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Winter Hazards That Can Harm Your Cat

wnter hazards for cats

There are a few winter hazards that may harm or threaten your pet. So we’ve put together an easy checklist so that you can ensure that your cat (and dog) is safe and protected through the winter months.

Grit or rock salt on paws

In wintry, icy conditions very often road/street grit or rock salt is spread on roads, pavements and paths. This grit and rock salt is toxic to cats and dogs and could cause diarrhoea, skin irritations, vomiting, kidney failure and, in extreme cases, brain damage.

Dogs and cats could become ill after walking through the grit on the ground and then licking the substance off their irritated paws. The grit when ingested will develop an irritation of the gastro-intestinal tract leading diarrhoea and vomiting and, in extreme cases, the grit salt could also affect the kidneys and brain.

So when walking your dog or letting your cat out, please be vigilant and examine their paws  to make sure that they have no grit on their paws or between their toes. To be on the safe side, during winter and icy conditions wash your pet’s feet and wipe them clean immediately after they go outside and come back in.

Anti-freeze poisoning

The smell and taste of anti-freeze products is extremely attractive to cats and dogs. However anti-freeze is toxic and poisonous and potentially fatal. If you cat or dog is vomiting, walking strangely/to one side or stumbling and is unsteady on their feet it could be that they have licked up or ingested anti-freeze. Don’t delay as you must take your pet to your vet immediately. The quicker you act and get your pet examined the faster you may be saving their life.


In cold weather, pets can suffer from hypothermia just as humans can. If your cat or dog is shivering and appears to be suffering from the cold in any way, take them to your vet immediately. Limit their time outdoors, especially in very cold conditions, although cats tend to stay in the warm anyhow. If you don’t have a cat flap, check regularly to see if you cat wants to come back inside, and never leave them shut outside for long periods of time. It is always worth installnig a cat flap if you don’t have one so that your cat can enter and exit your home as it pleases and doesn’t have to wait to be let into its home.

Items that are toxic to pets during the festive season….

– Take care with various foods during Christmas such as chocolate, sultanas, raisins, graps and Christmas pudding.

– Ensure that your dog does not drink any alcohol as it is toxic to pets and can lead to brain damage.

– Meat and chicken bones can be very damaging and fatal to your pet, getting stuck in their throat and digestive tract, and sharp bones cutting or scraping internally when swallowed. Don’t leave meat or bones lying around and ask your guests to not feed your pets scraps or food.

– Decorations such as tinsel can also be ingested by pets, so keep your decorations away from pets and high up out of reach.

– Poinsetta plants are popular at Christmas, however they are very toxic to cats and dogs. The milky, white sap contains harmful chemicals that can cause conjunctivitis to the eyes. If your cat or dog is showing signs of vomiting, itchiness, swelling or unusual irritation, then please see a vet immediately.

Fireworks and pets

The fireworks and Diwali season, beginning from October every year, can be extremely frightening and stressful for your cats and dogs, and all pets. You can read how to protect your pets during the fireworks and make things as stress-free as possible for them. Read our fireworks and cats article here.

We have a full guide of items that are toxic for your cat that you can read.




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How to Take Good Care of Your Cat’s Teeth

Caring for your cat's teeth

Like humans, your cat can develop dental problems such as tartar, gingivitis and plaque build-up. Oral disease starts with a build up of plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth.

Your cat should have a regular dental check up. You should regularly take your cat to your vet for a health check up, where the vet will also check your cat’s teeth and general dental and mouth health.

Dental disease is the most common disease found in pets, however it can be prevented with greater dental care and attention. Dental disease can lead to more serious build-up of bacteria in the mouth which can worsen to severe periodontal issues and health issues such as heart and kidney problems.  Dental disease can also be linked to other health problems in your pet such as immune system disorders, so it’s really important to maintain your pet’s dental health.

Because of dental disease and poor oral health and decay, a cat’s gums will become painful, swollen and tender which may cause bleeding.

Brushing your cat’s teeth

You can brush your cat’s teeth regularly to maintain good oral hygiene and health. Try and brush the teeth once daily for 1-2 minutes each time. Use a small toothbrush and pet-only toothpaste, do not use human toothpaste as this is not suitable for animals. Special pet toothpastes come in a variety of pet-friendly tastes such as fish, malt or chicken. You can also get a toothpaste from your vet that can be rubbed onto the gums and teeth if your cat is adverse to their teeth being brushed and a toothbrush being stuck into their mouth!

Chews and biscuit food

Specific oral care dental chews can be purchased from your vet and in all good pet shops. Dental chews come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Kibble size with the shape, taste and texture will encourage your cat to chew thoroughly which in turn has a teeth brushing effect that reduces dental plaque and tartar forming on the teeth surface. These chews also contain a harmless, active dental calcium agent that will help to limit dental plaque forming. Chew sticks and various other chews are available, so ask your vet for a recommendation.

You can also leave a bowl of dry cat food out for your cat with wet food, as the crunching on the biscuits can aid ongoing, daily dental maintenance, however it will not cure an unhealthy oral condition. We always give our cats both dry and wet food as they love to crunch the dry biscuit food.

Kittens’ dental health

You should not brush your kitten’s milk teeth, however you can start getting them used to dental hygiene at a young age by touching their teeth and mouth area. But mind their sharp little teeth with your fingers as they may think you are playing a game!

Getting your cat used to teeth brushing

Your cat may not like having its teeth brushed, that is certainly the case with two of our cats who are a bit older!

To get your cat used to being handled by the mouth, you can start by giving the pet flavoured toothpaste to your cat to lick off your finger.

Get a small, baby sized toothbrush to start with or a special cat toothbrush, ask your vet for advice. If you have more than one cat, use one toothbrush per cat, avoid using the same brush as you can transmit bacteria and germs from one cat to another.

Hold your cat gently so that their back is towards you and you are not facing each other as this is less confrontational and controlling to your cat. Very slowly and gently, pull back your cat’s lips and start by touching their teeth with the toothbrush initially (no brushing), then stop and reward your cat with a treat and encouraging words. Repeat this daily for several days and when they feel comfortable and used to this routine then start to gently brush their teeth.

If your cat is not happy with having their mouth interfered with, you will need to be patient and continue reassuring and soothing your cat by touching its mouth and head until it feels more comfortable. This may take a few more days but it will be worth it.

When your cat is ready, apply the bristles of the brush to the teeth at a 45-degree angle so that you are brushing the surface of the tooth and just beneath the gumline, however do not brush the gums. Continue with this for around 10-15 seconds, stop and reward them, then gently continue again.

Try to keep a regular routine with brushing your cat’s teeth, so every morning at the same time after they have eaten, or every evening after they have eaten, but make it a time when both you and your cat are calm and relaxed. It’s also important that you are not rushing the dental care and brushing as this may stress your cat out. So choose a regular time in the day or evening when you have the time and patience to do it.

Signs of dental disease

Symptoms of dental disease that your cat may show include:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen, red and painful gums
  • Changes in eating and chewing habits
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Discoloured, broken or crooked teeth
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Yellow or brown tartar and plaque crust along the gum line
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Growths or bumps in the mouth

If you think that your cat is suffering from dental problems then take them to your vet immediately for a check up.





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Cotton Cat and Kitten Collars

Handmade Designer Cat and Kitten Safety collar 4

We make both webbing collars and cotton collars. We’ve received fantastic feedback on our handmade cotton collars which has spurred us on to add more to our collection.

Why Cotton Cat and Kitten Collars

Sometimes cats don’t like to wear collars at all and we find that some cats prefer the cotton collars to the nylon webbing ones. In fact owners have said that where previously their cats have got rid of or tried to tear off their webbing collars, they have kept their cotton collars on and aren’t too bothered about wearing them. This is more than likely because cotton collars are so lightweight, cats hardly notice that they are wearing them, so they decide that they don’t mind them and keep them on!

Of course it doesn’t mean to say that webbing collars are bad or worse for your cat, it will depend on your preference as an owner and ultimately what your cat prefers to wear. Both cotton collars and webbing collars are soft on your cat.

Kitty Direct’s Cotton Cat Collars

Our handmade, made-to-order cotton cat and kitten collars come in two sizes for the perfect fit and are very comfortable as they are soft, light and flexible to wear. They are also very durable and will last as we make them with quality cotton materials including lined cotton interfacing to increase durability which helps the collar to be even more robust and keep it’s form and shape. You can also spot clean or lightly sponge down cotton collars to keep them clean, so they are easy to maintain.

cotton cat and kitten collarsOur handmade cotton collars are high quality, carefully stitched and are all made with breakaway safety buckles that will snap apart if your cat or kitten becomes caught up in something. They also come with cat-size bells that aren’t too loud for your cat’s ears or stressful for your cat. Our bells are removable as not all owners want their cats to have bells attached to the collar, and not all cats like bells. We also include a cute charm and a split ring to attach name tags.

Popular collars include our floral collars that are available in beautiful cotton print designs and colours. For the boys we also make a lovely blue and white gingham cotton collar, stars print collars and a Japanese cotton designer print collar. All of our cat collars offer excellent value for money and we want to make them affordable for every kitty!

Take a look in our cat and kitten collar shop as we make a variety of special, designer handmade cotton collars to order. You can also supply your own fabrics and we are happy to make collars in the fabric that you like.

Handmade cotton flower kitten and cat collar Handmade Purple Flower Cotton Cat Kitten Collar_5 Handmade floral green cat kitten safety collar_3 Handmade Cath Kidston Cotton Cat Kitten Safety Collar_3 Handmade Purple Stars Cotton Cat Kitten Safety Collar_3









Handmade floral green cat kitten safety collar_3







Handmade Designer Cat and Kitten Safety collar 3Yellow Fabric Cotton Cat Kitten Safety collar_5Blue cotton pink yellow flower cat kitten safety collar_3Yellow cotton pink flower cat kitten safety collar_1Handmade pink gingham cat or kitten collar_1Handmade green gingham cat or kitten collar_1

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Purdy’s New Cat Collar is Puuuuurfect!

Purdy cat

Purdy catKaren bought our best-selling cotton collar for her lovely cat Purdy who is 12 years old and was rescued from the streets when she was 6 months old by The Cats Protection League.

Here’s what Karen says about Purdy. “Since she was rescued she has been living a life of luxury but rewards us all for this with lots of love and bags of character! She is a perfect Tuxedo and wears a glossy black jacket with a pure white shirt, white evening gloves and stockings.

A fancy collar ensures she always looks her best. Purdy likes to be involved in everything that is happening. She likes board games and often takes over by sitting in the centre of the board making sure she doesn’t miss her turn. In the summer months Purdy likes to “nest” and makes a new one every year so she can sleep and keep cool. We are all very glad that she came to live with us.”

We love these photos of Purdy sitting on the middle of the games board and nesting in the garden. She’s also modelling her new cat collar which looks gorgeous on her. We love to see our handmade cat collars looking so pretty on our kitty customers!

We also donate proceeds to cat, dog and animal rescue charities in the UK, The Cats Protection League is one of them. Thank goodness they rescued Purdy and she found a loving and caring home with Karen.  Thank you Karen for your custom and photos of Purdy and we hope to see you both again in the future. x     Our handmade cotton cat collars are available to buy in our shop.

Purdy's new cotton cat collar
Purdy’s new cotton cat collar
Purdy nesting
Purdy nesting amongst the grass
I want to play!