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Cat Health Scoops2

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ALLERGIES: WHO'S SNEEZIN' AT WHOM?
Every cat owner knows about this scenario: Someone walks into your house, and suddenly their eyes start to water, their nose starts running, and they go into a sneezing frenzy. Sadly, they are allergic to cats.
There are between 6 and 10 million Americans who suffer allergic reactions to a protein called Fel d 1, found in the dander, urine, and saliva of our feline friends. Researchers have discovered that dark colored cats seem to produce more of this protein, making the humans they come into contact with have an allergic reaction at least six times more often than to light colored cats. (How about that? Oh, no, more bad PR for the poor ole black cat!)
Well, then, have you ever thought about this allergic thing in reverse? How about when someone walks into your house and suddenly your cat's eyes start to water, her nose runs, and she goes into a sneezing frenzy? Yes, it seems to be a documented fact that cats are indeed allergic to humans, too.
Scottish research scientists have found that human shedding can cause an allergic reaction in cats. Most of the animals affected are reacting to the excretions of dust mites that feed on dead human skin cells. Even a small percentage of the cats have an allergy to the skins cells themselves.
An allergic cat not only sniffs and sneezes, she can suffer skin irritations, too. Some cats have even scratched themselves until they bleed or develop bald spots from excessive fur licking and chewing. (All this sounds pretty yucky, doesn't it?)
So, you see this allergy thing is a two way street. If your cat seems to be suffering from a human allergy, (and I hope it's not to you!) then be sure get her to your vet for appropriate treatment.

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DENTAL CARE
THIS IS THE WAY WE BRUSH OUR TEETH!
Brushing your cat's teeth should not be a chore for either one of you, but instead an enjoyable time. It may take some time and patience, but if you take things slowly at the first and give lots of praise, you and kitty will start looking forward to your brushing sessions. To start off, here are some supplies to keep on hand:
TOOTHPASTE AND RINSES
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Make sure you always use a pet toothpaste, as people pastes can upset your cat's stomach.  Vet dentists recommended those toothpastes and rinses that contain chlorhexidine or hexametaphospate. The best ones will contain both ingredients so check the label before you buy.  (Call you vet if you are uncertain.)
SUPPLIES:  TOOTHBRUSHES, SPONGES, AND PADS
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The choice of what to use depends on the health of your pet?s gums, the size of your pet?s mouth, and your ability to clean the teeth.
Use toothbrushes designed specifically for pets, as they are smaller, are very soft and have a somewhat different shape. If the smallest one you can find is still too big, then use dental sponges. They have a small sponge at the end of a handle, are softer than brushes, and are disposable.
If you cat has sensitive gums, or if you have difficulty holding a brush due to arthritis, etc., you can use dental cleaning pads.  
HOW TO... LET'S BEGIN -- THE "GETTING USED" TO IT
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The first thing to accomplish is to get kitty used to your handling her and putting things in her mouth. Try to make this a fun time for you and kitty. (Yes, this is easier said than done, and may take some time.) Be upbeat and proceed slowly. Keep sessions short, sweet and positive, and don't overly restrain your cat.  Use soothing words of praise throughout the process.  Also, give yourself a pat on the back, too! You're doing a really good thing for your cat!
First, to get kitty used to your putting things in her mouth, dip your finger in tuna water, call her in a voice that means  "treat" and let her lick the liquid off your finger.  Then rub your soaked finger gently over your pet's mouth and teeth. After a few sessions, she should actually look forward to this.  (Like when you shake that can of Pounce or start the can opener! Haha!)
Now, place a gauze around your finger. (You can again dip it in the tuna water.) Gently rub the teeth in a circular motion with your gauzed finger. Repeat this for the number of sessions it takes for your pet to feel comfortable with this procedure. Remember to praise her.
So, after kitty is used to having the flavored gauze in her mouth, you're ready to start with a toothbrush, dental sponge or pad. To get her used to the texture of the brush bristles or pad, let her lick something tasty off of it.  
Now that she's used to the item you'll use, you can add the toothpaste (or rinse). Pet tooth-pastes either have a poultry, malt or sweet flavor - all very appealing to your kitty's taste buds!  Let her lick some of the paste from your finger before applying it to the pet's gum line. Then give praise, praise, praise, plenty of praise!
READY, SET, BRUSH!
********************************* Okay! Now that we have all this preliminary stuff over, let's start brushing!
With all that behind us, we're ready to get on with it. Talk to your cat in a happy voice during the process and praise her at the end. At first you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth (the large ones in the front of the mouth). These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice.
As before, when your cat accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you?re brushing.  Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.
KEEPING A REGULAR ROUTINE
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How often should you brush?  Certainly, the more often you brush the better. Always aim for daily dental care for your pet, just as you aim for daily dental care for yourself. As you can see, the hardest part is just getting started.  But, once you?you've done it for a while, it becomes part of your daily routine. If you can't brush daily, and you just may not be able to in a multi-cat household, then an every other day routine will remove the plaque before it has time to mineralize and will have a positive effect on kitty's oral health.
OTHER DENTAL CARE TIPS
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Studies show that hard kibbles are slightly better at keeping plaque from accumulating. There are dental diet foods on the market, and others available from your vet.  Pet who eat this type of food have less plaque and calculus build-up. Check with your vet.
Also, it is advisable to avoid feeding your cat table scraps because this can increase the build up of plaque and tartar, as well as leading to other behavioral and health problems. There are an assortment of toys you can get for your cat to chew on.  Again, seek further advice from your ultimate cat expert, your vet!
Happy brushing!  Good work!  Nice smile, there, Kitty!
CAT NIPS: Information from article by Holly Frisby, DVM Drs. Foster & Smith

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Cats do have accidents; they may be hit by a car, fall from a considerable height, get burned, bitten, or become wounded in any number of ways.  So as a responsible cat owner, you should know a couple of basics about handling an emergency.
Administering first aid to a cat is, without a doubt, a challenge for the average non-veterinarian cat owner.   But being able to give some kind immediate attention to an injury could mean the difference between life and death for your precious feline companion.  It's certainly not the time to be faint of heart!  So it is important that you know what to do in certain situations.
Your best bet is to call your vet immediately, or better yet, have someone else call the vet while you attend to your cat.  Keep the phone number of your vet and the location of the 24 hour animal hospital in a place near the phone, (or entered into your cell phone).
Here are just a few of the basics:
--What to do if your cat has stopped breathing:
Open the cat's mouth, check for obstacles to breathing, and remove with your fingers to remove anything you see that is blocking the airway.  You could even try swinging your cat by the hind legs.  
--What to do if your cat gets burned:
Apply cold water or ice to the injured area.  If you know that chemicals are involved, wash the site thoroughly, using large amounts of water.
--What to do if your cat is bleeding:
Try to stop the flow by applying pressure to the area. Cover the wound with a gauze pad soaked in cold water (known as cold water compress) and then apply pressure.
--What to do if your cat has suffered a blow and is  unconscious or very weak:
Keep your cat in a horizontal position.  Do not lift her head, as blood, vomit, or saliva could flow back and block her airway.  Your first priority is to move her out of harm's way, using a blanket as a stretcher.
--What to do if your cat has ingested poison:
If your cat has ingested poison, she will probably collapse. The proper response depends on the particular type of poison.  Some types will require an emetic, while others will not.  Try to keep a sample of whatever your cat has consumed, so that the vet can determine the exact nature of the poison.
If your cat has consumed poison by licking fur, then prevent her from additional licking by wrapping her in a blanket, leaving only her head sticking out.
If your cat is in shock, she will feel cold and will have a rapid pulse.  Keep her warm by wrapping her in a blanket.  
All first aid is an interim to veterinary attention. Your vet will give you further instructions over the phone about what to do immediately in each given situation.  Try to keep your head and stay calm so you can follow directions correctly.  Your kitty will be counting on you!  

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SOME FEEDING NO-NO'S
Cats enjoy an occasional people food treat, but try to avoid feeding him too much, as he will become "finicky" and may not want to eat his own yummy kibble. There are, however, some things you should NEVER feed your cat including:
--CHOCOLATE
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to animals. It causes increased heart and respiration rates, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
--ONION POWDER
This condiment contains oxidizing agents that can damage feline red blood cells and can cause anemia.
--COW'S MILK
Cats lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose (milk sugars). This may cause digestive problems, including diarrhea.
--RAW EGGS
Raw eggs contain a protein that blocks the body's use of one of the B vitamins. This may cause dermatitis, hair loss, and neurologic dysfunction.
--TUNA
Tuna is low in calcium and too high in phosphorous. It may cause vitamin E deficiency or yellow-fat disease. Plus it may increase susceptibility to "rubber jaw," a form of osteoporosis.

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SOME COMMON CAT DISEASES
A good veterinarian is of primary importance to any pet owner. Cat owners should choose a veterinarian who is interested in cats and has treated them successfully. Call a veterinarian at once for advice if a cat seems ill. Please, never try to diagnose a disease or treat the animal yourself.
--PANLEUCOPENIA - CAT DISTEMPER:
The most widespread and serious infectious disease of cats is panleucopenia - often called cat distemper, viral enteritis, or cat typhoid. Its onset is sudden and severe, with depression, fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting of yellow fluid. Every cat should be immunized to protect it. The first vaccination is usually given when the animal is about ten weeks old, and boosters should be given annually.
--PNEUMONITIS AND RHINOTRACHEITIS:
Upper respiratory infections are exceedingly common, and the best-known are pneumonitis and rhinotracheitis. Symptoms resemble those of the common cold in humans and distemper in dogs. The cat's "colds," however, cannot be passed on to humans or dogs although they are highly infectious for other cats.
--RABIES:
Rabies is an invariably fatal viral disease. It is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. Rabies has become established among the wild animals in many parts of the world. A cat that roams outdoors in an area where rabies occurs may be bitten by a rabid animal. It is therefore advisable that all cats in such areas be given preventive vaccinations.
--HAIRBALLS:
A cat that swallows large amounts of fur while grooming may develop fur balls or hair balls. Occasionally these may cause ulcers or completely obstruct the digestive tract. Prevention, in the form of frequent combing and brushing, is best. If fur balls occur in spite of grooming, the animal may be given a teaspoonful of mineral oil in its food or a dab of petroleum jelly on its paws twice a week.
--BITES:
Bite wounds may become infected and cause serious problems. Contrary to popular belief, the cat cannot heal the wound by licking it. It is better to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
--URINARY OBSTRUCTIONS:
Many apparently normal cats have tiny mineral crystals in their urine. For reasons not yet fully understood, these crystals often clump together to form sandlike particles or small stones which may cause irritation or obstruction of the urinary passages. A urinary obstruction is a grave emergency and must be treated immediately by a veterinarian.
--MITES:
Ear irritations are most often caused by mites, which are tiny parasites about as large as the point of a pin. The insides of the ears look as though they are filled with a dry brown dirt. The cat shakes its head often and may scratch the outside of the ears and neck persistently. A few drops of any mild oil massaged into the ear canal suffocates the mites and loosens the dirt, which may then be removed with cotton-tipped sticks.
--FLEAS:
Any cat may have fleas. These small jumping insects live in the cat's fur and suck blood through the animal's skin. Products for treatment are readily available, but use only a preparation labeled safe for cats, and use it strictly as directed.

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