Kidney Failure in Cats Kidney Failure in Cats: Your cat has just been diagnosed with kidney problems, and you may be overwhelmed by just what that means and what needs to be done to help him/her cope with the disease.

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Management of Kidney Failure in Cats


Your animal has just been diagnosed with kidney problems, and you may be overwhelmed by just what that means and what needs to be done to help him/her cope with the disease.

TERMINOLOGY

Kidney disease indicates some degree of kidney compromise; that is, the kidneys are not working at 100% capacity. This may be from an infection, from a toxin, from trauma, or from old age. The damage that is done may or may not be reversible.

Kidney failure indicates that the kidneys are in a state of deterioration; this may be mild, moderate or severe. While this is usually a progressive disease, the rate at which the kidneys fail varies greatly with the time at which the disease is diagnosed, how aggressive the treatment is, and how well the animal responds to treatment.

Either of the above can be acute; that is, the animal has normal kidney function one day and then because of a toxin or infection, the kidneys are suddenly compromised. Usually chronic kidney failure is a slow, insidious progression of the kidney's inability to keep up with the body's needs. The latter is more common in cats and dogs.

SIGNS OF KIDNEY DISEASE OR FAILURE

Often animals live with poorly functioning kidneys for some time before they show signs that are noticed by its owner. (NOTE: the signs of increased water consumption and urine output may occur with other diseases like hyperthyroidism and diabetes). Typical signs of the disease:

Drinking a lot of water

This may be just staying at the water bowl longer to drink or seeking new sources of water such as the toilet or a dripping faucet.

Urinating a lot

Despite frequent cleanings, the litter box is always full, or a previously housetrained pet has accidents in the house, or when the dog goes out, it urinates larger volumes.

Decreased appetite

As toxins accumulate in the body, the appetite drops off so the pet becomes more and more finicky.

Weight loss

This is the result of decreased appetite, but is often inappropriately attributed to old age.

Dehydration

Even though the pet is drinking a lot, they urinate dilute urine and become dehydrated.

Constipation

As the body needs more fluid, the colon becomes deprived of it. The stool dries out and the pet becomes constipated.

Bad breath

Bad teeth can also contribute, but as toxins build up in the body, they cause a bad odor from the mouth.

Oral/stomach ulcers

Acids build up in the stomach and irritate the inside lining; this may cause vomiting and/or digested blood to appear in the stool which then takes on a dark color.

DIAGNOSIS

Suspicion of kidney disease is based on the owner's observation and the veterinarian's physical exam findings and tests that can reveal the presence and severity of disease.

Bloodwork

An explanation of what these terms, along with the normal values, is shown below. (These values are based the interpretations of IDEXX, our outside laboratory. Linda Mar Veterinary Hospital's in-house values may be slightly different.)

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): one of the kidney enzymes that is increased with kidney problems. This value can also be elevated with dehydration and recent ingestion of a high protein meal. Normal values for dogs are 7-27. Normal values for cats are 17-35.

Creatinine: a more sensitive test of kidney function; commonly increased with kidney problems. Normal values for dogs are 0.4-1.8. Normal values for cats are 0.8-2.3.

Hematocrit (Packed Cell Volume, or PCV): indicative of the amount of red blood cells in the body. These cells are produced by the bone marrow when it is stimulated by a hormone called erythropoietin, made by the kidneys. When the kidneys fail, they stop making this hormone. This results in anemia. Normal values for dogs are 37-55%. Normal values for cats are 24-45%.

Albumin: one type of protein that, with some types of kidney problems, can be lost in the urine (i.e. glomerular disease.) Low blood levels of this is detrimental to the animal. Normal values for dogs are 2.6-4.3. Normal values for cats are 2.4-4.1.

Cholesterol: a type of body fat commonly elevated in animals with kidney problems. Unlike humans, it does not result in hardening of the arteries. Normal values for dogs are 86-328. Normal values for cats are 42-170.

Potassium: low blood levels, especially in cats with kidney problems, are due to the potassium being lost in the urine. Normal values for dogs are 4.0-5.6. Normal values for cats are 3.9-5.3.

Bicarbonate: this is lowered because poorly functioning kidneys create an acidic state called metabolic acidosis. Normal values for dogs are 17-24. Normal values for cats are 17-24.

Phosphorus: this component of the blood is normally eliminated through the urine. Because of poorly functioning kidneys, blood phosphorus levels can become increased and can cause problems with the body's calcium levels. This causes the animal to have a poor appetite. Normal values for dogs are 2.1-6.3. Normal values for cats are 3.3-7.5.

Urinalysis: Analyzing the urine can be helpful to check the specific gravity (the animal's ability to concentrate its urine), the presence of protein (suggestive of glomerular disease), and the presence of infection of the kidneys or the bladder.

Blood Pressure: Animals with kidney failure will commonly have elevated blood pressures. Systemic hypertension affects other organs of the body such as the heart and eyes. With the latter, sudden bleeding into the retina and retinal detachments can occur, resulting in a sudden onset of blindness. Blood pressure can be measured by use of a pressure cuff. If it is increased, medication is started to bring down the blood pressure into a more acceptable range.

TREATMENT

Fluid Replacement

Probably the most important component to treatment of kidney failure, it is important to supplement your pet's fluids even though it appears that your animal is already drinking a lot because the urine they produce is dilute, so they are constantly in a dehydrated state. Additionally, poorly functioning kidneys allow toxins to accumulate in the body. Additional fluids have a flushing action to minimize the toxic levels.

Fluids can be given in 3 ways:

Orally: Making sure that fresh, clean water is always accessible to your pet is paramount. Other types of fluids can also be given, especially to cats that like clam juice, beef or chicken broth, or the water found in canned tuna. Milk is not advised, as it is not well tolerated. Additional water can be added to a pet's regular meal, either canned and/or dry.

Subcutaneously (under the skin, or SQ): fluids are administered by placing a needle connected to an administration set (venoset) to a bag of fluids (usually, a balanced isotonic solution such as lactated ringers, but sometimes saline) and allowing the fluids to slowly enter under the skin, forming a 'hump' that is slowly absorbed by the pet. Fluids usually need to be given every other day to every day.

This can be done in the hospital, or more conveniently at home, especially for animals that need it on an on-going basis, which is the case with pets with kidney failure. Owners can become adept at this after hospital staff demonstrate the technique and instruct the client.

Intravenously (in the vein, or IV): fluids are given directly into the vein after placement of a catheter in the pet's vein, that is then taped in place This can be done only in the hospital with careful monitoring by the staff. Administration of IV fluids may be needed initially if the blood values are elevated and your pet is sick (i.e. not eating; vomiting, dehydrated) or in an animal that has been well maintained in kidney failure and then suddenly decompensates.

Diet

When foods containing meat proteins are ingested, waste products are produced. While this poses no problem for healthy kidneys, ailing kidneys allow toxins to accumulate in the body. Because of this, a low protein diet is often recommended to ease the kidneys' work. For dogs and cats, commercial diets that are low in protein are Hill's Canine K/D and Feline C/D and Purina CNM - NF, respectively. Note - these are prescription foods and thus are only available through your veterinarian.

Not as low in protein, but lower than maintenance foods, are any senior formulation of a commercial brand food. Sometimes, an easily digestible source of protein that produces minimal toxins may be needed (i.e. cottage cheese or cooked egg), especially when protein is being lost in the urine.

Medication - usually in the form of tablets to manage the effects of kidney problems. These medications include:

Blood Pressure Medications: These include enalapril (Vasotec) or amlodipine (Norvasc) or benazapril (Lotensin) to bring down blood pressure. After starting on one of these, it is important to measure the animal's response to the medication to determine if the dosage is adequate. These medications are ongoing.

Renagel: given to bind with the phosphorus that becomes excessively high with the poorly functioning kidneys. This medication may or may not be needed long term.

Antibiotics: these may occasionally be needed for treatment of kidney problems, such as infection of the kidney (pyelonephritis) or of the bladder (cystitis).

Calcitriol (Rocaltrol): this is a vitamin D analogue that helps maintain normal calcium and phosphorus balances in the body. It is often given in the food in small amounts daily. Correct dosage is important as an overdose can be detrimental to your pet. This drug is usually given on an ongoing basis.

Antacids: these act to decrease stomach acidity and decrease the occurrence of ulcers, resulting in bloody vomitus or stool. These over-the-counter drugs, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or famotidine (Pepcid AC), can be obtained at any drugstore.

Procrit (Epogen): this hormone, normally made by the kidneys, is often lacking in patients with kidney problems. It is given as an injection under the skin, usually by the owners at home after an in-hospital demonstration. It is initially given 3 times a week for 1-2 weeks, then tapered to 2 times a week for 1-2 weeks, then one time a week for maintenance.

The rate at which the frequency is tapered depends on the animal's response, as measured by weekly monitoring of the PCV or packed cell volume. Once the PCV is at the desired level and holding, the PCV should be measured on a regular basis.

It is a safe medication; however, occasionally an animal may form antibodies against the Procrit. The antibodies destroy the animal's own red blood cells, thereby worsening the anemia. Or, in some cases, animals may respond too well and make too many red blood cells. Because of cost, this treatment is usually recommended only for cats or small dogs. This medication can be obtained from your veterinarian.

PROGNOSIS

The outcome of your pet's health depends on a variety of factors, such as what type of disease it has acquired, how severe the disease is, at what stage medical intervention was started, the aggressiveness of the treatment, and how well your pet responds.

As with many diseases, the sooner the illness is detected and steps initiated to reverse the damage or slow down its progression, the better the prognosis. It is important to work closely with your veterinarian to help your pet. Rechecks on a regular basis are important to monitor your pet's health. Its weight, blood and urine values and blood pressure levels are evaluated to determine the need for changes in therapy.

If you have any problems or questions regarding this disease, don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian.

The above is general veterinary information. Do not begin any course of treatment without consulting your regular veterinarian. All animals should be examined at least once every 12 months.

About the author:

Linda Mar Veterinary Hospital and its cat-only affiliate, Coastal Cat Clinic, are small animal practices located in Pacifica, California. To find a veterinarian or to learn more about the vet clinic and our staff, visit:[http://lindamarvet.com/]



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Boarding Cattery:
Pros: You will have a professional to watch your cat while you are away. There are some wonderful boarding catteries available. Some of which start out fairly basic, others are the equivalent of a feline 5 star hotel. Many boarding catteries have an enclosed outdoor play area so your cat can enjoy the sunshine in the safety of an enclosure. As boarding catteries usually have other pets in their care, time in an outdoor play area is usually limited so each of their guests can enjoy time outside.

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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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Observing the cat while it is in its cage is helpful in determining the attitude of the cat. Some pet owners are looking for playful cats that will scamper about the house and chase and play with toys. On the other hand, some pet owners would like a cat that is a little more docile and that will spend hours cuddled up in the owner's lap. Watching the cats in their cages will help determine which type of personality they have. Of course, a cat that is sleeping doesn't provide much information about its personality, because all cats sleep the majority of their day away. For sleeping cats, it will be necessary to rouse them to get an idea of their unique personalities.

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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 accident.cat 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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San Antonio Texas Pet Scene

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Stray Cat Adoptions of Texas (SCAT)

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

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Your Fat Cat Needs a Diet But What Should You Do?
If your cat is significantly overweight, it is a good idea to help him slim down. There are many causes of excess weight in cats. Factors like his breed, genes, age, and whether or not he is spayed or neutered may all play a role. Though less common, a fat cat may sometimes have low thyroid function. Though it may seem obvious, the most common reason for feline obesity is because of overindulgence in too many high calorie treats from doting cat owners.

I Am What I Eat - A Love Letter From Your Cat
I need a balanced diet that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Proteins supply important elements for energy, growth and body repair. Fats provide a highly digestible, tasty, concentrated source of energy and aid the production of healthy skin and fur. I should drink large quantities of water (about one ounce for each pound of my body weight daily) and I need free access to clean, fresh water throughout the day.

Got Cat Urine Smell Blues?
It's a couple of hours before my big party and I'm almost ready to go out. I took the cats to the neighborhood vet for a weekend stay. I cleaned the house from top to bottom and everything looks great. As I leave to go and pick up some last minute items for the party, I went back into the house only to be greeted with the awful smell of cat urine when I entered the door.

How to Treat Feline Urinary Tract Infection Without Putting Your Cat's Health at Risk
By the time you finish reading this, you are going to understand why prevention is the best medicine and why you should only give antibiotics to your cat as a last result. Feline urinary tract infection is not a common problem but 10% of cat visits to the vet involve lower urinary tract disease. Feline lower urinary tract disease is often referred to as a "silent killer" because your cat may not show any obvious symptoms. As a result the infection can eventually travel up to your cat's kidneys and kill him.

Devon Rex - the Facts Every Owner of This Cat Breed Should Know
In the 1950s in England, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of kittens with a curly coat. Through crossbreeding and inbreeding, this interesting trait was maintained, resulting in today's Devon Rex. It was once thought that the same mutation caused this and the Cornish Rex mutation (the fine, curly coat), but genetic testing has shown that this is not the case, making the Devon Rex a separate and distinct breed of cat. Due to crossbreeding, Devon Rexes come a wide variety of colors including black, white, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, and caramel. They can also have various markings and patterns such as smoke, tabby, tortie, bi-color, tri-color and pointed. The Devon Rex coat can also come in a variety of coverings.

Caring for an Older Cat - Cat Health and Cat Care:
Cats are living longer lives thanks to dedicated care from their humans, and advances in veterinary medicine. Most experts consider a cat's "senior years" to begin on her 10th birthday.

Cat training for sever weather:
Ever wonder if you should be training a cat for sever weather? Yes a cat can be trained for sever weather



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Shelter Cats Make Great Companions

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Yemengzhu - The 3 billion dollar rock

Yemengzhu
Yemengzhu - The 3 Billion Dollar Rock
What weighs 6.2 tons and is worth more then 3.1 billion dollars? Are your guessing a new high tech battleship or maybe a new stealth fighter? Well it's a big ball of glow in the dark fluorite. Thats right a rock!
read more --- Yemengzhus, 亦稱傳奇光亮珍珠在中國, 是罕見的煥發的球在黑暗的熒石。

Red fluorescent cats

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.

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Cassidy and Snowflake Same mom different litters - Rescued from a feral colony in San Antonio

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Cassidy was born with a club foot and two different color eyes

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Sarafena - Queen of the Witches

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Newest Articles

Introducing A New Cat At Home

When 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.
Continue Reading About Introducing A New Cat At Home


Cats & Holidays

What are the options of care for my cat when I go on holidays?

There are several options for your cat when you go on holiday. Each option has it's pros & cons & needs to be weighed up carefully. There are many factors involved, including the length of time you are going away, cost, your cat's personality & your own comfort level. Listed below are several options cat owners can investigate.

Boarding Cattery:
Pros: You will have a professional to watch your cat while you are away. There are some wonderful boarding catteries available. Some of which start out fairly basic, others are the equivalent of a feline 5 star hotel. Many boarding catteries have an enclosed outdoor play area so your cat can enjoy the sunshine in the safety of an enclosure. As boarding catteries usually have other pets in their care, time in an outdoor play area is usually limited so each of their guests can enjoy time outside.

You will have somebody keeping a watch over your cat's health & well being. As well as providing the basic requirements such as feeding many boarding catteries will spend time playing, grooming & petting your cat.

Cons: Some cats don't take well to being taken outside of the comfort of their home, and will become stressed. The majority of cats will settle in quickly, but some will find it an upsetting experience.
Continue Reading About Cats & Holidays


When Cats Are Aggressive

Cats 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.
Continue Reading About When Cats Are Aggressive


I Think My Cat is In Heat, What Do I Do?

Cat's Heat Cycle
If you ahve an un-spayed cat, whether because you haven't gotten around to having her spayed or because you don't believe it spaying female animals or whatever the reason, you should be prepared for the cat to go into heat.

Usually a cat will come into her first season between 4 and 10 months old. That is a pretty lengthy time span, which is why if you don't want to deal with the cat going into heat, you should consider spaying the cat as soon as your vet recommends.

A cat's normal heat cycle lasts between 7 to 10 days, and occurs every 2 to 3 weeks.

If you do not spay your cat and you do not breed her, there is a high risk that the female cat will develop cancer in her reproductive organs or she can develop pyometra, which is a fatal infection in the uterus. So, needless to say if you do not want to breed your cat, then it's highly suggested that you spay the cat by at least 6 months old.

Signs of a Cat in Heat
Any or all of the below signs may indicate that your cat is in heat.
* More affectionate.
* Rolls around on the floor more than usual.
* Carries tail to one side.
* Very vocal, meowing a lot, with a more piercing tone.
* Points bum in the air with head and front half of the body on the ground.
* Licking vulva area.
* Rubs face against you or furniture more than usual.
* If an inside cat, she may try desperately to escape and run outside.
Precautions to Consider When Your Cat is In Heat
Continue Reading About I Think My Cat is In Heat, What Do I Do?




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Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted A cat regularly vomiting hairballs or refusing to eat probably isn't being finicky or otherwise "cat-like," despite what conventional wisdom might say. There is a good chance that the cat is acting sick because of the stress caused by changes in its environment, new research suggests.

Healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine, according to the Ohio State University study. Veterinary clinicians refer to these acts as sickness behaviors. The researchers documented sickness behaviors in healthy cats and in cats with feline interstitial cystitis, a chronic illness characterized by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and often both an urgent and frequent need to urinate.

When the cats experienced what were called "unusual external events," such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors as were the chronically ill cats. The two groups had the same number of sickness behaviors in response to unusual events, and both groups were at more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted.

Previous research has indicated that a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis, known as IC, in cats is strongly associated with a number of other health problems. The fact that healthy cats exhibit some of those same problems in the face of stress suggests that veterinary clinicians should consider cats' environmental conditions during assessments for health problems, researchers say.

"For veterinary clinicians, when you have a cat that's not eating, is not using the litter box or has stuff coming up out of its mouth, the quality of the environment is another cause that needs to be addressed in coming up with a diagnosis," said Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State and senior author of the study.
Continue Reading About Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted


Pet Food Field Trip

I took a pet food field trip to Walmart yesterday. It was a discouraging visit. I won't mention any pet foods by name - but the trip provided me with some valuable pet food sales tricks to share with you.

The number one interesting marketing technique - and I have changed the exact words to protect the identity of this pet food (gotta play nice)...Blazoned across one pet food was Crunchy Beefy Nuggets. Did you catch it? Crunchy Beefy Nuggets is a trademark name (little TM after the Nuggets) - it's a name! It has nothing to do with the pet food - it is literally just a name. Very slick.

The most common sales technique I found was pet foods that are 'flavored'. The actual name of the pet food was 'Steak and Vegetable Flavor' or 'Chicken and Fish Flavor' - one even got very specific with the name mentioning Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna FLAVOR. The trick there is the pet food is just FLAVORED with steak and vegetables or Albacore Tuna - that's not really what's in the pet food!!! Again - it's just the flavor. Most people do not get that - they see Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna or they see Steak and Vegetable --- they don't see Flavor. Most pet owners just assume that since the front of the pet food bag - in big bold letters says Albacore Tuna on it - it's got Albacore Tuna inside the bag. If the food actually had Steak and Albacore Tuna in it - it wouldn't say 'Flavor' on the front - it would say 'with Steak and Albacore Tuna' and it would cost more than $.50 cents a can or $5.00 a bag (Albacore Tuna does cost more than Albacore Tuna Flavor).

One of the Walmart pet foods stated 'No Fillers' on the front of the bag. However in the ingredient list I found Ground Corn, Chicken by-products, Corn Gluten Meal to be the first three ingredients of the pet food. That reads like fillers to me!
Continue Reading About Pet Food Field Trip


Choosing the Healthiest Cat Food Brand

Choosing be best cat food brand for your pet is more important than ever. Recent pet food recall events have alerted cat owners to the dangers posed by many commercial cat food and kitten food brands.

Healthier Cat Foods Have Higher Quality Ingredients
Although most commercial cat foods meet the criteria for "complete and balanced" as determined by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), these standards do not assure the safety or quality of the ingredients. All products in the recent cat food recall bore the AAFCO certification.

Better foods will cost more initially, but the lack of fillers and increased bioavailability of quality ingredients will save money over time. Your cat will get more nutrition out of less food and suffer fewer food allergies. Ultimately, the cost savings of inexpensive, poor-quality foods is a false economy.

Foods that contain excess fillers like corn, soy and wheat are like junk food for cats. You cat eats more of these foods to obtain the nutrients she needs, and obesity results. Obesity can cause joint problems, heart failure and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Read Labels on Cat Food Brand Recipes
Look passed the enticing design of the bag and read the ingredient labels. As obligate carnivores, cats must have meat in their diet to survive. The better the source of the meat protein, the better.

When reading the label, look at the order of ingredients. They are listed in order of quantity. The first ingredient should be a named meat or fish like "chicken" or "salmon." Avoid foods that say simply "meat" or "meat by-products."

Use caution when choosing food according to the name of the food rather than the ingredients.
Continue Reading About Choosing the Healthiest Cat Food Brand


Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’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:

* Anemia
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Cancer
* 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. About the Author
Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to
For more easy, practical tips on taking great care of your cat be sure to visit the author’s feline health site now.

Homemade Kitten Food

Do 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.

About the Author
Homemade Kitten Food
Visit the author's website, http://newbornkittens.net to learn more about newborn kittens, as well as their raising and care

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Homemade Kitten Food

Do 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.

Cat allergies

How to Litter Train A Kitten

If 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.

Cat litter box location strategies

New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home

A 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.

Raw meat:
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.

Garbage:
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.

Plants:
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.

Pot pourri:
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.

Electrical wires:
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.

Open toilet:
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.

Medications:
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.

Small objects:
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.

Household chemicals:
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.

Tobacco:
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.

Cat allergies

Kitten Feeding with a Bottle

Kitten 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.

Cat allergies

Getting Ready for the Newborn Kittens

Caring 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 kittens’ 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 cat’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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