Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More on Cats at Cheesecake Farms


Meow!

Squeeky

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of you who emailed and facebook-ed about our cats.  I guess there's more cat lovers out there than I realized!

Many of you asked how we manage our (as of this blogging) nine house cats and still keep our sanity.  It's really not hard because our cats bring us so much joy.  We love them a lot!

Here's how we do it….

Food and Litter
Molly

1. We don't feed wet cat food

Pet foods are made from food that's not fit for human consumption. Think about that…. not fit for human consumption. Why would you ever want to feed your precious kitty food that you would not eat yourself?  Real animals need real food - just like people.

Good quality food means your cat will be healthier. When your cat is healthier, he or she smells better and the urine is mild.  Feces, too.

Fleas and ticks are attracted to the smell of poor quality food that evaporates out of the cat's pores.  So give your cat better quality food and you'll have less fleas and ticks - naturally.

Tippy
We feed people tuna (Star Kist dry pack actually) with occasional treats of canned salmon. Each cat gets a generous tablespoon full twice a day.

Just like people, each cat has his or her own food preferences.  Some like a little green veggie added. Some like a little cooked sweet potato. Some, a sprinkle of cheese or a little cooked ground meat or meat juice. And there's always the purist who doesn't want anything added to the tuna.  Moss, our first kitty, loved shrimp so we poached
one for him each year on his birthday.

Every once in a while, we drizzle the tuna with canola oil and or add a sprinkle of an all purpose, all animal vitamin called Clovite. It looks like wheat germ. It's available at horse and farm stores everywhere.

We also feed a dry, natural/organic food called "Wellness."  We do this reluctantly because I'd prefer a home made dry food but for now we use this quality, commercial, dry food so they'll have something crunchy to help keep their teeth clean. We leave out a bowl full and they can eat when ever they're hungry.  We keep the bowl on a table because the dog likes the cat food, too.  Dry cat food is higher in fat than dog food so, of course, it tastes better!  (Smart dog!!)

For treats we feed "Meow Mix" but they get only one or two pieces each night when we count noses before turning off the lights and getting into bed. They come running for it.  It's like Little Debbies to them so we don't want to over do.

2. The Litter Box (es)

We use pine shavings in our litter boxes.  It's a natural deodorant and bio-degradable.

Clay litter is about the worse thing you can use. When we moved to the farm 20 years ago, we were using regular clay litter. We dumped it into a pile thinking it would decompose but the pile is still there - after 20 years!

We used pine shavings for the horses so the switch was easy for us. There is now compressed pine shavings sold in small bags for especially for city kitties.  It's easier to manage than regular pine shavings and takes less storage space.  Check out your favorite pet store.

We put a heaping cup full or so into each litter box - just enough to cover the bottom. We don't fill the box full.  (With the compressed litter you'll need less.  They also have compressed newspaper litter which is good, too, and bio-degrades.)

We change this twice a day - morning and evening - rinsing the pan each time with plain water and replacing the used shavings with fresh. We compost the shavings but you can throw them out with the trash if you don't happen to live on a farm.

William
Our one and only dog

We keep the litter boxes (we have 6 for 9 cats) in our (very large) bathroom - which is our litter box, too. No one other than my husband and myself (and the cats, of course) use that bathroom so no one sees the litter boxes.

Over the years, we've tried fancy, covered litter boxes but the plain, cheap litter pans we get at the dollar stores work best. We like the ones with low sides - the lower the better.  Low sides help older (and younger) kitties climb in easier.  The pans last a few years.

I've read books about toilet training your kitty but, with nine cats, I'm not ready to tackle that.  Maybe I'll try it some day just to see how it goes.




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