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Keeping Pets Safe from household chemicals

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 11:57:30 AM EST by Cam Day

Household Poisons That Can Kill Your Cat

Curiosity killed the cat they say!

A wise sage probably coined this cliché to describe the sensitivity of cats to poisons around the home. Cats are much more susceptible to poisons than are dogs so this article contains some timely warnings about cats and poisons that affect them.

Pain Killers - A Feline's Foe

The common painkillers Paracetamol and Aspirin are wonderful drugs for your own pain and discomfort,  but when it comes your cat, they are extremely dangerous.

Kitten_BurmeseThese drugs are all too commonly given to cats by their owners.  They are incorrectly used as a home remedy for many feline illnesses. This is an extremely dangerous practice and can result in the death of the pet.

Paracetamol causes extreme breathlessness by dangerously altering the red blood cells. It changes the red pigment of the blood (haemoglobin) into a compound known as methaemoglobin. This substance does not carry oxygen and results in the animal's gums and lips turning blue. Fluid-like swelling occurs around the face and the cat is lethargic and gasping for breath.

Aspirin is also a danger. It causes intense irritation of the intestines and a lose of appetite, vomiting and depression. The cat is not able to balance or stand. Its head may be wobbling or swaying from side to side.

These drugs are dangerous and you should not give them to your cat - unless your veterinarian advises that you do so.  

Other human medications that you should keep away from your cat include any containing phenylbutazone, indomethacin, ibuprofen, naproxen, acetominophen and codeine

Household Horrors

Many household substances can seriously affect cats too.

Any tar derivatives such as Creosote and some tar-based shampoos are dangerous.  Creosote is extremely corrosive and is toxic to cats. By  being absorbed through its skin, a cat easily takes creosote into its body. A cat may also try to lick creosote from its body, thus ingesting the tar through its mouth.

Tar derivatives cause a violent gastroenteritis in cats, with severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.  Tar is a therapeutic agent used in some dog shampoos. Ensure any shampoo used on your cat is 'feline friendly' - read the label!

Household chemicals such as turpentine, kerosene and petrol can make a cat very ill.  These products are still sometimes incorrectly  used as a bushie's remedy for ticks and fleas. This is dangerous and you should keep these products away from your cat.woman_with_cat_200

Even if you wash it off, your cat will still readily absorb turpentine through its skin. It causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and nervous signs, such as restlessness and hyperexcitability.

Use Insecticides with Caution

Be careful when washing cats in insecticide.  Many insecticides on the market that are designed to kill fleas and ticks are quite safe when used on dogs but are deadly to cats. Insecticides containing organo-phosphate chemicals such as dichlorvos, diazinon and coumaphos are still available as dog washes but they are lethal for cats. The labels contain warnings against their use in cats, but many people forget to read the instructions!

The use of these types of insecticides is reducing in favour of the newer and kinder insecticides that are now commonly available through your veterinarian and pet shop.

Chlorinated hydrocarbons such as aldrin, DDT, dieldrin and lindane are especially dangerous in cats. These compounds are seldom used nowadays, but, while they are well controlled, some rural properties still have such preparations in storage.

Accidental poisoning with any of these insecticides can produce vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, muscle   tremors and convulsions.

Caution When Renovating

With many glorious Colonial and Queenslander houses being restored nowadays, poisoning from lead-based paint is still a problem. The main difficulty occurs when you sand the lead paint. The lead dust on the ground is picked up on your cat's feet or fur and your cat could ingest enough to make it sick.

Lead causes extreme hyperexcitability. Your cat will hysterically rush around the house in an uncoordinated fashion. It will show paralysis or muscle weakness and convulsions are common. You may also notice gastrointestinal signs such as  loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea or constipation.

If you suspect your cat has been poisoned, your best remedy is an emergency visit to your veterinarian. Be careful because a cat that is in convulsions or that is fitting is very dangerous and difficult to handle. It will not recognize you as its owner and you are likely to get bitten or scratched severely. Place your cat in a cardboard box or cat carry cage, ring your veterinarian and proceed with cautious haste. If you know what substance poisoned your cat, take a sample of it to your veterinarian.

Crucial care for curious cats

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 1:45:05 PM EST by Cam Day

Smitten with Kittens

Smitten with KittensThey are cute, cuddly, fuzzy, furry little buzz-balls. Kittens are a delight and a joy, but they do need proper care. As there are lots of kittens around at the moment, let's go through the basics of kitten care to make sure you're doing all that is necessary for your purring puss. Each topic listed, will be dealt with in this column in greater detail over the next few weeks.

Vaccinations

Your kitten should be vaccinated against the disease Feline Enteritis, and for infections caused by the Feline Rhinotracheitis virus and the Feline Calicivirus. The latter two infections cause Cat Flu. You can also have it vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia.

The first injections are due at six to eight weeks of age. I recommend that it be done again at three months of age, and that the cat flu vaccinations be repeated, again, at four months of age.

Vaccination schedules vary considerably, so please seek the advice of your veterinarian.

Worming

It is common for a kitten to be infected with hookworms and roundworms. These worms are dangerous and can cause bowel disease, anaemia and even death. Tapeworms can also be a problem and, although these worms are not usually as dangerous, your kitten is better off without them.

Your veterinarian will advise on a reliable wormer, but I advise using a medication that includes the word allwormer. This word shows that the medication will deal with all worms that your kitten can suffer from.

Reinfestation with worms is common. Therefore, I suggest you worm your kitten every two weeks until it is three months of age, then every month until it is six months of age and after that every three months.

Heartworm

We now recognise heartworm disease as a problem for cats. It is extremely difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. If you want to do the best for your kitten, then you should put him or her onto a monthly heartworm preventive.

Ask your veterinarian to discuss this with you when you have your kitten vaccinated.

Coat Care

Regular brushing of your kitten's coat will not only keep it looking slick but will also prevent tangles developing if it has long hair. For Persians and similarSmitten with Kittens long haired cats, daily brushing is essential.

Personally, I use a Zoom Groom to keep my cats' coats looking good. A Zoom Groom is a nylon grooming mitt with soft, gentle teeth that will massage your cat's coat and remove dead hair and tangles. Zoom Grooms are available from veterinarians and pet shops.

Skin infections are sometimes a problem in young kittens, especially the fungal infection Ringworm. Watch for any areas of baldness or broken hair and especially if you can see a 'cigarette ash' like dandruff in the kitten's coat.

The ferocious and fearsome Aussie Flea will get your kitten hopping mad. Be sure to use a reliable flea control preparation. There are many suitable products and Advantage and Frontline can be used on kittens, but check with your veterinarian first.

Litter Tray Training

Although you may want your kitten to soil outside, it is still important that you train your kitten to use a litter tray from the start. Most responsible cat owners curfew their cats at night to prevent wildlife predation and to keep their cats safe from other evils. When inside at night, your cat will obviously need a litter tray to prevent any wee problem.

For the privacy conscious puss, you can buy litter tray hutches shop to conceal the tray.

Diet

Your kitten will be reliant on you for all the food it eats. That's a big responsibility, so you need to ensure you are feeding your cat a balanced diet.

I suggest you base the cat's diet on a reliable brand of dry or canned cat food with some fresh food, such as meat, for variety. Many cat owners are moving to the 'super-premium' dry and canned foods that are available from veterinarians and pet shops. These foods are designed for different stages of the cat's life and a specific food is available for kittens.

You should feed your kitten three to four times a day up to three months of age, reducing to twice daily by six months of age. Most cat owners will leave dry food available for their cats during the day.

Desexing

Unless you are a committed and dedicated cat breeder, it is essential that your kitten, be it male or female, is desexed by the time is it six months of age. Your cat will want to breed in spring and summer and it will actively seek likewise-inclined mates at such times. If you have not desexed your kitten, it is bound to catch you out.

 

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