Prevent Feline High-Rise Syndrome

Cats may have excellent balance and can right themselves from a fall, but this doesn’t mean they are invincible. Any pet parent who lives in a tall building and has a patio area knows how nice it is to sit out there. It’s also great to share that space with your cat. However, cats hanging out on the edge of open windows or on a patio puts them at risk for falling.

Cats don’t deliberately jump from high places, many accidentally fall from open patios, windows, and fire escapes. When cats focus on something, it can distract them and they may lose their balance or not realize just how high they are. Cats also do not seem to have a great fear of heights.

How many of us have found our cat sitting on top of the fridge? Or at the top of a ladder? Some cats even hang out on the rooftops of houses. Because of their fearlessness, it seems they would be fine and be able to balance and take care of themselves. But this isn’t the case.

Unfortunately, when cats fall from high places, they don’t land squarely on their feet. Instead, they land with their feet slightly splayed apart and this can cause severe head and pelvis injuries.

High-Rise Syndrome is preventable with a few tips:

  1. Check your screen windows and make sure they are sturdy.
  2. If you use adjustable screens, wedge them tightly into the window frames.
  3. Cats can slip through window guards do not use them as a deterrent. Screen windows and adjustable screens are needed. Screens also keep flies out of your house.
  4. If you want your cat to share your patio with you, consider creating a small screened in section for him or invest in a catio.

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Reduce the Stress of a Trip to the Vet

I just dropped off my old cat to the vet for some dental work. He was denied food and water this morning and was very unhappy this morning. When I put his blanket in the carrier, which had been out in the living room for the last 5 days, he started to slink away. I picked him up and put him in the carrier but there was a small struggle. More of a struggle than I’ve experienced before with him. My cat is 16 yrs old and has gone to the vet yearly. Normally he resists but doesn’t try to climb out of my arms. I think his lack of breakfast and routine being messed up really upset him. At the vet he sulked in the carrier and got barked at by a dog. My guy hasn’t had a good morning.

I’ve been fairly lucky with my cat, overall, he’s not aggressive and doesn’t fight too much when I’ve had to pop him into his carrier. He doesn’t mind nail clippings, likes being brushed, and isn’t too afraid of the vacuum. He also doesn’t mind dogs and is curious of other cats, although, he’s getting less tolerant of other animals since his sister died and seems to want to be the only animal in my house. This morning’s trip to the vet reminded me that some pets hate going to vet and become incredibly stressed. There are some tips to help alleviate their stress and make the trip less terrifying.

3 tips to make the vet visit better

According to VPI Pet Insurance, a trip to vet can be stress free by following these few tips.

  1. Familiarize pets at an early age – handle you pet, touch the paws, mouth, and gums. Reinforce cooperation with affection, words, and positive training treats. Also, make the car fun for your dog. Some car rides might be the vet, some might to the park, some might be a for a trip. If your dog isn’t scared of the car, you can at least get out the door without much fuss.
  2. Comfort – If the pet carrier scares your pet, make it inviting. Toss in a towel, some toys, and treats. Let your dog and cat sniff it and get used to it. Leave the carrier out for a few days before the vet trip. I left it out for a week before I moved this summer and found a cat sleeping in it. When I moved and drove for 2 hours, getting the cats into the carrier was the easy part. Hearing them meow and cry for 2 hours was the hard part.
  3. Remain calm – pets can read our energy level and dogs can smell subtle differences in our body chemistry. If we are nervous, dogs can tell because our PH levels change. Do your best to stay calm and gently and soothingly coax your pet to walk through the doors of the vet office. Deep breaths for you.
  4. What do you do to help your pet be stress-free when visiting the vet?

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Want a Kitten with Your Coffee?

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium opened up in March, in London, England and in the short time it’s been open it has drawn a crowd. Why? Well, because of the cats. The newest cafe is offering stressed out cat lovers a place to go and drink a latte and pet a cat.

Curl up with a book, a cat, a coffee, and a croissant. It’s the prefect combo. The first cafes took off in Japan and have been a huge success. It’s the perfect solution for anyone who lives in a small apartment or doesn’t have the time to take care of a cat but would love to have some head butts, purrs, and a little bit of fur attached to your pants.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium has 11 resident cats who have free roam of the cafe. The cafe, which is named after Alice’s cat from Alice in Wonderland, is following the growing trend of cat cafes that are opening in major cities around the world. This year, there will be a cat cafe opening in San Francisco too!

Check out the videos of the cats at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium and if you are visiting with group, book your visit on their website here.

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How To Figure Out If Your Cat Has Food Allergies

Many cats with skin allergies will develop red sores and bald spots that look like hot spots on dogs. Often times it seems to appear on their back in the middle of the shoulder blades. Sometimes the sore might ooze and if left untreated it can get infected. While there are a number of reasons that this may occur, one reason, that is often overlooked (possibly because we have a “worst case” mindset) is that there is an allergic reaction to food. This isn’t to say your cat might have an autoimmune problem or other disease.

How to Determine Whether Your Cat Has Food Allergies

  • Start a hypoallergenic diet –
    A hypoallergenic diet contains a protein source that your cat has not been exposed to before, such as rabbit, venison or duck.
  • Feed this food, and ONLY this diet, for up to 10 weeks, before concluding whether or not food allergy is the culprit.
  • Alternatively, you may opt for a skin biopsy. This simple procedure will very likely reveal the diagnosis.
  • Keep a diary – note any litter box issues, any changes in appetite, and keep track of the red sores and spots

As always, consult a veterinarian in case it’s more than a dietary problem and also to create plan that will help your pet thrive and purr.

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Most Popular Kitten Names for 2013 has released the most popular kitten names for 2013. If you were blessed with a new little fur ball this year, did you give him/her one of these names?

Top 10 Female Kitten Names for 2013

  • Bella
  • Lucy
  • Kitty – that’s silly :)
  • Luna
  • Chloe
  • Molly
  • Lily
  • Sophie
  • Nala
  • Daisy

Top 10 Male Kitten Names for 2013

  • Oliver
  • Max
  • Tiger
  • Charlie
  • Simba
  • Milo
  • Smokey
  • Leo
  • Jack
  • Kitty
  • To see the rest of the most popular kitten names, check out Vetstreet’s article.

    What is your cat named? Let us know!

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Cat Grooming Tips: It’s Not a Tribble! It’s a Hairball.

When I wake up in the morning the last thing I want to do is step on something cold, wet, and mushy. However, that’s how this morning started and it made me jump!

I looked down and saw that I had perfectly placed my tired, un-caffeinated right foot down onto a hairball. I’m sure I’m not the only cat owner who has had the honor of stepping on a hairball. It’s something that comes along with owning a cat. However, we can cut down or eliminate this unpleasantness with a few simple adjustments to how we care for our feline friends.

Prevent Hairballs

  1. Brush your cat regularly: hairballs are formed when a cat grooms itself and swallows fur. Since hair is not easily digested, it can become compacted with undigested food in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. A blockage can result in either regurgitation or constipation. Take it from me, brush your cat on a regular basis.
  2. Try mixing in foods formulated to prevent hairballs: by improving skin and fur, you can decrease shedding a little. Some of the foods have higher levels of fiber and oils added to alleviate blockages. If your cat is on prescription foods, then you should talk to your vet before changing your cat’s diet.
  3. Use hairball remedy such as Petromalt: give your cat a 1-inch strip of the gel substance as directed. There are also other hairball treatments that can be mixed with food if your cat does not like the taste of Petromalt. These can be found at your local pet store.
  4. Try butter: Yes, that’s right. Try butter. If you give you cat a teaspoon of soft butter two times a week it can help act as a lubricant and prevent hairball blockages. However, too much butter may also give them an upset stomach.

As always, if you’re unsure if your cat should have his or her diet altered, ask your vet. But brushing your cat makes a world of difference. In fact, I should go brush my cat right now!

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Keep Your Pet Happy: 6 Tips

It may seem our pets don’t need as much stimulation as us. They don’t need tv, movies, sports, or lots of social time to be happy. However, they do get bored like us and boredom can lead to destruction, whining, or depression. Aside from needing food, water, shelter, and love, our pets also need play time, activities, and entertainment to be content.

Here are 6 tips to keeping your friends happy

  1. Engage in games with your pet – Dogs may like a good game of fetch, hamsters might like finding treats in a toy, and cats like to hunt and chase things. Games can also teach your pets impulse control and strengthen the bond between you and them.
  2. Puzzles game – If your dog experiences anxiety or the weather is still too cold, too snowy, and too rough to spend time on long walks, try a puzzle toy. Puzzle toys are great ways to keep your pup occupied for a few minutes a day. They have to figure out how to get the food or treats out of it and it’ll get their brain moving. Cats, rabbits, and hamsters also benefit from puzzles.
  3. Move! Get your pet moving – Play a game of chase, get out that laser pointer, or toss a treat for them to run after and eat.
  4. When you’re not home, make sure your pet has an activity – Granted, many of our pets probably sleep while we are gone, they do have moments when they wake up to a noise and may stay awake wondering where we are. They also have very good internal clocks and know when we’re coming home. Cats may need a few of their furry chase toys left out. A dog may want his favorite plush toy. Your other critters may need their chew sticks or little balls to roll around.
  5. Teach your pet a new trick! – Cats and dogs are quick learners and a new trick keeps their brain sharp and if they’re lucky, their bellies full of treats!
  6. Don’t forget a few minutes a day of some TLC -Grooming, petting, hugging, and cuddling with your pet makes them happy, reduces your stress, and keeps everyone warm on these chilly winter nights.

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Does Your Cat Have Sniffles?

My cat sometimes sneezes and has sniffles. He purrs but it sounds slightly congested. I wondered why and talked to my vet about it. She told me it could be allergies and an air purifier can help him. When I got home I did a quick web search and found there could be other reasons as well.

According to Dr. Stephens, DMV there can be a few reasons why cats have runny noses. He mentions allergies that typically are accompanied with clear discharge and sneezing. But he also mentions three other possibilities why cats might have runny noses.

  • Infections – viral issues like calicivirus, herpes, and upper respiratory infections can be the cause of runny noses. These are usually accompanied with other signs of illness like discharge that is yellowish or green.
  • Allergies – cats can have allergies like people to seasonal changes on pollen. The discharge is typically clear with sneezing. Sometimes it’s seasonal and sometimes it isn’t. My cat seems to sometimes sneeze so hard that his discharge sometimes has some blood in it.
  • Dental – some cats who have tooth problems may show sinus issues. They may have a discharge that is bloodier and may look brownish. Sometimes the discharge can be pinkish. If your cat has some red and swollen gums or the teeth look to have tartar or plague, there could also be an infection and your cat should go see the vet.
  • Tumors – sometimes it could be something growing in the nasal passage and be causing a blockage. Again, if you’re not sure why your cat is congested and sneezing, see your vet.
  • These are some of the more common reasons for cats having runny noses and sneezing. To read the complete article, go here.

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7 Tips For New Cat Owners

Cats are great companions and can make you laugh with their silly antics. Some will talk to you and others will nag you till you let them sit on your lap or insist on sitting on your laptop. If you are thinking of adopting a cat there’s are things to think about and things you should know.

Here are 7 tips for owning a cat or rather, being owned by a cat

  1. Cats have an independent nature but that doesn’t mean they don’t like attention. Before you adopt make sure you can make time and room in your life for a cat.
  2. Cats need a clean litter box, fresh water, and grooming assistance. If you can’t brush a cat everyday then maybe a short haired cat would be better for you. If you aren’t home a lot due to work and other activities, look for an adult cat who is older and doesn’t need as much play time as a kitten or young cat. Invest in toys, climbing trees, and definitely make time each day to play and give attention to your cat after you get home.
  3. If you have allergies, you may need to think about adopting a breed of cat that has a low dander count. Talk to your doctor, do some homework, and if you can, cat test your allergies. If you have some friends who have cats, spend some time at their place and see if your allergies kick in or take a few trips to the local shelter and meet a few cats.
  4. Once you have chosen your new feline friend, make an appointment for a checkup at a vet. Ask your friends who they like and read some reviews of the vets in your area to find one that sounds good. A checkup is a good way to make sure your new friend is healthy or if he needs any shots that he did not get at the shelter or rescue.
  5. When choosing litter for the litter box read the labels. Some litters are processed with chemicals that can be harmful for you and your cat. The natural ones such as pine, corn, wheat, and paper are safer for the environment and for your cat. Some of them are biodegradable and can be flushed which makes cleanup easier and faster.
  6. Cats like to play no matter how old they are so invest in a few different types of toys. Each cat has a preference. Some like balls and furry things that move around on the floor while other cats like things that can move around in the air like it’s a bug. My one cat likes a toy called Cat Dancer and my other cat prefers ping pong balls.
  7. If you don’t want your furniture or leather jacket to be shredded, invest in a scratching post and a water gun. Also, make yourself get in the habit of hanging up your coats, putting your shoes away, and keeping things out of reach from your cat. Use catnip to lure your cat to the scratching post. Some cats will go wild for catnip and others may just rub their faces and purr. Praise him when he uses the post. Use the water gun and a strong “NO” when he scratches inappropriate things.

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Modifying Your Kitten’s Rough Play

Play-motivated aggressive behaviors are common in young cats less than two years of age, and in cats that live in one-cat households. When cats play they are blending a number of behaviors such as exploratory, investigative and predatory. Play provides young cats with opportunities to practice skills they would normally need for survival.

Kittens like to explore new areas and investigate anything that moves, and may bat at, pounce on and bite objects that resemble prey. Kittens learn how to inhibit their bite from their litter-mates and their mother. If humans play with a young kitten using their hands and/or feet instead of toys, the kitten is liable to learn that rough play with people is okay. In most cases, it’s possible to teach your kitten or young adult cat that rough play isn’t acceptable behavior.

Encourage Acceptable Behavior

  1. Redirect your kitten’s aggressive behavior onto acceptable objects like toys
  2. Drag a toy along the floor to encourage your kitten to pounce on it
  3. Toss toys for your cat to chase. Some cats may bring it back to be thrown again
  4. Another good toy is one that your kitten can wrestle with and grab it with both front feet, bite it, and kick it with her back feet
  5. Encourage your cat to play with a “wrestling toy” by rubbing it against your kitten’s belly when she wants to play roughly – be sure to
    get your hand out of the way

Discourage Unacceptable Behavior

  1. Use a squirt bottle filled with water and squirt your kitten with when she becomes too rough
  2. Redirect the behavior by giving your cat a toy to play with instead of attacking your hands or feet
  3. Withdraw attention when your kitten starts to play too roughly (you can do this with dogs too)
  4. Do not flick, smack, or tap your kitten to correct behavior; it will backfire
  5. Picking up your kitten to put her into a “timeout” does not work because your cat might think it is positive attention

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