As humans are packing away their winter coats and sweaters, cats are preparing for warmer weather by shedding. The shedding cycle of cats in spring can really derail your cleaning plans — and if you are one of the estimated 10 percent of the population with pet allergies, it can signal the beginning of sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
Get out those mops and put on your rubber gloves because spring is here and it’s time to clean house! Many cat owners are getting ready to tackle their to-do lists and spruce up their homes. As you’re doing your spring cleaning, be sure you take steps to make the changing of the season easier on your cat.
Shedding is a normal event in the life of a cat and it is largely influenced by daylight. There is a word for this phenomenon: photoperiod. The number of hours a cat is exposed to sunlight in a day (photoperiod) triggers the shedding process. It is more noticeable in outdoor cats in the spring and fall.
Indoor cats shed more consistently but in lesser amounts because of the artificial light inside the house. This cyclic shedding is made up of three periods: active growth (anagen), transition (catagen), and rest (telogen). Cats tend to have heavier coats in the winter months than they do in the summer.
Grooming Tips for Cats in Spring
Brush Your Cat. A thorough brushing several times a week goes a long way towards curbing shedding. Some grooming tools remove loose fur and dander in the undercoat, further reducing the amount of stray fur to clean up. Breeds with long coats sometimes require the use of a de-matting tool. The FURminator de-Shedding Tool is one of the best grooming tools we’ve ever found. Most veterinarians and professional groomers swear by it. It can reduce shedding by as much as 90 percent!
Bathe Your Cat. If your cat will tolerate it, finish off the grooming experience with a bath using pet shampoo; some formulas are designed to further reduce shedding in cats. A good waterless shampoo may be best if your cat dislikes baths.
Vacuum. To take care of fur that’s already on your carpet or furniture, special pet hair vacuum attachments make short work of the task. These attachments are amazing. The rotating brushes and rubber “fingers” make short work of pet hair cleanup.
Plants to Avoid for Cats in Spring
As spring approaches, we tend to look forward to the end of winter and the rebirth of the earth. Snow melts, trees begin to bud, baby birds and bunnies abound, and sprigs of new plants begin pushing through the earth. We can’t wait to spend time outdoors.
Your pet may be as excited as you to frolic in the outdoors, especially after the year’s long winter. However, without proper care, this can be a time of danger to your pets. Some of those plant sprigs may be toxic to your pet.
Plants cause a large number of toxicities in pets and can result in death. In fact, in cats, plants are the second most common toxins.
Springtime holidays are often associated with bulb plants and ingestion of the bulbs causes the most severe illness. The following is a list of plants that are best to avoid altogether due to their toxic nature. It is not a comprehensive list, if you are considering any plant of which you are unsure; consult your local plant nursery.
- Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
- Oleander (Nerium oleander)
- Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.)
- Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
- Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
- Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
- Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
- Precatory Beans (Arbus precatorius)
- Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
The Easter lily is as common in many spring homes as chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. But did you know this popular flower is toxic to your cat? In fact, other members of the lily family have been found to be toxic, including the day lily and the tiger lily (although there’s no need to worry about the non-toxic calla lily, peace lily, or glory lily). Eating just one leaf of a toxic lily can result in severe poisoning, and within a short time your cat will exhibit signs of toxicity.
The primary toxic effects are on the kidneys. Within minutes to hours of ingesting part of the lily plant, your cat might stop eating and begin vomiting. As the toxin begins to affect the kidneys, the cat will become lethargic. Finally, he will experience kidney failure and death will generally occur within five days.
Once you suspect your cat has eaten part of a lily plant, it is important that you contact your veterinarian immediately. If treatment is started early, chances are your cat will recover, but once the kidneys have been severely affected, your cat may not survive.
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