2, No. 8
- Jaundice is Fading!
Caring for Cats: Proactive
Just Some Stuff.
by Garry White
Busy, busy week, folks. And on top of that,
the research I had planned for this week's article is taking a bit longer
than planned; one would think these universities could put their own schedules
aside to accommodate my requests for information, wouldn't one? However,
this gives me a chance to cover a few other minor issues.
Clean cat food bowls/drinking bowls:
(This one'll bowl you over):
Typically, we consider dry food to be non-dangerous, as compared to the
spoilage rate of canned food, and we're sort of correct in that assumption.
But not entirely; dry food spoils too, just not as quickly. Canned foods
and cooked or fresh foods, though, are our biggest concern. Most foods
contain at least some bacteria, and meats contain even more. As we know,
bacteria needs warmth and moisture to proliferate, but what we might not
know is that once conditions have been established for growth, some bacteria
that turn food into poison (campylobacter, salmonella, listeria, E.coli
O157, clostridium perfringens) to name a few, subscribe to the divide-and-conquer
philosophy: One becomes two, two becomes four. A single bacterium can become
several million in 8 hours, and thousands of millions just a few
hours later! Rabbits don't hold a candle to these little beasties, huh!
Point is to think of it this way: An hour or so means bad things are underway.
Another hour or so means the food is humming with potentially poisonous
bacteria; maybe the cat's digestive system can deal with it, and maybe
not. Another few hours could mean disaster. So we need to keep those cat food bowls
and plates clean! If it's canned food, a few hours at most. If it's dry,
at least daily. Plus, remember that cats eat what smells good, and a cat food
bowl that doesn't smell good will repel them from eating, even if the
food you just dumped in there is fresh!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could
have sneeze-hoods for the food bowls, just like they do at the Ponderosa
Steak House salad bar? But we can't, so we have to deal with our furry
sneezers a bit more individually. Starting, of course, with the knowledge
that feline upper-respiratory infection is one of the most contagious
bacteria on the planet. Ask our editor, Kathy, who went through it with
her dear Nicholas. Poor Kathy was stuffing towels under the doors, taking
showers and changing clothes to go to the kitchen for a peanut-butter
sandwich, and in the end the bug still won. All the cats in her house got
it! Now imagine an infected cat sneezing and spreading those highly contagious germs
into a warm, moist, community cat food bowl or water dish. YIKES! Look, we
all see it as "mean" to isolate a kitty, and especially a sick
one, but in truth it's the kindest thing we could possibly do. First of
all to the other cats in residence, but also to the sick one. Cats, unlike
humans, can catch the same virus more than once, so a nasty bug
can bounce back and forth many times, if we don't contain the situation.
So be careful and attentive to what's going
on, and always be conscious of what's growing in that cat food or water
- Jaundice is Fading!
by Kathy Fatheree
learned how Bert's parent's check for a full tummy via Bert's PEG tube.
This is a necessary thing to check for since we wouldn't want to feed
him when his belly is still full. Some kitties digest their food slower
than others... especially if they are sick and have a low activity level.
This Week's Update:
great day to report! Bert is still doing wonderful and seems to be getting
better by the hour. Mitch and I are having a bit of trouble with the feedings
though, more specifically. the rate at which we should feed. We found
a pace that we thought Bert was comfortable with, but between the increase
in amount (he's on 53cc's now, up from 20 when he first came home from
the hospital) and we are apparently going a little too quickly because
he threw up again. We've decided that it doesn't matter if it takes an
hour, we will not do more than 2cc's a minute. He seems to do wonderful
with that speed and doesn't drool or smack his lips at all. When he starts
with the heavy salivation we know we've gone too fast and as soon as he
starts smacking his mouth we know he's going to throw up. It's not funny
at all but he threw up all over our bed; covers, sheets and pillows. We
capped his tube and got out fresh bedding and sat him in the middle of
the clean comforter while we stripped the bed. What was so funny is he
sat there the entire time and watched us! As soon as we were done and
tossed the last pillow on the bed, up he came! It made me laugh, he actually
sat and waited for us to put clean sheets and covers on. :( I feel just
terrible about his throwing up, but also I know that it is going to take
us a bit of trial and error. I just got done with his middle of the night
feeding and he's sound asleep next to Mitch. Apparently things went so
smoothly that neither of them felt the need to wake up!! Over all I would
say things are going very smoothly.
Jaundice is a sign of liver problems
I can't believe that I didn't mention the jaundice!
The jaundice is the reason that Dr. H admitted him into the intensive
care the very first time he stayed! We took him in for his blood work
and Dr. H noticed that the inside of his ears were off color (not yet
bright yellow, barely noticeable really). He said that Bert would have
to stay overnight so they could start the fluid therapy on him. His jaundice
progressively got worse. The day of Bert's PEG tub surgery, his ears looked
like someone had colored the inside with a marker. That's why I was so
pleased to notice now that they are returning to a pink color. We can
still see a yellow tinge but the bright yellow is completely gone!
NOTE: Here is how MedLine
Plus explains Jaundice:
"Jaundice is a yellow color in
the skin, the mucous membranes, or the eyes. The yellow pigment is from
bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. If you've ever had a
bruise, you may have noticed that the skin went through a series of
color changes as it healed. When you saw yellow in the bruise, you were
seeing bilirubin. Normally, about 1% of our red blood cells retire every
day, to be replaced by fresh red blood cells. The old ones are processed
in the liver and disposed of. Much of the resulting bilirubin leaves
the body in the stool. If there are too many red blood cells retiring
for the liver to handle, yellow pigment builds up in the body. When
there is enough to be visible, jaundice results. Jaundice can be caused
by too many red blood cells retiring, by
the liver being overloaded or damaged,
or by the inability to move processed bilirubin from the liver through
the biliary tract to the gut."
Cat Clinic that is Caring for Bert
The name of the cat clinic is Animal Specialty Hospital,
5775 Schenck Avenue, Rockledge FL 32955. (321) 752-7600. The name of the
tech that we adore is Lalane. The hospital is by referral only and after
they close at 6 they turn into one of the area's emergency clinics. It's
a beautiful property with spacious exam rooms. I can say without a doubt
that they saved Bert's life. Everyone there is absolutely wonderful!
by Dan Malenski
This week, from our "Remarkable Cat
Tales" department, we will tell you about what we think is the ultimate
in room service for those seeking hotel accommodations. I have my research
assistant, Melissa, to thank for uncovering this interesting story about
a hotel in the State of Minnesota. The information for the story was gleaned
from internet sources and the website of this remarkable hotel, the Anderson
On a cold winter night, where can a traveler
rest his cold and weary body and expect a warmed brick to warm his or
her feet and a friendly, cuddly kitty to warm the heart, and all at a
very reasonable rate? At the historic Anderson House in Wabasha, MN, the
oldest operating hotel in the state-that's where! As soon as one checks
in, it is apparent that this is no ordinary hotel with an ever-filled
cookie jar at the front desk and a menu that features Pennsylvania Dutch
cooking dating back to its opening in the year 1856. Shoes left outside
the door are shined by the human staff, just as was done in the days past.
The hotel has twenty-two rooms, each with a private bath or shower and
each with its own unique furnishings. Rates start from $69.00 a night,
which is competitive with those facilities that are not feline friendly.
service of providing a cat to a guest who requests one was not always
available but was started a little over twenty years ago when a guest
nonchalantly mentioned to proprietor John Hall at the time that he had
been on the road so long, even a cat would be a welcome companion. Without
another thought, Hall's mother delivered the family cat to the guest's
room, who remarked the following morning that he had spent his most memorable
night in 26 years of traveling. This remark was the trigger that initiated
the service of providing a cat to a guest who requests one, and this service
still exists to date.
For those who request the companionship
of a feline, a hotel employee will deliver the cat (or cats) to a room
with sleepover essentials that consist of food and a litter box. According
to the manager, approximately 25% of his guests request a cat when they
phone in their reservations and on any given night, more than half his
guests wind up sharing their rooms with a feline. Now, where can you find
better room service than that?
For those who choose to visit the hotels
website, you may click on the following:
Historic Anderson House Hotel
You will note that the option of choosing
to have a feline roommate is not actively advertised on their website,
probably to not offend the d*g people, but is only suggested in their
logo and by a tuxedo cat
pictured on their rates page. Therefore, if you ever need a hotel in the
area, be sure to choose the Anderson House, and be sure to utilize this
unique service. If you request the companionship of more than one feline,
you will likely have your request fulfilled, as the feline staff typically
numbers in the area of fifteen. The hotel staff pulls out all the stops
to insure that there will never be a weary traveler who will not be able
to share a room with a cat.
Caring for Cats
Proactive Plan: Step-4
by Garry White
Dealing with veterinarians
I take proactive care seriously, as I'm
sure you do, and we try to leave no stone unturned. Well, this particular
stone isn't a rock... it's a boulder! And for obvious reason: The veterinarian is a
crucial link in the chain that leads us to long-term wellness for our
furry pals, so it's important that we find --and keep-- a good
one. But never lose sight of the fact that you and your cat are the most
important link of all.
How to find a good veterinarian:
Better said would be how not
to choose a good veterinarian: He's close by, he's cheap, and the office people
are friendly; the missing ingredient here is 'conscionable care.' We could
go on forever with discussion about things to look for and things to avoid,
but I'll summarize how I do it. Long ago, I gave up the philosophy that
cost equals quality. That's true up to a point, but not exclusively. Depending
on the locale, customer-traffic, and the veterinarian's operating overhead, office
visits can range from $25 for a country vet, to $150 for a swanky, mid-city
operation. So disassociate those two from the thinking process. My own
first step is to avoid the obvious phonies, and the front-desk folks generally
give that away. They're either serious about the cat's problem and getting
it resolved quickly, or they're serious about flattering you as to how
beautiful Fluffy is. We have to remember who trained those office folks...the
vet! 'Nuff sed about that, eh. I also try to speak with a new
veterinarian beforehand, rather than just allow them to assume that I am
a new customer because I'm standing in the lobby; I want them to appreciate
(and earn) my business, and if they're too busy to spend a few minutes
with a potential new customer, then they're likely too busy to give my
cat the care I'm going to demand.
How to keep a good veterinarian:
Again, we could elaborate this one
to death too, but basically I just use a little common sense in remembering
that vets are human beings with feelings, not fix-it machines. They've
spent many, many years learning their trade, and I feel that "the-cat-didn't-die",
and financial payment, are inadequate as rewards for what they've done.
So I do the silly stuff, and it seems to be appreciated: Box of donuts
every so often, send a picture of the patient every now and then, sometimes
a phone call just to say, "Hey, Doc; just wanted to let you know
that what you did last time is working like a dream.thanks a million!"
Another thing vets like is for you and I to show that we're sorta in-the-know
about some of the basics; it takes a lot of the elementary burden off
them.it's time-saving for them if they don't have to explain the difference
stools we sit on and stools we don't.
So we first have to find a good vet, and
then we have to work at keeping him/her in the family. The methods we
might use to do all of that are as individual and varied as fingerprints,
but all the hoop-de-do comes down to common sense in the end.