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why do cats scratch furniture

Cat Behavior: Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Are you wondering, “why do cats scratch furniture?” We have a few answers that may be able to help. Contact a skilled veterinarian in Tucson, AZ, today to learn more about how you can deter this undesirable feline behavior.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture – Natural Behaviors

There are many reasons why your cat might be scratching your furniture. As a caring cat owner, you want to understand these actions to learn how to work with your cat to protect your favorite furnishings. Let’s explore the various feline instincts that motivate this behavior.


After every catnap, you probably see your cat release their claws into the nearest surface within reach while they shake off the sleep. Cats often combine scratching and stretching as part of their typical routine. These actions keep their bodies healthy and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

Excitement and Anxiety

Why do cats scratch furniture? As natural hunters, cats often become physically excited when they see potential prey, including birds, mice, and cat toys. In most cases, your cat can easily expend that energy by stalking or playing with its target.

Sometimes, your cat may see a bird through a window. They may scratch furniture because they’re experiencing excitement, anxiety, or frustration at seeing the out-of-reach bird. In some instances, your cat is simply working out some pent-up energy.

Territorial Marking

Cats have a strong urge to mark the territory they consider their own. The feline paw provides two methods of marking territory: their claws and hidden scent glands within their paws. When they scratch an item, they leave visible marks and a scent that lets other cats know they are intruding.

Claw Health

Unlike human nails, feline claws peel away in layers as the outer layer ages and deteriorates. Scratching is a natural behavior that helps remove old keratin layers and expose the fresher, sharper layer beneath them.

Claw care is vital for cats because the claw is essentially the first knuckle of their hands and feet. Their retractable nails help cats balance and walk normally. Therefore, declawing is a painful and excessively damaging form of amputation.

Provide Appropriate Alternatives for Healthy Scratching Behavior

So, why do cats leave scratch marks on your favorite surfaces? This behavior essentially boils down to instincts that you can’t fully train away. Thankfully, cat owners like you can offer your feline friend alternative options to avoid the destruction of your nice furniture.

You might not be able to stop the scratching behavior entirely. However, you can redirect it to more appropriate objects. Consider purchasing and placing the following items around your home near nap zones, windows, and doors:

  • Vertical scratching posts
  • Horizontal scratching pads

Now that you know “why do cats scratch furniture,” you might want to discover more helpful information for your pet. For instance, learn more about treating and preventing tick infestation in dogs. You can also call (520) 889-9643 to make an appointment with Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic in Tucson, AZ.

abandoned kittens

What Should You Do If You See Abandoned Kittens?

Pet lovers would do almost anything to rescue an animal in distress, but not everybody has the experience to care for abandoned animals safely. What would you do if you saw a litter of abandoned kittens on your property?

If you find an animal in distress and need advice, the Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic is here to help. Dr. Neal is a caring veterinarian in Tucson, AZ and a proud member of the community. She founded a charitable organization that provides spay and neuter services and support for pet owners in need.

Dr. Neal has the following advice for anyone who finds abandoned kittens on their property.

Evaluate the Situation

Assessing the condition of the kittens and the environment is a crucial first step in deciding how best to help them:

  • Do you see just one or two, or is there an entire litter of kittens?
  • Do the kittens seem to be in any immediate danger?
  • Are the kittens ill or injured? Can they move on their own and hide from predators?

If the kittens are safe as they are, your best bet might be to watch the kittens but not intervene directly.

Look for Signs of the Mother

If kittens are too young to hunt for themselves, they might fall prey to hunger and disease without their mother to look after them. If you don’t see any signs of the mother around after several hours, the kittens might need someone to take care of them.

Keep in mind that mother cats who live on their own learn to hide from humans who might want to do them harm. If the kittens do not seem deprived, the mother might have come by to check on them without you noticing.

Prepare to Take Care of the Kittens Yourself

Abandoned kittens will need warmth, water, protection from the elements, and a source of nutrition.

Unweaned kittens require round-the-clock care. You can care for them yourself in a box covered with a blanket. One of the most important things you can do for kittens is to keep their body temperature high.

Local animal shelters do not take kittens, but they often provide resources to pet owners who are fostering kittens. After the kittens are eight weeks old, have them spayed and neutered before bringing them to a shelter.

Finding Foster Parents

If you are new to pet ownership or don’t have much experience caring for kittens, consider asking a friend or family member to take care of them. Local animal aid groups or neighborhood organizations might be able to spread the word about kittens who need a good home.

Get Help Taking Care of Abandoned Kittens from the Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic

When you commit to taking care of animals, including newborn kittens, you need access to any help you can get. Learn how to spot common cat illnesses and more information about proper pet care by calling Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic at 520-889-9643.  

cat illnesses

5 Common Cat Illnesses and How To Spot Them

Cats are excellent at self-maintenance. Therefore, it’s not always easy to spot when they require health checks and treatment.

We’ll cover some cat illnesses (with signs and symptoms), so you’ll know when to take advantage of the veterinarian services by Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic.


Common causes of cat diarrhea include intestinal parasites, allergies, ingested spoiled cat food, infections, and life-threatening conditions like cancer and liver disease.

A cat dealing with diarrhea will eject loose or watery stool. The condition may last a few days or weeks, depending on the cause. Provide fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration. You should also ensure the cat doesn’t go more than 12 hours without food.

If diarrhea lasts longer than a day, bring your cat to our office immediately. 

 Feline Leukemia

This infectious disease causes death in 85% of persistently infected felines within three years of diagnosis. The feline leukemia virus (FLV) causes lymphoma and anemia. It can also predispose your cat to other infections.

Symptoms of FLV infection include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Stomatitis
  • Yellowing in the white part of the eyes
  • Pale gums
  • Poor coat condition
  • Wet loss
  • Loss of appetite

More than 70% of infected cats resist the infection and make a full recovery. However, it’s best to bring the cat for a professional diagnosis if you notice these symptoms.

Diabetes Mellitus

Lack of insulin or an inadequate response to insulin causes diabetes in cats. The inability to produce or utilize insulin causes elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Untreated hyperglycemia can cause a myriad of health problems for your cat.

Some signs of diabetes in a cat include excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, and increased appetite. Diabetes isn’t one of the most common cat illnesses, but you should watch out for it nonetheless. 

Respiratory Infections

Your cat’s upper respiratory tract is susceptible to infections caused by different viruses and bacteria.

Some signs of upper respiratory tract infections in cats include discharge from the eyes, sneezing, conjunctivitis, lethargy, mouth ulcers, and breathing difficulties.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites can plague your cat. For example, tapeworms in the small intestine can grow up to two feet in length. They break off in segments when expelled.

Common signs of feline intestinal parasite problems include weight loss and vomiting.  

You can also do a visual check by looking at the cat’s feces, the bedding, and the anus. Tapeworms will come out of the cat’s anus during rest or naps. If you notice small white worms or seed-like droplets, it’s a sign of an intestinal parasite problem.

Be sure to tackle all flea problems while treating your cat for tapeworm infestation. Cats often get tapeworm infections by swallowing fleas.

Find Out More About Cat Illnesses

Do you need more information on cat illnesses? Get in touch with us to discuss all other possible ailments that may plague your furry companion. Call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic today at 520-889-9643 for an appointment in Tucson, AZ.

You can also check out our blog for more pet education and learn how you can keep your pets safe this summer.

How to Treat Roundworms in Cats

Roundworms in Cats

Most people associate roundworms with dogs, but cats can also get this harmful parasite. Did you know that roundworms are extremely common parasitic worms found inside cats, dogs, and other animals? They can be a significant cause of illness, even death in kittens. Most cats become infected with them at some time in their life, generally as kittens.

Infection can be spread through direct contact or ingestion. Cats can get roundworms from contact with an animal carrying the worm.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about roundworms in cats. Keep reading to know more about clinical signs, treatment options, and prevention methods!

Roundworms in Cats

Roundworms are the most common internal parasites found inside a cat. The two species that infect cats are Toxocara Cati and Toxascara Leonina. Of these, the Toxocara Cati can cause health problems in human beings. In the case of dogs, it is Toxocara Canis that causes a parasitic infection. Toxocara Canis (dogs) and Toxocara Cati (cats) can also infect people.

As the name indicates, they are round, white to light brown, and up to 4 inches long, much like spaghetti noodles. They are intestinal parasites found in all animals. Adult worms live in your pet’s intestines and feed off the nutrient in their diet.

Roundworms can be contracted in many ways, making them easy to spread and hard to control. Cats contract with roundworms often through contact with another animal carrying the worm. The worms are often found in soil. Your cat (or dog) can contract roundworms while playing or eating grass.

How Contagious Are Roundworms?

Yes! Roundworms are contagious. If your cat comes into contact with another animal with roundworms, it can also get the same. They are also present in cats’ feces and can remain infective for months. And when a cat or a dog comes into contact with the feces, they can get infected.

What’s the Prognosis for Cats Diagnosed with Roundworms?

The prognosis for cats with roundworm infection is pretty good. However, it’s essential to treat the roundworm early on before your cat becomes ill or dies.

If your cat has roundworms, take them to see their vet as soon as you can! Cats are very good at hiding illness until they become pretty sick. And by then, it may be too late for treatment to be effective.

Types of Roundworms

There are various types of roundworms that cause infections in cats. Though they look and behave in a similar manner, they have different life cycles.

  • Toxocara Cati is generally seen in kittens. It is transmitted from an infected mother to the baby via mother’s milk. However, the roundworm can also be a result of ingesting eggs. Generally, animals such as rodents, beetles, or earthworms act as carriers of the parasitic worm. The eggs then hatch into roundworm larvae in the digestive system of the cat.
  • Toxascara Leonina is quite less common and is seen in older cats and dogs. It has a pretty straightforward life cycle than the Toxocara Cati. The eggs of this type are found in the cat (or dog)feces. And when ingested, they hatch into adult roundworms in the digestive system.
  • Toxocara Canis is the most common type of roundworm seen in dogs. They can grow up to 7 inches long and can be transmitted to humans too. When the infective eggs are ingested, the resulting larvae can invade the gut wall and migrate. The migrating larvae can invade the body tissues where it encysts if the dog is older than five weeks of age.

How Do Cats Get Roundworms?

Roundworm Eggs Under Microscope

The most common way cats contract roundworms is by ingesting the eggs. This can happen when they play with contaminated soil and grass, or if they come into contact with rodents carrying the roundworm larvae.

A milk-borne infection is the primary mode of roundworm transmission in kittens. Immature worms called larvae are present in the mammary glands of an infected mother. Later on, it passes on to the kittens via her milk.

Both cats and kittens can get roundworms through an accidental host. An accidental host can be any animal where the roundworm eggs can be found. In most cases, the host stays unaffected. Instead, the eggs are transported to the cat through the feces. It can happen when your pet eats the tissue of an affected animal, thereby completing the life cycle.

When the cat (or dog) eats the host, the eggs hatch in the gastrointestinal tract. And the larvae migrate to various organs such as the liver and lungs through the tissue. They then return to the intestines to lay eggs that pass out through the cat’s (or dog’s) stool.

There is no direct contact between cats and roundworms. However, the infection can be contracted by ingesting feces, contaminated soil, or another animal.

Clinical Signs of Roundworm Infection in Cats

Adult roundworms live in the affected cat’s intestines. They show clinical signs of roundworm in various ways. Some may not show any sign at all and can be asymptomatic carriers for a long time. They pass out the eggs through their stool every once in a while.

But, others who have heavy infections may become ill and show the following symptoms:

Clinical Signs of Roundworms in Cats
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Inability to Gain Weight / Weight Loss 
  • Decreased Energy 
  • Lethargy 
  • Dehydration 
  • Dull Hair Coat
  • Potbellied Appearance
  • Anemia 
  • Adult Worms in Stool or Vomit

The most common sign is the flat segments with tapering ends and grain-like appearance in the stool of infected pets. These are the larvae of parasitic roundworms, which are passed out along with the feces.

Some cats may also show signs of coughing due to pneumonia caused by the larvae. These larvae push into the respiratory system, causing breathing difficulty.

Treatment for Roundworm Infections

Roundworms are pretty easy to treat. Start by giving your cat a deworming medication regularly every month or two.

The medications work only on adult roundworms and not on larvae or eggs. Hence they need to be repeated every 2-3 weeks for it to be effective. The treatment goes on until to treat the residual roundworms as they mature. The number of treatments depends on the situation and the age of the cat.

The companion animal parasite council recommends deworming a kitten every two weeks of age until four months. Pregnant dogs should also be dewormed in late pregnancy or after six weeks of pregnancy. This will help reduce the chances of it passing to the puppies. On the other hand, Puppies should be dewormed starting at two weeks of age and repeated as long as the pet needs.

You can give this as part of routine care, even if you do not see signs anymore – it will keep them away for sure! Roundworms can cause serious health problems in cats – even death! Therefore, it is vital to get your cat treated for roundworms as soon as possible.

Roundworm Prevention for Dogs and Cats

Treatment and prevention is by far the best way to control roundworms.

One way to prevent roundworms is to give your pet medication every month for two weeks. They need the medication until they are four months old. This medicine will protect your kitten from roundworms and other worms such as hookworms and tapeworms.

Here are a few steps you should follow to prevent roundworm infections:

  • First, keep your cat indoors, as it will limit exposure to a variety of animals.
  • Keep cats and dogs away from areas with a high rodent population.
  • Maintain a clean yard free of cat feces. The presence of feces can attract rodents carrying roundworm eggs onto your property.
  • Clean up your dog’s feces immediately. Use gloves to avoid contact with fecal matter.
  • Do not feed your cat raw meat as this may increase the risk of roundworms.
  • Once you have a kitten, make sure to keep it indoors until it is at least four months old.
  • Take your cat to the vet for regular checkups.
  • Wash hands after handling pets that might carry roundworm eggs on their fur (kittens).
  • Ensure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date.
  • Maintain your cat’s living area clean and free from feces.
  • Keep the cat’s litter box away from children and other pets.

How Long Does It Take to Kill Roundworms in Cats?

The medications take as long as three days to destroy the roundworms in the body. However, the medicine works on adult roundworms and not the larvae. Therefore, you may have to repeat the treatment until the eggs are hatched, and the larvae are killed.

Is It Normal for Roundworms to Come Out After Deworming?

Yes! It is pretty common to see live and dead roundworms in the stool of your cat (or dog) after deworming. While it is unpleasant, it means that your pets no longer carry roundworms.

The roundworms in the stool will look like small and long pieces of spaghetti (or rice). If you see them, then it means that your pet still has roundworms.

You need to deworm again after a week if this happens even though there is no sign of roundworms! And make sure to give regular deworming treatment every month.

What if My Cat Vomits Worms?

If you see roundworms in the vomit, this is a sign that they have a severe infection. You will need to get them checked by their vet immediately and dewormed!

It also means that other organs like the liver or lungs are also infected (or damaged). In addition, the larvae often result in vomiting up of the roundworms.

When this happens, consult veterinary professionals as they may suggest tests and treatment. They will also be able to recommend an effective deworming medication for use at home!

Can I Deworm My Cat Myself?

You cannot deworm your cat by yourself since you may not know which medicines to use. Also, if it is a kitten, you need an adult who can hold the animal during treatment!

You should consult with a vet or take them along when giving their deworming medication. If you want to deworm your cat at home, make sure that the treatment is safe for kittens (if this applies) and gentle on their stomachs.


Kitten Receiving Deworming Treatment

Roundworms are nasty parasites that can make your cat feel pretty bad. If you notice your kitten has been dragging its butt or looking like it’s got the flu, roundworms could be to blame.

You need to get treatment before it gets worse and causes serious problems! Cats contract roundworms often through contact with another animal carrying the worm.

The prognosis for cats with roundworm infection is pretty good (most will recover without any complications). However, you need to treat the infection early on before your cat becomes ill or dies. The most common way cats contract roundworms are by ingesting the eggs when they come into contact with rodents.

With such an easy way for cats to contract these worms, we need all pet owners to be vigilant about prevention measures. Keep your pets indoors and away from areas that rodents might congregate.

In Tucson, Santa Cruz Pet Clinic is a world-renowned and trusted veterinarian that you will want for keeping up with your pet’s vaccinations at the proper time, deworming, and other services to ensure its health. Contact us today to schedule your pet’s vaccinations and check-ups.

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