December 2011

Ringing in the New Year...

...With a Trip to the Emergency Vet

Owning pets means making yourself vulnerable to a potentially very expensive source of unexpected expenses.

And as most pet owners know, these unexpected expenses never occur when it's convenient.  Here we are on New Year's Eve, and where is our dog?

Hospitalized at the emergency vet, of course.

Dealing with a Shy Cat

I adopted both of my cats from the local SPCA.  They do their best to get to know the cats and their personalities, but sometimes it is just not possible.  It’s a strange environment for the cat, they don’t know what to expect or what is going to happen to them, and they just do not want to be there.   

When I got my new cat home, she immediately found a safe place to stay.  I attributed this to being in a new house and a new situation, I didn’t push her and let her become comfortable and come out when she was ready.    But even now, two and a half years later, she is still shy.

Ringworm in Cats

Ringworm is a very common fungal infection in cats that is highly contagious and can spread to humans and other animals.  It stays in the environment for up to a year, making it very difficult to eradicate once it is in your home.  Fortunately, the treatment for ringworm is simple and effective, though it can take several months.

Keeping Christmas Cat-Safe

Make sure your favorite pets aren't eating your decorations

 

As someone who has always lived with cats--from when I was a wee fetus till I left for college--our holidays have always been notably tinsel-free. Cats may be known to cause less trouble than dogs to a certain degree, but when it comes to devouring the undigestible, there's no match for them. They're pros. And it gets worse during Christmas, when there's all sorts of shiny, pretty stuff hanging around that's ultimately dangerous for the feline members of the family.

How To Give A Cat Medicine

It's not very fun, but when you gotta do it, you gotta do it
One of my kitties took a turn for the worst last week, and was ultimately diagnosed with liver problems. The good news is, liver problems are very treatable in cats. The bad news is, I have to give him a pill and a dose of liquid medicine EVERY DAY for the next MONTH. Oh wow!
 
If you have never tried to give a cat medicine, you are in for a real treat. Wait, not "treat," I mean "rodeo." 
 
First of all, if you have to give a cat a pill, start by trying Greenies Pill Pockets! Most cats will accept their pill as a delicious treat this way. It's definitely worth a shot!

How Many Litter Boxes do you Need?

"Keep in mind that some cats get very finicky about their litter boxes and expect it to be cleaned out before they even use it."

Common wisdom says that you need one litter box per cat plus one more.  But depending on where you live, this can be difficult.  For this reason, here are a few ideas to help you figure out how many litter boxes you will need.

How Many Cats – If you have one cat, you can likely get away with only one litter box.  The same goes with two cats.  But once you get over this number, then it starts to get tricky, especially depending on how much space you have.

Size of House – Depending on the size of your house will help in determining how many boxes you can accommodate.  If you live in a small place, chances are one or two boxes are the limit.  If you have four cats though, then you may have some issues.  On the other hand, if you live in a large house, you likely are able to accommodate a few more litter boxes if need be.

Constipation in Cats

Cats are pretty self-sufficient and easy to take care of.  Growing up, we always had at least one cat pal hanging around, and rarely did they need any special medical care.  One problem that could really wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy cat is constipation.  Constipation in cats can be caused by a variety of things, including renal disease, hairballs, not enough water intake and even your cat’s refusal to use the box.

An Allergy to Cats isn't the End

Living proof that you can be allergic to cats and still have them

Last weekend we went to a friend's house, and I was reminded of how miserable some cats make me.

I don't think I really realized how allergic to cats I was until I was old enough to move out of my parents' house -- and then moved back in.  My parents had always had cats, and I had always had sinus problems.  I was constantly stuffy and blowing my nose, and I can remember being treated as a kids for sinus infections that would just never go away.

Keeping Cats out of Things

Cats are full of mischief, especially if you get yours when he is a kitten and still learning.  Just like kids, they can test your patience and make you want to strangle them.  But then they look at your with those big, cute eyes and faces, and you melt.

Thankfully, just like kids, there are some things you can do around your house to help cat proof it.

Cabinets – There are different tools you can get to make the cabinets harder to get into for your cats.  These would be the same tools you use for your children, which sometimes are also adult proof.  I use a bungee cord at my house to tie my one cabinet to my oven so that the cat cannot open it.

Tips for Minimizing Scratching

"There is no reason you need to declaw, as long as you are willing to take a little time to nudge your cat in the right direction!"

One of the most common problems people have with their cats is that they tend to scratch things we don't want them to: furniture, curtains, rugs, wood trim in the house, etc.  Some people immediately turn to declawing, but I think that's a pretty cruel practice, and advocate training and other alternatives.  Here are a few ways you can minimize scratching as much as possible.

How to Treat Those Pesky Hairballs

If you have a longhaired cat, hairballs are almost certainly a fact of life.  While for some cats it is just a minor inconvenience, other cats may have a lot of digestive trouble and stomach upset when they get hairballs.  We had a cat that required hairball medicine for years because she would throw up constantly without it.  If you are faced with the dilemma of treating your cat for hairballs, the following solutions will help.

Why I Fed My Cats Chicken

As much as I love my cats, I had a hard time loving my one cat when she was having stomach issues and leaving me presents all over the place.  Due to this, I ended up taking her in to see the vet.  But as there are many things that can go wrong with your cat and they are not able to talk and tell you about it, diet is one of the first things that they recommend you do.  I had her on a few different foods at that point to no available, so it was suggested to put her on just plain boiled chicken for a bit and see how that worked for her. 

Changes in Behavior: What Causes Them?

If your cat is acting differently, it could be either physical or environmental changes causing the new behavior.

The other day, someone posted in a forum I read regularly about some changes in their cat's behavior.  They have had the cat for several years, and she is getting to be middle-aged now.  Suddenly she has started acting grouchy toward the other cats in the house, and (they suspect) peeing outside the litter box.