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!

Catios

sept21Catios – short for Cat Patios – are one of the latest home trends.

Catios are a great way to give your feline friends some fresh air and time in the outdoors, while keeping them safe from harm.  They’re also a great way to keep the wildlife and birds safe from being hunted by your kitty while outside.

Several companies have started offering catios commercially (for example, “Catio Spaces” in Seattle, WA), but if you’re handy, it’s a great DIY project as well.  You can find plans available for sale (for example, at Catio Spaces – https://www.catiospaces.com/diy-catio-plans-overview.html), or on various blogs (for example https://catioblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/portable-catio-idea/)

Some communities have gotten into the spirit and put together home tours featuring catios, such as the partnership between the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and the Portland Audobon Society, which featured a tour on Sept 10 of Portland, OR area home catios.

To help you get started, as part of the September “Happy Cat Month”, EasyPetFence.com is offering 5% off their Kitty Corral Cat Fencing Systems until September 30, 2016 with discount code “HCM16” at checkout.

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!

Kitten Proofing Your House

Devon Rex Kittens in WindowBefore you get kitten home, there are a few things you will want to do to make sure your home is safe and secure for your new addition.

  1. Close off all areas that a kitten can get into. Many kittens have been lost for a time because they are afraid in their new surroundings.
  2. Designate one room where your kitten can stay to get acquainted with her new surroundings. Make it a fun place with new toys, a new bed and litter box so that he understands that this is his room. Once acquainted, usually after a week, let your kitten begin to explore other areas with your supervision.  If there are other pets, gradually introduce them to your new kitten.  Wait a few weeks so that your kitten gets confident and comfortable in his new surroundings.
  3. Get your kitten on a schedule as soon as possible. Regular feeding, grooming and play time gives your kitten a sense of order and security.  Refrain from over-handling.
  4. Be sure to kitten-proof other areas. Just like babies, they love putting things in their mouth.  Make sure that electric cords are unplugged and that there are no other hazards in the vicinity. You may have to get on the floor to “see” what your kitten sees.  Having plenty of appropriate toys around will focus your kitten on the right things.
    Persian Kitten with Flowers

Have fun as you introduce your kitten to his new surroundings and he will soon realize that this is his forever home where he can grow and have comfort and support for a lifetime