The Dangers of Easter Lilies

Although beautiful, Easter lilies are a real health threat to your cat. Just one bite of a petal, leaves, the stem, or even the pollen of an Easter lily can cause problems with the digestive system, and can even lead to kidney failure and death.

Early signs (approximately 2-4 hours after ingestion) of lily poisoning
in your cat include:

Vomiting
Lethargy
Lack of appetite

Later signs (approximately 24-72 hours after ingestion) include:

Initially, increased thirst and urination. Then, decreased urination if the kidneys fail.

You may not actually see you kitty ingest the lily, but if you see suspicious symptoms and there are lilies around, seek out a veterinarian.  When it comes to treatment, time is of the essence! If treatment is administered within the first few hours, chances are good that your kitty will survive. After 18-24 hours, however, the prognosis is not as hopeful, even for cats who receive treatment.

The best way to keep your cat safe is to make sure your cat doesn’t have Easter lily access to begin with. Instead, choose one of the other beautiful Easter flowers that are safer for your cat, for instance: Easter orchids, violets, or Easter Cactus.
Easter Lily Danger

Use a Harness on Your Cat for Safety, Exercise and Fun!

This is the time of year when your cat may be interested in going outside. Believe it or not, your cat can adapt to using a harness and leash. It just takes some time, patience and practice. You can teach your cat how to use a harness or leash and take your cat for a walk!

Cat trainer and breeder, Lisa Maria Padilla demonstrates how to harness your cat with a Sturdi Harness.

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Photo: Larry Johnson

Be sure to discuss with your vet ahead of time your intention and ask how to properly protect your cat from fleas and ticks.

Below are some tips for you to consider in using a harness and leash:

1. Purchase a harness like the Sturdi harness that is made specially for cats.

2. Leave the harness laying around so that your cat gets used to it and let your cat sniff the harness and get used to it.

3. Use treats to encourage your cat the entire time you are trying the harness on your cat. If your cat objects, don’t get discouraged, just take the harness off and try again another day. Be sure you have two fingers between the harness and your cat’s body.

4. If your cat is agreeable to the harness, let him sit with the harness on wait a bit before you use the leash. Observe your cat to see how relaxed he is and that should give you a guide as to how to proceed.

5. When you attach the leash, follow the same procedure and monitor your cat’s comfort level. You can let the leash drag on the floor until you see that your cat is comfortable. Practice using the harness and leash indoors until you and your cat are comfortable. Keep the leash loose to give your cat room to move, speak in a soothing voice and give him treats to let him know he is doing a good job.

6. Apply gentle but firm pressure. Be sure not to jerk or drag the leash.

7. Once you decide to venture outdoors, take your cat to a quiet spot and sit with him while your cat roams around with you holding the leash.

8. Repeat this process until you and your cat are comfortable. Allow him to explore his surroundings with you following behind with the leash. You will get an idea as to when a good time is to venture further with your cat.

For some inspiration, check out the adventures of “Fish and Chips”, 2 kitties who LOVE going on outdoor trips with their humans!

Family Pets Aid Child Development

Kids-And-PetsIn a newly published study, the University of Liverpool examined the benefits to children growing up with pets.

The study concluded that youngsters with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness, and enhanced social skills –  research that adds strength to claims that household pets can help support healthy child development.

“The patterns among sub-populations and age groups suggests that companion animals have the potential to promote healthy child and adolescent development,” says WALTHAM researcher Nancy Gee, a co-author of the study. “This is an exciting field of study and there is still much to learn about the processes through which pet ownership may impact healthy child development.”

I don’t think the conclusion of this study is any surprise to those of us who have grown up with pets…  :-)

Food Puzzles for Your Cat

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A very interesting study was published the Sept 2016 issue of Feline Medicine and Surgery. The study examined the use of
food puzzles as a way to provide environmental enrichment for our cats.

Food puzzles are a relatively new area of study, and take advantage of cats’ natural instinct to hunt and work for their food – the benefits it provides are mental stimulation, as well as increased physical activity. There are a variety of styles available, and options for both purchasing and DIY.

The article covers some tips on how to introduce food puzzles to your cat, as well as a chart to help you determine the best starter puzzle. There are also tips for troubleshooting potential challenges, such as owner concerns about night-time noise or having food scattered around the home.

Given time, patience and appropriate introduction, most, if not all, cats can adjust to food puzzles.

Read the full article

Stylish Cat Beds

Shark Bed

Shark Bed – photo from Etsy

We know our feline friends love to lounge around in cardboard boxes….  but having lots of empty boxes strewn about your house don’t really make for great interior design (although your kitty may disagree lol).

Here’s a couple of links to some more stylish options to consider, next time you are shopping around for a bed for your kitty:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/agnes-felt-cat-beds

http://mashable.com/2016/06/25/novelty-cat-beds/#4ByaSYjXfGqE

Training Your Kitten to Enjoy her Carrier

Cat in Soft CarrierMost cats learn to hate carriers because they associate the carrier with a bad experience – it comes out once a year or so, and means a trip to the vet’s office!

But a carrier is an important part of life for our feline friends, so here are some tips for helping your cat learn to like the carrier:

 

  1. Start by just leaving your carrier out in the house, so your cat can get used to it. Open it up, and block the door, so that your cat can investigate if they want to.
  2. Cat in Hard CarrierMake the carrier attractive to your cat – add some comfy bedding, and then a favorite toy or some catnip.
  3. Once your cat is feeling comfortable with the carrier, try closing the door for a few minutes while she is inside – leave the room, and come back and give her a treat when you open it back up.
  4. Once she is feeling comfortable with that process, try walking around the house for a few minutes once you have closed the door. Then, set it down, and give her a treat again when you open it back up.
  5. When that part is going well, try taking for her a short drive – even just around the block – and reward her again with a treat once you’re back inside. Your cat will learn that the carrier and the car don’t always mean a trip to the scary vet.

 

Owners Can Greatly Influence Cat’s Behavior

Owners have the power to greatly influence cat’s behavior from lifestyle to habits and cats, in turn, can greatly influence their owner’s behavior as well.

A Study conducted by the University of Messina’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine for the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that owners greatly influence their cats, the reverse is true as well.

Cats can influence that habits and lifestyle of their owners. Jane Brunt, DVM, and the executive director of the CATalyst Council, said that humans often adjust our schedules to fit theirs, such as getting up earlier and responding to their needs.

Giuseppe Piccione and part of the team at the University of Messina, pointed out that cats’ food intake is associated with that of their owners which may explain why human and cat obesity rates seem to mirror one another.  Also,cats may even match their elimination patterns with those of their owners.  If you have the litterbox in the bathroom, did you ever have the cat use the litterbox at the same time while you were “indisposed?”

As a part of the study, researchers observed two groups of cats. Each group received excellent care, in terms of food, medical attention and grooming. The owners of all the cats worked during the day and returned home in the evenings.

The first group of cats lived in smaller homes and stayed closer to their owners. The second group lived more of an indoor/outdoor lifestyle on larger property and were also kept outside at night.  As owners serve as roles models, it is important to make sure that they find time for proper play/prey techniques.

Over time, the cats in the first group mirrored the lives of their owners. Their eating, activity and sleeping patterns were very similar. The cats left out at night became more nocturnal, matching the behaviors of semi-dependent farm cats with more feral ways.