The Hotel 4 Cats: Truly A Home Away From Home!

building3Whether you are going on vacation or simply needing your cat to be in a safe and comfortable place for the day – The Hotel 4 Cats is your solution for cat boarding. With significant amount of experience in cat boarding, The Hotel 4 Cats delivers extraordinary care and comfort for your loving pet – we are your cat’s home away from home! The term ‘pet boarding’ doesn’t come close to describing what The Hotel 4 Cats provides on a daily basis. You can read about our personalized services on the website, but your cat can EXPERINCE our daily personalized caring and loving attention.

Over the years, the success of our cat boarding has been directly related to our dedicated and compassionate staff. Our staff includes mature individuals who ensure that the overall cat boarding environment meets or exceeds federal and state related guidelines along with customer expectations. They also treat your cats like family by becoming familiar with and responding to their individualized needs, wants, and meows. In fact, our staff includes a Feline Behavior Specialist, Mary Tomasello. Mary is available to monitor cat behaviors and help create a ‘purrfectly’ enriched experience for all cats. If you would like Mary’s advice or personal and practical coaching on how to increase your cat’s overall well-being, how to overcome specific cat unwanted behaviors, effectively transition cats to new environments, integrate cats into the family and more … go to and find out how Mary can help and to arrange an initial consultation. The Hotel 4 Cats serves the Mooresville, Lake Norman, Davidson areas.

Why are Cat Scratch Pads and Posts Important to your Cat's Well-Being?

wellb1Cat scratching is natural and intuitive. Cats scratch on objects for multiple reasons:  a) to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, b) to stretch their body, feet and claws (especially when they wake up), c) to mark their territory through scratching which leaves a visual marking and a scent marking that is located in their paws which sends information to other cats, d) when they need to release forms of emotion such as being upset, anxious, stressed. As a result of these reasons, scratching is ESSENTIAL to your cat’s well-being.

Knowing that scratching is necessary for cats will help you set-up your home to enable them to do what is natural and yet protect your furniture.  If your cat is scratching on your carpet, furniture or drapes, simply place a horizontal scratch pad or vertical scratch post in the same location that he/she is scratching.  By doing so, you are redirecting your cat to the acceptable objects to scratch.  When you see your cat scratch on the unacceptable object, don’t yell or push him/her away, simply redirect him/her to the scratch pad/post and give positive reinforcement training with a treat placed on the scratch pad/post and with a loving tone of voice state that the behavior was good.

wellb2Note that some cats prefer a horizontal pad rather than a vertical post.  How will you know which one is best? 

Observe and learn – watch your cat on a regular basis and see if he/she uses one more than the other.

They like coarse or textured surfaces that enable them to dig in their claws.  Having an appealing texture for scratching and having the scratch objects in the appropriate location is important for behavior modification. Refrain from carpet covered posts since they are too soft and their claws tend to get caught in the carpet loops.

wellb3If you have more than one cat, you’ll need more than one scratching post.  Just watch your cat scratching behavior and where he/she spends most of the time and you will find the best location(s) for the scratch pad or post. 

Tip For Cat Boarding:  The Hotel For Cats provides cat scratch pads in the play room.  In addition, we recommend that you bring your cat’s personalized small scratch pad to the hotel so it can be provided 24 hours a day for your cat in his/her cat-friendly cage. 

*Content adapted from Animal Behavior Institute (ABI).


Tips for Marking Prevention Elimination

catbwOur last blog in January highlighted the importance of knowing how to identify whether the cat is marking or just peeing where it should not.  We described ‘associative’ marking as a form of cat communication and why such marking may occur.  This blog continues with helpful tips on overcoming and even preventing ‘associative’ marking.

Please note that you should always consult with your vet to determine if there is any medical urination or physical problems.  Such problems increase stress which would contribute to markings. That being said, listed below are action steps that you can take to either prevent or overcome ‘associative’ marking.  

Here are a few things to avoid when treating urine marking:

  1. Do not rub your cat’s nose in his urine.
  2. Do not throw things at your cat.
  3. Do not clean up accidents with an ammonia-based cleanser. Urine contains ammonia, so cleaning with ammonia can attract your cat that same spot to urinate again.  Clean accidents thoroughly with an enzymatic cleanser designed to neutralize pet odors.

Some tips for overcoming / preventing associative makings:

  1. Neuter or spay your cat. – This is a proven treatment to eliminate markings that are used to send a message to other cats that he/she is available to mate.   It is also a treatment that can reduce and with many cats even prevent marking associated with territory conflict.
  2. Reduce stress by trying to determine whether any change in the house or routine has taken place.
  3. Remove sources of stress from any loud noise from the cat’s environment.
  4. Use plug in synthetic cat pheromone (spray or diffuser) to create a calmer environment.  Place where the cat has marked.
  5. Increase play, training and quality time between the cat and those that live in the household and with the pet sitter.  Provide cat trees and scratch pads to increase exercise and reduce stress.

For multiple cat households:

  1. Determine which cat is marking. Note sure which one… speak with your veterinarian about giving fluorescein to one of your cats.  Fluorescein is a harmless dye that causes urine to glow blue under ultraviolet light for about 24 hours. Similar to number five above, to reduce conflict among multiple cats in the home, increase play with individual cats in different areas of the home to prevent confrontation, provide multiple scratching posts, toys, and perch areas (cat trees/shelves) to rest without confrontation. Also, provide multiple water and food bowls.
  2. Whether there is an issue with marking or not, households with multiple cats must have multiple litter boxes.  This is especially true if there is a cat mate are preventing another one from using the litter box, then conflict and stress increases and cats will send a strong message through markings and other forms of communication.
  3. Ensure that there is one litter-box per cat plus one extra litter box. Example, if you have two cats, there should be three litter boxes in the house.  Additional boxes may need to be placed where frequent markings have occurred.  Scoop at least once a day.
  4. Cats can mark in response to dogs as well as other animals.  If you have a dog, keep the litter boxes away from your dog’s food and water bowls.

*Content adapted from Animal Behavior Institute (ABI).

What is Feline Spraying/Marking?

sprayingThis blog summaries the distinction between cat urination markings and will be continued in the upcoming January blogs with a discussion about urination problems and how they can be either prevented or eliminated. 

It is important to know how to identify whether the cat is marking or just peeing where it should not. Urine marking refers to the ways in which cats spray urine to send information and put their scent out into their environment. Marking can be vertical sprays (most common), horizontal spraying (not as common) and associative.

As the picture above shows, spaying typically includes a cat backing up to a vertical object like the side of furniture, a wall, a pet carrier, etc. The cat stands with his/her body erect with the tail extended straight up in the air, and sprays urine onto the surface. The tail and body typically twitches while he/she is spraying.

The urine smells extra strong to humans because it is not just regular urine – the spray contains extra communication chemicals to send other cats key messages! It is thought that this spray may contain information about sex, age, hormonal state, assertiveness and general health.

Associative marking - there are conditions surrounding the cat that can promote cat associative marking behavior – examples include a cat being punished and becomes anxious or the owner is away from the cat for a long period of time and it urinates on something personal where the owner’s smell is concentrated such as a bed or clothes. From a cat’s perspective, they are ATTEMPTING TO REDUCE THEIR ANXIETY – they are not retaliating against you (which is what a human view might deduce from this behavior). 

Read next week’s blog to learn more about urine markings and problems and how to effectively address them.

*Content adapted from Animal Behavior Institute (ABI).