Thursday, January 29, 2015

Good Lessons from Edna

Edna is our new clinic cat, a foster from the Neenah Animal Shelter.  She was found as a stray around
Thanksgiving, wandering the streets of Neenah.  Edna is an old gal -a sweet tabby that deserved better than to spend her golden years sitting in a cage.  Edna has been at the Cat Clinic for only two weeks, but she has reminded me that old cats are very special. 

Edna walks slowly, as many older cats do, especially in the mornings.   Arthritis is often more obvious in the early morning.   But exercise is still VERY important to old cats, as it helps to increase the blood flow, and exercise the heart, muscles and joints.  Edna is not playful, so her exercise is walking up and down the stairs daily to get to our staff lounge, where there are several comfy options for reclining and supervising lunchtimes.

Edna is not an enthusiastic eater.  She is thin, and needs to put weight back on if possible, or at least maintain her current weight.  Old cats often struggle to maintain their weight.  Edna will often eat if the food is put down right in front of her, but will not make the effort to travel to her meal.  Adding warm water to her canned food makes it easier to lap, rather than chew, which many old cats prefer.  Edna is being fed several times a day, and always fresh food, as "leftovers" are much less appetizing and less likely to get eaten.  We are trying many various brands and flavors of canned food to find her preferences, and are trying to offer a different choice with every meal.  Many old cats need this variety to keep them interested in eating.

Edna is also  poor groomer.  We don't know how long she was a stray, or what kind of life she led before she got "lost".  Although she is a short haired cat, she is starting to develop mats.  This is common in old cats for many reasons, and usually means that the cat is no longer grooming themselves.    She is enjoying her daily grooming sessions, and it is amazing how much hair can be combed out of one skinny old cat!   Being gentle is the key to her enjoying her grooming sessions, as her skin is fragile and she is probably arthritic along her back.  If you find an area that your cat does not appreciate being groomed, it may indicate pain.  Respect their wishes, and try to avoid sensitive areas if possible.

Edna is taking some time to get to know her new surroundings.  She has started greeting us in the morning when we all arrive at the clinic to start our day.  Like most cats, she wants to be fed  MEOW in the mornings!  It will be interesting to see how this sweet girl's personality blossoms over time.  My experience with strays is that it takes some time to build back the trust, but the journey is well worth the effort.  Many thanks to Neenah Animal Shelter for rescuing the old gal from the streets, and also allowing us to foster her.  My goal is to get her strong and beautiful so some kind soul will take her into their home and lives.  But she may just live out her life at the Fox Valley Cat Clinic as our special Edna!

Dr. Maureen Flatley
Fox Valley Cat Clinic

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dr. Flatley's New Year's Resolutions

My cats got together and made a list of the things THEY think I should do for them in the 2015.  Can you believe it!   I thought that you might be interested in what I will be working on in 2015 to improve the quality of feline happiness in my home.  (SHARE this list with your own cats AT YOUR OWN RISK!!)

1-  Brand new and BIGGER litter boxes.  We are tired of the same old litter boxes -come on -we deserve REALLY BIG BOXES!!

2-  Could you PLEASE get us new toys on a more regular basis ?  OR AT LEAST ROTATE them weekly, so we think they are new?  Fresh cat nip toys would be really appreciated around here, as somebody (Peabody) can not control himself, and always chews them open within minutes!

3-  We appreciate that DAILY SCOOPING.  And thanks for NOT USING any air fresheners around the boxes.  How about if this year you try some of the cool natural cat litter choices?   Swheat Scoop, The World's Best Cat Litter, Feline Pine all sound interesting.  DON'T take the old litterboxes completely away, though, as somebody (Stringbean) ONLY LIKES gravel.

4-  We LOVE the canned food that we get every day, but can you PLEASE keep looking for more variety.  We really LIKE a different kind of food EVERY DAY.  And while we are at it, NO LEFT OVERS.  We hate it COLD from the frig -cut that out!

5-  We know that you already help several of the local area cat rescue groups in town  AND donate your time to CATS ANONYMOUS TNR program, but we think you should do more. We see how many homeless cats there are (on facebook) and it is scary-sad.

6-  I know that you tell us that annual blood work is important for you to know how healthy we are.  OK, we promise to be on our BEST BEHAVIOR for this, but ONLY if you promise fresh pieces of warm ROTISSERIE CHICKEN as a treat on all holidays, birthdays, Sundays and full moons!

Happy New Year to all of my followers.  Improving and enriching the quality of your feline family will make them healthier and happier, a recipe for a very HAPPY NEW YEAR indeed!

Dr. Maureen Flatley  and
Peabody, Posie, and Stringbean