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How Fat is too fat?

Tuesday, 01 September 2009 16:36

categories: Cat Health
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Do you monitor how much your cat eats?

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Meet Hercules. He's a 20.2 pound tabby from Oregon that was captured by the Human Society in Oregon when he got  caught in a doggy door while trying to sneak into a home to steal food.

The owner of the home was shocked to find him and found it quite funny. She said, "It was hilarious to see this big cat struggling to get in. I helped him out of the door and gave him a plate of food on the patio."

The cat was assumed to be a stray, but he actually belongs to someone. Geoff Ernest saw his cat on TV and immediately called the Humane Society to pick him up.

He is super cute, but unfortunately it seems that he was diagnosed with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, cats can live a long time with the disease, but should remain indoors so he doesn't spread the disease.

 

SOURCE: DLISTED

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Can a cat grow wings? Fact or Fiction?

Saturday, 01 August 2009 12:45

categories: Cat Health
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Are winged Cats a new breed of cat?

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Granny Feng's tom cat has sprouted two hairy 4ins long wings, reports the Huashang News.

"At first, they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings," she said.

Feng, of Xianyang city, Shaanxi province, says the wings, which contain bones, make her pet look like a 'cat angel'.

Her explanation is that the cat sprouted the wings after being sexually harassed.

"A month ago, many female cats in heat came to harass him, and then the wings started to grow," she said.

However, experts say the phenomenon is more likely down to a gene mutation, and say it shouldn't prevent the cat living a normal life.

Source

According to Wikipedia:

There are more than 138 reported sightings of animals claimed to be winged cats, though some of these are clearly nothing more than individuals with clumps of matted fur. There are over 30 documented cases (with physical evidence) and at least 20 photographs and one video. There is at least one stuffed winged cat, but this may be a nineteenth century fake or "grift".

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YOU CAN HELP! 12 WAYS OF GIVING: Winter no wonderland for hungry cats!!!

Monday, 22 December 2008 4:07

categories: Cat Health
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By Jamie Gumbrecht The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

This holiday season, there are many ways to get involved in the community and help others. In this recurring feature, we’ll highlight 12 ways of giving, whether it’s time, gifts, supplies, money or compassion.

 

What: PAWS Atlanta Can-a-Thon.

Who it helps and how: Young, sick and underweight cat and dogs at PAWS Atlanta, who go through 20 to 35 cans of food per day. The organization hopes to gather at least 600 cans of pet food to start 2009 with a steady supply.

How to get involved: Drop canned cat or dog food, even dinged and dented, anytime through Jan. 3 at PAWS Atlanta adoption events or at the main office at 5287 Covington Highway, Decatur.

Why help: More food means more animals get help. A mild winter will mean more animals are born, but “our resources haven’t been as abundant, which means we can take in fewer animals,” says Trey Burley, PAWS’ development manager.

To learn more: Go online at pawsatlanta.org or call 770-593-1155.

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AJAX UPDATE! & Do you have pet insurance or a wellness plan?

Tuesday, 02 December 2008 0:13

categories: Cat Health

Do you have pet insurance or a wellness plan?

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So earlier AJAX was feeling pretty down (not eating, drinking) - see AJAX had his vaccinations yesterday…. :(, but now he seems to be doing better!!!!  It's been about 24 hours since his doctor visit at Banfield and his his fever broke.  He is eating (very lightly) in between very quick bursts of play, followed by a bewildered state of confusion ("Why am I so tired/) and then nap.  :)  He is going to be okay. YAY!

 

Speaking of Banfield, we opted to get a wellness plan, which is really cool because its sort of like having pet insurance.  I didn't really compare any other plans beforehand since I wasn't really aware of them.  But here are some of the one's that I just came across.

 

 


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AJAX had his vaccinations yesterday…. :(

Monday, 01 December 2008 13:48

categories: Cat Health

So my little sweetie pie had his first round of vaccinations yesterday.  After we got home from the vet he was his usual self; bounds of energy, leaping from the couch to the tables and running all around... but after about an hour he got very quiet and still.  He balled up into a round little ball of fur and went to sleep on our bed.  I picked him up to transfer him to his bed and to my surprise he squealed with pain. :(   The same little "pig cat" that just ate a huge piece of pizza crust (not my idea of a good snack, but he hopped up on the table and grabbed it himself) that very morning wouldn't even look twice at his bowl of Fancy Feast Chicken and Salmon with gravy (his favorite).

He went to sleep while we watched TV and only opened his eyes when we laughed at something.  This morning he is feverish and his eyes look glassy.  All he wants to do is sleep and I feel SO BAD for him.  I worry if he will ever get his happy little spit fire spirit back? :(

I went online to research kitten vaccinations and found out that this is a typical reaction.

Check out the article below:

Allergic Reaction to Vaccines in Cats
By: Dr. Mark Thompson

Immunizations (or vaccines) are intended to stimulate the immune system so as to protect the animal from a specific infectious agent. However, this stimulation may cause some minor symptoms. Your pet may react to immunizations in ways that range from soreness at the site of injection to mild fever to allergic reactions, which can range from mild to severe.

# Mild. Mild reactions include fever, sluggishness and loss of appetite. Mild reactions usually resolve without treatment.

# Moderate. Urticaria is a moderate vascular reaction of the skin marked by hives or wheals and rapid swelling and redness of the lips, around the eyes, and in the neck region. It is usually extremely itchy. Urticaria may progress to anaphylaxis, which is considered life-threatening. Urticaria is the most common reaction in cats.

# Severe. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis, a sudden, severe allergic response that produces breathing difficulties, collapse and possible death. Symptoms usually include sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhea, staggering, rapid drop in blood pressure, swelling of the larynx leading to airway obstruction (and inability to breathe), seizures and cardiovascular collapse or death. This reaction is life-threatening for your cat.

Both anaphylaxis and urticaria are reactions that are triggered by antibodies that the immune system has made to some portion of the vaccine and usually requires at least one previous exposure to the vaccine. The antibodies cause inflammatory cells like basophils and mast cells to release substances that cause the allergic reaction. The impact on the cat may be life threatening but if treated successfully the prognosis for long-term health is good. Mild reactions usually resolve without treatment.

Treatment
# Anaphylaxis is an extreme emergency. Your veterinarian will begin immediate emergency life support including establishing an open airway, oxygen administration, intravenous fluids to increase blood pressure and drugs such as epinephrine, diphenhydramine and corticosteroids. Cats that survive the first few minutes usually return to normal health. Anaphylaxis usually occurs soon after vaccination, often while the cat is still in the veterinary clinic.

# Urticaria occurs soon after vaccination, often shortly after the animal gets home. Your veterinarian will recommend immediate return to the hospital for treatment. An oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) may be recommended to initiate treatment. Urticaria is usually treated successfully with injectable corticosteroids like dexamethasone or prednisone. Antihistamines do little to help with acute allergic reactions but may be given by injection to help prevent recurrence of symptoms after steroids wear off.

# Mild vaccination reactions usually require no treatment. However, if the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, call your veterinarian.

Home Care
Be sure to schedule vaccination appointments when you will be available to monitor your cat after the vaccine is administered. Be sure to call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

Preventative Care
The good news is that severe vaccination reactions are rare. The risk of anaphylaxis and urticaria are much more rare than the benefit of the vaccine in most cases. You can limit vaccines to those that prevent diseases to which your cat may be exposed. Your veterinarian is the best judge of what vaccines are needed to protect against the diseases in your area.

Your veterinarian will record any adverse reactions to vaccines to help prevent those vaccines from being administered again. It is a good idea to also keep a record yourself. "

SOURCE: PET PLACE

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Fifty Cats Fatally Infected in Sacramento Shelter Outbreak

Monday, 01 December 2008 3:57

categories: Cat Health
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Fifty cats were being euthanized Sunday as personnel worked to contain an outbreak of a deadly and contagious feline virus at the Sacramento city main animal shelter, according to a city spokeswoman.

 

Workers at the Sacramento City Animal Care Services Center on Front Street were forced to put down 50 cats over the weekend after the animals showed signs of panleukopenia, a viral infection commonly known as feline distemper, Sacramento city spokeswoman Rhea Allen said.

 

The outbreak began Saturday after workers noticed seven cats at the shelter began showing symptoms of the highly-contagious disease. The virus routinely kills 60 to 90 percent of exposed cats.

 

Five animals tested positive for the virus Saturday and were euthanized. By Sunday, nearly all of the 50 to 60 cats who shared the infected area were showing signs of the virus and would all be put to sleep, Allen said.

 

Another nearly 40 cats housed in another part of the shelter were unaffected by the disease.

 

Investigators were trying to determine how the outbreak started. All cats who pass through the city shelter are vaccinated for panleukopenia, which is commonly spread through bodily fluids, but can be transmitted via common bedding, food dishes or human contact.

 

Administrative Officer Donna Wicky said her staff was distraught by the outbreak.

 

"It's heartbreaking to have to look into a cat that's healthy one minute, and then the next, you know is not going to be," Wicky said. "The staff has been devastated."

 

Dogs and all other animals at the shelter are not affected by the disease.

 

Allen said the shelter was undergoing a thorough cleaning and disinfecting process Sunday and Monday when the shelter is usually closed. The center was expected to reopen for adoptions on Tuesday.

 

All cats brought in over the weekend were transfered to the county animal shelter on Bradshaw Road.

 

News10/KXTV

 

Copyright 2008 / All Rights Reserved

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Cat Gyms! A great solution for cat obesity!

Sunday, 30 November 2008 1:15

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PetsCompany has a great article about kitty gyms:

It’s a well-known fact that pets have to exercise in order to keep healthy and happy. If your busy schedule prevents you from taking them out on regular walks, or if you live in the city where there’s little room for a spirited romp, you can invest in a pet gym.

The demand in the United States for pet gyms has steadily increased over the years, and manufacturers have responded to this by introducing a wide variety of gyms. Some are portable, and can be used at home; others are located at specialty centers which offer yearly membership. To help you decide which of those products are the best for your pet, consider these factors. 

Kitty Gyms and Kitty Condos

Cats are active creatures, and without any exercise they will vent their energies on bookshelves, couches, an antique sofa. A kitty gym is an excellent way of giving them something to do while protecting your own property. 

Kitty gyms are usually several feet high, and are equipped with sisal cat scratching posts and rope for cats to play with. It also breaks into several levels, allowing them to jump and pounce to their hearts’ content. Some kitty gyms have cat hammocks, others even have kitty condos. Kitty condos, as the name implies, are mini apartments where they can play and do what cats do best—nap.

Kitty condos come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Some of them have themed designs: castles, palaces, bistros, and skyscrapers.

Good kitty gyms come at a price, though. They can cost upwards of $100, depending on the retailer.

Images from Cozy Cat Furniture

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What is Catnip?

Sunday, 30 November 2008 0:54

 

I keep hearing that Catnip is like pot for cats...  Is it safe?  Is this something that is harmful to cats?  My little kitty AJAX is not really old enough for catnip to take effect.  So I thought that I would research before exposing him to this phenomenon! 

 

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famed effect on cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in the animal temporarily exhibiting behaviors indicative of being in an induced,euphorically giddy sort of state.

 

Effects on cats:

Catnip and catmints are mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, particularly domestic cats.  When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, often salivating copiously. Some cats will also growl and meow. This reaction only lasts for about ten minutes before the cat loses interest. It takes up to two hours for the cat to "reset" after which it can come back to the catnip and have the same response as before. Young kittens and older cats are less likely to react to catnip.

 

Approximately two thirds of cats are susceptible to the behavioral effects of catnip. The phenomenon is hereditary; for example, most cats in Australia are not susceptible to catnip, since Australian cats are drawn from a relatively closed genetic pool.  It elicits such a response in only some cats, because a genetic element is involved that is enriched in domesticated breeds. There is some disagreement about the susceptibility of lions and tigers to catnip. Some claim that the way lions and domestic cats react to catnip suggest further evidence of the genetic existence of a susceptibility to catnip outside of domestic felines.

 

Although no one knows exactly what happens in the cat's brain, it is known that the chemicalnepetalactone in catnip is the thing that triggers the response. Apparently, it somehow kicks off a stereotypical pattern in cats that are sensitive to the chemical. The catnip reaction is inherited, and some cats are totally unaffected by it. Large cats like tigers can be sensitive to it as well.

 

The reaction to catnip only lasts a few minutes. Then the cat acclimates to it, and it can take an hour or two away from catnip for the cat to "reset." Then, the same reaction can occur again. Very young kittens and older cats seem less likely to have a reaction to catnip.

 

These links will help you learn more:

Picture of Catnip

What's That Stuff?: Catnip

Nepetalactone Chemistry

 

 

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Obesity in cats is not a laughing matter...

Saturday, 29 November 2008 21:30

 

People think that the idea of a "fat cat" is funny, there are even commercials and animated characters about them.  Obesity in cats is very common and can predispose the cat to diabetes, Hepatic Lipidosis and arthritis.  Overweight and actually obese cats outnumber cats of normal weigh and are being seen more and more commonly by veterinarians for various disorders.  Weight loss plans in cats needs to be approached very carefully.  

 

Twenty-Five percent of cats are clinically obese, which is defined as an excess accumulation of body fat. This is important because obesity can reduce your cats life span.

 

PetEducation.com also lists some of the more common diseases and conditions which can contribute to obesity:

 

  1. Food type, availability, and palatability: Some cats will only eat what they need and do fine if their food is available free choice (available at all times). Others will eat as much as is available and then look for more. Many cats are finicky and others will eat just about anything. So the amount and type of food that is fed and the eating tendencies of the cat can determine how likely it is a cat will become overweight.  The type of food fed has a direct bearing on the tendency of a cat to become overweight. Table scraps, treats, even premium high-energy cat foods can contribute to obesity. A 7-year-old lap cat whose main exercise is walking to and from the food bowl does not need a high-energy cat food, whereas his brother who is a barn cat and lives outside has high energy needs and a more high energy food may be in order (depending upon the number of mice caught!).

 

  1. Activity level: Activity level plays a major role in determining the caloric needs of a cat and thus his tendency to become overweight. An active cat will use more calories.

 

  1. Neutering and spaying: Neutering and spaying cats lowers their metabolic rate such that they require fewer calories than intact cats. In addition to changes in metabolism, androgens and estrogens (male and female sex hormones, respectively) stimulate roaming behavior and general physical activity. Estrogen, in addition, has the effect of decreasing appetite. Spayed cats never have the extra energy demands of pregnancy or raising a litter.  Neutered and spayed cats require only 75-80% of the food given to intact cats. Since their energy needs are less, if we feed spayed and neutered cats what we would feed intact cats, they will, of course, gain weight. In truth, most neutered and spayed cats are overfed and underexercised and are twice as likely to become obese as intact cats. Neutering and spaying in themselves do not cause obesity, it is how we care for the cats afterwards that predispose them to becoming overweight.

 

  1. Genetics and breed predispositions: Are some breeds simply more prone to becoming overweight? The answer is not as clear as it is in dogs. We know that some breeds of dogs are predisposed to obesity. In cats, it has been found that mixed breeds may have more of a tendency to become overweight than purebreds such as the Abyssinian.  Genetic factors which influence the type and characteristics of fat produced by the body have been shown to contribute to obesity in rats and mice. Such factors may occur in cats.

 

  1. Age: Cats tend to become overweight when they are between 2 and 12 years of age, especially around the 6 year mark. As cats become 'senior,' the tendency to become overweight decreases. Young cats, too, in general, are less likely to be overweight, since their energy requirements are high since they are growing and are generally more active.

 

  1. Social environment: Many people will acknowledge they eat more when they are stressed, and often eat less nutritious food. For me, large amounts of chocolate come to mind. Some cats may have similar responses to stress. Cats who live in a multi-cat or even multi-pet households may tend to eat more and/or faster than those in one-cat households. The change in behavior when other animals are present is called 'social facilitation.' The competition for food, whether perceived or actual, makes some cats much more focused on their food and can lead to obesity.

 

  1. Physical Environment: Maintaining body temperature is an energy-consuming task. When a cat is in an environment with a temperature below freezing, his calorie requirements increase dramatically. Conversely, an inside cat uses relatively few calories to maintain normal body temperature.

 

  1. Medications: Various medications can influence metabolism and appetite. These include the glucocorticoids such as prednisone and dexamethasone, the barbiturates such as phenobarbital which is used to control epilepsy, and a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which includes valium.

 

  1. Hypothyroidism: In the disease hypothyroidism, the cat's body produces less thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone influences metabolic rate. Less thyroid hormone means lower metabolic rate and lower energy needs. A normal cat will become overweight if he develops hypothyroidism and is fed the same amount he was fed when he was healthy. Hypothyroidism is an uncommon condition in cats, but it can occur.  It is very difficult to get a hypothyroid cat to lose weight even when fed a weight reduction diet. By treating the hypothyroidism in conjunction with starting a weight control program, chances of success are much higher.

 

  1. Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism): Cushing's disease is a disease in which the adrenal gland produces too high a level of glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids can alter metabolism and cause an increase in appetite and an increased deposition of fat. Again, in addition to starting a weight control program, the Cushing's disease must be managed if the cat is to successfully lose weight. Cushing's disease is uncommon in cats, but can occur.

 

  1. Insulinoma: An insulinoma is a tumor that occurs in the pancreas. It is a tumor consisting of the cells that produce insulin. A cat with an insulinoma produces too much insulin. Insulin tends to increase food intake and promote the generation of tissue, including fat. Insulinomas are rare in cats.

 

  1. Pituitary gland and brain diseases: The pituitary gland is often called the 'master gland' because it produces hormones itself and regulates the production of hormones from most of the other glands. If the pituitary gland is functioning abnormally, changes in the levels of various hormones can change the cat's metabolism, appetite, and fat deposition. The hypothalamus in the brain regulates appetite. Hypothalamic abnormalities could account for rare instances of increased appetite resulting in obesity.

 

Read

Fat Cats: Cat Obesity Is Bad For Your Cat's General Health

and

"Obesity in cats" for more info

 

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Enclosures - The great compromise!

Saturday, 29 November 2008 14:24

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A solution to keeping your cat indoors it's entire life is to build an enclosure!

 

 

The images above are from the Cats of Australia website.  They have a cool story about Ideas on how to build a safe Outdoor Cat Run or Cat Enclosure. Cat Proof Fencing, Cat Enclosures, Cat Runs, Cat Tunnels & more!!!

I also read about 5 lucky cats that live in a beautiful garden.  Check out the exerpt from Victorian Flower Garden

Until about five years ago I'd always allowed my cats to roam freely. Then, after I'd lost a cat on the roads and as I became aware of what a nuisance my cats must be roaming about the neighbourhood, I decided to build them a cat run - but not any old cat run - this was to be a cat empire! This coincided with the introduction of strict cat controls by the local council in Bendigo - fate telling me it was a good idea.

 

I wish I'd done it many years sooner. The cats have never been happier or healthier, and actually prefer the enclosures to the 'outside' (given the choice, the cats will always opt for the cat door into the enclosures rather than the human door into 'freedom'). They feel incredibly safe inside them - something I realised when, the first week they were in the cat run, they happily sat not two metres away from the lawnmower man and his thundering machine when previously they'd always run terrified from him.

 

Now that I have moved down to Tasmania, the cat empire has expanded to suit Nonsuch's huge garden - the cats have more space than ever.  I had several options in building my cat enclosure. I could have cat proofed the fences, but, as with my house in Bendigo, the fences here at Nonsuch are too difficult, and too extensive, to cat proof. I could also have had one huge enclosure, but I've always preferred the system whereby many small enclosures are linked by long walkways - that way the cats can still explore the garden, enjoy many different environments, and have the opportunity for lots of exercise (I have two enclosures sitting on the roof of the car port - a very different view that they love!). Currently the enclosure system at Nonsuch is a full 250 metres all the way about.

 

Visit a clickable plan of the enclosures.

 

 

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