Cat Care Tips: November 2008 Archives

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cat_allergy_allergies.jpgIt's possible that you might be allergic to your own cat. If you're in the cat purchase mode, you might want to check online or with your vet to confirm if the breed is considered to be a cat associated with high allergies. The last thing you want to do is bring a cat home and then realize you can't keep her. I would strongly suggest that you spend a couple of hours with your prospective cat and confirm that there are no adverse effects from spending lots of time with her.

If you fall into the category of being an owner of a cat that you are allergic to, there are ways to reduce the effects:

  • Visit an allergist and discuss your options with regards to medication or monthly shots that you can take.
  • Shave your cat down to its skin. Bad joke. Seriously though, consider bathing your cat more often to reduce the dander in their coat. You also may be allergic to your cat's saliva. Check with your vet to find out how often you can bathe your cat. This point is important, you don't want to over bathe the cat, that may make the situation worse.
  • Invest in leather furniture if it's really bad. If leather is your style, this is a positive. Fabric covered furniture tends to hold more cat dander.
  • Vacuum a lot. Not your cat, your residence.
  • Get rid of the carpet in your house and replace it with tile, hardwood or anything else that won't trap cat dander.
  • Keep your cat out of rooms that you may sleep in or work in.
  • Get a good air purifier and try to keep the windows open whenever the temperature allows for it.
  • Your vet may be able to recommend some treatments or sprays for your cat that might reduce his dander.
  • If you have a cat that is causing you some discomfort due to allergies, look for alternatives that can help to fix the situation. I've listed a few above but your vet may have other options.

    If you have any advice or information, share below. What's worked for you?

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    picture_of_black_cat_lounging.jpegWhen you say hairballs, pet owners who do not know better will probably think of fluffy balls that cats love to play with; or if ever they have an idea that it is a condition, they would not really think that it is something serious. That’s where they are wrong. Hairballs is serious and not to mention disgusting and quite alarming.

    Hairballs are developed when cats groom themselves and they accidentally swallow their own hair. As you well know, hair cannot be digested and if ever cats can do it, they would not be able to digest hair strands that easily. Swallowed hair can pose danger as it can block the passage of oxygen to the lungs and the passage of food through the stomach and the intestines. In fact, cats who have hairballs will tend to cough severely because they find it hard to breathe while others will develop impactions in the intestines and the gastro-intestinal tract. These impactions is so serious that a surgery may be advised in order to remove the hairballs inside. In less serious cases, the hairballs can just cause constipation or problems with the stomach.

    Symptoms of Hairballs

    Masses of hair on the carpet or on the floor. The hairballs are frequently circular or cylindrical in shape.

    Stools that contain hair

    Difficult time excreting

    Coat of fur that is matted and dry

    Coughing especially dry coughing especially after every meal

    Choking sounds.

    Loss of energy and vibe; lethargy

    No appetite or interest on their food

    Depression and inactivity

    It is not good to wait around for hairballs to attack and make your life and house a mess. Hairballs can actually be prevented with just one simple tool— brushing! Most cats will even enjoy frequent brushing. And what is more the bond that will develop between you and your cat during these kinds of activities will strengthen your relationship. You won’t even have to do much because your cat will do almost everything. Most cats will be the ones brushing their faces on to the brush. All the owners have to do is to just hold the brushes still while the cats do the task. Some cats will also love vacuuming. Once they realize that it will not harm them, cats will love the feel of having their hair pulled on.pictures_cat_hairballs.jpg

    Another way of ensuring that hairballs will not develop is to help cats with their digestion. Give them foods that will help them digest and to also make the passage of food easier. There are special hairball formula foods that are available in the market. This will help them with their food. There are also different remedies that your cat can take in order to relieve himself with the unwanted hair. These remedies often contain mineral oil, which provides lubrication on the food during meal times. Taken in quantities, the mineral can also cause problems in the body as it can deplete the body’s stored vitamin A. It is important that before you have your cat take in these medications, you have already consulted a veterinarian.

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    Pictures_of_cat_lion_cut.jpgIf you're new here, please consider subscribing to my feed. If you love cats, you'll enjoy the posts we place online every day.  Thanks for visiting!

    Grooming sessions are the perfect time to check your cat for potential health problems. After all, the sooner you catch a problem, the better chance that your veterinarian has to fix it.

    So, while grooming, look for the following symptoms:

    - lumps, sores, or tender areas anywhere on her body or changes in her fur or skin

    - excess discharge from her eyes, signs of squinting, or other abnormal eye appearance.Pictures_of_cats_combing.jpg

    - excess discharge from her nose

    - excess discharge or sore or red areas in her ears>

    - cuts or other abnormalities on her feet

    - redness or sores on her gums, loose teeth, lumps in the mouth or drooling

    Proper grooming is important throughout your cat's life but especially so in her senior years. As your cat ages, stiffening joints and waning energy may make it difficult for your old friend to groom herself.

    The infamous hairball is formed when your cat ingests hair while licking herself. Her stomach cannot digest the hairs, and they gloom together into a ball. As owners know all too well, most cats cough up their hairballs.

    cat.jpgSometimes, though, hairballs cause vomiting, constipation, and loss of appetite, and in severe cases they must be surgically removed. You can protect your cat from these problems by brushing her frequently, especially when she is shedding, and by feeding food designed to prevent hairballs. If the problem is frequent or severe, talk to your vet.

    When humidity is low, especially in winter with the heat on in the house, you can get quite a charge out of your cat, a charge of static electricity. To reduce the chock, try rubbing a small amount of no rinse conditioner for cats into her fur. You also might consider adding moisture to your home with a humidifier.

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    white_cat.jpgNo matter what type of fur your cat has, they all shed. Outdoor cats shed in the spring before they get their summer coat and in the fall before they get their winter coat. Indoor cats tend to shed year round but also shed a bit more during the spring and the fall.

    Cat's fur grows in cycles, as the new hair pushes its way up through the hair follicle, the old hair falls out. The fur grows really fast at first then slows down and even stops growing during a resting period. Cats shed their old dead fur when the new hair begins to grow.

    Yesterday, I talked about picking the right brush for your cat's fur. Different lengths of fur require different types of brushes or combs. But these 5 tips work for all types of cats.

    girl_grooming_cat.jpg1. Find a time to groom your cat when he is relaxed or if he likes to be groomed find a time when you want to reward him. Start brushing with slow, gentle strokes and follow his lead, he'll know which parts of his body need grooming the most.

    2. Brush against the natural direction of the growth at first to remove dead hair. This will pull out dandruff, dead skin cells, dead fur, and dust and all sorts of nasty things, but better out than in, so keep brushing against the grain until everything is out or until your cat starts getting restless.

    3. Brush with the natural direction of the hair growth to complete the grooming. You'll be able to see the difference, your cat's fur will be much sleeker and even shinier.

    Pictures_cats_lint_roller.jpg4. Here's the best tip... don't laugh... use a sticky roller lint remover - you know the ones with the sticky sheets you can roll over your clothes? and then remove the old furry sheet so you have a clean one for the next time? Yeah, roll that over your cat! I'm serious! It gets out all the remaining fur and dust that the brush and comb didn't pick up. If you don't have a lint roller, you can always use a soft damp cloth, but the lint roller is a good investment if you don't already have one.

    5. For homes with more than one cat, use a different comb/brush for each cat. Sharing a comb or brush can spread skin diseases, fleas and other itch causing irritants. Besides, cats are a little finicky and if they smell another cat's dandruff on the brush, they may be less inclined to cooperate when it comes time for grooming.

    The important this is that you make it fun and relaxing for both of you. Use the time to bond with your cat. Talk to him, pet him in between brushing and even give him treats to reward him.

    pictures_cats_groomed.jpgOh and if your cat isn't really excited about grooming, make sure you trim his nails first so you don't end up bleeding. But really, if you are gentle with your cat and careful to follow his lead, you won't have a problem.

    If you sense that your cat is getting irritated or frustrated, stop and wait for another time to groom him. But sometimes, cats get into the grooming and they start grabbing at the brush, biting and meowing because they are enjoying it. You have to kind of see what your cat wants. Read more about grooming cats Top 5 tips for a healthy coat.

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    pictures_of_cat_breed_of_cats_Abyssinian.jpgI've blogged before about grooming cats: top five tips for a healthy coat and the reasons why groom your cat I've even written about how to groom an unwilling cat. But I've never explained what types of brushes or combs to use. A friend of mine brought this to my attention when she asked about her cat Mattie.

    So there is a basic rule to follow when choosing a grooming tool:

    For Short-Haired Cats, use a soft brush or rubber toothed brush once or twice a week. Make sure the brush you choose has soft bristles so they don't scratch your cats skin. There are several ones that have rubber bristles that many cats love. They work really well because they act like a magnet. The loose fur sticks to them.

    pictures_cat_brush.jpgFor Medium and Long-Haired Cats, the rules are a little different. While the rubber ones work well to get out loose fur, a long haired cat really needs a wide toothed and a narrow toothed comb. Use the wide one first to get out any mats, burrs, and loose fur, then follow up with the narrow toothed comb. A comb works better for longer haired cats because it picks up the hair close to the scalp and you can get right down to the root. A brush goes over the surface of the fur and makes the top of the coat look good, but underneath their can be knots and loose fur.

    pictures_cat_comb.jpgJust a side note on mats, check for matted fur under your cat's arms and between his legs. Cats usually don't get matted fur on their backs, but many times will be matted where their bodies rub with daily walking and moving.

    If your cat has matted fur, try to comb it out with a wide toothed comb. Start and the tip of the fur and taking small sections work your way back to the root or scalp. Don't try to comb out a mat from root to tip - you'll just rip at the scalp and hurt your cat. And never cut the mat out with scissors. Cats have such loose skin so you can't be sure you won't catch it in the scissors, resulting in a painful injury to your cat.pictures_cat_rubber_comb.jpg

    If the matted fur can't be combed out with just a comb, take your cat to a groomer or ask your vet for assistance. They have special trimmers that can get out matted fur without hurting your cat.

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    cats-heart-disease-attack.jpgWe spoke a little about what you should be looking for in a good vet yesterday. Today we're going to talk about the typical procedures that are performed on your cat during a typical visit to the vet. According to my vet, the typical procedures for my cat's visit are as follows:

    Checks my cat's ears for infections and other problems such as ear mites.

  • They perform standard blood work on my cat.
  • My vet usually asks me for a fecal sample, they use this to find intestinal parasites.
  • They check my cat's weight.
  • According to my vet, most vets will check your cat's respiration and heart rate.
  • He always checks my cat's teeth and gums. Healthy teeth and gums are crucial to a healthy cat.
  • My vet usually completes a "once over" of my cat's fur and scalp.
  • They will check my cat's eyes for pupil response.
  • After my cat has left claw marks all over my vet's hands, she usually gets a treat. If your cat is like mine, she probably won't like going to the vet. A good vet makes your cat comfortable and more importantly, answers your questions about the procedures she's performing.

    If you've had an experience that you would like to share about your vet, please share below.

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