Pet Obesity Awareness

Today is Pet Obesity Awareness day!

As you can see from the infographic below, provided by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), obesity is a serious concern for our furry friends.

You can help out by participating in their annual survey – visit http://petobesityprevention.org/2016-national-pet-obesity-awareness-day/ for all the details.

Pet Obesity

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

We are all used to making regular visits to the dentist, doctor and optician for our own health, but many cat owners forget to do the same for their feline family!

A routine annual visit can help identify problems with your furry friend early, and help keep them in tip-top shape.

Royal Canin has issued a special challenge today – pledge to take your cat to the vet, and they will donate a bowl of food to a shelter cat in need.   Simply visit their link below to take the pledge, as well as read some great articles.

https://www.royalcanin.com/events/takeyourcattothevet

#Cat2VetDay

The Importance of Microchipping

Microchip

Microchip / photo: fdecomite via Foter / CC BY

Nobody likes to think of worst-case scenarios…. But waiting until something happens is too late!

Even with indoor-only animals, your pets may unexpectedly end up outside – whether they dash for the door when friends come for a visit, run away from a pet sitter, or are frightened by fireworks and escape, a microchip can be a lifesaver.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association statement on microchips is:

“Even if a cat never goes outside there is need for individual identification in case of accidental escape, disaster, theft, pedigree match, absence of the owner or other occurrences. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) considers microchipping to be the optimum identification method currently available for protecting pet cats when it is linked to a comprehensive system involving voluntary enrollment, safe and private data keeping, advanced scanning device technology and reliable recovery services.”

Microchipping your pet is a very simple procedure, done at the vet’s office. They will take a small chip – about the size of a grain of rice – and insert it under the skin, using a needle. The chip contains a unique identifier, which you then register with the microchip company – if your pet is later found, the chip can be scanned, and the microchip company can reunite you with your pet.

This recent news story highlights just how important a microchip truly can be!

Caring for the Senior Cat

I have an almost 13 year old who is in failing health. We are in constant communication with his vet and it does reassure me that I am doing the right thing.  My last cat was 19 when he passed and I had forgotten how different it is to care for a senior citizen.   In many cases, nature will take its course and at each stage, most likely, there will be an opportunity to assess your cat’s health with your vet and make decisions accordingly.  It is never easy saying good-by, but by paying special attention to your cat’s needs now, you can make him more comfortable and even happy in his senior years and perhaps, extend his life and your time with him, that much longer.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/hellie55/6014069408/”>hehaden</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>

Generally, any cat over the age of 7-10, a cat is considered to be a senior. Here are some tips to help you care for your senior cat:

  1. Schedule regular check-ups with your vet.  Rather than the yearly check up, consider quarterly or twice a year so that your vet can make adjustments as necessary, especially with diet and nutrition.  Working with your vet on proper diet and nutrition can really make a big difference. I regularly email my vet with questions or observations to make sure I am not ignoring any signs.
  2. Make sure your cat has plenty of water.  I am now leaving water bowls around the house so that he does not have to go too far to drink.  He still likes drinking from the bathroom faucet, but needs our assistance to get up on the sink to drink.
  3. He is urinating more which is a sign that his kidneys are showing signs of age. We have also purchased litter boxes that have lower sides so that he does not have to climb over the sides.  Of course, the other cats use these litter boxes as well!
  4. I also monitor my other cats with my senior cat.  I want to make sure that they are not rough-housing or bullying him.  I do have one that is showing signs of being the “alpha” male…and I am constantly monitoring his actions with the older cat.  You may see the dynamic with your other cats’behavior and reactions change as well.
  5. While he has little interest in playing with toys, he does still like our attention. We have noticed some vision loss but can still follow a toy if it is up close.  Both my husband and I make sure we spend some time each day talking and sitting and petting him without any interruption from our other cats.  A retired show cat, we have now also decreased the number of baths we give him and instead have focused on combing, and washing his face on a daily basis.  We also make sure his nails are trimmed regularly as well.

bear on desk 3

Trusted and faithful companions, it is our responsibility to monitor our cat’s health and take care of them as their needs change due to age.  You will find the process very rewarding and your cat will show you his love and loyalty that will stay in your heart forever.

Precious Cat, Inc. Launches Dr. Elsey’s Health Monitor™ Everyday Litter

 

Be sure to try Precious Cat, Inc. Health Monitor™ Everyday LitterHealth Monitor™ Litter is a consistent particle sized (calibrated) scoopable litter that will help you monitor kidney function, diabetes and hyperthyroidism in your cat.

health montior litter 2

With Health Monitor™ Everyday Litter you can check your cat’s urine in a calm home environment.  Increased weight of urine balls can be a sign of kidney compromise, diabetes and hyperthyroidism.  There is a chart provided on the Health Monitor™ box for you to compare the weight of your cat’s urine balls.  You can also download the Health Monitor™ App. to monitor your cat’s urine balls.  If the weight of the urine balls is at or above the levels on the chart, your cat is urinating too much regardless of diet.  Weigh your cat’s urine balls every three months.   If the weight of the urine balls increases and the cat’s diet is the same, see your veterinarian.  Enclosed in the Health Monitor™ box is a free digital luggage/cat scale since it is also important to monitor your cat’s weight every three months.  If your cat has weight loss, see your veterinarian.

A poor diet may result in a number of health issues including compromised kidney function and diabetes.  Once you determine that your cat has increased urination you can make positive changes to your cat’s diet to improve its health and longevity in some cases adding years to your cat’s life.

You can find Dr. Elsey’s Health Monitor™ Litter at PetSmart and other independent retailers.  For more information call 877-311-2287 or visit their website at www.preciouscat.com.

 

Home Cat Care: Part Three

In Parts One and Two guest author, Sandra Preston, provided an introduction on caring for a sick cat at home and went more in-depth in Part Two, on record keeping, temperature, relaxation and stress and weight changes. In this installment we discuss appetite. 

APPETITE ISSUES                                                                                                                                                                When lack of appetite is an issue, you may want to try to entice your kitty with fresh poached chicken bits, chicken baby food, or canned tuna.  To supplement fluids, try tuna juice or clam juice (available at the market in bottle form).  When your friend will not eat despite all of your efforts, be sure to keep your veterinarian apprised of the situation. Avoiding dehydration is critical! If kitty won’t drink or eat on his/her own, you can help by supplementing with a syringe feeding.  Your vet can supply you with a 5 cc syringe (no needle), which you can fill with slightly diluted chicken baby food, tuna or clam juice. Also available through your veterinary office are Hills AD, a high calorie soft  food , and Clinicare a liquid formula  designed to add nutrition for ailing cats.

When  syringe  feeding be sure to measure the amount that you are feeding and keep a daily record. Frequent small feedings are best.  To feed, have your syringes filled and warmed to room temperature. Place kitty on your kitchen counter, and hold securely in your arms. Place the tip of the syringe into the side of the mouth and begin to feed slowly and give him a chance to swallow comfortably. Praise your kitty  as you continue your feeding. This should be a comfortable bonding time for both of you.

AVOIDING DEHYDRATION                                                                                                                                                          If your cat requires subcutaneous fluids (under the skin) to avoid dehydration, one trip to the doctor and a lesson on “how to” should prepare you for this task.   Your pet doctor will also provide instruction on the need for fluids, and the amount and frequency that you should administer.  First, be sure to wash your hands before you do your equipment set-up.  An easy way to administer fluids at home is to have your equipment set up and ready to go before you pick up your little one.  Hang your fluid bag on an upper kitchen cabinet knob securely (the bag needs to be at a higher elevation than your cat to have the fluid drip properly).  Be sure that your fresh needle is securely in place and practice turning the fluid on and off as the veterinarian instructed you.  Step two, is to place kitty on the kitchen countertop and cuddle him close to you.  Let him know that you are not stressed, talk to him or her gently and reassuringly.  If he feels that you are relaxed, this can and will be a simple procedure for both of you.  Again, it is important that your kitty feels that you are relaxed and confident with any care you are providing.

DIARRHEA/CONSTIPATION                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes diarrhea or constipation become  a problem, often a resulting side effect of medications.  Always  report  any elimination problem  to your veterinarian.  A home remedy that can aid with both diarrhea and constipation is to place a teaspoon of pure canned plain pumpkin into your cats’ food .

CONCLUSION                                                                                                                                                              The most important factor in caring for your cat is to monitor for any unusual factors, report to your vet, ask questions (be an advocate for your cats’ needs), and follow all veterinary advice.  Lastly, be prepared to provide comfortable home care as the situation warrants.  Having the necessary items for home care such as a scale and a thermometer at home and readily available is a good start toward meeting your cats’ needs in the comfort of his or her home.

Sandra Preston, R.N., Ph.D.