Tag: cat

APB Cazual Dayz Meetz

All Pet Brigade:

APB Cazual Dayz Meetz is our new local opportunity to meet our neighbors, bring some of our pets out, & find added help in socializing our pets for future adoptions.

These meets are laid back, non-formal, but incredibly important in helping find our pets their purr-fect homes. Owned-pets are welcome to attend & meet our pets, but owners must sign waiver & have any dog on leash; cats in carriers.

Come help pet our pets, read to our pets, tell our pets how awesome they are, & when you fall in love; we have adoption or foster applications for consideration!

Other planned, or proposed activities will be on-hand depending on ability, or availability. Added activities will be announced prior to day of event.

APB Cazual Dayz Meetz

All Pet Brigade:

APB Cazual Dayz Meetz is our new local opportunity to meet our neighbors, bring some of our pets out, & find added help in socializing our pets for future adoptions.

These meets are laid back, non-formal, but incredibly important in helping find our pets their purr-fect homes. Owned-pets are welcome to attend & meet our pets, but owners must sign waiver & have any dog on leash; cats in carriers.

Come help pet our pets, read to our pets, tell our pets how awesome they are, & when you fall in love; we have adoption or foster applications for consideration!

Other planned, or proposed activities will be on-hand depending on ability, or availability. Added activities will be announced prior to day of event.

Your Cat Keeps Secrets: Subtle Signs of Illness in Cats

Cats are notoriously enigmatic creatures.  Like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland , your cat keeps secrets.  She may not show pain or other signs that she is sick. That’s why subtle signs of illness in cats require prompt veterinary attention.

Your cat keeps secrets

Cats retain many of their species’ undomesticated behavioral characteristics.  In the wild, all but the largest cats are both predator and prey.   It’s important for animals that are being hunted as prey to hide their weaknesses.  Consequently, cats have become masters of misdirection.

Veterinary professionals struggle to define the signs of pain in cats consistenly.  A validated method to score pain, for instance, is useful in assessing recovery from painful procedures or illness.  Cats’ tendency to mask their pain and demonstrate only very subtle behavioral changes makes reliable detection and grading of pain difficult at best.

A large survey of feline medical specialists evaluated 91 signs of pain.  Participants answered questions about the reliability of these indicators of pain to accurately detect real pain in cats.  The participants narrowed these signs down to only 22.  You can find the full list in the article, which is available as a free full text in PubMed. 1

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Signs of illness in cats require prompt attention

Because cats hide pain and other evidence of ill health, any unusual signs you observe are probably just the tip of the iceberg.  As a cat owner, you should take any and all behavioral changes in your cat seriously.  Here are some easily overlooked clinical signs along with their potential significance.  This is not meant to be an inclusive list, so be sure to ask your veterinarian about any unusual signs in your cat.

  1. Eating less/not eating:  Cats need to eat regular meals.  Cats that stop eating, especially if they’re fat, can develop liver disease.  If you haven’t been able to get your cat to eat for 24 hours, talk to your veterinarian.  Decreased appetite in cats may be a sign of gastrointestinal disease, but may also be a sign of generalized disease and poor health.
  2. Eating more: If your cat suddenly develops a voracious appetite, he may have an endocrine disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.  You should be especially concerned if your cat eats more but does not gain, or even loses, weight.
  3. Increased urination:  Although you might not directly observe your cat using the litterbox more frequently, chances are you will notice increased litter clumping or odor in the box.  You may find yourself changing the litter more frequently.  This can be a sign of diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or other problem.
  4. Decreased urination: Especially with a male cat, decreased urination could be a sign of developing urinary blockage.  If your cat stops urinating, this is a medical emergency.  Your cat may exhibit signs of pain or distress when attempting to urinate.
  5. Urination outside the litter box:  Urinary pain may cause your cat to avoid the litterbox.  The joint pain of arthritis may also be associated with inappropriate urination outside the box.  If it’s painful to enter the box, your cat will be reluctant to use it.  If your cat has consistently used the litter box but begins to have accidents in the house, consult your veterinarian.
  6. Increased activity level:  If your laid-back and lazy cat turns into a dynamo in constant motion, you should be suspicious of an underlying problem.  Hyperthyroidism is common in cats and can cause increased activity.
  7. Decreased activity level:  A noticeable decrease in your cat’s activity may also be a sign that your cat needs a check-up.  Arthritis can lead to decreased activity as can systemic disease.
  8. Change in vocalization:  If you notice that your cat is calling out more, or less, or has a change in her voice, it’s time for a check-up.  Changes in the frequency and intensity of vocalization may be a sign of pain or underlying disease.  Changes in tone can be due to respiratory problems, polyps, hyperthryoidism, or other illness.
  9. Ear scratching or head shaking may be a sign of infection or ear mites.
  10. Changes in coat quality: If your cat is not grooming herself, it may be because of pain or illness.  Arthritis may make grooming more difficult for cats.  Disease can sap energy and lead to decreased grooming.  Any time you notice a change in your cat’s coat, you should suspect a problem.
  11. Weight loss or loss of muscle:  If you cat is getting thinner or if you notice that the muscles feel smaller, this may be a sign of a number of systemic diseases including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, gastrointestinal disease, and others.  These signs may develop so gradually that you may not notice the change over time.

A case study

My favorite cat, Boogey, was not doing well.  His parents hadn’t noticed anything specific, but he wasn’t as energetic as usual and just looked a little scruffy to them. He was free fed, but his owners didn’t note an increase or decrease in the amount he was eating.  He may or may not have been using his litterbox more.

Although his signs were mild and non-specific, his parents decided to have him checked out.  Sure enough, bloodwork showed that he had developed diabetes.  Once he was treated with insulin, his parents observed marked improvement in his coat condition, but also in his body condition.  They hadn’t noticed that he was gradually losing muscle tone.  Even though his diet was restricted, he was able to put on weight once his disease was treated.

Boogey’s story demonstrates that a cat can be seriously ill but show only mild signs.  He had a good outcome, but if his parents hadn’t taken him in to see the veterinarian, the story might have ended in tragedy.  Subtle signs of illness in cats require prompt medical attention.

1 Merola, I. and Mills, D., Behavioural Signs of Pain in Cats, an Expert Consensus, PLoS One, 2016, 11(2).

Photo credit: Unsplash

Travel with a Pet: Plan Ahead for Success

Should you travel with a pet? This is not a rhetorical question. You should ask yourself this before every trip.  Not every trip is pet-friendly, and not every pet is travel-friendly.

If thinking about leaving your pet with another caretaker for a week or more leaves you with hives or a deep sense of guilt, remember that everyone needs a break now and then.  A short pause from the routine of pet care may be just what you and your pet need.  Even if you aren’t feeling overwhelmed, letting go of daily pet care for a short time can help you be a better pet parent when you get home

Should you travel with your dog?

Will your trip include activities suitable for your dog?  Dogs make lousy luggage.  If you take your dog with you, do it for the right reason:  to include your dog in the vacation.

Always check ahead to make sure that your destination is dog-friendly. If you are traveling to a National Park, for example, consider leaving your dog home.  Dogs are not allowed on most trails in US National Parks.  I recently visited Yellowstone and saw many dogs hanging out in the car while their owners hiked.  Trust me, your dog will not enjoy this, and as the summer heats up it will be downright dangerous.  (The trails can be downright dangerous for pets, too, especially while bears are active).

Should you travel with your cat?

This is entirely up to your cat.  If your cat doesn’t mind getting into a carrier and loves to experience novel situations, she may make a better travel partner than a dog.  If not, so many things can go wrong, including stress-induced illness or destructive behavior at your destination.

The best way to ensure that your cat is travel-friendly is to acclimate him to a carrier and car travel, just as you would crate train a dog.  This should be done slowly, making the experience positive and gradually increasing the amount of time he spends in the carrier and in the car.

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Road trip vs air travel

Are you considering taking your pet on a plane?  If your pet will fit under an airline seat, travel in the cabin may be possible.  If not, remember that travel outside the cabin is stressful for pets and can be dangerous. Unless your stay will be more than a couple of weeks, it may simply not be worth the expense and the risk to take larger dogs with you via plane.

If you are taking your pet as a carry-on, be sure that your pet is comfortable in the carrier.  If your pet is unable to sit quietly in her carrier in an unfamiliar environment for a couple of hours or more, she is not a good candidate for air travel.  Airplanes are close quarters, and you may be seated next to someone who fears or is allergic to dogs or cats.  And nobody wants to listen to a whining cat or barking dog on a flight.

If you travel by car, there are some things to consider.  If your trip will take  more than a few hours of driving, think about what you will do with your pet when you stop for meals.  You may need to pack a picnic lunch or use a drive-through and eat outside where your pet can join you.  Does your dog do well with long car rides?  if not, breaking the trip up into shorter drives may help.

Planning your trip

If you have carefully considered and planned a trip that includes your pet, the following planning tips will help you make the journey safely and conveniently.

Two to six months before you leave:

  1. Book a pet-friendly hotel.
  2. If you are planning foreign travel, check up on requirements to bring animals into your destination country.
  3. Plan several pet-friendly activities in addition to your human-centered vacation fun.
  4. Make arrangements for local dog daycare at your destination if you are planning any activities in which your dog can’t take part.

One month before you leave:

  1. Ensure that vaccinations and flea/tick/heartworm preventatives are up to date.
  2. If you are traveling out of the country, get your pet’s required health examination
  3. Have your pet microchipped if he isn’t already.  Keep your microchip information with you.
  4. Get an identification tag and make sure your pet wears it.
  5. Copy your pet’s medical records and license information to take with you.
  6. Identify a veterinary practice and emergency practice near your destination.  Save the contact information and keep it with your pet’s records.
  7. Refill medications if needed

Packing your bags

Bring these items to ensure hassle-free travel

travel with a pet travel with a dog, suitcase, dog travel, pet travel

  1. Food and measuring cup
  2. Food water bowls
  3. Portable water bowl for road stops and hiking
  4. Medications,
  5. Toys
  6. First aid kit
  7. Brush and grooming tools
  8. Your pet’s favorite blanket
  9. Travel carrier with a blanket or pad to go underneath
  10. Dog poop bags.
  11. LItter box

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