Category Archives: Cats

Common Cat Litter Problems

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Cute cat in plastic litter box on floorYou probably love your furball friend more than many things in your life. What you may not love is her litter box. It’s that unfortunate truth of pet ownership: with the love comes some gross responsibilities. There are probably days when purposefully avoid cleaning the litter box, or you put it off until late in the day because you dread it so much. It doesn’t help if your cat starts having trouble using it. If this happens, don’t worry too much immediately; there are some common litter box problems that a lot of cat owners experience, as well as common solutions for them.

Urine In, Everything Else Out

Have you noticed your cat pooping outside the box? There are many potential reasons for this, and so most cat owners see this at some time. You may be baffled, particularly if your cat is still urinating in the box. A few possible reasons for this are:

  • It’s too dirty. Your cat may be trying to tell you that you need to clean the litter box.
  • It’s in a bad location. Your cat feels vulnerable while pooping. If the litter box is in a bad place for her, she may not use it.
  • She’s having trouble pooping. If she’s struggling, or hurting, she may associate that pain with pooping in the box, so she’ll go outside, instead.

So, start by cleaning the litter box. If necessary, move it to a location where she may feel more secure. Listen for crying when she uses it. If that happens, she may need some minor dietary changes to soften her stool and make it easier on her.

Excessive Digging

Is your cat playing in the litterbox? I could be harmless, but for the mess. It could also be a problem with the litter’s texture. Sometimes, cats dig obsessively because they don’t like the way the litter feels and can’t settle on a place to bury their feces. Try a different type of litter to help them and talk to your vet about the issue.

If you keep trying basic solutions, but nothing seems to help, talk to your vet. Come to Pet Vet Hospitals and we will make sure that a health issue isn’t causing your cat’s litter problems.

Having a Cat When You Have Cat Allergies

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Sphynx cat, 1 year old, itching in front of white backgroundYou have heard it before—someone wants to adopt a cat, but allergies stop them. Though it is a perfectly understandable reason to avoid adopting, if you really, truly want a cat, there are ways around those allergies. Not only can your allergies be treated and their sources addressed, there are cat breeds less likely to trigger them. Having a cat when you have cat allergies is possible.

Start Cleaning

Start by addressing other allergens in your home. Sometimes, your allergy symptoms are more manageable when you’re not bombarded with other allergens. So, dust and vacuum, and create a plan for continued management of all those other triggers.

Get Acquainted

Then, you need to let your immune system become used to being around cats. So, start spending more time with your friends’ cats. Or, volunteer at the local shelter. You may be surprised at how well, and how fast you adjust to having them around. You might even discover that your allergies are not as bad as you originally thought, and easily controlled.

Get Help

Of course, you need the right medication, too. If your allergies are not terrible severe, over-the-counter medication may be sufficient; there are types that are non-drowsy and won’t make you miserable. However, you should still consult your doctor about what is best for your plans to own a cat.

Find the Right One

Do your research on what cat breeds might work best for your allergies. There are some breeds that produces less, or virtually no dander at all, like the Sphynx cat. Rex breeds have fine hair that contains less dander, too.

When you finally get your allergies under control and welcome your new furry family member into your home, bring her to us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We want to help you and your cat stay healthy together.

When Your Cat Hurts

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cat, cats, petsCats are notorious for their “poker faces.” Knowing when your cat hurts is no easy thing, unless the pain is extreme. Cats are excellent at masking pain. That means it’s harder to care for your pet, easier to miss trouble, and you could find yourself facing an emergency before you know it. You may never be able to know what your cat’s feeling at all times, but there are a few things you can learn about the signs that something is up and your cat hurts.

Slow Movements: When your cat isn’t feeling well, she may move slowly. How slow she moves may depend upon how much she hurts. If she is in a lot of pain, she may not move at all. If the pain is slight, she may only avoid moving certain parts of her body. Keep an eye on how she moves. You can test her; find something that normally excites her and see if she goes after it. If she does, she is probably alright.

Withdrawal: When cats don’t feel well, they may withdraw. It’s an instinct for self-preservation. If your cat is hiding more than usual and reluctant to come out, or refusing altogether, that could be a sign that she doesn’t feel well.

Agitation: When your cat is in pain, or ill, she may be agitated. Her heart may race. She may pace, or breathe hard. She might also cry, or howl. If you approach her like normal and she’s hurting, she may act oddly toward you, such as growling or swatting you away. It probably means that she wants to be left alone because she doesn’t feel well.

There are many other potential signs of pain in your cat and it’s not possible for a human to learn them all. A good rule to have is to know your cat well, and watch for any changes in behavior. Any noticeable behavioral change could be signs of a problem. If you suspect your cat is hurting, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Cat Flu Awareness

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Like other types of influenza, cat flu is caused by viruses, and sometimes bacteria. And, like other types of flu, a healthy cat can survive it, but it can be fatal for kittens and older cats with other health complications. It’s important to be aware of cat flu, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.

How it Spreads

Depositphotos_82165668_m-2015Cat flu spreads like many other viruses. It is in nasal discharge, saliva, and eye discharge. Cats that are already sick are the biggest concern, but there are some who carry the virus with no symptoms. The virus can survive for several days on surfaces, which means that other cats can catch the virus indirectly.

To diagnose a cat with the flu, your vet may take swabs. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for cat flu, though there are ways to alleviate the symptoms until the cat recovers. The biggest concern is spreading the virus to cats with poor, or underdeveloped immune systems.

The Symptoms and Risks

If your cat has the flu, she may sneeze. She may also have runny eyes and a runny nose. Other symptoms may be hard to see in your cat, as cats often don’t show obvious symptoms. Your cat may experience aches and pains, fever, sneezing, and more.

The real trouble comes with kittens and older cats. Defeating the virus needs a healthy immune system. Kitten immune systems may not be strong enough, and other cats’ immune systems have weakened. Cats that are already ill can be killed by the flu, too.

Unfortunately, there are no antivirals for cat flu. Like human flu, antibiotics may help if bacterial infections make things worse. In most cases, your cat needs good care at home. Your cat will need some encouragement when it comes to eating a drinking. Take care to clean up after your cat, and sanitize to help prevent further spread of the virus. Steam can help clear some symptoms, so let your cat in the bathroom when you shower.

Be aware of cat flu, and watch for the symptoms. If you’re worried that your cat has the flu, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals immediately.

The Cat that Marked the Couch: Cat Marking

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Has your cat marked the couch? That can be a disturbing thing to discover, as is that your cat has marked anything. The odor of cat marking is unpleasant and very hard to be rid of permanently. There are many, many sprays that claim to do the job, but even those don’t always work they way you hope. Plus, there is the added problem that once your cat has marked, stopping him from doing it again is sometimes a difficult job.

Why does my cat mark?

cat-649164_1920If a cat feels insecure about his place in the home, he may mark and area to make it feel more like it belongs to him. Other cats may cause this insecurity, but it is not uncommon for humans to be the cause. In some cases, finding the reason for your cat’s displays of dominance or insecurity isn’t simple.

How can I stop the marking?

One important thing you need to address your cat’s marking is patience. Another important thing is persistence. Figuring this out will take time and you will have to take the steps over and over again. If you’ve discovered that your cat is marking, determine all spots where this has happened. You can get an affordable black light and go through the house. Remember that not everything that shows up under black light is urine.

Take note of all the spots. In each spot, place something that already belongs to your cat. This includes bedding, food and water, toys, and anything that carries your cat’s scent. It is also a good idea to add another litter box to the house for your cat and place that in one of the spots, too.

It may take time, but with some persistence, your cat should recognize the spots as his and no longer feel the need to mark. It’s a good idea to check the house regularly in future for signs that the marking has started again.

If you’re struggling with cat marking, don’t give up. Call us at Pet Vet Hospitals if you need advice, or think it may be health-related.

Try a Catio for an Anxious Indoor Cat

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cat-649164_1920Has your cat been showing signs of anxiety? If your cat is bouncing off the walls, scratching and tearing this apart, or marking, there are numerous potential problems that could be causing the behavior. One possible issue–and a common one–is that your cat is anxious and needs more playtime. It’s hard to commit enough playtime, particularly to a young, enthusiastic cat. You can help make sure she has plenty to do, however, even when you’re not home.

Build a Catio

There are plenty of things occurring the natural world that can keep your cat occupied for hours. All they need is access to them. While letting your indoor cat outside may not be the best idea, you can create a cat patio–or catio–so that they can see and experience more.

You can create this space without knocking down walls. Using the space you already have, you can add some chicken fencing and surround the patio so that the cat can experience the smells, sounds, and sights without risking anything. Place some sturdy, decorative cat features like a cat tree, or cat beds integrated into the patio furniture.

You can also build a catio out in the yard. There are fenced-in structures made specifically for a cat who needs some protected outdoor time. You can find these online, and many of them are DIY projects. They come with little houses for curling up, steps for climbing, and more. They can be small for little cats and short times, or large for extended playtime.

The important thing is that your cat has playtime with fun that is potentially never-ending. She has time to work out all that anxious energy. Of course, you want to make sure you’re readily available to check on your cat when she’s on her catio to avoid any accidents.

If your cat is anxious, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We can offer you advice on how to handle it, and help you treat it, if necessary.

Easy Homemade Cat Treats

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beautiful small kittenSometimes cat treats are an extra expense. Sometimes, you just want or need something more for your cat. Whatever the reason, you can make wholesome treats that most cats will love at home.

Popsicles

When things get warm, it’s nice for your furry friend to have a cold treat, too. Making frozen goodies for your cat is easy. Just fill a small, freezable cup or ice tray with a mixture her favorite wet food and a little water, and then freeze. You can also try adding a little catnip, or other natural, edible goodies your cat loves.

Cookies

Cookies for cats are not quite like the cookies you eat. But, your cat may love a tuna-flavored, soft treat from once in a while. They’re as easy to make as the cookies you make for yourself. Just mix some tuna and egg with flour, water, and parsley or catnip. When you have a dough, dust it with flour and roll it out. Cut out bite-sized pieces and bake them at 350 degrees. You don’t have to use Tuna if your cat doesn’t like it. You can use almost any other meat she prefers.

Crunchy Treats

A good crunch is good for your cat’s teeth. With some flour, tuna (or other favorite meat), egg, catnip, and a little oil, you can bake some extra-crunchy treats your cat will love. Just mix in a processor, work into a dough, and bake at about 350 degrees until brown and crunchy.

The great thing about homemade treats is that you know precisely what your cat is eating. You can use the best of ingredients. Of course, it’s also great if you love baking in general.

We care about your pet’s health. If you want to know more about what sort of treats to feed your furry friend, contact us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

New Cat Introductions

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beautiful small kittenCats make wonderful companions and adopting a new one is an exciting thing. However, if you already have a cat in the house, the excitement can quickly turn to frustration. Not all animals get along right away and that includes cats. Cats can be territorial, skittish, and may not take kindly to you bringing home another cat.

When you bring home a new cat, it’s important to consider how your current cat may feel. Never assume that just because your current feline companion is generally laid back he or she will just “go with the flow.” You may be surprised. You need to be prepared for any reaction.

A good way to go about new cat introductions is to avoid direct, face-to-face interactions for a little while. You want your cats to have time to adjust to a lot of things before meeting.

Smell: Smells have a significant impact on cats; they mark their territories with their scents in many ways—rubbing, sleeping, pawing, urinating, etc. So, a good method for allowing cats to get familiar without incidents is to allow them time to smell. Put the new cat in an area where your current cat sleeps, or eats, etc. Place your current cat in a room with the new cat’s carrier, or bedding. Give them time to smell and become comfortable.

Sight: Once you feel comfortable taking another step in the new cat introduction process, you can try placing the cats near one another, but not so close that they can get to one another if they get angry. Try putting the cats in two separate rooms that are connected by a door. In the door way, place a screen through which the cats can see, but not move. This way, they can see, hear, and smell one another, but not fight.

Eat: If the cats show any antagonism toward each other, keep them separated by the screen for a while. During this time, feed the cats at the same time. Start by placing the food bowls some distance from the screen, but where they can still see one another while they eat. Over time, move the bowls closer. After a while, you may find that they can approach one another from opposite sides of the screen and eat without fighting.

New cat introductions take time. Have patience, keep trying, and you will eventually have two cats that can live together. They may even become close. If you find the process very difficult, seek the advice of your vet, or possibly an animal behaviorist. Don’t forget to bring your cats in for checkups at Pet Vet Hospital.

The DIY Cat Bed

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cat, cats, petsCat beds and towers are great for creating a space that is all about your kitty. They can be expensive, however. And, more of than not it seems as though your cat always prefers the box in which it came. So, what are you to do?

Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on cat beds and towers. Go the DIY route and make something yourself.

First assess what your cat wants.

Well, assess as best you can. Pay attention to where your cat likes to relax. Does he or she hang out in high places? Does he lounge on the cool, hard floor? Does she just love those cardboard boxes that seem too small? These things will help you decide what sort of DIY cat bed your kitty might like best.

Go in search of a plan.

There are simply too many DIY cat projects to count. That’s good for you, however, because that means that you have options. Just do some searching. If you know that you need to use something very soft, then you know to search for plush DIY cat beds. If your cat likes some height, then a raised bed is best, or perhaps even a cat tree made of beds.

Gather the materials.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on materials. DIY projects are made of easy-to-find-and-afford things for a reason. In most cases, you can find what you need cheaply at a nearby store. In other cases, you might even have what you need lying around your home, or a friend may be willing to give you some materials.

The possibilities for your cat’s new favorite sleeping spot are endless. Build something you love from the internet, or get creative and put together your own, unique version. Or, if you are a long-time DIY person, make your own project and put it up online for others.

When you go to this effort to build something for your cat, it’s an extra step that shows how much you care. We care for your pet, too, at Pet Vet Hospitals. Come to us for help with your cat’s health.

Cat Cinema: Films About Cats

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Depositphotos_18045079_m-2015We love animal films. They’re funny, sad, and remind us of the love we have for our feline friends. Sometimes it seems that dogs get all the love, but there are still many films about cats for you to watch while curled up with your kitty.

The Three Lives of Thomasina

Based on a novel, this film revolves around a single cat and her family in Scotland. As her human family struggles to cope with loss, Thomasina experiences death and reincarnation, both of which affect her and her life with her humans. It’s a strange, but moving story about learning to love and cope with loss.

Puss in Boots

This recent animated film’s story strays pretty far from the original fairy tale, but is fun nonetheless. Puss is essentially the feline version of Zorro, both a fugitive and a good cat, rushing to save the day with a fancy hat, stylish boots, and sword talent. This version of the character is an extension of the Shrek series, making it a fan favorite.

Hocus Pocus

This popular cult film doesn’t exactly focus on its kitty character 100%, but Thackery Binx plays a major part as a 17th century boy turned into an undying cat, Binx. When ancient witches are accidentally raised from the dead in the 20th century, Binx—who was turned into a cat the night that the witches were originally hung in Salem—must help the children who raised the witches defeat them. The movie has become a Halloween favorite for viewers of all ages.

Oliver and Company

Who could forget this Disney classic? An orphaned kitten finds friendship with a big dog, Dodger, other canine friends, and a human pickpocket. Together, they go on an adventure to help their human pay a debt. It’s a fun animated musical that remains a beloved Disney fan favorite.

There are many more films about cats for cat lovers out there. And for cat owners, we have all you need to keep your beloved feline friend healthy and happy. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals.