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Cats With Stomach Issues

Saturday, April 17, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Stomach Issues is a problem that has been plaguing my cat Atlantis since we adopted him. After several visits to the vet, the problem still remains a mystery. He vomits a few times, sometimes with a little blood specs, then returns to normal. An XRay was performed and did not find anything abnormal. Our Vet believes it could be IBS or a bleeding ulcer. We  sometimes give him a quarter pill of pepcid or if the problem is worse than normal our Vet will prescribe a medication too sooth his stomach. Given his age, we are no going further at this point. As long as he is happy, eating and pooping normally we are just keeping a close eye on the situation.

Pet MD as put together a comprehensive article that details different situation that can cause an upset stomach in cats.

When you’re hit with an upset stomach, you seek sympathy from your cat while contemplating the contents of your medicine cabinet. But cat stomach issues are different. If your cat throws up, or you wake up to the nasty reality of cat diarrhea, your kitty relies on you to find out what’s wrong and how to get her back on track.

Symptoms of Cat Stomach Upset

“Symptoms of an upset stomach in a cat include licking the lips, which is a sign of nausea, vomiting and refusing to eat,” says Dr. Elizabeth Arguelles, medical director and founder of Just Cats Clinic in Reston, Virginia. “Possibly the cat ate something it shouldn’t have, like a bug or a leaf of a plant.” Diarrhea may also develop if the problem affects the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Mark Rondeau, DVM, BS, of PennVet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says that while vomiting is the most visible sign of cat stomach upset, “a change in behavior, such as being less active or not interacting or hiding in unusual places—a lot of those behaviors are common in cats that may have upset stomachs.”

And no, those hairballs that suddenly appear on the new living room carpet are not the same thing as when your cat throws up. “This is an extremely common myth,” Dr. Arguelles says. “There’s a distinction between a hairball—which looks like a piece of poop made out of hair—and vomit, which may have hair in it along with partially digested food or bile.”

Dr. Rondeau adds that if a cat occasionally hurls a hairball—ejecting hair that isn’t processed out through the ‘other end’—it’s not something to worry about, but that “the reasons for feline vomiting can include a long list of things.”

Possible Causes of Cat Stomach Upset

Dr. Arguelles says frequent causes of cat stomach upset include switching cat food too frequently as well as intestinal parasites. Dr. Rondeau adds that parasites are especially common in young cats and kittens.

Both Dr. Arguelles and Dr. Rondeau say that food intolerance, food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also commonly lead to an upset cat stomach. More serious causes, such as gastrointestinal cancers, kidney disease and hyperthyroidism, can also result in vomiting.

If you are worried that your cat is sick, seek veterinary care immediately, says Dr. Arguelles.

How To Cure Cat Stomach Upset

Detecting what’s behind your cat’s vomiting is crucial, and that means a trip to the vet.  A cat who throws up multiple times in a day or who has not eaten in 48 hours needs to see a vet immediately.

Dr. Arguelles says, “Veterinarians have anti-nausea medication that can be given as an injection or as an oral tablet (Cerenia)” as well as medications to help with diarrhea and poor appetite. A temporary switch to a bland diet may be recommended until the cat’s symptoms subside.

In some cases, a veterinarian will recommend heartworm medicine for cats or a prescription dewormer for cats. “A cat that is vomiting more than once per month should be examined by a veterinarian, who will deworm—or recommend your cat be on monthly prevention with Revolution, Advantage Multi or Heartgard,” says Dr. Arguelles. Many heartworm medicines for cats also kill some of the intestinal parasites that can cause cat stomach upset.

She says a vet may also recommend abdominal radiographs (X-rays) to check for an obstruction, foreign body or other problem, or lab work to seek underlying metabolic causes of vomiting, such as kidney disease and hyperthyroidism.

“In cases that have normal labs and radiographs, your vet may then recommend an abdominal ultrasound to visualize the layers and thickness of the stomach and intestines. Sometimes, we find foreign material that wasn’t visible on radiographs, other times we find thickening of the intestines and enlargement of lymph nodes—and then we are looking at either inflammatory bowel disease or gastrointestinal lymphoma,” she says. “The only way to determine which of these diseases is present is through intestinal biopsies.”

Dr. Rondeau says if your cat has just started vomiting or is suddenly “lethargic, won’t eat or is hiding, definitely bring him to the vet. But we also see a lot of cats with chronic vomiting… In those cases, maybe they aren’t lethargic, but the owners notice some vomiting and see the cat has lost weight … for those, it is definitely time to check with the vet.”

Preventing Cat Stomach Issues

Once the serious issues are ruled out, you can work on helping to avoid future cat stomach issues.

“The three things that you can do to promote good digestive health in cats are placing them on monthly prevention that deworms them for intestinal parasites, feeding them a balanced diet (not raw and not homemade), and taking them to the veterinarian at least yearly,” says Dr. Arguelles. As long as your cat is healthy, “if you are feeding a high-quality diet, your cat’s digestive health will be good.”

High-Quality Diets for Cats

Dr. Rondeau agrees that a high-quality diet is key, along with “avoiding table scraps. It is mostly about consistency for cats. If yours is happy to eat the same thing and is getting that balanced diet, don’t switch brands or flavors. We might project onto them that they are bored with whatever brand and taste, but rapid diet changes can create problems.”

When cats develop diarrhea, a diet change alone can fix the problem about half the time, explains Dr. Arguelles. “Diarrhea is frustrating in that even if we treat appropriately and make the right changes and recommendations, it can take several days to clear up.”

She recommends a vet visit if a diet change doesn’t help or if your cat is vomiting, lethargic or has other worrisome symptoms.

Prescription Cat Food

Cats with fiber-responsive diarrhea “will respond to adding fiber to the diet. You can do this by feeding Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response cat food, a prescription cat food that includes brewers’ rice, B vitamins and psyllium husk seed, among other ingredients, or by adding canned pumpkin or Metamucil.” Nummy Tum-Tum Pure Organic Pumpkin is 100% organic pumpkin that can be mixed with dry or canned cat food to help provide some relief to your cat’s stomach.

Dr. Rondeau says that a tablespoon of pumpkin with a cat’s food is also often a recommendation for cats with constipation, but adds that “Pumpkin is fibrous, but Metamucil or similar supplements will offer more fiber per volume.”

Probiotics for Cats

Additional help for cat diarrhea may come from probiotics for cats, which Dr. Rondeau describes as “A colony of good bacteria that can populate the cat’s GI tract [and is] good for the gut health.”

Dr. Arguelles says that when the good bacteria thrive, the bad bacteria are crowded out. “Not all probiotic supplements are created equal,” she says. “The probiotics I recommend include Purina’s FortiFlora and Nutramax’s Proviable.”

Both Nutramax Proviable-DC capsules and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora probiotic cat supplement contain live microorganisms, and FortiFlora includes antioxidant vitamins E, C and beta-carotene. Both can be sprinkled on, or mixed in with, your cat’s food.

Monitoring your cat’s activity and being aware of changes in her habits, as well as working closely with your vet, is the best way to promote a healthy cat stomach.

Remember your pets count!

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Ear Mites Can Be a Menace to Your Cat

Friday, April 16, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Ear Miles are tiny parasites, they are small enough to fit on the head of a pin. These parasites incubate and grow inside the canals of your cats ears. They are like fleas in that they are extremely itchy which causes your cat to constantly shake his head and scratch his ears. If your cats ears are full of mites, they may give off a foul smell. Your may see brownish black spots resembling coffee grounds in the ears.

Ear Mites are very common and can spread easily from cat to cat.  The good news is that mites are easy to treat. Visit your vet and he’ll flush and clean your cats ears. Your cats tail will also be cleaned as mites can migrate to a cats tail area.  Your vet will administer ear drops and in a few days, your cat will feel as good as new!

Remember, your pets count!

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How Old is Your Cat Really?

Thursday, April 15, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Normally, cats have a longer life span than dogs, I should say “indoor” cats. A cat that lives outdoors has a greatly reduced life span due to many circumstances. These include, getting into fights with other animals, extreme weather conditions, getting hit by cars, poisoning and many other conditions. If your cat is 12 years old, what would be the equivalent human age? The following chart  obtained from Healthy Pets.Com outlines the life stage, actual age of the cat and the human age equivalent                              

 STAGE                               CAT AGE                                   HUMAN EQUIVALENT

  1. Kitten                                   1 to 6 months                                                 1 to 10
  2. Junior                                   7 months to 2 years                                    12 to 24
  3. Prime                                   3  to 6 years                                                    25 to 43
  4. Mature                                 7 to 10 years                                                  44 to 56
  5. Senior                                   11 to 14 years                                                60 to 72
  6. Geriatric                              15 to 25 years                                                76 to 116

 

 

Remember, your pets count!

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Controlling Pet Hair on Furniture

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Now that the public is getting vaccinated, you probably want to start having small groups of friends and family to your home again but you’re worried about all of the fur on the chairs and sofa left by your beloved pet. Here are some tips for removing pet hair from the furniture. You’ll need some inexpensive tools for this job. A rubber tipped brush can be used to ball up longer cat and dog hair from couches and rugs. I use a lint roller because my cats hair is short. Use the kind with disposable sticky sheets. Even a piece of packing tape will do for a small area. A damp dryer sheet will pick up some pet fur as well. It’s also a good idea to keep cotton throws on the seats of your furniture. It’s a little extra laundry but at least you won’t have your guests going home with a bunch of fur on their pants! Remember in addition to playing with your pet with his dog or cat toys, brush him regularly. This will keep the shedding down a little.

Remember, your pets count!

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Toyger Cats and Kittens, A Rare Breed

Tuesday, April 13, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

I came across a cat breed that I really wasn’t too familiar with. The Toyger cat that has distinct markings of a a tiger. I did some research and came across this article for All About Cats.com. They describe in detail the characteristics of this beautiful cat. I will tell you one thing, they are very expensive!

The following is the article from All About Cats.com

 

In spite of its wild sounding name and exotic looks that lend the appearance of a toy tiger, the Toyger cat is 100% domestic. These kitties love their families, easily bonding with people of all ages. Not only do they love humans, they easily form friendships with other animals.

While Toyger cats are friendly and outgoing, they don’t mind being left on their own so long as their humans are gone for only a short while. If you’re someone who spends more time away than you are able to spend at home, this might not be the right breed for you. Of course if you’re open to having two cats, they’ll keep each other entertained and welcome you each time you return.

The Toyger cat has no special nutritional needs. At the same time, a quality diet is extremely important for good health and longevity. If you’re not feeding fresh food, we recommend choosing a brand that names real meat or fish as the number one ingredient.

History

Toyger cats are the results of breeding Bengal cats with domestic shorthair breeds with tabby markings. Developed by breeder Judy Sugden of California’s EEYAA cattery in the late 1980s, the Toyger cat is meant to display tigerlike features including a deep orange to red-brown coat with prominent stripes throughout and a wild looking face to match.

The breed got its start when Sugden noticed that her cat Millwood Sharp Shooter had circular facial markings similar to a tiger’s. With the help of a domestic shorthair tabby cat named Scrapmetal and a Bengal cat named Millwood Rumpled Spotskin, the Toyger breeding program was off to a good start.

In 1993, another founding member was added to the lineup. This time it was a street cat from Kashmir, India. The cat, named Jammu Blu, had spotted markings between his ears instead of tabby stripes. Approximately 40 other cats, many of them on pedigreed domestic shorthairs with striped coats, were selected for use as foundation stock.

1993 was a banner year for the Toyger cat, as two more breeders, Alice McKee and Anthony Hutcherson joined such then in working toward official recognition. That same year, The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Toyger cat breed for registration only. In 2007, TICA granted the Toyger championship status. Even so, it remains one of the world’s rarest cat breeds.

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Nursing a Newborn Kitten without His Mother

Monday, April 12, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

When caring for a new born kitten without it’s mother, it’s important that it’s fed properly.  The first thing to do is sterilize the kitten sized bottles in boiling water for about five minutes. Make sure they are cool before using. Place a large towel, a rough wash cloth and a bowl of warm water next to a comfortable chair.  Fill the bottle with  kitten milk replacement such as KMR.  Warm the bottle by placing it in a bowl of very hot water. Test it on your forearm. The temperature should be between 95 and 100 degrees fahrenheit or approximately body temperature.  Test the nipple to make sure that the milk flows properly. The milk should not leak out when the bottle is turned up side down. The milk should flow out when the nipple is gently pressed with your fingers.

Sit in the chair with the towel folded on your lap. Place the kitten face down on your lap and make sure that the kitten is warm before feeding. If he’s cold, he could develop digestive problems after feeding.  Without raising the kitten’s head, place the nipple in his mouth.  He should start nursing right away. Continue nursing until he is finished but do not overfeed.

If the kitten does not start nursing right away, check the nipple again.  Stroke his head and gently pet his back to start nursing reflexes.  Once he gets the idea, he will nurse readily.

Like humans, kittens need to be burped after nursing.  Hold one hand under his abdomen and very gently pat his back.  To stimulate defecation, , use a warm damp wash cloth or paper towel and gently massage his genital area. Don’t despair if he does not defecate right away. Urinating may take a bit longer.

After he is  done  feeding,  put him back in his bed and let him sleep undisturbed.

 

Remember your pets count!

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Why is Your Dog a Digger?

Saturday, April 10, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

You let your dog outside in your yard for some good wholesome fun and exercise but when it’s time for him to come back inside, the yard looks like the surface of the moon! There are mini “craters” all over the place. I’m sure that this activity is something that you could do without. Dogs often dig out of loneliness, boredom, and the stress of being confined. Because dogs are pack animals, dogs may dig at a fence or gate to try to join other dogs. Dogs that are not neutered may be trying to find a mate. In Summer, dogs may dig to cool off because the ground is cooler than the air. Dogs like Terriers dig instinctively for prey. Some dogs just dig to explore. By taking your dog for a long walk, tossing a dog toy like a frisbie in the park, and just more human interaction may help satisfy your dog’s needs in a less destructive way.

Remember, your pets count!

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I have two cats and they choose special sleeping areas. Most of the time we can predict where they are before we even walk into our home but sometimes they fool us. Recently our cat Millie is now sleeping in my radio studio. Before that she was usually tucked away in the back bedroom. Atlantis was usually on our couch or sleeping on the ottoman until we noticed that she now prefers the floor in front of the fireplace. So why do cats change the sleeping areas? There are many reasons. Senior Cat Wellness .com answers this question.

Cats spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping. The older the cat, the more time it will spend resting. While cats do have preferred sleeping spots, they like to vary where they rest. This is a feline survival instinct developed in the wild that has carried forward to life as domesticated house cats.

Applied Animal Behavior Science surveyed 1,177 cats and discovered that most felines had 5 preferred sleeping areas. Wild cats regularly move their nests and colonies to avoid detection from predators. Cats also sleep in different locations to claim territory, enjoy privacy, moderate their body temperature, or react to stressful experiences.

You may find that your cat sleeps in some strange places, but these are areas that your cat trusts. It could be that the area is quiet because people do not frequent it, or it’s quieter because it’s at the rear of the house.

Why Do Cats Change Sleeping Spots?

It is common for cats to sleep in different places in the home. The optimal sleeping area for felines will meet the following criteria:

  • Small, enclosed space
  • Warm (without being hot) and devoid of drafts
  • Quiet and private
  • Previously claimed territory
  • Far enough from litter and food to avoid direct smells

Cats frequently change their sleeping location as a matter of survival. Felines can’t afford to become too predictable. If they sleep in the same place all the time, predators will know exactly where to look.

Remember, your pets count!

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Spring  is here and Summer is just around the corner and pets can easily get dehydrated especially if they go outdoors. I have indoor cats but let them out on the porch or deck while I’m out there. Atlantis has Thyroid and digestive issues and it’s critical that she stay hydrated. Millie loves to take in some sun on the porch. After I let her back in the house, I check her water bowl to make sure that she has fresh clean water. I also use a water fountain which is a life saver. Cats love it and drink from it very often.  If you’re a dog owner, you should be checking and filling those dog water bowls more frequently. Keep some fresh water outside. If you’re traveling with you pet, make sure he has access to water at all times. Prevent problems this summer and keep your pet hydrated.

Remember, your pets count!

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Dogs Sense Human Hostility

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

All dog and cat owners know that  our pets act differently toward us when they sense that we are sad. Many dogs slink away and sulk or even hide when their human parents argue.  If there is a major fight between two adults, this really takes it’s toll on our pets.  Dogs seem to recognize the hostility and don’t want to be around it.  You may think that the dog does not like loud voices but this isn’t the case. Even if  two adults are hostile to one another and don’t really raise their voices, the dog still does not want to be around it. How we act does affects our pets . A dog is able to project your feeling of disappointment or anger. My cat,  Molly, used to  try to comfort me by cuddling up more when I’m feeling frustrated or sad.

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