Are the Cats Going to Be Okay If We Separate Them?

Separating cats who have known each other their whole lives can be tricky. But depending on the personalities of the cats in question, and the atmosphere in the new home, it can go just fine. Get some tips on how to successfully separate cats in this post.

Separating cats can be tricky, but it can be done successfully.

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

I’m currently in the process of moving into a small house near my college campus and I’m planning on bringing my cat to live with me as I’ve planned to do for awhile. The problem is that my family has another cat that my cat has lived with her whole life and I’m worried how this will affect the two of them. I guess I should give some background on the cats. The family cat is about 8 years old and is more of a secluded type, she tends to keep to herself and sleep in hidden places during the day, occasionally coming out to get attention or love or to even sleep at the end of the bed. My cat I bought with my own money and is 7 years old. The reason I specify that I bought her myself is to point out that I’d always planned to take her with me when I found a more permanent place to stay. My cat is a very affectionate cat who loves to be the center of attention and climb all over you and whatever you are doing. The two don’t interact all that much other than when eating or when they chase and play with each other late at night. So my question to you, do you think separating them would be harmful to the two or might they be okay?

~ Abigail

Thomas: First of all, Abigail, thank you so much for being responsible to your cat and for caring about how your cat and your family’s cat might feel about being separated.

Bella: Believe it or not, some people don’t think about that stuff!

Tara: That said, separating cats can be tricky, particularly if they’re very closely bonded.

Thomas: In your situation, it sounds like the two cats enjoy one another’s company, but they’re not as closely bonded as, say, Bella and me.

Bella: Thomas and I love to snuggle and play together, and it would break our hearts if we were to be separated.

Tara: I’d feel kind of sad to be separated from Thomas and Bella, but I’m much more of a “people cat.” I could go anywhere as long as I had Mama.

Thomas: It sounds like your cat is a lot more of a “people cat,” like Tara, and she tends to bond more closely with you and your family than with other kitties.

Bella: With that in mind, we think it will be okay to separate the two cats, with a few cautions.

Tara: If your cat is also very affectionate toward the rest of your family, it might take some adjustment on her part to only have you.

Thomas: If your cat is used to having people around all the time, then it might be kind of hard on her to spend a lot of time by herself.

Bella: *purrr, purrrr, purrrr*

Tara: Bella, get off Mama’s arm. You’re making it hard for her to type our post!

Bella: But why? She’s typing just fine!

Thomas: Bella, you can snuggle with Mama after we’re done.

Bella: Phooey!

Thomas: Anyhow, back to your question, Abigail. What we’d like you to do if you do bring her with you is to monitor her for signs of depression. That will tell you she may be lonely.

Bella: Depression in cats manifests itself in many of the same ways it does for people. A depressed cat can sleep a lot (even for a cat), or have changes in appetite

Tara: A depressed cat can also exhibit changes in behavior–for example, if she’s usually very affectionate and she becomes standoffish, or vice versa.

Thomas: Mama says that depressed cats also get a terribly sad look in their eyes, too. When she brought one of the family cats to her apartment, that cat got lonely and depressed–she was used to being around other cats–so Mama brought her back to the family homestead where she could live the life she’d gotten used to.

Bella: Your family should also monitor the other cat for similar signs.

Tara: We don’t know what your schedule is going to be like when you’re back in school. If your cat is going to spend a lot of time alone and she becomes depressed, you might want to think about adopting another cat so she has a friend to play with.

Thomas: Since she’s used to being around other cats, she might do well with a friend.

Bella: But be very thoughtful if you adopt. Be sure to bring in a cat whose personality will work well with your cat’s. Adoption counselors at shelters are really good at helping out with this.

Tara: Separating cats can be done, but it requires some forethought and some careful monitoring of both cats to be sure they’re handling the situation well.

Thomas: We wrote a post last year answering a letter from a person going through a divorce and wondering about how separating cats would work for them. Even though you’re not getting divorced, you may find some helpful information in that post as well.

Bella: Ultimately, it sounds like your cat will be okay as long as she’s with you. If she gets lonely, consider adopting a friend for her or adjusting your schedule (if possible) to spend more time with her.

Tara: Cats are notoriously resistant to change, and it will be stressful for all of you at first, but we do think you and your cat will do just fine.

Thomas: We’d recommend that your family read this post, too. That way, they’ll know what signs to look for in their cat.

Bella: Once again, Abigail, we thank you for being so responsible and caring so much about how the cats will feel if they’re separated.

Tara: What about you other readers? Do you have any recommendations for Abigail? Have you separated cats before, and what was the outcome? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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You Could Feed Lots of Shelter Cats Just By Shopping

As I’m sure you all know, Thomas and Bella are shelter kitties, and Tara is a rescue girl. What you may not know, however, is that I’ve spent a good amount of time volunteering at shelters. For one group I was part of the fundraising committee, and for HART of Maine, the shelter from which I adopted Bella, I was responsible for cleaning cat rooms and feeding all those hungry little mouths.

Shelter cats go through a lot of food!

I adopted Bella from the shelter where I volunteered.

This post is sponsored by PetSmart® and the BlogPaws™ Pet Influencer Network™. PetSmart is not responsible for the content of this article.

Knowing just how much food we went through for a single morning feeding of 100-plus cats, I could easily extrapolate that to imagine how much food even a small shelter needs just to be able to feed the cats in its care.

So I was thrilled to learn that PetSmart has just launched the “Buy a Bag, Give a Meal™” program–its biggest philanthropic effort ever!

The way it works is this: You buy a bag of cat food (or dog food)–any brand, any size–between now and December 31, 2017, at any one of PetSmart’s 1,500-plus stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, or online through the PetSmart website, and PetSmart will donate a meal to a pet in need. That pet in need could be at a shelter, an animal welfare organization, or be served by a pet food bank. Through this campaign, PetSmart expects to contribute more than 60 million meals!

I can imagine what a campaign like this would mean to any shelter, but particularly to a small shelter like HART of Maine.

Food is a huge expense for every shelter I know of. And according to a recent PetSmart Charities survey of nearly 1,800 animal welfare organizations across North America, only 20 percent of those organizations receive pet food donations, and about 8 percent are on contract with pet food brands to receive subsidized pet food.

What that means is, there are lots of shelters paying lots of money to feed the hungry cats (and dogs) in their care. If PetSmart can help to reduce the burden of food costs, that means shelters will be able to spend that money on other vital services like health care, spay/neuter programs, and helping people find the perfect kitty to take home with them.

PetSmart's Buy A Bag, Give A Meal program can help ease the burden of food costs for shelters.

Photo courtesy of PetSmart®.

This is a great opportunity for you to help shelter cats by doing something you do anyway: buying cat food. It’s an easy way to help make a difference in the lives of shelter cats all across North America.

The coolest thing about this campaign is that if PetSmart leads the way, maybe more large pet supply chains will follow. I certainly hope so, because the cats deserve it!

To learn more about the Buy a Bag, Give a Meal campaign, read the press release here. You can also follow PetSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and let them know how glad you are to see them supporting shelter kitties!

PetSmart's Buy A Bag, Give A Meal campaign will help shelter cats all across North America.

Thomas says “thank you for helping the cats!”

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetSmart. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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What Can I Do About My Elderly Cat’s Dental Disease?

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My family’s 18-year-old cat has come into my care in the past couple of years and I’ve noticed her teeth are quite bad. The plaque is very visible and recently her gums have turned red and she swallows her kibble whole. I’m sure they’re causing her pain. She is too old to go under anesthetic, have multiple teeth removed and possibly recover (or not) if she makes it through the op. The vet told me she had early kidney disease and slightly raised liver levels, she is quite old and likely on her way out. Is there anything else I can do, such as a continual course of antibiotics? I already put cat teeth cleaner in her water. She vomits from pain medication. Back when I was a child, what we now know about cat tooth infections wasn’t known and it wasn’t the done thing to put them under for a clean.

~ Scarlet

Thomas: You’re certainly in a tricky situation, Scarlet. The thing about dental disease is that it certainly can do harm to the vital organs, including the kidneys. But then, if her organ function isn’t up to par for anesthesia, how can you treat the dental disease?

Bella: We did some research on treating dental disease in very old cats and found a great article by Dr. Sandra Mitchell on the benefits of doing dental work on old cats.

Tara: In the article, she tells the story of a 17-year-old cat with advanced dental disease. The cat’s caretaker was reluctant to put the cat under anesthesia because of concerns about her general health …

Thomas: After all, the kitty already had kidney disease and hyperthyroidism…

Bella: But the thing is, all those diseased teeth were causing the cat a lot of pain and were showering her blood with harmful bacteria that would affect her kidneys and other organs.

Thomas: Ultimately, the guardian decided to have the vet treat her cat’s dental disease with an anesthetized cleaning and extraction of teeth that had resorptive lesions (which are like “kitty cavities”).

Bella: Because the vet did a thorough physical, monitored the anesthesia carefully, and made sure that all the cat’s diseased teeth were removed, the cat came through the operation just fine and was like a new cat once she recovered.

Tara: The moral of the story is that it is possible to anesthetize an old cat, even one with kidney disease and other organ problems, and have everything turn out okay.

Thomas: If your vet isn’t comfortable doing surgery on your cat–and we should add that’s totally okay and actually a good thing for a vet to say they’re not equipped to do a procedure like that!–maybe you can consult a dental specialist.

Bella: Believe it or not, there are veterinarians who specialize in dentistry. They have lots of experience with anesthesia on cats of all ages, in all stages of health, and they’ll be able to give your cat the best possible chance of making a full recovery.

Tara: If the dental specialist says it’s not in your cat’s best interest to do surgery, they’ll certainly be able to recommend things to help ease your cat’s pain and treat the infection in her gums.

Thomas: You’ll probably be surprised at how different your cat acts once her mouth doesn’t hurt anymore!

Bella: When Siouxsie (bless her furry little heart, we still miss her and it’s been two years since she passed) had a dental at the age of 15 and had four teeth removed, her whole demeanor changed and she started acting about five years younger!

Tara: Whatever you decide to do, though, we know you’ll be doing it with your cat’s best interest at heart. When you approach your cat’s care that way, there is no wrong thing to do.

Thomas: While you’re figuring out what to do for your kitty, we’d recommend feeding her soft food rather than kibble. It’ll be easier for her to eat, and it’ll help her stay hydrated, which is really important for a cat with kidney disease.

Bella: And Thomas should know–he has kidney disease, and you should see how much water he drinks! And that’s even when eating wet food! My goodness, he leaves lakes in the litter box!

Thomas: Bella, that’s not nice. I’m doing the best I can, and at least I’m going in the litter box.

Bella: I know, Thomas. I’m just trying to help Scarlet understand that she’s not alone in dealing with a kidney kitty.

Thomas: Okay. Can we snuggle now?

Bella: Oh yeah, let’s snuggle!

Tara: I wish I could snuggle.

Thomas: You’re always welcome, Tara.

Tara: Thank you. I’m not quite ready yet, but I’m getting there.

Thomas: In any case, Scarlet, please talk to your vet about the possibilities for treatment. He or she may agree that a long course of antibiotics could help with the gingivitis (gum swelling), or possibly refer you to a dental specialist who could help you and your cat.

Bella: That soft food should do wonders for your kitty’s ability to eat, and help manage her kidney disease as well.

Tara: Dental disease is really common in cats. In fact, most cats show some signs of dental disease by the time they’re three years old!

Thomas: Best of luck to you and your cat, Scarlet. Thank you so much for taking care of her and wanting the best for her remaining years.

Bella: What about you other readers? Have you had a really old cat who had dental disease? What did you do about it? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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