Feline Health

Excessive Grooming in Cats

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Excessive grooming in cats is also called psychogenic alopecia. Alopecia is the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body, psychogenic means having a psychological rather than a physical cause or origin.

Excessive grooming is one of the most common obsessive compulsive disorders in cats. What cat guardians typically notice is bald patches on a cat’s belly or the inside of her legs, but the areas can also extend to the flanks, tail and other parts of the cat’s body.Continue Reading

Food Allergies in Cats

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Cats can develop allergies or “intolerances” to ingredients commonly found in commercial cat foods. The most common ingredients that cause allergies are chicken, fish and corn, as well as grains and dairy products. However, an allergy can develop to any protein to which the cat is repeatedly or constantly exposed, and sometimes, allergies develop over time.

Symptoms of food allergies

Food allergies may manifest as itchy skin, rashes or excessive grooming, or as digestive symptoms, including vomiting or diarrhea. Digestive symptoms often mimic those of inflammatory bowel disease.

Diagnosis of food allergies through a food elimination trialContinue Reading

Feline Allergies

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Allergies are an extreme reaction of the immune system to common substances in a cat’s every day environment. Feline allergies can be a vexing problem for cat guardians and veterinarians. This article provides an overview of allergy symptoms, and of how feline allergies are diagnosed and treated.

Feline allergy symptoms

Allergies can manifest with a wide array of symptoms:

  • Sneezing, coughing and wheezing
  • Itchy skin/increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyesContinue Reading

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to A Cat

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Last updated January 19, 2018

Cats with chronic kidney disease pass large amounts of urine and become easily dehydrated. Dehydration can be prevented by feeding canned or raw food, and by encouraging cats to drink. A fountain can be a good option for this. However, frequently, these cats don’t feel well enough to eat or drink enough to combat dehydration, and your veterinarian may prescribe fluid therapy. Fluid therapy also aids in flushing waste products through the kidneys.

Your vet will determine the type of fluid your cat will receive. A veterinary staff member will show you how to administer the fluids to your cat, and you will be able to do this at home. Most cats will tolerate receiving fluids from their guardians. The frequency of fluid administration will be determined by how advanced your cat’s renal disease is and can range from once a week to several times a week.

You will need a fluid bag, tubing, and needles. Fluids are administered under the cat’s skin. The fluids will pool in a little “lump” and will be gradually absorbed by your cat’s body over the course of a few hours.Continue Reading

Megacolon in Cats

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Megacolon is a condition caused when too much fecal waste accumulates in the bowel. Megacolon can be congenital, but more commonly, it is an acquired condition which can be caused by poor diet, a foreign body in the colon, lack of exercise, or litter box and/or behavioral issues.

Constipation occurs when feces are retained in the colon. Feces become hard and firm, and the longer they stay in the colon, the more water is resorbed out of the colon. Eventually, if these fecal masses aren’t eliminated, the colon will become extended. This can lead to the colon muscles becoming so fatigued and stretched that they no longer function normally.Continue Reading

Breakthrough in Cat Allergy Research Offers Hope for New Treatments

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When someone is allergic to cats, the most common advice given by physicians is to get rid of the cat. Allergies are also one of the top five reasons why cats are returned to shelters. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, nearly 10 million people choose to share their homes with cats and dogs despite being allergic.

Contrary to what most people believe, cat allergies are not caused by cat hair, but  by a protein called Fel d1 found in a cat’s saliva, urine and dander (dried flakes of skin). Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that when the dander is released in the presence of a common environmental bacterial toxin called lipopolysaccharides, or LPS, it activates an immune receptor called TLR 4, triggering allergic reactions, which can range from itching and sneezing to asthma attacks. Continue Reading

How To Give a Nebulizer Treatment to an Asthmatic Cat

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Guest post by Zoe Camp

Feline asthma is a respiratory condition that involves inflammation and excess mucous build-up in the airways. Muscles spasms cause constriction of the airway, resulting in respiratory distress. Feline asthma shares many characteristics with asthma in humans.

Signs of feline asthma may be as mild as an occasional soft cough and/or a wheeze. An asthma attack can sound very similar to your cat trying to cough up a hairball. In extreme and chronic cases, you may see a persistent cough along with labored, open-mouth, harsh breathing, which can be a life-threatening crisis.

Conventional treatment may include medication (typically, corticosteroids and bronchodilators). Holistic therapies may also be beneficial.Continue Reading

5 Health Tips from Your Cat

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Cats are good for your health. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a 10-year study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely to have heart attacks than non-cat owners. According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year.

There is much information out there about how to live healthier on the internet, in books and on television, but you may have one source of healthier living much closer than you think: your cat. I’m all about learning from our cats when it comes to living a conscious, happy life, so why not learn from them when it comes to our physical health?Continue Reading

Your Cat’s Litter Box: What Does Your Cat Really Prefer?

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Guest post by Lorie Huston, DVM

When cat’s begin to urinate and/or defecate outside the litter box, there are a number of different suggestions that are made to help convince the cat to return to the litter box. As a veterinarian, I’ve had this discussion and made these same recommendations over and over again to my cat-owning clients. I’ve also spoken about them here: Cat Litter Box Problems: What to do When Your Cat Decides Not to Use the Litter Box.

To be blunt, we make many of these recommendations based on experience. However, there is very little scientific evidence that supports them. This article by Dr. Jacqueline Neilson in Veterinary Medicine examines some of the literature available pertaining to cats, cat litter, and cat litter boxes. These are Dr. Neilson’s recommendations based on her review of that literature:Continue Reading

New Discovery Offers Hope Against Deadly FIP Virus

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FIP are the three worst letters a cat guardian can hear. Feline Infectious Peritonitis is caused by a coronavirus and affects the cells of the intestinal tract. The corona virus in itself is a common virus in cats, and cats may not even show symptoms other than perhaps a mild gastrointestinal upset. But for reasons that have eluded researchers so far, in some cats, the benign virus mutates into a highly infectious version that then causes FIP. It usually affects kittens and young cats, and it’s virtually 100% fatal. FIP kills as many as 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 cats under ages 3-5.

After three decades of research, a breakthrough

Researchers at Cornell had a breakthrough after 30 years of research when they discovered Continue Reading