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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.

 

DrCam_Help_Button

Why desexing your cat is important

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:34:28 PM EST by Cam Day

The Importance Of Desexing Cats

Cat owners beware! There are clandestine meetings being held in darkened back streets. Impetuous romantic liaisons are occurring with no thought of the consequences. Testosterone charged Toms will brawl viciously with each other while competing for the proffered favours of female cats. The result of this biological ball game is that thousands of kittens will are born in the cat breeding season in cities around the world.

Sadly, far too many of those kittens are born to die. Animal refuges around the globe are unable to cope with the huge number of irresponsibly bred kittens they receive.

The Breeding Season for Cats

Cats snugglingIn warmer climates, cats, unlike dogs, are seasonal breeders. This means that they have a relatively short breeding season. In Queensland, Australia, it starts in August as the day length increases and extends through the Spring and Summer months. Dogs, by comparison, don't have a breeding season and can be sexually active anytime in the year.

There is another major difference between the breeding habit of cats and dogs too. Cats, in the breeding season, have continual breeding cycles throughout the summer months. These cycles repeat every three weeks or so unless the cat is mated, or until the breeding season finished.

Dogs are not like that. They come into 'season' usually every six months, and they have just one cycle lasts for only three weeks and then stops, whether they are mated or not.

Cats are breeding machines. There is nothing accidental in their mating rituals. When the hormones hit, the Queens (female cats) actively seek males and they keep seeking them until mated. The males are more than willing, and they will brawl with each other to get their 'gal'.

A Cat's Behaviour when it is in Season

Your female cat is likely to show some unusual behaviour when her hormones start. She will yowl at the door to get out at night. She will roll on the Bengal_Green_eyes-200w-SMLground, become agitated and act most unusually. You are likely to think her need is a brief sojourn outside to go to the toilet and that's your mistake as she will stay out all night, to return in the morning with a happy, contented smile on her face. Nine weeks later there will be a surprise in the laundry basket when she has given birth to a litter of kittens.

What happens with male cats? These boys are going to have a hard time. Their fights over the females are bitter and vicious. Several consequences are likely. The first is an injury such as a ruptured eye ball from a claw wound. Bite wounds over the body or head are also likely. Many of these bite wounds will turn into painful abscesses which are caused by some horrible bacteria that are forcefully injected under the victim's skin by the aggressor's needle sharp teeth. There is a very good chance that the deadly disease, Feline AIDS, will be contracted. Unlike human AIDS, Feline AIDS is spread by saliva passed from one cat to another by a bite wound. AIDS is much more common in entire male cats than any other.

Because male cats roam for kilometres when looking for ladies, they also suffer a variety of accidents. They become lost, fall victim to car wheels or to cat consuming canines.

Humans are Affected by the Behaviour of Breeding Cats

 There is also the human component. Most people do not like their sleep disturbed by caterwauling felines and some can be quite cruel. Shooting and poisoning of cats often occurs at this time of year and many cats just mysteriously disappear. What happens to them? You can guess.

The answer is obvious and simple. All cats should be desexed.

Responsible breeders who know what they are doing and who don't allow their non desexed cats to roam are an obvious exception.

The Myths Relating to Cats and their Neutering

Some of you may be thinking; - 'Is it really necessary?' 'Can't I let her have just one litter?' 'She'll be so much more content after having a litter' 'They need to have one season before being desexed, don't they?'

Owners of male cats may also state, 'I can't desexed him - it's a blow to his masculinity.' 'A male cat's go to do what a male cat's supposed to do.' 'I'm not castrated, so why should I do that to my cat?'

The answer to all the above is 'poppycock'! Desexing is essential. There is no advantage in allowing Queens to have a season or a litter and Toms that are not desexed suffer continual wounds and abscesses and usually die early and often tragically.

If your cat is not desexed at this very moment, you should be nervous!!

Ring your vet immediately and make an appointment.

The surgery is routine and the cat will be away from you for only about 24 hours. It costs less to desex a female cat than to raise a litter of kittens and the cost of neutering a male cat is even less.

After surgery your cat will be back on its feet and normal again the next day (whereas wimpy humans take weeks to recover!!) and you will be a certified SNAPO (Sensitive New Age Pet Owner)!

 

Further information:

Spraying Behaviour

Pheromones

Cat Assimilation

 

 

Caring for Your Pets at Holiday Time

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 1:58:49 PM EST by Cam Day

Holidays are complicated when you have pets. What are you going to do with them? Do you take your pets with you or leave them behind? This car is packed for a good time

There are many effective and easy remedies you can choose when it comes to who should care for your pets when you are away on holiday.

I am sure you won't practice what some irresponsible holiday makers do. Some find a pet too much inconvenience and think nothing of  dumping their cat or dog before they go away.

Certainly leaving your pets unattended at home is also not an option. Such lonely animals often escape when the boredom of solitude hits. These stray pets often suffer injuries from accidents and they can become lost.

Of course most people are very responsible and want to ensure their pets are safe while they are away.

Can you take your pet with you?

Many folk couldn't bear to be without their pets when they go off for some rest and recreation. If you can take your pets with you then they will enjoy the change in routine as much as you.

Be careful if you are going camping and save embarrassment.  Many camping grounds are National Parks where pets are totally prohibited.

Look for a book produced by  Life - Be In It called Holidaying with your Dogs.  It lists a variety of camping grounds and accommodation alternatives which allow dogs.

There are also many farm-stay organisations which are very happy to allow you to take your pets.

Boarding Your Pet

If you are intending to book your dog or cat into a boarding kennel, then ensure you do so months before. Many boarding kennels and catteries book out for the Christmas and Easter holidays months in advance. Other holiday periods are almost as bad.

I always advise pet owners to view their pet's potential accommodation to ensure the facilities are clean and well managed. Boarding kennel owners are usually happy with this but you may have to arrange the visit with them beforehand. In a boarding kennel, there are certain times of the day when the owners cannot allow visitors through due to the potential of noise from the dogs barking and the disturbance visitors may cause to other scheduled duties.

If a kennel owner flatly refuses, then I would go elsewhere.

Home Visit Services

Several organisations offer a home visit service for pets. With such services, the pets are left at home and the care-giver visits during the day to feed and exercise the pets. They will water your plants and also provide other services. For pets with the right temperament, this is a good alternative.

However, be aware that your pet will still be alone for most of the day and many pets will not tolerate this. If your pet is very attached to you it may not be content if you are gone for a long period. Another alternative may be better.

House Sitters

Many folk will have a house-sitter stay in their home when they are away.  The pet stays in its home environment and that can be a very effective remedy.

The pets often enjoy the new face and the small change in routine.

Naturally, the house-sitter needs to have good credentials. I have friends who do this and it seems to work very well for the home owner and the house sitter.

A Holiday With Relatives

Alternatively, having your pets cared for at the home of a friend or relative is a good idea.

If this is your preference, check that the fences will prevent your pet escaping.

Why not take your pet to visit this friend a few times before the holiday so it can acquaint itself with their house and garden?

Identification is Vital

Lastly, no matter the system of care you use when you are on holiday, be sure to fully identify your pet with tags or a microchip. Should your pet roam while you are away, identification will assist in its return to you otherwise, you may never see it again.

Holiday Health Care

Remember that your pet will need to have its vaccinations up to date before being admitted into the kennels. For your pet's protection, its vaccinations should be given at least 10 days before the date of boarding as the vaccines won't cause immunity immediately.

While your veterinarian will advise more fully, a C5 vaccine covers your dog for both of the germs that can cause Canine Cough and those that cause Distemper, Parvovirus and Canine Hepatitis virus. Canine Cough is a contagious upper respiratory condition that can be a problem wherever dogs group together - especially in kennels.

For cats, the F3 vaccine is the minimum needed but you may also like to ask your vet about some of the new vaccines that are now available for diseases such feline leukaemia and feline AIDS.

This is also a good time to have your dog or cat wormed with an all-wormer tablet and to check that their heartworm preventative is up to date.

There are many alternatives for your dog's heartworm preventative, but my advice is to consider the Once-A-Year Heartworm Injection which you can have done at the same time that you have your pet's annual vaccinations.

Don't forget a bath or at least a good flea treatment is essential and if your pet is on medication of any sort, for example for arthritis or anxiety disorders, now is a good time to ensure you are well stocked with medication.

With a little forethought, you and your pets will have a happy holiday and you won't be dogged by the hassles that hound many others.

Back to Holiday Care Pet Pick

Easter Feast

Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 1:46:57 PM EST by Cam Day

Easter eggsEaster is just a few sleeps away with all the fun of the feast and, if your house is like mine, there will be chocolate eggs a plenty. And with every scrumptious egg being unwrapped, there will be a pooch or a puss with a 'Me too, please' expression on its  face.

Now, on occasion, you have to be cruel to be kind, and this is such an occasion. Chocolate and pets are not a good combination. Now a small piece will not cause any damage, but some impatient pets will plan a seek-and-destroy mission and will discover the stash of Easter eggs.  That's where problems will start.

Large amounts of chocolate can be dangerous for pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

If your dog eats too much chocolate, it could become over-excited and hyperactive. Due to the diuretic effect, it may pass large volumes of urine and it will be unusually thirsty. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common but it is the effect of theobromine on your dog's heart that is the most dangerous.

Theobromine will either increase your dog's heart rate or may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible, especially if your dog exercises after the binge.

It is possible for a pet to eat a large quantity of chocolate and not show the effect for some hours afterwards. Death can occur within 24 hours.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous.


Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate.

Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.

The good news is that there are many other ways to help your pet celebrate Easter that don't rely on chocolate and that are a lot more fun for Pooch and Puss.

An Easter Bon-Bon

Easter bon-bon

Use a toilet roll core as an Easter bon-bon. For dogs, fill the core with sensible food treats, fold the ends over and wrap it in colourful paper. Let Pooch do the unwrapping because for dogs, that most of the fun.

Cats are a bit more restrained in their gluttony so rather than wrapping the bon-bon, fold just one end over and place some flavoursome treats inside. Allow the furry paw to explore the toiler roll core.

You can achieve the same with a tooth-paste carton and for big dogs, hide a raw, meaty bone inside a wrapped cereal box.

Frozen Gloup

For another Easter delight, start with an empty margarine container. Fill this will nutritious snacks such as dry food, some liver treats, maybe a chicken wing or an ox tail or a even a lump of teeth-flossing tough steak. Now the finishing touch - poor some vegemite broth or lactose-free milk (pets don't tolerate cow's mBeagle_puppy_whiteilk well) over the whole lot and freeze it!

Present that to your pooch for its Easter surprise and, while you might think the Gloup is revolting, your Pooch will love the puzzle of working out how to remove the goodies and the bone from inside the ice puzzle.

Chocolate Meat Balls

For those of you that cannot resist the temptation to give Pooch or Puss a small amount of chocolate, try this safe delight.

Roll a dessertspoon of raw mince into a ball and freeze it.  Now cover the whole frozen rissole with the milk-chocolate version of Ice Magic and when it sets, give that to your pets!!

They will think all their Christmases have come at Easter!  This small amount of chocolate is quite safe.

But if you want to be really safe, there are many carob-flavoured dog treats that your pooch will love.

Keep yourself safe over Easter!

More information

To Pet Nutrition Pet Pick

Other Poisonous Foods

Easter bon-bon

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