Melanie: May 2009 Archives

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 Rebeca Rambal

pictures_cats_trouble.jpgEven the most ardent fan of the feline species has to admit that cats can be little trouble makers. While dogs can cause quite a bit of mischief themselves, your cat's intelligence, size, and nimbleness can help him or her cause more than a little bit of aggravation for you from time to time. But don't worry. The two of you can learn to live a harmonious life. Here are some strategies that can help you when you have cat trouble.

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Strategy #1: Learn Feline Nonverbal Communication

You'd be surprised how much easier your life would be if you simply understood the nonverbal communication messages your cat is sending your way. For example, if your cat has a habit of nipping you as you pet him, start watching for a few key signs, such as pinned back ears and a flicking tail. These are all signs that affection time is over. If you don't take the subtle hints, your cat has to give you something you will notice: a nip with her tip. By stopping when you see these signs, you can end this problem for good.

Strategy #2: Appreciate the Value of Scratching

While scratched up furniture might not be much of a value, your cat's claws are valuable to her. She uses them to give her a sense of safety and to help her manipulate her environment. Sometimes your couch just gets in the way. The best way to stop these types of unwanted behaviors is to invest in a scratching post and rub some cat nip on it. This will encourage your cat to use the post and to leave your furniture alone. There are also special adhesive strips to avoid this problem. NEVER think of declawing. This surgery is cruel and unnecessary.

Strategy #3: Learn Their Language

Cats are like human babies. An infant cries to get what it wants, but because the baby can't articulate what it wants in a vocabulary we understand, fulfilling the child's needs can sometimes be frustrating. That's the way it is with cats and their meowing. Incessant meowing can, admittedly, be annoying, but it is not being done to make you go crazy or to make ear plug manufacturers wealthy. Your cat is trying to say, "I want this. Please give it to me." As the human, you have to learn what "it" is. Sometimes it's food, a change of litter, or affection. A non-spayed female will meow a great deal when she is ready to mate. Trial and error is the best approach. Just remain calm and remember the meowing is a cry for assistance and not a tool for torture.

Strategy #4: End Bad Digging

pictures_cats_digging.jpegCats enjoy digging - something you may have noticed. They use digging to cover up their waste in the litter box, but they will also go digging as a way to entertain themselves. Your cat might, for example, decide to dig up your garden or your houseplants. Be proactive. Go to the grocery store and buy some fresh citrus fruits. It doesn't matter what kind you get. Cats aren't font of anything citrus. Remove the rinds from the fruits and bury them in the soil where you do not want your cat to dig. This will work wonders. But it might be a good idea to give her a safe outlet for her digging passion, such as a small sandbox in your fenced in backyard or a pot of dirt of her very own.

Following some of these strategies can make living with your cat much more enjoyable for both of you.

If you want to read more stories and find very useful information about your cats and dogs, please visit me at http://www.yourpetsuniverse.com

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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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pictures_cats_kitten.jpegIf you're like most cat owners, the thought of any connection between feline diabetes and dry cat food never crosses your mind. But it should. The ugly truth is that a steady diet of dry cat food often leads to major health problems like feline obesity and diabetes in cats. Here's what you need to know if you think your kitty is doing just "fine" on dry food.

Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

What is an obligate carnivore? Simply put, it's an animal who needs to get her protein from meat, not grains. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Meat contains all the amino acids needed by an obligate carnivore. Grains do not. People and dogs are able to make the missing amino acids, but cats can't. This is why you can't make your feline into a vegetarian. You can't argue with Mother Nature.

The problem is that dry food is made up mostly from grains. Why? Because grains are cheaper than meat, so using more grain is better for the bottom line of the pet food companies.

Don't be confused by protein percentage on the dry food bag label. It looks like dry food has more protein in it than canned food does. You have to look at the dry matter basis, which is the accurate way to compare them. On a dry matter basis, canned food has more protein. Also remember that the type of protein is critical too--whether it comes from grains or from meat.

Too Many Carbohydrates Leads To Feline Obesity

pictures_cats_healthy_cat.jpegAnother problem with grain-based dry food is that it contains too many carbohydrates. In the wild, your kitty would be eating mice and other prey animals. This diet contains only three to five percent carbohydrates. Compare this to dry food that contains 35 to 50 percent. Cheap brands contain even more.

The pet food companies recommend "free feeding," which means leaving dry food out in a dish for your kitty to nibble on whenever she wants to. Too many carbohydrates plus too much food leads to overweight cats. This problem is becoming an epidemic among the feline population, and only leads to health problems like a diabetic cat.

Can You Prevent Feline Diabetes?

I blogged about six diseases caused by dry cat food before, and now, Darlene Norris is writing about dry cat food and diabetes, one of the six diseases.

Some experts believe that diabetes in cats is a man-made problem that can be avoided completely by feeding kitties the right kind of diet. Since this disease can sometimes be reversed in cats with a change in diet, this may be true. It's much easier to prevent your pet from becoming a feline diabetic than it is to treat the disease once it's developed.

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cats-eating.jpgStart by feeding your feline friend a high-quality canned food. Lots of exercise is essential to burn up extra calories and keep her in top shape. Set aside time for two or three energetic play sessions every day.

Studies have shown that natural remedies for cats are also helpful in preventing diabetes in cats. Look for a product that contains astragalus, goat's rue, fenugreek, bilberry, and chromium picolinate. These ingredients are effective in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and they're safe and effective.

Now that you have this information, what are you waiting for? Start making changes today to prevent feline diabetes.

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 prevent and treat feline diabetes by visiting http://NaturalPetDiabetesControl.com

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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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pictures_cats_outdoors.jpegIs your cat going to be an indoor cat or outdoor cat or an indoor cat with outdoor access? It is a big decision to make for the well being of your cat and your sanity.

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You need to think carefully about the positives and negatives before deciding which way to go. Some things to consider are the dangers to your cat from other animals and mean humans. Fleas, ticks, scorpions, snakes, coyotes, rabies, etc. and do not forget annoyed neighbors.

Cats can be happy indoors, if you see to their needs. Any window with a birdfeeder and bird bath in the view can provide hours of pleasure for your cat and satisfy their stalking and hunting instincts. Open the window on nice days with a secure screen in place. A handful of chemical free grass will supply their need for green grass to eat. We keep a special patch to pick from. In the Winter months we plant a big pot of rye grass.

We lived on a 41 feet sail boat for ten years with two cats. For 5 of those years we were on a mooring and for the other five we were at a dock. We trained both cats to wear a harness when we were under way and when we were going to come into a dock. Then they quickly accepted the idea of walking on a lease, so that they could investigate their new environment. They played on the deck and went up and down stairs, dozens of times a day.

pictures_cats_indoors.jpegLater when we moved into a house, we continued to walk them on the lease. One cat even got to the point that we could carry him down the block and put him down. Then he would walk home on his own. He did not like to walk away from home, only the return trip. Being accepting of walking on a lease is also great for traveling purposes. It is a safe way to have your cat be outside.

Now we have two rescued cats who want nothing to do with the outdoors.They had enough fearful experiences outside. They both enjoy watching the birds from inside the patio doors, but they prefer their food in a food bowl. Just hearing a neighbors dog bark or seeing one from a window can freak them out and send them running for their safe hiding place.

We live in SE Arizona and outside cats do not last too long with coyotes, snakes, scorpions, rabies and other terrifying things.

Cats with outdoor access can treat you to fleas and ticks. They can bring you special gifts of a dead mouse or bird. They can be hurt by another cat, dog or other animals. Chase the wrong thing and it could be the last thing the cat does chase. But they do have the freedom to roam and upset the neighbors by using a flower bed as a litter box or hunting birds in the neighbors yard. Just because you think they are adorable, does not mean that others do.

The choice to declaw or not is a big and very important decision. I would suggest that you do a search and read the available information and discuss it with your vet, to make an informed decision.

As you can see the choice of an indoor cat or an outdoor cat affects not only you and your cat but your entire neighborhood so think long and hard before you make your decision. Your neighbors will appreciate your consideration.

Author: Judy Jantzen and her husband have owned cats for the past 25 years. Check out her website Cat Goodies Finder

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_pictures_cats_clean_ears.jpgExperts say that it's impossible to get your cat to do something because of their independent nature. They also say that cats have chosen to live with humans to survive. Many people don't believe that but there are also people that support this belief. They are usually the people who don't like cats. You need to choose for yourself what you really believe.

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If you have or had a cat, you know what great animals they are and how well they bond with people. You also know that they have very special habits. They don't like just anyone and everyone; usually they choose one person that they bond with. You can easily tell if the cat is seeking a relationship with you for he will plop on your lap, seek your attention, or snuggle up at night. Usually when cats purr it means that they really love you.

Experts have looked for the answer but no one knows why cats choose particular people to bond with. There most definitely will be something about that person that this particular cat needs or likes. Maybe it's the tone of their voice, or their manners, or the way the person treats animals. Some cats like individuals who are gentle while some prefer those who are more forceful for this brings out the best in the cat.

Some researchers say that a cat chooses a person for the "psychic aura" of the person. According to this opinion, the cat chooses the person whose physic aura is compatible with the cat. It has to do a lot with positive and negative vibration. If cat feels that a certain person has a bad vibration, the cat will ignore him. Although there are people who believe that, most of cat owners will argue with this opinion.

There are many theories on that subject but no one really knows what is causing cats to like or dislike certain people. What basis they have to bond with us is still a mystery. One thing is certain; it might not be only a natural instinct of survival. Cat owners know best how cats crave attention. Cats need to feel needed. They are affectionate creatures if you give them a proper environment.

New cat owners may say it's impossible to get your cat to have a bond with people. It is true that cats bond differently than dogs or other animals. There is no wonder in it - cats are different than dogs and they shouldn't be expected to act like them. One thing is sure, the more time you spend with your cat the more of a bond you will have with them. With time you will see that your relationship with your cat is changing for the good. Sometimes it will take a long time because cats differ among each other. But finally you will find yourself in a place when you and your cat get along pretty well.

Article by Sandy Stone from No Bad Cats

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