CAT FACTS is organized in an easy to use A-to-Z format, with quick tips boxes throughout, and a handy symptoms-conditions chart. It’s published in all E-book formats with a detailed click-able index, while the print book includes an expanded index to easily accesses life-saving and edu-training information. I hope these quick tips will intrigue and help keep your cat happy and safe.
Acne: Changing bowls to shallower dishes may help keep kitty’s chin cleaner and less prone to problems. Metal, ceramic or glass containers are more easily cleaned than plastic dishes, which seem to cause reactions in some cats.
Bad Breath: Bad odor can indicate health problems. A strong garlic breath may indicate the cat has been poisoned with arsenic. One sign of late-stage diabetes is acetone breath that smells something like nail polish remover. And signs of kidney disease include mouth ulcers and ammonia-like mouth odor.
Car Sickness: Holistic veterinarians suggest using acupressure on the PC6 point to relieve nausea. This spot is located in the small depression on the underside of the front legs, just above the pad on the wrists. Press this point for one minute before you get into the car, and as often as needed during the trip, to help calm the tummy.
Dehydration: When the loose skin at the cat’s shoulder blades is gently grasped and lifted, it should quickly spring back into place upon release. When slightly dehydrated, the cat’s skin retracts slowly; more serious dehydration causes retracted skin to remain in a ridge, and spring back little if any. Fluids for treating dehydration in children, such as Pedialyte, are also suitable for cats.
Ear Mites: A natural traditional way to treat ear mites is to suffocate the bugs with oil. Place two or three drops of vegetable oil in the pet’s ears, and massage. The oil also soothes the itch, but you’ll need to treat the ears daily for at least a month to catch all the maturing bugs, and your cat’s oily head may not be to his (or your) liking.
Fatty Liver Disease: The major trigger of the condition is when the cat stops eating. An adult cat should not go without eating for more than 48 hours without consulting your veterinarian. Cats that drastically reduce their caloric intact over several weeks also run the risk.
Grief: When pets grieve, they usually show their sense of loss with behavior changes. Separation anxiety is one form of grief—your cat only understands someone she loves is gone. Play music, particularly uplifting, faster tempos to lift depression. Harp music can have a soothing effect. But any music that your pet associates with positive times could be helpful.
Hairballs: Commercial “hairball” high-fiber diets and fiber supplements may be a better choice for chronic problems. The extra bulk helps carry the hairs naturally through the system so they’re eliminated in the litter box. Plain bran, flavor-free varieties of Metamucil, or a teaspoon of canned nonflavored pumpkin (a favorite with some cats) added to the diet also provides the necessarily bulk.
Ibuprofen poisoning: The drug prevents oxygen from being absorbed into the blood, which may result in your cat’s gums turning blue from lack of oxygen, and the cat having difficulty breathing. Induce vomiting using three percent hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon per 10 pounds of pet, and immediately contact your veterinarian.
Kittens: They are born blind, deaf and toothless, and totally dependent on their mother. Unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own, kittens will die without prompt attention from the queen — or human able to keep them warm.
Litter box: The rule of thumb is to have one pan per cat, plus one. That’s because often cats don’t want to share bathroom facilities, or may prefer to use one for urine and the other for feces. Also, tiny kittens as well as arthritic senior cats need extra help to reach a distant box, so two located in both ends of the house helps prevent accidents.
Milk, as food: Lactase is the enzyme required to break down lactose. If the cat’s intestinal tract doesn’t contain the right amounts of this enzyme, drinking milk will result in a nasty bout of diarrhea.
Otitis: Ear infections must be diagnosed by a veterinarian. The herb pau d’arco, also called Inca Gold, is a natural antibiotic that quickly kills fungi and bacteria and may be recommended by your holistic veterinarian.
Play: Interactive play encourages a tubby tabby to exercise and stimulates healthy weight loss. Aggressive cats may benefit from play, which allows them to release their energy in a more productive way. And play can boost the confidence of a shy cat, distract the fearful cat, and help relieve stress.
Quarantine: A cat incubating a highly contagious disease becomes sick within two to three weeks of exposure. Quarantine the new cat for a minimum of two weeks (a month is better) to reduce risk of exposure for your other pets.
Restraint: Applying neck clips produced similar results to “scruffing.” Called pinch-induced behavioral inhibition (PIBI) or “clipnosis,” the response to the clipping is nearly identical to kittens picked up by the skin of their neck by their mother, and some cats even began to purr. However, the clipping procedure won’t work when the cat is already upset.
Soiling: Once urine dries on carpet or walls your cat’s “pee-mail” notes are even more difficult to locate and clean. Turn off all your lights and shine a high-quality black light on suspect areas—that makes urine glow in the dark.
Toxoplasmosis: Since several days are needed for the oocysts to become infective, simply cleaning the cat’s litter box each day eliminates that route of infection. People in high-risk groups, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems should have someone else perform litter box duty.
Upper respiratory infection: Cleaning the cat’s nose and eyes is an important part of therapy. Use a soft cloth or cotton dampened with saline or warm water to gently soak crusts away. A humidifier will also help the cat breathe. If you don’t have a humidifier, simply run hot water in the shower or bathtub, and have the cat spend time in the steamy bathroom to ease congestion.
Vomiting: Vomiting is probably not a cause for concern if it happens only once or twice and the cat acts normal before and after. Resting the digestive tract by withholding food and water for 12 hours or so will usually resolve the gastric irritation.
Wool sucking: Wool sucking or chewing is not due to a nutritional deficiency, but is believed to be related to eating. The behavior can be prompted by withholding food, and appears to abate when food or plants are made available.
Yellow fat disease: Historically, cats that became sick with this condition were fed diets primarily consisting of tuna. The strong flavor of this diet is highly addictive to cats, and many refuse to eat anything else once exposed to the flavor. Treatment consists of feeding the cat a complete and balanced diet, along with vitamin E supplementation. Oftentimes, 100 IU of vitamin E twice daily resolves the condition within a few weeks.
Xylitol poisoning: The ingested substance may cause vomiting, incoordination, seizures, or even liver failure. Bleeding may develop in the cat’s gastrointestinal track or abdomen, as well as dark red specks or splotches on his gums. Usually the symptoms happen quickly, within fifteen to thirty minutes of ingestion, but some kinds of sugar-free gum may not cause symptoms for up to twelve hours. But if you see your cat eat something containing xylitol, induce vomiting immediately and then get to the veterinarian.
Zoonosis: The most common zoonotic diseases associated with cats can be avoided with basic hygiene and other common sense preventative measures, such as routine vaccinations and parasite prevention.
By Sarah Zumhofe