Name: Dr Tammy Sadek

Web Site: http://www.catclinics.com/

Bio:

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Cats, houseplants and grass – why does my cat get the munchies?

    April 14th, 2014

    Cats always seem to want what they are not supposed to have – and houseplants are no exception. Cats are carnivores- why would they want to nibble on your spider plant or the lovely flowers your significant other just gave you?

    In the wild, cats eat many small meals consisting of rodents, birds, bugs, and other small creatures. Most of these prey animals have intestines full or seeds, grains, and other vegetation. Cats enjoy eating the intestinal tract (yum!!!) and consequently about 10% of their calories come from non- meat sources. So, cats can digest some plant material. Cats also need some non-digestible fiber in their diet to help with normal stool production.

    Cats, like infants and toddlers, often investigate things by chewing on them. New plants or flower arrangements are loaded with intriguing new smells. Your cat will chew on them in part to get more information, and also to test them out as a food source. Cats have an interesting organ called the vomeronasal organ on the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth. It is in essence a “super nose”. Cats may wrinkle their upper lips, start nibbling an item, and get interesting smells to that organ. Some cats love the texture of certain plants and will chew on them for fun. Cats that are either highly intelligent and need to check everything out, or cats that are bored and have nothing to do are more likely to chew on plants. Younger cats are also more likely to chew on both plants and other stringy items such as cell phone charger cords and ribbons.

    Some people think that cats chew on grass to make themselves vomit. As far as we know, cats are not bulimic! However, cats do often vomit after chewing on grass and other fibrous plants. This may have evolved as a means of reducing parasite numbers in the intestinal tract. Cats that are feeling nauseated may be more likely to chew on fibrous plant material. Some cats do develop pica, which is eating non -food type materials. This can occur from anemia. Anemic cats are low in iron, and they may eat soil or cat litter due to their bodies attempt to get more iron to correct the anemia. Some cats need more oral stimulation and chewing on plant material fulfills that need.

    Try offering safe plant materials. Commercial pots of cat grass are available such as “Kitty greens”, or home made versions can be grown using grass seed and potting soil. Spider plants are also safe for cats to nibble on.

    The biggest worry we have with cats eating plants or flowers are lilies. Nibbling even a small amount of the leaves or petals can cause severe kidney failure and death in cats. Keep lilies out of your house if you have cats! If your cat does eat or have any contact with lilies, call your veterinarian immediately. Rapid medical intervention may save your cat’s life.

    Many cats find potting soil a lovely form of cat litter, and may enjoy digging in and even eliminating in your houseplant pots. You can make the soil less attractive by placing screen door mesh over the soil (cut to allow room for the plant). Your cat cannot dig in the soil, but water will easily pass through. You can also use gravel on top of the potting soil to make the texture less attractive to your cat.

    Don’t forget about catnip! One-half to two- thirds of cats enjoy catnip “recreationally”. Nepetalactone is the chemical that causes the rolling around, licking, drooling, and mild sedation in cats. Some cats will get hyperactive or aggressive especially if they ingest larger amounts, and some cats are not affected by the nepetalactone. Many people grow catnip for their cats as a safe option for their plant snacking cats. Bon appetit!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Your Cat’s Holiday Wish List

    November 7th, 2013

    Satisfying the inner Grumpy Cat:

    1. Holiday parties – Grumpy Cat says “Bah, humbug”!
      Many cats find visitors to the house, especially children or large parties, very stressful. Make sure that you put an extra litter box, food and water in a quiet area that your cat can reach without having to go past the visitors. Leave the current litter boxes and food and water where they typically are located.
    2. Christmas trees – Grumpy Cat says “Christmas trees are for climbing, and if possible, destruction”.
      Cats tend to think both real and artificial trees make great climbing and hiding places. Secure trees to ceilings or stair rails to save Grandma’s priceless ornaments from destruction when the tree is scaled, hidden in, or otherwise investigated. Keep breakable ornaments on upper branches and use unbreakable ornaments on lower branches. Cover the water reservoir for real trees, as your cat’s inner Grumpy Cat requires he drink it and have diarrhea on the carpet just before guests arrive.
    3. Tinsel and Christmas ribbon – Grumpy Cat says: “Thanks for the appetizers, I will have the turkey for my entrée”.
      Many cats love the texture of tinsel and Christmas ribbon. They starts chewing on it and because of the little spines on their tongues, they cannot spit it out. They swallow the tinsel or ribbon and it gets stuck in the intestinal tract. This can be fatal and usually requires surgery. Use stick on bows and avoid tinsel on the tree.
    4. Holiday travel – Grumpy Cat says, “Fish and relatives stink in 3 days- or much less!”
      Cats thrive on routine. Visiting other people’s home is stressful, especially if there are other resident pets. When taking your cat to a different home, keep it confined in one room with food, water and litter boxes. Your cat will not make friends with the other pets during a short visit. Even without other pets, getting used to multiple rooms takes a fair amount of time.
    5. Festive greenery – Grumpy cat says, “The only good plant is a dead plant”.
      Many plants are toxic to cats. The poinsettia is irritating to the cat’s intestinal tract and causes vomiting and diarrhea, but lilies and mistletoe are extremely poisonous and usually fatal when eaten.
    6. Favorite present – Grumpy Cat says “You!!!”
      Holidays are hectic times and pets often miss out on their usual attention. 10 minutes of TLC 1-2 times a day may be all your cat needs to feel like King of the Household. Of course, laser pointers, feeding ball toys, heated beds (especially for older cats), anything with catnip, cat trees placed by the window, and a very clean litter box are also much appreciated. Daily canned food is also on most cats’ wish lists. May your cat’s inner Grumpy Cat be stunned by how you anticipated and filled his Christmas list!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    I am a Mighty Bug Hunter!

    July 15th, 2013

    My name is Cleo. I live in Grand Rapids, MI. I live inside the house with 3 other cats. My mom is a vet. She doesn’t let me outside because she says there are too many risks in our area between traffic and getting into fights with other cats in our neighborhood. I know I would win those fights but she doesn’t trust me! So, instead I like to hunt in our house for bugs. We have air conditioning, but we still get some mosquitoes, moths, and other flying toys in the house periodically. Sometimes the mosquitoes bite me, but I don’t care. I keep hoping we get a bat in the house so I can catch a big flying toy- my mom says she sees that several times a year in her patients.

    My favorites though are the bugs that crawl on the ground.  Spiders, sow bugs, the occasional cricket and other creepy crawlies give me hours of entertainment. After I catch them and play with them for a while, I like to eat them. (I even caught a mouse last year and left the best part (the head) for my mom. She wasn’t too thrilled. Sometimes I get no appreciation for all my efforts. Sigh.

    Most of the time my mom never even sees what I am hunting as I find the basement and other out of the way spots are the best places to find my prey. When she sees me playing with what I catch, my mom usually takes them away from me before I eat them. She says I can get parasites and other infections from them. I am not sure what parasites are, but mom says they can make me sick. Those parasites are why she keeps me on a monthly parasite medication year around, and keeps my vaccines up to date even though I don’t go outside. She says I can even get some parasites from walking through dirt or digging in potting soil and then washing my feet afterward.  This is what she says I can get from:

    • Mosquitoes- heartworms
    • Fleas- tapeworms, Bartonella infection (cat scratch fever)
    • Mice and other rodents such as voles, rats: tapeworms, roundworms, lung flukes, and toxoplasmosis
    • Earthworms- roundworms
    • Cockroaches- roundworms
    • Snails and slugs- lungworms
    • Crayfish- lung flukes
    • Ticks- Bob cat fever (Cytauxzoon felis), Ehrlichia, Lyme disease
    • Dirt and potting soil- roundworms, hookworms
    • Outdoor water- Giardia
    • Bats- rabies

    I figure I am not going to worry about those things because my mom does the worrying for me and keeps me protected with the monthly parasite preventative and my yearly vaccines. Bugs of the world be very afraid- Cleo the bug hunter is on the prowl!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Overgrooming – or, My Cat is Licking Itself Bald!

    May 9th, 2013

    Almost every day I examine a cat that has areas of hair loss. Sometimes people think that their cat’s hair is falling out. Sometimes people see the cat licking itself or find clumps of hair on the floor. What causes hair loss in cats?

    The most common cause is allergies. Cat allergies usually cause itchy skin. Allergic cats can also sneeze or wheeze or have ear infections or diarrhea as well. Cats lick at their itchy skin and because of their raspy tongues are able to break off their fur. This leaves a little stubble on the skin, and often the skin itself is a little pinker than normal. Some cats are “closet lickers” and only overgroom when no one is around.

    What can cats be allergic to? The same types of things that bother us – pollens, dust mites, and foods. In particular, cats react to flea bites. When fleas bite, they inject their saliva to keep the blood from clotting. The cat becomes allergic to the saliva and just one bite can make the cat itch to the point of licking or plucking their fur. Many times we can’t even find the fleas because the cat licks so much it swallows the flea (which can transmit tapeworms, another topic).

    What do we do to treat allergies in cats? Ideally we allergy test and use desensitizing injections or oral drops. Sometimes we use antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, or hypoallergenic foods. We will almost always use a broad spectrum flea and mite product as well. In severe cases, we will need to use injectable or oral steroids. We now have another medication called cyclosporine, which can also help control itching and overgrooming with fewer potential side effects. There are some anti-anxiety medications that reduce itching as well. In years past we used to think that stress caused overgrooming, but now we know that most of the time the stress is aggravating the allergic disease and making the overgrooming worse.

    Other things that can cause hair loss in cats are Demodex mites, fungal infections, and occasionally hormonal problems or cancers. So if your cat’s coat has lost its normal luster or has patches of hair loss it is time for your cat to see your veterinarian!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Play Aggression

    February 17th, 2013

    What to do when your busy kitten or young cat is driving you crazy!

    We frequently get complaints that a newly adopted kitten or young cat has found a new game that they really enjoy- attacking the feet, legs or hands of the humans in the household. Sometimes they will pester older cats in the household with playful attacks as well.  Guess what- this is really normal behavior! However, it is not very acceptable in most of our households so we need to work out some changes in the routine so every one is happy.  These guidelines are effective in most cases, but talk with your veterinarian if problems persist or are worsening.

    Play aggression is usually seen in young cats and kittens. Usually stalking, pouncing, and even hopping sideways are seen. The cat will bite or occasionally scratch moving hands, feet, or the family member moving through the house. It is most common in single cat households where the cat is alone of much of the day. Playing roughly with the kitten or encouraging it to bite or swat at hands and feet also encourages play aggression. Sometimes play aggression is seen in multi-cat households when the other cat is old or debilitated or very passive. Orphan kittens that were hand- raised or weaned early are frequently play aggressive as they did not receive socialization by the queen. They do not learn to sheathe their claws or inhibit their bites.

    1. Often the easiest solution is to add a second cat or kitten of similar age and playful temperament. They will play with each other and aggressive play will be inhibited because the new companion will bite back or become defensive when play becomes too aggressive.
    2. Never use physical punishment (hitting or swatting) to stop the play aggression. This can cause the aggression to escalate and transform into fear aggression.
    3. Treatment is fairly straightforward. Increased play activity involving moving toys at least 15 minutes one to two times a day is critical.
      1. Fishing pole toys / string toys with toys at the end of a cord. These encourage pouncing and stalking. Never leave toys with strings out where the cat can reach it when not supervised to avoid string eating and possible surgery.
      2. Laser pointers: play laser tag. Do not shine directly in the cat’s eyes. You can be watching TV and playing with the cat at the same time!
      3. Hand-made toys such as old socks stuffed with crinkly paper or tissues.
      4. Mouse-in-the-house mechanical toys. These move around the house. Use Google for websites that offer these toys.
      5. Kong-type toys stuffed with kibble that the kitty bats around and is rewarded with the food being released.
    4. Play aggression may occur in certain areas of the house such as the hallway from the bedroom to the bathroom (a favorite location). Keep Ping Pong balls available to throw down the hall in front of you to redirect your cat’s attention on to an appropriate object.
    5. Keep an air canister (used to clean computer keyboards) next to the chair or sofa where attacks on a seated individual occur. A water squirt gun may also be used. When the cat is observed to be starting the aggression, spray the kitty with the water or compressed air. The point is to startle the kitten so it stops the behavior as it starts.
    6. Do not play directly with your hands or feet and your cat. Always have a toy or other object in between your hands and feet and their teeth and claws. Otherwise you are sending mixed messages to your cat and will confuse them.
    7. Do not push your cat always when it bites at you. This escalates the play to your cat and it will come right back and bite harder.
    8. Put a belled safety collar on your cat. This will help you (or the other cats in the household) detect the presence of the aggressor more easily and help you redirect its play behavior.
    9. Reward the behavior you want to have continue. Do not pet or try to cuddle or give attention to the kitty after it bites or scratches – give it a 15 minute time-out. Reward your cat with food treats and petting when it is acting calm.
    10. Playing with your cat is a reward – these kitties need active play and attention as they are usually high energy. Fifteen minutes twice a day of active play is a minimum needed and some cats need more.
    11. Medication is usually not needed to address play aggression. If another cat is the target of the play aggression, sometimes the target cat becomes anxious enough to require anti-anxiety medications.
    12. There are other types of aggression that cats can display, and sometimes more than one type is seen at the same time. Treatment may differ for these types of behavior. Please call us if problems persist. Most play aggression is resolved if sufficient moving-toy or active  play is received.
    13. Finally, the goal is to help you change the behavior of your cat to stop play aggressive behavior. Any pet can bite or scratch under certain circumstances, especially when they become fearful or are in pain. There is no treatment plan or medication that guarantees that the pet will never bite or scratch again. Use common sense and avoid trying to hold or touch an upset cat. Seek medical attention if a bite or severe scratch occurs.
    14. Please call your veterinarian as needed with updates regarding your cat’s behavior- the sooner your cat “plays nicely”, the happier everyone will be!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    I am Marcus and I Have Arthritis.

    November 8th, 2012

    September, 2012

    Hi, my name is Marcus. I am 13 years old, and the grumpy old man of my household. I used to be the baby of the house, but now I have 3 younger sibling cats “ the brats”. They annoy me tremendously.  As I have gotten older, my joints ache. I am a lot stiffer. It is hard to get up and down the stairs. It is also harder to jump up to my favorite place by the window on the sofa back. I spend most of my time hanging out under the chairs and in the closet where the younger cats don’t bother me. If they do find me I usually hiss at them and if they really bug me I will take a swat at them. When the weather is cold, or pressure changes occur, I hurt more. I am NOT going to show anyone especially my 3 younger nemeses that I am painful because they will harass me more. If I went outside some bigger predator would catch me and eat me.

    I am not usually going to limp. I am just not going to move around very much. When I am really uncomfortable I will sometimes pee or poop outside the box. I have a hard time squatting low enough to keep everything inside the box so sometimes I go over the edge. It is also hard for me to get down to the basement to the litter box. I hate the clay gravelly litter my people give me because it hurts my arthritic feet. It is also hard for me to get into the small hooded box. Sometimes I don’t even go down to the box because I don’t want to go by the ratty younger cats. Then I go in a corner. I don’t groom myself much and sometimes get mats or greasy fur because I can’t turn around very well or reach my belly and back end.  I even get a little cranky when my mom picks me up because it hurts my back. She just told me she is taking me to the vet because I am 13 and need a tune up. I think the vet was nagging her too.

    November, 2012

    I am king of my home again! I have to admit; I really am not too keen on the whole vet visit. I have got to admit, though, that my vet does tell me how great I am. She really has helped my mom help me feel better!  I know I am not alone with my arthritis- the vet said 92% of older cats have some arthritis. My mom gives me a new food called J/D that over the last couple months has made me almost as flexible as when I was a young cat about town. It tastes pretty good, and it also makes my coat look great. The vet said it is because of the really high levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the food. On the days when my joints are the most painful, my mom also gives me prescription pain medication (aspirin and acetaminophen are poisonous to all cats). I know that if I start losing ground and become more painful, my mom is going to start me on a glucosamine oral supplement in my canned food as well. If I don’t like it, she said I would get Adequan injections at home as well. Adequan helps cartilage heal itself. I also love the fact that my mom put a litter box with soft unscented clumping litter upstairs for me as well so I don’t have to go up and down the stairs. (The brats like it too). She put a heated pet bed where I like to sleep too. Now I feel good enough to sleep on my mom’s bed again. I even play with those young cats (they are a little bratty though). I can hear then coming since my mom put break away belled collars on them.  Most important, I feel good! Old cats rule, young ones drool!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Help! I’m Allergic to my Cat!

    August 5th, 2012

    Every week I have cat lovers that come in to see me that confide they are allergic to their cat. I can relate- I am allergic to cats and I have been a cat only veterinarian for 25 years! Here are some tips to keep you and your favorite kitty together while reducing the sneezing and wheezing you experience. Most people react to the cat saliva and dander more than the fur itself, so even cats with little fur such as the Cornish Rex and the Sphinx can cause reactions in sensitive people. Of course, if your cat allergies are severe or cause life threatening issues such as asthma, please seek the advice of your physician!

    1. Invest in a HEPA filter unit attached to your furnace and air conditioner or free standing room HEPA filters. These filters remove cat dander, dust, dust mites and other small particles from the air and reduce the amount that you breathed in. Change the filter as directed to keep it working well.
    2. If at all possible, keep your bedroom a cat free zone. Most people spend a third of their life in bed. Keeping your kitty out of the room can help you wake out breathing freely rather than congested. I cannot say I always practice what I preach with this rule, but for many people it can make a big difference.  Wash your bedding frequently in hot water if your cat does sleep with you.
    3. Since many people that are allergic to cats are also allergic to pollens (hay fever), keeping the windows closed and the air conditioner on during the spring summer and fall can reduce pollens in the house. Allergy symptoms are often additive- your cat allergy may be seem worse when the pollen counts are high or when the house is dusty, so minimize all allergens as much as possible.
    4. Bathing your cat weekly in warm water to remove the dander and saliva from its coat. Shampoo is not usually needed but if used it should be a gentle cat shampoo not a human shampoo. There are also sponge on or wipe type products available to help remove cat dander form the cat’s skin. Most of these products however have not been clinically tested and can actually in some cases cause irritation of the cat’s skin.
    5. Have a washable sheet or towel where your cat sleeps and wash it weekly in hot water to remove the cat dander.
    6. Vacuum the carpet frequently using a vacuum with a filter to limit dust in the house. Keep the house as dust free as possible and encase pillow and mattresses with dust mite covers. Choosing hard surface flooring rather than carpet can help with cleaning and dander control.
    7. Anti- histamines and allergy shots can help control allergic symptoms for many people. My own cat allergies have responded well to allergy shots along with anti-histamines as needed. Researchers are working on breeding non allergenic cats, but until then, give these suggestions a try!
    8. Finally, a little extra good news- a recent study came out showing that children are less likely to develop allergies in households with pets- hopefully this means our cat loving children will not need to worry about cat allergies unlike their parents!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Golden Years Cats: Making Their Lives Long, Happy and Healthy!

    June 12th, 2012

    Time slips by more quickly for our pets than for us. One day we realize that our favorite cute kitty is now a senior citizen. What can we do to help them “live long and prosper”?

    Just like for people, nutrition, exercise, medical care, social interactions and environmental modifications improve and optimize our senior cats lives.

    Nutrition: many elderly cats have metabolic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes and do best on a prescription diet targeted toward controlling these diseases. Arthritis is common in older cats and a food high in anti-inflammatory fatty acids such as Hill’s J/D reduces pain and improves mobility. Canned foods increase water consumption and can help prevent constipation and are often more palatable for finicky elderly cats tastes. Increasing the variety of canned foods and warming the food a little can also tempt the appetite of debilitated senior cats. When constipation is significant, adding ¼ tsp. of Miralax over the counter stool softener can help (consult your veterinarian first before starting the Miralax).

    Exercise and environmental modifications: the less elderly cats move, the harder it can be for them to maintain their muscle mass and flexibility. Encourage your cat to play using laser pointers, fishing pole type toys, and other interactive toys. Put step stools or chairs out next to beds and windows to help them jump up and down to favorite places. Make sure litter boxes and food and water bowls are easily accessible. Litter boxes should be low enough that the kitty can get in and out of easily. Try to avoid covered litter boxes, as they can be awkward for arthritic kitties to use without bumping their heads. Heated cat beds can soothe aching joints, and make winter temperatures or an air-conditioned home more comfortable for senior cats.

    Medical Care: since elderly cats develop many of the same aging health problems that we have, we can greatly improve both the quality and length of their lives with good medical care. It would be nice if our cats could talk to us and tell us how they feel. They can’t. Our senior cats need to be examined and have lab tests taken every 6 months. Given their rapid aging, this is equivalent to every 3-4 years for a human! Many health problems can be prevented, cured, or managed effectively with early intervention. Your cat cannot tell you it is painful, has kidney or dental disease, or arthritis. Your veterinarian can detect those problems and help.

    Social interactions: your senior cat may not seek out attention as much as younger cags in the household. They may be marginalized by the other cats in the household and do not have the energy to fight for attention Try to spend 10 minutes twice a day giving extra attention to your senior cat. You will both enjoy it, and it will make the quality of both your lives better!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Why Indoor Cats Need Parasite Prevention

    October 14th, 2011

    Most people remember the joys of growing up and either being tormented  by disgusting boys throwing dead worms at you, or being the disgusting  boy enjoying tormenting the object of their grade school affection.  Consequently, the thought of worms tend to hold a fair amount of  emotion for many of us. We cannot believe that our much loved indoor  cat could possibly acquire worms. BUT our indoor cats frequently have  worms and other parasites. How could this occur?

    99% of all kittens become infected with roundworms from the mother  cat, through nursing and through contact with her stool. Some of these  roundworms will encyst and become dormant in the muscles and will not  be destroyed by dewormers. When the cat’s immune system becomes  stressed from illness, pregnancy or even aging, some of these juvenile  roundworms will activate and migrate to the intestinal tract and start  reproducing. Also, contact with potting soil can infect cats with  roundworms. In a recent study 15% of potting soils were found to carry  roundworm eggs.

    Many cats will chase and consume insects such as moths and beetles  which also can carry a variety of parasites. Indoor cats who are  mighty hunters and catch mice that sneak into the house especially  with the advent of cold weather often eat their prey and become  infected with tapeworms. Even the most sedentary of indoor cats can  become infested with fleas as fleas can come indoors via hitching a  ride with the household humans. When cats groom the fleas off they  swallow them and become infected with tapeworms.

    Last but not least, in most areas of the country mosquitoes carry  heart worm larvae. Mosquitoes get into many homes – who has not been  irritated by that annoying buzz? Heartworm infected mosquitoes bite  the indoor cats who then develop heartworm disease. Heartworm disease  can cause asthma type symptoms,or even cause fatal heart and lung  disease.

    So, protect your indoor cat from these parasites and give your cat a  monthly parasite preventative from your veterinarian such as  Revolution or Advantage Multi, and deworm your bug and rodent hunting  kitties 3-4 times a year with a tapeworm dewormer!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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    Dental Problems

    June 9th, 2011

    Have you or someone you loved ever had problems with their teeth? Dental pain from abscesses, tooth fractures and deep cavities can make life miserable for anyone, including our cats. Pain can be sharp and stabbing, a dull ache, or associated with pressure on contact with hot or cold foods.

    Our cats can’t tell us when their mouths hurt. Instead, they may eat less, refuse hard kibbles, or tilt their head back and forth to avoid the sensitive spots when eating. They may drop food. Chronic pain can cause your friendly and happy cat to become irritable or reclusive.

    I rechecked one of our dentistry patients today after he had some major dental work done last week. This wonderful cat, who we will call Oscar, was brought in to see us because he had not been as interactive as usual and was hiding quite a bit. On physical examination, we could see that Oscar had quite a bit of inflammation in his mouth but no obvious fractures of his teeth. Oscar seemed uncomfortable when his mouth was examined. We scheduled Oscar’s dental teeth cleaning for the next day.

    Cats frequently develop cavity lesions at the gum line or underneath the gums. Consequently, obtaining dental X rays is very important to evaluate every cat’s mouth. Any dental work in cats and dogs needs to be performed under anesthesia as they will not sit there and open their mouths for us to work on!

    Oscar had 2 abscessed teeth (both of his lower canine teeth) and 3 additional teeth with large cavity lesions. All 5 teeth had to be extracted. Oscar was treated with antibiotics and pain medication.

    At today’s follow up examination, Oscar is now pain free. He is eating his dry kibble with gusto and is no longer painful when handling his mouth. Oscar’s extraction sites are healing well. Oscar’s family is amazed that he is now back to his normal social self less than a week after major extractions were performed. Oscar is a great example of how important good dental health is for our cats. Oscar will now be having his teeth brushed and will be eating a prescription dental diet to help prevent future problems. What are doing to help your cat’s teeth? Oscar says to have your cat’s teeth evaluated by your veterinarian now!

    Dr Tammy Sadek

    Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

    In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

    Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

    Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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