Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a deadly virus that lethally infects cats and, until
recently, had no vaccination. While there is no cure, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of your cat contracting this disease.
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Feline Infectious Peritonitis, a Deadly DiseaseFeline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is a deadly virus that lethally infects cats and, until recently, had no vaccination. While there is no cure, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of your cat contracting this disease.
FIP is part of the coronavirus family that also includes the less deadly feline enteric coronavirus (FECV), say veterinarians at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. FECV causes mild intestinal upset in kittens. Vomiting, diarrhea, and a low fever are common signs. Adults infected with FECV generally show no signs of disease.
FIP affects the membrane lining in the intestines, causing them to be inflamed and destroying them. Two forms of this disease are recognized by veterinarians, a wet form and a dry form.
The wet form of FIP is characterized by fluid accumulation in various organs of the body. This will cause swelling of the abdomen and the chest, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. Additional signs may include depression, loss of appetite, pale gums, and a chronic fever that is unresponsive to antibiotic therapy.
The dry form of FIP will have many signs similar to the wet form. The major difference is the lack of fluid accumulation. The dry form, however, may also affect the eyes or central nervous system.
FIP is difficult to diagnose by blood tests. Biopsy and examination at a diagnostic lab is a more accurate means of diagnosis. A diagnosis of FIP is often made after ruling out other diseases with similar clinical signs.
There are a number of steps that can be taken to help minimize the risk of your cat contracting FIP. Since FIP (and FECV) are transmitted in feces, excellent hygiene is important in reducing risk. Keeping cats exclusively indoors and away from strays will also help reduce the risk.
There is a relatively new vaccine available for FIP. It is a liquid that is squirted in the cat's nasal passages. This vaccine is a modified form of the virus that will survive in the lower temperatures of the nasal passages, where it will cause a protective immune response but will not cause the disease. The form of the virus in the vaccine cannot survive at the higher internal temperatures in the cat's intestine, where the virus would normally cause damage. More research is still needed to determine the effectiveness of this vaccine.
There is currently no treatment for FIP. Corticosteroids or some cancer therapy drugs may provide some relief to the clinical signs of this disease. They do not cure it. The best candidates for this treatment are those cats who are eating well, are in good physical health, have no severe anemia, are negative for FeLV, and have no apparent central nervous system involvement. Few infected cats will have these ideal conditions.
If you have any questions or suspect that your cat has FIP, contact your local veterinarian
About the author:
By Joseph Hahn Information Specialist University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
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Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible toIt’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.
Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.
Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.
The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat
From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle.
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Protect Your Feline With House Plants That Are Safe For CatsFinding house plants safe for cats is not always the easiest thing to do. However, responsible pet owners search through the listings of poisonous and not poisonous plants put out by the ASPCA for appropriate plants. Then they decorate their homes with the plants that are safe for their precious cats.
Sometimes, you get a cat after you have already decorated your home. In this case, you bring your brand new kitty home and you do not give a second thought to your house plants. You go about your daily life never even thinking that those plants could be poisonous to your new edition.
Then one day, you come home from what is usually an otherwise normal day at work to find your cat a little ill. You have no idea what is wrong. This scenario goes on for a few days before you take your precious kitty to the vet and find your feline has been nibbling on a house plant. This is when you find out that the English ivy that you have had for years is actually poisonous to your kitty cat. Lucky for you, your cat did not ingest enough to be fatal but did ingest enough to get ill.
You quickly rush home and check the ASPCA's website and throw out all the potentially harmful house plants before something serious happens to your cat.
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Introducing A New Cat At HomeWhen you decide to add a new cat to your home, it's normally more exiting for you and your family than it is for the cat you already own. Although most cats are solitary by nature, most will also come to accept or eventually tolerate any additions. Cats can be very territorial, which is why you should always be careful when you introduce a new cat to your current cat.
If you are introducing kittens to one another, the entire introduction process can be short, lasting as little as 10 - 15 days. Introducing cats to each other all depends on their temperament and their personality. When you introduce a new cat to your current cat, you should always make sure that you give your current cat plenty of love and attention. This way, your cat will feel secure and know that he isn't in competition with your new cat for affection.
When you bring your new cat home, you should let him stay in a safe room until you have finished introducing the cats. Your safe room can be any small room in your home, such as a bathroom or spare bedroom. The key here is to use a room that your current cat doesn't go in. In the room, you should leave your new cat a scratching post, bed, water dish, litter box, and food dish.
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10 Questions to Ask When Adopting a Kitten or CatEach year in the United States millions of unwanted cats and kittens are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes for them all. This is a very sad but true fact. If you are planning on adding a new furry friend to your family, won't you please consider adoption first? If you want a purebred cat, such as a Maine Coon or a Siamese, no need to worry, there are many cat rescues in the United States that specialize in the adoption of specific breeds. The Siamese Rescue Organization, for example, has saved over 15,000 cats nationwide. They are truly dedicated to finding homes for misplaced, abused and abandoned Siamese. They have rescue centers located in California and Texas as well as in the Pacific and Rocky Mountain regions of the country.
If you are interested in adopting a kitten, spring time is the best time! Though shelters receive kittens all year long, they are usually over-run with kittens in the spring. Though kittens are adorable, please don't forget about the wonderful, older felines that need homes too. Older cats are often harder to place and, therefore, at greater risk of euthanasia. If you are interested in adopting a solid black cat, be aware that most shelters and rescue organizations do not allow the adoption of black cats around the Halloween season. Unfortunately, there are people in the world that do not treat our furry, black, four-legged friends very nicely, especially around this haunted holiday.
Once you have decided that adoption is the best option for you, it is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared before you walk into the rescue shelter. Knowledge is power, the more you know about the cat or kitten you are about to adopt, the better!
Questions to ask when adopting a cat:
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Potty Training For Your Feline FriendsCats are basically clean animals. Perhaps you have seen one or two grooming himself or one another, or covering a recent defecated area. Although sometimes, due to medical conditions and stress cats tend to eliminate body wastes anywhere they choose to, so it is a must to potty train them to prevent any inconvenience inappropriate elimination can make. Cat potty training is best started when your pet is still a kitten, just like children it is then when foundations are built.
To start potty training the first thing you need is to find a good litter box, one that is made of plastic is preferable since this kind of material is cheaper, easier to clean, and will not let the odor out after usage.
Next, find a good cat litter as there are two kinds of cat litter the clumping and the non-clumping. The clumping kind makes cleaning of the litter box easier, but they are both effective so it's entirely up to you to choose between them. When filling the litter box with cat litter, it is best to fill it up a third of the way full, because cats like to dig on the surface before defecating.
After preparing the materials needed simply follow these cat potty training steps:
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When Cats Are AggressiveCats are usually viewed as relatively peaceful creatures. Most people assume that if a cat is given food, water, and a suitable place to rest then it will remain docile and loving toward its owners while also displaying the usual feline independence.
Not all cats are wired this way. Individual cats have varying personalities, just like people do. While one cat might be cuddly and laid back, another cat might be so high strung that the owners miss out on sleep at night because the cat is constantly bouncing off the walls. As long as the personality quirks of each cat are acceptable to the owners, there isn't a problem about differing personalities among cats.
The one personality trait that does not go over very well is when the cat has aggressive tendencies. With dogs it can be more acceptable since dogs have the reputation of protection, but an aggressive cat is not something most people are looking for.
Aggressive cats can inflict a lot of damage. While a cat can't compare to the damage that can be done by a large dog, their speed and agility can cause some great pain. Aggressive cats should never be around young children with supervision.
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Cats are intrigued by waterCats: everybody knows how much they dislike getting their fur wet. Yet, many people that own a cat can claim that they have often found their kitty with its paws inside their water bowl or playing with the water dripping from a faucet. As odd as it is, many cats love water, they are attracted to it and many spend hours just playing with it.
Things appear to change though when the cat's fur gets wet. For some reason, cats seem to hate getting their fur wet. Yes, they seem to do very well with licking their fur but water being poured on their precious fur? No way! Just a few drops on their fur will make their skin spasm and they will readily lick it off with their tongues.
Why is that? Why do cats dislike so much getting their fur wet? An explanation may be the fact that cats originated from desert regions where of course, water was a rare event.
There are however, variables between cats and water. Among the feline family, tigers appear to enjoy spending time in the water to cool off whereas panthers and lions try to avoid water as much as possible, unless getting a dip will take them on the other side where there is prey.
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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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Which vaccines should my cat get?Cat owners are often a bit confused when upon taking their cat for their yearly physical examination the animal hospital receptionist asks which vaccinations they want to give to their cat. Every thing can however, be much clearer once vaccinations may be divided into two categories; core and non core.
Core vaccinations are generally those that are given to most cats. They are often the standard vaccinations required for a pet upon boarding, being hospitalized or upon traveling. These are the vaccinations all cats should definitelyhave, since they are the basic ones. While non core vaccination ore equally important, they are however given on a case by case basis depending on various factors such as if the cat is indoors or outdoors, if the area is known for the eruption of certain diseases, or other factors such as the cat's age and general health status. Following are listed the core and non core vaccines.
Core vaccines consist of the following:
This vaccine is actually mandate by law in just about every where nowadays, because of the seriousness of this disease. It is tranmitted by a bite from an infected animal. The first rabies vaccine is generally given for the first time when the kitten is over 12 weeks old. After ward, the cat will get another booster one year later, and then depending on the area it may be given yearly each time or even every three years.
The distemper vaccine is actually a combination vaccine. It is known as FVRCCP. This acronym is composed by the initials of various diseases this vaccine may cover.: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydiosis and Panleukopenia.
Non Core Vaccinations
These are vaccinations given on a case by case basis. They are usually recommended for cats that live outdoors, because they are transmitted by close contact with an infected cat.
* FIP Feline Infectious Peritonitis (transmitted by exposure to infected feces, infected secretions, or in kittens through the placenta)
* FIV Feline Aids (transmitted by puncturing cat bites or in kittens during gestation or from nursing on infected milk)
* FELV Feline Leukemia (transmitted by infected saliva, therefore cat bites, grooming and sharing cat food bowls and water bowls may trigger the disease. Kittens may get the disease in utero or from infected milk.
Kittens unlike cats must undergo a series of vaccinations, with boosters set apart every three- four weeks. Below is an example of a typical kitten vaccination schedule, for both indoor and outdoor cats:
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Stray Cat Adoptions of Texas (SCAT)P.O. Box 700571
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SCAT runs weekend cat adoption centers at several PetSmart locations in San Antonio.
San Antonio Feral Cat CoalitionSan 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 RescueSouth 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.
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The Humane Society/SPCA of Bexar County has served Bexar County and its surrounding areas since 1952.
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The ADL has a nice Cat House and always has cats and kittens for adoption
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Cats urinate in inappropriate places when stressed. So if you have moved to a new house, you need to spend some time with your cat to make sure everything is okay. If you are getting renovations done, you should have the tradesmen spend some time with the cat. The extra hour you have to pay the tradesman should be worth much more than spending hours trying to clean up the smell of cat urine. This should stop your cat urinating on the carpet and other inappropriate places.
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Red fluorescent cats
Red fluorescent cats: This picture, taken through a special filter in a dark room, shows a cat, left, possessing a red fluorescent protein that makes the animal glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet rays, appearing next to a normal cloned cat.
Meet My Cats
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Rare Picture Of All My Cats
Trouble, Patches, and Sweetie Pie enjoying a sunny San Antonio Day. (What a life!)
Cassidy and Snowflake Same mom different litters - Rescued from a feral colony in San Antonio
Cassidy was born with a club foot and two different color eyes
Cassidy runs and plays just like her normal sisters
Sarafena - Queen of the Witches
Cookie Monster came from a local flea market
Trouble (Grand Ma) weighs in at 18+ pounds. At 12 years old she still plays with the young cats.
Starvin Marvin - AKA "Whizzer" - Our only Tom. Marvin Has FHIV but is healthy and living high on the hog.
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No Sugar for Your "Sweetie" if it has DiabetesIt's a habit that almost all pet owners fall into. We tend to equate human diseases with veterinary ones. Sometimes certain human diseases are just like certain animal illnesses, but diabetes is not one of them.
"Diabetes in humans is not exactly the same disease that we see in dogs and cats," says Dr. Olivier Dossin, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, "you can't do a direct transposition between the two." While people may look at their pet's diabetes and try to put it into the framework of either the more commonly-known type 1 or type 2 in humans, that's not really the way the disease is approached by a veterinarian. However, feline diabetes associated with obesity is close to the human type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, diabetes in our pets is fairly easy to diagnose. Owners usually complain that their pet is drinking and urinating more frequently. They may also eat more than usual despite weight loss. It's also important to note that, "diabetes can be a life threatening disease," notes Dr. Dossin. This is because it can cause a condition known as ketoacidosis, which may cause the animal to fall unconscious.
Interestingly, cats can become hyperglycemic, or have too much sugar in their blood, just from stress. For example, when brought to the veterinarian's clinic and a urine test is performed, cats may have an increased amount of sugar in their urine because they are scared.
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Cats Get Heartworm Disease, TooMost dog owners are well aware of the deadly consequences a heartworm infection can have on their pet and strictly adhere to monthly preventatives. However, many cat owners are unaware that their pets are susceptible to these parasites as well, even if their feline friend lives only indoors. Because clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats are sometimes mistaken for other ailments, the disease may go undetected.
"Feline heartworm disease is very difficult to diagnose, but easy to prevent," says Dr. Allan Paul, a veterinary parasitologist at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Because the disease is complex, testing for the parasites in cats can be confusing and, in most cases, more than one test is needed to make an accurate diagnosis.
Signs of heartworm disease in cats are somewhat nonspecific. Years ago the disease would have been diagnosed as feline asthma, but now veterinarians realize that cats can get heartworm disease, too.
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Tips on Managing Cat AllergiesIn the United States, half the number of households owns either a cat or a dog as pets. However, it is just a little unfortunate that many people are allergic to cats, which discourages them from owning one, despite their fondness for these loving domestic animals. In fact, there are about 10 million Americans who have shown allergic tendencies to cats.
To help manage cat allergies, let us focus on the specific forms of cat allergies. The first one would be dander, which is dust coming from the cat’s body. Dander is a term used to refer to old skin that is shed off from the cat’s body in the forms of minute flakes.
Aside from causing skin irritation, dander also penetrates the immune system, which consequently causes allergic reactions. Once it enters the immune system, it becomes a problem, and although it is not a disease-producing element, it can certainly cause problems with people prone to allergies.
Cats spread allergens in many ways- blood, saliva, and urine. Even after the cat has left the area, his excretions can still bring about problems. You will find these things all around the house as the cat’s daily routine such as licking, scratching, and rubbing, makes it possible to do so.
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How to Make Cat Grooming EasierRegularly grooming your pet cat help lessen hair ball problems and will make the fur of your cat look more healthy and shinny. Usually, cats love to be groomed but not all cats enjoy it. This article aims to help pet owners to make cat grooming easier. However hesitant your cat maybe to grooming you can still find ways to make it enjoy grooming. One way is to take advantage of upir cat's natural enjoyment of human contact. Even if you have a very aloof cat it also enjoys petting. Read the following pointers that you should remember in order to make grooming session with your cat will be stress free and enjoyable.
Reasons why your cat doesn’t want to be groomed:
•#Your cat has sensitive part of her body
First of all, you need to understand why your pet cat dont want to be groomed. Just like you, pets also has their sensitive parts and this is one of the reasons why your pet dont want to be touched or groomed. Another reason is injury. If your pet has injury or in pain it will most likely run away from you when you try to groom it. That’s why it is advisable to check your pet's body to know which part of his body is sensitive or if your pet has any kind of injury. Once you know those areas then you can avoid it when you try to groom your pet but just make sure that you stop whenever your cat is starting to feel irritated. Thinking of other ways how to groom your cat like what I already mentioned can help your cat think that grooming is also pleasurable for him.
A cat that havent experienced that much grooming before is another tough case to break. You should slowly work your cat to get it used to grooming or even petting or giving it rewards after grooming can be very effective. Cats with dominant personally can also be reluctant to grooming. This kind of cat will usually refuse when someone is petting them or touching their head and other parts of their body which makes it hard to groom.
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How To Find a Lost CatCats can occasionally wander off, and this can be a very scary time for pet owners. Most cats are found quickly, but it can take some effort for this to happen. If you are trying to find a lost cat, here are the steps you should take:
1. Confirm that the cat is actually lost. Cats are known for being excellent at hiding, and may simply be taking a nap somewhere. Search your home thoroughly, and your yard if your cat is allowed outdoors. Confirming that you cannot find the cat is the first step of the search. Listen carefully for your cat’s meows; it is possible that your cat has wandered into somewhere where they have gotten stuck.
2. Try to entice the cat back home. Even if your indoor-only cat has escaped the home, they are often able to be lured back with food. Set a bowl of food outside and see if the cat comes wandering back. Tuna fish or soft cat food often works best for this, because their smell is easier to detect for a cat than that of dry cat food. However, watch out for other animals who may also be attracted by the scent.
3. Look around the neighborhood. Check all of the streets of your neighborhood. If your neighbors are outside, ask them if they have seen your cats. They may have seen your cat wandering around the neighborhood before you realized that he was lost. Call your cat’s name while searching the neighborhood, and your cat may come running. Make any other noise that your pet is familiar with, like the sound of a treat box being shaken or his favorite squeaky toy.
4. Put up signs. Place signs up around your neighborhood on mailboxes and posts. Your poster should say “LOST CAT” and include the cat’s color and a description as well as your contact info. Include a photo of your cat, if you have one. A color photo is best. These should be distributed up to a one mile radius from where your pet went missing.
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Everything About Cat Airline Travel You Need to Know For a cat, airline travel is extremely stressful. Prevent anxiety and stress in your cat by following a few simple guidelines. Each airline has specific rules on traveling with your cat, so make sure you know if your cat will be stored in the baggage area or if you can keep your cat and cat carrier with you on the flight. Veterinary Approval Is Usually Required While a cat sits in his cat carrier waiting to be placed in the baggage compartment, he may be exposed to outside elements. Many airlines refuse to take responsibility for a cat becoming chilled or overheated. Therefore, they require pet owners to supply a letter from their veterinarian, called an acclimation certificate, stating the cat is healthy and able to withstand temperature extremes.
Some airlines will request proof of recent vaccinations, including rabies, before boarding your pet. If you are traveling out of the country, make sure you've checked to see if your animal will face a quarantine when you reach your destination. Quarantines are stressful on both pet owners and their cat.
Choosing a Cat Airline Carrier
Airlines all require cat crates for air travel. Your cat carrier should be large enough for a cat to move around. Once you've boarded your cat, airline personnel will not allow you to take the cat from the carrier if the cat is with you. Make sure the cat has room to move and that there is room for a food and water dish. The water dish should be one that is filled from the outside. While the cat is flying, you will not be able to open the cage door.
Other features to watch for:
â€¢Area for writing your name and contact information in case the cat carrier is lost
Continue Reading About Everything About Cat Airline Travel You Need to Know
Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your ChildIf your child misses a lot of school due to illness, maybe you should get a cat. Research has shown that children who own pets attend school up to 9 more days a year than their non pet-owning counterparts. The immune function of pet owners is more stable, making them better able to fend off illness. Pet owners visit doctors less.
But what about allergies? Isn't cat hair is a common source of irritation to immune systems? A leading theory under investigation by asthma researchers suggests that the presence of pets in the home from an early age may adapt the immune system so it is less sensitive to allergens later in life. So it may in fact be the lack of pets in a child's life that contributes to asthma sensitivities.
Studies have also connected pet ownership with lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety levels. In fact, a recent long-term study has shown that people who have never owned a cat, face a 40% greater risk of death due to heart attack than current and even previous cat owners. Dog owners did not have the same level of protection against heart disease as cat owners.
State University of New York researchers found that the cat doesn't even have to be present to achieve this. A group of stockbrokers with hypertension who owned pets showed lower blood pressure even when not with their cats.
It is well known that cat owners have lower stress levels overall, so perhaps the health advantages are a result of being more relaxed.
Cat ownership may be a surprising remedy for absenteeism, however, good health and more days at school are just two of the many benefits to children of having a cat in their lives. Studies have associated numerous psychological benefits with pet ownership.
Children who live with cats show more empathy for others and help others more. This translates to being able to understand others and get along better. Children who live with animals develop a better understanding of body language and other non-verbal cues. A study of 455 school children between the ages of 11 and 16 revealed that children with pets had a better ability to understand non-verbal communications. As a result, these children are more popular with classmates than those who don't have pets at home.
Additionally, children who own pets are more likely to be involved in sports, hobbies, clubs and other social activities. Some studies even show that children who own cats have a higher IQ.
Children with pets learn develop an early sense of responsibility. The responsibility of owning a pet can give children the experience of being needed and this may translate into other areas of life. Cats are relatively easy to care for, as they clean themselves and don't need to be walked.
Social skills and responsibility make a great foundation for life. A US study of 394 university students revealed that those who had owned dogs or cats as childhood pets were more self-confident than those who did not. This may be related to other findings that children raised with pets have higher self-esteem, thought to result from the unconditional love a pet provides. No matter what's going on at school, or with friends, pets treat children the same way.
It seems obvious to say then, that pets hold an important place in many children's lives, often on a par with parents, grandparents and siblings. Children often talk to their pets and regard them as an important friends and confidantes. A five-year study of 600 children aged 3-18 years showed that pet-owning children who have challenges such as being slow learners or having divorced parents cope better with life than those who don't have a pet. Again, having a pet that shows unconditional love regardless of what is happening, can cushion other difficulties in life.
It's not surprising that pets have been used successfully in therapy for some time now. They help sick kids relax and take their minds off their illnesses. Some doctors, recognizing the importance of pets in children's lives ensure that pet names are included in their patients' medical records along with other family members. Even in the most depressing clinical environment, talking about a pet can lighten a situation.
If you already have cat members of your family, know that they are doing your children the world of good. If you don't, it's worth serious consideration.
About the Author
Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your Child
Jenny is a cat lover and webmaster of Pictures of Cats You are welcome to reproduce this article on your pet or family related web site, as long as you reproduce the article in full, including this resource box and link to her website featuring photo and video galleries of beautiful cats.
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Homemade Kitten FoodDo you need a cheap, healthy alternative to store bought kitten food to help wean your kittens off their mother's milk and transition them to traditional canned kitten food? More than likely, they have shown little interest in regular canned food, preferring the milk to anything you might put in their bowl. Dry food will also be too hard on their developing teeth. The best option would be to start them on a food that reminds them of what they prefer, but can be mixed with traditional wet food to help transition them over. This recipe is simple to make, and kittens find it delicious.
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and mix in one envelope of unflavored gelatin. Be sure to mix thoroughly, and do not boil the gelatin. If the water tastes bad or has a heavy chlorine taste when it comes out of the tap, consider using filtered water instead.
Pour this mixture into a blender along with half of a 12 ounce can of goat's milk. Blend just long enough to combine thoroughly. Do not substitute cow's milk because cats tend to be lactose intolerant. Using cow's milk can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and worse if fed to kittens.
Add the following ingredients one at a time. After each addition, blend briefly to combine before moving on to the next. You will want to use the lowest setting to avoid overmixing. Add: 3 tbsp full fat yogurt, 3 tbsp real mayonnaise, 3 tsp light corn syrup, and 1 raw egg yolk. Concerning the egg yolk, raw eggs carry a small risk of salmonella poisoning. To eliminate any risk of accidentally passing this on to your kittens, use eggs that have been pasteurized in their shells.
You can serve the completed homemade kitten food the way it is, or you can store it for use later. To store for later usage, cover the mixture tightly in a small container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to ten days or in your freezer for up to three months.
If you are going to use food that you have prepared in advance, you will want to warm it up before serving, especially if it is coming from the refrigerator or freezer. Cold food causes severe stomach upset in kittens. Warming it up will also make it more aromatic, and thus more appetizing to the kittens.
How to Litter Train A KittenIf the mother cat is still in the home and she is already litter trained, then litter training her kittens is a natural process. Her kittens will simply follow what she does. However, ultimately, each cat should have its own litter tray or else it may create a host of other litter tray problems for you!
For most kitten owners, the mother cat is not in the home if the kitten was orphaned or purchased. But this is not a problem. It is easy to litter train a cat when it's still a little kitten. Cats are creatures of habit and it may not be as easy to litter train once they have become used to their favorite toilet spots.
The key to litter training a kitten is to let it get used to the litter tray as soon as possible. You will need to manually place your kitten onto the tray initially, as it is neither used to it nor is it able to climb over the edge to get in.
Most kittens would defecate soon after waking up and after a meal. You could place your kitten in the litter tray during these times and after a few weeks, your kitten would get used to the routine and it would become a habit.
Just be sure to place the litter tray a reasonable distance away from where the kitten is fed and where it sleeps. Cats and kittens are fastidious creatures and do not like to do their toilet near where they eat and sleep.
When a kitten is still very young, it will not be able to "cover up" very well after its toilet, as most adult cats are capable of. But you don't have to worry about this. Once they are about 1 to 2 months old, they will instinctively know how to cover up their poop.
In the wild or in the garden, cats will scoop soil and earth to cover but in the home, if you provide commercial cat litter, they will naturally scoop the litter to cover up the poop. You will notice, even if you only provide a newspaper for their soiling, your kitten will still scoop at the newspaper in an instinctive act to cover up their poop.
Although you can expect to pick up poop after your kitten in the first few weeks, litter training a kitten is relatively easy and can be 100% trouble-free once it gets used to the routine of using the litter tray.
New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your HomeA very important aspect of new kitten care is keeping your kitten safe from danger. There are a lot of potential hazards round the home for little kittens. This article lists the most common ones and suggests ways you can minimize risks to your kitten and keep her safe.
Washing machine and tumble dryer:
If you leave the door open and there are clothes inside, there's a good chance your kitten will climb in and go to sleep. Always check your kitten isn't inside these before you use them.
Fridge and freezer:
As soon as you've used these, shut the door.
Hob and oven:
Shut the oven door as soon as you've finished with it. Cover hot hob plates.
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.
Many plants are poisonous to cats. If you're not sure whether a certain plant is safe for your kitten if she eats it, put it out of her reach.
The oils used to scent this can be poisonous.
Open fires and candles:
Use a guard on the fire. Never leave a kitten in a room alone with lit candles.
If your kitten is a wire chewer, you'll need to put wires out of her reach or buy plastic covers for them.
Curtain tie-backs and cords on window blinds:
Kittens can get caught in these. Either remove them completely or tie them up out of reach.
Filled bathtubs and sinks:
Make sure your kitten doesn't have access to the room when the tub or sink is full.
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.
Kittens can swallow small things like paper clips, rubber bands, staples and needles.
String, wool, fishing line and thread:
Kittens can swallow large quantities of these. For this reason, balls of wool or string and pom-poms aren't good toys for cats.
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.
Tobacco, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all poisonous to cats.
Reclining chairs, futons, folding beds, drawers:
If kittens get caught when this type of furniture is moved, they can get crushed. Make sure your kitten isn't asleep somewhere she could get trapped before you use any of these.
Safety is a major factor for new kitten care. It's fairly easy to keep your kitten safe as long as you anticipate potential dangers and take the necessary steps to prevent them. Putting brightly colored post it notes up around your home is a good way to do this. Stick the notes on or near potential dangers - for example the fridge, washing machine, oven, toilet and futon - and anywhere else that could be a hazard.
Kitten Feeding with a BottleKitten feeding can feel like a difficult process without a mother cat to do it for you. Newborn kittens are so tiny and fragile, and have to operate almost entirely by instinct. It may seem a daunting task at first, but the process of kitten feeding with a bottle is not so much from that of feeding a newborn human. Once they know what to do, they will do it all on their own. All you have to do is show them proper care and follow a few simple guidelines.
Step 1 Make up the bottle of formula. To do this, first sterilize the bottle and nipple in boiling water for several minutes and allow to cool thoroughly before adding the KMR (kitten milk replacement) formula. KMR is specifically formulated for kittens, and cow's milk is not an adequate replacement. To avoid clumping, add just a little bit of water to the powdered mix and stir until thoroughly combined before adding the rest of the hot water. The final temperature of the formula should be about 95 degrees. If the bottle gets cold, just warm it up in a small bowl of very warm water, but always check the temperature before offering it to the kitten.
Step 2 Prepare the kitten. Place a warm, soft towel either on your lap or on the feeding surface, then place the kitten gently on top of it. When feeding newborn kittens, they will need to be lying flat on their stomachs. It is best if you can do this with the kitten gently cuddled against you, because you need to be sure that the kitten is warm before feeding. Cold kittens do not digest their formula well.
Step 3 Feed the kitten. Gently work the nipple against the kitten's mouth. They will get the idea quickly and take it in. If not, very gently stroke the kitten until it gets the idea. You will need to do this six to ten times per day, around the clock, just like a newborn human. Newborn kittens will need a little over one ounce of formula per day, divided between feedings. Be careful to not overfeed them.
Step 4 Clean up and burp the kitten. While the kitten is still on the blanket, gently slip one hand under its belly and hold it while you very lightly pat its upper back. This will stimulate the burp response. Then, using a warm, damp, slightly rough cloth, gently clean its anal and genital area to stimulate urination and defecation.
Step 5 Put the kitten back to bed. It is worn out from its feeding and needs to rest.
Getting Ready for the Newborn KittensCaring for your cat during pregnancy may require a lot of time and effort in your part but it is a very wonderful and rewarding experience. But after the kittens are already born, you will need to do a different task and that is to take care of the newborn kittens. These kittens will need special kind of attention and care and you must make sure that you could provide it to them.
One good way to start is to prepare your home for the arrival of the newborn kittens. Kittens tend to play with, chew, or nibble anything that attracts their interest like plants, cords, and other materials. You should remove the things that could be harmful to the newborn kittens like anything that could poison them or hurt them. Electrical cords must be kept out of reach. Look for anything sharp and pointed and remove them from the area immediately. Deal with anything that could strangle your kitten like ropes, ribbons, and cords to provide a safer place for your kittens.
You might also want to save your curtains and drapes from kitten scratches so it would be advisable to tie them up so your kittens will not be able to reach them. Make sure that the cabinet for your cleaning liquids are out of your kittensâ€™ reach. Most of these cleaning liquids are poisonous and you wouldn't want your kitty to play with them to prevent any kind of accident.
Another good preparation that you should not forget is to shop for things that your kitten will need. You will have to shop for foods that are suitable for newborn kittens. You should opt for foods that could give your kittens the kind of nutrition they need for growth. The food should also be easily digestible by kittens to prevent any troubles with their tummy.
You should also get them the things they need like their own bowls, kitty basket or bed, blanket, litter box, and toys. This is to ensure that your kittens will be comfortable and that they will have a good playing time. You should provide them with warm and comfortable place or area to sleep in. When choosing toys for your little kittens, make sure that they are safe and will not put the safety of your kittens at risk.
Lastly, you must make sure that your kittens are healthy. After birth, you could have a vet take a look at them to check them up for any illness and to give them vaccines that they need. If your vet saw some signs and symptoms that suggest illness, your kitten might be subjected to some tests and examinations. This is to ensure that they will grow healthy and will reduce the risk of getting sick. These things will help prepare you and your home for the arrival of your catâ€™s newborn kittens. You will not have to get worried about their safety inside your home and you can be sure that you will able to provide them with anything they need for them to grow happy and healthy.
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