Cat Health Scoops2
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
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.
Take Me To The Top
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
Take Me To The Top
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
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
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!
Take Me To The Top
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
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to
animals. It causes increased heart and respiration
rates, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
This condiment contains oxidizing agents that can
damage feline red blood cells and can cause anemia.
Cats lack the enzyme needed to break down lactose
(milk sugars). This may cause digestive problems,
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 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.
Take Me To The Top
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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