Caring for Cats Newsletter
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Vol. 1, No. 7
We have a new member named Kari and her cat's name is Obaachan. They live in Japan! Poor Obaachan just recently had a stay in the hospital and was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. Kari is syringe feeding Obaachan but Obaachan is not grooming herself afterwards and food has dried on her fur. Getting the soupy food inherent to syringe feeding out of the fur around the mouth is not always easy, but it is very important to do so. If food is allowed to remain in contact with the skin, Contact Dermatitis will eventually result. Contact Dermatitis causes the fur to fall out in chucks and the skin will be very irritated.
What worked for Bubba and I is this: After a feeding, I would wipe away as much as I could with a dry wash cloth or a corner of the towel he was sitting on during his feeding. I then let him jump off his chair and settle down. I then dipped a toothbrush into warm water and bathed his face like a mama cat bathing her young kitten. I repeated this brushing, rinsing the toothbrush in the water as needed, until I felt his face was clean. I then dried his face with tissue and fluffed his fur with my fingers to let air circulate and dry his fur the rest of the way. We only had Contact Dermatitis once before I got serious about this after-feeding grooming routine.
This week, I'm not talking about high quality foods because Garry's great article made me think of a very important topic - the problem of not being able to absorb nutrients because of digestive problems.
Did I tell you that I have a new kitten? He is 6 months old and I found him at the Human Society. He's a little whipper snapper I tell ya, but he's a gem, too! His first week with me was really rough. It turns out that the reason he was so docile at the Human Society is because he was sick! He had a terrible kennel cold. Young kittens often develop secondary infections, like pneumonia, so my vet recommended an antibiotic. Well, between the worming that he received (ug) and the antibiotics, this poor little fella has had a really tough time with the Big D... and I'm not talking about Dallas! (Yes, diarrhea.)
Beside being inconvenient and a stress on the body, diarrhea can interfere with nutrient absorption. When the body has diarrhea, it's a self defense mechanism to try to get whatever the irritant is out of the body pronto! Diarrhea can result in dehydration and mineral depletion so it's very important to get it under control right away. Since my little fella is young and the diarrhea wasn't slowing him down the slightest bit, my vet said I could try a homeopathic remedy along with ProBiotics to replenish the friendly flora in his intestines that were destroyed by the antibiotics. Thank goodness it worked on him. If it hadn't, I promised my vet that I would administer the medication he had prescribed. I'm all for going natural when it's possible and thankgoodness my vet puts up with me!
If your cat ever has diarrhea, please talk to your vet about your options to getting it under control immediately to prevent dehydration and mineral depletion!
This is a tough call to make, but not an impossible one; so let's try to develop a threshold. First of all, remember something I mentioned in a previous Newsletter: There are 21,900 minutes in an average year. Assuming two annual vet-visits, Doc sees Fluffy for roughly 60 of those minutes, and you see her for the remaining 21,840. By exposure alone, you (not Doc) are far more qualified to determine her normal behavior and habits; hence, you are the first to spot a significant change.
An important reminder: Most of us are afraid of vets (not me, t-t-though). We're reluctant to call them, for fear of being thought of as a nuisance. Get over it! Remember that Fluffy's delicate system cannot tolerate too much of an upset for any extended period of time, so let's not wait until she's upside-down with her tongue hanging out before we decide it's serious. If you feel you have a reason to call, pick up the phone and do it! Look at it this way: If you do call for a non-life-threatening issue, you may annoy Doc for a whole 30 seconds or so. But if it's life threatening and you don't call, then you've probably cost Fluffy her life. Make the call if you're in doubt!
However we're not going to bother Doc because Fluffy doesn't like Friskies any more, right? We're watching for significant changes. "Cool, Garry but what are they?"
I'm so glad
you asked! Read this article When is it a Cat Crisis? and I'll give you a list of issues that will soon have Fluffy
and I in the flivver and on our way to see Doc... pronto!
Have you ever tried to get a fat cat to play? :-)
Just as in humans, exercise is very important to cats. Exercise will help in weight loss when it's combined with a nutritional weight loss program AND it helps with the mood which in turn increases metabolism. When Phoebe was thinner, she would run an play... now she won't hardly budge. I thought it was just because she was fat, but I stumbled onto something this last week. I bought a toy for one of my other cats and Phoebe showed a tremendous interest in it and actually played with it for a while. Just as fast as she started playing with it though... it was over... the thrill was gone and she hasn't played with it since. I've been feeling like I've been neglecting her a bit, so the other day I brought Phoebe into my office away from the other cats. I closed the door to exclude any distractions and I spent some one-on-one time with her. I crumpled up a sheet of paper and tossed it against the wall and guess what? SHE PLAYED. We played for about 5 minutes! Not bad for a start. I think by showing her that I wanted to only be with her and to play with her, she responded with excitement! Play with Me she said!
It may take time to find out what toys your cat may like. Maybe store bought toys or maybe home-made like our paper ball. The intensity of play will be based on age and how well your cat feels - both mentally and physically. If your cat has stopped playing, spend quality one-on-one time on a regular basis and teach your cat to play again!
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.