What Is Weaning?

Weaning is the process of transitioning kittens from mother’s milk to solid food. During weaning, kittens gradually progress from dependence on a mother’s care to social independence. Ideally, weaning is handled entirely by the mother cat. However, if the kitten in your care has been separated from his mother or if you are fostering a litter or a pregnant cat about to give birth, seeing the young ones through a successful weaning process may be up to you.

At What Age Should Kittens Be Weaned?


What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats. It is caused by an excessive concentration of circulating thyroxine—a thyroid hormone better known as T4—in the bloodstream.

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?


What Are Hairballs?

Most cat owners are familiar with the sight and sound of their kitty producing hairballs. Rid by vomiting, hairballs are common in cats and are usually a byproduct of feline hygiene.

What Causes Hairballs in Cats?

Bad Breath

What Is Bad Breath?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by a variety of health problems. Don’t worry, your cat’s breath isn’t supposed to smell minty fresh—but if there’s an extremely strong, fetid odor, there could be an underlying medical problem.

What Could Be Causing My Cat’s Bad Breath?


How Do I Know When My Cat Is a “Senior”?

Most cats enter their golden years between 12 and 14 years of age. Many cats, especially those who are black, experience a graying of their coat as they age—but there are other, more subtle signs that your cat is aging.

Lower Urinary Tract Problems

What Are Some Common Urinary Tract Problems in Cats?

Problems that affect a cat’s lower urinary system often prevent the bladder from emptying correctly or may even cause fatal blockage of the urethra, the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body. Very often the culprit is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Once called Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS), FLUTD is not merely one problem, but a collection of clinical symptoms that may have more than one possible cause. Symptoms of FLUTD include frequent or painful urination, bloody urine and frequent licking of the urinary opening. One key to treating FLUTD is to determine the root cause, which may include bladder stones, urinary tract blockage, infection or cancer. If the cause of these symptoms cannot be determined, the cat is considered to have bladder inflammation (cystitis).

For upper urinary tract issues in cats, please see our article on Kidney Problems.

What Causes Lower Urinary Tract Problems in Cats?

  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Urethral plug (accumulation of debris from urine)
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder
  • Injury to, or tumor in, the urinary tract
  • Stress
  • Spinal cord problems
  • Congenital abnormality

What Health Conditions Might Lead to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

Endocrine diseases such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus can cause lower urinary tract problems in cats.

Which Cats Are Prone to Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

FLUTD is rarely diagnosed in animals younger than one year; the average age is typically four years. Male cats are generally more prone to urethral blockages because of their narrower urethras.

How Can I Tell if My Cat Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

The following signs may indicate that your cat is having trouble with his urinary tract:

  • Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Loss of bladder control, dribbling urine
  • Increased frequency of urination or visits to the litter box
  • Straining and/or crying out in pain when trying to pass urine
  • Prolonged squatting in litter box
  • Fear/avoidance of litter box and soiling in inappropriate places
  • Constant licking of urinary opening
  • Strong odor of ammonia in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Increased water consumption
  • Hard, distended abdomen

What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

Please see your veterinarian for immediate medical attention, especially if your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain. This could be a medical emergency!

How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Diagnosed?

To diagnose a lower urinary tract problem, your vet should conduct a complete physical exam, a urinalysis and possibly urine culture, blood work, radiographs or ultrasound.

How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Treated?

Because feline urinary problems are so varied and potentially serious in nature, your first step is to get immediate veterinary care. Depending on your cat’s prognosis, one of the following may be recommended:

  • Antibiotics or other medications
  • Dietary changes
  • Increase in water intake
  • Urinary acidifiers
  • Expelling of small stones through urethra
  • Surgery to either remove bladder stones or tumor, or to correct congenital abnormality
  • Urinary catheter or surgery to remove urethral blockage in male cats
  • Fluid therapy

What Can Happen If a Cat’s Lower Urinary Tract Problems Go Untreated?

Untreated urinary problems can cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra, preventing a cat from urinating. This is a medical emergency that can very quickly lead to kidney failure and/or rupture of the bladder, and can prove fatal if the obstruction is not relieved right away.

5 Signs Your Dog Loves You

From loving gazes to simple nearness, these five signs indicate a connection that goes far past a room-and-board relationship


# 1 Your dog greets you at the door
This doesn’t necessarily mean an all out bonkers greeting. In fact, a super-crazy over-the-top greeting can be a sign of separation anxiety, not an indicator of affection. Your dog approaching you with a wagging tail is enough to indicate your dog is happy to see you.

New Kids on the Block

Ever wonder how many breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club? 187. Aren’t canines wonderfully diverse? There’s a dog for everyone. Get to know these three breeds newly recognized by the AKC. One just might be the dog for you!

DIY Dog Treats


2 2/3 cups rice flour
Approx. 1/4 pound
chicken breast
1 teaspoon chopped
Approx. 1 cup water
Cooking pot
immersion blender
How to do it

1. Preheat oven to 320°f and cover the baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Measure the rice flour.
3. Cook the chicken in water and let cool.
4. using an immersion blender, puree with 1 cup of broth.
5. Mix all of the ingredients together with a hand mixer or a stand mixer to form a smooth dough.
6. form small nuggets and place on the baking pan.
7. Bake a 320°f for approximately 20 minutes.


• Let the biscuits dry overnight on the pan. they will be good for at least 3 weeks
• Parsley is a diuretic and can have a laxative effect. It also gets rid of bad breath.

– See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/diy-eat-hard-work-rewards/85952#sthash.Lz8qP1w4.dpuf

5 Ways to Help Your Dog at the Groomer

1. Take him to go potty before going in. Your dog will be in a different or new environment for possibly several hours. Do him (and your groomer) a favor by letting him go potty before you get there.

2. Walk confidently with him from your car into the shop. Don’t keep telling them, “I know this is scary, but you’ll be ok.” Dogs pick up on your nervous-ness. They read your body language. That is often why they become nervous themselves. Take a deep breath and release a long exhale, relax your arm if you have them on a leash. Most groomers became groomers because they love animals. Find a groomer that you feel cares about you and your dog and connect with them a little before and after grooms so that you feel comfortable leaving your dog in their care for several hours. Initiate a feeling of calmness (not necessarily excitement) within yourself and I guarantee your dog will feel that.

3. If he is nervous, do not coddle him. (i.e., hugging to your chest, holding them and telling them it’s going to be alright, giving them treats) This one is the hardest to do. I see owners doing it all the time and even I find it tough to do with my own dogs. But I have to see it as leading by example and doing the best for them. It’s like leaving a child at daycare. If you start to cry when they cry, they will only feel more scared and panicked. When a dog shows he’s nervous at the groomer’s (i.e. trembling, not wanting to go inside), by coddling and hugging and giving treats, in a dog’s mind, you are rewarding this behavior. You are telling them that this is how you want them to act. They are thinking, oh, if I shake a bit, I will get a treat or a pet and this must be what my owner wants. Act calm and confidently hand the dog (or the leash) over to the groomer. Show the dog that you are comfortable with this. Give any treats you may have to the groomer to give to the dog once he is in a calm state.

4. Bring some of his treats from home. Which leads to my next tip. In my shop, I always have treats for dogs. I love to give positive reinforcement, especially for dogs that are very food motivated and are nervous about nail clippings. I also like to give every dog a treat (if they’ll accept) when the groom is finished. That way they have a positive association with the grooming and with my shop before they leave. Many dogs are excited to come back here. If your dog is a picky eater, or has dietary restrictions, try to bring some of their own treats from home. If you know your dog has an affinity for a certain type of food, such as chicken thighs or carrots, cut up a bit of it and put it in a baggie to hand to the groomer when you get there. I’m a big fan of positive associations and reinforcement.

5. Give him a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets. Also, a drop of lavender oil placed on the pad of the paw or the inside tip of the ear. These can be administered at home before getting in the car to go anywhere, so that by the time you get to the shop, they have had time to take effect. Both of these are options I offer at my shop; they are all-natural ways of lessening stress and anxiety for your pet. I have seen amazing results with just a few drops of the Rescue Remedy and if I know a nervous dog is coming in, I’m sure to put a few drops of lavender oil in my aromatherapy diffuser and on my grooming table.

Just remember to do what’s best for your dog and find a groomer that you and your dog connect with. Good luck!

– See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/5-ways-help-your-dog-have-good-experience-groomer-s/85974#sthash.AJEgi6dK.dpuf