Q:  Dear Chino, I’ve got 3 cats at home who are all indoor cats. The problem is that I can’t ever seem to go to work without cat hairs on my clothes! When people come over, they leave with hairs stuck to them from the sofas and I’m fast becoming known for cat hairs. I hoover regularly and use a clothes brush with a kind of felt side but I’m at the end of my tether, what can I do?

Chino

A:  Well that certainly doesn’t sound like much fun, but we cats do generally come with hairs! However, when you vacuum your sofas be sure to use the brush attachments in a circular motion and clear the hairs from the bristles every 10 revolutions. If you have a pet hair attachment all the better, but if not then these can be purchased from electrical stores and online from stores such as www.dustbag.co.uk for around £7. To remove the hairs from your clothes, buy a roll of gaffer tape or Duck tape. Roll it around your hand from the palm to your finger tips (with the sticky side facing out) until you have made a kind of mitten. Then brush it over your clothes  in downward strokes; this will lift the hairs from your clothes.

Q:  Dear Chino, we have got a couple of really lovely cats. BUT one them, our Siamese male, sometimes sprays in the house and normally on the sitting room door frame! We’ve tried detergents and even Zoflora which made it smell worse, and we have had to resort to burning joss sticks when friends come over. What can we do??

A:  ChinoWell now, presumably you have checked him out at your vet, just to make sure there is no underlying reason for this behaviour? If there is nothing physically wrong, he is doing this to mark his territory. If the entrance to your lounge is quite busy, lots of people visiting and coming and going, he is assuring himself, and you that he belongs there.

However, help is at hand. If you use strong smelling detergents and cleaning liquids, apart from the fact that they don’t really work, they can encourage him to continue to spray there. There are some very good products on the market however, such as Urine Off or Simple Solution, which  are natural bio-enzymatic products that don’t simply mask the smell but get rid of it permanently. They eliminate urine and other organic odours and stains from virtually any surface including carpets, hard flooring, bedding and furniture. The trick is to spray it liberally and let it dry naturally, you may need to repeat this process for real problem areas.

Once this has dried, I suggest you then spray the area with Feliway spray. This is a synthetic pheromone – a kind of “happy hormone” which mimics the smell that is left when your cat rubs his cheeks on things. Lastly, I would buy a bottle of Dorwest Valerian Compound for when you have visitors. This is a natural extract which has a calming effect on cats. As he is oriental, I suggest you put a few drops on his toys and pieces of cloth, which you can place around the house rather than administering it directly to him. It will appear to work in a similar way to catnip and will help him to stay stress free. Urine Off, Simple Solution, Feliway Spray and Valerian Compound can all be found at www.amazon.co.uk  and cost around £10 each.

Q:  Dear Chino, I have recently got a 2 year old cat from a friend who emigrated. I’ve never had a cat before so I am new to the things they do. I’ve noticed that when I put her food down, she doesn’t eat it all. I took her to the vet and happily there is nothing wrong with her. Although she still appears to want her food, she then only eats a third of it although more of it seems to have gone when I feed her again. I love her and want her to be happy. Can you help?

ChinoA:  Don’t worry, this is quite normal and as you have checked out her health with your vet I can answer this quite easily. There are of course some cats who gobble up their food straight away, but most pet cats are grazers. By this I mean that they will eat around a third to half of their meal, and then go back to it throughout the day when they are peckish. They know that their food is regular, so have no desperation to finish it immediately. It is reassuring to them to be able to nibble at their food during day as knowing it is always there, adds to their sense of belonging and is easier on their digestion. My advice is to carry on as you are – you are clearly a conscientious owner with a contented puss.

 Q:  Dear Chino, I’ve got 3 cats who all use indoor litter trays. My problem is that I used to use Catsan when they were kittens, but now they are fully grown, I’m finding too expensive. I’ve used economy clumping litter, but it goes solid and the cats hate it. Is there anything that I can use that will be economical as I am on a pretty tight budget.

A:  ChinoI’m happy to say that there are a couple of very good, inexpensive litters on the market that you can use. The first is wood based litter which is available from most supermarkets, pet stores and online. Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk) sell three good value makes – Canac Fussypuss, Purrfect Pellets and Pettex Pampuss which retail at under £13 for a 30 litre bag (Canac Fussypuss 30ltr is currently on offer at under £5 for a limited period). Wood pellet litter lasts a very long time as you only need to cover the bottom of the litter tray. This is because when it is used, it increases in size as absorbs.

If you want to use lightweight cat litter (the white stones variety) then the best product by far is Tesco Everyday Value cat litter at £1.60 for a 10 litre bag. This is not fullers earth so it behaves in much the same way as Catsan or other far more expensive lightweight litters. www.tesco.com