlier, a cat’s tongue is covered in little spines called papillae. These papillae are made of keratin, the same substance that makes up human fingernails. Because cats are self groomers, the makeup of their tongue is strong enough to get saliva down to their skin, as well as detangle their fur, remove substances like dirt, and redistribute oils.

Therefore, when a cat licks you – repeatedly rubbing their spine-covered tongue on your skin – it’s apt to hurt a little. It’s for this reason that cats’ tongues are often compared to sandpaper.

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Licking Me?

Unless your cat is repeatedly licking you and grooming excessively, licking isn’t usually anything to worry about – it’s a natural cat behavior. However, with the rough makeup of a cat’s tongue, it can be annoying to have them consistently licking you.

If you’re looking to curb this behavior, the best thing you can do is try to redirect their attention. If your cat likes cuddling, you might cuddle or start petting them to try and distract them from licking. Similarly, you might try and use a toy to divert their attention from licking to playing. Finally, you might simply walk away or move away from your cat if the licking becomes excessive.

While your cat licking you isn’t typically anything to worry about – and can even be a compliment – if at any time you’re concerned with their behavior, we recommend that you reach out to your veterinarian for advice.

10 Best Names For Female Cats [Updated October 2020]

29-10-2020 · 10 Best Names For Female Cats. Pet Parenting 101, Trending Now • October 29, 2020 February 28, 2022 • 3 min. Ali Morretta ... (or a girl human, for that matter). One of the most popular brand names for clementines are Cuties, so if you’ve got a little cutie that needs a name – especially a ginger girl – Clementine may be the one for ...

29-10-2020

Agatha
Fans of mystery novels might consider Agatha as a name for their new girl kitty. Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime, is the best-selling author of all time. If you have a girl with an air of mystery about her, Agatha would make an excellent choice. It would also be a good fit for a girl detective who enjoys hunting down intruders in the yard.

Clementine
Clementines are a delicious miniature citrus fruit that is a hybrid of mandarin and sweet oranges. Clementine is also an adorable and lovely name for a girl kitty (or a girl human, for that matter). One of the most popular brand names for clementines are Cuties, so if you’ve got a little cutie that needs a name – especially a ginger girl – Clementine may be the one for you.

Eloise
Eloise is a lovely choice for your little girl. The name Eloise was made famous by the Eloise book series, written by Kay Thompson, and made even more well known by the famous portrait of Eloise that hangs in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The character of Eloise, while cute and clever, was very mischievous and always getting herself into trouble, so this would make a fitting name for a girl kitty who hasn’t quite learned the rules yet (or an older girl who prefers to make her own).

Felicity
Felicity means “intense happiness,” and what better name for the joyous new addition to your family? The name is probably best known as the title character in the TV show Felicity, which made actress Keri Russell a star.

Maeve
This lovely Irish Gaelic name means “intoxicating.” Maeve was a warrior queen in Irish mythology, so this name would be a great fit for a tough little girl you just can’t get enough of.

Jiji
This is a fun choice for cat parents who love anime. Jiji is Kiki’s pet black cat in the popular Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service. Jiji is very loyal to Kiki and is always there to help her, so this would make a great name for a kitty who is constantly by your side. It is also a good alternative to the more popular Gigi.

Melody
If your little girl fills your home with melodic meows, Melody could be a pretty choice. This name would be extra fitting for one of the more talkative breeds, such as a Siamese, Bengal, Maine Coon, Siberian, or Tonkinese. Fun fact: researchers are learning more and more about cat vocalizations and what different meows mean!

Minerva
Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom and has long been associated with strategic warfare. If you have a clever girl that knows exactly how to get what she wants from you, Minerva would make a great choice. It is also a great choice for Harry Potter fans since Professor Minerva McGonagall was able to shape-shift into a cat, and her patronus was a cat, too.

Natasha
If you are giving yourself the gift of kitty love around the holidays, Natasha is a pretty name for your new girl. Natasha is a Russian name meaning “born on Christmas Day.” It is also a fun choice for Marvel fans of Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanov) and would fit a Russian breed such as a Russian Blue or Siberian.

Selina
Most people know her as Catwoman, but her true identity is Selina Kyle. The name Selina would make a prrrfect choice for a girl kitty who is smart, agile, and a little bit sneaky – with a black coat that matches the color of Catwoman’s iconic costume.

Ear Infections in Cats

30-11-2021 · Otitis Externa, or outer ear infection, is when the outer portion of the ear and the pinnae (ear flap) becomes infected. Otitis Media, or middle ear infection, is when the middle part of the ear becomes infected.; Otitis Interna, or inner ear infection, is when the inner ear becomes infected.; While cats don’t often get ear infections, they are painful and will likely not go away …

30-11-2021

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.

Ear infections in cats cause pain, discomfort, and in severe cases, problems with balance and hearing loss. The symptoms can occur suddenly or gradually, and last for long periods of time. Many cats will shake their head and scratch their ears trying to fix the pain or irritation, but often, cause more harm as their ears become red and inflamed.

Ear infections in cats are categorized by the part of the ear that’s affected:

  • Otitis Externa, or outer ear infection, is when the outer portion of the ear and the pinnae (ear flap) becomes infected. 
  • Otitis Media, or middle ear infection, is when the middle part of the ear becomes infected. 
  • Otitis Interna, or inner ear infection, is when the inner ear becomes infected.  

While cats don’t often get ear infections, they are painful and will likely not go away on their own. It’s important to familiarize yourself with signs and indicators of this type of condition so that you can get your feline friend help if they need it.

Are ear infections common for cats?

Although cat ear infections aren’t common, they’re certainly not unheard of. Ear infections can happen to cats of any age or breed, but cats with allergies, diabetes, or conditions that weaken the immune system may be more at risk. Breeds with small outer ears, like Himalayans and Persians as well as outdoor cats and kittens are more prone to ear infections. However, even older, indoor cats aren’t immune. 

If unchecked, two potential long-term complications of Otitis Interna include a permanent loss of balance (signs might include missing easy jumps or staggering when they walk) and/or persistent signs of Horner’s syndrome. Horner’s syndrome is a combination of signs and symptoms caused by the disruption of a nerve pathway from the brain to the face and eye on one side of the body. Signs of Horner’s syndrome include a drooping eyelid, protruding third eyelid, and a pinpoint pupil. 

While this is rare, a severe inner ear infection can spread to parts of a cat’s brain that control their breathing and heart rate. In worst cases, a cat may suffer hearing loss in the affected ear if the infection isn’t treated properly. If your cat appears to be ignoring you, take note. 

How do cats get ear infections?

In most cases, bacterial or fungal ear infections in cats are caused by underlying skin allergies to environmental allergens like pollen or mold, or food allergies. In some cases, moisture in the ear usually from a bath can cause a bacterial or fungal ear infection.

Ear mites are a very common cause of ear infections in cats. Ear mites are microscopic bugs that are highly contagious in cats and live in the ear. Ear mites cause itchiness, inflammation, and constant scratching that often progresses into a bacterial or fungal ear infection. Ear mites spread via direct contact between cats, and are most commonly found in young kittens, outdoor cats, and cats living in shelters or other crowded environments.

Tumors, polyps, and allergies can also cause chronic inflammation and discomfort, which can lead your cat to profusely scratch their ear and cause trauma. Fungal infections like ringworm can also lead to infection and changes in the ear’s appearance, but this is normally limited to the ear tip margins rather than the ear canal itself. 

Are ear infections in cats contagious?

Bacterial and fungal ear infections are not contagious, but ear mites are very contagious. If one cat in your household is affected by ear mites, talk to your veterinarian about preventative treatment measures for your other feline friends.

What are the symptoms of ear infections in cats?

Ear infections can affect one or both of your kitty’s ears, and you may even see changes in their demeanor. Signs of an ear infection vary depending on the cause and location of the infection, but cats suffering generally exhibit:

  • Strong odor around the ears
  • White specks that may be moving – these are mites
  • Redness around the ear, which indicates inflammation
  • Discharge from the ears of any color
  • Excess wax buildup
  • Head-shaking or head-tilting
  • Pawing at the ears
  • Rubbing the ear on the floor or furniture 
  • Scaly skin
  • Scabbing and other signs of self trauma from scratching

How are ear infections in cats diagnosed?

By examining your cat’s ear and looking out for the symptoms above, you can identify early signs of an ear infection. However, your vet should perform an in-depth physical examination to identify the root cause. Diagnosis of an ear infection begins when your veterinarian swabs your cat’s ear and looks at it under a microscope to determine the exact cause of infection: mites, yeast (fungus), or bacteria. Evidence of scratching at or around the ears can indicate discomfort, while a peek inside your cat’s ear with an otoscope can reveal abnormalities, debris, tumors, or polyps. 

While it’s essential your vet gets a good look inside your cat’s ears to accurately diagnose the infection, painful ears can cause your cat to be uncooperative during the vet visit. Depending on their age and comfortability, your cat may require sedation for all or part of the examination. 

How are ear infections in cats treated?

How your cat’s ear infection is treated will depend on the cause of the infection, but they’re usually treated with antibiotics or anti-fungal medications. If your cat has ear mites, these are also treated with medication. Typically, the vet will prescribe a topical medication to rub onto your cat’s ear, coating the top layer of the external ear canal with a thin film. The vet may gently clean your cat’s ears first to ensure the topical medication is effective, depending on the amount of discharge and buildup that’s in your cat’s ear. 

In the case of severe inflammation that narrows the ear canal, a perforated or ruptured ear drum, or middle or inner ear involvement, oral or injectable antibiotics may be necessary. In severe cases that can’t be treated by medication, surgery may be needed to excise the infection. While cats will experience some hearing loss from this procedure, they can still hear through their head, everything just sounds muffled.

For healthy ears, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions closely and give your cat their prescribed medications. If not treated properly, the infection could come back. 

How much does it cost to treat ear infections in cats?

The cost for treating ear infections in cats depends on the cause of the infection and veterinary practice. The cost usually includes the exam fee, diagnostics, medications, and (if necessary) any follow-up examinations. If your cat requires sedation, anesthesia, or surgery, this will add considerably to your bill. Most uncomplicated ear infections due to ear mites can be treated for under 0.

What is the prognosis of ear infections in cats? Are they curable?

Yes, ear infections in cats are curable. Medical management will resolve the infection in most cases unless your cat suffers from chronic ear infections caused by underlying medical issues such as allergies. In these cases, treating the allergy usually eliminates recurrent ear infections.  

How can I help prevent my cat from getting an ear infection?

Cats generally don’t require regular ear cleanings, but you should still make it a habit to check your cat’s ears for irregularities on a regular basis, and watch your cat for any signs of ear infections. This way, you can spot any potential problems before they get out of hand. There is no vaccine for ear infections in cats.

How can pet insurance help?

If you’re a cat owner and suspect your four-legged friend has an ear infection, you should schedule an appointment for a physical exam with your vet immediately. If your cat gets hurt or sick, pet insurance can help you say ‘yes’ to the best care, even when it’s costly. Check out how Pumpkin insurance plans can help cover the cost of an ear infection and keep your cat healthy for life.

Looking for more resources on ear infections in cats?

Check out these sites: 

  • Daily Paws
  • Fetch by Web MD 
The 15 Best Cat Brushes

25-09-2021 · It gently removes loose and dead hair, dirt, and dander, and easily reaches down into all layers of your cat’s coat to massage the skin and evenly distribute natural oils, giving your cat’s coat a healthy shine. The bristles are fine bent wires designed to get the grooming job done without irritating skin.

25-09-2021

Cats are natural self-groomers, yet you can still find cat hair everywhere in your house. Why? Cats may spend between 15-50% of their day grooming themselves, but they still need help to eliminate all the loose hairs, dirt, dander, and matting. 

Regular grooming provides many benefits for both you and your feline companion. However, finding the right brush or grooming tool can be overwhelming, especially if your cat has sensitive skin or isn’t used to being groomed. But fear not: we’ve broken down the plethora of information you need to know about grooming your cat and which brushes work best. We’ve also included the Amazon links so you can purchase the perfect brush for your kitty.

As with anything else, choosing the best cat brush starts with asking why you want one. What benefits will you and your cat enjoy from consistent grooming?

Here are a few reasons grooming your cat is important.

Why grooming your cat is important

Hairballs: There’s nothing worse than finding a wet, gross hairball on your carpet or favorite chair. Grooming your cat removes the loose and dead hair from the coat, reducing the amount they ingest when self-cleaning. This can reduce the number of surprise hairballs in your home.

Less fur around the house: Regular grooming sessions, along with your cat’s own self-grooming, can reduce or eliminate the fur you find on your clothes and furniture. This can make breathing easier for those with allergies and reduce the frequency of “fur as a condiment” situations because less fur is floating around in the air.

Prevents matting: During periods of high sheddings like spring and fall, there’s nothing worse than petting your purring kitty and finding big clumps of matted fur. Regular grooming keeps the natural oils from your cat’s skin distributed throughout the coat, making matting less likely. Regularly running brushes and combs through their fur can keep those ugly mats from forming.

Improves skin and coat health: That shiny coat is no accident. Cats have natural oils that must be present in the coat to keep it lustrous. Regular brushing massages the skin, releasing those beneficial oils and distributing them throughout the layers of fur.

Aids in relaxation: When cats self-groom, it relieves their stress and helps them relax. When you brush your cat with gentle strokes, it can feel like a relaxing massage, helping a stressed cat relax. 

Proactive Health Check: Grooming time is perfect for running your hands over your cat’s body to check for any new bumps, lumps, or injuries. This body check helps your cat transition from their previous activity and enjoy their time interacting with you. This will also give you an idea of trouble spots to avoid during the brushing session. 

Benefits are great, but you also need to know what you’re working with when picking out the best brush for a grooming job. Not all cat hair is the same. 

Let’s take a look at the various types of cat hair:

What kind of fur does your cat have?

Long-haired cats have different fur than short or medium-haired cats, requiring different tools. The length of your cat’s hair determines the grooming process you’ll need to incorporate into your routine.

Cat hair has three layers – the guard hair, the awn fur, and the down fur. All serve vital purposes, helping to both protect the skin and the temperature of your cat. Let’s look at them.

The Guard hair is the topcoat or outermost layer of your cat’s coat. It protects the inner layers from inclement weather and the cold. Guard hair is the longest of the three layers, but also the shiny hair we admire for its beauty. The color of your cat’s guard hair determines the color of the coat.

The Down fur is your cat’s insulation, protecting them from inclement weather and heat loss. This is the silky soft layer of fur next to the skin. If you clean up a lot of fluff around the house from your cat, this is the layer of fur you’re collecting. When your cat is cold, this layer will stand up, allowing air to get next to the skin, keeping your cat warm. During the spring, cats will shed this layer to prepare for the summer heat.

The Awn fur is the layer between the Guard hair and the down fur. It’s longer and thinner than the down layer and shorter than the guard hairs. The awn fur has dark tips and combines with the color of your cat’s guard hairs to create the beautiful colors of your cat’s coat.

Long-haired and medium-haired cats will have all three layers and thick down fur. Short-haired cats require grooming less frequently because their down coat is very thin.

Now that you understand the layers of cat fur, let’s check out different brushes and their purposes.

Cat grooming tools

There are many types of grooming tools, all serving different purposes. Knowing what kind of fur your cat has helps you pick out the perfect brush. Keep in mind that not all cats appreciate being groomed. Some may have sensitive skin, and some may just not appreciate that much physical attention. But most love it and will welcome a consistent grooming session if you use the right tools for your cat’s preferences.

The slicker brush is best known for its effectiveness with all coat types. These brushes have fine wire teeth positioned at different angles. They’re quite efficient at removing loose hair, dander, and dirt from a cat’s coat. But not all cats can tolerate them.

This type of brush works especially well for long and medium-haired cat – and, if used regularly, can eliminate mats. Short-haired cats may not find this type of brush pleasant because the fine teeth can be abrasive on their skin. You may also find the bristles are delicate and can become damaged, making the brush more uncomfortable for your cat’s skin.

De-matting brushes are for long- and medium-haired cats with thick undercoats. They work well to detangle fur and tease out mats. De-matting brushes have sharp blades with rounded tips, scooping under the mat and gently cutting it out without damaging the skin. They easily reach through all fur layers, making them effective for excessive shedders. The only drawback to this type of brush is it can remove too much loose fur and can be uncomfortable for sensitive cats. It’s also wise to ensure you are cutting the mats and not pulling them out to remove them.

Grooming Gloves and Mitts are ideal for short-haired cats and those with sensitive skin. They are gloves with small rubber nubs and bristles that gently massage and draw out loose hairs. Since it’s a glove, it simulates a more natural stimulus (petting), making them preferable for cats who don’t like brushes but enjoy being petted. 

Even though these are easy to use, a good hand fit can be difficult, and they don’t reach all fur layers. They also don’t remove mats.

Rubber brushes are ideal for sensitive cats. They have wide rubber teeth and move through the fur, detangling and removing loose fur. Rubber brushes are the gentler choice. The massage action you get with this type of brush helps distribute your cat’s natural oils while improving circulation in your cat’s skin.

Rubber brushes are excellent for all fur types and control the flyaway hairs that may fill your home. However, they don’t remove mats, nor do they rid the coat of all loose hairs.

Bristle Brushes work well for short-haired cats or for smoothing the outer coat of long- to medium-haired cats. These brushes are used on show cats to bring out the beautiful shine of their coats. 

Bristle brushes can remove the loose and flyaway hairs, but won’t be much help if there’s matting, tangles, or thick down fur to remove. However, if your cat is not happy being brushed or is sensitive to brush types, this can be a good starter brush.

Pin brushes are like slicker brushes, but they have more widely spaced pins with rubber or plastic balls on the ends. These create a gentler brushing action, making them ideal for sensitive cats. They easily reach through all layers of fur, distributing natural oils, removing dirt, debris, loose and dead hairs, and detangling and reducing the frequency of mats. 

Combs: A grooming comb is useful for detangling and gently teasing out mats, but many cats find them abrasive and they can pull the hair, making a nightmare of grooming sessions. They serve their purpose of keeping the hair free from flyaway or loose hairs and can pull up loose down fur, but combs are not as effective as other grooming tools designed for that purpose. 

Corner self-grooming brushes are helpful if your cat can’t tolerate brushing. Most cats enjoy the toy aspect of these groomers. The brushes mount on the wall or laid flat on the floor for the cat to rub against. It’s helpful for removing loose hair but doesn’t do the job for mats, tangles, or getting down into the layers and loosening dirt and debris. While this type of grooming tool is not as effective as more traditional tools, it helps if you don’t have the time or inclination to groom your cat regularly.

So there’s the skinny on cat brushes and their uses. Now let’s look at the top cat grooming tools available for your sweet feline friend. We’ve chosen brushes we consider to be the best grooming tools for each category. These will get the job done and provide benefits for both you and your cat.

Best slicker brushes

Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush

This versatile slicker-style brush is made for all hair types. It gently removes loose and dead hair, dirt, and dander, and easily reaches down into all layers of your cat’s coat to massage the skin and evenly distribute natural oils, giving your cat’s coat a healthy shine. The bristles are fine bent wires designed to get the grooming job done without irritating skin.

Its self-cleaning design makes it easy to remove the hair by simply pressing the button to retract the bristles, allowing you to remove hair from the brush. Its smooth, easy-grip handle is ergonomic in design to eliminate hand and wrist strain while you groom your cat.

ItPlus Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Cats

This is another self-cleaning slicker, but this one has rounded ends, making the pins less likely to irritate your cat’s skin. 

The handle is wide to reduce wrist and hand strain, with an easy-grip handle. 

The bristles reach all hair layers to reduce loose and dead hair while providing the massaging action necessary to stimulate skin circulation and evenly distribute the natural oils, giving your cat’s fur the shine it deserves.

Best De-Matting Brushes

GoPets De-Matting Brush for Cats

This professional-quality de-matting tool offers multiple uses to clear all mats and tangles quickly.

It’s double-sided, with a different number of teeth per side to perform different grooming tasks.

The lower-density side is for de-matting stubborn or large mats. The higher-density side will detangle and remove dead and loose hairs through all fur layers to thin and control shedding.

Its stainless steel teeth are sharp enough to cut through mats and tangles, with rounded ends that protect your cat’s sensitive skin. Its non-slip silicone gel-filled handle takes the strain out of your hands and wrists during grooming sessions.

FURminator Adjustable DeMatting Comb

FURminator is a well-known name in the grooming industry. How can you go wrong with a FURminator tool?

Their de-matting tool is made from durable, scratch-resistant stainless steel. It has curved edges to ensure the safe and efficient removal of mats and tangles. Its fur-extender button adjusts the edges to work on all coat types and lengths. Plus, the tool is narrow, preventing you from removing large sections of hair at once, increasing your cat’s comfort!

The ergonomic, non-slip handle gives you maximum control and comfort for your hands and wrists.

De-Shedding Brushes for Cats

Pet Neat Pet Grooming Brush

This de-shedding tool is said to reduce up to 95% of dead hair and tangles from your cat quickly and easily. Made with 100mm stainless steel blades with a sturdy, easy-grip handle, it reaches through all layers of your cat’s fur to reduce the incidence of hair and allergies in your home.

This one comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. It’s similar to the FURminator but more wallet-friendly.

The FURminator Deshedding Tool for Cats

The FURminator is the most widely recognized de-shedding tool on the market, and for good reason. A very durable, comfortable de-shedding tool for your hands and wrist, this thing will remove most of the loose hair effortlessly. 

It sports stainless steel blades that glide easily through your cat’s outer coat to remove the innermost layer of loose hair. If used correctly (a soft touch) you will have fewer hairballs, and fur will not be a condiment in your home!

Its handle is wide and comfortable for your hand, making grooming a pleasant experience for both you and your cat.

Best Rubber Brushes for Cats

Celemoon Ultra-Soft Silicone Grooming Brush

This silicone brush is made with premium materials and is ultra-soft for even the most sensitive of cats. Many rubber or silicone brushes can be hard, thus causing discomfort for cats who don’t like brushing, but the soft materials in this one are durable, easy to clean, and will offer more of a massage than many brushes do.

Said to remove up to 90% of loose and dead hair, the long bristles will work through all hair layers to leave your cat happy and your house less furry!

What’s appealing about this brush is the handle. It makes the brush easy to hold, with less slippage during use. Once the grooming is complete, just rinse the brush under the tap and you’re good to go for the next session.

HDP Cat Zoom Groom

If you look beyond the adorable kitty shape, you’ll see an efficient grooming tool that removes loose and dead hair like a magnet. Its soft, rubbery bristles will groom and massage your cat – and improve circulation in their skin, too!

The easy-grip design makes it easy on your hands. This lightweight rubberized brush is sure to please even the most sensitive of kitties while helping to prevent hairball formation in their tummies.

Best Grooming Mitts and Gloves

HandsOn Pet Grooming Gloves

These are ranked #1 in grooming mitts. Coming with bristle tips on the fingers and round tips on the palm, this is a versatile tool for de-shedding, bathing, or massaging your kitty. They are the gentle version of grooming, simulating a natural petting action for the grooming process.

The non-abrasive, flexible rubber nodules are long enough to reach all fur layers without hurting your cat’s sensitive skin. And your fingers and hands stay clean of hair and oils as you gently massage your feline friend.

These grooming gloves are acceptable for all hair types, making grooming an enjoyable experience for you and your cat. (Plus, they’re easy to clean, too!)

Delomo Gentle Pet Grooming Glove Brush

The Gentle Pet Grooming Glove has been around for a while, but this new and improved version sports 255 longer and softer silicone tips to collect more hair. 

The glove is an enhanced 5-finger design, allowing you to gently remove hair from all hair types, and from the sensitive hard-to-reach places like legs and face comfortably. 

This grooming mitt is easy to clean due to the special layer added on top of the silicone, allowing the hair to easily peel off from the glove. They’re also machine washable and made with premium mesh material with an adjustable wrist strap, making it fit most people while keeping your hands from becoming sweaty.

Best Pin Brushes

Hertzko Soft Pin Brush

This pin brush removes loose hair and eliminates tangles and mats when used regularly. Ideal for cats of all hair lengths, they manufacture gentle plastic bristles with rounded ends that won’t scratch your cat’s sensitive skin. 

These brushes groom and massage your cat for a healthy coat, increasing blood circulation to improve skin quality. Your cat’s coat will be shiny and soft because it also evenly distributes the natural oils needed for lustrous coats.

The handle is comfortable, strong, and durable, with a specially designed comfort grip and an anti-slip handle that prevents hand and wrist strain.

Hartz Combo Brush for Cats

It’s a pin brush, wait, no, it’s a bristle brush too! If your cat is not so sure about being brushed, this combo brush may be the ticket to success. 

Use the bristle brush to get your cat accustomed to being brushed, and the pin side to remove tangles and go deeper into the fur later on. 

Suitable for everyday de-shedding and removing tangles, the pin side is made with stainless steel tips with a protective coating, while the other side is made with nylon bristles that disburse the natural oils and make your kitty’s fur shine.

The handle has an ergonomic design for your comfort, making this choice good for both you and your cat.

Best Bristle Brush

Mars Professional Grooming Brush for Dogs and Cats

The soft bristles of this brush will get your cat’s coat gleaming. Made with a rubber cushion for brushing comfort, this handle has black boar bristles that evenly distribute oils throughout your cat’s coat. 

Engineered in Germany, this brush comes with a beechwood handle that’s beautifully lacquered for durability and is comfortable for your hands and wrists.

Best Cat Combs

Leo’s Paw Original Massaging Cat Comb

This 2-in-1 shell comb can remove loose and dead hair by combing through all fur layers and massage your cat’s skin in the gentlest way possible. 

Its elastic, ergonomic design doesn’t scratch the skin and works on long-, medium-, and short-haired types. 

If brushes are not for your cat, maybe this will do the trick.

Best Corner Brush

Catit Senses 2.0 Self Groomer Cat Brush

This interactive cat toy will groom your cat too! This self-grooming wall brush allows your cat to rub against it with either a wall mount or a flat wall mount (hardware included). 

The bristles are soft and will reach all layers of fur where your cat rubs. However, it won’t take the place of a brush for complete grooming, nor will it evenly distribute the necessary oils needed to get your cat’s coat gleaming. But it gets your cat used to a brush texture, forging the path to regular brushing.

These are the best brushes on the internet that are wallet-friendly and solve the most grooming problems. But how can you set your cat up for a successful home grooming routine? Try these tips!

Setting your cat up for grooming success

Check your cat’s mood. Your cat’s mood will be a big factor in selecting a good grooming time. You wouldn’t want to sit still when you feel feisty and energetic, and neither would your cat. Look for calm, lazy times, when your cat is content and accepts human interaction. (This probably won’t be during eating or playing time.)

Set the stage. If your cat is calm and serene, start a petting session to set the mood. Once your cat is purring and accepting love, it’s a good time to get your cat ready for physical contact.

Check the body. A petting session is a great time to run your hands over your cat’s body and look for bumps, skin abrasions, or abnormalities. You’ll also find out which spots your cat prefers you avoid during a grooming session. Take note and avoid those places!

Start brushing. Going with the direction of the hair, start gently brushing. Stay away from areas your cat indicated were a no area and go as slowly and gently as you need to. 

If you find mats or tangles, going easily and gently is the key to removing them. If you pull too hard or go too fast, your cat will quickly end the grooming process and most likely avoid it in the future. Progress – not perfection – is the name of the grooming game. 

When you’re done, or your cat is letting you know they’re done, end the session with a tasty treat or a favorite toy. Ending on a pleasant note will leave a good impression on your cat for next time.

And finally, be patient with your cat – grooming by someone other than themselves is a new adventure for them! Consistent grooming, whether you have long-haired cats or not, means no more gooey hairballs to surprise you when you least expect them. (You can start wearing black again!)

9 Best Cat Toys Of 2021

13-04-2021 · Petstages Cat Tracks Cat Toy. Rated as one of the best interactive cat toys on Amazon, this engaging puzzle toy will keep multiple kitties entertained at the same time. This durable, three-level ball ramp features a closed-track system that prevents the balls from disappearing under the couch or refrigerator, like all the other toys your cat has.

13-04-2021

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 60% of cats are suffering from obesity in the U.S. alone. You might think your cat is a professional couch potato, but cats actually love to get physical when they’re properly motivated. If you’re looking for ways to get your kitty off the couch, then interactive toys are your best bet. These types of toys inspire your cat to run, jump, and grapple while honing their hunting instincts, which leads to an increase in health and happiness for your furry friend. 

This handy list of awesome interactive cat toys was compiled based on three basic criteria: user reviews, practicality, and simplicity. Rated by cats and owners alike, each toy has at least a 4-star user review and will neither break the bank, nor require you to rearrange your entire house to accommodate for it.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. We may earn commissions from Amazon or other vendors through these links. As an Amazon Associate, Pumpkin earns commissions from qualifying purchases.

Here are 9 of the best interactive cat toys of 2021:

1. Friends Forever Interactive Cat Laser

We all know that most cats go bananas over lasers, so why not take it to a whole new level? This freestanding laser light spins and rotates to keep your cat totally engrossed, allowing you to watch (and record) while they get some much-needed exercise. Choose from three different speeds (slow, fast, or “random”), and let the controlled chaos commence. A convenient 15-minute timer both prevents your feline friend from getting too worn out and helps the batteries last longer.

2. Petstages Cat Tracks Cat Toy

Rated as one of the best interactive cat toys on Amazon, this engaging puzzle toy will keep multiple kitties entertained at the same time. This durable, three-level ball ramp features a closed-track system that prevents the balls from disappearing under the couch or refrigerator, like all the other toys your cat has. Watch as your cats get plenty of exercise and fun while testing and improving their hunting skills. This compact toy is great for small spaces, as its anti-slip rubber bottom prevents it from moving all over the floor, and is suitable for kittens and senior cats, alike.

3. Ralthy Interactive Robotic Cat Toy

What could be more futuristic than having a robot that plays with your cats? Take a look at the Ralthy Interactive Robotic Cat Toy, a robot that does just that. This toy is straight out of the year 3020 with features like USB charging, two speeds, and sensors to detect obstacles. The best part is, this robot is programmed to get your cat up and playing for 10 minutes every hour and a half to promote healthy activity levels. The Ralthy robotic cat toy spins and dances a full 360-degrees with the attached feather or ball to entice your kitty into getting up and moving throughout the day. This toy is great for cat owners who aren’t home for long periods of time and doesn’t require more than a few minutes to charge.

4. SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Concealed Motion Cat Toy

If you’ve ever had your feet attacked by your cat in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll know right away why this toy is perfect for any kitty. The SmartyKat concealed motion toy swipes around erratically beneath a sheet of durable material to simulate hidden prey, intriguing your cat and engaging their primal hunting instincts. With two speed settings, lights, and unpredictable movements, this toy helps to keep your cat from getting bored and is almost guaranteed to provide you with some second-hand amusement.

5. Cat Amazing Sliders Interactive Treat Puzzle Toy

Cats are very smart, so give them a chance to prove it for food! Test your cat’s puzzle-solving abilities by setting up this interactive puzzle toy that allows them to use their hunting skills to seek out toys, treats, or catnip in a challenging and unique way. This puzzle toy is recommended by veterinarians to promote healthy weight loss, mental stimulation, and constructive exercise, all vital components in your kitty’s overall wellness. Puzzle feeders and the like are also great tools for preventing your cat from overeating or scarfing their food down, allowing them to avoid digestion issues.

6. PetFusion Ambush Interactive Electronic Cat Toy with Rotating Feather

This awesome interactive toy is designed to stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts by using a whack-a-mole style method to improve their reflexes. A feather toy pops out of one of six holes at random, challenging your kitty to react quickly and with precision to “capture” the prey. LED lighting makes this toy visible at night and its compact design makes it perfect for most spaces. With features like an eight-minute automatic shutoff timer, replaceable feather toys, and anti-skid rubber feet, this toy is also durable and cost-effective. Cats and kittens, alike, will benefit mentally and physically from this interactive toy.

7. Pakoo Interactive Smart Ball

This is truly the upgrade of the year: the Pakoo interactive smart ball! This super cool cat toy rolls around on its own, using smart technology to avoid obstacles and evade capture, and provides a true challenge for your kitty’s hunting skills. The red light and erratic movements give your cat a chance to exercise valuable critical thinking skills in a safe environment. This crazy smart ball easily draws your cat’s attention, making it perfect for getting lazy kitties up and active throughout the day. Offering almost four hours of activity at a time, the Pakoo smart ball will shut down every 15 minutes to allow your cat to settle down between sessions. When it’s out of juice, simply plug the ball into its USB charger and go – no batteries required.

8. TOOGE Windmill Cat Toy

This genius cat toy combines playtime with grooming! The spinning arms hold treats, toys, or catnip to draw and hold your kitty’s attention, while the textured material allows your cat to soothe anxiety or groom themselves while playing. The soft, durable silicone design helps your cat to chew and gnaw with comfort, and promotes better oral health by gently rubbing away plaque and food debris from their teeth. Just use the suction cup to mount the TOOGE windmill on any smooth surface, insert treats or toys, and go.

9. PETGEEK Interactive Electronic Mouse

Truly the brainchild of cat lovers, the PETGEEK interactive electronic mouse is EXACTLY what your cat needs in the year 2020. Built to challenge your cat in new ways, this electronic mouse will simulate a real mousing experience for your otherwise unprepared kitty by moving much like a real mouse. This gadget has wheels on both sides, allowing it to continue zipping around after sustaining a side-swipe from your agile cat, and can even go in reverse. With features like highly visible glow-in-the-dark wheels, interchangeable tail attachments, and a USB charger, this interactive toy is built for longevity and performance. Its smart technology steers it away from obstacles and keeps your cat on their toes by remaining unpredictable.  And the best part? It even squeaks! 

Even the most active cats need new and exciting toys to help keep them healthy. Update your kitty’s toy stash and upgrade them to the year 2020 by investing in an interactive toy (or five) that will not only improve their life, but will make you feel like the best cat parent in the world.

Top 15 Cat Backpacks [Updated November 2020]

24-11-2020 · 2. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack. This backpack has two side zippers, plus one in the front, making it easy to get your cat in or out, feed them, or just give a quick pat on the head. With a safety strap and three safety buckles, it’s …

24-11-2020

Cats love to travel, be it an impressive jump from the couch to the kitchen table, or a stealth mission to the neighbor’s porch to stare down that doggo. And as a devoted cat parent, you want to indulge that passion…right? 

With a cat backpack, you can! Take a hike, ride public transportation, or enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood, all with your felis catus safely (and comfortably) secured on your back. 

Of course, not all kitties will take to a backpack like bees to honey. You may have to do some work adjusting your fur baby to their new carrier before taking a long trip together. Start small with a short trip around the block. If possible, leave the backpack in a cat-accessible place inside your home for at least 24 hours before using it. This way, your cat has plenty of time to explore, sniff, and get comfortable with the new carrier. Another trick you can try is to feed your feline offspring some treats while they’re in the backpack. After all, there’s nothing like treats to sweeten the deal.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. We may earn commissions from Amazon or other vendors through these links. As an Amazon Associate, Pumpkin earns commissions from qualifying purchases.

How to choose the best cat backpack

Choose your cat backpack carefully. Durability is important. If it’s too flimsy, your cat might tear it to shreds (you’ve seen what those claws can do). Of course, you also want your kitty to be comfortable, so choose a backpack with soft inner lining and good ventilation.

That said, don’t pick a backpack that’s too large. Cats love cozy little spaces, and if your carrier is too big, they might get jolted around when you walk. Plus, you want the backpack to be a little snug so you can carry it easily. Another thing to consider is that cats like their privacy—just like us humans—so you may want to choose a backpack that’s not transparent all the way around. 

If you’re planning on taking your kitty for a ride in the car or on an airplane, find a travel bag that can rest safely on a floor or car seat. Make sure you can buckle it in with a seatbelt if necessary. Many backpacks are airline approved, so be sure to check for that.

Finally, for both your sakes, look for a backpack that’s easy to clean. Your cat will be much happier in a clean, healthy space. And it will be much easier for you when your fur baby makes a little mess, which is bound to happen from time to time.

15 Best Cat Backpack Carriers

You need a cat carrier that’s safe, comfortable, and convenient. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you the best pet backpacks on Amazon. Here are the top 15 choices for taking your feline friend out on the town.

1. PETTRIP Cat Carrier

Got a cat with some extra padding around the middle? Nothing is as cute as feline love handles. This airline-approved carrier for pets weighing up to 18 lbs is both fashionable and functional. The bubble window gives your cat a great view with plenty of privacy (plus it will make them look like a million-mile astronaut). The mesh panels and nine air holes on this carrier provide proper ventilation. Three zip-up doors make it easier to get Fluffy or Felicia in when she’s being stubborn and hard to load. There’s even a snap hook to keep them from wriggling out, like a feline David Blaine.

As an added plus, this cat backpack carrier is made from eco-friendly, durable fabric and leather, which you can wipe clean. There’s also a removable pad to keep your feline friend comfy and make the cleaning process easy. The best part? When you need to store it in a tight place, the backpack folds down flat.

If you love this style but need a smaller cat bubble backpack, try this Texsens one. 

2. PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

This backpack has two side zippers, plus one in the front, making it easy to get your cat in or out, feed them, or just give a quick pat on the head. With a safety strap and three safety buckles, it’s secure enough for even the best little escape artists. Soft sherpa padding lines the inside so your kitty can ride comfortably, with mesh providing ventilation. It also has chest straps to keep weight off your back. The PetAmi backpack comes in nine colors, from bright pink to black. Our favorite part? It has side and front pockets to store cat treats and pet supplies. In fact, it comes with a collapsible pet bowl that fits neatly in the side pocket!

3. PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier Backpack

This high-quality backpack is perfect for small cats that weigh 8 lbs or less. And at only on Amazon, it’s a steal. Well-ventilated and lined with soft sherpa padding, it’s designed to be comfortable and safe for your beloved fur baby. Like the Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack, it comes in nine colors and includes safety straps, side pockets, and three zip-up doors. And don’t forget the collapsible pet bowl, perfect for tucking into the side pocket so you can feed and water your cat on the go.

4. Petsfit Dogs Carriers Backpack

Don’t let the name fool you: this cute Petsfit backpack works great for both dogs and cats up to 15 lbs. With tons of ventilation for your pet, there’s even a space for them to poke their head out at the top. But don’t worry, you can zip it shut so your cat doesn’t get loose when you’re not watching. It’s both sturdy and durable, and has a tether inside to keep your kitty belted in for safety.

5. Expandable Cat Carrier Backpack

This trendy red and white backpack has a fun space capsule design, but that’s not all it has to offer. If your cat needs to stretch their legs, you can expand the backpack to create a mesh tent. Two mesh side windows and nine air holes give your kitty the ventilation they need, and the window lets your fur baby look around. The backpack may be expandable, but it’s lightweight enough (less than 3 lbs) to carry, with padded shoulder straps and an adjustable chest buckle.

6. Henkelion Cat Backpack

This space capsule style backpack comes in several fun colors. A completely transparent front makes it easy to check on your kitty at any time. Plus, the material is durable and breathable, with plenty of ventilation. The straps relieve pressure from your back. You can wear this carrier as a backpack or a front pack, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or sightseeing.

7. Lollimeow Pet Carrier Backpack

This travel backpack earns an Amazon’s Choice, and it’s easy to see why it’s a bestseller. While it’s an expendable backpack like some listed above, it’s also well-ventilated and convenient. It has large ventilation holes, mesh side zippers, and a lightweight design. The bestselling quality is that it’s also waterproof. It’s great for cats weighing 13 lbs or less; you can wear this carrier in front or back, and it’s designed to fit under an airline seat. The expandable backpack comes in black, pink, or yellow, but you can also get a non-expandable one in green or red.

8. Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack

Looking for a comfortable carrier bag that’s easy on your shoulders? The Pecute backpack features wide, reinforced straps, adjustable shoulder pads, and two retractable buckles to take pressure off your back. Plus, the back of the carrier is a breathable mesh elastic sponge. Four large, ventilated windows (choose mesh or acrylic), and locked zippers keep your kitty from escaping. Waterproof and environmentally friendly, it’s made of durable oxford fabric with two zippers and pockets on both sides. When you’re not using it, you can fold the backpack up to store it. And don’t forget the removable, washable plush bottom, which you can flip over in the summer for breathable oxford cloth.

 9. Morpilot Backpack Carrier

An Amazon’s Choice for dog backpacks, this should work great for cat owners as well. Recommended for pets up to 15 lbs, it has four-sided ventilation with a skylight you can cover to protect your kitty from sun exposure. With a built-in safety strap, no-stick bottom, and lock zipper, this is designed to keep your fur baby healthy and secure. Plus, it’s stylish and a great price – only on Amazon.

 10. Lollimeow Large Cat Backpack

Stylish and roomy, this bubble backpack comes in a few different sizes and colors. Its mesh top and sides make it breathable, while its bubble window gives your cat some much-needed privacy. A padded back and thick shoulder straps with a buckle help to take weight off your back and shoulders. The fabric is durable, waterproof, and scratch resistant, which makes it perfect for any situation. When you need to clean the window, just detach it. And when you need to store the backpack, simply fold it flat.

 11. PETKIT Pet Backpack Carrier

This backpack may be a little on the pricier side ( on Amazon), but that’s because it has a tinted window, a built-in fan, and an LED light. Need to check on your cat at night? Simply double tap the controls and the light will turn on gradually (so as not to startle your kitty). If it’s a hot day or you’re in a stuffy place, switch on the fan for 360 degree air flow. You’ll need to carry around a power bank, but luckily there’s a hidden pocket on the back, perfect for storing a power bank. Wear it as a backpack, or carry it using the handy strap on top.

 12. Apollo Walker Pet Carrier Backpack

This practical cat carrier bag with foldable windows is perfect for taking your cat on a hike or for a walk in the park. With plenty of air circulation and visibility, your kitty should be happy and comfortable. And if your cat’s a little on the chunky side (hey, we’re not judging), this backpack should be a great fit, as it’s designed for medium and large-sized kitties. But it’s also great for you, with plenty of back support and durable, breathable material. Get it in pink, black, blue, or gray.

 13. Ytonet Dog Backpack Carrier

Designed to hold a small dog or a cat, this high-quality backpack should give your kitty all the privacy they need. If you want to let your cat stick their head up for fresh air, you can use the leash strap to keep them from jumping out. Big zip-up openings on the top and front help make it easier to get your cat inside, and side pockets make it easier to travel. Durable with padded shoulder straps and weight-relieving buckles, this is a great backpack to take hiking or camping. If you have to set your kitty down for a sec and turn your attention elsewhere, the safety strap and locked zippers should keep your friend from getting free while you’re not watching.

 14. BELPRO Cat Backpack Carrier

The fun thing about this backpack is that it gives your furry friend plenty of privacy. Whenever your cat needs some alone time, you can roll down flaps to cover the mesh windows on each side. Then, if you want to peek in on your kitty, roll them up again. Your cat will still have plenty of ventilation (there are six air holes and a mesh window in front), but they can curl up to sleep without getting distracted by sights and sounds. Another fun feature is the large zipper pocket in front, perfect for storing cat treats in!

 15. Pet Carriers Backpacks Bubble Bag

This bubble backpack for pets 12 lbs and under comes with a special pet treat pouch. Its large front window gives you plenty of visibility on your cat, while the mesh sides and eight holes provide proper ventilation. And with soft lining inside, your cat is ready to ride in comfort wherever you go. For long walks or bike rides, the sweat-absorbing straps keep you comfortable, too.

Safe pet travels!

With so many carriers to choose from, it may feel a little overwhelming to figure out which one is right for your kitty. But the truth is, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these cat backpacks, since they’re all made from durable material and provide proper ventilation. With size options for cats small and large, you should have no trouble finding the perfect fit for your feline. And with plenty of different styles, you can choose a carrier to match your personal aesthetic.

So, ready to take your cat on some fun-filled adventures (or just to the vet)? Whichever backpack you pick, we hope you enjoy safe travels with your furry friend!

When is the Best Time to Spay or Neuter Your Cat?

05-01-2022 · Female cats that are spayed before their first heat, for example, have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life, which is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in cats 10 years of age and older. t also reduces the risk of your cat developing infections of the uterus and cancers of their reproductive organs.

05-01-2022

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.

Getting a new feline friend is exciting with so much to check off your checklist. To make sure they live a long and happy life, you want to make sure your kitty is as healthy as can be. If you’re welcoming a new cat into your home, you might be wondering whether or not it’s time to spay/neuter them. 

While both are common procedures, there are a number of misconceptions about them. In this article, we’ll walk you through the benefits of spay/neuter surgery, the best time to do it, and how to get started. 

What is spay/neuter surgery?

Neutering is the sterilization of male animals, while spaying is the sterilization of female animals. Neutering or spaying your cat removes the testicles in male cats and the uterus and ovaries in female cats, preventing them from being able to reproduce.

When is the best time to spay or neuter your cat?

Typically, the decision to spay or neuter your cat is made early on in life. The American Humane Society believes that all cats (and dogs) adopted from public and private animal care and control facilities should be spayed or neutered. However, there is debate among veterinarians about the best time to do so. Typically, the following three options are recommended: 

  1. Early or pediatric spay/neuter, done at six to eight weeks of age
  2. Standard spay/neuter, done at five to six months of age
  3.  As an adult, in cats that were not spayed/neutered because they were previously strays, feral, breeding animals, or otherwise.

It used to be common practice to spay or neuter young cats when they were as young as six to eight weeks, but now standard spay and neuter procedures are performed when the kitten is between five and six months old. Provided your cat is healthy, these procedures can really be performed at any time during your cat’s life, but the earlier it is done, the less likely your cat will have undesirable side effects of being sexually intact (see below). 

Even still, vet knowledge about spaying or neutering cats is evolving. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Fix by Five campaign calls for reducing the age of spaying and neutering your cat to 5 months or earlier. This recommendation aims to prevent unwanted litters, and decrease mammary cancer risks in female cats and spraying/marking and fighting in male cats. Sterilized kittens at this young age generally bounce back quickly from surgery. 

What are the benefits of spaying or neutering your cat?

Now that you have a better idea about when your cat should be sterilized, it’s important to highlight the benefits of the procedure. While you may want your kitten to one day experience the joys of motherhood or are afraid your male cat may feel less masculine if he’s neutered, the spay/neuter surgery provides several health and behavioral benefits that can help your kitten live a longer and healthier life. 

Female cats that are spayed before their first heat, for example, have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life, which is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in cats 10 years of age and older. t also reduces the risk of your cat developing infections of the uterus and cancers of their reproductive organs. Additionally, it removes the possibility of complications that can occur with pregnancy and birthing. Spaying female cats also prevents heat cycles, which can last several months, and eliminates yowling, crying, and other erratic behavior associated with heat cycles in cats.  

For male cats, the benefits of neutering are mainly behavioral. However, the procedure does eliminate the possibility of testicular cancer and other prostate problems later in life. Neutering your male cat will reduce his inappropriate behaviors (such as roaming or finding a mate if you have an outdoor pet), marking inside your home, and fighting with other males. 

Another important reason spay/neuter services exist is to help limit pet overpopulation. Experts estimate that between 60 and 100 million homeless and feral cats live in the U.S., all who depend on food, water, and shelter to keep them safe from harm. Pet overpopulation occurs when pet owners can no longer afford or keep their pets, so there’s not enough homes for unwanted animals. They end up living on the streets or in various animal shelters, reproducing with little chance of finding their forever home. Each year, nearly one million animals are euthanized in shelters across the country. The best way to prevent this from happening in the future is reducing the number of pets giving birth, by spaying or neutering your cat. 

Common cat spaying/neutering misconceptions

Some believe that sterilizing your cat can cause weight gain, but the reality is that your cat won’t become overweight or less active after their spay or neuter surgery. Your cat will only gain weight if they’re overfed or don’t exercise often. As long as you continue to provide opportunities for your cat to exercise and monitor their food intake, your pet will remain fit. Many animals stay active for years to come after their spay or neuter surgery, so you can rest assured that your furry companion won’t lose their zest for life. 

Another spay/neuter myth is that it’s a guaranteed fix for all behavioral problems, but this isn’t true either. While your cat’s behavior will likely improve, there’s no guarantee that their behavior will change drastically or that any negative habitual behaviors will go away. The effects of spaying or neutering your cat rely on your cat’s individual personality, but the procedure won’t create any negative impact on their behavior. 

What are the typical costs to spay or neuter your cat?

The cost of spay and neuter services for cats depends on various factors, but the biggest is where you go for the procedure. (Be sure to check with your vet first!) Though private vets typically cost anywhere from 0 to 0 and usually draw blood from your cat prior to the procedure to ensure that anesthesia is safe for your cat, and provide post-operative pain medication. If this exceeds your budget, you can look for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Typically run by nonprofits, all surgeries at veterinary clinics are performed by licensed vets and often cost less than 0. Either way, your pet’s surgeon will be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of spaying and neutering so you can squelch any worries before the procedure. 

Tip: One factor that could affect the price of a female cat’s spay is whether or not she’s currently in heat or pregnant, as this becomes a more complicated, high-cost procedure.

The cost of spaying or neutering your cat is far less than the cost of having to care for a litter, or the cost of potential health problems that can occur without the procedure. In fact, many nonprofits offer free spay and neuter services to those who qualify. The ASPCA has a list of low-cost programs across the country, including their own free services for residents who qualify. 

What’s the first step in spaying or neutering your cat?

If you’ve decided to spay or neuter your cat, contact your vet to set up a spay/neuter appointment. Be sure to discuss the procedure in detail so you know what to expect. 

How can you help your cat before and after surgery?

Most vets ask that your cat not eat or drink for up to 12 hours before surgery to reduce the likelihood of vomiting during the procedure. If your cat goes outdoors or isn’t a fan of their cat carrier, consider keeping them indoors so you can easily collect them before the surgery.

A cat spay is generally 30 minutes to an hour, depending on her age and where she is in her heat cycle and the competency of the surgeon, while uncomplicated cat neuter can be done in under five minutes. Cryptorchid cat neuters will take longer and may cost more.

Surgery hurts, so pain medication should be sent home with your cat. When you take your furry friend home, they will be recovering from surgery, so they will need you to monitor them regularly for several days after the surgery.

When you get home, be sure to:

  • Provide your cat with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals. 
  • Prevent your cat from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.
  • Prevent your cat from licking the incision site, which may cause infection. A cone may be placed on their head to prevent licking.
  • Give all pain medications as prescribed, even if your cat seems ‘fine’.
  • Avoid bathing your pet for at least 14 days after surgery.
  • Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing. If you notice redness, swelling, odor, or discharge, or if your cat has a fever or is acting sick in any way, call your vet.

How can pet insurance help?

Remember that while spaying and neutering can help reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases, the unexpected can always happen. Pumpkin pet insurance plans can help protect your new cat from eligible illnesses and accidents by covering treatments and future vet bills. Fetch your free quote!

Fetch your free quote!

*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (Pumpkin) (NPN#19084749) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses

How To Get A Tick Off A Dog: What You Need to Know

27-01-2022 · Place the tool against your dog’s skin near the tick and slide the notch (the V part of the tool) under the tick. Once you have the tick in the notch, carefully twist it with a steady upward motion. The tick should disengage, allowing you to …

27-01-2022

Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.

Wondering how to get a tick off your dog? Don’t panic! Though finding a tick on your precious pooch can be scary at first, there are steps you can take to safely remove it and prevent any future bites.

In this article, we’re breaking down what ticks are, how to prevent them, and how to safely get them off your dog. You want to act fast, so let’s get right to it!

What does a tick look like?

Ticks are foul little insects that can cause big trouble for our dogs. Ticks are in the arachnid family, like spiders. They have a one-piece body with tiny barbs or “mouthparts” that attach to their host for feeding. Their crab-like legs emit a sticky substance, helping them stay attached to their host for days or even weeks.

These creepy creatures sit on a bush, in a tree, or in the grass waiting for you. They can sense carbon dioxide, movement, and warmth. As soon as a tick detects a potential host, they wave their legs around hoping to snag on and crawl to an area on the body to embed and feed.

When they find a suitable spot, their mouths emit a numbing agent (so you can’t feel the bite), and an anticoagulant substance, preventing the blood in the bite from clotting so they can feed longer. 

While feeding, a tick can remain embedded for two to three days, or as long as two weeks. When satiated, they will drop off. The longer they feed, the bigger their body gets.

How to get a tick off a dog: Step-by-step guide

The best time to remove a tick is when your dog is calm. If your dog is restless, a chew toy, a lick mat covered in peanut butter,  or some tasty treats can help keep them occupied while you get to work.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Gloves – To avoid any contact with the tick since it can attach itself to you too. 
  • A pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool – Look for fine-tipped tweezers, not the blunt-nosed type. Tick removal tools are available online, but many veterinarians also carry them.
  • Light or magnifying glass – Ticks can be super tiny, so using a bright light or magnifying glass can help you find them.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – a.k.a rubbing alcohol to kill the tick.
  • Container with lid – To put a small amount of isopropyl alcohol in the container to contain the tick
  • Camera or phone – To take a picture of the tick
  • Disinfectant, antiseptic cream, or antibiotic ointment – To clean the wound once you’ve removed the tick.

1. Check the full body for ticks 

Check your dog daily if they spend a lot of time outdoors, or you live in an area where ticks thrive. Since ticks can transfer between hosts, you’ll want to check your family members and other pets as well.

Run your hands slowly over your dog’s body looking for bumps, swelling, or any areas you see your dog  biting or chewing (tick bites can be itchy). 

Make sure you check everywhere – ticks aren’t picky about where they embed. They can hide on the torso, between toes, on the legs, where the legs meet the torso, inside ears, on faces, eyelids, chins, tail, and neck (under the collar too). 

If you notice a bump or swollen area, part the dog’s fur, using a light or magnifying glass to look for the tick. 

A tick can be from 1mm (pinhead size) to 1cm (finger-tip size) in size. Ticks in the larvae and nymph stages are harder to see at 0.5mm – 1mm, but they also embed and feed off hosts. If one has been feeding for a while, it can expand to ⅔ inches in diameter. You will see the legs and body protruding from your dog’s skin. 

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2. Remove the tick

Once you find the tick, use tweezers or a tick removal tool (preferred method) to remove the tick. 

Here’s how to do it with each tool:

Tweezers

Never use blunt-ended tweezers. They can squeeze or crush the tick, releasing the infectious pathogens into your dog’s bloodstream. You also risk the possibility of getting those pathogens on you, too. Therefore, vets encourage you to use tweezers with fine tips to remove the tick if that’s your preferred tick removal process.

Grasp the tick’s body close to your dog’s skin, being careful not to pinch the skin. Use a slow, steady motion to disengage it. Be sure not to jerk, twist, or pull. The tick should loosen its mouthparts when it feels pressure, allowing you to remove it intact. 

If you leave any of the mouthparts inside the wound, they can cause infection. Also, if you try to dig it out yourself, it can irritate the skin, causing inflammation, pain, and infection. If you see any remaining tick parts in the bite wound, it’s best to let your vet remove them.

Tick removal tool

This is the preferred method of tick removal as there is less of a chance of crushing the tick, making the process much easier. If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, you may want to look into a highly-rated tool like the Tornado and the Tick Stick.

Place the tool against your dog’s skin near the tick and slide the notch (the V part of the tool) under the tick. Once you have the tick in the notch, carefully twist it with a steady upward motion. The tick should disengage, allowing you to remove the entire tick from the skin.

3. Kill the tick

Once you have examined the tick to make sure all the parts of it are intact, place the tick into the container with the isopropyl alcohol to kill it. Place the lid on the container and keep it. If your dog shows symptoms of tick-borne illness (see below), your veterinarian may need to identify which type of tick bit your dog and test it for pathogens.

4. Take a picture of the tick

If you can’t face keeping the tick for the vet, taking a picture of the tick so the vet can identify it is also helpful. Flush the tick down the toilet

5. Clean the wound 

After you remove the tick from your dog’s skin, clean the bite area with an antiseptic and apply a triple antibiotic cream or lotion.

Ineffective tick removal methods to avoid

You may have heard of other ways to remove a tick such as burning a tick, drowning it with nail polish remover, or smothering it with Vaseline. These methods are not effective and can cause damage to your dog’s skin. 

In fact, many experts believe these methods can cause the tick to secrete an infectious substance during the dying process, causing a greater risk of tick-borne pathogens to enter your dog’s body. Steer clear of these methods!

Tick-borne disease

Tick-borne diseases infect thousands of animals and humans each year. In the United States alone, there are over 200 species of ticks, but the most common troublemakers are:

  • The American Dog Tick
  • Deer Tick or Black Legged Tick
  • Brown Dog Tick
  • Lone Star Tick

Although most ticks don’t transmit disease, some do. There are 14 diseases ticks can carry and pass on to their host, though the most commonly reported is Lyme Disease. 

Watch your dog’s behavior for the next few months. The pathogen transmission for tick-borne diseases can occur in 3-6 hours after the tick bite, with symptoms occurring weeks or even months later.

If you suspect your dog may have a tick-borne illness, watch out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen joints
  • Arthritis
  • Lameness lasting 3-4 days
  • Reluctance to move
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Neurological problems (seizures are uncommon but can happen)

If you notice these symptoms after a tick bite, your dog may be experiencing the effects of a tick-borne disease like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or Anaplasmosis to name a few. These require veterinary care and may jeopardize your pet’s health, so see your vet if you notice any of these symptoms after a tick bite.

Where are ticks found?

Spring and summer are prime tick seasons, but ticks can survive year-round in areas where the ground temperature is above 45 degrees. If you’re not sure whether or not your area is an active tick habitat, Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has interactive maps that can help you. 

Dogs can pick up ticks if they spend a lot of time outdoors in tall grass, wooded areas, at the beach, or where the humidity is high with year-round warm temperatures. Ticks love warm, moist environments, and they’re very efficient at finding a host.

Needless to say, ticks are vile little creatures and our dogs are better off without them. Let’s look at some ways you can prevent ticks from attaching to your dog during outdoor adventures.

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Tick bite prevention for dogs

During prime tick seasons and in areas where they’re prevalent, it’s important to check for ticks daily and remove them quickly. The longer they remain, the more likely they are to wreak havoc on your dog’s body.

Luckily, there are tick prevention tools available. Talk to your vet to find the best option for your dog.

Here are a few common tick preventatives:

Topical flea and tick treatments: These are topical applications absorbed through the skin. These are easy to administer and effective, however, always talk to your vet before you use a topical flea and tick treatment. Some dogs may experience side effects.

Tick collars: Good for dogs that can’t tolerate spot-on treatments. These can be effective for single-coated or light-coated dogs, but dogs with thick undercoats may not find them as effective for tick control.

Oral medications: These work very well, but may not be appropriate for all dogs. Your veterinarian will know if your dog is a suitable candidate for oral tick medications.

Tick sprays: Apply sprays directly onto your dog’s coat prior to going outdoors or before a hike in the woods. Check the directions for the period of effectiveness and how often you can use it.

Tick shampoos: Shampoos can help during spring and summer when ticks are most active. They repel ticks from hitching a ride on your dog when outdoors. Follow manufacturer instructions or vet recommendations for frequency.

House and lawn treatments: Keeping your grass mowed and bushes trimmed can make it harder for ticks to dwell in your yard. 

There are also some natural methods for repelling ticks in your yard. Here are two:

Nematodes – These are worm-like organisms that live in the soil and feed on tick larvae. You can purchase them at any garden supply store or also on Amazon. You add water to the nematodes to rehydrate them, then spray them on your yard.

Diatomaceous Earth – DE is fossilized remains of tiny aquatic creatures ground into a fine powder. To you and me, the powder is very soft and fine, but it’s deadly for ticks. The tiny shards of powder scrape their exoskeletons, causing them to dry out or dehydrate quickly. It’s gentle enough to be used as a flea control on kittens and puppies, too. Bonus? Diatomaceous earth minerals are great for your yard!

Worry-free adventures are possible

Talk to your vet about which flea and tick preventative options are best for your dog and “de-tick” your yard as much as possible.  

If your dog gets a tick, remember that removing them is easy, so long as you use the right tools and exercise care. And if you aren’t ready to come face to face with a tick, it’s perfectly fine to call in the calvary (your veterinarian) to remove it from your dog’s skin.

Though ticks are a real concern, they shouldn’t stop you from enjoying outdoor adventures with your beloved tail-wagger. That’s why Pumpkin’s preventive care pack for dogs, a non-insurance optional add-on, fully refunds two vaccines and one tick & heartworm disease test for dogs each year. Get the full scoop on the benefits of preventive essentials here.

*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy. Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. (Pumpkin) (NPN#19084749) is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company (NAIC #21113. Morristown, NJ), a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses

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