5 Things I Wish Every Cat Owner Would Know (part 2)

As promised last time ( https://bit.ly/2lvR22t ), here are another 5 topics you should be aware of and pay attention to when caring for your cat(s).

6. Follow discharge instructions

Discharge instructions are made to be followed. This is one of those times where you get to learn from someone else’s challenges. That can save you and your cat from some serious trouble.

We know that wearing a plastic cone for 2 weeks is no fun. We know that being stuck in a crate for 4 to 8 weeks is boring. If there were an easier way to do things, we would tell you!

So please follow discharge instructions – all of them – all the time.

7. Get pet insurance

Pet insurance can make all of the difference in your cat’s life. If you cannot afford thousands of dollars in emergency or medical care, please consider getting pet insurance. And do your homework, as there are some really bad companies and really good companies out there.

8. Know thy enemy

Anesthesia is not the enemy.

Surgery is not the enemy.

Your pet’s condition is the enemy.

We are here to help you choose the best weapon to fight the enemy.

9. Know that prevention is a critical part of pet medicine

Every year, countless cats die because they did not receive basic, effective, affordable preventive care. Yearly exams are crucial to ensure your cat is and remains healthy and happy. Vaccinations should always be kept up to date, even for indoor cats. You never know when one might escape, get lost, or get hospitalized.

That thought applies to heartworm, flea and tick prevention as well. Your cat may not go outside, but you or your other pets who do can bring parasites inside your home. And obviously mosquitoes, who can carry parasites, can fly inside your house and bite an indoor cat.

Keep your kitties protected.

10. Don’t inadvertently starve your cat

When you realize it’s time for your cat to lose weight, be sure to create a feeding plan with your veterinarian. So many make the mistake of unknowingly restricting cats too much by cutting the amount of food down significantly.

This is very dangerous in cats. It can lead to deadly liver complications called hepatic lipidosis. We would rather have you trust your family vet, and feed a diet that was made specifically for weight loss.

These 5 additional tips can truly make a big difference in your cat’s life.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

5 Things I Wish Every Cat Owner Would Know (part 1)

Most cat owners are prepared to do whatever it takes to help their cat. Sadly, too many also rely on misconceptions and erroneous advice that can be misleading at best, and dangerous at worst. Every cat owner should be aware of the following issues:

1. Recognize pain and suffering

Most cats are extraordinarily stoic. It can be extremely difficult, but it is very important to recognize when cats are suffering.

If they are limping, they hurt.

If they are vomiting, something is wrong.

If they skip one or several meals, there is a reason.

If they have difficulty breathing, they may, in fact, be suffocating, and it’s terrifying for them. Seek help immediately.

Procrastination is heartbreaking for us.

2. Denial about weight can be deadly

If you describe your cat with words such as “solid,” “big boned” or “fluffy,” chances are your cat is overweight or obese. We know they love their treats, and that you love giving them, but too much weight is not healthy. Free feeding (i.e., not measuring the daily amount of food) is a recipe for chubbiness.

It takes years off of feline lives, it makes anesthesia riskier, and it makes recovery from surgery more difficult. Love your cats in ways that make them healthy and happy: hugs, petting, playing, snuggling, brushing, and interaction are all calorie-free forms of love and attention your cat craves!

3. Know whom to trust

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat,” so choosing the correct pet food is a big deal. Please talk to your vet when picking food. Feeding the wrong food to your cat can lead to obesity, bladder stones, urinary blockage and a poor hair coat.

In addition, given the regular pet food recalls, choosing a reputable brand is very important. The composition of pet food should be based on scientific research, not slick marketing.

4. Never assume

We cannot examine or treat your cat over the phone. We sometimes need to run lab work to find out what is going on with your cat. Yes, that cost is going to be in addition to the exam fee, but these tests are best for the health of your cat.

These diagnostic tests are our “X-ray glasses” to understand your cat’s condition. Without them, we might be blind.

This is really no different than in human medicine.

5. Spay or neuter your cat

Spaying a female before the first heat cycle dramatically reduces the risk of breast cancer. Spaying also totally prevents pyometra, a deadly uterine infection.

Neutering prevents testicular cancer and spraying.

Beyond those medical reasons, spayed or neutered pets are less likely to run away and get hit by a car or get into a fight. They also have a lower incidence of behavior problems.

We will go over 5 more tips next time.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

5 (more) tips every cat owner should know

Cats are very independent and at times they may seem indestructible. But the truth is, they are just as fragile as any other pet. Many conditions require a surgeon to fix things up. Here are 5 more tips to help your cat avoid visiting your favorite vet or surgeon.

 

6. Mass removal

When skin masses are allowed to grow, they may become so large that an amputation is the only option. It stands to reason that a small mass requires a much less invasive surgery than a large mass, so don’t procrastinate.

7. Avoid fights

Cats are more fragile than they look. They can get into a fight with a housemate — canine or feline — causing extensive damage. Bites, although they may seem minimal on the outside, can go very deep and cause serious internal damage. Solutions include feeding your pets in different locations or at different times. Again, please keep your kitty indoors.

8. Recognize pain and suffering

Most cats are very stoic. They may hide, or move less, or stop eating. It can be very difficult, but is very important to recognize when they are suffering. Don’t procrastinate, seek help as soon as you notice something abnormal.

9. Get pet insurance

Pet insurance can make all of the difference in your cat’s life. If you cannot afford thousands of dollars in emergency or medical care, please consider getting pet insurance. And do your homework, as there are some really bad and really good companies out there.

10. Know thy enemy

Anesthesia is not the enemy. Surgery is not the enemy. Your cat’s condition is the enemy. We are here to help you choose the best weapon to fight the enemy.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

 

5 tips every cat owner should know

Cats are very independent and at times they may seem indestructible. But the truth is, they are just as fragile as any other pet. Many conditions require a surgeon to fix things up. Here are 5 tips to help your cat avoid visiting your favorite vet or surgeon.

 

 

1. Keep your cat indoors

Some cat owners are offended when I suggest that they keep a cat indoors (usually after I repair a broken bone). “But he enjoys the great outdoors! It would be cruel to lock him up!” they say. I understand the concern, but sadly we live in a world that is not designed to keep our cats safe. Keeping your cat indoors can prevent many injuries that would require surgical repair. These include getting hit by a car, breaking bones or getting into a fight with a variety of animals (wild or domestic).

2. Spay or neuter

Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle can almost eliminate the risk of breast cancer and does eliminate the risk of a deadly infection of the uterus, called pyometra. Neutering males reduces the level of male hormones, making your male cat less likely to run away, mark his territory and get into fights.

3. Kitty proof

Kitty proofing is easier said than done – yet critical. Any cat lover knows that cats can get in, on and around just about anything. But you can lessen the risk of trouble by keeping potential problems away. Lock up all strings, ribbons and sewing supplies to avoid the risk of swallowing deadly “linear foreign bodies.” Clean up small toys, especially if you have young children! Hair ties are a classic culprit!

Block off windows, balconies and lofts to lessen the risk of falling. Sadly, cats don’t always land on their feet.

4. Proper nutrition

Proper nutrition can prevent bladder stones or urinary blockage, which can be life-threatening in male cats. Many popular diets with creative names do not have appropriate or any research behind them.

It’s actually a joke among vets! The marketing is brilliant, the TV commercials are convincing, but the science is often lacking.

The best way to be sure your cat is on the right diet is to ask your family vet.

5. Weight control

I currently have a patient with a torn Achilles tendon in the ankle. He weighs 24 lbs!

Overweight and obese cats can have countless health problems. The extra weight can cause wear and tear on joints, ligaments and tendons. It has also been linked to urinary blockage, which may require surgery.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified