Posts in Category: Cat Care
The pet obesity epidemic is a big concern in this country, and the problem is growing worse. Weight loss is not easy for anyone, human or otherwise. When it comes down to it, the solution seems simple: Eat less, exercise more. This is easier said than done, however, particularly in the cat. But there are important reasons for us to strive to reach a healthy weight for our feline companions.
Overweight cats are prone to illness and shortened lives
Overweight cats are prone to some serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer. Overweight cats live shorter lives than normal weight cats. Also, these cats tend to be “lazier”, not moving around as much, which makes it harder to detect early signs of serious illnesses. Fat cats are no laughing matter.
What can you do to help your cat slim down?
So how do we accomplish safe, successful weight loss for our furry felines?
- Cut the calories. This sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than just not eating as much. Fat cats are prone to developing a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they do not eat enough. Kitty diets should only be started under the guidance of your veterinarian. He or she can help you to calculate your cat’s daily calorie requirements. Don’t be tempted to use a self-feeder. Instead, measure out portions daily. Pet or play with your kitty when it begs–some cats are literally starving for attention! Feed small meals frequently and freshen the water bowl often. These little changes can make a big one!
- Change the food. For some cats, simply changing the diet can make a drastic difference. For instance, most canned foods have a lower caloric content than their dry counterparts. Light or diet foods are also available. Be sure that you are not cutting calories too drastically by calculating caloric needs with your veterinarian. Cats can be finicky about new foods, so be sure to gradually introduce the new diet over a 1-2 week period. You can try to make new foods more palatable by warming them slightly or adding a little oregano or a splash of salmon juice or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
- Get that kitty moving! No bones about it–it is harder to increase your cat’s activity level than your dog’s. It takes some creativity to get your cat burning calories. Make your cat “hunt” for its food by moving the bowl frequently. Try putting it at the furthest place from kitty’s sleeping spot to encourage movement. Use interactive toys such as flashlights, laser pointers, paper bags–anything your cat likes to chase to have a short activity session daily. You may need to change it up frequently.
- Keep track of progress. Rechecks and weigh-ins can help tell you if you are on the right track. Monthly weigh-ins are ideal. If you are not making progress in a month’s time, it is time to try another food or technique.
Cats are pretty self-sufficient, right? While this is true, it reality we can do a lot to extend the length and quality of our cat’s life. Paying attention to the following can really do a lot to add years to your time together:
- Keep your cat indoors if at all possible. Disease, parasites, predators, and man-made dangers such as cars lurk outside for even the savviest of kitties.
- Follow veterinary care recommendations. Routine examinations, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental care are important. We have your cat’s best interest at heart and knows that including these types of things into your care routine is vital to your cat’s well being.
- Provide an enriching environment. Cats are naturally curious, and the indoors can get boring. Interactive toys and climbing equipment are enjoyed. Also, dedicated playtime that utilizes your cat’s hunting instincts is important. Lure toys, laser pointers, and other cat-specific toys are great for this.
- Emphasize good nutrition. Provide fresh, clean water and a quality, balanced diet for your cat. Consult with your veterinarian if you think your cat is under- or over-weight.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your cat to be seen, give us call!
We all know someone who has lost a pet. It’s hard to imagine the sadness you might feel if your favorite friend were somehow separated from you. Many people think that their pet never would stray from home, however every year animals and owners are parted during natural disasters, accidents, and even theft. The best you can do is to give your pet every chance of finding their way home. This means making sure they are fitted with a collar with current identification and are sporting a registered microchip.
Microchips are implanted under the pet’s skin (usually between the shoulders) and contain a passive radiofrequency that emits a unique identifying number. These chips are about the size of a grain of rice and should last your pet’s lifetime. They do not give off GPS signals, but rather need to be read with a special scanning device possessed by most veterinarians and shelters. The unique number can then be traced into a database where your contact information can be found, provided you have kept your information current.
Microchips are not perfect, as they require the finder of the animal to have the pet scanned and the owner to register and keep the database up-to-date. By utilizing this technology, however, you give your pet one more avenue to make it home if you should ever become separated.
If you’d like to discuss a microchip for your pet, please contact us.
Fortunately for cat owners, most kittens have a natural predilection for using a litter box to eliminate. As with most things in life, however, there are exceptions. If you have a stubborn kitten, you may have to backpedal and be sure your feline friend knows what you want it to do. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Be sure the litter box is the right size for your kitten! Young kittens may have a hard time climbing over the side of a full-size box. You might consider using a cake pan or something similar until he/she gets the hang of it.
- Make sure the litter boxes are accessible. Long distances or stairs might be difficult for a little kitty to get there in time. Make sure there is a box on every floor and in the areas where your kitten spends the most time.
- Show them the way. Make a point to periodically place your kitten in the litter box, especially after meals. Encourage them to dig.
- Play with the litter. Some cats prefer a certain type of litter. Try clumping vs. nonclumping, scented or non-scented, or alternative types such as recycled newspaper or pine.
- Make sure the box isn’t too scary. Many times we inadvertently put litter boxes in out-of-the-way areas where scary monsters lurk. Noisy washing machines, refrigerators, furnaces, nosy dogs, and loud children can all be deterrents for your kitten.
By following these tips, your new kitty should be well on its way to being a litter box pro in no time at all!