Name: Dr Ilona Rodan

Web Site: http://www.catcareclinic.net/

Bio:

Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
Feline Behavior Consultant

Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

Cat Care Clinic
322 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717

Phone: (608) 833-9750
Fax: (608) 829-0345
Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    My Cat is Healthy – Or is it?

    February 21st, 2014

    Cat owners know their cats better than anyone, and as a cat owner, you are in a position to hugely impact the health and happiness of your cat. Here are a few hints to help you recognize if there is a problem early on.

    Cats are fascinating creatures and are important family members. But they are not small dogs and they are not small people! They differ from people and dogs in that they have needed to survive on their own for approximately 10,000 years.1,2 Being solitary survivors, they have adapted to appear strong and healthy when they may not be.2 They also may not like another cat in the household, but they will rarely fight.3,4 These behaviors all work to prevent injury by their prey or another cat. Even though many now live in wonderful homes, they still maintain these behaviors.2

    Fortunately, you know your cat better than anyone, and can pick up problems with these tips:

    If your cat shows a change in its normal routines or behaviors, it is time for a check-up. An example is Herman who always loved to jump and climb, and raced up and down the stairs faster than the fastest Olympic skier (well maybe). His behavior changed, and although he still climbed the steps pretty quickly, he was much slower going down. He also didn’t go to his high perches anymore. His owner saw him looking at a perch and hesitating as to whether he should jump. Although the owner wasn’t sure whether he was just getting old, she brought him in for a checkup. Herman was diagnosed with severe arthritis in his knees and shoulders, and treatment was started after making sure he was otherwise healthy. His owner called me the other day to say that Herman is back up on his favorite high spots, and everyone moves aside when the “zoom-cat” goes up and down the stairs! Herman’s family was so happy to have the Herman that they loved and knew so well back.

    Here is a list of changes in a cat’s normal patterns or behaviors, as well as abnormal behaviors, that can indicate that there is pain or sickness.5,6,7,8,9 The important word here is changes:

    Changes in normal behaviors:

    • Appetite – decrease or increase
    • Grooming – overgrooming in one or more areas or not grooming so that matts are forming
    • Sleep – sleeping more or not as well
    • Activity – decrease or increase
    • Vocalizing – yowling and keeping you up at night when they never did; not meowing for treats or food as usual
    • Play – decreased

    Abnormal behaviors:

    • Accidents outside the litter box – either over the edge or in another place. This can be either or both urine and stool, but usually it is one or the other
    • Aggressive with you or another pet – This may occur with touching or handling or at any time.
    • Getting on counters to get people food when they didn’t previously
    • Destroying furniture

    One other tip – put a picture of your cat on the refrigerator or elsewhere where you can see it frequently. Each year, put another picture up. When you see a difference, contact your veterinarian. Years go by and we don’t notice the subtle changes – unless they hit us in the face. Please note the pictures of my Watson, who I adored and did everything for, but only put the pictures together after his death. In this case, I was giving 9 medications a day, so it was a matter of making a difficult decision that I would have made earlier if I had noticed the changes in the pictures.

    Please contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs. Usually these can be avoided with routine preventive check-ups, which can identify other problems, such as hidden kidney or thyroid disease or dental disease before any signs occur. However, the combination of veterinary care and your detective work ensures the best for your cat. Herman’s family is happy they can keep him comfortable for much longer.

    – Ilona Rodan
    In memory of my friend, Jim, and Watson: Old age is not a disease.

     


    References:

    1. Driscoll CA, Menotti-Raymond M, RocaAL et a l.: The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication, Science 317:519, 2007.
    2. Bradshaw JWS, Casey RA, and Brown SL, The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat, 2nd edition, CABI Publ, 2012.
    3. Griffin B, Hume KR: Recognition and management of stress in housed cats, in August J (ed): Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine, vol 5. St. Louis, Elsevier, pp 717-734, 2006.
    4. Notari L:Stress in veterinary behavioural medicine, in Horwitz D, Mills D (eds): BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine, ed 2. Gloucester, British Small Animal Veterinary Association, pp 136-145, 2009.
    5. Sparkes AH, et al., ISFM and AAFP Consensus Guidelines: Long-term Use of NSAIDs in Cats, J Fel Med & Surg, 2010 (12)521-538.
    6. Robertson SA, Lascelles BDX, Long-Term Pain in Cats: How Much Do We Know about This Important Welfare Issue? J Fel Med & Surg, 2010 (12) 188-189.
    7. Benito J, Gruen ME, et al., Owner-assessed indices of quality of life in cats and the relationship to the presence of degenerative joint disease, J Fel Med & Surg, 2012 (14) 863-870.
    8. Lascelles BDX, et al. Evaluation of a digitally integrated accelerometer-based activity monitor for the measurement of activity in cats, Vet Anaesth Analg, 2008 (35) 173-183.
    9. Bennett D, Osteoarthritis in the Cat: 1. How common is it and how easy to recognize, J Fel Med & Surg, 2012, (14) 65-75.

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    10 Things Your Cat Wants You to Know

    January 20th, 2013

    1. I like fleece more than any other bedding material. And there is research to prove that cats prefer fleece over towels and other bedding material.
    2. Even if I hate the other cats in our home, I usually won’t get into a cat fight with them. Instead I will try to avoid them, even if it means that I need to pee on the carpet instead of passing them to get to the litter box. That’s because I need to keep myself protected and healthy just as my wild ancestors did because I am a great hunter.
    3. If I pee on your carpet, clothes, or bed, please, please, please don’t get rid of me at least until you have taken me to the vet to make sure I am not sick. If I am not sick, please talk to a vet who knows a lot about cat behavior or a behaviorist about what kind of litter and litter boxes I want, and how to give me space away from that other cat you love and I hate, or whatever else is upsetting me.
    4. If I am like most cats, I get bored and pudgy (58% of cats in the US are overweight or obese!) if I don’t work for my food. I am a great hunter, and I like to chase my kibbles, find hidden kibbles, and eat canned food. You might think canned food is like a treat, but it really is closer to what my wild ancestors ate (I am trying not to gross you out, but that is mice), and is much lower in calories because it is 70-80% water. I may act like I want to eat all the time, but that is because in the wild, I spent most of my time hunting and a much smaller time eating. If you take my hunting away – chasing food, finding it in hidden places, frequent and small meals a day – I eat more, and I may beg for more, but really I want more hunt, which can also be called play. Please don’t make me pudgy – you may think I look cute, but it makes me sluggish, and I don’t want to be diabetic. There has been a 16% increase in diabetes in cats between 2006 and 2010 because we have become so pudgy. Cat vets – and many others – know about safe weight loss (losing weight quickly can make cats so sick that it can be deadly). Please help me!
    5. If I lick to groom another cat or they lick me, or if we cuddle or sleep together, we are bonded and like each other. However, even best buds nead their space, and approximately 50% of the time, I like to be alone. And I often don’t want to sleep with my buddy in the hot summer – yuck! One fur coat is enough!
    6. I absolutely hate it when you say I am old! There are people who are healthy in mind and body into the 90s and 100s even! If I am slowing down, I am in pain from arthritis or something else, or I am sick. Please take me to the vet no matter how hard I resist. And if they can’t help, find a vet that can!
    7. My favorite toy is a USED hair ‘scrunchy’ or pony tail holder. Don’t worry if you are a guy, bald, or with very short hair. Just rub it on your head and get your scent on it and voila – it is a used scrunchy! Please note that if I like to eat things other than food that the scrunchy should be tied onto a string and only used when you help me play with it.
    8. I don’t cough up hairballs on a routine basis – see Why does my Cat Vomit? and Hairballs. It may happen once a month or two (don’t laugh, my hairless Sphynx friends!), but more frequently than that and there is something wrong. If it is right after eating, I eat too fast, and all you need to do is spread my food out on a flat plate so that I don’t mow it down too fast. But if I continue or it isn’t related to that, it’s likely that I have a health problem, and need a vet to help.
    9. As a cat, I am supposed to appear healthy to protect myself from dangers, including bigger hunters than me. So even though I act like I don’t want to go to the vet, it is because I hate change – unless I instigate it! – and I am scared (and I may act tough because I don’t want anyone else to know it!). I want to be with you forever or at least as long as possible and always be comfortable and happy, so please take me to the vet to learn how to prevent the health problems that I don’t need to have including those awful bugs and worms, and to control health problems that I may get, and make sure I am never in pain. I am purrfect and don’t deserve to ever be in pain.
    10. I love you when you do what I love, and because you are awesome!

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    Litter Mates – Can’t We All Get Along?

    October 16th, 2012

    Reader Question:

    “I have two litter mates that are 2 years old.  They get along great.  My previous cats were also littermates, and got along famously until they were 3.  Then the fighting started and lasted over 15 years.  Why did this happen and what can I do to prevent it?”

    I am sorry to hear that you had fighting between your last pair of cats.  Thank you for your question and trying to prevent the problem for the 2 kitties you have now.

    Cats who like eachotherFirst, for the record, adopting siblings together is a great idea.  They are already bonded together, and they have similar energy levels so that they can play as much as they wish.  People often ask which is best to get, males or females.  Both are great, but there is information to suggest that 2 males are best together, followed by a male and female, and lastly 2 females.  This is of course a general statement and I personally have seen 2 females, Cleo and Sheba, get along well for the 20 years that they were together!

    There are some steps that we can take to provide the pair with the best situation, but unfortunately, there are other situations that we may not have control over.  For example, I saw one pair of female cats that were so affectionate together until they were 11 years old; at that age, one of the cats saw a strange cat sitting outside a window and screamed.  The sibling came running to see what was the matter, and a case of redirected aggression occurred – the cat that saw the strange cat attacked her sibling since she couldn’t get at the cat outdoors.  For the rest of their lives, they avoided and even hissed at each other.  Other examples of situations we cannot avoid are often a loud noise outside or something else that frightens one of the cats that we have no control over  – and often it happens when we aren’t present to recognize what caused the problem.

    Sometimes kittens that have been best buddies will prefer not to be together (or at least as much) when they reach social maturity, which in cats is between 2-4 years of age.  Providing separate cat beds and more than one place to perch will allow them to have their own space, and choose when to be together with the other.

    In addition, reward them for any positive interactions together.   Never force the cats to be together or look at each other because that will only backfire!  And I can tell you from my own experience early on that pampering a cat that “gets picked on” can reinforce that cat to act the victim so that they can get the attention.  Once, I came home early from work because I was sick.  I saw my cats sleeping together.  As soon as they saw me, they hissed at each other and went their different directions!  From that day forward, I ignored the one when she acted like the victim, and rewarded any positive interactions, and they became best buds.

    Do your cats get along?  If not, questions are welcome.

     

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    Are Cats Social?

    August 18th, 2012

    Those of us that live with and love cats know that cats are different from dogs, people, and other species. We also recognize that cats can be important family members, friends, companions, and even “the love of our life”. The cat’s social structure is sufficiently different from ours that it was once thought that cats were not social animals. We now know that cats are indeed social, just different.

    The cat’s social structure usually consists of related females cooperatively caring for kittens in a colony. Many of the adult males leave the colony and may remain solitary; some will try to integrate into a colony, which can take a very long time of slow and gradual introductions.

    Cats choose with whom to be social and when. When we understand that social groupings usually consist of queens and kittens, it makes good sense to adopt littermates or siblings together. These kittens already have a great social group and are much more likely to be “best buds for life”. Being the same age, they can play rough together, without a younger cat hurting an older cat. The next best choice is a kitten and the mother cat.

    Trying to introduce different cats to each other is like a solitary cat trying to integrate into a colony – the introduction needs to be very slow and gradual. Even if the cats live together without hissing or fighting, they may pass each other without any interest to sleep together or play together – or they may choose to become great friends just as mine did. The rule with cats from different families though is they need to choice; if we try to force them to be friends, it will backfire.

    How can you tell if your cats are friends (called “affiliates” in veterinary medicine)? Cats that like each other rub against each other, and often sleep or rest together. They also lick each other, preferably on the head and neck. (see pictures) In fact, when introducing ourselves to a cat, it’s best to massage in front of the ears, under the chin, or on the cheeks. But first let the cat come to you and then do so; forcing them, will greatly delay the loving relationship.

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    So Why Not the Carrier?!? Part 3 of 3

    July 18th, 2012

    You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

    To overcoming barriers to taking cats to the veterinary clinic, we need to better understand the cat and why they react as they do, reduce the stress of transporting the cat, and making the cat and the client more comfortable at the clinic.  The benefits include increased cat visits and client compliance, increased job satisfaction and safety, and a financially more successful practice.  It’s not enough anymore to have excellent surgical and medical knowledge – our clients don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care – for them and their cats.

    UNDERSTANDING THE CAT:

    Cats have retained many behaviors of their wild ancestors. They are excellent hunters, with a strong ability to sense and avoid danger. In order to protect themselves, cats don’t display pain and illness as dogs and humans do.

    Cats don’t like change – unless it is something they choose to do. Trips to the veterinary hospital, the hospital environment, and handling by unfamiliar people are huge changes for cats.

    Cats are social animals, though their social structure is different from humans and dogs. If sufficient food resources, cats choose to live in social or colonies. Females live together cooperatively, nursing and raising the young. Cats choose affiliates with whom they are social.

    The cat’s perceives its world through its senses, most of which are highly sensitive compared with ours.  Cats also communicate with their senses, providing scent marking, visual and auditory cues. The primary goal of cat communication is to prevent altercations; cats fight only as a last resort, when other communications have failed.

    Sarah Heath:  One of the important feline coping strategies in terms of social stress is to hide and in many modern multi- cat households this is often not possible due to the human preference for floor to ceiling furniture and open plan rooms! Lack of access to retreats can result in cats feeling exposed and vulnerable and when coupled with insufficient supply of other vital resources, such as food and water, the result can be chronic stress which leads to self directed behaviours such as over grooming.

    Let’s now develop a plan for one of the more challenging situations that you as cat owners have – getting your cat to the veterinary hospital.  We know that veterinary care is tremendously important for your cat, but how do we make the visits more familiar and allow the cat to have control?  It’s actually not that hard if we remember to follow the Happy Cat Rules, and break our plan down into steps to help our cats have what they need to cope.  And the underlying concepts can be used with any care at home, and when introducing your cat to new situations or people.

    The absolutely most important step is to bring your carrier out of the basement, garage, or closet, and move it permanently to a room where your cat likes to be.  For example, the cats that “own” my husband and me hang out in the kitchen when we are home, and their carriers are in the kitchen.  Place a fleece jacket – or other soft piece of clothing that has your scent on it, or a blanket or soft cat bed that your cat loves to sleep on, into the carrier.  This provides a comfortable place for your cat to rest, and a safe haven – cats feel more secure if they have a hiding place in unfamiliar situations.

    It may take awhile for your cat to get used to the carrier because of previous negative experiences associated with it.  Remain calm, and toss some favorite treats – either dry kibble or food treats that your cat likes, or catnip – into the carrier every day.  If you need to use treats, use the most favorite ones, and only for the carrier experience, at least until your cat comfortably rests or sleeps in the carrier on its own.

    If your cat is afraid of the carrier because of previous negative experiences, start by tossing the favored treats in front of the carrier.  Then walk away.  Let the cat choose to go into the carrier itself.  He or she may start at night, when they know that you cannot close them into the carrier – that is a success!  It may take 2 weeks, but if done calmly on your part, it can lead to a calmer and more content kitty in our busy households, and less stressful travel and veterinary visits for your cat – and you!

    Once your cat is routinely going into the carrier, calmly close the door and give a treat.  After several days of this, close the door and move the carrier to another room.  Reward.  Eventually, get your cat comfortable with car rides, and “friendly” visits to the vet, where your cat can get treats and go home.  It’s best to call before you come to schedule a time when it isn’t too busy so that it will be easier on your cat.

    Bring favorite treats and toys whenever you bring your cat to the veterinary hospital.  Again this helps with familiarity.  Also it allows you to calmly distract your cat from other things happening at the vet.

    Make sure to separate your cat from unfamiliar cats while at the clinic.  Although cats are social animals, with some more outgoing than others (like people!), even the most curious and outgoing cat is likely to be frightened by others in an unfamiliar environment such as the veterinary hospital, where there are unfamiliar smells, sounds, and sights of unknown cats and people.

    Try to remain calm yourself to help keep your cat calm.  Cats are intuitive, and they pick up on our fear and anxiety.   Also, watch your cat’s body language for signs of fear – ears back, even if slightly; pupils dilated; body tense, fur standing up, or crouching position – and calmly cover the carrier to allow your cat a comfortable and familiar hiding place.

    If your cat is still anxious during car rides or veterinary visits, talk to your veterinarian about Feli-way, a synthetic feline cheek pheromone, which helps calm most cats and makes the an environment more familiar.  There are also anti-anxiety medications that can be prescribed, or anti-nausea for the car sick kitty.

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

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    So Why Not the Carrier?!? – Part 2 of 3

    June 28th, 2012

    You can read part 1 here.

    Put the carrier in a sunbeam or other comfortable place.

    If the cat is suspicious, and doesn’t enter the carrier right away, toss in the treats, and walk away!  Don’t try to encourage or coax the cat into the carrier – – they will become suspicious, especially if they have had previous negative experiences with the carrier in the past.  Do this every day to start with, and don’t forget to walk away.  Cats will soon eat the treats, first it may be when you aren’t watching.  And most of them will start to spend time in the carrier.

    Sense of Control: To protect themselves, cats want to have a sense of control over their environment.  Cats are more secure if they have options to hide and the ability to monitor their environment from a higher place.

    If instead of putting them on exam tables at the practice, we allow them to choose whether to be on the floor, in the carrier, or in another place, we will be much more successful in our goals for feline healthcare and reduction of feline – and client! – stress.

    Fortunately, if the cat has access to the carrier at home, it becomes a safe hiding place for them at the veterinary hospital, and we can do part or all of the examination while the cat remains in the bottom half of the carrier.

    Towels are also good to allow cats to “hide” from us (if the cat doesn’t see us, we aren’t there!).

    Hiding is an important protective mechanism for caged cats.  Providing a box, a bag, the carrier, a tall cat bed or other “hide-out” will greatly reduce the stress of the caged cat, and gives the cat the choice to stay in hiding or to come out.

    Since cats need to feel a sense of control…

    In addition to quiet places to sleep, cats need safe places to hide. They need to be able to scamper or jump to safety from perceived threats – the bark of a neighbor’s dog, the ring of a doorbell, a frightening crack of thunder.  Your cat will especially appreciate easy access to elevated hiding places, such as a cleared spot on a closet shelf or a strategically situated cardboard box.  When the threat is gone, your cat will venture out from the hideaway to investigate the commotion – and, if feeling safe, return to batting a toy about or gazing out the window.

    The refuge provides your cat a haven from unfamiliar or risky situations. Give your cat plenty of time to adjust to change

    Cats can be trained to use the carrier as a haven.  The carrier should be a comfortable, secure place where the cat can rest.  Instead of just using it for veterinary visits, which can lead to cats becoming fearful of the carrier, educate clients to leave the carrier out and open at all times. If this is not possible, have clients bring it out regularly for training sessions not associated with veterinary visits, as well as several days before the appointment.  Leave a favorite blanket or towel in the carrier, as well as treats and toys.  Cats can be trained to go into the carrier to a phrase such as “in”, “travel time”, “treat”, etc. The easiest way is to regularly entice the cat to enter the carrier by throwing in favorite treats, and immediately say the word(s) in a gentle tone, coupled with praise and additional treats.

    If the cat still won’t go into the carrier, recommend that they wipe down the cat with a towel and then use the towel to wipe the carrier.  The towel is best left within the carrier.  The cat will be more attracted to the carrier because it already has his or her scent.  The carrier may also be sprayed with Feliway 5-10 minutes before using the carrier.  There are data supporting use of lavender or camomille to induce changes in activity associated with a more relaxed state in dogs.  This still needs to be investigated in cats.

    Carriers that provide the option of loading from the top as well as loading from the front make it easier to get the cat into and out of the carrier in a non-stressful manner.  The ideal carrier also allows the top and bottom to be taken apart.  The screws or clips can be removed or opened, and top half of the carrier can be removed so that a more timid cat can be remain in the carrier bottom during the veterinary examination.

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
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    Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

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    So Why Not the Carrier?!? – Part I of 3

    September 14th, 2011

    Cats love to hide in bags, boxes, and anything they can get into… so, why not the carrier?

    It’s a great question, and it takes understanding of the cat to answer the question – and to change it so that the cat also goes to their carrier.

    Cats love places to hide – as soon as a cardboard box or paper bag comes into the house, most cats jump in.  They do so because they are curious creatures, and love places to explore – that is, on their own terms.  And they also like the security of something around them and a place to rest alone – tall cat beds, cubby holes, etc.

    Cats also hide as normal behavior as a way to cope in response to a perceived threat or danger.

    What is threatening to a cat?

    Anything that isn’t familiar.  Allowing them to have the choice to hide at home when someone unfamiliar comes home, and making the carrier a safe haven when they go somewhere unfamiliar, such as the vet hospital, is ideal.

    So… why not the carrier?

    Imagine for a moment that you are a cat, sleeping in a sunspot, and your favorite person brings out this box that you only go into when you’ve had experiences that have been fearful in the past. You run to hide, and your person acts uncharacteristically, chasing you around the house, then grabs you, and shoves you into this box. You are then carried in the box that jostles back and forth, put in a car, and there is a scary ride to an unfamiliar place where people treat you in ways that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and frightening. How would you react to protect yourself?

    Instead, bring the carrier out of the basement or garage, and place it in a room where your cat likes to be. Putting it in a sunbeam is an added plus. Place a fleece or other soft bedding or clothing that has the scent from their favorite person into the carrier. Always leave the door open. Every day, toss a favorite treat or kibble into the carrier. Walk away and do not try to encourage your cat to go into the carrier; cats like choice, and will eventually start going in if they don’t feel pushed or forced. Once your cat starts going into the carrier, reward calmly, praising is a soft voice and giving it more treats.

    There are several excellent videos to help you make the carrier a positive place. They can be found on the CATalyst Council website:

    1. First, take a look at the cat’s trip to the veterinary visit for their point of view.
    2. Then move on to other videos on how to make it easy to get your cat into the carrier:
      • And last, but not least, on YouTube, my 16 year old buddy, Watson, stars at my veterinary hospital, showing how to get into the carrier. He spent the first 9 years of his life fighting the carrier and hating the vet hospital; So it can be done, no matter how much your cat hates the carrier.

    You can read part 2 here.

    Dr Ilona Rodan

    Dr. Ilona Rodan, ABVP Certified in Feline Practice
    Medical Director and Owner, Cat Care Clinic, Madison, WI
    Feline Behavior Consultant

    Dr. Ilona Rodan has been a leader in the field of feline medicine for more than 25 years. She started the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin in 1987 to provide the best feline health care individualized to each patient in a compassionate environment that is more comfortable for cats and cat lovers, and where cats are better understood and handled in a respectful manner. With her extensive knowledge of feline behavior, she also understands the cats’ needs at home, and strives to enhance and prolong the relationship between cats and the people who love them. Our clients frequently tell us that our knowledge and caring has increased their cat’s length of life, often by several years.

    When Dr. Rodan is not practicing and teaching at the clinic, she lectures internationally
    and writes about feline-friendly hospitals, cat behavior and prevention of behavior problems, and recognizing and treating pain in cats. She has been active in the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) since 1982, and has served in every office, including President. She is most proud of her accomplishments in helping to establish guidelines for feline medicine, which include retrovirus testing, vaccinations, senior care, feline life stages, behavior, pain management, and feline handling guidelines (the latter published in 2011). Dr. Rodan was also an ambassador in the development of a specialist category in feline medicine.

    In 1995, she became one of the first board-certified feline practitioners. Her hospital is an AAHA-Accredited Feline Specialty Hospital. She and her team are involved in community service, including free spays and neuters for Friends of Ferals. Dr. Rodan also lectures to the public and staff members of the local shelter, Dane County Humane Society.

    Dr. Rodan received the national Friskie’s award for outstanding accomplishments in feline medicine in 1998. In 2005, she was chosen from 70,000 veterinarians to receive the most prestigious award given to a veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award, This award was given to Dr. Rodan for her work locally and nationally to enhance the welfare of cats through medical and behavioral advancements, and her contributions to community and society. Dr. Rodan’s passion and desire to help both cats and their people is unwavering.

    Dr. Rodan continues to be well trained by the two feline family members she lives with, their predecessors, and the cats she has treated for more than 30 years. They have taught her how to respectfully handle and work with cats, to understand that the needs of cat’s in their home is an important part of their healthcare, and to ensure that they have the best quality and length of life.

    Cat Care Clinic
    322 Junction Road
    Madison, WI 53717

    Phone: (608) 833-9750
    Fax: (608) 829-0345
    Email: catcare@catcareclinic.net

    Website: http://www.catcareclinic.net/
    Facebook: Profile Page
    Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

    More PostsWebsite

    1 Comment "

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