Category Archives: Health Issues

Cats Sense Your Stress – New Page Added

UPDATE:  New PAGE has been added to Cats The Boss...

Visit it here:

Stress and Your Cat

Gina says: This is my own personal story featuring Jessie Cat and how my stress affected her.

Worms In Cats – New Page Added

Just an update to alert you a new page has been added to Cats The Boss. It’s titled “Worms In Cats – Internal Parasites“.  Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?! 

Be sure to check it out – you might learn something if you’re a little rusty on internal parasites. We cover: what kind of worms cats can get, how they get worms, normal symptoms of a cat with worms, how to get rid of worms, if humans can get worms from their cat, and how to keep a cat from getting worms.

Such fun!

Here’s the link again: Worms In Cats – Internal Parasites

Cat Dental Care-Clean Those Fangs

New PAGE created at Cats The Boss – Dental Care for Cat Including How-to Brush Teeth  Follow the link to read on the site OR…I have included it below for you:

Dental Care for Cat Including How-To Brush Teeth

Cat Dental Care
John Morton / Foter

 Sniff. Sniff…does your cat’s breath stink? If it smells like something crawled in her mouth and died, that’s not a good sign. It would be wise to see a veterinarian for help. But if you get a whiff of her last meal, something that resembles a food odor and doesn’t make you gag, that would be normal.

Check out the gums. Firm and pink is good. White and/or red is not good. And there should be NO swelling. Take her to the vet if you see any because it can mean other internal problems or diseases besides just the appearance of swollen gums. Observe the amount of tartar. Hopefully there is very little.

Other signs that indicate possible problems: difficulty chewing food, excessive drooling, and excessive pawing at the mouth.

Periodontal or gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar is a huge problem for cats. It’s estimated that 70% of cats will have dental issues by the age of three without any dental care. They rely on us and we should try to do our  best to keep their teeth and mouths clean.

A nutritious diet, chew treats that scrape the teeth and massage gums, yearly checkups by a veterinarian and (*cringe*) regular teeth brushing performed by you will definitely make a difference in the overall health of your cat.

>> Tooth-Brushing Kit:

  • Cotton swabs or cotton gauze pads
  • Baby toothbrush or a toothbrush made FOR cats or a finger brush, which is a rubber finger covering with little soft bristles on the tip.
  •  Cat toothpaste (have read about using salt and water). NEVER use toothpaste for humans!

It’s never too early to start brushing your cat’s teeth, either. Start when they are kittens if possible.

>>HOW TO BRUSH YOUR CAT’S TEETH:

NOTE: It may take several WEEKS until your cat is comfortable with having her teeth brushed. And perhaps she never will allow you to brush her teeth. If that’s the case, other options are medicated teeth cleaning pads, sprays for the mouth, special tartar-reducing drops for drinking water, special diets your vet can suggest, always have chew toys around, tartar control treats, and scheduling an appointment for the vet to clean your cat’s teeth.

OK – here are the steps to be completed over a period of many days, perhaps even weeks:

  • First, get kitty used to something being in her mouth. Just massage her gums with your finger or a cotton swab or gauze. You may call it a day after that. You’ll have to judge your cat’s behavior and how much you can accomplish in each session.
  • Some people dip a finger in tuna water. Rub this over the gums and one or two teeth. Repeat until your cat tolerates it.
  • Next session – put a little bit of cat toothpaste on her lips to get her used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce the baby/cat toothbrush or finger brush. NO toothpaste yet. Be happy if you can get 1 – 2 teeth brushed.
  • Keep giving her a tiny taste of that toothpaste, too.
  • Keep experimenting with brushing a few more teeth (minus the paste).
  • Once she is “accepting” this routine, it’s time to bring on the combination of cat toothpaste AND the toothbrush (or finger brush).
  • If you can accomplish this – go do the happy dance! But first praise your cat and shower her with love, letting her know SHE did GOOD!

Chew Toys are great for a cat’s teeth, gums and are fun for the cat. They satisfy natural urges to chomp, help make teeth stronger, help floss the teeth, massage her gums and scrape away soft tartar. Everyone buys toys for their cats anyway, so why not get one that’s serves dual-purpose? Fun and health?

Diet  — If your cat definitely has dental problems, ask your veterinarian for help. I’m sure if you’ve taken your cat in recently for a checkup, and the vet clearly sees the icky teeth problem, they’ll recommend a food to keep the teeth as healthy as possible and one that helps to remove plaque buildup.

Professional Cleaning — Brushing removes plaque but not that hardened-on tartar build-up. There may come a time your cat should have a veterinarian remove it with a professional cleaning and polishing. Normally the cat is put under anesthesia in order to get the job done. Your veterinarian may even use a fluoride treatment and will give you instructions for home care and follow-up. Luckily, if you’ve been a good human parent (servant!), you have already been diligently brushing kitty’s teeth and know the home care ritual! If not, you have your instructions!

 

Gina says: Now, let’s see some shiny, pearly, kitty-cat whites out there! (And try not to get your finger bitten in the process! OW!)

Jessie says: Take your time teaching your cat to get used to getting her teeth brushed – don’t push too much too fast!

Say No to Fat Cats

No More Fat Cats, Please

Fat Cat Picture - Moe
danperry.com /Stock Photos

Take a look at your cat. Be honest. Is she/he overweight? Maybe even slip the word obese into that thought?

We wouldn’t be surprised at all if you admitted that your cat looks a wee bit on the chunky side. According to reports, overweight and obese cats outnumber cats of normal weight. The extra fat can cause several health problems, including diabetes.

But what to do?

Keep this in mind:  any mammal (that includes humans, cats, dogs, etc.) will gain weight if it eats more calories than it burns as fuel for energy.

Humans can control how much and what our pets eat. Yes-WE have control over this, but must be disciplined.

Any cat that is overweight should be seen by a vet and a weight loss plan discussed and put into place asap. It’s important that this process of losing weight is gradual for the cat, though. Do NOT give it a crash diet as it can be dangerous to the cat’s health.

FREE CHOICE FEEDING

This method of feeding your cat is likely the main cause of obesity. Too much food is set out for the day as people tend to dump a bunch into a bowl and walk away. Experiment with feeding the recommended amount listed on the food package (bag, can, whatever). You may need to adjust that amount, too – usually to LESS.

Next, feed your cat two meals a day, preferably morning and night. In other words, whatever the recommended amount is for one day, or what the veterinarian instructs, divide that into two separate meals instead of one feeding. Think of cat food in ounces, not cups.

I won’t push the debate over DRY vs. CANNED (wet) food and which type you should choose. Personally, I use BOTH. Jessie Cat eats dry in the morning and canned at night. And I do not want to claim a “favorite” brand as even that causes debate. Here are some thoughts to consider…

CARBOHYDRATES

Dry pet food is loaded with carbohydrates. A cat is a carnivore and doesn’t need all those carbs so in turn can more easily gain weight on dry food.

PROTEIN

Most dry cat foods are low in protein… especially if corn is one of the first major ingredients. Protein is THE key nutrient in a healthy weight carnivore diet.

>>Dry food is more convenient, too. No spoiling or drying up during the day like wet food will do. And when I say, “during the day”, I’m still referring to a specific measured amount of food that she will either gobble up in the morning or nibble on throughout the day. Jessie devours her entire morning meal within 30 minutes. Her evening meal, which is the wet food, is gone within 5 minutes.

CAT TREATS

Stop feeding treats to fat cats. If you do give your cat treats, keep it to 2 – 4 a day in between the other meals. That’s it!

EXERCISE

Increase kitty’s calorie burning activities. Add interactive toys to the cat’s environment. Get another cat so the two can play with each other. Buy a cat harness and leash to safely walk her. Spend 15 minutes zipping a feather toy through the air and have her chase it.

WHAT ABOUT DRY FOOD TO HELP CLEAN THE TEETH?

Do not worry about the teeth needing dry, crunchy food to help remove tartar. Cats fed soft, meat-based food have fewer teeth and gum problems than cats eating all dry diets! (according to studies) So if you want to feed only wet food (good quality), go for it! I’ll reiterate, I give Jessie both dry and wet foods (measured amounts). And she gets only a mere 4 treats per day which are always a tartar control type.

THE WEIGHT LOSS PLAN

First, if this is truly a serious weight condition, take your cat to a veterinarian. The vet may do blood work (looking for health problems), an exam and record the weight.

If changing the actual food, then gradually over a period of three to four weeks add more of the new weight-loss food/diet with the old, decreasing amount of the old diet and adding more of the new one. Feed foods high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Feed the proper portion size twice a day. Skip treats if possible during the weight loss program.

Don’t forget about increasing her activity level, as mentioned earlier, to burn more calories.

Weigh the cat at least once a month. Or every week if you can to track it. If your scale doesn’t register when you sit her on it, then weigh yourself – write it down. Grab your cat and step on the scale holding her and check the weight. Subtract one from the other and you have her weight. If her weight isn’t budging at all after a month, decrease the total amount you’re feeding her – by a tiny bit. You’d be shocked how a little makes a huge difference in affecting a cat’s weight.

If you do have a fat cat, it can take several MONTHS until she reaches an ideal weight.  Once this happens, maintain it. That means if she hits the weight that is about perfect but keeps losing, then you need to increase the food amount just a smidgen.

With her weight loss, she should be more active and happy. Her appearance and fur will look healthier. Hopefully you’ve helped her avoid diabetes, arthritis and other health issues related to being overweight. You’ve likely added years to the length of her life, too! Isn’t that wonderful?

Browse our Related Pages:

>Feeding Your Cat

 

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Jessie says: I was a stray, hungry and UNDERweight when my human adopted me. She pampered me with lots of goodies to eat and I gained weight…about 2 pounds more than she wanted me to weigh!  What’s 2 pounds? I thought. But she didn’t like that my belly looked pudgy and kept saying over and over, “No fat cats in this house!”

Gina says: She hadn’t gotten to the point of being fat, but I wanted her to drop those couple of extra pounds, and put a halt on gaining anything more. Over a period of many weeks, she’s lost one pound. It IS tough, no lie, but I’m hoping to have her drop one more pound to have a nice, lean body shape.

Jessie says: And don’t forget all the toys I have!! I think I’m up to 12 now! I LOVE that birdie feather thingy on the string and my stuffed mousie and all three of my balls that I play bowling games with! And now I can even go outside and walk around in my new Kitty Holster! Ahhh-to smell the grass, feel the breeze and the sun, and to see the world without looking through a window!

Gina says: Yes, she’s got it made.