illness

Making Health Care Decisions for Your Cat in a Crisis

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Today marks the third anniversary of the day I had to let Amber go. She died after a sudden, brief illness, most likely a virulent strain of the calici virus, complicated by an underlying heart condition we weren’t aware of at the time.

It was the first time I had lost a cat so suddenly. The cats that went before her had long illnesses – Feebee had lymphoma, Buckley had heart disease – so I not only had time to prepare myself for their eventual passing, I also didn’t have to make medical decisions under pressure. Thankfully, my years of experience in veterinary medicine made the decision making process somewhat easier for me than it might have been for the average cat parent, but it was still incredibly challenging to separate out my emotions and my fear of losing Amber, and to make the best possible decisions for her care.Continue Reading

Nursing Care for Your Cat

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When your cat is recovering from a serious illness, surgery or an accident, she may require extended nursing care when she returns from the veterinary hospital. Providing nursing care can seem overwhelming, but most cats will recover more quickly if they’re at home in their familiar environment with the person they love.

The following tips can help take the stress out of caring for your cat after an illness or accident.

Provide a safe and quiet place for her to recuperate

Your cat’s personality, and the severity of the illness, will determine the right approach. If your cat seems to do better if she can access all her familiar places, than by all means, let her do so. But if she seems to want to just stay in one place, make the area as comfortable as you can for her. Provide plenty of blankets and soft bedding, and make sure that she has easy access to a litter box and fresh water.

Encourage your cat to eat

Try using flat dishes or paper plates.Continue Reading

Cats are good for your health

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In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of cats who could detect serious illness in their humans, and who even saved their humans’ lives. We previously reported on a woman in Wisconsin whose newly adopted cat alerted a family member that she was having a seizure. There’s a cat in England who “diagnosed” her human’s breast cancer before doctors found it, and a cat in Virginia who saved her human from dying from a brain aneurism.

Several studies have shown dogs’ ability to distinguish people with both early and late cancers from healthy controls. It is believed that dogs can identify VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are present in a person’s breath who has cancer. Seizure dogs alert their owners to an impending epileptic seizure; how dogs do this is a mystery, but some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. I have not found any research done with cats, but I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to assume that cats would be as sensitive to changes in a human’s body chemistry as dogs – if not more so.

Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states.Continue Reading

Could your stress make your cat sick?

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Stress, whether physiological or emotional, is the root cause of illness for humans as well as pets. We may wonder, as we look at our feline charges sleeping the day away on the sofa, what in the world could possibly cause them to be stressed out?

Actually, a lot of things.  Since most cats prefer familiar routines, anything from other cats in the household to a new baby, a move, remodeling, or even just furniture being moved around can create feline stress.Continue Reading