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Article by Laura Ramirez.

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Bladder crystals in cats can cause pain, bleeding and make it difficult for your pet to urinate. In this article you'll learn which treatments are most effective and why and what to do to prevent bladder stones from coming back.

If you suspect that your cat has bladder stones, get him to the vet as soon as possible, so determine the type of bladder stones and the best possible treatment. Although some bladder crystals in cats require surgery, the struvite variety can be dissolved through diet and natural medicine.

If your cat has struvite bladder crystals, avoid a prescription for antibiotics because in addition to being harsh, these drugs can cause side effects. More importantly, they do not heal the cause of bladder stones and as such, can lead to chronic issues. Antibiotics can also destroy the good bacteria in the stomach which can create digestive problems.

Natural remedies work differently than drugs by providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal itself and restoring the proper pH to the bladder, so that crystals cannot continue to form. These remedies are holistic and are made from formulations that contain herbs like Cantharis, Uva Ursi and Staphysagris. The herbs are made into a tonic that is inexpensive, easy to administer and can be used effectively to treat and prevent bladder crystals in cats.

Since these remedies for bladder crystals in cats are 100% natural, they have no side effects and will not interact with any other drugs your pet might be taking. They are gentle enough to use everyday for cats that tend to have bladder issues (especially older cats), but are strong enough to dissolve cats' bladder crystals quickly and completely.

If you decide to continue to give your cat a natural remedy to promote healthy urine flow, make sure your cat is eating a good diet. Check food labels to ensure that the cat food you buy does not contain fillers, chemicals or cheap grains.These ingredients can alter the pH of the bladder, making your pet susceptible to infection and bladder crystals in cats. In order to flush toxins from the bladder, you'll also want to make sure your cat is well-hydrated and always has access to a fresh, clean bowl of water. A daily natural remedy, nutrient-dense food, and clean water are the three best, most effective preventative measures you can take.

Laura Ramirez is a pet lover and enthusiastic researcher of natural solutions which heal disorders and keep pets vibrant and healthy. Find out more about safe, effective ways to maintain your pet's urinary tract health at http://www.pet-ut-health.com.

cat-at-the-vet.jpgYes, cats can get the flu.

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In the last couple of years, a hyper-virulent virus has been hitting shelters and other high-density housing of cats [catteries, rescues, veterinary clinics, pet stores]. And while nicknamed “cat flu”, it is most commonly caused by Feline Herpes Virus-1 [also known as Feline Virus Rhinotracheitis], or Feline Calicivirus. And then, there was also the startling news recently of a documented case of the H1N1 virus in a cat.

How is cat flu spread?

Much the same way a cold is spread in humans – from cat to cat contact, and from contact with the nasal and eye discharge from an infected cat.

Most kitten vaccines for feline distemper (panleukopenia) also include rhinotracheitis and calicivirus. There is also a vaccine for virulent calicivirus, but it is unlikely to protect against different strains. Like human flu viruses, feline calicivirus often mutates, making older vaccines ineffective. Vaccination does not prevent illness, and infected cats can still shed these highly contagious viruses; but vaccines are thought to minimize symptoms and reduce viral shedding. Fully vaccinated adult cats are still susceptible; in the case of virulent systemic calicivirus, adults actually fare worse than kittens.

I_can_has_treats_please.jpgArticle by Thomas Hapka, author of Feline Aids: A Pet Owner's Guide.

Each year, thousands of cats are diagnosed with Feline AIDS, also known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV. This potentially life-threatening disease attacks and impairs the immune system, leaving infected animals vulnerable to a variety of infections. Even a seemingly innocent head cold can pose serious risks for these cats.

The name "Feline AIDS" inspires fear in the hearts of many pet owners. However, this disease is not the same virus that infects humans.

FIV is species specific, affecting only cats. Furthermore, it is not easily spread among the feline population. Deep, penetrating bite wounds like those exchanged by un-neutered males during fights are the most common means of transmission, and some evidence suggests that mothers can pass the disease to their unborn kittens. Infected cats can share litter pans and food dishes with their housemates without spreading the disease.

Because traditional veterinary medicine doesn't offer a "cure" for Feline AIDS, well-meaning veterinarians often recommend euthanasia as a primary course of action. Others attempt to treat infected cats with aggressive courses of prescription drugs, including steroids, interferon, AZT, and antibiotics. This approach is problematic, as each of these medications can produce substantial side effects and further suppress the immune system - the last thing an immune compromised animal can afford.

While medical treatments for Feline AIDS are somewhat limited, natural therapies offer a variety of benefits. Vitamin supplements, homeopathy and herbals, for example, can bolster an ailing cat's immune system, even during the advanced stages of the disease. Most of these products are affordable and available at any health food store.

Comprehensive dietary nutrition is also essential for cats with FIV. Keeping them healthy on a diet of commercial pet food is extremely difficult, as these foods are nutritionally inadequate and laden with harmful colorings, preservatives, and inferior meat sources.

cat_food_prey.jpgMany holistic practitioners recommend raw meat for cats with Feline AIDS. Some pet owners question the safety of a raw diet, but FIV+ cats frequently thrive on this rich, whole food nutrition. Unlike humans, animals are designed to safely digest raw foods as they would in the wild.

Although natural treatments have proven effective, anyone caring for an FIV+ cat should maintain a good relationship with a skilled medical vet. Immune compromised animals sometimes require IV's, oral cleanings, and other supportive care. Pet owners should exercise caution, however, as some common medical treatments - such as vaccinations - pose a threat to cats with FIV.

Cats receiving natural treatments often enjoy a high quality of life for many years, but there are times when euthanasia is the compassionate choice for animals in the throws of advanced Feline AIDS. The bottom line is that a diagnosis of FIV is not an automatic death sentence.

Thomas Hapka is a freelance writer and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He learned of FIV in 1995 when his cat, Jac, was diagnosed. Since then, he has consulted with hundreds of pet owners. His clients have spanned nine countries and included two American zoos. Hapka has been featured in the magazines Australian National Cat, Cat's Life, and Animal Wellness. He is presently enrolled at the British Institute of Homeopathy USA, pursuing a degree in veterinary homeopathy.

Visit Feline Aids for more information. To schedule an interview, please call 920.285.8055 or email felineaids@yahoo.com

Article by Darlene L. Norris

pictures_cats_comfortable.jpegHave you ever heard any of these myths about feline diabetes? If you have a diabetic cat, you need to know the truth about this disease, not a bunch of old wives' tales. Don't be paralyzed by ignorance. Know the facts about your feline diabetic, and learn how you can help him.

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Myth #1. You'll Have To Put Your Diabetic Cat To Sleep

Not necessarily. Unless your pet has other health issues like kidney failure or is very elderly, it's possible to manage this disease. However, you do need to realize that it does take quite a bit of time, especially at first, to learn how to check your furry friend's blood sugar and then to give him an insulin injection, if needed.

pictures_fat_cat.jpgMyth #2. You Can't Prevent Feline Diabetes

Actually, some experts firmly believe that this condition is a man-made disease, and that it's totally preventable by feeding your pet a high-quality canned food instead of dry cat food.

The biggest issue with dry food is that the carbohydrate level is much too high for your kitty. Felines are meant to eat meat, not grains, and most dry foods are overwhelmingly composed of grains. Although this is good for the bottom line of the pet food companies, it's not good for the bottom line concerning your pet's health.

Feeding too much of the wrong kind of food leads to an overweight feline, which is a sure recipe for many other health problems, including diabetes in cats.

Myth #3.You Can't Check Your Kitty's Blood Sugar Levels At Home

Of course you can. In fact, you should. It's essential to know what his blood sugar level is before you give him an insulin injection. You'll also save a lot of time and money if you don't always have to be taking your pet to the vet for a blood sugar check. Plus it's much less stressful for your furball if you can do it at home. Your vet can and should teach you how to to this.

Myth #4. Once Your Furball Is On Insulin, You'll Never Get Him Off

Actually, diabetes in cats can sometimes be reversed by changing your kitty's diet. As mentioned above, he shouldn't be eating dry food at all. Canned food is best. If he's overweight, he needs to lose weight, but slowly and carefully, as a too-rapid weight loss can lead to very serious problems.

Get your kitty exercising more. Encourage him to play by tempting him with a toy on a string. Exercise will help him lose weight, and is a great way to manage blood sugar levels naturally. Start slowly, and work up to two or three ten-minute sessions a day.

really_fat_cat.jpgMyth #5. Natural Remedies For Cats Are A Waste Of Time

Research has shown that herbs, including goat's rue, fenugreek, and astragalus, along with the mineral chromium, are very effective in controlling blood sugar levels in pets, as well as in people. In fact, by using a combination of diet, exercise, and herbs and dietary supplements, you may be able to dispense with insulin injections completely.

Don't buy into any of these myths about feline diabetes. Stop feeling helpless and take charge of your kitty's health today. Learn more about how diet, exercise, and natural remedies for cats can control and even reverse diabetes in cats.

Darlene Norris has combined her experience working at a vet clinic with her long-time interest in natural healing to bring you her new website, Natural Pet Diabetes Control. Learn how you can use natural remedies for cats to treat your diabetic cat by visiting http://NaturalPetDiabetesControl.com

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Article by Thomas Hapka

pictures_cats_FIV.jpegEach year, scores of pet owners receive the shocking news that their beloved cats have been diagnosed with FIV (also known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). But there are many things veterinarians typically don't tell these pet owners about the realities of this disease and the available treatment options. Here are a few examples.

1. A diagnosis of FIV is NOT an automatic death sentence: Cats with FIV can live for many years and enjoy a good quality of life. Even those felines showing symptoms often bounce back with proper treatment.

2. FIV can be treated: Veterinarians often tell pet owners there are no treatment options available for cats with FIV. This is simply NOT true. Natural treatments have proven remarkably effective in the treatment of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Holistic modalities like homeopathy and herbal medicine, used in concert with nutritional supplements and a quality diet, can support and revitalize a faltering immune system. Such therapies work well as preventative measures for cats not yet showing symptoms, and they can also be lifesaving for those in the advanced stages of the disease.

pictures_cats_healthy_cat.jpeg3. Cats with FIV do NOT always have to be isolated: Unlike other feline diseases, FIV is not wildly contagious. It is typically spread through deep, penetrating bite wounds like those exchanged by unneutered males during violent street fights. FIV is not spread through mutual grooming, shared bedding, food dishes, water bowls, or litter pans. FIV is rarely spread amongst cats living in the same house, and the isolation strategy recommended by so many vets is generally misguided.

The bottom line is that FIV+ cats can live long and healthy lives, and pet owners can adopt and keep these animals, secure in the knowledge that they've chosen well.

Thomas Hapka is the award-winning author of Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's Guide, a book outlining natural treatments for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). He has served as a consultant to pet owners from more than eleven countries, including the cathouses of two U.S. zoos. To schedule an interview with Thomas, call 920.285.8055, email felineaids@hotmail.com, or visit http://felineaids.org/

Article by Dr. Peters

pictures_cats_colds.jpegWhen we catch a cold, we are usually plagued with watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing and sneezing. Anyone who has had cats for any length of time has seen these same symptoms from time to time. But did the cat actually have a cold?

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If we go by the definition of a cold as an upper respiratory infection, then yes, cats can catch colds, and the mechanism and course of infection are similar to ours. Usually, the immune system must be diminished to allow it, as healthy individuals will not be debilitated by an assault of the causative agents.

The causes include viruses and bacteria, primarily. Often, a virus will appear first and weaken the tissues in the respiratory tract, at which point, certain bacteria may gain a foothold, creating symptoms as a secondary infection.

pictures_cats_hiding.jpegThe various "cat colds" include FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis), which is caused by a herpes virus; FCV (feline calicivirus), an RNA virus which is most similar to the human cold viruses; and feline chlamydia, or pneumonitis, caused by a bacterium, chlamydia psittaci. This is the infection that leads to the eye infections that may accompany respiratory symptoms.

Those caused by bacteria are arguably the easiest to fight, as they can be treated with antibiotics, but there are no antibiotics that specifically target viruses. The best approach, then, is to treat the symptoms while supporting the cat's physiology with remedies that promote health and strengthen the immune system.

Those "treatments" involve common sense approaches, such as proper diet and reducing stress in the environment. When these are part of the cat's everyday lifestyle anyway, colds and other illnesses are much less likely to appear in the first place.

This information was obtained from The Cornell (University) Book of Cats. For additional general information about cat health, visit Dr. Peters' website:http://www.theproblemcat.com/articles/cathealth.html

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Author: Dilani Mallikarachchi

pictures_cats_stressed.jpegAlthough cats don't have to deal with rush hour traffic, exams, paying bills or missing deadlines, which causes stress in we humans, they also get stressed with their own problems in life.

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A new member in family can make a cat stressed. That member can be another cat, a new dog or simply a new person. Cats are animals of habit. So, sudden changes in their schedules can easily make them stressed. So when you are doing changes in your house, do them smoothly as possible, giving your cat a little time to adjust to the new surrounding.

pictures_cats_playful.jpegCats treat your furniture as their own. They mark them, so they can identify them with the scent. Sometimes they scratch them to visually make item their own. So sometimes, new furniture can make them stressed. Now think about rearranging your furniture. You can't let your pet know that you are rearranging the place, when your cat arrives; he would be shocked as he just can't recognize the things with smell or anything. The places he knew very well have suddenly become unknown. It will easily put him in tension. So, when you are rearranging the house, always leave a little space for your cat which contains his toys and most familiar things, when he get use to new arrangements you can slowly change that space too(if you wish to).

Moving to a new house will also put him in stress because he doesn't know the reason to be in a new house. You better keep and eye on him as sometimes otherwise he will try to go to old house and get lost in unknown land.

Fear can also make a cat stressed. A mean dog in household or fireworks in holidays are few things that cat may get afraid of.

Whatever the reason your cat get stressed you can lower it simply by showing much love and sympathy to him. Time he spend with you is the most valuable time he got, so play with him, give praise and kind words, spend little more time with him and enjoy the moment.

Dilani is really interested in cats and their behavior. She writes with the inspiration she got from her two cats' behavior and the books she read. You can read more at Understanding your cat

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Article by Dr. Peters

pictures_cats_cuddling.jpegCats are vulnerable to certain viruses, but generally, they are not the same ones that afflict us. For example, the flu viruses come in different "strains," basically A, B, or C. And they affect different species in different ways.

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Anyone who has watched the news recently may have noticed that public health authorities have given the Swine Flu a new name: H1N1. As for the strain that affects cats, it's called H5N1... a different form of it altogether.

Since the Swine Flu is considered more likely to be found in swine, and not cats or dogs, that's probably how it got its name. But more importantly, because it's transmissible to humans, it became a huge health issue for the first time in 1976. However, at that time, more people became ill or died from the vaccine rather than the disease, which is now remembered as the "swine flu fiasco." However, this time around, not even swine are infected. Only people.

The biggest lesson learned from the 1976 episode is that it's useful to prepare for an epidemic but without committing to it prematurely.

cat-napped_pictures_of_cats.jpgThe same lesson should apply to how we manage ourselves in relation to our pets within the potential crisis. And that is, not to panic and begin treatments that do not apply and could be harmful in themselves, either to us or to our pets. However, it is extremely important to monitor everyone in the household and to exercise good hygiene.

Even if your cat becomes ill, and it turns out to be a cat version of the flu, or H5N1, there is absolutely no reason to believe you will be infected. For this virus, there is no evidence of a trans-species infectiousness in either direction. In other words, if you fall ill, you can't pass it on to the cat, either.

Public health officials have announced that cats and dogs seem to be safe and that there is no evidence anywhere that these pets can contract the infection.

For now, it appears that pigs are in more danger from us than the other way around.

Dr. R.J. Peters established a rescue facility in 2002 and has worked with more than 1,000 cats and dogs. Visit her website, http://www.theproblemcat.com for more articles and information about pets.

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healthy cat food.jpgCats are vulnerable to certain common ailments and as a cat owner, it is up to you to keep an eye on the general health and well-being of your feline friend.

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Watch for signs of disease, ill health, or injury, by observing how they look, how they eat, sleep, or even walk. Note any changes in behavior or activity and call your vet for advice. If recommended, take the cat in for a professional examination.

Here are some of the most common things to watch for:

1. Diarrhea. Cats have very sensitive digestive systems, so diarrhea is quite common when their diet is changed or if they've gotten into something they shouldn't have, such as table scraps, human snack foods, or even mice (could be dangerous if the rodent has been poisoned). The first thing to do wtih diarrhea, if the cat seems OK in every other way, is to supervise its diet. One way to do this is to remove your cat's food dish for 24 hours. Dehydration is one of the worst side effects of diarrhea, so keep plenty of fresh, clean water available. The next day, feed the cat some cooked hamburger and rice (no spices for flavor!). This is considered a non-allergenic, but temporary, diet for gastro-intestinal cleansing. If the diarrhea stops, resume his normal diet, but with smaller portions for a day or so. If the diarrhea won't stop, it's time for a visit to your vet, who might want to check for intestinal parasites, or a potential disease process.

allerica_pictures_of_cats.jpg2. Vomiting. Cats who throw up often might be victims of poor diet, poor grooming, or ingesting something they shouldn't. Vomiting is a sign that the body doesn't like, or can't handle, some things. If your cat is eating cheap dry kibble, such as "grocery store food," most likely the vomiting is due to inadequate nutrition and too many additives. Cheap foods may contain poor ingredients, along with fillers, such as bentonite (a type of clay) and plastic pellets "recycled" into a powder. Who wouldn't vomit on that diet?

Other causes of vomiting can include allergies, hairballs (be sure to groom often so they don't swallow too much fur), and eating plant matter. Also watch that your cat isn't eating any house plants, as some are toxic.

The best remedy to this problem is to provide a good quality, nutritious food. And, as with diarrhea, excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration, too, so provide water at all times.

3. FIV, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. This disease is similar to the HIV virus in humans, but they are not related to the point that any cross communicability is possible. Thus, a human cannot get AIDS from a cat, nor can the cat get it from a human. However, it can have deadly effects on a cat, just as HIV does for people. That is, the immune deficiency may lead to death from something simple, such as a mild respiratory infection that a healthy individual could fight off.

If you have a cat with FIV, it's not an immediate death sentence, however, and your pet can live a normal life with you. However, the precautions you need to take include seclusion from other cats, never letting the cat outside, a good nutritious diet for maximum health, and keeping his living area clean so he does not succumb to a simple bacterial infection.

neutered-cat.jpg4. Diabetes. Cats can have diabetes just as humans can. It most often occurs in older cats, especially those who have had inadequate diets most of their lives. You will need to have your cat checked by a vet if he starts urinating a lot more often than usual and is not able to get to the litter box in time. If he seems more thirsty than usual, this could be a sign, too. You may need to give the cat insulin shots, and change his diet. A diabetic cat, like a human, can live for a very long time, but there is some effort to be made in diet and medication.

Article by Dr. R.J. Peters

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pictures_cats.jpgWe're all feeling the crunch, times are tight everywhere and unfortunately, pets are the ones who end up paying the price. Sometimes with tighter budgets, comes making choices about your cat's care that you never want to make. But if you've made a commitment to a cat, honor that commitment in the best way possible, by finding alternatives to abandoning your cat. YOur cat has come to love and rely on you and the sadness it feels when you abandon it is very real. So take some advice on how to save a little money while taking care of your cat.

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The best suggestion I can make to help you save money in the long run, is to keep your cat healthy. The two best ways to do that are to take your cat in for regular checkups and to keep your cats in shape.

The vet visit will make you incur expenses, but early treatment of almost all cat illnesses, results in less expensive and faster treatments. Seriously, if a disease or illness is caught early, it may only cost you the price of some medication, but if a disease is allowed to worsen, medications, hospital visits and special doctors add up quickly. Not to mention the fact that you might have to put your cat down if it gets really bad.

Keeping your cat in good shape is much easier to do, even if you are working double shifts or a second job to make ends meet. Dangle a string, toss a crumbled up piece of paper, or wiggle your toes under a blanket are all inexpensive ways to get you and your cat moving. You both need exercise, make it a game, you'll both be healthier for it.

Another idea is to prepare a few of your cat's meals or treats at home. If you are preparing chicken for yourself, make some without salt for your cat. There are lots of fancy recipes out there that contain flour, veggies, milk and other things that your cat really doesn't need, but if you want to cook up a batch of kitty cookies, be my guest.

cat_food_bowl.jpgMy guess is that the mashed up sardines will drive your cat wild before you even get the cookies in the oven, so why bother? Just give him a sardine - the whole thing. If you can get them with the heads on even better, then your cat is getting all the nutrients he needs. Supplement with a little cod liver oil, some good quality but not expensive cat food and you could save a lot of money.

I speak from experience. I buy Neo Medi-cal, an excellent cat food fortified with vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids all preserved naturally with vitamin E. Sounds really healthy and it is, he has the shiniest coat around, but all those healthy ingredients come with a healthy price tag.

So, I check in with the fishmonger at my grocery store and pick up small, whole smelts, sardines and other small fish he has on hand and ask him to grind them up really fine, head and all. I get this little package of fishy goo that Neo just loves! I freeze it into proportions - he can eat about 3 tablespoons at a time and a little goes a long way. I've managed to shave $50.00 off my cat food bill every month just by sharing my chicken and fish with him, and feeding him this raw ground up fishy goo.

I still buy the super enriched, Medi-cal, but he appreciates the variety and I think he is healthier for it, eating raw fish and meat is natural to a cat. So little by little I am hoping to make the transition to raw food with him. But for now, I am taking it slowly because he can't handle too much fishy goo and I do not like wiping up a fishy goo mess!

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