Dear Cat Faeries,
My cat’s favorite toys (yours!) are yucky and gross with saliva and other gunk from many months of love. Can I put them in the washing machine?
Love, Diane and the feline fur-kids
Dear Diane and Furry Friends,
Daphne speaking, feline cat toy aficionado and connoisseur…
WHAT?! Wash them? Goodness NO! Do you know long it took to get those beloved toys to smell pretty to a cat? We love to drool on them which makes them extra nice and adds to the heavenly scent of our catnip! But I understand if you feel they are looking a bit ragged.
Don’t put them in the washing machine or even soak them in a bowl of soapy water. You’ll ruin the catnip inside, you could get mold – eww! Dampen a wash cloth and give them a sponge bath. This will remove impacted cat fur, dust, and other ickies. They may still show saliva spots – but don’t worry, to us that’s beautiful!
We hear this complaint quite a lot. Allow us to explain why a cat who goes outside, even for short periods can spray inside the house:
When cats go outside they often detect the urine smells of other cats, and other animals. Therefore, to retaliate and claim the yard or garden as theirs they are likely to spray bushes, trees . . .etc. in an attempt to cover up other cat’s urine smells with their own. Once they do that the potential for this to happen inside the house goes way up. Cats do not make a distinction between in a tree or a Chippendale, it’s all the same to them. It’s all about their territory which from the cat’s viewpoint needs defending (and spraying or peeing on!)
You may never see other cats in your garden. The feral cats and some neighbor’s cats come around at nighttime when we are asleep. One telltale sign is if Kitty sprays at night. Bingo! You’ve definitely got outside cats coming at night and they are probably spraying on or around your front door or other doors, even under the windows as well as everything in the garden.
The fix for this problem:
And lastly, keep Kitty inside! Really, they don’t miss it. They’ll be healthier and ultimately happier (and so will you!)
Here’s an email from a customer whose cat is urinating by the door. And our response that tells how to use Cat Faeries products and other techniques to deal with it.
Dear Cat Faeries,
We have male & female cats. The male is 3 years old and neutered. He is accustomed to going out doors to urinate, however the weather is preventing him from doing that. He is urinating by the door. We have sprayed with a deterrent and he now moved to another area on the rug.
Thank you for your order and your note to us in the Comments area of the order form. We thought we’d answer you in our newsletter as we suspect that you are not the only one this winter having this problem.
With regard to your order:
- You’ll use Comfort Zone with Feliway spray according to our instructions.
- Put the Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers in the rooms in the house where he’s started to pee on the floor.
- Use Anti Icky Poo to remove the deterrent and urine off the walls and floors near that door. Then place a litter box there for his use until he can resume going outside. Anti Icky Poo literally eats the urine proteins and gases!
- Put a few drops of the flower essence formula in the communal water bowl each time you change it, or once or twice a day.
The deterrent you bought is doing its job – it has deterred your cat from peeing by that door and as you’ve learned the hard way your cat will find other places!
Deterrents are never a good idea and they could contain toxic ingredients. Feliway though is safe and when you follow the instructions that we’ll give you with your order you’ll learn how to use it so the cats don’t pick new naughty locations.
Now this is very important: normally we are very against putting boxes on top of or near all of the places where the cat is peeing. It’s best to create one roomy Kitty Latrine Area where there are a few hoodless litter boxes pushed together to create a large “sand box” with a bag of litter, a scooper, a trash can and a broom handy for your use. A latrine area concentrates the scent of feline urine/feces to one place which is which the cats seek out. If you put litter boxes in other rooms you are telling the cat that it’s ok to pee in all sorts of rooms! And your problem will get worse.
But K.P.’s situation is seasonal. So for the duration of this winter keep a box by the door. When things warm up and he can go outside it’s your choice to keep it there or remove it.
Some of you might take this cold winter as a chance to break your cat’s desire for and habit of going outside. After a few months of being inside cats often forget about going outside. We really feel that cats are healthiest staying indoors.
In 1997 when we shifted our focus to Feliway and helping cats get back to the litter box we quickly realized that one of the key triggers that caused stress for many indoor cats which can lead to litter box avoidance was the pesky presence of those cute bushy tailed rodents: squirrels. Squirrels running around outside have sent many a cat over the emotional edge.
Most cats find them to be cheap entertainment. But many cats find squirrels to be very annoying or threats to territory and this can lead to retaliation: peeing outside of the litter box, often right under a window. Even if a sensitive cat never sets foot outside (which is good, keep em indoors!) squirrels run along window sills, up and down trees, they get into bird feeders, and other antics all under the watchful eyes of our indoor cats.
We have long suspected that the quick ways squirrels zip around can really annoy and taunt cats. The defiant flicks of squirrel tails agitates many cats. And then there is that chittering sound they make. Traits that might seem cute to us often really irk and threaten even the most mellow feline.
A very easy solution to help steady your cats’ nerves is the feed squirrels (and birds) out of view from windows and at the farthest place on your property.
You can also install one or two Comfort Zone with Feliway diffusers in the rooms where your cats squirrel-watch. This will do two things:
1) The pheromone is calming to your cat, less fighting among your feline family.
2) The pheromone sends the message: “I don’t pee in this room.”
When using Anti Icky Poo urine cleaner, a black light is handy for finding places your cat has sprayed with urine or peed on. They are also helpful if you are considering buying a new home to find out if there are any urine stains.
But they are not fail safe – they are not accurate on all surfaces. They are most accurate on smooth surfaces like a painted wall or very low pile carpet. They don’t reveal urine in kitty litter or on carpets with a deep pile.
And you must use them in total darkness.
Recently we got this email from a customer:
Dear Cat Faeries
After treatment with Anti-Icky-Poo will spots still fluoresce under UV / Blacklight? I understand this is not as important as removal of the smell / pheromones is the most important, but still I’m just wondering, especially in terms of being able to identify a ‘new’ spot vs on previously treated other than intensity of the fluorescing.
Great question. The spots could still how under your black light. Here is why you may still see discoloration after using a round of Anti Icky Poo:
- Staining or spots could remain if they have been there a very long time
- The urine could have stripped the dyes from the carpet
- The naturally occurring dyes in urine could still be in the fibers
- Believe it or not, sometimes the dye you see is from the cat’s food!
- Once you are confident that Anti Icky Poo completely got rid of the urine smells and gases, you might consider having a professional carpet cleaning service come in will help to remove the traces of urine dye
This week we also heard from another person who wondered if Anti Icky Poo is safe to use after her cat urinated in a house plant. It is totally safe – it won’t hurt the plant or taint the soil!
As you said and it’s also on our website, smell is the way to know that the urine proteins and gases are gone. Further evidence is observing your cats – do they hover around those spots you treated? If not, then Anti Icky Poo was completely successful!
As for knowing if those are old spots or new ones: You might keep a sheet a paper and list the locations and size of the stains you treated. If you use a black light every month or so this will help you know if the spots are old ones or new ones.
Here’s some tips from our thrifty cat behaviorist. Remember, you get full detailed instructions with your order for all of these Cat Faeries products.
Cat toys, making them last, keeping them fresh & clean
- Store catnip toys in a Zip lock bag. Press as much air out as you can, then seal.
- Use Scotch tape or packing tape to remove fuzz and dust (just like you do to remove cat fur from your clothes).
- If your cat pees on a toy: lightly mist with Anti Icky Poo several times over a day or two, then let dry completely.
- If your cat hurls a fur ball on a cat toy: scrape off what you can, then lightly mist Anti Icky Poo several times over the course or a day, then let dry completely.
Remembering to use your Comfort Zone with Feliway spray. Don’t put it out of sight, out of mind!
- Store it in a place that you go to every day so you get the visual prompt to use it.
- near the coffee maker
- near the your toothbrush
- on top of the TV or by the remote control
- on the coffee table or an end table
- If you are correcting a problem use your spray two or three times a day.
- If you are maintaining your efforts and the cats are being good, use it once a day or a few times a week.
Places to NOT store Feliway spray
- near the fire place
- near the stove or oven
- near the heater
Remembering to swap out a spent Comfort Zone with Feliway diffuser refill for a new one:
- Order from us and get stickers for your calendar or appointment book. And use them!
- Your stickers will help you to know that your diffuser is working properly. If your refill bottle lasts longer or shorter than 4 weeks it’s time to replace it.
Taking good care of your Feliway diffuser to make it last a long time:
- The manufacturer says a diffuser will last 6 months. Because we take good care of ours we’ve had the same ones for many years.
- Every few months unplug your diffuser and with a damp Q-tip remove built up dust and crud.
- Don’t bang the vacuum cleaner into the diffuser as your clean your floors.
- Be careful to not drop it when you change your refill bottles.
Cat Faeries Flower Essences For Cats – where to store them, how to handle the dropper:
- It’s best to store them in a cabinet, but if that’s not practical then find a darkish corner in your kitchen. Ours tend to end up in a kitchen corner so we see them every morning when we change the cat’s water bowl.
- If you broke your dropper – ask us for a new one when you place your next order. We’ll send one free.
- Don’t let the dropper touch your fingers, or fall to the floor or countertop. If that happens, don’t panic, rinse it under filtered water and place it back in the bottle. Dirt and oils from fingers can contaminate the waters.
- NEVER put the glass dropper in the cat’s mouth! That’s why our handout is full of great ways to administer flower essences: food, water, anoint.
Cat Beds – we’ve had some of ours since the 1990’s!
- Always wash them in COLD water with mild soap
- Always air dry, never machine dry
- So that your bed dries fast, grasp the outer velveteen, and the inner fleece and pull them apart to form a <> shape. This allows air to flow and speed up drying time.
Anti Icky Poo – how long it will last and a clever use for it.
- Unopened it will last 3 years.
- Opened it should be used within 1 year.
- Store it under the sink or a cool place.
- Keep it upright so it doesn’t leak.
- If you’ve got some left over and it’s getting old – pour it down the kitchen drain and it will eat up soap scum and grease! Leave it sit for about an hour if you can.