Chronic Diarrhea in Cats

Chronic diarrhea is probably one of the most frustrating conditions, both for the affected cat, and for her guardian. Diarrhea is considered chronic if symptoms persist for longer than three weeks, but any time your cat has diarrhea for more than a day or two, a visit to your veterinarian is indicated, especially if your cat […]

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Tips on Bathing Your Cat

Most cats keep themselves clean and rarely need baths, but in cases of flea infestation or, perhaps, he got into mischief and got himself dirty, then your cat will need to be bathed.

 

The first step before even attempting the bath would be to trim your cat’s nails to reduce the chance of getting scratched.

Also, be sure to choose a shampoo that is safe for your cat. Some shampoos may contain insecticides that can be toxic to cats.

The Aloe and Oatmeal shampoo is safe to use on cats and also helps to relieve itching and condition their coat and skin.

Another tip that I like to use is a mesh cat bathing bag or the mesh bag you may use for laundering your delicate unmentionables. This can be transformed into a cat bathing bag buy using a shoe lace and threading it around the opening. Then place your cat in the bag and with his head sticking out of the bag, pull the shoe string and tie the bag closed. You can then shampoo and rinse the through the mesh and cat’s tend to tolerate the bathing very well.
You can also put a cake rack or dish rack in the bottom of the sink. This helps to keep the cat out of the water and give him something to dig his claws around instead of your arm.NEW! The Cat Bath Sack - Small (1-15 lbs)
When bathing the cat, use a cup to pour the water over the cat rather than the sprayer. You can use one hand to scruff the cat behind the neck to maintain control and the other to gently pour the water. Start at the head and gently pour the warm water down the back of the head and on the rest of the body. Do not submerge the cat’s head or pour the water over his face. Once you have wet the cat, then apply the shampoo and work it into a lather. Follow the directions on the bottle to see how long to leave it on the cat before rinsing it off. Now you are ready for the rinse cycle. Again start at the head and work your way down until all of the suds are rinsed off. Gently squeeze the remainder of the water out of the fur and wrap your cat in a towel to dry. Some cats will tolerate the hair dryer but be sure to use the low heat and low air setting and go slowly.

Cat Bite Wounds

Cats are highly territorial and often fight when they meet outside or, less commonly, within the household. During fights, cats inflict deep bite wounds that inject bacteria from the mouth into the internal tissues. Cat bite wounds frequently become infected and abscessed. An abscess is a pocket of infection that the body has walled off.

Signs of Abscesses
If you know your cat has been in a fight, its a good idea to examine him carefully for signs of injury. Bite wounds may leave only tiny puncture holes on the skin. Veterinary care is always recommended for cat bite wounds. More often, you wont know that your cat has been fighting until an abscess forms. Signs of an abscess include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, pain and the appearance of a swollen area. Hair may be lost in the area, and the skin may rupture, leaking foul-swelling pus onto the fur. The most common areas for bite wounds and abscesses are the face, legs, and the base of the tail.

Your veterinarian can usually diagnose the abscess based on a physical exam. It may be necessary to shave hair from parts of the body to look for bite wounds.

Abscess Treatment
Cats typically require anesthesia for initial drainage and cleansing of the infected area. All of the pus and dead tissue will be removed. The wound is encouraged to heal without trapping bacteria under the skin again. This usually means that the wound is left open so that the internal tissues heal first, before the skin. Drains may be placed temporarily under the skin. In addition to giving oral medications, it may be necessary for you to administer topical antiseptics or antibiotics directly to the wound area. Hot packing the area with a warm, wet washcloth for 5-10 minutes twice daily is also beneficial. Most cats heal well with proper treatment.cat bite wounds

Even though an untreated abscess usually ruptures and drains on its own, recurrence is extremely common without professional care. Cats with abscesses can also get sick enough to stop eating and become severely dehydrated. Prompt medical attention is a must for all cat bite wounds and abscesses.

Biting is the most common means by which some serious cat diseases are spread. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and Rabies can all be spread by bites. If your cat goes outside he should be vaccinated against FeLV and Rabies. Your veterinarian may also advise testing for exposure to FeLV and FIV after a bite.

Preventing Abscesses
The main mechanism for preventing abscesses is keeping cats indoors, where they are less likely to fight. Routinely checking your cat for injuries is also a good idea.

Debra Garrison, DVM

Traveling with Your Cat

Traveling with your cat

At some point in most pet owners lives, it becomes necessary to travel with your pet. Unfortunately for cat owners, most cats are not inclined to enjoy the travel experience. This handout will explain some tips for keeping your cat comfortable and helping them tolerate the travel experience.

Cats tend to naturally be highly territorial animals. Unfortunately, most travel destinations do not tend to lend themselves to be known and comfortable territory for your cat. On top of introducing them to new surroundings upon arrival, your pet has likely also been confined in a travel carrier for the trip. This confinement may also be stressful to your pet as many cats do not like to be confined to small and non-familiar spaces. This combination of lack of familiarity with their surroundings and control over their surroundings tends to make travel an overall stressful experience.

Your cat may come to tolerate the travel experience with time. However, unless a cat was introduced to travel as a kitten, it may never come to enjoy excursions away from its familiar territory. In order to lessen the stress during a big trip and prepare your cat for the travel experience it may be helpful to practice some of the following tips:

  • Introduce your pet to their carrier in familiar and comfortable territory. This will help combat the negative association that your cat may have developed by linking the carrier to undesirable outcomes, such as the vet or kennel.
  • Make the carrier as familiar and friendly as possible. Line the carrier with a favorite blanket and include a special treat or toy to entice your cat to spend time inside.
  • Introduce your pet to short, frequent car trips with pleasurable destinations.
  • Include treats, toys or other special items to ensure that your cat associates positive experiences with the travel excursions.

Choosing an appropriate travel carrier will play a large role in how comfortable both you and your cat are with traveling. Aspects of the carrier should be chosen with the animals comfort, your ease of transport and any outside regulations, such as the airlines, in mind. Some things to consider for your comfort are the way the cat is put into the carrier, such as top, side or front entry and whether the carrier has soft or hard sides. The ease of cleaning should also be considered. Most plastic shell and wire mesh carriers are easy to wipe clean, whereas, some cloth luggage-type carriers require machine washing. It is also ideal for the carrier to have a separate bottom tray to hold an absorbent pad to keep fecal matter away from your pet. If your cat prefers to be hidden from view, then a covered, enclosed carrier would be ideal. Whereas if your cat prefers to view what is happening around them, then perhaps a wire mesh carrier would suit.

girl with cat

However, before purchasing any carrier, check with your preferred mode of travel and accommodations to make sure that your ideal carrier also fits their guidelines and regulations. Some general guidelines to follow for purchasing a carrier to be used on an aircraft are that the walls of the carrier should have adequate ventilation (preferably three sides); the walls of the carrier should be strong enough to prevent it from being crushed; the carrier must have sturdy handles; an attached water bowl must be present and the cage should allow the animal to stand up and turn around easily.

Basic Tips for Airline Travel with Your Cat:

  • Determine all airline regulations for acclimation, carrier specifications, baggage liability, and vaccination records several weeks prior to flying. Bring all pertinent veterinary records and other documentation to the airport with you to avoid delays.
  • Schedule a direct flight if possible. This will minimize the chances of a delay and of your pet having to wait in inclimate weather to be loaded into cargo.
  • Have your cat examined by its veterinarian before the trip to determine its suitability to fly. Your veterinarian may recommend a mild sedative for cats that may be overly stressed during their travel.
  • Some airlines will allow passengers to travel with small pets in coach and first class. Inquire as to this possibility and the regulations well before arriving at the airport.
  • Make sure that your pets carrier is well marked with permanent identification, including your contact information, flight number, destination and destination contact information.
  • Consider in advance all food, water and medication that you may need for your cat and be sure to pack it in an easily accessible location.

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