May 3, 2013

How To Prepare for a Kitten

Filed under: cats,Kitten Care — Tags: , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:25 pm

Prepare for KittenMaking the decision to bring a kitten home can be very exciting. Who wouldn’t want a small, cute, furry friend to join their home? Just keep in mind that your new friend is going to be completely reliant on you. Your kitten will be entering a new environment and must feel safe, loved, and taken care of. Use the following tips to help you prepare for a kitten, in order to ensure that you start your relationship off on the right foot.

1. Inform your household of the kitten’s arrival
Since the kitten will become part of your family, it is important to inform everyone in your home about your new furry friend. This will help ensure that everyone is prepared for the arrival of the new family member. It will also give a chance for others to lend a helping hand, to prepare for your kitten’s arrival.

2. Do some research
If you have never had a cat before, it is important that to understand cat behaviors. This will help you to not only better understand your cat, but it will help you take care of your cat. Once you have conducted research, be sure to share it with other’s in your household.

3. Choose a spot for your furry friend
Designate a certain spot in your house that will be your cat’s own space. This spot should be warm and secure. You should also “cat-proof” the space by making sure that objects, like plants that are poisonous to cats and cable wires, are out of the kitten’s reach.

4. Visit a pet store
There are important items that kittens need in their daily lives. Ensure that you have acquired these items before the arrival of your four-legged friend:

Litter box: A new, clean and comfortable litter box should be acquired for the kitten.

Food and water bowls: Opt for a ceramic or stainless steel bowl. They are said to be healthier for pets.

An identification tag: Whether you plan to have an indoor or outdoor cat, you want to make sure that your furry friend will be found if he ever gets lost.

Scratching post: Cats need to scratch themselves and a scratching post will prevent your kitten from using your carpet or furniture as his scratching stations.

Cat carrier: You’ll want a carrier in order to safely transport your kitten while travelling or even for simple visit to the vet.

Food: There are many brands of kitten food and it is important to do research on the best type of food before buying. Providing your kitten with a nutritious diet will prevent health problems in the long run.

Tools for grooming: Even kittens need good grooming. A comb, brush and shampoo can help achieve this.

5. Visit a veterinarian with your kitten
Upon your kitten’s arrival, it is important to visit a veterinarian. Your vet will check the kitten’s overall health while also offering you advice on how to care for your new friend.

After these 5 steps, you should be prepared and ready to welcome home your new friend.

We’re social! Do you have a comment, question, or concern about bringing a kitten home? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or the comment box below.

 

March 15, 2013

Kidney Disease Awareness for Cats and Dogs

Did you know that it is National Kidney Awareness Month? Similar to how kidney disease can affect humans, it can also develop in pets. As a matter of fact, kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in cats. This is pretty scary if you’re a cat owner, right?

What do kidneys even do? Well, they are organs that have two main jobs:

1. Remove waste/toxins from the blood
2. Maintain bodily fluids

The job that kidneys perform is just as important as the job of our hearts. Without kidneys, animals, as well as humans, would die.

The problem with kidney disease is that it is hard to detect until it is too late. When you begin to see symptoms of the disease in your cat or dog, it is likely that 75% of their kidneys are already damaged. Such symptoms include:

• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Cloudy urine
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Bad breath
• Ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue
• Dull coats with heavy shedding

Since kidney disease is hard to detect until most of the damage is done, you have to take care of your pet’s kidney health (and all aspects of their health) the moment you become a pet owner. In order to do this, make sure that you take your furry friend for yearly check-ups with your vet, and ensure that your vet is doing yearly blood work. It is easier to detect illnesses, like kidney disease, through blood tests than relying on symptoms.

If your cat, dog, or any other pet has kidney disease, it is likely that your doctor will recommend the following treatment options:

1. Diet change
2. Fluid therapy
3. Various medications

Make sure you do the research regarding the pros and cons of all treatments. There are even natural options to help with kidney disease that you may find more suitable for your pet.

Below is a list of cat and dog breeds that are the most susceptible to kidney disease:

Cats

• Abyssinian
• Persian
• Siamese

Dogs

• Beagles
• Bull and Cairn Terriers
• Chow Chows
• Dalmations
• Doberman Pinchers
• English Cocker Spaniels
• German Sheperds
• Minature Schnauzers
• Poodles
• Shar-Peis
• Samoyeds
• Shih Tzus

We’re social! Do you have a question, comment, or concern? Let us know by leaving a comment below or by clicking the following links to our social media pages: Facebook and Twitter.

April 21, 2012

5 New and Unusual Cats

Filed under: Cat Breeds,Uncategorized — Tags: , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:14 am

an exotic cat Cats have been around for thousands of years, and in that time they have had a chance to evolve into some interesting varieties. Sometimes you can see a cat with an odd color, or really large or with a crooked tail. Well, the following breeds are unique to say the least; in fact, they take unusual to a whole new level.

  • Khao Manee is actually a very old breed that has been in the Philippines for over 650 years. It is considered to be a very lucky animal to own and as such was kept by the Indonesians until finally a breeding pair was allowed to leave to the United States in 1999. The cats look like a Siamese cat but are pure white and have one gold eye and one blue. They are so valuable that kittens can sell for $8-10,0000 dollars apiece.
  • American Bobtail is a large sturdy cat that is very playful and can be easily taught to play fetch. Although it resembles a bobcat, it does not have any of that breeding in it, although to be a registered cat, it must have a short stub tail that stands up straight. It can be trained easily to walk calmly on a leash. They are very clever and can free themselves from almost any crate or enclosure, and this may reflect their strong bond onto their owners.
  • Don Sphynx was just developed in 1980 in Russia. It is a genetically bred hairless cat where the hairless gene is dominant unlike the regular Sphynx cat where it is recessive. Being dominant assures that this cat loses its hair by the age of 2. Being hairless, their skin does require extra care and a daily bath is recommended. They have elongated toes, which they can use much like fingers to play with their toys. They have higher body temperature which makes them more immune from disease, but increases their caloric demands.
  • Peterbald is a cross between a Don Sphynx and Oriental Shorthair and is a very new breed that was just recognized by the International Cat Association in 1997. It is a friendly breed that gets along with other cats and pets. It can be hairless, but also comes in 3 other coat types including a curly haired coat. They have a medium build with a whip like tail, long ears and almond eyes.
  • Tea Cup Persians are actually regular Persians that have been bred to be very small by selection. They are not genetic mutants but can have more problems if highly inbred to be this small. They grow to be only 6 lbs or less at adult weight. They have become increasing popular in the last few years along with the popularity of teacup pigs, teacup dogs and miniature horses. They have the same features as the full size Persians along with the same health problems Persians have. Due to their rarity, they can be more expensive than full size Persians.

A good place to see many exotic cats and their enthusiastic owners is a local cat show. The exhibitors are always ready to share their knowledge and years of experience with visitors and it is amazing to see the variety of cats being exhibited at even a small event.

April 19, 2012

How To Tell If Your Pet Is Suffering From Allergies

Filed under: cat health — Tags: , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:03 am

cat allergyYour cat scratches, scratches, and scratches, but you’ve yet to find a flea on her. Perhaps she’s displaying pet allergy symptoms. Many pet owners are unaware that their furry friends can get allergies just like humans do. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, allergies in dogs or cats can be caused by variables as diverse as pollen, grass, mold, mildew, fleas, fragrances, food, and chemicals. In other words, anything from a flea to the dog shampoo you lovingly bathed your puppy might be making them miserable.

Pet sensitivities are harder to diagnose than human ones, and it might take a while to figure out that they are sick. A cat or dog cannot tell you that they started feeling sick and congested after their morning walk through the flower fields, or that the new diet you put them on made them feel nauseous which is why they threw up on your favorite shoes. However, the allergy symptoms your pet may be displaying can help you diagnose the cause. The pets section of WebMd says that skin reactions are the most common pet allergy reactions but other symptoms include sneezing, difficulty breathing, watery eyes, runny noses, scratching, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases death. All symptoms can range from mild to alarming, and pet owners may not realize they are being caused by allergies. It helps to be familiar with your pet and their habits, so if anything out of the ordinary arises you will know right away.

Because pet allergy symptoms are so assorted it can take owners months or even years to realize why their pet is sick. A veterinarian can identify whether allergies are the cause of illness, but it can be expensive and time consuming. With all the possible sources pinpointing the exact reason for an allergic reaction is often difficult. Veterinarians can perform skin tests and food trials to determine the origin for sensitivities. Once the reason for the allergy is found, it may take a special diet to overcome root causes.

Is it worth it? Most pet owners love their four-legged friends and consider them to be a part of the family. Like all family members, when you see them suffer you want to do whatever it takes to aid their recovery. If your dog or cat is experiencing pet allergies and is feeling unwell, with time and devotion you relieve the symptoms and help them get better.

June 18, 2011

Everyday Exercises for Cats

Filed under: cat health — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:26 pm

Rainy day and you need something to do? Does your cat sleep more than you do? Truthfully, your cat does need more sleep than you, on average cats tend to sleep for fourteen hours per day. Although it is advised to keep indoor cats inside the house, it is not recommended to encourage lazy lounging. When they are not snoozing it is important for cats to exercise to maintain good health as overfeeding combined with inactivity can increase risks of obesity and arthritis in cats. Exercise decreases these risks and also promotes weight loss in cats. Exercising does not have to be tough. With so many games to play, you and your cat may find yourselves enjoying exercise time.

feline arthritis Chase the Light : Cats can’t get enough of this game. You can use either a flash light or a laser pointer. Tease your cat by pointing the light close to him and moving it when he attempts to “catch” it. It can be entertaining to watch your cat bounce off objects and people in their path. Most pet stores supply inexpensive laser pointers. This game does not require much effort and is an easy method of providing exercise to your pet.

Hunting : Cats are primitive creatures; it is in their nature to hunt for their food. Hide their food in a different place each meal. Whether dinner is served at the top of a flight of stairs, in a cozy crook, or on the top of tall furniture, your cat will be more interested and active while searching for his food. Do not hesitate from placing food at higher places; cats love to be elevated.

exercises for catsCatch the Snack: There are pet toys in which you can encase snacks. The trick is to let your cat watch you package the snack up to draw him in. Let your cat chase the toy (this works best when the toy is attached to string) and reward him when he catches the toy. Lay the toy in front of the cat and move it side to side. Do not prolong the game as cats will lose interest after two to three minutes. Let your pet win and enjoy his reward to encourage him to play again in the future.

Chase Your Cat : Believe it or not, some cats like being chased. This is great exercise for you and your pet. Additionally, this is also a great exercise that kids can take part in as well. Just be careful to hazardous objects to avoid tripping and painful accidents.

Play Toys: One can never go wrong with the use to cat toys. There a variety of mouse toys that cats love to chase and play with. Some cats prefer life-like mice toys while others take delight neon colored mice. Toys are an excellent means of keeping busy for cats; you’ll know you have found the “right” toy when your pet hides the toy to play with it later.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.