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.
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.Continue reading
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
Spinal cord problems
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
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
Increase in water intake
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
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.
Many of us take every precaution we can to protect our pets. With growing technology in the veterinary field, new measures of protection for companion animals are now available to owners at a low cost. Microchipping, one of the newest ways to locate and identify lost animals, is growing in popularity and efficiency.
A microchip is a glass-encased device that bears an identification number unique to every marked animal. Once the microchip is inserted under the animal’s skin and registered with the devices company, the microchip can be activated with a scanner at a veterinarian’s office or local animal shelter. With no batteries or power source required to activate a microchip, this device will provide a permanent identity for your pet that will last their entire lifetime.
Many owners protect and identify their pet with a personalized collar. While this method can certainly help identify your pet, there are many strong advantages in microchipping your animal. For instance, pet collars may fall or slip off, and personalized tags may become unreadable after several years. Microchips do not face any of these challenges and have no chance of being removed, no matter where Fido wanders off to.
Dr. James Barr, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains the biggest advantage microchipping has over other methods of identifying animals: “The biggest advantage is that a microchip can’t be lost. It allows access to detailed information about the pet and its owner with a quick phone call to the company.” Barr also adds that most microchips can be installed at veterinarian offices and sometimes even spay and neuter clinics. He further explains that the process of installing a microchip is very quick and does not hurt the animal, contrary to what some owners might believe. “A microchip is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades using a needle and plunger, which is similar to a syringe,” he said. “The needle is a rather large needle comparatively to what would be used for a vaccine, but it usually does not require sedation and is only transiently uncomfortable for the animal.”
Microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, can be installed into dogs, cats, horses, ferrets and most other mammals. If you are considering microchipping your pet, consult your local veterinarian to see which microchipping companies are most commonly used in your area. Some chips are more universally read than others, so it is important to consider which microchips your local veterinarian and animal shelters can read. Finally, do not forget to register your chip to your name and phone number. If you move to another address or change phone numbers, you will be required to update this information with your microchip’s company. A microchip will only bring your pet home if your contact information is kept up-to-date.
Although personalized collars have been traditionally used as a method of identification in pets, microchipping is fast becoming the modern solution for lost animals. Even if your pet has been microchipped, providing a collar for your pet is still important. Remember to register your pet’s microchip to your name and updated contact information in order for your pet to return safely home if they ever become lost.
– See more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/pet-talk-getting-your-pets-microchipped/85702#sthash.h3eSGOVn.dpuf
Last Thursday was National Pet Fire Safety Day. A house fire has always been one of my greatest fears so when the AKC put out their tips on avoiding this potential tragedy I was shocked to learn that almost 1,000 house fires last year were actually started by the family pets themselves. Some of the pet fire safety tips the AKC gave were obvious to me, but others were more subtle. Planning for the unexpected tragedy is an integral part of responsible pet ownership.
How to prevent your pet from starting fires
Extinguish open flames – Curious by nature, pets will often investigate candles or stovetops. Never leave an open flame, such as a candle or gas stove, unattended and be sure to double check that all flames have been put out before leaving your home.
Invest in stove knob covers – A stove is the number one cause in pet related fires. Consider buying knob covers for your stove, or remove them altogether when you leave the house.
Love candles? Go flameless – Flameless candles often create the same atmosphere as a regular candle, but with less risk. Don’t let kitty burn her tail on an open flame candle, try flameless candles that use small light bulbs to generate the flickering visual.
Confine dangerous pups – Consider confining curious young puppies or destructive dogs away from potential fire-starting hazards while you’re away using crates or baby gates.
Replace the glass water bowl – If you use glass water bowls avoid leaving them outside or on a wooden deck. The sun’s rays are surprisingly powerful and can ignite materials under or around the glass bowls. Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.
How to keep your pet safer in an emergency
Collars and leashes at the ready – Keep your pet’s collars on them and keep leashes near the door in case firefighters need to rescue your pet from a dangerous situation while you are away.
Confine pets to areas near entrances – When you’re leaving your pets home alone consider leaving them confined in areas or rooms near an entrance, and make sure to mark it on your fire safety cling.
Monitored smoke detectors – Invest in a monitoring system that alerts emergency personnel when a fire has been detected and no one is home.
Pet window clings – Write down how many and what type of pets are in your home on the cling and attach it to a window at the front of your house. Make sure it’s visible! Include any information that may help responders find your pets, like where they prefer to hide or where the dog is confined. Update it the number of pets you have as soon as a change occurs. You can request a free pet safety window cling on ADT’s website.
Often times no one wants to plan for the worst, but prevention and planning are your best bets when you’re trying to save your best friend. What other steps do you take to avoid fire disasters? Feel free to add tips in the comments below.
Kittens are cute. It is an undeniable fact that the little balls of soft fur that are clumsy in their own kittenish way are probably one of the cutest animals on the planet. When you bring the kitten home, you may be thinking that there is nothing to know about raising cats as they are often portrayed as being pretty self-reliant.
Cats, however, do talk to you and you should have an understanding of what they are trying to say. These communications are not always going to be verbal displays, they will also include the animals’ mannerisms, or how it presents itself.
You may be tempted to try disciplining your kitten in order to break it of any bad habits that may be present. Some suggest making a loud noise by either clapping or banging something, while others suggest using a spray bottle to stop undesirable behaviors.
Whichever method you choose you will want to be sure that you never shake, yell at, or kick the kitten. Kittens, much like human babies, are incredibly delicate. Shaking, hitting, or kicking the kitten can cause serious problems. You will also want to be careful to avoid doing things that cause your kitten to become skittish or afraid of you.
Meows are probably the cats’ most well known means of communication. Though many people do not understand that the cat is indeed letting them know something. The reason most of the time for a cat’s meow is because it wants cat food or attention, or you have just arrived home and the cat is letting you know that you were missed. The meow that accompanies these feelings will be of a higher pitch.
A lower octave cry may signal you that your cat is not feeling well. Paying attention to your cat and its meowing habits will help you connect with how your cat is feeling. A cat that meows often that suddenly is not meowing, may be an indication that something is wrong. The same is true of the opposite situation as well where a cat that is normally quiet suddenly begins meowing a lot.
A cat uses it’s purr to tell you that it is happy, or at the very least, content. You will notice that the cat will often purr at times when it is being petted, rubbing around your legs, or even just lying comfortably taking a nap. Cats’ will sometimes use their purr as a means to comfort themselves when they are scared, nervous, or anxious.
Show some love…
You may notice that there are few things your cat loves more than simply being at your feet, and rubbing up against you. This is your cats’ way of showing you that they love you. It could be said that this is the cats’ way of petting its human.
Hissing and Growling
Cats demonstrate their fear and disdain in any combination of ways. If your cat is hissing or growling, it’s a pretty good indication that they are scared. The cat will often puff up and all it’s fur will stand on end as well. This is the cats’ way of making itself seem bigger and scarier to whatever is frightening it. This reaction is quite common when the cat comes into contact with another animal, such as a dog. Approach your cat carefully because in fear they may lash out t you.
The whole tail…
Much in the same way that a dogs tail can indicate how the animal is feeling, a cats’ tail is used to indicate what the cat is feeling. When the cats’ tail
Is straight up, your kitten is happy.
Is tucked between the legs, the kitten is scared.
Is widely swishing, the cat is annoyed.
Is moving rapidly side to side, the cat is agitated.
When the cat is agitated you need to be weary and stop whatever is bothering the animal, otherwise someone could end up getting bitten or scratched.
It is important that you acknowledge and are aware of what the signals that your cat is sending mean. This can help you to avoid problems and better interact with your pet. Their cues are the best indicators of what they need and their wellness.
You know your pets better than anyone, but even though you love them no matter what, their adorable and often mystifying behaviors may sometimes make you ask “why do you do that”? Here are some simple answers to common questions on cat behaviors you may witness every day.
Why does my cat purr?
Your cat’s purr may be one of your favorite things about hime or her. Where that distinctive sound originates is still debated, but cat owners know that unmistakeable trill, which begins when the cat is about a week old. Cats purr when they are content and happy, but also when they are stressed by fear or pain. The frequency of the purr has been linked to stimulated bone growth and healing, and it is also believed that endorphins are released while the sound is produced. So, despite the obvious communicative properties of a good healthy purr, it may actually be contributing to your pet’s overall well-being, as a self-soothing, self-healing, relaxing therapy. You probably already know that a purring cat can have similarly soothing, healing, relaxing powers on you too!
Why does my cat knead me with his paws?
Not all cats knead, but the explanation for why those that do is pretty simple. Kittens knead as a sign of contentment, and the action helps their mothers milk flow while they nurse. As the cat matures, kneading is still a signal of contentment at their situation, and it is also a way to mark territory, as cat’s perspire through the pads on their paws. Getting a kitty massage is usually pretty fun, but some cats can be obsessive with kneading, or the behavior may lead to or be done in conjunction with suckling or chewing, which leads us to…
Why does my cat suck or chew my hair/clothes?
Suckling and gentle chewing with or without kneading action is somtimes a habit formed by kittens weaned too early from their mother. Others simply find it comforting like a child sucking his thumb. Some use it as a remedy for stress, anxiety, minute dietary deficiencies or just plain boredom. Use your judgement. Generally these behaviors are harmless, but if your cat is sucking obsessively or causing hot-spots or physical trauma to himself, talk to your vet about curbing the behavior.
What does my cat bite me?
Do you get “love bites”? Also referred to as petting-induced aggression, your cat may be the type to spontaneously nip or chomp you for petting him. This behavior may be perplexing, but it is generally believed to be a simple feline method of acting out or asserting their position in the household. There may also be some neurological stimulus associated with being petted certain spots or for certain lengths of time that affects these cats in particular. You don’t have to fear interaction with your pet, just learn to recognize the very subtle warning signs he presents before reaching the biting point.
Why does my cat eat my house plants?
There is no definitive answer as to why cats have a thing for plants, but if you live in a house where only faux foliage is allowed you may be looking for an explanation. Some plant predatory behavior may stem from boredom or curiosity. Leaves that dangle or flutter in the breeze can look like or cat toy with similar action, so they can be pretty exciting to a cat who is easily stimulated. Grass and some other plants act as a laxative and/or purgative that helps with the passage of hairballs. If your cat leaves these lovely little presents around the house, you may want to invest in special food or paste formulas that help to prevent hairball formation. Plant shredding may also be a learned behavior…your cats might have learned that messing with the plants is a way to get your attention.
Why does my cat bring me dead things?
You all know that cats are predators and hunting is a natural behavior in every cat. Wild and feral cats teaching their kittens to hunt and feed by bringing them dead prey to eat. As they mature, the mother brings them injured prey until they learn to make the final kill for themselves. Domesticated housecats are supplied with all they need, but while it isn’t necessary to hunt, if the opportunity arises their insticts will likely kick in. If your cat makes a kill, he or she may present you with a gift for one of two reasons: Many people believe that they’re offering dead animals to us as a gift to please us, and they expect praise for their effort. The other theory is that our cats think that we are incompetent hunters, and by bringing us dead or nearly dead prey, they are attempting to teach us how to hunt, as a female cat would teach her kittens. Either way, their intentions are good!
These are just a few of the interesting and endearing things our cats and kittens do. Does your cat fo anything that perplexes you, or does he or she do something unique as a habit and you wonder why? Tell us all about it in the comments!
Happy Cat image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Yumi Kimura Biting Kitten image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Aravindan Shanmugasundaram Cat chewing plant image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Yamaguchi Yoshiaki Cat with mouse image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Lxowle
Lots of people I know don’t have pets because they’re afraid that a pet might destroy their belongings or otherwise cause destruction and mayhem. While this is definitely the case with some pets, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and take on a furry family member. The love that you receive from a cat or a dog in the house is unlike any other kind of love you’ll ever experience. It is an experience to cherish and hold dear, though I heartily admit pet ownership isn’t right for everyone.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 picks for what pet parents sacrifice:
1. Clothes or furniture free of dog hair or cat hair
This one is tough to avoid at all costs, unless you decide on a hairless breed of cat or dog, but trust me; a house full of pets is a house full of loose fur! I have 3 dogs and 2 cats and I sweep and vacuum twice a week, which is probably less than half of what I should do. When you share your home with this many animals you learn to ignore the hair as much as possible. Some tips for tackling that hair problem?
Soft leather furniture. I’ve had 2 cloth sofas and I now have a soft leather couch. By far, there is much less hair on the leather couch than on the previous sofas. You’ll have to mindful of claws and get high quality leather, but leather is much easier to clean than a cloth sofa.
Regular grooming. The more hair you can remove with regular brushing and dog grooming means fewer hairs on your clothes! I groom weekly, but should do it more often.
Use the hair as a condiment or garnish. My mother in law always said “Nothing tastes quite right without a Husky hair in it, or two!” I’m sure from an outsider this sounds gross, but fellow pet lovers can probably attest, there is no way you’re going to be completely hair free in your house.
2. Nice belongings.
Especially the case with young dogs, they will love to chew and they will inevitably find your favorite pair of expensive heels to chew on! My opinion is that every dog is different, some dogs I’ve had went after personal belongings, others chewed on furniture. There are ways to keep your pet from taking everything you love:
Keep nice things (handbags, shoes, baskets, electronics) out of reach and behind closed doors.
Today we have a post from guest blogger Mike Warner. He takes a look at what it means to be a responsible pet owner and why our furry friends depend on us for love, companionship and proper care. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section below. Thanks!
Handling and dealing with pets is not an easy task as it might appear. Do you know how sensitive cats and dogs are when they are left unattended? It is absolutely not possible for you to render the care and attention to your four-legged friend 24*7, right? What should you do in such a situation? Have you thought about it?
How to offer high standard pet care?
Don’t let your canine friend suffer from anxiety, depression or behavioral changes. Work, business trips, and personal reasons often cause us to be away from home. It is during such occasions when you seriously require the advice of professional experts and you have to be extremely cautious and careful with the selection.
The market is full of such service providers claiming to provide the best performances. But in reality there are very few who can actually accomplish your desires and requirements. It is your responsibility to evaluate and inspect, only then investing money by hiring any one particular professional.
Why is pet care so important?
Just because they are animals does not mean they are without emotions or feelings. They are, in fact, similar to human beings and many are considered as close as your own child or friend. Don’t you think he or she must get the best care and treatment regardless of any situation?
Moreover, it has been found that if these creatures are left alone on their own they show visible signs of depression, anxiety and some weird behavioral patterns. Therefore, it becomes mandatory that they are addressed with the best and optimal treatment. Let your canine companion enjoy and have a good time.
Don’t take pet care lightly
Being a responsible pet owner, you need to have the knowledge and the sincerity to take the complete responsibility of the animal in the best possible manner. It is advisable not to take things lightly but rather consider them seriously.
Therefore, before you take your new friend home, make sure you understand how you should treat him/her and the amount of love they require. Check these highlighting points:
Give proper housebreaking and crate training.
Make sure you visit the veterinarian so that shots and preventive vaccinations are given to your dog or cat.
Obedience training is one of the most important tips that must be followed by every pet owner.
These are some of the tips that you need to execute before you plan to bring your pet home. Allow him or her to mix and adjust in the new environment with you and your family members.
How should you render the complete and proper tender?
He or she shouldn’t be handled roughly. Instead they should be given the complete attention in a very tender manner.
There should be a regular routine for the food time, play time and the sleeping time. Even these animals enjoy the daily maintenance of routine in life.
Proper and nutritional food must be provided to the animals.
Make sure the pet is not left unattended for long hours. If such a situation arises, hire a sitter or you can even leave them in a boarding care center.
Spend quality time with your four legged friend if you want to see him/her happy and healthy.
Try to render him/her comfort in every possible manner at optimal level.
Caring for pets is not as easy as it might appear. The animals like cats and dogs are extremely sensitive creatures and require extensive tending and attention. If you fail to do so, he or she might suffer from depression, anxiety and other behavioral changes and fall sick. Thus, it is very important that proper pet care and attention is rendered.
Act responsibly with your pet dog or cat
Often you have to be away from your home for a variety of reasons. How do you handle and tender the canine in such a situation? Who will attend to them when you are away home? This is a serious issue because they cannot stay alone as they require constant care and attention.
Is there any solution to the problem? Don’t get distressed, rather give a big smile because there is an amazing solution and it lies with the pet sitters or the boarding care centers. Depending upon your tastes and preferences you can choose either of the one for proper guardianship of the animals in your absence.
You have to be a knowledgeable owner
Don’t forget that your new cat or dog relies or depends on you with all the necessities and requirements of life. This is a huge responsibility and you have to act in such a manner that you always render a happy, healthy and comfortable life to the canine friends.
It is important that you execute your research work and get in touch with other pet owners so that you can render some useful tips of handling such animals. With awareness and acting responsibly you can provide love and a happy home to your new companion.
Don’t let too many restrictions on your new companion
Animals like cats and dogs are similar to human beings in terms of emotional behavior. They too value freedom and enjoy spending their time moving around and playing. They are extremely energetic and enthusiastic and thereby it is advised not to restrict them to a small room or cage. Rather you should allow them complete freedom and independence.
Taking care of their diet is a part of the responsibility too
If you want to ensure that your friend is healthy and in the best of fitness, you have to ensure that he or she is given the proper diet that is full of nutrition values. There are certain kinds of items that are not advisable for pet animals like cats and dogs as they are dangerous and can be fatal too.
This post has been contributed by Mike Warner. He loves to write about pet care. He recommends John’s Pampered Pooch for providing you the best dog and cat boarding services.
Please welcome guest blogger Lilly Sheperd! Today she has a post that asks us to be proactive in regard to the health of our friendly felines. She covers how important preventative maintenance can be for your cat and how crucial it is for them to engage in exercise and activity while also enjoying a good diet. If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own for keeping your cats healthy please let us know in the comments section. Thanks!
Cats are extremely agile and active pets known for their curiosity. For this reason, many humans find they are easily humored by the feline species’ innate sense of independence, and enjoy spending time with these furry little beholders of big personalities.
It is no wonder, then, that cat owners want to do whatever it takes to help their animal companions live long and healthy lives. Promoting longevity in your pet is not achieved by any miracle cure, but rather results from consistent effort throughout an entire cat’s life. By combining a well-rounded preventative care regimen, an increase in the amount of exercise your pet experiences, and a boost to the nutritional value of your cat’s diet, you may be able to carry your pet through over a decade of play, laughter, and fun.
Preventative Care Starts Early: Preparing Your Pet for a Long and Healthy Life
One of the most important aspects of health maintenance for your cat is preventative medicine – and prevention begins the moment that a cat is born. Staying up-to-date on regular vaccinations, anti-parasitic medications, and other preventative treatments can severely reduce the risk of your beloved pet developing illnesses and diseases. Since regulations regarding what medicines are required of domesticated animals often change, consultation with your veterinarian on an annual basis is necessary to help you ensure that you stay in compliance with policy.
Another key facet of preventative care for cats ismaintenence of your pet’s dental hygiene – though it is often overlooked by pet owners. The process of taking care of your cat’s teeth and gums is relatively simple: with a small toothbrush and a pea-sized drop of toothpaste that is specially formulated for your cat’s mouth, gently massage the teeth and gum areas to remove plaque and any other buildup. Cats that are more finicky about the process of having their teeth brushed often can substitute crunchy dental health treats, designed to remove plaque as cats eat, for their brushing routine. Frequently serving crunchy dry food to your cat can also reduce the risk of buildup forming inside its mouth.
Achieving Regular Activity: Both Play and Exercise Are Critical to Cat Health
It is very important for cats to have access to toys and enough space for adequate play each day. Surely, stereotypes tell us that cats are fat, lazy, and lounge around all day – and veterinarians agree that it is healthy for cats to have relaxation time as well. However, play can help build the strength of your pet’s muscles, and staying active can prevent troubles with your cat’s joints and ligaments over time. It is far easier for active cats to maintain a healthy weight through engagement in exercise than simply through calorie restriction.
A Nutritious Diet: A Central Part of a Cat’s Healthy Lifestyle
Perhaps the most important part of a pet’s preventative care routine is the maintenance of a healthy, balanced diet. A cat should have a daily diet of healthy cat food. The ideal cat food brand has a high level of animal proteins, and is chock-full of vitamins and minerals that promote your cat’s health. Look for trusted brands that, unlike generic brands, have certification stamps of their safety, and use meats, carbohydrates, and other ingredients that are natural and of high quality. Access to a fresh bowl of clean water is also a key part of maintaining bodily health for a cat.
Did you know that over 54% of the cat population in the United States is overweight? Veterinarians warn that extra weight is an early indicator of disease, and can lead to kidney failures, heart disease, and other kitty illnesses over time. Weight management is based in part on portion control, but also depends upon the food’s nutritional quality. For more information about what your pet’s particular dietary needs are, consult your veterinarian.