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Keeping Your Geriatric Cat Healthy

Cats, like their human counterparts, are prone to the aches, pains, and health issues that seem to come hand in hand with advancing age. Unfortunately, as the average lifespan of our cats increases so does the chance that owners will see age-related issues arise in their senior cats.

As your cat begins to age your veterinarian will likely start to recommend doing some tests to make sure your cat's internal organs are functioning as they should. Cats have evolved to hide signs that they are feeling under the weather and these tests can let your veterinarian know that something is wrong with your cat long before your cat displays outward signs of illness.

"I recommend that owners have yearly blood work done on their pets if the animal is healthy, and increase that frequency if any clinical signs present themselves or if abnormalities are seen in the blood work," says Dr. Julie Byron, a small animal internist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana.

According to Dr. Byron, geriatric cat owners should also increase their awareness of how their cat is acting and feeling. It is important to be able to recognize what is normal for your cat so that when there is a change you can recognize it. She explains that a trip to the veterinarian is warranted if your cat is displaying any of the following signs or symptoms:
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Vaccines: What Cat Owners Need to Know

On my first trip to the veterinarian's office as proud new cat owner I pondered the question that I am sure has crossed the minds of many cat owners at some point. Does my cat really need these vaccines? My kitten, like many of yours, was destined to be an indoor-only cat so why did I need to drag her into the vet clinic every year for vaccines?

According to Dr. Melissa Riensche, a small animal internal medicine resident at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, the answer is actually quite simple. As with human medicine, vaccinations are an important part of the preventative medicine veterinarians practice. The ultimate goal of a vaccination is to eliminate the spread of certain diseases or, if that is not possible, to reduce the disease severity.

The vaccines engineered for your cat are separated into several categories referred to as core, non-core, and those that are generally not recommended. These categories are defined based on factors like: the overall efficacy of the vaccine, your pet's individual risk factors, and the health risks associated with the vaccine. Core vaccines are ones that most animals should receive and in some cases a core vaccine may actually be required by law.
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How To Clean Cat Vomit Off of Your Carpet

We all love and care for our cats despite their annoying penchant for vomiting on a regular basis. As with most things in modern society, spew removal is not as simple as one might first suspect. The results of my personal research indicate that there are three broad categories of spew that you, as a cat owner, ultimately will have to contend with:

* the traditional hairball
* the near-instantaneous upchuck of kibble just eaten (this will be designated a "kibble ball")
* the ever-disgusting, viscous mixture of partially digested food and digestive juices that comes up several hours after a hearty meal.

Each of these spew-types represents a different level of challenge in the attempt to destroy all evidence of the incident. We shall start with the easiest, the common hairball.

A hairball can be easily distinguished from other forms of spew. It is a compact, moist but not sloppy, torpedo-shaped object that closely mirrors the color of your cat's fur. Due to their benign composition, hairballs can be dealt with immediately (preferable) or at a later date (non-optimum) with little risk of damage to the defiled object (which for this article we will assume is your carpet).

Hairballs can be dealt with using a simple two-step process:

1. Remove the hairball gently from the scene of the vomit Hairballs can be plucked, scooped or even rolled effectively from the rug using a variety of techniques and then disposed of. I prefer plastic spoons and knives that I get from fast food restaurants gratis. It is best to plan ahead and acquire these in anticipation of the need. The utensils can then be disposed of or recycled, in line with one's environmental beliefs. Stiff paper (higher quality junk mail) or cardboard (cereal box tops) are perfectly good alternatives. The primary goal in hairball removal is to not exert any downward force on the hairball, thereby driving any moist content further into the rug. Never attempt to run your vacuum over a hairball for this reason

2. Perform a simple dabbing-type cleanup of the area with a clean damp cloth or sponge. Using only water is the best approach. Avoid foot traffic until dry. Hairballs generally leave little trace on your rug once removed. A simple water clean up with a damp rag or sponge should suffice. Soap and water or a commercial rug cleaner can be used if necessary but these tend to attract dirt later on. Try to get away with just water if you can. I have used Resolve and Folex with good results when a stronger cleaner was needed. Read and follow the instructions on the bottles as these may lead to worse staining than the original cat spew.

Kibbleballs are somewhat more troublesome to deal with. The kibbleball results when a cat meal is injested and then, in short order, "degested" into a pile on the floor. Depending upon your cat's peculiarities, there may well be multiple (though rarely more than three) piles to contend with.

Many of the removal techniques that work on a hairball work just as well on a kibble ball as the true kibble ball is only slightly moist and has good shape retention characteristics.
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Should You Feed Stray Cats?

The answer, of course, is yes, you should feed strays. Since cats became domesticated they are no longer wild animals that can fend for themselves outside. They don't survive very well outdoors on their own without human intervention.

The best that stray cats can usually do is to eat from garbage cans. Every now and then they may find a mouse to eat, but in general most stray cats are starving.

A lot of people are reluctant to feed strays for several different reasons. One of these is the idea that strays will breed out of control if you feed them. The truth is that strays can breed out of control whether or not they are fed. Not feeding stray cats will NOT reduce the stray population. Even very hungry cats can still breed and then they will produce starving and unhappy little kittens.

Also, remember that it isn't the cat's fault that he or she is a stray. Often strays are cats that have been abandoned by their owners for some reason. Other times, the strays are born outdoors to other stray cats. In any case, it isn't the cat's fault that they have no home. Also, cats are intelligent animals with feelings and individual personalities and it is cruel to let them go hungry.

A lot of people don't want to feed strays because they worry that if they feed a stray cat then it will hang around looking for more food.

So what! Cat food is fairly inexpensive and it cost very little to feed a cat, however, it will make a huge difference in the life of the cat you are feeding.

Putting out dry food is best, otherwise you may get all of the neighborhood cats looking for a handout - owned or not. If you put out only dry food you will usually only get really hungry cats. However, if you put out dry cat food you will often attract the other local wildlife, such as possums and skunks, which you don't want.

To prevent this you can put out dry food during the day and pick it up at night, however, shy or feral cats will usually only come to eat at night. Canned cat food doesn't typically draw other wildlife like the dry food does and so unless you have a lot of your neighbors' cats that are coming to eat at your house then you should probably put out a few plates or bowls (depending on how many cats you are feeding) of canned food at night. You should also provide a bowl of fresh water every day and each evening.
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San Antonio Texas Pet Scene

Add a Shelter Cat to Your Family Today

Stray Cat Adoptions of Texas (SCAT)

P.O. Box 700571
San Antonio, Texas 78270
Attn: Denise Duchaine
SCAT runs weekend cat adoption centers at several PetSmart locations in San Antonio.

San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition

San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition
San Antonio Feral Cat Coalition is organized to promote Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and public education of feral cat issues in the San Antonio area.

South Texas Persian Rescue

South Texas Persian Rescue
We are a rescue specializing in rescuing persians, himalayans, exotic shorthairs, and ragdolls. Most of our rescued cats are pulled from shelters. Some are given up by their owners due to family situations, financial situations, or a behavioral problem the cat is having. All cats are treated for any existing medical condition(s); they are spayed/neutered, FIV/FELV tested, and given all necessary immunizations before adoption; and any behavioral problem(s) the cat may have is addressed and resolved. All of our foster kitties are housed in actual homes with foster parents - so they get used to being in a home environment.

The Humane Society / SPCA of Bexar County

The Humane Society / SPCA of Bexar County
The Humane Society/SPCA of Bexar County has served Bexar County and its surrounding areas since 1952.

Animal Defense League

Animal Defense League
The ADL has a nice Cat House and always has cats and kittens for adoption

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