Archive from January, 2014

What should I feed my Cat?

Jan 26, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

We always get dietary questions. One of the most common is “Does dry food make cats fat?” “Is canned food better for cats than dry?” With everything about diet, there is never a simple answer.

Dry food has the advantage for those of us that live with cats that it has preservative and can be left out without fear of spoilage. Canned food on the other hand does not have preservative and does not do well once the can is opened. One of the basic facts is that canned food is calorically harder to over feed than dry food. Most cats need between 200 and 250 kcal/day. Most 5.5 oz cans of cat food have 195 kcals.

Many dry foods have upwards of 550 kcal/cup. A 1/2 cup of food looks like very little to most people’s eye. Dry is extremely easy to overfeed. Cats like the texture and taste so they will eat whatever is put in front of them. Getting twice you daily caloric need is an easy way to gain weight.

Cats naturally spend a lot of energy to get their calories. Mouse has about 50 kcals and cats eat anywhere from 4-5/day. It takes a cat about 5 tries to catch a mouse. Once they do, nap time. The process starts again. Pretty exciting life don’t you agree?

Now lets go inside to a cozy apartment. There is an over abundance of food and no work or stimulation to acquire it. Makes for a great recipe to gain weight. There are certainly other differences between canned and dry, but I am only looking at the caloric aspect at this point.

Whatever method of feeding you choose, remember the calorie count. Try to get your cat 5 or more small meals per day. Technology and automatic feeders can be your best friend. If you choose to feed dry, use a measuring cup. If canned is easier, you may want to consider a feeder so that your cat can get a mid day meal.

One very important criterion is to monitor you cat’s progress. Be sure and ask you veterinarian for more details and help for your cat’s specific nutritional needs.

Dr Marcus Brown

Dr. Brown, founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic and co-founder of the NOVA Cat Clinic, received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1986 from the University of Illinois. Currently the medical director for Alley Cat Allies and is an active supporter in local, state and national feline organizations such as: American Veterinary Dental Society, American Association of Feline Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association and American Animal Hospital Association. Dr. Brown also contributed the creation of the Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2009 Wellness Guidelines for Feline Practitioners.

Dr. Brown enjoys continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences across the country focusing on the advancement in feline veterinary care. Dr. Brown also utilizes on-line discussion groups and veterinary networks to assist the clinic in maintaining the highest level of care and providing the newest treatments available in feline medicine.

NOVA Cat Clinic
923 N. Kenmore St.
Arlington VA 22201

Phone: 703-525-1955
Fax: 703-525-1957
Email: novacatclinic@gmail.com

Website: http://novacatclinic.com/
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Does Your Cat Have FIP?

Jan 9, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) is one of the most frustrating and sad diseases we see. Sad, because it usually affects young cats, typically 6 months to 2 years of age. There is no good vaccine against FIP – a vaccine does exist, but unfortunately, it is not very effective. The disease is sporadic and depends on genetic susceptibility, so not every cat that is exposed will develop FIP. Until very recently, testing has been challenging, because anything from a mild intestinal virus to FIP would show the same test results.

Yaz was a young neutered male, just over one year of age. He started off normally, then developed a fever. Yaz initially responded to antibiotics, but the response was only temporary. Some cats will develop fluid in the abdomen; others often have chronic intestinal disease (often diarrhea), poor appetite and don’t respond to any treatment. Sadly, Yaz was euthanized after we diagnosed FIP as the cause of his illness.

A recent development by a researcher at the Cornell Feline Health Center has developed a test that will help diagnose FIP more accurately. This will help screen for FIP and hopefully help eliminate this devastating disease.

Dr Dale Rubenstein

Dr. Rubenstein opened the doors of A Cat Clinic, the first all-feline veterinary practice in Montgomery County, in 1986. She earned her BA in Biology from Oberlin College, her MS in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Maryland and her DVM from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She became board certified in feline practice, one of only 80 diplomats in the U.S., through the American Board of Veterinary Practices (ABVP) in 1996 and re-certified in 2006.

Dr. Rubenstein is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), Cornell Feline Health Center, Montgomery County Humane Society Feline Focus Committee, Montgomery County Veterinary Medicine Association, as well as a member of the credentialing committee of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP).

A Cat Clinic, Boyds, MD
14200 Clopper Road,
Boyds, MD 20841

Phone: 301-540-7770
Fax: 301-540-2041
Email: messages@acatclinic.us

Website: http://www.acatclinic.us/
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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along

Jan 3, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Behavior, Tips & Advice

All of us want our cats to get along with one another. If nothing happens, no one is fighting, we think that all is well. Since cats are solitary hunters, their first instinct is to avoid confrontation. Getting hurt might mean being unable to provide the next meal. So we need to look closer at the way in which our cats interact to better understand how to keep stress to a minimum. Unwanted social interaction is a source of tension and can precipitate unwanted behavior.

Recently, I was asked to help with a behavior problem in a household of 4 unrelated cats ranging in age from 4 to 14 years old. While she related her story, she commented that she knew all of her cats get along because they all eat together at the same time and on the kitchen counter. Whew, what a red flag! I asked her to take a picture of the cats the next morning as they ate breakfast. Smart phones take quick and easy video or pictures, a terrific source of good information.

She sent the pictures the next day. They showed all four cats at four separate food bowls on the same kitchen counter. One of them was eating but displayed a very tense body posture. One was staring at the one eating. The other two were looking away from one another with very alert forward ears and seemed to be trying to approach the food without making eye contact.

While this did not turn out to be the only source of stress in the household, it was surely one of them. Cats who are unrelated do not much care to be so close to one another under most circumstances. They tend to divide up the house into time and space. Two cats may be seen on the same couch but not at the same time. One may routinely walk through the house using two rooms but not a third where another cat typically resides.
Food is a primary need, the most important one and, therefore, the one that will make cats who prefer to keep some space between them to share close proximity. Turn taking and sharing are human behaviors and ones we willing undertake. Not so cats. Eating is a solitary activity for these independent hunters. My client’s cats were willing to override the social tension of being forced to share counter space in order to be fed. But their body language, the vocalization and pacing behavior she described indicated that this feeding ritual was very difficult to cope with.

I advised her to feed the cats in multiple locations around the house and some distance from the litterboxes. We also increased the number of water bowls, moving them away from the food to encourage drinking. These were placed at very accessible stations, even one in each of the two cat trees. The theory goes that cats won’t drink water as readily at a place where they eat. In the wild, a meal would have been an executed mouse whose body parts might contaminate nearby water. So it is thought that cats will more readily drink in places where food is not consumed.

We had more work to do to diffuse the tension among the cats in this family, but that day we made a good start.

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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