Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Wishes and Warnings

With the holidays quickly approaching,  it is easy to become distracted by  long to-do lists. Be sure that YOUR CAT  is included in your holiday planning.
Enjoy the holiday delicacies, but be very aware that most table food is not appropriate for your cat. Reactions from unusual and inappropriate foods can range from mild gastrointestinal upset  to severe toxicity. Beware of chocolate, onions, fatty meat scraps, bones and the fragrant  poultry carcass and meat wrappings/strings.  A few small pieces of cooked unseasoned meat as a topping to their regular meal should not be a problem for most cats, after all, it is a celebration!
Deck the halls. Safely! Secure your Christmas tree to prevent tipping, especially if your feline is prone to climbing or you have a kitten. Avoid any water additives made to prolong the life of your tree. Many of these can be harmful to your cat if they chose to sample ‘the new water bowl’. Avoid fragile ornaments or lights. Tinsel is especially dangerous to cats as many find the texture irresistible for chewing that will lead to an intestinal blockage if ingested. Shiny bows and sparkling ribbons can easily become cat toys, and be ingested.   Many common holiday plants (holly, mistletoe, lilies, and poinsettia) are dangerous if eaten.  
Visitors can be stressful; especially for your cats. Provide a safe cat sanctuary as a retreat if things become boisterous. Cats may feel uncertain about traveling through high traffic  areas to get to their food and water or litter box. Be conscious of open doors. As new guests arrive, safeguard against the opportunity for an unplanned outside cat adventure. FELIWAY is your cats best friend around the holidays.  Use it daily to help your cats thru the chaos of holiday parties, company, visitors.
Traveling with your cat? Be sure to desensitize your cat with frequent, short trips before jumping into the car for a trip over the river and through the woods. Ask your veterinarian for treats or supplements that may lower their anxiety levels; many of which should be started days or weeks before leaving. FELIWAY is a great product for use in the car and carrier. Be prepared to make frequent stops for the comfort of your cat and schedule accordingly. Create a pet packing list! Include bowls, litter, medications, comfort items, and of course their favorite food. COMPOSURE  is a cat treat that is formulated to help your cat handle stressful situations.  NUTRICALM is a liquid supplement that is a great addition to a cat's canned food in times of change.
If your cat is on prescription medication or a veterinary prescription food, be sure to stock up before the holidays.    Know your veterinarian’s holiday schedule. If an emergency happens and your cat needs veterinary assistance, do you know where to go and who to call if your regular veterinarian is closed for the holidays? It is always good to have an emergency number handy in case it’s needed,.  This is true especially  during holidays when normal business hours may be unpredictable.

The holidays should be a special time for both you and your cats.  Preventing the unexpected is the key. Be safe.  From our cats to yours, have a purrrrfect  Holiday Season!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Does Your Cat Have A Drinking Problem?

Everyone knows that water is a required component of survival for any animal. But for cats, water is especially important for maintaining kidney function, and overall health. Dehydration is a common problem, especially in older cats, that often sends owners and cats to the veterinary clinic.

 In the wild, a feral, hunting cat would receive a very significant portion of their water requirements from the prey they would eat. Did you know that a mouse is 80% water? As you can imagine, a cat who is only offered a dry kibble diet is receiving almost NO water in their diet!  Cats that eat dry food will need to drink 10 times more water than those who eat canned or raw food.
So, what can you do to increase your cat's water intake?

Offer canned food. All cats benefit from a high protein diet. Canned foods are higher in protein and water content. While a well balanced dry, kibble diet will supply your cat all its nutritional needs, at least of portion of your cats diet should be canned food. Dry kibble is often less than 10% moisture whereas an average canned food is usually 75% or above
.
Add water to your cat’s food. Water can be added to canned food to make gravy for cat’s to lick and enjoy. Even for cats that refuse canned food, a small amount of water added to dry kibble will often be tolerated.  And some cats LOVE their canned food soupy!

Promote drinking by offering multiple water sources throughout your house. Be sure that water is changed at least daily and bowls are cleaned frequently.  Water bowls should be kept a distance away from the litter box, as most cats prefer not to eat and drink in close proximity to their ‘restroom’ area.
Some cats prefer moving water and may benefit from being allowed to drink directly from the faucet or a running pet fountain.  If you have a pet fountain, be sure to scrub it out regularly.

Offer bottled water, if your city water has an off taste.  Cats, like people, will drink more if the water tastes good.

Make drinking fun!  Cats love to play with water!   Try dropping an ice cube in the water bowl. Your cat may enjoy batting the cube around and in the process, begin repeatedly licking her wet paw. You can also freeze a little low-sodium chicken broth in plastic ice cube trays and then periodically drop one into the bowl. If you do this, make sure you also have an additional bowl available with just plain water so your cat will have a choice.  Some cats prefer very cold water to drink.  And some cats LOVE to drink from a dripping faucet.

Below are listed some signs of dehydration.  Watch for these especially if you have a senior cat:


Lethargy, General signs of ‘doing poorly’
Loss of appetite
Lack of energy and/or hiding and being antisocial
Dry, unhealthy appearance to the skin and/or fur
Less elastic skin; prolonged skin tent
Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Dark, concentrated and/or strong smelling urine
Constipation, straining to defecate, dry and hard stools

An examination at Fox Valley Cat Clinic is the best way to determine if you cat is dehydrated. Also contact your veterinarian if you notice a change in your cat’s water consumption. A notable increase in drinking with no associated food change can indicate kidney, blood sugar, or other health problems.

Can your cat drink too much water daily?  NOPE!  The more the better!

Happy Drinking!
Dr. Flatley
Fox Valley Cat Clinic