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Friday, April 25, 2014

OMG! I'm Going to the Vet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again!

This week it was time, once again, to make the annual visit to the vet for Kirby. Checkup, shots, and claws trimmed does NOT make him a happy cat. When I first ran this blog, I included advice from vets about getting your cat used to the carrier, riding in the car, etc. Have found some more information that I will share. I'm also happy to announce that I followed some of what I had read and things are a little better.

Putting the carrier in the family room where Kirby could lay in it or sleep in it (without having to travel in it) did make it a little easier. Now I can just pick him up and put him in because the carrier is already there and open. It makes it easier if I set the carrier on its end so that I can lower him in butt first. I put a towel over the carrier on the way out to the car and keep it there until we're inside the office. I now stay out of the exam room because that seems to keep him calmer.

Cats are America’s favorite pet, yet they are seen less often than dogs in veterinary clinics. Why? I thought you’d never ask. It’s because of the widely held belief that cats are lower-maintenance pets. They can stay indoors, munch as needed from a brimming bowl of non-stinky dry food, and then poop in a box. They pretty much take care of themselves – right?

Cats who miss their annual exams may go years with painful erosive tooth lesions, making it painful to eat. Other insidious disorders like benign thyroid tumors or kidney failure, a fact of life in all older cats, could be gradually destroying your kitty. Observant owners can make a huge difference. Take a feel along your cat’s backbone once a week. If it’s getting that boney feel, you may have discovered loss of muscle mass.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), also called pancreatic insufficiency and maldigestion syndrome, was thought to be rare in cats. However, because of the results of different studies, it really isn't that rare. It can be a potential cause of diarrhea and chronic weight loss in cats. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency means there is a decrease or lack of digestive enzymes being produced by the pancreas. In cats with the disorder, proteins, starches and fats from the diet aren't broken down sufficiently to be absorbed through the intestinal wall. This means nutrients can't get into the bloodstream to supply nourishment to the body's tissues. Much of the food that is eaten remains undigested in the GI tract and ultimately leaves the body in feces. If left untreated, a cat with EPI can literally starve to death despite how much food is consumed. Pancreatic insufficiency can have several potential causes, but the most common source in cats is chronic inflammation of the pancreas. Other causes are parasitic infestations, as well as cancer. Talk to your vet if your cat has any unexplained weight loss to see what kind of treatments are available.

Next week I'll share the rest of the new information I've found, including 11 situations that require your getting your cat to the vet immediately. What are your experiences with going to the vet?  Would love to hear them.

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What!! Didn't You Get the Memo?

Our topic the last few weeks has been about feeding your cat(s).  It was suggested by a University of Illinois study that more frequent feedings might help in keeping your pet's weight down.  Another suggestion was mixing wet and dry food together or just simply adding water to dry food.  This insures that your pet gets enough liquid.  Somehow, I don't think these cats got the message!

At least, these cats have some sense of the right things to eat.  Et Tuna Bruta!

Now, there's the matter of enough liquid in your pet's diet.  Once again, don't think these cats listened.

At least this cat listened to part of the advice.  Hooray for you, cat!  Go to the head of the class.

This is something my cat would probably do!
Included this information as a review.  Let me know about the "adventures" of feeding your cat!

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty.  Her book describes an ordinary cat changing into a superhero to protect his family from things that go bump in the night.  Available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Interesting Facts From Purina One

Found this site  and discovered some interesting facts about the way cats eat that I hadn't thought about before.  Last week, we discussed smaller, more frequent meals, and choices of food.  Today, we'll deal with bowls and their placement.  Just as a review, you remember it was suggested that feeding both wet and dry food is a good idea.  Purina One agrees.  Here are their thoughts.

"It’s wonderful if you’re already feeding wet food and dry kibble as part of your feeding regimen. If not, here’s why you should consider it. In the wild, cats get to experience a variety of tastes and textures and derive much of their hydration from their prey. That’s why we believe wet and dry foods are better together. Dry kibble mimics the crunch of prey and helps keep teeth clean. Wet food has a protein and moisture content that’s close to a cat’s natural diet."

They also have activities to show you how to introduce wet food into your cat's diet which is something I need to do.  I've been feeding totally dry food because this one doesn't like wet food.

And this one tries to bury it!!

Hummm.  This might be an ongoing project for quite a while.

Now on to the interesting part I hadn't thought of.  Sammy, the feral cat, displays some of these behaviors which now make sense.

Cats use their whiskers to navigate their environment by measuring the width of openings to determine if it’s wide enough to pass through. This is especially helpful at night.  In addition, cats in the wild are constantly aware of what's going on around them in order to detect rivals or predators. And when cats eat, they tend to crouch. This posture brings their head closer to their eating surface – usually a flat rock, fallen tree or ground.
If your current bowl has tall, straight sides or is more square than round, you may notice an air of discontent at feeding time. The reasons? Experts note you’ll see hesitation, even pacing around her bowl over the discomfort of whisker stress – an annoying sensation that’s caused when the whiskers rub up against the sides of the bowl.

Size of the bowl seems to be okay, so maybe it's the location:

You might also observe nervousness caused be an inability to see who’s approaching. Or the frustration brought on by not being able to extract food that’s stuck in the crannies of the bowl where the base and the walls meet.  If you find more mess than usual around your feeding location or food left behind are other signs that something may be off.  If you're using a bowl with steep sides, it's time to make a change.  

When choosing where to place your cat’s feeding dish, it's important to understand the pressures of feeding in the wild.  Active hunters know the value of food, so they stay alert for rivals coming in to steal a hard-earned meal.  Also know that cats are quite vulnerable to predators while eating. So they seek locations where they feel protected from the back or flank, but can still keep a watchful eye on anything approaching as they eat.

Yup, I think I need to change the location where they eat because their backs are to the traffic going through the kitchen.

Was this information helpful to you?  Would love to read your comments and hear of your experiences!

Marion Lovato is the author of Sam, the Superkitty, which is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.