Fall Brings Ragweed and Back to School Germs, How to protect your pets from toxins in your meds
September is Happy Cat Month
By Jennifer Sette
The CATalyst Council dedicated September as Happy Cat Month in 2015. For those of you who have never heard of Catalyst Council, they are a group that united in 2014 with the vision of a cat-caring society which they plan to achieve through connecting and collaborating to advance the health, welfare and value of companion cats.
In light of Happy Cat Month, we decided to write an article on one major aspect that keeps cats happy...their health. Because we know that a Happy Cat is a Healthy cat! Cats are notorious for acting and looking "normal" for much longer than humans or even dogs when they are ill. Many believe this is because a "sick" cat in the wild becomes prey and is killed and/or eaten by others. I believe it is because they are just so much tougher than we are. Things that would restrict me to whining and bed rest, my cat seems to laugh at and go on.
SO, it is very important for us as pet owners to recognize some of the early signs and symptoms so we can get our cats feeling better and treated before it turns into a major illness and major expense. Some of the things cat owners see as common and regular for a cat we now know are not.
Vomiting for example, we thought for many years that cats "just vomit". Either it is hairballs or they ate something that set them off but it is normal for them. We now know after years of studying cats that vomit that it is a sign of a much deeper issue and that if treated early we can often prevent major issues such as intestinal cancers due to chronic irritation. Even longhair cats or ones that groom regularly should not be vomiting hairballs on a regular basis. This vomiting can be the first signs of IBD or allergies, but regardless of the cause treating the issues helps prevent long-term damage caused by regular vomiting.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder (FLUTD) or Feline Urinary Syndrome (FUS) are other conditions that are often overlooked by cat owners because of the long standing belief that cats just pee outside the litter box sometimes. The truth is that cats do like a clean bathroom...who doesn't? I know I would rather hold it till I can get home than go in a port-a-jon at the fairgrounds, or the public restroom at some stores. Our lives are very busy and sometimes we just don't realize how rude we are to our feline friends by expecting them to go in a litterbox that would put public port-a-pottys at Woodstock to shame. You should also have 1 litter box for every cat in your home PLUS one more! But if you are following these rules and keeping the litter boxes clean, it is very likely that your cat has a medical reason for his or her undesired bathroom habits. Conditions from bladder infections to urethral spasms can cause your cat to not be able to "make it to the bathroom". It is important to get this condition treated as soon as possible so that you cat does not develop an aversion to the litterbox.
September through November is the most common time of year for us to see clients rushing in to get flea medicines because their indoor only cats are now infested. As the weather cools, fleas will come inside and lay eggs in the carpeting and base boards in order to ensure their long-term survival. These eggs can remain unhatched here for months and then be viable next spring. These fleas can cause flea allergies in your cats that lead to itching and hair loss, and sores. They also carry tapeworms, and other diseases. If your cats are not already protected with monthly flea prevention product it is highly recommended to do so BEFORE they get fleas. Once they are feeding and laying eggs in your home the cycle takes 2-3 months to break and rid your home and pets of fleas.
Kidney disease is one of the most common medical conditions in adult cats. The first sign of kidney disease in most cats is vomiting. They may also drink more water than normal and pee more. They will eventually lose weight because of poor appetite and also suffer loss of muscle mass. Once the kidneys are damaged they cannot be repaired, so it is important to catch kidney disease in the earliest stages when there is enough kidneys still functioning that a diet change and some fluid dialysis can get your cat make on track. This is another reason not to assume that vomiting is normal in your cat. With a change in diet to reduce protein and other minerals so the kidneys do not have to work as hard your cat can live a happy life for many years even after Stage 2 kidney failure is diagnosed.
Eye problems are also often overlooked as just being allergies and it will clear up as the ragweed goes away. It is true that ragweed and other pollens can lead to mucus and allergic reactions in our pets, but when it comes to your cat's eyes it is important to make sure that is all that is going on. Eye infections, glaucoma, retinal disorders, and ulceration are all more serious causes of eye mucus that can be much hard to care for if treatment is delayed.
In conclusion, I hope that the take away point here is obvious; a happy cat is a healthy cat. As pet owners we need to be sure to not overlook signs of illness as normal things a cat just does. Ensure your cat's health through a preventative health care plan with your veterinarian and by being attentive to signs of illness such as vomiting, loss of appetite, drinking more or less, peeing more or less, unusual bathroom habits, and anything else that is a change from your cat's day to day activity.
Phone: 304-757-2287 | Fax: 304-757-7227 | Address: 2120 Mount Vernon Road, Hurricane, WV 25526
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