Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cats as Christmas Presents

Sometimes it may seem like a cute idea to give someone a cuddly kitten as a Christmas present, but it’s important to give that some extra thought before you do it. Most cats that are given up lose their home because their owners lose interest in them or are unprepared for the responsibility of cat ownership. This is a huge problem seen among cat owners who receive their cats as “gifts.” Children especially are given the mistaken idea that kittens are all fun and games, but they are not fully ready to take on the responsibility of feeding, cleaning the litter box, and trimming their claws.

Instead of giving cats as presents, we recommend getting acclimated to the idea of bringing a new cat into your home. Bringing your children to volunteer at an animal shelter or babysitting the cat of a friend or family member can help. Children and potential cat owners (no matter their age!) need to be reminded that cat aren’t just cute; they are also hungry, need to exercise, and need to use the bathroom. They can be messy when they aren’t fully trained, and the training process can be difficult too.

Please, don’t adopt until everyone in your family is READY. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

What Every Cat Owner Must Know

Adopting a cat is an important responsibility. Cat owners should have a good understanding about:
  • how to meet their cats basic environmental needs 
  • how to properly care for their cat and keep them safe 
  • understanding their cat’s behaviors 
  • understanding feline health conditions, treatments and diseases 
  • and last, but importantly not least, the need for routine preventive veterinary visits
  • Every Cat Needs Routine Preventive Physical Examinations

    Preventive care examinations or check-ups for all cats should occur a minimum of once yearly, and more frequently for senior cats and those with chronic conditions. These visits are important to your cat’s individualized healthcare plan. Some things that will be discussed and assessed are your cat’s nutrition, lifestyle, environmental enrichment, disease and parasite prevention, and behavior.
    Preventive Care Examinations:
    • Information discussed along with a thorough physical examination provide you and your veterinarian with a plan to help your pet remain healthy.
    • Cats age more rapidly than we do so preventive care examinations are a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle.
    • During the physical examination, veterinarians can often detect conditions that may affect your cat’s health long before they become significant so they can be managed or cured before they become painful or more costly.
    • As a member of the family, your cat deserves the best possible care. Together, you and your veterinarian can best decide how to accomplish that by meeting at least annually to talk about your cat and any changes that have taken place in their life. With the information you bring and a good physical examination, a plan will be created that meets the needs of your cat and the family.
    You are an important member of your cat’s healthcare team. You can be instrumental in helping your cat live a happy and healthy quality of life.                                                                                                         
    Click the video below to see why routine veterinary checkups for your cat are important:
  • What Your Vet Looks for During Exams

    Are you curious about what’s going on during your cat’s yearly check-up? It may seem like your veterinarian is just petting your cat, but they are examining your cat’s entire health and lifestyle during the checkup. Some of these include:
    • Abdomen and Body
    • Muscle Tone and Weight
    • Coat, Fur and Skin
    • Ears and Eyes
    • Mouth, Gums and Teeth
    • Heart and Lungs
    • Joints and Spine
    • Under the Tail
    • Taking and Analyzing Samples

    SOURCE: http://www.catvets.com/cat-owners/caring-for-cats/cat-owner-must-know

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Missing the litter box

You have a problem. Your cat is thinking outside the box, and not in a good way. You may be wondering what you did to inspire so much “creative expression.” Is your cat punishing you? Is Fluffy just “bad”? No, and no. House soiling and missing the litter box is a sign that your cat needs some help.

According to the Winn Feline Foundation, house soiling is the number one complaint among cat owners. The good news is that it is very treatable.
An accredited veterinarian can help you determine if the problem is medical or related to social or environmental stressors. In addition to a complete physical exam, the doctor will ask you specific “where and when” questions.
Health factors
Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a specialist in feline urinary disorders at The Ohio State University, and founder of the Indoor Cat Initiative says that many veterinarians recommend a urine test for every cat with a house soiling problem. The urinalysis will determine if blood, bacteria, or urinary crystals are present — signs that your cat might have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).
FLUTD is very common and can cause painful urination. Cats that begin to associate the litter box with pain will avoid it. Other medical possibilities include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis and muscle or nerve disorders that might prevent your cat from getting to the litter box in time.
Environmental factors
If there is no medical cause, the next step is to look at environmental factors. Start with the litter box. Your cat might be avoiding the litter box because it is not cleaned well enough, you’ve changed the type of litter you use, or there is only one box for multiple cats.
Another possibility is that your cat is “marking” — spraying urine, typically on vertical objects such as walls and furniture, or in “socially significant” areas near doors or windows. Both male and female cats mark. The most common offenders are cats that have not been spayed or neutered.
Buffington says that stress can cause elimination problems too. For example, subtle aggression or harassment by other house cats or neighborhood cats may be an issue.
Even unremarkable changes in your home can make your cat anxious or fearful. Look around. Did anything change right before your cat started having problems? Did you get a new pet? A new couch? Maybe you just moved the old couch to a different part of the room, or had a dinner party. Cats are sensitive creatures and changes that seem small to you can throw your cat off his game. Check with your veterinarian about finding solutions that work for both you and your cat

SOURCE: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/cat_care/behavior/missing_the_litter_box.aspx

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Adult Cats in Shelters: Give Them Hope

If you have ever been to an animal shelter, you have probably seen a sad sight: dozens of adult cats desperate for homes, most of which have little chance of getting out.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states that every year, about 5 to 7 million pets enter the animal shelter system, of which more than half are cats. Unfortunately, approximately 70% of those cats are euthanized simply because no one wants them, and most shelters don’t have the funds to board them for more than a few weeks.

Why aren’t these cats getting homes?

Supply vs. demand
Even though more animals are being spayed or neutered, 75% of animals coming into the shelter are still intact. One unspayed cat can produce many litters of kittens over the years, and those litters produce their own litters. The supply of cats is simply too large.

Michael Moyer, VMD, AAHA president, Rosenthal director and adjunct associate professor of Shelter Animal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, says, “There are more [cats] heading into shelters than there are people going to shelters to adopt, or than are being displayed off-site from shelters to get adopted.”

The rate of intake of adult cats at shelters is significantly higher than the rate of adoption, and in spring, when the “kitten season” begins, the margin increases alarmingly. When given the opportunity to adopt a cute little kitten, people tend to ignore the older cats.

The American Humane Association has dubbed June “Adopt a Cat Month”—June has the lowest rate of adoption from shelters, therefore the highest rate of euthanasia. Kittens usually go fast, but unfortunately, the majority of shelter cats are over 5 years old. Some are “boring” looking, like tabbies or black cats, and others are part of a bonded pair, which means they would be miserable without their friend. Some have easily remedied medical conditions, while others aren’t well socialized. These cats stand no chance against the puppies, kittens and dogs in the shelters.

Location, location, location

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 33% of Americans have at least one cat. Of that number, only 21% were adopted from animal shelters. The rest came from a hodgepodge of sources: friends, family, coworkers, wandering strays or unplanned litters of kittens. Because people are getting cats from these other sources, they don’t turn to the shelter for adoption.
Part of the problem has to do with the shelters themselves. Because of city noise regulations, most shelters are located in industrial or other “undesirable” neighborhoods. People often don’t even know there’s a shelter in their area. “Most shelters are not in highly desirable foot-traffic neighborhoods,” Moyer says. Also, cities frequently lack the funds to modernize shelters, so walking through them can be dismal.

Decreasing odds

Numbers aren’t the only reason for low shelter adoptions. The shelter environment, specifically the cage, can dramatically decrease a cat’s odds of being adopted. The shelter is a loud, scary place, and with no consistent or regular exercise, cats can become depressed and fearful.
Cats need about 9 square feet to be comfortable, but shelter kennels are smaller than that. The animals need vertical space for jumping and horizontal space for play and sleep. When they are forced to live in cages, they have some serious adjusting to do. It may take up to 5 weeks for a cat to feel comfortable in a new environment, but most shelters aren’t able to keep them that long.
Illona Rodan, DVM, DABVP and founder of the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wis., says, “Cats are fearful in unfamiliar environments, and fearful cats tend to hide or flee. If caged, they will most likely hide in the back of the cage, as far away as possible in an attempt to protect themselves. To potential adopters, these cats appear unfriendly and undesirable.”

Ideal companions

With litters of cute kittens prancing around, who would want to adopt an older cat? Smart people! With adult cats, what you see is usually what you get. You may have to look a little harder, past the fearfulness, but, as Rodan says, “Adopting an adult cat allows one to know the personality you are getting.”

Older cats, especially in pairs, are also great for seniors and people who don’t want a huge time commitment. “Kittens require a lot of time and energy, and are usually more costly to care for than an adult cat,” says Rodan. Adults are more well-adjusted to life, and pairs keep each other company.
But more than anything else, adult cats are grateful. “Adult cats that find their way into homes can be the most loving pets of all—perhaps they know how lucky they are to have found a loving and caring home,” Rodan says.

How you can help

If you are thinking of adopting a cat, visit your local shelter first. Sure, your coworker might need a new home for her cat, or your neighbor might have a litter in the back yard, but those cats are “safe,” meaning they aren’t in immediate risk of being euthanized.

You can also spread the word in your community that adult cats in shelters need homes, too, and encourage people to visit their shelter first, either to adopt or to volunteer. “More adoptions is what shelters need, by whatever means can be found within that particular community,” says Moyer. “There is a role for vets, for shelters and for the community to step in and make a better outcome possible for cats.”

And, you can help with prevention. In the words of Bob Barker, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.” And encourage others to do the same.

Originally published by Healthy Pet.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Keep Your Cat Safe in a Heat Wave

The temperature is soaring, and it’s only going to get hotter. Make sure you know how to keep your cat safe in the summer heat.

1. Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and       collapse. If you think your cat may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP — the condition can cause permanent organ damage and death. Learn more about heatstroke in pets.

2. Offer your cat several ways to cool off. Leave a fan on in a place where your cat can sit in front of it, add some ice cubes to her water or offer her a cool treat (check out our recipe for catsicles.)

3. Let your cat find cool spots in the house. Your cat will seek out the cooler parts of your home, so make sure she has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun.

4. Play in the morning or evening. Any exercise should take place during the cooler hours of the day. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke. (If your cat has just eaten, make sure you give her some time to digest before you begin playtime.)

5. Brush your cat often. A well-groomed, tangle-free coat will help keep your cat cool. (Learn more about grooming your cat.)

Article originally published by PetFinder.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Celebrate Pet Safety this Memorial Day

As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day is a great excuse to get outdoors. But whether you’re partying, barbequing, or just soaking up some rays, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind at all times. To prevent any Memorial Day mishaps, we’ve put together five tips to help protect animals this Memorial Day weekend.

Party Smart
Barbequing is one of the best parts of Memorial Day, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from animals, and remind guests not to give them any table scraps or snacks. Raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and avocado are all common at barbeques—and they’re all especially toxic to animals.

Be Cool Near the Pool
Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all cats are expert swimmers! Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Also, try to keep your pet from drinking pool water, which contains potentially dangerous chemicals like chlorine.

Skip the Spray
Unless specifically designed for animals, insect repellant and sunscreen can be toxic to pets. Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. DEET, a common insecticide in products for humans, may cause neurological issues in pets.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so if you’re spending time outside, give them plenty of fresh, clean water and make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. Note that animals with flat faces, like Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 

IDs, Please
Time spent outdoors comes with the added risk of pets escaping. Make sure that your pet is fitted with a microchip or ID tag with identifying information, or both. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Source: http://www.aspca.org/blog/celebrate-pet-safety-memorial-day

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reasons To Act More Like Your Cat

Cats aren't always easy to take care of, and they often require a substantial time commitment, but they provide an amazing return on that time investment, especially when it comes to your health. Case in point: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels than non-pet owners. But that’s not all. Cats also model many surprisingly healthy behaviors that humans would do well to emulate. Here are just a few, according to veterinarians and other pet experts. 

1. They focus on what matters most. You may get grumpy after a bad day at the office, but your feline never does. Cats mostly care about food, love, and shelter (not always in that order). As long as they have those things, they don’t need much else,” Mary Gardner, DVM, a veterinarian and cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice tells Yahoo Health. Cats also don’t complain much at all. People believe they hide their pain; I simply think they manage it differently.” If humans could model these behaviors, Gardner adds, we’d be healthier, happier, “and more people would want to be around us.” 

2. They practice portion control (even if not by choice). Snowball might not want to limit her kibble intake any more than you want to limit your tortilla-chip intake. Nonetheless, she typically eats reasonably sized helpings of nutritionally balanced food — and never gets to eat straight out of the bag. Follow her lead. “Both animals and people need structure and regulation when it comes to portion size,” says Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue based in Redmond, Washington. 

3. They know how to de-stress. Your feline doesn’t pour a glass of cabernet when the going gets rough (though, yes, it would make a very popular YouTube video if she did). She may, however, start begging to play a game. 

4. They hit the hay. People don’t get enough sleep: According to a 2014 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 45 percent of Americans said that a lack of sleep had impaired their activities at least once in the previous week. Learn from your cat, who knows just how important it is to get enough shut-eye, says Jeff Werber, VVM, president and chief veterinarian of Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles. “You will always find your cat taking a quick cat nap, so you won’t find them burning the candles at both ends.” 

5. They stretch! There’s a reason one of the most common yoga moves is named after pet behaviors. Cats stretch constantly — and we should do the same, notes Russell Hartstein. Why? Stretching can improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. 

6. They’re open to new things. Cats are naturally curious. “Open a box or empty a bag and before you know it, your cat will have climbed in to investigate. “And they’re always up for some fun.” Since research has found that seeking out new experiences can keep people feeling young and healthy, we’d do well to follow suit.

7. They’re comfortable getting zen. Numerous studies have found a correlation between mindful meditation and reduced stress, decreased heart disease, and a stronger immune response — and that’s something your cat already knows how to do instinctively. “Each morning I sit on the sofa with my cat, Turtle, while I drink my first cup of coffee,” says Kristen Levine, a pet living expert. “We spend about 10 minutes together, her getting neck and head rubs, me enjoying her purring and having a few meditative moments at the start of the day. It sounds simple, and it can be, but depending on the activity, it can have a powerfully relaxing or invigorating effect for both human and critter.” 

Friday, January 30, 2015

New Gadget Let's You Play with Your Pet from Anywhere in the World

Petcube is a box with a laser pointer, speaker, and light that you can control from anywhere in the world via the Petcube smartphone app.
You control the laser by moving your finger around your iPhone or Android phone’s screen. Anywhere your finger moves, your pet will follow, as long as she likes lasers.
You can also take screenshots of the app and share them via Petcube’s social network. What’s more, you can make your Petcube open to the public, so you can let anyone play with your pet while you’re home or away.

To be honest, letting strangers get a view of your home when you’re away (or home) sounds kind of strange, so maybe you’ll just want to stick with the lasers.

SOURCE: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/2-new-gadgets-let-you-play-with-your-pet-from-107338896099.html