Posts Tagged ‘cat health’

Cats are notorious for hating water. Luckily, bathing a cat is rarely needed. But have you ever wondered why they hate water so much? There are probable behavioral and possibly biological reasons for this.

Hairless cat

Does your cat give you The Look when it’s bath time? Find out why!
[Photo by Natalia Semenkova via Pexels]

Some cats actually like the water!

Cats are funny creatures, some actually do like water! It is not uncommon for some owners to mention their cat’s affinity for it. Splashing and pawing at streams of water probably have more to do with the play on light and shininess of the water than anything else.
Some breeds of cats are actually known for enjoying swimming, such as the Turkish Van, which has been nicknamed “the swimming cat” for that reason.

Three reasons why most cats don’t like the water

1. Behaviorally cats are generally less tolerant of change and new experiences than, say, the dog. A cat that has never been exposed to water probably won’t like the feeling of having their body drenched in it. A cat that has regularly been exposed to water as kitten may be more accepting of it.
2. Cats are also very fastidious creatures. They spend a lot of time grooming themselves and likely aren’t big fans of having anything that doesn’t smell “normal” on their fur. In their eyes, you’re creating more work for them by bathing them.
3. There are likely biological reasons as well. Even though many cats love the taste of fish, they are not ocean or river dwelling creatures historically. The domesticated cats are descendants of felines that typically live in dry arid areas. They have never learned to swim because there was no evolutionary need for it. This behavior, or lack thereof, has stuck around in our modern day cats.

For these reasons, never force your cat to swim if they don’t like it.

Tips if you must bathe a cat

Bathing is rarely needed for cats either. If your cat does need to be bathed for medical reasons, or if they became overly dirty for some reason, there are some ways to make it a little less stressful.

  • Fill the tub first, the sound and splashing of running water will make things worse.
  • Line the tub with a folded towel (which will of course become wet) so they feel like they have something to grip onto. A slippery tub floor will also cause more stress for the cat.
  • Use a container to carefully pour water over, versus using a faucet.
  • Lastly, be really careful around the face and eyes!

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a U.S. dog and cat health insurance agency, since 2005.

Published on the Pets Best blog here.

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What is That in the Litterbox? Dealing With Diarrhea in Cats

Cat staring at camera

Is your cat trying to tell you something? (Photo by Immortal Shots, via Pexels)

By Morris Animal Foundation

Cats’ fastidious behavior when it comes to poop makes it easy to clean up, but also can mask changes in stool that would signal a potential health problem. Although diarrhea is less of a problem in cats than dogs, there are some similarities between the two species when it comes to underlying causes – as well as a few differences.

As a rule, veterinarians divide diarrhea into two broad categories based on where in the intestinal tract the diarrhea originates – small bowel (originating in the small intestine) and large bowel (originating in the large intestine). Although unpleasant, paying attention to stool quality of your pet can give your family veterinarian valuable clues to point them toward a diagnosis and best treatment.

Characteristics of small-bowel diarrhea include:
*Large volume
*Usually watery
*Frequency might or might not be increased

Diseases that cause small-bowel diarrhea in cats include intestinal viruses, intestinal parasites, cancer, hyperthyroidism and chronic enteropathy (inflammatory bowel disease)

Characteristics of large-bowel diarrhea include:
*Small volume
*Usually semi-formed or cow-patty consistency
*Increased frequency of defecation with straining
*Often contains mucus

Diseases that cause large-bowel diarrhea include stress colitis, intestinal parasites and megacolon (more on this condition later).

Sometimes, we can see characteristics of both small- and large-bowel diarrhea in a cat. This can occur when a disease process involves both the small and large bowel. We also can see this pattern when a patient starts with small-bowel diarrhea that causes secondary irritation of the large bowel.

Blood in the stool can be noted in both small- and large-bowel diarrhea.

Blood in the stool can take several forms:
*Digested blood from the stomach or small intestine results in black, tarry stools. This can be a challenge to diagnose in cats since their stools tend to normally be dark in color.

*Fresh streaks of blood mixed in the stool or coating the stool usually indicate a large-bowel problem

Concurrent vomiting is more common with small intestinal diseases although some studies suggest that vomiting occurs in 30% of cats suffering from large-bowel problems.

Hyperthyroidism in cats frequently causes diarrhea and can be easily overlooked in a diagnostic work-up for diarrhea. Many routine bloodwork panels for cats have a screening test for this disease.

Another disease seen almost exclusively in cats is megacolon. This disease begins when cats become constipated. The large intestine stretches but loses tone which leads to more constipation. Cats will often leak a little loose stool around the hard feces which can be interpreted by a cat owner as diarrhea. Megacolon is easily diagnosed on a physical examination and via X-ray.

If your cat has diarrhea, call your family veterinarian for guidance. In some cases, the loose stools will resolve without treatment. Your family veterinarian is the best person to help decide if and when further diagnostics or treatment is needed.

Morris Animal Foundation has funded more than 50 studies and invested $1.2 million dollars in studies focused on gastrointestinal tract problems. We’re on the cutting edge of gastrointestinal research, from the use of probiotics to studies looking at the gut microbiome. Check out all our studies and learn how you can help cats everywhere have longer, healthier lives.

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How to Build a Safe and Stylish Catio

Posted on April 14, 2017 under Cat Articles at PetsBest.com 

By Julie Sheer, Houzz.

It’s the dilemma of every cat owner: how to let Kitty enjoy the outdoors without risk of the Great Escape. The outside world can be a dangerous place for a roaming cat, with the threat of predators, cars, poison and diseases. Not to mention the danger to wild birds, which outdoor cats kill in monumental numbers. Catios — or cat patios — are safely enclosed playhouses for felines that provide fresh air, mental stimulation and exercise.

Cats confined indoors are at higher risk for stress-related diseases, says Dr. Martine van Boeijen, a cat veterinarian in Perth, Australia. “An enclosed catio, which safely confines your cat to your property, allows your cat to have the best of both worlds.” Here is a basic guide on custom, kit and DIY options for adding a catio to your home.

Catios can be as elaborate as a custom-designed feline jungle gym or as simple as enclosing a patio with screening. Here, Rasputin enjoys one of the perches in a custom catio built in Arcadia, California.

Suggested Features
It’s important to make sure catios are escape-proof and include basic feline comforts:

  • Entry door or window, or walkway or tunnel from the house
  • Perches, ramps, steps, bridges, catwalks
  • Post or tree for scratching and climbing
  • Hiding places
  • Beds, pillows or hammocks for resting

Finish reading this article at PetsBest.com


Bonus Links 

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Previously, on the Little Creek Veterinary Clinic blog, we discussed the importance of yearly check-ups for cats. Cats benefit from wellness care and from early intervention when you notice signs of trouble. [Click the link above to review the list.]

However, we have heard from owners who would rather avoid bringing their cat to the doctor, if the cat appears healthy. Common sticking points for owners are that their cat puts up a fuss at going into the carrier, leaving the house, going for a car ride, or being handled by the veterinary team (whom the cat sees infrequently.)

But since you know that yearly health check-ups and preventative care, such as vaccinations and parasite control, are important components of pet care, you’ll want to find a way to make getting your cat to the vet easier and less stressful — for you and your pet.

Try these tips from BI-Vetmedica, available in a brochure at our office:

  • Start with a carrier that is easy to take your cat in and out of (top-loading carriers work best.)
  • Help your cat be more comfortable in the car by using the carrier and taking shorter rides to places other than the veterinary clinic.
  • Avoid feeding your cat for several hours before riding in the car (cats travel better on an empty stomach.)
  • Bring your cat’s favorite treats and toys with you to the veterinary clinic.
  • Practice regular care routines at home, like grooming, nail trimming and teeth brushing.
  • Pretend to do routine veterinary procedures with your cat, like touching the cat’s face, ears, feet and tail.
  • Give your cat and the veterinary healthcare team a chance to interact in a less stressful situation by taking your cat to the clinic for a weight check, rather than only for exams and procedures.

Bonus Tip 1: Leave the cat carrier out where your cat can access and explore it. Put a blanket and toy or treats in the carrier, and allow your cat to nap in its comfy little nest. Encourage your cat to become accustomed to the carrier as a “happy place.”

Bonus Tip 2: Spritz the inside of the carrier with Feliway synthetic calming pheromone 15 minutes before you place your cat in it for the ride to the vet. Then spray Feliway on a towel and place the towel over the carrier in the car and at the veterinary clinic. 

Check out these extra ideas from Catster.com.

Angell Animal Medical Center has produced this video as a guide to placing your cat in its carrier.

Ready to make your cat’s veterinary appointment? Contact Us to let us know!

 

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Cats can be such quiet, independent creatures that it is easy to forget they need regular doctor visits, just like dogs.

Cats should receive a yearly check-up, fecal analysis, and vaccine boosters. And remember to pick up their flea and heartworm preventatives (such as Revolution)!

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the good news is, certain conditions viral diseases and parasite infestation can be prevented or quickly treated — but aging brings its own problems, and you can’t stop the sands of time. That’s why it’s important to combine careful observation with annual veterinary check-ups.

Cats are notorious for hiding pain and illness, but you can use your detective skills to know when there’s a problem.

Look for these signs — and Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic to request a brochure with detailed information on each:

  • Peeing or pooping outside the litterbox
  • Becoming less social
  • Decrease in activity
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Increase or decrease in food and water consumption
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Over-grooming or under-grooming
  • Howling; increased vocalization
  • Bad breath

Remember: you don’t have to wait for your cat to be sick before scheduling a visit with the veterinarian!

Coming up next: What you can do to prepare your cat for veterinary visits.

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Cats need healthcare, too!

Cat stunts

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Cats are among the most popular pets in the U.S. — so why do veterinarians see so few of them in the office? Maybe it’s because cats are stoic, often independent creatures — it can be easy to forget they face their own health challenges, just like dogs.

Cats should be kept up-to-date on Rabies vaccinations (it’s the law), and Feline Distemper combos and Leukemia, depending on lifestyle. Since cats age faster than humans, a lot can happen in a year, which is why we recommend an annual check-up.

Make a New Year’s resolution to bring your cat
to the veterinarian for a check-up,
especially if her last visit was over 12 months ago.

But other than an annual wellness visit, when should you take your cat to the vet? Here are some potential poor health signs to watch for:

  • Inappropriate elimination behavior / failure to use litterbox
  • Changes in interaction with family members or other housepets
  • Changes in activity level
  • Changes / increase in sleeping
  • Changes in food and water consumption (may increase or decrease)
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Changes in grooming (may increase or decrease grooming)
  • Changes in vocalization
  • Bad breath

For details on each symptom listed above, stop in at our clinic and pick up the brochure, Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Coming up next week: How to make vet visits easier for you and your cat.

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