Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 1, No. 20
Feline dental disease is a commonly overlooked problem, which can lead to feline anorexia. More so than ever before, the public is becoming more aware of the need to care for their pet's teeth. Cats, just like humans, have tartar buildup, gingivitis and cavities. Plaque is that white stuff you get between your teeth when you haven't brushed well it's what your dentist tells you about each visit "you need to learn to brush a little better in this area" they say. Plaque is actually a build up food and bacteria that must be cleaned away from your teeth and gums. If it is not cleaned away, it mineralizes and turns into what we call tartar. If your dentist has ever scraped at your teeth, tartar is being removed. If tartar and plaque are not removed, the gums become inflamed and sore and gum-line cavities may develop. This same sequence happens to cats.
If your cat has gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or cavities, eating can be painful. Your cat may stop eating because of the pain.
According to VetCentric.com, Inc.:
If you have noticed that your cat is not eating as much as normal and is loosing weight, a veterinary visit is an absolute must. Among the many test that will be performed, make sure that your cat's teeth are closely examined.
Some cats will tolerate having their mouths opened wide to look for cavities and have their gums checked for gingivitis. However, some cats absolutely will not tolerate a mouth exam. If your cat falls in this second category, you are in a difficult position and need to talk to your vet about what to do about a dental exam. Cats must be sedated to have their teeth cleaned and any sedation can be dangerous or even deadly... especially to older, sick or weak cats. If you or your vet feels that your cat is too sick for sedation, you may need forego teeth cleaning for now.
You may want to consider syringe feeding your cat to help him or her gain strength and later on consider teeth cleaning.
Tip: Before any cat has their teeth cleaned, blood work and a heart EKG should be performed to find out if the cat is a good candidate for sedation.
I promised you we'd be here one day, didn't I? Well, here we are. We still have plenty of ground to cover with conventional diets, but I thought it would be appropriate to (at least) break into the world of alternative foods. The research was fun and enlightening, and I don't mind admitting that some of those diets are a whole lot more attractive than commercial cat foods.and probably more appealing to Fluffy! Look, rather than try to dazzle you with my obvious lack of knowledge on this subject, let's all have some fun grazing the interesting sites I found on foods we can't buy at Stop 'N' Go.
I'll preface the following with this statement: Most of these sites begin with "Non-Standard" or "Not Approved" disclaimers.please read these carefully and take them seriously, okay?
Click HERE for Site #1 A great site, written by a pro. Somewhat biased against commercial foods, but I would expect that with a site promoting alternative diets. This one tells you how to prepare the foods, component-by-component! I'll be honest; the recipes sound better than what I had for dinner last night!
Click HERE for Site #2 All about raw food diets. I'm reminded of my sole experience at a sushi-bar in Chicago once; evidence that too much Scotch can convince you most anything is cool. I'm kidding: Lots of you are into raw food diets, and this is a wonderful, informative site.
Click HERE for Site #3 Organic foods? WHOA! I may switch to this!
Clarkie can have the Friskie's.this stuff is for me!
Click HERE for Site #4 Carrots, peas, corn, wheat: I love that stuff, but Fluffy doesn't, and here's why.
Ahh.vacations, cookouts, the beach! YAH! Oh, and let's not forget our little pals Ixodidae and Siphonaptera who come to visit every summer, too. WHO? Oh, sorry.ticks and fleas. Many years ago, a neighbor called me one evening and said that she hoped our cat would recover soon. Confused, I asked what she meant: It seems that my young son had called her earlier in the day to inform her that our cat was ingested with flicks and teas.
They're here, folks, as always; so get those treatments going before you need them. Gosh.I remember the old days of flea-baths and flea-dips, and I marvel at how easy it is now to daub a little goo between the shoulder blades, and that's it for another month! Here's a caution, and it's a big one: If you have a dog in the family, you may use flea powder from time to time.remember that dog flea powder commonly has an agent called Permethrin, which is fine for dogs and fatal to cats!
Other summer cautions we need to be wary of:
CLICK HERE to see "How Cats Stay Cool".
"Well, my cats are indoor cats, so all of this isn't really a concern." Don't you believe it! Fleas can jump as much as 150 times their own length, so it's almost a certainty that you're dragging them inside on your shoes, pant-cuffs, dresses, and socks.
Summer is for enjoying, so let's enjoy it! But let's make sure Fluffy enjoys it, too.
Postscript: If you're old (like me), and you want to bake a peach pie (as I did), and your spices are in little clear bottles with small labels (like mine are).do wear your glasses. I can tell you from experience: Cumin and Cinnamon may look alike in color and texture, and without optometric support (spectacles) those tiny labels say the same thing.but they are not the same. Take it from one who knows; Cumin will not enhance the flavor of your peach pie.
The first time I saw Phoebe lift her front paw up, I thought she looked so cute it was kind of like she was begging with one paw. But then she continued to hold it up. What was she doing? WHY was she holding her paw up? I went over and touched her wrist and she cried out. She was hurt.
Fat cats are especially prone to injury because of the amazing amount of weight their little joints are subjected to. These cats can have injuries to their back, paws, wrists, knees, legs, hips, etc. Imagine a 20 pound cat jumping off of a 2-foot high bed that's 10 pounds of force on each front leg. 10 pounds! That's enough force to easily stretch or tear a ligament or worse yet enough force to break a leg. And when a fat cat has such an injury, the excessive weight makes it even harder to heal because the weight can injure the area over and over again.
So what can you do to prevent these injuries? The first thing is to get serious about putting your cat on a diet. I mean really serious. In the meantime, though, prevent injuries by preventing your cat from jumping down from high areas. How can you possibly do this? First, closely observe your cat's habits and determine where he or she is most likely to jump down from. Then place a footstool, ottoman, or similar object in that spot to reduce the height. For example, if your overweight cat sleeps on the bed, put a ottoman at the side of the bed for your cat to jump down on. If your cat is unpredictable, place something on each side of the bed. Observe your cat and reposition the "landing pad" until your cat uses it each time instead of jumping. Other areas to watch for are counter tops, sinks, desks, couches, and so on.
I was planning to write about several different breeds of the feline species over the next few weeks, but after consulting with the girls, they pointed out that discussing breeds would be tantamount to putting the proverbial cat before the mouse. Amanda asked how I would be able to talk about any breed without talking about where cats came from in the first place? Knowing what's good for me, I will heed her advice and talk about the origin and history of cats first, and then we'll discuss individual breeds in future articles. Mind you, with no cat historians in the house, the information in this article was harvested from multiple sources on the Internet.
The evolution of cats originated from a family of carnivores called the Miacis, from which today's mammals evolved about 50 million years ago. Approximately ten million years later, the earliest form of a cat, the size of a Lynx, evolved from this family. It was not until approximately 4000 years BC before cats came to live with humans, however.
It is thought that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate the cat, especially after learning of their value in keeping their stored grain from being eaten by rodents. Eventually, the ancient Egyptians raised kittens, which became lovable companions. About 1500 BC, the Egyptians considered the cat sacred, and a person would risk being put to death if they were responsible for harming a cat.
Cats came to the Middle East about 1000 B.C., and then spread to Asia, becoming popular for keeping the rodent population in check. The cat was widely admired in the Orient for their mystique and beauty.
In Islamic countries, there is a legend which says that Mohammed adored cats, and when one of them was sleeping on his sleeve when he had to go out, he supposedly cut off the sleeve not to disturb the cat.
Note from Dan: Apparently, this consideration for the cat is widespread. When one of my girls is taking a nap on my chair, I will give anyone only one guess to determine who reads the newspaper while sitting on the floor.
A dark period for the cats began in the Middle Ages when the Europeans associated them with the Devil and witchcraft, and then became to be feared and despised. So many cats were destroyed out of this fear that it caused a vast increase in the rodent population. Because of this increase, a form of the bubonic plaque spread by rat fleas by the year 1500 killed a third of the European population. In later years, people did associate the fact that when many cats were seen, there was less of a problem with plague; thus, the life of the cat started to improve.
The lives of the cats began to improve in Europe in the 17th century, and they then became popular household pets by the 18th century. Their ability as mousers was widely known, and they were brought to the New World on the ships of the explorers and settlers in the 1600s and 1700s.
Today cats are widely admired for their beauty and personality, and now outnumber dogs as the most popular pet!
Typos? Please email me at Kathy (at) AssistFeed.com
Copyright © 2003-2013 by Kathy Fatheree. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: Kathy Fatheree is not at all a medical expert. Contents of this web site are a collection of Kathy's assist feeding experiences as well as the experiences of other cat owners who have assist fed their cats. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Kathy Fatheree or anyone associated with this web site cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen as a result of using the information on this site.