Educational Articles

Cats + Care & Wellness

  • In some cases, two laid-back adult cats can be easily introduced with minimal drama. In other cases, however, the introduction does not go as smoothly. Some adult cats may physically fight with each other, resulting in potential injuries. Even in the absence of physical aggression, introductions can provoke anxiety that leads to inappropriate elimination, decreased appetite, or other signs of stress in one or both cats. Fortunately, you can help increase the likelihood of success by introducing two adult cats slowly and gradually.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that is also commonly referred to as dry eye. It is a common eye condition resulting from inadequate production of the aqueous portion of the tear film by the lacrimal gland or the third eyelid gland. Any condition that impairs the ability to produce adequate amounts of tear film can result in dry eye. Most cats with KCS have painful, red, and irritated eyes leading to squinting. The treatment of dry eye is to stimulate tear production and to replace tear film. The prognosis for cats diagnosed with KCS has never been better.

  • Play is a very important part of the feline world and kittens need the opportunity to play in order to learn vital adult skills both for communication and for hunting.

  • Crate training is most commonly used with dogs, but it can be useful for kittens and cats too. Crate training is useful in many situations, such as providing a safe place when home alone or unsupervised which prevents housetraining mistakes, a safe place to sleep undisturbed, to travel by car or airplane, for medical care and visits to the veterinarian, and for boarding or vacation camp. Starting while your pet is young makes training easier, but most pets can be trained. If your pet shows signs of distress (e.g., prolonged vocalization, trying to escape, salivation, rapid continuous movement) while using the training methods provided in this handout consult with your veterinarian.

  • Cats can suffer from hearing loss due to increasing age, chronic ear infections, or may be born with a defect. Deafness in cats can present some challenges but overall, they can have a fairly healthy, normal life. It is possible to teach your cat household routines by incorporating hand signals and body language into your communication with your cat. It is important to take their deafness into account when considering their safety.

  • Ownerless cats may look the same, but there is a difference between stray and feral cats. A feral cat is born and lives in the wild with little or no human contact. A stray cat is a domestic cat that has been abandoned or has strayed from home and become lost. A stray cat may be presently homeless but was once a pet that lived with humans.

  • For most cats, a visit to the veterinarian is an overwhelming experience. If your cat’s veterinary appointment is for a routine wellness examination, your veterinarian may prescribe a sedative or antianxiety medication. Natural medicines, also known as complementary therapies, cover a wide range of products including herbs, nutraceuticals, supplements, and homeopathic remedies and may be beneficial in treating your anxious cat. Products such as Feliway® and Rescue Remedy® are examples of natural therapies that may be helpful in reducing your cat’s stress. One of the most important ways to decrease your cat’s anxiety level is to remain calm and relaxed during the visit as this will help reassure your cat that she is safe.

  • The purpose of pet microchips is to provide a form of permanent identification. They are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice, and contain a unique identification number. Insertion is fast and painless. The microchip reader will detect the electronic code embedded in the chip and display the identification number on its screen. The registration database is then checked for this identification number (either online or by telephone), and the pet owner’s contact information is retrieved.

  • If you are moving with a cat, there are some things to consider to reduce her anxiety, minimize problems, and help her settle in. Before you move, make sure she has adequate identification (a collar or microchip). Make the move to your new home with your cat in a safe, well-secured container, such as a cat carrier, to avoid danger of escape. On arrival at your new home, leave her in her carrier until a room has been unpacked and set up with familiar objects and furniture. Then make this 'her' room for the initial adjustment period. Cats are very territorial and may be reluctant to accept a new environment as their home. There are things you can do to help them settle in and see their home as 'home.' Give your cat lots of extra attention and petting during this adjustment period.

  • Neutering and castration are the common terms used to describe the surgical procedure known scientifically as orchidectomy or orchiectomy during which both testicles are removed in order to sterilize a male cat. Neutering is recommended to prevent urine marking and other territorial behavior including roaming and fighting with other cats that increases the risk of contracting disease. No adverse effects are noted following neutering; however it is important to remember that metabolism does decrease after the procedure, so diet will need to be adjusted accordingly to prevent inappropriate weight gain.

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