Why Does My Cat Lick Then Bite Me?- VyWhy

Last updated on 2021-12-24 04:14:37


Ever wonder why your cat licks then bites you? We've come up with three of the most common reasons why cat licks turn to bites!

why does my cat lick then bite me

Here’s the scenario: You’re hanging out with Dr. Tuna (that’s your cat’s name obviously) and you’re gently scratching his cheek. Which he LOVES by the way. Then Dr. Tuna decides to start licking your hand ever so slightly.

You think, “Well, his tongue is a bit rough but he seems to be saying thanks for all the petting. I’ll allow it.”

Not a second later, Dr. Tuna is chomping down! Not super hard but it’s not exactly gentle either.

Ouch! What the heck, Dr. Tuna?!

Ever wondered why your cat licks then bites you?

You’re in the right place. I set out to get the answer and do my best to solve this feline mystery! We’re going to dive deep into every possible scenario along with the context clue you need to look for to figure out what explanation makes the most sense.

But if you’re just looking for a quick answer as to why cats lick and bite then here it is:

Cats that lick and bite are most likely showing affection in the form of a love bite. This is especially likely if you’re just relaxing and not actively petting your cat. However, it could also be a sign of an overstimulated cat or just grooming behavior. 

Let’s get started!

What Can We Really Know About Cat Behavior?

First off, it’s important to realize the sad fact that we can’t have a conversation with your cat… or any cat. That means we’re making educated guesses on why cats do certain things and we really need to rely on the context (aka what else was going on) to learn more about the behavior.

That’s why we’re going to lay out three possible reasons why your cat may lick then bite you while giving you plenty of context cues to look for so you can figure out which one makes the most sense.

When it comes to understanding cat behavior, context is extremely important!

Scenario #1: Lick Then Bite Without Any Petting

Here’s what it looks like: You’re sitting on the couch doing your thing and then kitty calmly approaches, licks one or two times, and gives you a little bite. You weren’t petting her at all and your cat seems completely calm and relaxed throughout the licking and biting.

The Biggest Factors To Look For: A happy, calm, relaxed cat that isn’t being pet before the lick and bite.

You May Be Dealing With A Love Bite

In this scenario, your cat is probably sharing a little love bite that’s preceded by a lick.

But what exactly are love bites?

According to Dr. Karen Becker, a little nip is a completely normal way of saying they love you and a common sign of affection but unfortunately “your cat doesn’t understand her love bites aren’t always pleasant for you.”

These kind of cat bites are actually a normal part of how cats (but especially kittens) interact with each other. Dr. Becker goes on to explain that “ kitties nip each other affectionately, and their skin is tougher than ours.” So it’s kind of like kitty kisses!

kittens showing love bites
Just a couple of kittens saying hello!

I can confirm firsthand that my cat Debbie is a big fan of love bites.

Unfortunately, her favorite spot to go for is my nose!

I’ll be sitting in bed, reading a book, and winding down for the day. Debbie will stroll up, let out a little chirp, and ever so slowly give my nose a bite.

Not only does it make me a little self-conscious about my nose, but it also doesn’t feel that great. But I’m not sure which of us is weirder…my cat for biting my nose or me for letting it happen more than once!

(Okay, it’s happened a lot.)

Or Your Cat Could Be Grooming You

Others argue that the licks and bites that occur outside of petting are part of the grooming process for cats and they’re just giving you a good cleaning.

Well, it’s really not much of cleaning so maybe we should think of it like a not so subtle hint.

So does this grooming theory hold weight?

Cats do occasionally bite during the grooming process. Usually, it happens when they can’t quite get something off their fur or they need to really scratch an itch. If you watch enough cats groom themselves or each other, you’ll eventually see that it’s not unusual for them to mix in a little nibble.

I’ve actually got a story for this one, too. I had a foster cat named Stormy that made it her mission to lick my wet hair after a shower. This always started as licks but then eventually ended in a bite or two.

That being said, I’m starting to get worried about what this article is saying about me.

But back to the grooming explanation for the lick/bite combo…

I believe the cat love bites are more likely unless your cat is obviously trying to groom you. If your cat licks you more than a few times then it’s possible she’s trying to give you a grooming but if it’s just one lick followed by a bite it’s probably a love bite.

Scenario #2: Your Cat Is Happy But Overstimulated

Here’s what it looks like: You’re giving your cat a good petting. Maybe you’re petting her quickly or just focusing on one spot a little too long. Or maybe you like to live dangerously and you’ve gone for a belly rub. Either way, she leans in, gives your finger a lick or two, and then a nice chomp!

The Biggest Factors To Look For: What kind of body language are you seeing from your cat? Does she look loose and comfortable?

If you’re not sure what to look for, Dr. Sophia Yin has an excellent poster showing you what to look for. 

What Is Overstimulation?

Your cat may be experiencing something called overstimulation or sometimes called petting-induced aggression. Overstimulation occurs when the pets you’re giving your cat go from pleasant and enjoyable to suddenly uncomfortable or frustrating.

Why do cats get overstimulated?

While we can’t give a completely scientific explanation we know that cats are sensitive creatures with a clear threshold for when affection isn’t anymore.

I try to think of it like being ticklish. Sometimes someone could massage or rub your back and it might feel nice. But then they hit just the right spot near your ribs and suddenly you’re being tickled!

I know it’s a bit of a stretch (and anthropomorphizing animals isn’t a great habit to get in to) but I do think it’s still a useful way to think about overstimulation in cats. And I think it’s a better explanation than simply saying that your cat has mood swings!

The biggest problem is that our cats can’t let us know with words that something has become uncomfortable. Eventually, they get frustrated and communicate the only way they can think of…with a little cat bite!

So what can you do about overstimulated cats that go from happy and purring to licking and biting?

Your best option is to stop petting your cat before it happens or avoid areas that tend to lead to overstimulation. Different cats have different thresholds for how long they can be pet or areas that lead to overstimulation so you’ll have to learn what works best for your cat.

It’s important to note here that your cat will typically look loose and comfortable before overstimulation occurs but may show more stressful body language before the licking and biting occurs.

Always be observant of your cat’s behavior. If your cat already looks tense, stressed or fearful then don’t pet!

Try to pay attention to what your cat does after the lick and bite combination. If your cat creates distance by running away or hiding under something there’s a good chance they got overstimulated and they’re looking for some space. Make sure to give your cat the room they need and consider what happened right before she became overstimulated.

Eventually, you’ll be able to get a feel for the amount of petting your cat can handle and what they can’t.

Scenario #3: Your Cat Is Playing With You!

Here’s what it looks like: The tricky part is that playtime can look a lot like overstimulation! You’re petting your cat and then suddenly your cat licks then bites you! The big question is what does your cat do next?

The Biggest Factors To Look For: Does your cat take any kind of play postures after the first lick and bite combo or immediately start going after toys? If so, she’s probably just trying to play with you! If instead, your cat tries to run and create space you might be dealing with scenario #2.

How Your Cat Asks To Play

Your cat just might want to play! Remember, your cat can’t just say, “Hey, let’s play!”

Instead, they have to find a way to let you know when she wants to play.

While grabbing or toy would seem like a perfectly clear signal some of our cats might prefer to be a little more forward and let the chomping do the talking.

So how can you tell if the licking and biting combo is actually a request to play?

You’ll want to pay close attention to what your cat does immediately after!

If she stays and still seems interested or sprints little circles around the house, she’s probably ready to play. But if she looks tense or hides it probably scenario number two and she’s ready for a break.

this kitten is ready to play
This kitten is ready to play!

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope these scenarios helped clear up the great feline licking and biting mystery! But if you’re still left with more questions I’m here to help. I’ve put together some of the most common questions I’ve gotten about cats that lick and bite.

Q: Why does my cat bite me gently?

Gentle biting is a way for your cat to communicate. Most of the time it’s a “love bite” which is one of the many ways your cat may show affection. But it could also be your cat’s way of saying they’ve had enough petting. You need to pay close attention to your cat’s body language to figure out what your cat is trying to say.

Q: Why does my cat lick my other cat and then bite?

It could be because they’re grooming the other cat, they want to play or they’re feeling frustrated and overstimulated. Check out your cat’s body language which will help you understand exactly what’s going on. There’s a good chance your other cat knows exactly what the cat bites mean!

Q: Why does my cat lick then bite me but not my partner?

Somebody is the favorite! Your cat may be licking and biting you as part of a “love bite”, they may be asking you to stop petting them after they’ve had enough or they just want to play! Pay close attention to your cat’s body language and what they do after the bite.

What’s Your Experience? 

Have you gotten the lick then bite combo from your cats? What scenario do you think it is?

I’d love to hear and hope you have some stories as weird as mine!

9 Cat Tail Questions Answered! - Life Is Better With Cats!

16-04-2021 · A cat’s tail is actually made of a series of small bones called vertebrae (the plural form of vertebra) which are the same type of bones that make up the spinal column. These bones extend all the way to the end of the tail and get progressively smaller as …

what is a cats tail made of

For many cat parents, the feline tail can be pretty mysterious.

While the meaning and movements behind a dog’s tail are mostly straightforward, a cat’s tail can be a bit more confusing. Not only are cat behavior cues often more subtle when compared to canines but cats have a huge range of tail movements they can make. Cats can bend their tail into an almost perfect question mark, point it straight up, flicker individual parts, and everything in between.

How the heck are cats able to pull off such a wide range of unique movements? What’s the anatomy behind a cat’s tail that makes this possible?

Keep reading for the answers!

1. What Is A Cat’s Tail Made Of?

A cat’s tail is actually made of a series of small bones called vertebrae (the plural form of vertebra) which are the same type of bones that make up the spinal column. These bones extend all the way to the end of the tail and get progressively smaller as they get close to the end of the tail.

These bones are held together by ligaments and tendons with muscles further supporting the structure. Because there are so many small bones, with small spaces between them, tails are very flexible which allows cats to move them in incredible ways.

2. How Many Bones Do Cats Have In Their Tails?

Not all cats have the same number of bones in their tails and the exact number can vary between breed and the individual feline. But most cats have between 19 and 21 bones in their tail.

Most cats also have around 250 bones in their body (it can vary because of the bones in the tail) which means that almost 10% of a cat’s bones are in the tail alone!

The most notable example of cats with an unusual number of bones in their tails would have to be Manx cats which are famous for their short or completely non-existent tails. Even amongst Manx cats, there is a wide range of tail lengths with some having no tail and others having half the normal tail length- along with everything in between.

3. Do Cats Have Cartilage In Their Tails?

Yes, they do! While the most famous examples of cartilage for most people are the nose and ear, cartilage is a very common type of connective tissue that’s found not only throughout our own body but also in our cats- including the tail!

The flexible cartilage is one of the several factors that allow cats to have such variety in their tail movements.

Yes! While it might seem somehow detached from their body a cat’s tail is extremely sensitive and contains several nerves that extend from the spinal column. These nerves not only control the precise movements of the tail but also functions related to the bladder, hind legs, and even the intestine!

Sometimes it can seem like cats are completely cavalier with their tails. I know I’ve had to brush my cat’s tail through the doorway with my foot as she seems completely unconcerned about the closing door.

But in reality, cats do care very much care about their tail, and injury to the tail can cause a whole range of problems including incontinence and issues defecating.

5. Can Cats Live Without Tails?

Yes, cats can live without tails! While tails help our cats balance by acting as a counterweight, felines can adapt and learn to live without them. Whether that’s a result of amputation or simply being born without a tail, most cats have no problem living without their tail.

6. Do Cats Control Their Tails?

Yes, cats do have full control of their tails but some movements may be made involuntarily- or at least without conscious effort. When a cat is jumping and navigating the world around them, their tail may naturally react to their movements and help them balance. Just as your eyelids will close when an object is coming towards your eye, your cat’s tail adjusts based on the movements of your cat.

We have full control of our eyelids and our cats have full control of their tail but in both cases, there are moments that occur without conscious effort or control.

7. How Long Is A Cat’s Tail?

On average, a domestic cat’s tail is 12 inches long. But what sometimes makes the cat’s tail look so impressive is the fact that their bodies are only 18 inches on average (without their tail). That means their tail is more than half the length of their entire body!

The internet is full of cats with extra long tails but none are longer than the very handsome Maine Coon that goes by the name Cygnus Regulus Powers. He holds the record for the longest cat tail with an impressive length of 17.58 inches.

You can see his cat tail in all its glory here:

8. Does Pulling A Cat’s Tail Hurt Them?

Yes, pulling on a cat’s tail will not only cause pain to the cat but could also result in a severe, and even life-threatening, injury. That’s because the nerves of the tail branch out from the spinal column and control critical functions like defecation, urination, and even movement in the hind limbs.

Cat’s that have suffered a severe tail pull injury may no longer be able to hold their tail up and in some cases will dribble urine or feces after losing full control of these functions. While a tail pull injury might make you think only of a person pulling a tail, these types of injuries can also occur if cats get into a fight with other animals or if their tail gets stuck in a door.

9. How Many Muscles Are In A Cat’s Tail?

Cats have 6 distinct muscles in their tails and these all work together to give cats a huge range of movements. Of course, these muscles are just part of the picture and it’s the entire system of small bones, muscles, and connective tissue that gives cats their unique tail.

Closing Thoughts

Both expressive and extremely functional, our cat’s tails are amazing!

What did you find most interesting or surprising about the anatomy of your cat’s tail?

link to Why Does My Cat Bite My Dog’s Neck?
link to Why Doesn't My Kitten Meow?
Outdoor Cat Litter Boxes - (Everything You Need To Know)

26-05-2021 · Best Outdoor Cat Litterboxes. Best Covered Outdoor Litter Box: Petmate Booda Dome. Best Uncovered Option: Van Ness Small Litter Pan. Best For Storage Bin for DIY: SimplyKleen 4-pack Storage Totes with Lids. Premium Pick: New Age Pet ecoFLEX Habitat N’ Home Litter Loo. Closing Thoughts.

outdoor cat on his way to a litter box

Most people think litter boxes are only for indoor use.

But outdoor, community, and feral cats can benefit from litter boxes, too!

Outdoor litter boxes can help protect gardens by giving cats an alternative bathroom, keep community cats safer with a reliable potty spot, or even be used by your own cats.

While I am a big supporter of keeping your cats indoors, where they typically live happier and healthier lives, I’m in full support of anything that keeps community cats safe, happy, and healthy. And adding an outdoor litter box to your catio or other outdoor space is a great way to make it even more functional for your feline friend.

We’re going to take a closer look at the reasons to add an outdoor litter box, what to look for in the perfect box, and how to set them up for success. We’ll also dive deep into some of the individual options with reviews of each but if you’d like to skip ahead and see which options made the list you can check them out here:

Looking for something specific? Check out the table of contents for this article:

How Can An Outdoor Cat Litter Box Help?

Outdoor litter boxes can help our outdoor feline friends live in greater harmony with the people around them. While I love seeing healthy community cats living a good life outdoors, not everyone is excited about seeing feline friends in their neighborhood.

Keeping Gardens and Landscape Features Clean

For starters, most people aren’t excited to find a surprise cat poop in their garden.

But honestly, how could a cat not want to poop in a garden?

As former desert-dwelling creatures, cats prefer soft, sand-like material for their bathroom breaks and potting soil seems like the perfect option for an outdoor cat. By adding outdoor litter boxes, you can redirect cats to appropriate areas for bathroom breaks that will keep gardens clean and people happier.

Keeping Community Cats Safe

There are several “types” of outdoor cats and while some would be better off inside and part of a happy home, for some cats that just isn’t an option. Many feral or undersocialized cats have more in common with a wild animal than they do with a chubby housecat. Assuming these cats are spayed or neutered (as indicated by a tipped ear) they’re usually better off outside instead of in shelters.

Sadly, some folks may decide to do more than just call animal control and these cats can end up with even worse fates.

An outdoor litter box will not only eliminate those unwanted bathroom breaks but can also encourage cats to spend time in areas away from homes. If all of an outdoor cat’s resources, including the litter box, are in a particular area they’re a lot more likely to hang out there than in someone’s backyard.

Once again, that means safer cats and happier people!

Will Cats Use An Outdoor Litter Box?

Okay, so the benefits make sense but that leaves one big question…will outdoor cats even use an outdoor litter box?

Yes, they will! This was even proved by a study in Japan that evaluated the effectiveness of simple pot planter litter boxes.

While that study also used cat repellents to help direct cats to the new litter boxes, deterrents still aren’t required for outdoor litter boxes to work.

Buy…Or DIY?

One of the big choices is between buying a ready-to-go litter box or building your own.

Both options can work and there are pros and cons to both.

Just keep in mind that while a DIY option may sound intimidating (at least for folks like me) this can actually be extremely easy to do in a few hours or less. Check out this video for a straightforward and to the point guide to building your own outdoor litter box:

And if you still weren’t convinced that cats will use these litter boxes, then maybe that cute little cat promptly using her new potty convinced you!

Benefits of Building Your Own Outdoor Litter Box

In most cases, the biggest benefit of going the DIY route is going to be the size of the box compared to the cost. In other words, you can build a big outdoor litter box while spending around or less.

If you’re a community cat caretaker or you want to make sure that many cats can comfortably use your box, then larger can be much better. It not only allows for several cats to use it before it becomes “full” but it can also mean that you have to scoop less. Depending on your schedule or the location of the outdoor box, that can be a huge benefit.

Downsides of Building Your Own Box

Building your own outdoor litter box isn’t without its problems. The first issue is time and building your own will always take more time and energy compared to buying a ready-to-go option.

But the bigger limiting factor is often going to be space. Not only do you need a larger area but you also need to do some digging. Annoyed residents aren’t going to want to build a litter box in their own backyard and it’s not always practical to build an outdoor box at all depending on where community cats have decided to call home.

The other big, and hotly contested, issue is toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection that’s caused by a single-celled parasite and while it can be contracted through a variety of means including consuming undercooked meat it’s often connected to outdoor cats.

Cats can shed toxoplasmosis in their stool but the risk of humans contracting the disease is typically quite low. However, there’s always the concern that toxoplasmosis can be spread via an outdoor litter box, and because the do-it-yourself box is typically in the ground you don’t have many options for keeping the poops and litter contained.

You’ll need to assess your specific situation but I’d suggest some self-contained options if you’re considering an outdoor litter box near any kind of water supply.

Benefits of Buying A Ready-To-Go Outdoor Litter Box

The biggest benefit is the fact that it’s ready to go once you add the litter!

Ready-to-go boxes can also allow you to quickly adjust the location which can help you find the perfect spot or just give cats several options. Cats aren’t great at sharing the litter boxes so it’s usually a good idea to spread them out a bit which can be difficult with the DIY option but easy when you’re buying smaller boxes.

Not only will spreading out the boxes help with territorial cats but you can also squeeze boxes into a feline’s favorite spot. If cats are pooping in the mulch surrounding a set of bushes, you can squeeze an outdoor litter box in the back of the bushes so it’s not an eyesore but will still redirect the cat to a more appropriate spot.

Downsides of Buying A Box

The biggest downside will be cost and size. You can build a huge box for next to nothing if you go the DIY route but things can quickly get expensive if you’re trying to buy outdoor litter boxes for dozens of cats.

How To Setup An Outdoor Litter Box for Success!

What’s the best way to set up an outdoor litter box so cats actually use it?

Let’s look at a few of the things you’ll want to consider:

If Possible, Place It Near Their Go-To Spots

There’s a good chance that cats will find the outdoor litter box no matter where you put it but you can increase your chances of success by placing the box close to their usual hangouts or bathroom break areas.

Don’t stress this too much if you’re going the DIY option as it can be hard to be too picky with placement but if you’re buying a few boxes try stashing them in out-of-way areas that are still close to prime potty real estate like gardens and landscape features.

Don’t Mix Food Areas With Litter Box Areas

If you or someone else is already feeding community cats, or your own cat, make sure the litter box isn’t too close to your feeding areas. The same is true for water spots. In general, you’ll want to aim for at least 20 feet away from these areas.

If you’re going for the DIY option, make sure to consider where rainwater will flow from your outdoor box and make sure other important resources aren’t in any runoff paths.

Potty breaks put cats in a vulnerable position and while it’s easy to think of felines as apex predators around the neighborhood that’s far from the case.

That doesn’t mean a cat needs privacy but cats do need somewhere safe to potty and these usually go hand in hand.

Make Sure It’s Clean

This is one of the biggest factors for outdoor litter box success and something we talked a lot about in our guide to potty training a cat without a litter box. Whether it’s an outdoor litter box or a pile of dirt, cats want a clean place to do their business and there have been several studies to support this.

When you’re first introducing an outdoor box, make sure you keep it extra clean so cats quickly pick up the habit of going for the super clean box over the garden.

Use Basic Litter

While clumping litter might be a great option for our indoor feline friends, it doesn’t make any sense in areas where the entire litter box may be exposed to rain or snow. Stick with simple, but still cat-safe products like potting soil or make sure the entire litter box is covered.

Consider Litter Attractants

Litter box attractants are specially formulated herbal mixes that are designed to encourage cats to use the box. While the scientific evidence behind them are a bit mixed, they do appear to work for some cats.

If you’re looking for a way to further ramp up the appeal of your outdoor boxes, it can be worth checking out.

Should You Use Deterrents?

Deterrents can sound like a bit of a bad word but there are plenty of safe, cat-friendly deterrent options available.

Deterrents don’t need to be over the top, they just need to make the inappropriate bathroom a little less appealing. It won’t take much for cats to choose a clean, comfortable and safe outdoor litter box over a garden that smells strange, is difficult to dig in, or has a sprinkler that’s spraying water at them.

Let’s take a quick look at a few deterrents to see which ones make sense.

Scent Deterrents

These can really be hit or miss for cats but the bigger problem comes down to the surface area. While there are plenty of scents that cats don’t like, it takes a lot of work to use any scent deterrent over a large area. Not to mention maintaining it over time as the scents tend to dissipate over time.

For those reasons, I typically don’t recommend scent deterrents.

Physical Deterrents

Physical deterrents are usually a good option and the first thing I usually recommend is placing some plastic pet fencing under the soil in a garden or other landscape feature. It will take a little work to cut it out but it doesn’t have to perfect, just enough to make digging unpleasant for cats. Remember, because we’re giving cats other options in the form of an outdoor litter box, we just need to make our gardens and yards a little less appealing!

Most cats will quickly move on once they realize the garden isn’t so great for digging anymore. There are plenty of budget-friendly options out there and this simple fencing on Amazon works well.

You can also try adding small rocks or sticks to the soil- anything to make the texture a little less appealing and encourage them to go for other options like your outdoor litter box.

Motion-activated sprinklers are also a great humane option that will not only deter outdoor cats but also other wildlife that may want to eat, poop or play in gardens. They aren’t quite as easy on the budget but you can check out this one on Amazon which works well. You may need a few to get the coverage you need but if you’re focused on one specific garden they can be very effective.

What To Look For In An Outdoor Litter Box?

Whether you’re looking to DIY or just buy, let’s break down some of the things to look for in the ideal outdoor litter box!

To Cover or Not Cover

Covered litter boxes are a major source of debate in the cat world. Many folks assume that cats want a private place to potty but in reality, most would be perfectly happy to use a litter box in the middle of the living room!

But when it comes to the great outdoors, covered boxes have several benefits that go well beyond privacy. They can help cats stay more secure by not drawing attention to them during their vulnerable moments. They can also help keep whatever is being used as litter safe from the weather. The downside is that some covered boxes leave only one exit point which can be a risky proposition for outdoor cats.

Consider the type of weather in your area and if it frequently rains or snows then a covered box may make sense, otherwise, there’s no reason why you can’t go the uncovered route.

Drainage and Durability

Any outdoor litter box needs to be ready to handle rain, sleet, and snow without falling apart or filling up. While a cover can help, it isn’t perfect. That means the litter you choose needs to be ready to handle any type of weather and have some kind of drainage.

Size and Scooping Frequency

Picking out an outdoor litter box for your cat’s catio space is a much more straightforward proposition compared to picking out a box for an entire colony of cats. More cats mean more poops and a bigger litter box, or even several, is best.

But your availability for scooping is also going to be a big factor. Even if there are only a few cats that you expect to use the litter box if you can only scoop a few times a month then you’re going to need a bigger box. The opposite is also true, if you plan on scooping every other day then you get away with a smaller box.

If you’re not able to scoop very frequently then a DIY box makes a great option since you can go big.


It’s not always safe for community cats and their litter boxes to be front and center. Some folks may find the litter box to be an outdoor eyesore and other ill-intentioned humans may see it as a target. On the other hand, if the litter box is for your own backyard maybe you’ll want something a little more stylish!

Make sure to consider the environment that the outdoor cats are in and pick an appropriate box.

What Can I Use For Outdoor Cat Litter?

We’ve already mentioned that clumping litter is out. While you could make an argument that it will work for a very covered box, I think there are much better options. Not only because they don’t clump but also because they’re generally a lot easier on the budget than commercial cat litter.

Since the litter box is outside, you don’t need to worry as much about things like odor control or other extras. Instead, simple and natural litter is usually best. Even though I’d put wood pellet cat litter in the natural category, it’s not a great choice for the outdoors either since it’s a bit too good at absorbing water.

So let’s take a quick look at a few of the best options before we review the boxes.


The modern cat’s ancient ancestors would have used sand for bathroom breaks and that instinct is still alive in cats today. Sand is typically quite appealing for any litter box but it’s especially practical for an outdoor box. There are also plenty of sandbox owners who have proven that cats are happy to use the playground as a bathroom.

To play it safe, I’d recommend picking out sand that’s specifically marketed for children’s sandboxes. You aren’t going to find any sand that’s specifically made for cats, so kid-safe options are your next best choice.

You can find sandbox-friendly sand online but in most cases, your local hardware store or tractor supply shop will be a better option for buying in bulk at rock bottom prices. At the time of writing, the Tractor Supply Co is offering 50 pounds of sand for around . That’s going to be very tough to beat.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is another great option and if outdoor cats are already using the garden for a porta-potty then they may already be familiar with peat moss. Peat moss comes in a variety of forms and for cats, the finer options are typically best since it’s closer to sand. Peat moss does absorb liquid, but not very quickly which makes it a great option for outdoor boxes.

Pure peat moss, also called sphagnum moss, is typically non-toxic assuming you’re avoiding products with added fertilizers or other enhancements.

Like other natural litter alternatives, peat moss is also easy on the budget and you can check your local hardware store or check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

Potting Soil

Potting soil is another great option that outdoor cats are probably already familiar with. Similar to peat moss, organic potting soil without any additives are safe and non-toxic for cats. Potting soil has the soft texture that many cats love but make sure you pick out an option that’s relatively fine.

Just be careful because there can a wide variety of potting soil. In most cases, products with the organic label are good options and this is one of my favorites on Amazon.

Best Outdoor Cat Litterboxes

Okay, at this point you know just about everything there is to know about picking up the perfect outdoor litter box and how to set it up for success.

Now let’s look at some great outdoor litter boxes!

Best Covered Outdoor Litter Box: Petmate Booda Dome

Our best overall pick comes from the folks at Petmate and checks a lot of boxes when it comes to an outdoor litter box.

The cover isn’t perfectly waterproof since there at small ventilation holes at the top but you can easily place a piece of tape over them to make the box much more water and weather resistant. The box itself comes in a variety of neutral colors which will help it blend in with the surrounding environment. The brushed nickel color is likely the best for most urban areas.

When it comes to litter space, the box isn’t huge so if you’re trying to provide for a variety of cats you may need to grab a few. But these are subtle enough that they can be stashed in a few key spots around the neighborhood or just in your backyard.

You can also place a litter liner or plain trash bag into the bottom of the litter box to allow you to completely toss the older litter when it’s time to change it.

Finally, there’s the added benefit of providing some security to feral or community cats. While you do want outdoor cats to poop in this litter box instead of considering it their new home, the spiral entrance can help provide cats with a cozy and hidden cat den. Since it’s in part designed to keep dogs out of the litter box while in the house, it does a decent job keeping bigger critters out.

You can read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

What I Love About It: It does a little bit of everything really well. It’s low profile, keeps water out, and isn’t going to break the bank.

What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see some bigger options!

Best Uncovered Option: Van Ness Small Litter Pan

This Van Ness litter box is all about keeping it simple. There’s nothing fancy here- it’s just a sturdy, well-reviewed litter box that’s also very easy on the budget. That makes it a great option for folks who want to have several outdoor litter boxes.

While it does have colors that are on the brighter side, this box still keeps a low profile with a height of only 3.5 inches. While that could lead to some split litter in the house, it’s perfect for outdoor cats.

You can also dig out a little 3.5-inch area in the ground and place this box inside. That’s a bit of a hybrid between the buy and DIY options but it allows you to have a low-profile box that still contains the litter and stool if you’re concerned about runoff.

But you can also just put these litter boxes throughout the neighborhood and Van Ness actually offers these in packs of 12 along with the standard single. While I prefer the small option and just buying in volume, you can also pick up larger boxes that are still budget-friendly.

You can read more reviews and check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

What I Love About It: It does a little bit of everything really well. It’s low profile, keeps water out, and isn’t going to break the bank.

What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see a little more variety to the color choices.

Best For Storage Bin for DIY: SimplyKleen 4-pack Storage Totes with Lids

While the DIY options may be appealing to many, not everyone has a space to dig.

For those folks, the DIY storage bin can be a great option not only for a litter box for a general cat house too. Here’s what it can look like when it’s done:

What’s great about making your own is you can get exactly what you want. In this case, the folks at Lucky Ferals have added two entry points which most community cats will appreciate.

Remember, most animals will instinctively be hesitant about entering an area with only one exit and if the community cats are approached by wildlife (or some wild humans) while taking a bathroom break they can easily escape out the other side.

Just about any storage bin will work for this DIY project but I’m recommending these SimplyKleen bins because they’re easy on the budget and come in darker colors that will work better in urban environments. There is even a green option which, despite the red lid, may be a good option for areas with a little more foliage.

When it comes to litter, you can fill the entire bin with the litter of your choice or even squeeze in a smaller box like the Van Ness above. Depending on how you place the entrances, the entire bin will be water-resistant and if you live somewhere with only light rain it could keep everything completely dry.

You can check out all the buying options along with today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

What I Love About It: Simple and effective, these bins can make great outdoor litter boxes that are still portable.

What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see more neutral color options for the lid on the green bin. It’s still a good option for outdoor areas with plenty of greenery but I’d to see something that’s completely green.

Premium Pick: New Age Pet ecoFLEX Habitat N’ Home Litter Loo

Our premium pick makes a great option for folks that want to add an outdoor litter box to their own backyard but don’t want to create an eyesore.

This cat house is designed to look like a normal piece of furniture but is durable enough to be used indoors or outdoor. While they include several pictures of the cat house being used indoors, I think it has a distinctly outdoor furniture-type of look and should fit in nicely with the overall look of most backyards.

There are more than 4,500 five-stars on Amazon and many of these are from folks that are using the cat house outdoors. I’m a big fan of the color choices and most of them will help this box keep a low profile or even match your backyard.

While it’s certainly not a requirement, the fact there’s a little storage space can be handy if you need to leave a scooper or other supplies with the box. This can be especially handy if the box is located off the beaten path.

Just to be completely clear, this cat house doesn’t come with a litter pan and isn’t intentionally designed to be used as a stand-alone outdoor litter box. However, there no reason you couldn’t fill the inside with your choice of litter but it will work better with a box inside.

There’s is also a jumbo option, which is a bit more unusual see in these types of products, but that allows you to match the perfect litter box to the cat house.

What I Love About It: I like the overall look and feel that they’ve done a good job balancing style and function.

What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see it raised off the ground just a bit more to give it some additional weather resistance in snowy or wet areas.

Closing Thoughts

Outdoor litter boxes for cats can solve a lot of problems and while I love seeing healthy, ear-tipped community cats I know that not everyone does. Especially if they have a garden with an occasional surprise cat stool.

Outdoor litter boxes can not only help manage problems with gardens and other landscape features but in some cases, they can help direct community cats to safer, more appropriate areas. An outdoor litter can also make a great option if you’ve got a catio or other enclosure and don’t want to completely drop the box.

What do you think? Are you going to buy a box or go the DIY option?

Tiki Cat Food Review (Updated 2022) - Life Is Better With Cats!

17-10-2020 · Tricalcium phosphate is an anti-caking agent that also helps balance the overall pH of your cat’s food. Tiki Cat uses this instead of the more traditional and common xanthan gum or guar gum. 5. Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid and an absolute requirement for your cat. Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis


Today we’re reviewing seriously high-quality cat food with a bit of a silly name: Tiki Cat. For whatever reason, the branding of this cat food always led me to believe this was sort of a bottom of the barrel cat food but I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Tiki Cat features great ingredients, high-protein, and extremely limited fillers. In fact, the Puka Puka Luau variety is one of the few foods on the market to be free of guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan, and montmorillonite clay which makes it a great options if you’re looking to avoid fillers.

But before we go further, let’s take a look at the overall ratings for the Tiki Cat brand:

I’ll be diving deep into each of these factors but let’s start by learning more about the history of the Tiki Cat brand. You can also skip ahead to any particular criteria using the table of contents below:

Tiki Cat originally started as Petropics and was founded by Christine Hackett and her husband in 2005. Christine had previously worked in research and development for PetCo and during that time decided that the pet food market needed a new kind of diet. That meant food that was more species-appropriate, with fewer gains and carbohydrates.

Christine is also a big fan of Polynesian culture which explains the tiki-style branding. When talking about her brand to the New York Times she explains that “We wanted the art, the cooking, the feel of vacation and the recipes were inspired by our own dining out.”

This mindset shows in the actual food which features large chunks of human-grade ingredients that are easy to identify. I actually found a video of Christine talking about her brand and having a couple of quick nibbles of one of her products just to show how that it’s not all talk!

Product Variety – 7.5/10

Tiki Cat has a wide variety of flavors but their major focus is on fish and poultry combinations. The only issue I have is that their flavor names can be a little confusing. While it’s pretty standard to add some branding to your line of food (Merrick’s Backcountry line for example) with names like Puka Puka Luau, Koolina Luau and Napili Luau you can see how things might get a little confusing!

But it’s only a minor issue and the actual proteins in the product are still clearly labeled. When it comes to proteins, Tiki Cat has some of the widest variety of seafood flavors I’ve ever seen including:

  • Prawns
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Mackrel
  • Crab
  • Seabass
  • Shrimp
  • Hering
  • Tilapia
  • Lobster

I’m not aware of any other cat food that carries that kind of variety when it comes to seafood! They also have a nice variety of other protein sources including lamb, duck, and beef. Several flavors also feature single ingredients which is great if you’re looking for a limited ingredient diet.

It’s also worth mentioning that Tiki Cat foods don’t have the same pâté or shred-style presentation. Instead, they use the word “consommé” to describe their food which is basically a more fancy way of saying soup. You can see a picture of this in the next section but it’s important to note that some cats (and owners) might be a little surprised to see a soupy substance come out of the can.

Tiki Cat is also heavily geared toward wet food and while they claim to have more than 40 different flavor combinations, which is way more than most brands, they only have three flavors of dry food at the time of writing.

Overall, Tiki Cat gets a well deserved 7.5 out of 10 for product variety with a wide range of unique flavors and novel protein sources.  However, the consommé style might not be what some cat owners are looking for, especially if they’re used to the traditional pâté -style. And if you’re looking for dry kibble, your options are going to be pretty limited.

Species Appropriateness – 8/10

When I say species-appropriate, I mean a diet that closely lines up with what your cat would actually eat in the wild. Cats are what’s called obligate carnivores which means that they require meat in order to get all the necessary nutrients. In other words, your cat’s wild ancestors weren’t foraging for blueberries or hunting down grain; instead, they were hunting small game!

For a diet to be species-appropriate then it should focus on animal sources of protein and this is where Tiki Cat really shines. I mean, just take a look at the sardine cutlet recipe:

tiki cat sardine

They’re certainly not trying to make a diet that looks nice! Instead, they’re focused on minimal processing and animal proteins which is why they score so high in species appropriateness.

Ingredient Quality – 8/10

With high scores in species-appropriateness come high scores in ingredient quality! It’s a given that Tiki Cat avoids using ingredients like soy, corn, and wheat but they also do a great job of minimizing common thickening agents. That’s part of why they made my list of the best cat food without carrageenan!

However, the list of ingredients can vary quite a bit between lines and some are certainly better than others so to really understand what’s inside Tiki Cat recipes let’s do a deep dive into three of the most popular recipes by reviewing the first several ingredients of each.

We’ll start with one of the most popular Tiki Cat products:

Ingredients In Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme

1. Chicken

Chicken is an excellent first ingredient and what I love about Tiki Cat is that if you spend even a second looking at the food it’s very clear that chicken is the main ingredient. The canned food looks more like a can of shredded chicken than your typical brown lump of cat food!

2. Chicken Broth

Broth is a typical ingredient for most wet or canned foods.

3. Sunflower Seed Oil

Healthy fats are a critical part of your cat’s diet and I’d prefer to see an animal source of fat sunflower oils are still an acceptable ingredient.

4. Tricalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate is an anti-caking agent that also helps balance the overall pH of your cat’s food. Tiki Cat uses this instead of the more traditional and common xanthan gum or guar gum.

5. Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid and an absolute requirement for your cat.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin K3 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 16% Protein
  • 2.6% Fat
  • 0% Fiber
  • 80% Moisture

And here’s the guaranteed analysis by dry matter (with moisture removed):

  • 80% Protein
  • 13% Fat
  • 0% Fiber

This recipe from Tiki Cat has some of the highest protein content you can find along with extremely low carbohydrate content. The ingredients are simple and consistent of only a core protein with the rest of the ingredients acting as nutritional supplements. Overall, it’s great food with a premium ingredient list. You can check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.

Tiki Cat Bora Bora Grill Sardine Cutlets in Lobster Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Sardines are a great source of protein and fatty acids for your cat! Cat’s also love fish and most cats are typically quite happy to eat some sardines!

2. Lobster Broth

While it’s in the form of a broth, lobster is certainly a more unique ingredient for any cat food.

3. Sunflower Seed Oil

As noted in the Puka Puka Luau recipe, sunflower oil has it merits but I’d always prefer to see an animal source of fat rather than something plant-based.

4. Locust Bean Gum

Locust bean gum is used to thicken and stabilize cat foods but it’s also an additive that some cat owners prefer to avoid. Locust bean gum (along with xanthan gum) given to rats over a two year period and no carcinogenic or other toxic effects were observed.

5. Xanthan Gum

Similar to locust bean gum, xanthan gum is used as part of the manufacturing process and is considered safe. Still, many cat owners would prefer to avoid additives at all costs and some have suggested that xanthan gum can stick to cat’s teeth and cause increased dental disease.

6. Paprika

I wasn’t sure about paprika and it’s not an ingredient we commonly see so I reached out to Tiki Cat for more information. They got back to me within a few days and explained “We added paprika as a natural coloring but included at an insignificant level, in hopes of helping the visual appearance. This is only added to the diets containing sardines.”

7. Taurine

Taurine is a critical amino acid for cats that’s found exclusively in animal proteins. This recipe includes added taurine as a supplement.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Sardines, Lobster Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Paprika, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Copper Sulfate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 11% Protein
  • 3% Fat
  • 0% Fiber
  • 83% Moisture

And here’s the guaranteed analysis by dry matter (with moisture removed):

  • 65% Protein
  • 18% Fat
  • 0% Fiber

Tiki Cat Bora Bora Ingredient Summary

You can see just how different the ingredients of this diet are compared to the Puka Puka variety. While it still has high protein and a focus on animal-based ingredients, this recipe features locust bean and xantham bean gums. While I don’t think these are ingredients that have to be avoided at all costs, I do understand why you’d want to skip them, and the fact that some Tiki Cat recipes include them and others don’t is a little confusing.

If you want to pick up the Bora Bora recipe, I recommend Amazon and you can check today’s price by clicking here.

Ingredients In Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Herring Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

1. Deboned Chicken

We always want to see an animal-based protein as the first ingredient and debonded chicken is a great start to this recipe. The Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) explains that named poultry like this is “the parts of the bird as you would find if you purchased a whole chicken or turkey at the grocery store” but that it also includes “of the less profitable parts of the bird, such as backs and necks.”

2. Chicken Meal

Meal is the ground up meat product after heat has been applied and water has been removed. In other words, it’s a concentrated form of protein. While less processed meat is generally better, meals do add a lot of protein.

3. Herring

Herring is a fish that provides another species-appropriate protein source and a great source of healthy fats. It’s also great to see another protein in the third ingredient that’s not a meal.

4. Salmon Meal

Like the previous meal ingredients, this adds protein but not much else.

5. Herring Meal

Just like the other meal products on this list, herring meal is high in protein.

6. Dried Egg Product

Dried egg product is defined by the AAFCO as “dry egg, without the shell, that was processed at a USDA plant.” That means this another species-appropriate ingredient and animal protein source.

7. Peas

Peas are making their way into more and more recipes as the grain-free pet food movement continues to grow. Peas aren’t species-appropriate and while they don’t have the same impact that something like corn would they’re still a carbohydrate. However, they also help keep the price of this cat food down and don’t show up until ingredient 7.

8. Peas

Peas are making their way into more and more recipes as the grain-free pet food movement continues to grow. Peas aren’t species-appropriate and while they don’t have the same impact that something like corn would they’re still a carbohydrate. However, they also help keep the price of this cat food down and don’t show up until ingredient 7.

8. Tapioca

Another carbohydrate, tapioca is a starch that’s extracted from the cassava plant. This starch is part of the manufacturing process for the kibble and helps the dry food maintain shape.

9- Natural Chicken Flavor

Natural chicken flavor, according to Chewy.com, is “incorporates Chicken Fat and other natural flavors to deliver a poultry taste.” Like most natural flavors, the overall nutritional impact is minor.

10- Brewers Dried Yeast

Brewers dried yeast acts as a supplement that adds protein and vitamin B to cat food.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Herring, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Dried Egg Product, Peas, Tapioca, Natural Chicken Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid), Chickpeas, Ground Whole Flaxseed, Tomato Pomace, Calcium Sulfate, Inulin (Prebiotic), Vitamin E Supplement, Pumpkin, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Preservative), Citric Acid, Tannic Acid.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 43% Protein
  • 18% Fat
  • 3.5% Fiber
  • 10% Moisture

And here’s the guaranteed analysis by dry matter (with moisture removed):

  • 47.7% Protein
  • 20% Fat
  • 3.8% Fiber

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Herring Ingredient Summary

All 6 of the first ingredients are animal-based protein sources which instantly helps this food stand out as one of the better dry cat foods available. The Born Carnivore line from Tiki Cat also comes in at a reasonable price point. That makes it a great option for cat owners that want to feed a high-protein kibble without spending a fortune. You can click here to see the latest price on Amazon.

Price 7/10

Price is a difficult category to really pin down since so much it depends on the ingredient quality. For example, the Puka Puka Lua (chicken flavor) is most expensive than the Bora Bora (sardines flavor) and the price difference reflects the ingredient quality.

So in much the same way that ingredient quality can vary between recipe, you’ll see a wide range of prices with Tiki Cat Products.

Overall, Tiki Cat has several budget friendly options that help cat owners pick up a quality product at a reasonable price. I don’t think that Tiki Cat is trying to be the premium type of cat food. Instead, I get the impression that they want to beat out the Blue Buffalo’s in the market by offering a high-quality product with some minor compromises. Or as Hackett put in her interview with the New York Times, “A lot of midline premium brands, which still have a lot of grain and carbohydrates in them, lost traction to companies like mine.”

Marketing and Message Match 8.5/10

Tiki Cat does a great job of matching their marketing with their actual product. Tiki Cat is one of only a handful of companies that directly acknowledges your cat’s carnivorous roots as they explain on their FAQ Page “Cats are obligate carnivores and can only get nutrients from meat, unlike other animals which are able to synthesize nutrients from plant-based foods.”

I also love that the founder of the company is actually someone who worked in the pet food industry before. Unlike many pet food companies who enter the market solely from a business perspective, after watching interviews with Hackett, I feel like I can clearly see the passion for what she’s doing.

It also helps that’s willing to casually snack on her brand of cat food while being recorded.

Recall History 10/10

At the time of writing, Tiki Cat has never been recalled. With a perfect recall history and a company history spanning back to 2005 Tiki Cat easily earns a perfect 10 out of 10 for recall history!

Dry Vs Wet

Tiki Cat is heavily focused on wet food and only has three flavors of dry kibble in their Born Carnivore line. Tiki Cat explains that “We formulated a dry option, in a baked kibble, that delivers on the same high protein, low carbohydrate promise that we make with our wet diets.” In other words, their goal was to create a high-protein, low carbohydrate dry food and I’d say they accomplished that.

Part of what makes their dry food unique is that they bake it. Tiki Cat claims that this “allows us to include higher levels of fresh meat than extrusion, which is how most dry products are made.” They also claim that this allows for the Maillard effect to take place which improves the taste of the overall food. The Maillard effect is certainly established but it’s hard to say for sure how much cats really care.

As for the wet food, I’ve already discussed that while there some variety across recipes Tiki Cat does focus on providing high protein diets. What makes their wet food unique is the consommé or soup style delivery.

Online Reviews Of Tiki Cat

I’ve spent hours digging around the internet to get a feel for what cat owners are saying about Tiki Cat products. That means searching through cat-related forums, blogs, and of course vendor websites. I’ve also looked at both wet and dry food varieties.

Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau has the highest ratings compared to other recipes and product lines with hundreds of happy cat owners. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise since we’ve already talked about how this simple recipe features quality ingredients with limited fillers at a reasonable price.

Overall, the vast majority of reviews of Tiki Cat are positive with the majority of negative reviews coming from cat owners with felines that refused to eat the food. However, I have yet to see a cat food that doesn’t have a long list of these types of reviews and I feel that Tiki Cat has a normal amount of these kinds of reviews.

But let’s dig a little deeper and start with what customers love about Tiki Cat:

What Customers Love

One of my favorite ways to get a feel for a lot of data is with a word cloud! It’s a great visual way to see common trends and below you can see a word cloud for 100 five-star reviews for the Puka Puka Luau cat food.

tiki cat word cloud

You can see that many cat owners are mentioning the shredded chicken which definitely makes this food stand out. While most cat foods show up in a brown chunk (aka a pâté) Tiki Cat foods actually look like food. You’ll also notice the prominence of the words “love” and “loves” and there were many cats owners who were ecstatic about how much their cat loved the food!

Research is also kind of a surprising word in the cloud and many owners mentioned the amount of research they did before they end up going with Puka Puka Luau.

My favorite customer review (and winner of the best headline) has to be this one from Amazon.

What Customers Don’t Like

As I’ve already mentioned, the main complaint from cat owners is that their cats didn’t like the food. Check out this word cloud from one-star reviews:

tiki cat negative word cloud

You can see the prominence of words like “won’t” and “doesn’t”. You’ll also notice that the word “changed” is prominent and that’s a result of cat owners suggesting that the recipe has changed over time. This is another complaint that I see pretty often but I don’t have any evidence that suggests the recipe has changed.

My Overall Rating 8/10

Tiki Cat can be an excellent cat food but it really does depend on the specific recipe you select. When it comes to wet food, the Puka Puka Luau is one of the best on the market with a simple, protein-focused recipe that minimizes fillers and preservatives. But other recipes, like the Bora Bora, are much closer to average. Not bad, but certainly not on the same level as the Puka Puka.

When it comes to dry food, the relatively new Born Carnivore line is a great option for budget-friendly high protein kibble.

But when you look at the best recipes that Tiki Cat has to offer, combined with a pile of positive reviews and a perfect recall history I believe Tiki Cat deserves a solid 8 out 10 rating. If you’d like to learn more and about Tiki Cat and check the latest prices you can click here to see their store on Amazon.

If you’d like to learn about a cat food that scored even higher, check out my review of Feline Natural.

How To Fix A Wobbly Cat Tree

14-10-2020 · Trays of canned cat food. Milk jugs filled with water or sand. Bags of pet food (just be careful no kitties decide to stage a heist) Dumbells or kettlebells. Backpack filled with anything heavy. But if you want to use something a bit heavier, the most cost …

how to fix a wobbly cat tree
You just got a brand new cat tree and your cat loves it!

But there’s a problem.

Your cat also loves to run FULL speed across the room and leap through the air onto the cat tree. Which means that slight wobble is starting to turn into a big problem and the last thing you want is your cat tree to come crashing down.

Honestly, cat trees are pretty poorly designed. They’re tall towers with narrow bases and overall light construction so it’s no wonder so many are wobbly!

So how do you fix a wobbly cat tree? Your best options are to try and widen the base of the cat tree or to add something heavy to the bottom. Both these will increase the overall stability of the cat tree without requiring too much technical know-how. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into everything you need to know about fixing a wobbly cat tree. We’ve laid out your options from simple to a little more complex.

First Things First

Before we get ahead of ourselves or start buying things to try and fix our wobbly cat tree let’s start with the basics.

Is Your Cat Tree On An Even Surface?

As obvious as it might seem, it’s important to make sure that an uneven floor isn’t the cause of your wobbly cat tree. While most trees wobble a bit when a cat lands on it at full speed, your cat tree shouldn’t wobble when you touch it lightly. If that’s why you’re seeing, you may have an uneven floor.

But sometimes it can surprisingly hard to tell if your floor is uneven. If you have a level handy that will tell you right away.

Or you could take a much less technical approach and set a ball on your floor. If it always rolls in the same direction (and picks up speed) there’s a chance your floor is uneven. I know that isn’t the most technical solution but it will help you figure it out!

If you do find that uneven flooring is a problem, the simplest solution may be to move your cat tree to another room or another part of the house.

Make Sure To Tighten Any Screws

Cat trees come in a wide variety of styles from the homemade driftwood cat tower to the off the shelf full built activity tree. But regardless of how it’s built, there’s probably several screws that are helping keep everything in place. These screws can loosen over time so it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure any fasteners are tight.

Try Moving Your Cat Tree Into A Corner

One of the easiest ways to fix a cat tree wobble is to place the tower against a wall or in a corner. Because my cat loves to leap through the air and latch on the side of the tower, I quickly realized that the corner was the safest place for my 6-foot tree.

However, that won’t work for everyone! You might not have the right layout in your home or your cat might not use the cat tree when it’s pressed against the wall. In some cases, cat trees have special toys or attachments that might be blocked off if the cat tower is placed against the wall.

If that’s your situation then keep reading, we’ve got more solutions!

Increase the Weight of the Base

Besides moving the cat tree to a corner, the next easiest fix is to increase the weight of the base. What you use will depend in part on the shape of your cat tree but many times you can use items from around the house.

Here are some ideas:

  • Magazines or books
  • Trays of canned cat food
  • Milk jugs filled with water or sand
  • Bags of pet food (just be careful no kitties decide to stage a heist)
  • Dumbells or kettlebells
  • Backpack filled with anything heavy

But if you want to use something a bit heavier, the most cost-effective option would probably be a sandbag. You can pick up a single sandbag on Amazon but just make sure that your cat doesn’t decide it’s a better scratching post than your actual cat tree! Once filled, that sandbag should weigh around 35-40 pounds which should be plenty for most cats and activity trees.

Widen the Base of the Cat Tree

One of the major problems with cat trees is that they have a very narrow base. This is fine if cats only want to lounge on them but even the laziest cats get a case of the zoomies now and then! Adding a wider base to your cat tree can really help stabilize the tree and decrease wobbling.

But how the heck do you do that?

Well if you’re a bit of a handyman then you could attach your cat tree to a piece of plywood that’s about 2 times the size of the existing base. But if that sounds like an easy project for then you probably wouldn’t be reading this!

So we’ll skip solutions that require drills or screws in favor or something a little more simple.

Use Wood Glue

If the underside of your cat tree is wooden (as most are) then you can actually use wood glue to attach a new plywood base.

I know what you’re probably thinking…glue? Seriously?

Wood glue is actually extremely strong and the base of most cat trees will give more than enough surface to create a strong bond. I recommend Gorilla Glue if you’re doing this route and you can pick some up from Amazon by clicking here.

But if you’re still unconvinced that wood glue will do the trick, check this video:

Typically doubling the size of the base should do the trick so take some quick measurement and head up to your local hardware store!

Use Ratchet Straps

Instead of drilling the base of your cat tree into a piece of plywood, you could attach the two using ratchet straps. Click here to see a video of how ratchet straps work if you aren’t already familiar with them.

Even with this solution, the cat tree may still wobble a bit (depending on how tight you can get the ratchets) but if done correctly the cat tree won’t tip over. If you’re interested, you can check out this 4-pack of ratchet straps on Amazon which will do the trick.

What Not To Do

You’ve probably seen people fix a wobbly table or chair by sliding a piece of wood or something else under the wobbly side. While that works for tables and chairs, it’s not something I can recommend for a wobbly cat tree.

If your cat decides to run full speed at your cat tree, that little piece of wood could easily shift and make it more likely that your cat tree tips over. I strongly suggest you go for one of the other solutions I’ve outlined like widening the base or increasing the weight of the tree!

Closing Thoughts

While my cat is completely unphased when the cat tree wobbles to one side, I was pretty terrified! Luckily I was able to find a nice sunny spot in the corner of the room to stabilize the cat wobbly tower.

But that solution won’t work for everyone.

In those cases, you’ll need to look at widening the base of your cat tree with some DIY work or simply increase the weight of the tree with few repurposed household items.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve been able to fix your cat tree wobbles!

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8 Alternatives To Declawing A Cat - (How To Stop Scratching)

10-07-2021 · 5. Keep Nails Trimmed. Keeping nails trimmed is one of the most obvious alternatives to declawing and also one of the most effective. Not only that but trimming your cat’s claws is part of taking care of your feline friend and if claws aren’t kept trim …

alternatives to declawing a cat

Declawing cats is decreasing in popularity every year…and for good reason.

More and more country, state and local legislations are banning the practice and professional associations like the American Veterinary Medical Association are also taking a stance. Most folks agree that the practice is unnecessarily harmful to cats and dozens of studies suggest that there are numerous long-term negative effects.

These long term problems can range from chronic pain and aggression to increased likelihood of urinating outside the litter box. Overall, the majority of the problems that declawing can cause are far worse than the problem that’s it designed to solve.

In most cases, people just want to prevent furniture, carpets or people from being scratched up and the declaw surgery seems like a surefire solution. But whether you look at it from a humane perspective or a financial one, the alternatives to declawing win every single time.

So let’s take an indepth look at the 8 alternatives to declawing cats so you can have a happy cat and beautiful furniture all while saving some cash.

Before we go any further, I want to clarify that you’ll never completely stop a cat from scratching. It’s a hardwired part of being a cat and even declawed felines still scratch.

Instead, of stopping cats from scratching altogether we’ll review 8 alternatives that will help your cat understand the right areas to scratch and minimize or completely eliminate the negative impact when your cat scratches the wrong areas like furniture. 

We’re going to cover a lot of ground here so I suggest you check out the table of contents below if you’re looking for something specific.

What Is Declawing?

I know, I know. If you’re looking for alternatives to declawing them you probably already know what declawing is, right?

However, there can be a lot of confusion around what actually happens during a declaw surgery.

To start with, “declawing” is quite a misnomer since the surgery requires that a lot more is removed than simply the claws. Even the more official name for a declaw surgery, onychectomy, comes from the Greek word onyx which means nail or claw.

But there’s a lot more being removed than just the claw.

Declaw surgery requires that the last bone in each toe be completely removed, otherwise, the claws would simply grow back. The folks at the Humane Society for the United States explain, ” If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.”


Not only does that description sound much more uncomfortable than anything that the name “declaw” can conjure up but it’s also a bit easier to see why there can be so many long term impacts of the surgery when you consider just how significant it would be to lose a portion of every finger.

Why Declaw At All?

With all this information out there about the negative impact of declawing, why are people still trying to declaw their cats?

Simply put, claws are one of the more problematic parts of living with cats. For some folks, protecting furniture is the primary goal and they don’t want to have their couch destroyed by an active feline friend.

Others may be concerned about the safety of pets or children.

Then there are some folks who just always declawed their cats for a combination of the above reasons.

My dad fell into that last category and growing up we always had declawed cats but I’m very happy to say that the newest addition to his feline family has all her claws! That also means that many of the alternatives on this list are based on the real world and many were implemented in a home that was used to declawing. I’m also happy to say that they worked!

Understanding Why Cats Scratch

Before we can really learn how to manage the scratching problem, we’ve got to understand why cats scratch in the first place.

While many folks might assume that cats scratch simply to sharpen their claws, and that’s certainly part of it, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

Remember, that even declawed cats that haven’t had claws in more than a decade will still regularly use scratching posts. These cats are very aware of the fact that they don’t have claws, but the instinct is too powerful to ignore.

Let’s quickly look at why.

Claiming Territory

Cats are naturally territorial creatures and our feline friends have several methods for marking their turf. With scent glands in their paws, scratching is a great way for cats to leave their mark on a particular area, even without claws.

The drive to claim territory is one of the bigger scratching motivations and also one of the most problematic. That’s because cats don’t just want any old territory, they want the good spots. That means scratching in key areas like the living room is most common.

Stretching & Boredom

Yep, for some cats it can be as simple as a good stretch. You’ve probably noticed that our theatrical cats love to stretch out before a big scratch and not only does scratching help claim their turf it also just feels good. Some felines may even scratch simply because they’re a little bored, too.

Instinct & Habit

Cats have been scratching for millions of years and declaw surgery or spraying them water isn’t going to break the habit. In other words, scratching is just another part of being a cat.

8 Alternatives To Declawing

Now that we understand our goals and why cats scratch, let’s dive into all your options outside of a declaw surgery!

1. Offer Areas To Scratch

The first thing we need to do is make sure cats have an appropriate area to scratch. I’ve mentioned it several times now, but scratching is just a part of being a cat so there’s really no getting around this one and almost every other alternative will depend on your cat having an appropriate and appealing area to scratch.

But what exactly makes a scratching post appropriate and appealing?

Location Is Everything!

Remember that cats scratch in order to mark their territory and let the rest of the world know that what’s theirs!

So do you think your cat wants to claim the living room where there’s a ton of activity from people and other pets…or the dark, drab corner of the laundry room?

Probably the spot with all the action, right?

Well, that’s where your cat’s scratching post needs to be. Cat expert Jackson Galaxy refers to this as socially significant parts of the home, “near the heart of the action”.

Many folks get frustrated when their cat doesn’t use a scratching post but often they’ve placed the scratching post in the farthest possible corner of the home. That’s like offering your cat a prime piece of Antarctic real estate that they’re just not likely to be interested in.

I know, you might not be excited about having a scratching post in the middle of the living room. But with so many interesting options on the market, you can pick out a scratching post that matches the rest of your decor or find a way to keep it slightly out of the way.

Not Antarctica levels of out of the way but something like this wall-mounted scratcher can be placed where it’s not immediately visible when guests enter your home but still central enough to keep your cat interested.

Vertical Vs Horizontal

Most cats have a “scratching style” and they prefer either vertical or horizontal options.

If your cat is scratching your carpet over everything else, then they’re probably a horizontal scratcher while cats that go for the corner of the couch might have a vertical preference. Either way, you’ll want to offer both options to cats but if you know your cat’s preference you can focus on scratchers of that type.

Whatever scratcher you get, make sure that it’s long enough for your feline friend to stretch out on since this is universally preferred.


It might seem like our cats are happy to scratch just about anything but the reality is they have preferences as with anything else. One study found that most cats specifically prefer sisal rope over other materials so that’s always a good place to start. But again, it’s a good idea to give your cat multiple scratching options, including a few different materials like cardboard, carpet, and sisal rope.

Where Do You Start?

We’ve got a better idea of the individual features we’re looking for in a scratching post but how does this look in the real world?

One study sought to answer exactly that and found:

“The ideal scratching post to recommend to a cat owner to help prevent inappropriate scratching is one that includes rope as a substrate, is upright vertical, 3 ft or higher, has two or more levels and a base width of between 1 and 3 ft.

Although cats can have individual preferences, our data provide a starting point for veterinarians to recommend specific scratching posts to clients as a first best choice.”

That lines up closely with the conclusions we’ve drawn in other articles about how big of a cat tree you should get for your feline friend.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, I’ve frequently recommended this 3 feet cat tree from YAHEETECH which you can see here. It’s not a pure scratcher but it does have plenty of sisal rope and meets all the requirements that the study recommended.

It shouldn’t be the only scratching option, but it can be the main one.

2. Use Deterrents To Make Furniture Less Appealing

Once you’ve established appropriate areas for cats to scratch, it’s time to discourage them from using the wrong spots.

I’ll be the first to admit that some of these options aren’t going to look great in the house but you also don’t have to use these techniques permanently. Instead, you can implement some of these declaw alternatives long enough for cats to form the positive habit of using their scratching posts and then remove them later.

Don’t Use Essential Oils

You may read articles that suggest using essential oils on areas you don’t want your cat to scratch but this something you should avoid.

Ingestion, or even just skin exposure, to essential oils can be life-threatening for cats and the last thing you’d want to do is place essential oils on the exact spot that your cat is likely to scratch. That’s a surefire way to expose your cat to these dangerous compounds.

Instead, stick with some of the other options.

Furniture Covers

Furniture covers are a great place to start and if you don’t mind the look of them it can actually become a permanent solution. These are plastic shields that you can place over the key spots of your furniture to make scratching impossible and completely unappealing to your cat.

Your feline friend will quickly decide to move on to greener pastures.

In most cases, one side of the shield is sticky enough to attach to furniture, without damaging it, and the other side is smooth plastic. It takes a few minutes to add to your furniture and it’s easy on the budget. You can check out one of the better brands on Amazon by clicking here.

Foils, Sticky Tape and Spike Mats

Instead of a deterrent on the furniture, you can place one near it to prevent your cat from scratching. You’ve got a lot of options here but the clear winner for me is sticky tape and it’s also one of the options that the ASPCA recommends.

It’s easy on the budget, not a massive eyesore and there’s really no cat that will be happy about having some tape stuck to them. You can check out my favorite brand here, but if you go with something else just make sure it’s safe for cats since many types of glue aren’t.

You can also use some kind of spikey or uncomfortable flooring in front of the designated no-go zones. You know those plastic mats that go under office chairs on carpet? If you flip that over, you’ll find hundreds of little spikes and that’s similar to the type of cat deterrent flooring we’re talking about here.

You don’t want to go overboard here and pick up something that’s going to hurt your cat, just something that will make the couch a lot less appealing when it comes time to scratch. You can see one of the more budget-friendly options on Amazon by clicking here. Just know that not all cats will be deterred by this and some cats will just endure the little pokes if it means they can scratch their favorite couch.

You can also try aluminum foil, which some cats can’t stand, but it’s not likely to be as consistent as other options.

Motion Activated Sprays

The problem with deterrents like spraying your cat with water or using a noisemaker is that you have to be there for these to actually work. Instead of your cat understanding that the furniture or carpet is off-limits for scratching, they simply learn that it’s off-limits while you’re around- which isn’t actually that helpful.

Motion-activated deterrents solve this problem by working 24 hours a day. Depending on where your cat is scratching, a deterrent like this one can work but if you’re trying to protect furniture it’s not always the most practical since you’ll need several to really cover a wide area.

3. Make Appropriate Scratching Areas More Appealing

You can take things to another level by making your designed scratching areas even more appealing with the addition of catnip or feline pheromones. If your cat has to choose between trying to scratch a couch that’s guarded by sticky tape or scratching a beautiful sisal-covered post that’s sprinkled with catnip…it should be a pretty easy choice.

No need to go crazy with it and your cat’s powerful nose will quickly figure out what’s going so just a few sprinkles should do the trick. It’s worth pointing out though that roughly 33% of cats lack the gene required to enjoy catnip so figure if your cat likes the stuff first.

You can pick up catnip from just about anywhere but I’d recommend going with some of the bulk options on Amazon.

You can also consider using a feline pheromone spray like Feliway which is designed to mimic the natural calming pheromones that are released when cats scratch. There’s a lot of debate in the veterinary world around the effectiveness of Feliway but some studies have suggested that it can help with scratching or at least help cats feel more relaxed. It may also encourage cats to use their appropriate scratching posts as many can be attracted to the scent.

4. Positive Reinforcement Training

Yes, you can train your cat!

Even though our feline friends often have the reputation of being aloof and “untrainable” there’s nothing further from the truth. Just check out the amazing Didga performing a list of tricks for proof of just how trainable cats can be:

You don’t need to teach your cat to skateboard…you just want to give them plenty of positive reinforcement when they use the appropriate scratching areas. Positive reinforcement doesn’t have to be complex at all and the American Association of Feline Practitioners explain:

Positive reinforcement is defined as giving a reward – something that is desirable for the individual – to increase the likelihood of that behavior recurring.

Cats learn best through positive reinforcement. Favorite rewards for cats include delicious treats, catnip, interactive play, and petting or grooming. It is important to remember that the reward must be desirable to that individual cat, and may vary between cats.

Simple, right?

Any time you see your cat scratching in the right area just give them a treat, pull out their favorite toys or just pet them- whatever you know your cat likes. With a little consistency, your cat will quickly learn that using their scratching post not only satisfies millions of years of instinct but also results and something good from you too!

There’s really no need to make it any more complicated than that!

5. Keep Nails Trimmed

Keeping nails trimmed is one of the most obvious alternatives to declawing and also one of the most effective. Not only that but trimming your cat’s claws is part of taking care of your feline friend and if claws aren’t kept trim they could end up becoming ingrown.

But even if things don’t get that bad, when your cat’s claws are too long they’re more able to cause damage to people and furniture or simply get stuck on things (including you) when they’re walking around.

Trimming claws on its own may not reduce how frequently a cat scratches, but it will drastically reduce the impact on furniture or carpet when cats do scratch.

That means trimming your cat’s nails is part of the bigger picture of declawing alternatives but shouldn’t be the only method you use.

Most folks can be pretty skeptical about the idea of trimming their cat’s nails. Not only is it common to assume that cats don’t need regular nail trimming but after a few tries many folks will decide that it’s entirely impossible to even pull off.

But I promise it can be done! You just need to figure out what motivates your cat and a good place to start is with food.

Check out this video for a great demonstration of how to use a tasty treat to make nail trimming easy- or at least easier:

Besides giving your cat the right motivation, you also want to make sure you’re using the right tools by picking up some cat-specific clippers. These are clippers that you can hold like scissors, which will make things much easier if you’re doing this alone, and they have a shape that’s easier to use on long narrow claws.

You can use human nail trimmers but if you’re just getting started, I highly suggest you pick up some budget-friendly clippers off Amazon to make your life easier.

For most cats, a nail trim every two weeks will be plenty but if you’re looking to be especially protective of your furniture you can even trim claws every week.

6. Nail Caps

Nail caps are small, colorful caps that you can place on the end of your cat’s claws. These vinyl caps completely prevent destructive scratching but don’t hinder any of your cat’s movements. It may take some cats a day or two to get used to them but once it’s part of the routine most cats don’t mind at all.

This product was purposely made as an alternative to declawing and it’s one of the best options out there.

Not only are they excellent for protecting furniture and carpets but they can also protect people. Cat scratches can be especially risky for the elderly or immune-compromised and nail caps can help keep these folks protected without ever having to consider declawing.

But again, some folks may be skeptical about the idea of placing nail caps on a cat’s claws but once again I assure you that with a little practice it is possible! You can also turn to a professional to have them placed and since most nail caps last a little over a month you’re looking at roughly 12 visits a year.

If you’re interested in trying out some nail caps, you can check Soft Claws on Amazon which are one of the more popular and highly rated brands out there.

Remember, your cat will still want to use a scratching area, even with nail caps on so these shouldn’t be used as the only alternative to declawing but are part of an overall approach.

7. Keep Your Cat Entertained

Have you ever heard the expression “A tired dog is a good dog?”

Well, it’s also true for cats! If your feline friend is full of pent-up energy, there’s a better chance that they’ll take on some negative behaviors including scratching, overeating or just being a bit mopey.

In other words, a bored cat can be a problematic cat, and scratching the furniture or carpets can sometimes just be a way to pass the time.

You can help keep your cat occupied (and not scratching) with toys but you also need to be a part of playtime.

As the folks at Cat Behavior Associates point out, “While you may have lots of toys around the house for your cat, the problem is they’re essentially “dead” prey. They don’t move. The only way to create action is if your cat bats at them. With the interactive toy, however, she doesn’t have to be both predator and prey – she can simply focus on being the hunter.”

That means a better play experience with increased physical and mental exercise for your cat. That can also mean less destructive behavior like scratching!

8. Adopt A Declawed Cat!

Adopting an already declawed cat may not work as an alternative for everyone, but if you’re thinking about declawing alternatives before you bring home a new feline friend then this is absolutely something to consider.

Sadly, there are more than 3 million cats entering US shelters every single year. While it’s certainly not the majority, many of those cats are already declawed and these clawless felines would be happy to be a part of your home!

You can contact your local shelter and let them know that you’re specifically looking for a declawed cat and most will be more than happy to let you know when a declawed cat enters the shelter. It may take a little patience to find the right match, but if you’re just stuck on the idea of declawing then it can be worth it.

What About Laser Declawing?

Laser declawing is an increasingly popular method of declawing that uses an extremely powerful laser to complete the procedure instead of a scalpel. Laser declawing is typically preferred to traditional methods since it isn’t as traumatic on the toes, has a decreased chance of nerve complications, and minimizes bleeding.

But there’s one important thing to point out here…

Laser declawing is still the removal of the last third of a cat’s toe and even though the method may be a little better the real issue lies in the declaw procedure itself not how the toes are removed!

Even with a laser, cats will still suffer all the same negative effects of declaw surgery. That means laser declawing is just another path to the same problems and not an alternative to declawing surgery.

How Much Does Declawing Cost?

Most folks look for declawing alternatives because they want to avoid the inhumane practice but that’s not the only reason to seek out other options.

You could easily implement all of the declaw alternatives above for less than the cost of a declaw surgery.

That’s because the typical declaw surgery costs anywhere from 0 to 0. The cost will vary based on your location but that doesn’t take into consideration the risks of post-operative complications which can actually be quite high, at least compared to other elective procedures.  

The data can be difficult to find but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The reported incidence of postoperative complications ranges from rare to 50%”

Hemorrhage, or bleeding, was the most common complication and it’s safe to say that getting blood all over your furniture or carpet is not a good outcome when the whole point of declawing is to try and protect your home.

Closing Thoughts

I’m happy to say that declawing is a declining practice with more and more people looking for alternatives.

It also helps that the alternatives available are getting better every year and products like nail caps, high-quality nail trimmers, and affordable scratching posts all go a long way to keeping people and furniture protected without having to resort to declawing.

I hope you found exactly what you’re looking for and feel free to let me know what alternative has worked best for you- I’d love to hear about it!

Why Are Brown Cats Rare? - (And 5 Rare Chocolate Cat …

18-06-2021 · Let's dive deeper and find out the reason cat fur colors like brown and cinnamon are so rare and why the Havana Brown is called the true chocolate!


Cats come in all kinds of shades; some coat colors are more common than others while there are those that are incredibly difficult to find. One such color is brown, and to be more precise chocolate!

These cats truly are gorgeous and unusual, and it makes me wonder why there are so few of them? Is there a reason behind such rarity!

Why are brown cats rare? Cats with brown coats have a brown gene variant that reduces the amount of black pigment. While the brown tabby is easy enough to find, chocolate and cinnamon cats are rarer. The Havana Brown is one of the only breeds that has a “true chocolate” coat.

If you want to know more about chocolate and cinnamon cats and what breeds come in these shades of brown, then we got you covered!

What Determines A Cat’s Coat Color?

Before we dive deeper into why brown cats are harder to find, we need to take a look at what affects a cat’s fur color in the first place.

Just like with human skin, what determines a cat’s coat colors is melanin, which is a type of pigment. Melanin has two structural components, eumelanin which produces shades of brown and black, and pheomelanin that gives the fur, red and yellow coloring.

Some cats have dominant genes with a high prevalence of either eumelanin or pheomelanin and their coats are usually a black medium, or dark brown, or red. There are also those cats that have recessive genes, in which case the cats have different combinations of these two structural components, eumelanin or pheomelanin.

Brown cats have a high prevalence of eumelanin and are products of the feline primary gene for coat color (B/b/b1). While the B codes refer to the color black, b and b1 are the recessive codes, and brown variants with reduced eumelanin, that makes cats appear brown in color.

What’s truly fascinating is that the gene that affects the production of black pigment displayed a mutation that caused brown coat colors in different species of mammals in the first place.

Researchers at the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory “identified two mutations in this gene that cause different variations of brown coat colors in cats.” Not only is brown color a mutation, but if we look closer at how this recessive gene works we can clearly see why it’s so uncommon to find brown-colored kitties.

So, let’s take a closer look at each brown gene variant.

Chocolate Cats

As I’ve mentioned above, there are two brown gene variants and chocolate brown is one of them, and it falls under the b code. Since black cats have a genotype B/B, they can’t display brown coloration or have brown offspring, but cats with B/b genotype (B stands for the back dominant gene and b stands for the recessive brown gene,) are carriers specifically of the brown chocolate color.

These cats can transmit the chocolate variant to 50% of their offspring, and if two cats with a B/b genotype mate then 25% of their kittens could be chocolate colored. This is a significantly small number and for a cat to have all brown offspring they must have the b/b genotype, meaning they must be chocolate cats themselves.

Cinnamon Cats

Now I know chocolate must be the one shade of brown that comes to mind when you think of brown cats, but light brown coats, also known as cinnamon is the second gene variant. Cats with b1/b1 genotype are cinnamon-colored and are most likely to transmit this specific shade of brown.

If on the other hand, they have the b/b1 genotype, chocolate and cinnamon then they’ll most likely pass on the cinnamon variant to 50% of their offspring and if two such cats mate then 25% of their kittens will probably inherit the cinnamon colors themselves.

Diluted Shades Of Chocolate And Brown

One of the rarest color shades in cats that you can in most cases find in purebred kitties is the light caramel color also known as Fawn. What’s so interesting about this color isn’t just that it’s a diluted form of the cinnamon color, but that there is another gene, dense pigment gene (D/d) responsible specifically for lightening a cat’s fur and making it look paler.

This gene (d) is also recessive, which means that both parents would have to have this gene (d/d) for a fawn-colored kitty to be brown. Now you might be wondering if there’s a coat color that is a diluted version of the rich chocolate shade (d/d)  and while it’s also rear it defiantly exists. It’s mostly known as lilac or lavender, and it too is usually found in purebred cats.

Can Black Cats Turn Brown…Or Reddish Brown?

Solid black bats are oftentimes confused with brown cats because their fur can appear brownish, especially under the sun. Black cats don’t have a brown gene, this rusty discoloration of their fur can usually be blamed on sun exposure, which can be especially visible on long-haired breeds like the black Maine Coon!

My black kitty also turns to the brown side in the warmer months, only to shed every rusty spot as it gets colder. While this change is as natural as it is for our hair to get lighter during the summer, it’s important that we avoid letting our kitties light and especially dark, out when the sun is dangerously hot. Even though cats are mostly covered in fur, there are parts of their body that are exposed, like their ears and nose, and they’re likely to get sunburned or suffer from a heatstroke.

Now another reason your once kitty has turned into a chocolate color is Tyrosine deficiency, which means that your kitty isn’t producing enough melanin. To make sure that your kitty isn’t suffering from Tyrosine deficiency you should visit your vet!

What Cat Breeds Come In Brown?

Most cats come in all shades, and chocolate, cinnamon, or their lighter variants are also included. Breeds like the British shorthair, the Persian as well as the Devon rex, can have a variety of coat colors, even the rare brown, but for certain cats wearing the different shades of brown is a staple of their breed, a part of what makes them so special and what makes them stand out.

1. Havana Brown

This gorgeous cat is the only breed that can be called “true chocolate” not only is it extremely rare but while there over 200 million cats in the world, it’s estimated that there are fewer than 1,000 Havan Brown cats overall!

So, how did we get to have such rare beauty? Well, the Havana Brown is a manmade breed and they were created by crossing the Siamese breed that’s famous for their chocolate brown faces, the black domestic shorthairs, and the Russian blue.

Not only do these cats have a chestnut color, but their whiskers and nose are also brown! The Havana Brown is truly a breathtaking kitty as the CFA states “its distinctive muzzle shape, coat color, large forward-tilted ears, and striking green eyes set it apart from other breeds.”

2. York Chocolate

The Your Chocolate is as you probably have guessed a rich brown kitty, but it’s quite different from the Havana Brown as it appears slightly darker, and it has a semi-longhaired coat. Since this is a new breed that appeared in the 80s not many cat associations have chosen to register it.

What’s so interesting about the York Chocolate is that it can have a coat of chocolate brown, or bicolor chocolate and white or bicolor chocolate and lilac. Moreso, the coat usually will grow darker as the cat matures.

3. Burmese Cat

This beautiful cat was first introduced to America in the 1930s and through selective breeding, the solid brown coat was isolated. Of course, you can find Burmese Cat sporting four colors recognized by the cat fancier’s association, a rich dark brown, a warm beige, pale gray, or medium gray with fawn undertones.

No matter the shade I think the Burmese Cats have won my heart with their golden eyes!

4. Oriental Shorthair

According to CFA this long-legged and faced Oriental Shorthair “was developed to explore all the possibilities of color and pattern.” I mean they aren’t lying since there over 600 colors and patterns, and coat length combinations of this breed out there!

Since there’s so much variety you can imagine that the Oriental Shorthair can be brown chocolate, cinnamon, fawn or Levander, and any other shade in between!

I mean look at this gangly, chocolate beauty!

5. Brown Tabby Cat

While this common breed of cats isn’t a solid brown color, there are four tabby cat patterns with distinctive markings and one of them combines brown and black stripes. Here in Greece where I live, I see many strays and among them, you can always find the classic brown tabby strolling along the streets.

For me, it’s the contrast between the honey brown and the dark stripes that makes them stand out!

Closing Thoughts

While brown cats aren’t easy to find and they are truly rear I’m sure their owners love them not for the rarity and richness of their coat pigmentation, but for the richness of their personality and inner beauty!

I mean chocolate or not, I think all cats are sweet!

What about you? Did you know that brown cats are rear and would you ever consider bringing a cinnamon beauty into your home?

Why Do Cats Like The Base Of Their Tail Scratched?

11-03-2021 · The base of your cat’s tail is highly sensitive, probably because of all the nerves concentrated there. This makes the scratching feel like a tickle and is usually enjoyable, but too much scratching can be over-stimulating and even cause pain. If you’d like to know more about, why do cats like the base of their tail scratched, keep on reading!


While some people believe cats to be aloof and unapproachable, cat parents know that their feline companion is the exact opposite and that they can go crazy about a lot of things!

Some cats enjoy chasing stuffed mice around the house, while others will spend hours trying to fit into a small box and then there are those who demand pets nonstop.

But what usually unites most cats is the good old butt rub!

So why do cats like the base of their tail scratched? The base of your cat’s tail is highly sensitive, probably because of all the nerves concentrated there. This makes the scratching feel like a tickle and is usually enjoyable, but too much scratching can be over-stimulating and even cause pain.

If you’d like to know more about, why do cats like the base of their tail scratched, keep on reading!

Let’s go!

Why Do Cats Like Being Scratched At The Base Of Their Tail? (Positives)

I don’t think I know another animal out there that can literally enjoy hours of petting as cats do. I mean I’ve seen bears on TV enjoy a good back scratch by a sturdy tree trunk, but I doubt I’d get away alive if I tried rubbing a bear’s back. My cats on the other hand can’t get enough of it and the base of their tail is their petting highlight!

Knowing what our cats like is essential but knowing why they like it could also help you get a better understanding of their needs.

You’re Hitting The Right Spot!

The first and most simple reason behind your cat’s elevated butt as you stroke their back is that they like it. Moreso, according to research, if your cat is ok with you touching them and especially stroking the base of their tail, then you must have a very close relationship and mutual trust.

For some cats, the base of the tail is also a spot they can’t always easily reach so when we scratch them there, it may come as a great relief. Some cats may even raise their butts in response to it. Cats with long fur might find it a difficult place to keep clean and itch-free as well, and when we stroke them, they might see it as a form of assistance.

A great way to help them keep their whole coat polished, reduce hairballs and keep their fur away from your clothes while also turning it pleasurable, is getting a quality grooming brush. We’ve recommended the Hertzko self-cleaning brush before when we discussed ways to reduce cat shedding and it’s a real game-changer! You can check out the latest price (and read some reviews) on Amazon by clicking here.

It’s a Female Cat Behavior

Some cat parents believe that the base of the tail action is more favorable with female cats and not so much with males. Specifically, in intact female cats, it’s associated with mating behavior.

If your kitty is old enough to mate, then during estrus you may notice her behavior change. She may be more affectionate and seeking your attention more frequently by demanding pets and being extra vocal. When stroked your cat may also arch their back, knead the ground with their front paws and stomp their hind legs.

For an inexperienced owner, this might be a sign of affection, or pain, and not actually realizing that petting her at the back may be stimulating the instinctive mating response. Your female cat will also crouch down on her front legs and hold her rear end up, a sign that she’s ready to mate a characteristic position called lordosis.

If your cat is spayed, then this arching of the back might still be part of their inner instinct. On the other hand, both of my cats are male and neutered and they love having their backs stroked, and while intact female cats will definitely go crazy about the back rub, it can still be a part of each cat’s individual personality.

As we always mention here, if you’ve got a cat in heat, you can find a list of low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the globe thanks to PetSmart by clicking here. Taking this step will not only benefit your cat’s health long term, but it will also reduce the number of stray kittens born on the streets, and it’s less likely that your cat will run away from home in pursuit of a mate.

A Kitten Behavior

Another reason why your kitty’s back is so sensitive might go all the way back to their kittenhood when they were groomed by their mother.

Since cats keep some of their early habits throughout their adulthood, so does the raised back can be part of that response to their mother’s grooming.

Showing their butts to their siblings and other cats is also part of their natural instincts. Cat’s rely on scent to understand friend from foe and the general world around them and the anal glands located in their rectum also help them share information about themselves and find more about other cats by sniffing them in turn.

Living with their human friend some cats will continue to use these instinctive behaviors, or they’ll create new ways to communicate with us, just like when they use their meowing!

Why Do Cats Go Crazy When You Scratch Above The Base Of Their Tail? (Negatives)

Finding that your cat goes crazy about certain things is great and it’s a clear sign that you’re doing something right, but even in good things, moderation is important. For example, if your cat goes crazy about tuna or cheese you still can’t indulge them all too often.

You might wonder why do cats like the base of their tail scratched, and failing to see how petting and scratching your cat can turn into something negative and there are a couple of reasons for this to happen.

Your Cat Might Have A Skin Condition

While an itch is common in most animals in the animal Kingdom including us humans, there’s a fine line between simply needing a bit of scratching and actually having a dermatological condition.

According to Karen A. Moriello a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine “the most common causes of itching are parasites, infections, and allergies.” She also explains that there are skin diseases that don’t cause initial itching, but they can be developed due to secondary bacterial and yeast infections.

According to vets, skin diseases are relatively common in cats and studies have shown that “6 and 15 percent of feline patients have at least one dermatopathy and many cats suffer more than one.”

When you scratch your cat’s back and notice a certain reaction like intense meowing, their ears are pressed against their head or they even show signs of aggression then try to gently examine their skin.

There are skin disorders like Seborrhea that affect mostly their back and there are two types, one is dry and the other one oily. Usually, the affected areas of the skin flake off and dandruff can be spotted between the hairs. The skin might appear to be inflamed and red and may feel dry or oily to the touch. Some cats could also have an odor caused by bacteria or yeast skin infections.

Outdoor cats are more prone to skin infections because they can get in contact with other cats that have flees, parasites, and other conditions. But, even if they’re strictly indoor cats they still can get infected, since we can bring some of those nasty things with us. If you notice your kitty being uncomfortable when you pet them in areas, they used to be ok with, then it could be a sign of an infection.

If you notice your cat’s skin condition change, there’s excessive scratching, and their fur looks dull and shaggy, then the best decision is to take your fluffball to the vet. There your kitty will get a proper examination and a few tests that will determine if there’s an actual issue and what’s the best course of action.

Your Cat Is Overstimulated

If there’s no skin infection or medical condition that doesn’t mean your kitty can’t get frustrated with petting or being scratched in a highly sensitive area like the base of the tail. That’s why understanding feline body language is important and it can help you recognize when a boundary is being crossed or what your kitty likes and doesn’t like.

Your kitty might fully enjoy being petted, especially at the back, but the repetitiveness of the petting might become irritating to some. Feline behaviorists and vets state that a cat might even turn and bite their owner to show them they’ve had enough, or they will simply move away.

It’s important to understand that not all cats are cuddly, some like to be cuddled at any given moment while others prefer to be the ones to initiate contact and will get frustrated at their owner making the first move. This could be because of previous trauma, they’re newly adopted, or this could simply be part of who they are.

Take a moment to observe your cat and the way they react to your petting. Be especially perceptive of the warning signs they show you. Before a cat hisses, scratches and bites, or simply walks away they use their body language to tell you to stop.

For example, if your kitty turns their ears back, pressing them flat against their head that means they’re uncomfortable. Notice if the skin or tail is twitching, their pupils are dilated, they’ve unsheathed their claws, and if their overall body has become stiff. Low growling sounds can also be a good indicator that your kitty isn’t comfortable.

“I see a lot of overarousal when it comes to people petting cats,” Tabitha Kucera, a certified cat behavior consultant says and adds, “most cats are actually not really big fans of the very long stroke that we like to do. It’s weird for them.”

Pay attention to your cat’s needs when it comes to petting and cuddling. Perhaps your timing is bad, or you pet them for far too long. Changing the way you pet your kitty can help you rekindle your relationship. Do not scold them cause that’s going to turn this experience into something negative and your cat might begin to avoid you.

Use treats to let them know you mean well and be gentle. If your cat is pulling away don’t push them and be patient. Finding out that your kitty isn’t the cuddly kind might make you sad, but instead of relying on this form of endearment and communication try playing more often with your cat instead.

More Strange Things Your Cat Might Be Doing With Their Tail

Some cats enjoy their backs stroked, while others will never tolerate it, and their reactions in both circumstances can be funny, scary, and sometimes overexaggerated. But having a certain reaction to our touch or presence is something we owners are used to, but it doesn’t mean we’re not baffled by our feline companion’s quirky habits and behaviors.

Sticking Their Butt In Your Face

I’m sure most of us have had more than one close encounter with the feline butt. Whenever my cat decides that they want to sit on my lap, or they’re greeting me early in the morning they tend to show me their behinds as well. I’ve often wondered if that meant that I was at the bottom of the food chain according to my cat, but it seems that it might just be the opposite!

“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” says Dr. Mikel Delgado, a cat expert. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but the smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So, cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

New research has also shown that cats “may harbor a community of bacterial in their anal sacs to generate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can travel through the air and serve as a signal. Other cats can smell these compounds. Your cat assumes you can do the same.”

So, while we might all be wrinkling our noses at the sight of our cat’s butt behind, simply remember that it’s part of their love language. If your kitty on the other hand keeps their butt to themselves Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant explains this as “kitties that keep the tail down and don’t want to be sniffed might be compared to a shy person hiding their face.”

Cats Expressing Anal Sacs When Happy Or Scared

While we’re still on the butt subject your kitty might have another strange behavior, but this time it might be a little bit more stinky.

Male and female cats have two small anal glands located around the entrance of their rear end and they’re consistently filled with fluid, which is completely healthy. This fluid is usually expressed when your cat defecates, and the smell of this liquid basically marks that territory.

Your kitty might spontaneously express this fluid when they’re happy and in a sense, it’s similar behavior to them rubbing their cheeks against something in order to leave their scent and mark it. One of my cats will sometimes surprise me with this expression of happiness when I rub him at the base of the tail.

My other cat on the other hand has done the same thing in situations where he felt scared, like the time I tried to gently put him in his carrier for a vet appointment. This once again is normal behavior for some cats, but it’s important to remember that this part of your kitty also needs attention in case there’s a health issue.

Excessive licking of the rear end area might be a sign of gland infection or inflammation and it might appear red and visibly irritated. Your cat might defecate outside of the litterbox because of discomfort and they might also scoot to relieve the itch in that area. If any of those symptoms seem familiar to you then your kitty is probably in need of a veterinarian checkup.

Why Do Some Cats Lick Themselves Or The Air When You Pet Them?

The reason you may be asking why do cats like the base of their tail scratched is because of a certain funny reaction to it like licking the air or their own fur. Cats might seem quirky and strange, but there’s always a reason behind every behavior even this one! As always because cats don’t have the ability to communicate with us verbally it’s important to pay attention to their body language.

If this happens when you pet them in a certain area usually the base of the tail, then your kitty might be trying to reach that spot as well to clean it or scratch it. It might be similar to when you ask someone to scratch your back, but they never hit that one spot you can’t reach!

Another possible explanation could be that this kind of petting has triggered your cat’s mutual grooming instinct. When kittens are still small they will often groom each other, a habit that may follow them later in life and they can replicate on soft materials, other cats, or their owners. While grooming the air or themselves might seem strange it might actually be proof of how comfortable they are around you.

This kitty is a great example of cuteness and an allogrooming reaction to petting!

Then again, an extreme reaction from your cat, where they’re very vocal, they’re whipping their tail, and they seem overall uncomfortable, means that they most probably want you to stop. That’s why no matter how amusing a cat’s reaction might seem, the most important thing is for your kitty to feel comfortable.

Closing Thoughts

Getting familiar with what your cats like or don’t like is important in order to strengthen your mutual bond and for you to win the top spot as their favorite human!

This might mean that you’ll have to spend a few hours a day petting them and giving them a good rub at the base of their tail, or you’ll have to learn to avoid that spot and learn what else they might enjoy instead.

Either way, learning what our beloved feline overlords like or don’t like is essential and it’s exciting because through them we learn more about ourselves and that everyone has boundaries, no matter how fluffy they are!

Now tell us have you got another explanation as to why do cats like the base of their tail scratched? And finally, does your cat love it or hate it?

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