Category Archives: Cats

How To Check And Clean Your Cat’s Ears

An important part of keeping your cat healthly and happy is checking and cleaning their ears. Because the ears are one of the few parts that cats can not reach themselves they need a little help from a loving owner. Keeping your cats ears clean is extremely important because any unremoved dirt, debris, or wax can clog the ears and cause infections. Regular ear cleaning at home augment’s your cats own natural grooming habits.

1. How to check the ears

During petting, casually check your cats ears for discharge, redness, unpleasant smell, swelling, and even lumps. Also observe your cat’s behaviour, if he often scratches or paws at his ears (and sometimes even shakes his head often), then he might be feeling discomfort in the ear area.

If you notice that your cats ears are becoming painful or inflamed, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian has the equipment to look deep into your cat’s ear canal and give an accurate diagnosis. The veterinarian will determine if allergies, skin conditions, ear mites, bacteria, yeasts, and fungi are causing ear diseases. Seek early treatment, or your cat’s ear condition may become too late to heal.

2. How to clean the ears

Ask your veterinarian for gentle ear cleaning solutions you can use to keep your cats ears clean. These special solutions are effective in removing excess wax, moisture, and debris from your cat’s outer ear canal. Be sure to use only solutions that are specifically formulated for cats. Avoid medicated solutions, unless your veterinarian advises you to use it.

Different solutions are administered differently, but most of them require you to follow these steps.

• You typically only need a few drops of the ear solution. Squeeze the bottle and let a few drops fall on into your cat’s ear canal.

• Start massaging the base of your cats ear gently. You should hear a ‘squelch’ while you do this. Repeat the same procedure with the other ear. After both ears have been cleaned, let your cat shake its head, this loosens the waxes.

NOTE: Stop massaging immediately if your cat feels pain, and then take your cat to the veterinarian if you haven’t already done so.

• Wipe the solution by wrapping your forefinger with cotton wool, this should clean off wax and debris. Do this gently though and do not poke in too deep, or you might hurt your cats eardrum.

It is recommended not to use cotton buds, which can injure the ear canals’ sensitive lining.

Cats rough sandpaper tongues are just one of the many things that make them special!

The tongue is an essential grooming tool–it is covered in backwards-facing, barb or hook-like structures called “papillae” that wash, smooth, and help dry the coat simultaneously.

Better than silverware–these hooks also help cats hold food–especially cats who may be dealing with live prey. Their unique tongue shape also helps cats lap water and other liquids effectively.

Sense of taste–cats have a very keen sense of taste thanks to two sets of taste buds on the sides and back of the tongue.

Sense of “finickiness”–cats use their tongues to react to the texture and temperature of a particular food. They are particular about the textures and shapes they like–this is the reason that dry foods and treats come in a variety of shapes. According to “tongue preference”, many cats prefer food at room temperature or slightly heated.

In addition to marking you as a friend for life, your cats rough licks are her way of communicating and saying “thank you” for choosing Halo natural cat food and treats, which help keep her happy and healthy.

Source: Halopets

Kidney Disease in Cats: What Cat Owners Should Know

Perhaps the most important thing to know about kidney disease in cats is that way too many cats are affected by it. In fact, studies show that 1 in 3 cats suffer from kidney disease, reports Dr. Celeste Clements. Cats can get kidney disease for any number of underlying reasons, and even worse, it’s difficult to spot. Most cats show no outward signs of kidney disease until the problem is very advanced. Even when they do, the first signals of kidney disease in cats are easy to miss, including subtle weight loss, urinating/peeing more often and drinking more water. Therefore, if you notice your cat is peeing on the floor, soaking the litter box, or if your cat is always thirsty, it’s time to visit your veterinarian.

However, once these signs are present, there’s typically already been a great deal of kidney damage. Fortunately, new advances in the veterinary world are making it easier to find kidney disease in cats earlier (even without signs being present).

What is kidney disease in cats?
Kidney disease in cats is notoriously hard to catch early and can have devastating effects on our feline friends. In general, kidney disease (sometimes called “kidney failure”) happens when your cat’s kidneys stop doing their job as well as they should. (Learn more about what kidneys do for your cat.) This damage, once done, is usually permanent and can be caused by a variety of issues. (Learn more about 10 common causes of kidney disease in cats.)

Kidney disease in cats is classified in two primary ways, as:

  • Chronic kidney disease in cats
  • Acute kidney injury in cats

Since kidney disease impacts so many cats and early detection is so critical, it’s a great idea for any cat parent to learn and know everything you can about the disease. We’ve included some in-depth articles about kidney disease in cats and additional tools below, as well as a quick quiz and tips for helping keep your cat’s kidneys as healthy as possible for the long-haul:

Kidney disease is a leading cause of suffering and death in cats,3 and has been so difficult to combat because it was often not detected until most of the damage was done and permanent. Certain factors like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or hereditary conditions could make kidney disease more likely.
Encouraging your cat to drink more water can help with kidney health. As cats age, the likelihood of developing kidney disease increases. In fact, more than half of cats over age 15 are afflicted. The IDEXX SDMA Test is a breakthrough that not only screens for kidney disease, but can detect this devastating disease months to years earlier than previously possible.
There’s much more to learn about chronic kidney disease if you want to protect your cat, and having this knowledge is step one in the fight against a disease that has claimed far too many lives. Check out the resources above, and ask your veterinarian what you can be doing to keep your cat healthier, happier and in your life for longer.

Source: Pethealthnetwork.com

Seizure-based aggression in cats

by Dr. Nicholas Dodman

Dr NIcholas Dodman

Rarely, a cat will develop a focal seizure in a part of its brain that oversees the function of aggression. The clinical picture is that of a cat which, for no apparent reason, suddenly starts to launch savage attacks toward its owner(s). Following an attack, cats remain in a heightened state of agitation for quite some time and during that time are likely to attack again. However far down the road — unless the cat is successfully treated – additional attacks are likely to happen, sometimes weeks or months later, after a period of relative normality. People can suffer from partial seizure-related aggression, too, and in them the condition goes by the name “episodic dyscontrol.” In dogs, the same condition is commonly referred to as “rage” and is notorious in some breeds.

The faintest trigger, like a piece of paper blowing around or someone putting on their shoes, will cause an affected cat to launch into attack mode. Sometimes approaching them in a certain area of the house, a loft in one case, will set them off. The hallmark of partial seizure-related aggression in any species is a sudden violent attack following trivial or even no obvious motivation. Attacks may be preceded by an aura of altered mood – perhaps the cat not acting right or seeming “off” – and are often followed by period of tiredness or reclusiveness. There is no rhyme or reason to such attacks but stress seems to make them more likely – for example, having a lot of people around for a celebration.

One cat I treated viciously attacked its owner as she cleared some wine glasses off the back deck. She know something bad was going to happen before the formerly loving cat flung itself at her from behind, ripped her silk shirt and put deep claw marks down her back. Scared to remain in the house with the cat, she went to stay with a relative overnight only to return the next day to find the cat in the same evil mood. In time, the cat settled down but, as predicted, another similar event occurred before too many weeks had passed. The final straw for the owner came when the cat became so vicious that she had to enclose it in a room and could not enter the room even to provide the cat food or water for fear of another attack. Eventually an animal control officer managed to snag the beast and it was brought to our hospital. Here we managed to feed the cat an anticonvulsant drug, phenobarbital, and after a few days all was well. I worried that the medication might not hold the cat in check long term – but it did. There were no further attacks for as long as we followed the cat’s progress, and that was over several years.

Another beloved cat suddenly attacked its male owner’s head as he sat on a couch watching television. Needless to say, he was mightily unnerved. I brought that cat into a room in my home to give the owner a break and to start it on the same medication. At first, the cat tried to claw and bite anyone approaching it –namely me or my veterinarian wife – but over time, as the medication soaked in, the cat began to act more rationally. I sent this cat home on medication but the owner was so rattled that he kept it in a separate room and had his brave landlord slip food and water around the door. It took months for this owner to get back his courage but today the cat is back to being her sweet self and her owner adores her. He did try reducing the dose of the medication once or twice but each time could sense and see the demons returning. The cat remains on medication.

Another man from a local big city apartment who had a similar experience sat in our consulting room and sobbed like a child because he loved his cat dearly and yet clearly could not live as a target of its newly-developed ferocious aggression. Once again, it was phenobarbital to the rescue and the cat returned to normal. I could go on, but you get the picture.

If a cat acts savagely toward its owner, it’s not necessarily seizure-based aggression. Another common cause of a cat’s sudden meltdown and fury toward the nearest living thing is redirected aggression. I have discussed this condition on this website before. With redirected aggression there is often a known trigger – an outside cat striking fear into the resident cat or, in other cases I have seen, the presence of a new born baby or a hysterical dog spinning in circles on the owner’s back deck. Even if a trigger is not clearly identified, a cat’s skittish behavior on sight of outside cats or other strange encounters, can lead to a reasonable surmise as to what likely went on the day of the meltdown. Also, redirected aggression responds to different treatment, certainly not to anticonvulsant therapy.

Considering that partial seizures, simple or complex, are more common than grand mal (tonic-clonic) convulsive seizures in people, it is hardly surprising that other mammalian species might experience them, too. People with this type of seizure can verbally report the bizarre sensations they experience during an attack, thus clueing the doctor in and confirmatory studies of brain wave patterns by EEG (electroencephalogram) is common practice in human medicine. I doubt that any cat with such aggression has ever been studied using this technology so doubt always exists as to the precise cause of the inexplicable mood swings described in cats. Non-believers in partial seizures – the naysayers – would explain their position by saying that cats so affected do not lose consciousness “so how could it possibly be a seizure.” The point they miss is that consciousness is not necessarily lost during partial seizures, almost by definition in the case of simple partial seizures. The way I see it, if a cat displays such violent aggression for no known cause and responds really well to standard treatment for seizures, then the seizure diagnosis is pretty much confirmed. My favorite saying – if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, a quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck – is applicable here. The good news is that there is help for these disturbed cats. Euthanasia or surrender need not be the only option.

Source : halopets

Do pet cats cause schizophrenia? A new study suggests…

As if parents of young children didn’t have enough things to worry about, here’s another: Some scientists think pet cats might increase kids’ risk of developing schizophrenia.

But there’s good news out of this growing field of research, which focuses on the links between a cat-borne parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and mental health disorders. A new study of about 5,000 children in the United Kingdom found no evidence that cat ownership during gestation or childhood was associated with psychotic experiences that can be early signs of mental illness — such as hallucinations or delusions of being spied on — when they were teenagers.

The study, which was published in the journal Psychological Medicine, is the latest in a field that’s yielded many alarmist headlines based on correlations, but not concrete conclusions, about cats making people crazy. And it amounts to a big “not so fast.”

“Many people own cats, which are an important part of the life of many families,” co-author James Kirkbride, a psychiatric epidemiologist at University College London, wrote in an email. “Our findings should reassure people that owning a cat in pregnancy or childhood is not related to later risk of psychotic symptoms.”

The cat-toxoplasmosis-psychosis nexus has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, but it’s hardly well understood.

It’s clear that the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis infections in people, T. gondii, depends entirely on cats, because it reproduces only in cat intestines and is spread via feline feces. And there’s “good evidence,” the study’s authors write, that T. gondii infections are associated with psychosis. So some researchers hypothesize that owning cats in childhood increases the risk of developing mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia, and a handful of studies have supported this idea. But people can also become infected with T. gondii from undercooked meat or contaminated water.

The new study is much larger than previous ones, and it’s based on data collected from children born in early 1990s and tracked for decades as part of a longitudinal birth cohort study in the area of Bristol, England. That meant the authors could feel certain whether a child grew up with a cat, whereas past research depended on adults recalling whether they had cats as kids — a method that “can often lead to results that are biased,” said co-author Francesca Solmi, also an epidemiologist.

What the new research doesn’t answer is whether cat ownership during pregnancy and childhood is linked to later schizophrenia, because the participants haven’t yet reached the age of onset of that disorder, which typically develops between ages 18 and 25. But Solmi added that if there’s a cat-mental illness connection, the early signs would be detectable when the participants were screened for psychotic experiences at ages 13 and 18.

E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist and prominent researcher on the links between T. gondii and mental illness, cited that as one weakness of the study.

“The measuring of unusual experiences and beliefs at age 13 is somewhat controversial. I’ve raised two children, and both had unusual thinking at age 13,” said Torrey, who was one of the paper’s reviewers. “I think this will become much more important when they’re measuring who developed schizophrenia out of this database.”

Torrey also noted that living with a kitty is not the only way cats might pass T. gondii to children.

“Even if we are suggesting that you get it at, say, age 4 when you’re playing in a sandbox, you don’t have to own a sandbox to have a cat go to the bathroom in it. The cat next door will go to the bathroom in it,” Torrey said, adding that he doesn’t think families with children should own cats. “I am not reassured by their findings that there’s no relationship.”

But Solmi said the findings indicate that owning a cat doesn’t amount to an additional risk for developing psychotic symptoms — in other words, if we assume T. gondii is a driver of mental health disorders, then having a cat around doesn’t seem to be more dangerous than other sources of infection, such as dirty vegetables. (Pregnant women, they emphasized, should continue to avoid the litter box, because T. gondii infections can cause serious birth defects and complications.)

At the end of the study, the authors appended an unusual conflict-of-interest statement: They all own or have owned cats, but that did not affect their work, it said.

“We were naturally curious about the poor quality of science until now on the link between cat ownership and psychotic outcomes,” Kirkbride said. “One day we were talking about this in our research group, and we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had better data on this?’ At that moment we realized we did — and we used the data to answer that question.”

Source: The Washington Post

Buying Cat Food Online Is Your Best Option

These days you can buy almost anything you want online from groceries to clothing, furniture etc. and have the items delivered right to your doorstep without stress and hassle. Shopping online has become a major part of a modern lifestyle in which convenience and time management is of utmost importance. Most stores now offer their customers easy shopping experience by providing a platform online where customers can shop with ease and comfort. For many cat lovers, taking good care of their cats is not just an obligation but it is a responsibility. There are millions of people that consider their cats to be a part of their family that is why these people put a great deal of effort into taking care of their pets. However, due to their busy schedules and insufficient time to go shopping for cat food, online stores has become their best option to get food for their pets. Cat food is one of the most is one of the most important expenses in feline care next to the veterinarian. With the right food, a cat can maintain good health and help cut down on veterinary expenses which may occur as a result of malnutrition and insufficient care.

Choosing an online store for your pet food is may be challenging due to the fact that there are thousands if not millions of retailers to choose from. The advantage of shopping online compared to shopping offline is that you get to browse through a lot of online shop at one sitting. Unlike shopping offline where you have to walk through shops and sometimes settle for what is available which you may not be interested in because you may visit two stores and they sell the exact same thing. Offline pet stores are usually limited to what they can afford and find locally. Pet owners just search online for products that they do not find in their local stores.

Let us look at some of the top benefits you get from buying cat food online;
You get a variety of products to choose from and products specific to the needs of your pet. Since you can browse through various online stores, taking your time to read the components of the cat food, you can make sound decisions at the end of the day.
Some people like to buy unique supplies, the best place to find such is online. You may not find them on the shelves of shops offline.
You save a lot of money when you shop online. When you factor in the price of gas, parking and time running around from one shop to another make shopping online worthwhile.

When you invest in your pet’s health, you are sure to have a healthy and happy pet for years to come. Cat food online is the most convenient way for shopping for pets foods. It saves you a lot of time and money.