Archive from July, 2011

Cats’ Impact on Lifestyle

Jul 28, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

My new kitty, Bodaishin, came from a tough living situation. He was a breeding tom who wasn’t siring good litters. So he lived in a cage. When I brought him home, I knew the transition would be challenging to go from a small space alone to a big space with humans and a dog. We set up a bathroom with food, water, litterbox and a soft padded bed where it was relatively quiet. He chose to sit up high in an elevated window ledge for 3 days, coming down only when no one was about to eat and use the litterbox. We visited him many times a day and talked and petted his head and neck. He was never confined, but would not leave the room.

Eventually, without any intervention on our part, he started coming out slowly to explore the house. A loud noise sent him sailing back into his safe spot. Now he boldly goes wherever he wishes, sleeps with us at night, steals the dog’s bed and naps in our laps while we read.

Bodaishin means “one who seeks enlightenment”, which we think he has now attained. We play every day with special toys, work on leash training with treats, and feed him when he asks. His schedule is our schedule, despite busy days of our own. He comes to work with us on days we won’t be home all day. Boredom is bad. We are thrilled he is with us. He has good karma and brings his funny, precocious, playful, affectionate self to us freshly every day.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

Dr Colleran attained both her Masters (in Animals and Public Policy) and Doctorate from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. She opened Chico Hospital for Cats in 1998 and the Cat Hospital of Portland in 2003. In 2011, she became President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Dr Colleran is a member with: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitionesr.

Chico Hospital for Cats
548 W East Ave,
Chico, CA

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

Website: http://chicocats.com/
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Cat Hospital of Portland
8065 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

Phone: 503-235-7005
Fax: 503-234-0042

Website: http://portlandcats.net/
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Flowers and Fleas

Jul 27, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

As I was reading a story in the life style magazine of the paper, I came across an ad proclaiming the virtues of “natural” flea repellents. Having just been inundated by a ton of cats with fleas the week before, I was inspired to write about fleas, flea products and to help dispel a myth or two. I’d had some clients who had been using an herbal flea collar that did nothing and made the cat smell like a volatile oils factory.  Poor kitty was still crawling with fleas.

Now I’ve gone through acupuncture training and some herb courses, and know that there are some things in that arena that can be very helpful and work well for a variety of medical conditions. But I also know that just because something says “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s safe or effective. Most herbal flea products contain things like cedar oil, peppermint oil, clove oil, and other things that say “natural pyrethrin”. They can have a very strong smell that can last for days. That can be tough for an animal that is as sensitive to smells as cats are. Volatile oils can aggravate breathing problems; this is especially true of cedar oil. Stay away from these products if your cat has a history of breathing problems. Clove oil is toxic to cats. Skin reactions are common with all these products, especially if they are not pure. Oils are sometimes absorbed through the skin and peppermint oil can go deep. People who ingest peppermint oil on a regular basis might get changes in their liver enzymes.

When it comes to parasite control, we live in a wonderful age. The products that come from the vet for flea control have a very high margin of safety. They can contain not only safe flea products but also a heartworm preventative that helps with intestinal parasite control. Our pet cats have the dubious honor of surpassing dogs in the incidence of intestinal parasites and positive heartworm tests. All this because dog owners are so good at using  their heartworm preventative and cat owners aren’t. And yes, those products can be smelly too, but usually just for a few hours. And yes, again, there will be the rare skin reaction. But the important thing is that they work great and have a well documented safety margin. They keep your family safe too. Those black specks of flea dirt have been shown to carry the bacteria that gives people, especially children, cat scratch disease. Control the fleas and you control the risk. Same for roundworms. They can get into people too.

Treating fleas requires a multi-modal approach. You need to treat the adult fleas on the animal, but also any eggs that they lay. If the problem is bad enough, you may need to treat for eggs that are in the house. Adult fleas aren’t the problem in your house, the eggs are. You treat them differently. Control the egg production and you control the problem.  It can take 6 – 8 weeks before you can be sure that you’ve got the problem licked. That’s because you have to wait long enough to be sure no new fleas are hatching out. Talk to your vet about what’s going to work the best for you. And if you can use one product that can help with fleas, heartworm and intestinal parasites, do it.

Keep in mind that Mother Nature has some very potent plants and just because they’re hers, doesn’t mean that they are the safest things. So be careful what you put on your cat and whose advice you listen to.

Dr Eliza Sundahl

Dr. Eliza Sundahl completed her veterinary studies at Kansas State University in 1978 after graduating from Boston University. She has spent a great deal of her professional life promoting feline medicine and continues to do so. She has held many positions in The American Association of Feline Practitioners, including 2 years as president. She was involved in establishing board certification in feline medicine through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and worked with that organization for many years to help veterinarians through the certification process.

Dr. Sundahl started at the KC Cat Clinic in 1978 and became owner in 1979. She has been happily working with the wonderful clients and patients at the clinic ever since. She feels like she has the best job in the world. She shares the clinic with Boo and Simon and her home with Babycat, Ferrous, Boo (another one), and Angelo.

Kansas City Cat Clinic
7107 Main St.
Kansas City, MO 64114

Phone: 816-361-4888
Email: kccatclinic@gmail.com

Website: http://www.kccatclinic.com/
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From Fat to Fit – Get Your Cat’s Sexy Back!

Jul 15, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Franklin was an adorable kitten when he came into my office for his first checkup. Before long, though, his obsession with food had resulted in a young cat who weighed nearly two times what he should. Franklin’s owners knew there was a problem and switched from leaving regular food out all day to a diet food and cutting back on portions. Problem was that Franklin was very unhappy with this new state of affairs, and his constant meowing and begging for food was disrupting the household.

When I next saw Franklin, this two year old, gorgeous black and white cat could barely jump and weighed in at 22 pounds, which was a far cry from his ideal weight of 10 pounds. His owners were desperate. They were literally feeding him a quarter of a cup of diet dry food a day, and he was ravenously hungry and both cat and family were miserable and looking for help. Franklin was gobbling up his food and anything else that came his way—bread, iceberg lettuce, potato chips and Oreo cookies all went down the hatch. He was dangerously overweight but felt like he was starving!

And Franklin is by no means a rarity. Statistics show that nearly 75% of all cats in the United States are overweight, and a sizeable chunk of those cats are obese. This dramatically impacts their health and overall wellness, and just like with people, the extra pounds can contribute to blood sugar problems, lack of mobility and heart disease.

Most of us grew up hearing that cats need dry food for their teeth and that canned food is a “junk food” with little nutritional value. But reality is very different. Cats are what are called obligatory carnivores, which means they need to eat meat to survive. Dry foods are loaded with carbohydrates, which is how they achieve that dry cereal consistency. Dogs have digestive systems that process carbohydrates quite efficiently, and like so many things in pet care, dogs came first to the table. Cat foods originated as spin offs from dog foods, and even though cat physiology is very different than that of the dog, dry cat foods quickly caught on and became the accepted cat food choice.

Fast forward to 2007. Nutritional studies that focused strictly on the cat identified one key reason for cat obesity. Because cats are pure carnivores, they have difficulty digesting carbohydrates, which has led researchers to speculate that the extra carbs may enhance fat accumulation and drive blood sugar levels up. Canned cat food is cereal-free, so all those carbohydrates get bypassed. Another advantage of canned food is that it is much lighter in calories than an equivalent amount of dry food.

One other piece of the puzzle that researchers looked at was what makes a cat feel full. Protein levels in food seems to affect satiety, so the higher amounts of protein in canned food leave cats feeling content and not deprived. The actual volume of food in the stomach also factors in, so this is why tiny amounts of dry food, which tend to have much less protein density than canned food, will not help your cat feel full.

So we converted Franklin into a canned food junkie, and gave him lots of it—two tuna fish sized cans each day. Because you can never have your cake and eat it too when dieting, we eased him entirely off his dry food. He is down to 11 pounds and counting, and he has become as active as he should be. And most importantly, he is happy and doesn’t have a clue that he is eating fewer calories!

Dr Cathy Lund

Cathy Lund, DVM, owns and operates City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, a cat practice located in Providence, RI. She is also the board president and founder of the Companion Animal Foundation, a statewide, veterinary-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income pet owners afford essential veterinary care. She lives in Providence, and serves on several architectural and preservation commissions in the city, and is on the board of directors of WRNI, RI’s own NPR station. But her favorite activity is to promote the countless virtues of the “purr-fect” pet, the cat!

City Kitty
18 Imperial Pl # 1B
Providence, RI 02903-4642

Phone: (401) 831-6369
Email: email@city-kitty.com

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
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