Browsing"Personal Opinion"

Disasters!

Feb 13, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

The Northeastern US has certainly received the brunt of natural disasters recently! Blinding blizzards, a horrific hurricane just a few months before that….and an untold number of animals displaced or forever lost because of a natural disaster.

Lost cats! A very scary situation. Dr. Colleran described her experience and what to look for in a previous felinedocs. com blog last month

Four months ago my own CAT Stanley became lost due to my own carelessness, and it’s taken me a long time to be able to write about it. It was postcard-worthy late afternoon in Annapolis. Autumn was approaching and the air was crisp and clear, snapping the halyards and other lines on the sailboats still in their slips. The sun warming the water made the waves slap the bulkhead, gently rocking the boats back and forth. A perfect time for a boat ride, and a perfect day for CAT Stanley to get further acclimated to travel. Instead of a perfect day, it turned into a perfectly horrible day.

As a veterinarian, I work every day to promote the value of cats, espousing the need for keeping your cat indoors, having the proper identification and conditioning it to its carrier for travel. So even though I do all that- all my pets wear snug collars with ID tags and are microchipped-AND that afternoon he even had a harness and lead- he got out of his carrier. I had been working with CAT Stanley on travel conditioning by taking a leisurely ride in my old little putt-putt boat which he’s been on before. We returned to the boat slip safe and sound, I went to the stern to tie up the boat for less than a minute, and when I turned around he was GONE! He had been seemingly so comfortable I’d neglected to properly secure the carrier flap. Nowhere to be found- not under the floor boards even after removing the attached seats, not along the docks and all around the boat yard…. that night was very long as I combed, roamed and called for him in a ten  square block area on both sides of the creek.  I could only imagine how frightened he must have been, and that made me both sad and very angry with myself.

Forty-six agonizing and unlucky days. Though, in a sense, through all that I felt lucky. After four reprints of various versions of scores of signs and flyers, feeding stations, friends, faith and “fingers crossed” were the only “f” words I used. And while fatigue was another, I choose to override it and any nagging negatives by keeping the desired outcome top of mind- for CAT Stanley to be back home again!

The outpouring and support of the community was uplifting and made me grateful to live where I do. “I saw your sign and I think I saw your cat…” was the most common theme of the countless cell phone calls. And surprise! There are several orange tabby and white cats around town, and a one or two even looked like CAT Stanley. One school child used his mother’s phone and called me, breathless-“is your cat a kitten?” And after I told him Stanley was three, he texted me a picture of an adorable tiny orange tabby (no white) that you could hold in one hand- how sweet is that?

Others offered helpful suggestions. “Here’s a link to the City Government Facebook page and they have over 56,000 friends…” Then another- “I know the person who manages the city’s Facebook page and I’ll have them share it..,” “did you post him on Craig’s list?” and even “beware of this old lady who traps stray cats…” And I’m really happy to report that our county animal control shelter is a model of efficiency and empathy- escorting me through the various cat holding and adoption rooms, helping me fill out the lost pet form, and lending me two Have-a -Heart traps. And even after three hunts with a scent tracking dog and her handler, I remained optimistic as I followed her lead  for placing the traps and a scent trail of items or material (even used cat litter!) related to Stanley’s feline friends and me (excepting the cat litter…).

The situation also gave me an opportunity to walk around town and meet some wonderful people face to face. Almost everyone had seen the signs and most agreed to take a picture of the flyer with their cell phone so they would have the information with them in case they spotted CAT Stanley when they were out and about.  I especially remember one bittersweet conversation with a man on his evening run. “I’ve seen your signs and my wife and I have been keeping an eye out….” (Thank you!). And then his follow-up comment that smacked- “he’ll probably be OK- cats can take care of themselves…” No, they can’t! Cats need people was my initial response.  That’s why CAT Stanley has a microchip (and have you seen that the UK is requiring all dogs get microchipped? Hopefully our day will come for dogs AND cats…)

Thankfully, I immediately recognized he was merely trying to make me feel better. But it gave me even more resolve to raise the bar for cat care and welfare in my own community and beyond.

So my vigil continued. I remained diligent and methodical, seeking, searching, calling and following up on every lead. And after forty-four days he was spotted- very close to the home that called me with the first sighting! Within two days he was back home- skinny, initially scared, with collar and tag intact. His housemates gave him the once-over and obligatory nasal-anal assessment (aka butt sniff), CAT Stanley ran upstairs to his favorite hangout, and all was good.

I’m a veterinarian and advocate for cats, and this still happened to me! I was lucky, and even with no “natural disaster” excuses such as snowstorms and hurricanes, tornados or fires, people need to be reminded that we all get careless.  Sometimes there are little or no consequences.  But sometimes the consequences are disasters and end up breaking your heart.

Don’t wait for a disaster. If you haven’t yet taken these steps,  please do them NOW:

  • Microchip your cat and register it! The apps and other support services are very helpful!
  • Keep current close up full-body photos on your computer
  • Make sure when outdoors they are fully supervised
  • Keep them current on their yearly exams, appropriate vaccines and parasite prevention program
  • Give them lots of love and care….so they will want to come home again.

We need cats…they need us!

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me

Jan 3, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

4 kittens

Four Mewling Kittens: How to Help Your Cat Avoid the Animal Shelter this Holiday

If you missed out on the previous parts:

While this part of the holiday hazard series is not about emergencies, it does address another serious holiday pet topic. As pet ownership is a huge commitment, giving a kitten as a gift should be considered with great caution.  For one thing, cost is a huge consideration – not of the cat itself (depending on the breed), but of the financial commitment that is involved in the cat’s day-to-day care in addition to veterinary costs. If you Google “yearly cost of owning a cat” you’ll get hundreds of results, ranging from $100/month to over $1000/month for food, litter, veterinary care and toys. These estimates do not take into account medical emergencies (hopefully no holiday-related problems, since you’ve read this blog! J) or chronic health issues. The first year of life also tends to be quite a bit more expensive because kittens receive a series of vaccines, and will need to be spayed or neutered (this will cut down on medical costs later in life by preventing unwanted pregnancies, reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and prevents unwanted behavioral problems for which many cats end up unwanted in shelters). Whatever the cost per month, you should be certain that the recipient of the cat is aware of the ongoing cost and prepared to give the cat the financial investment to keep it healthy. Often, especially in this time economic slump, many pets end up in shelters or on the streets because people are no longer able to provide care and shelter for their pets.

Also, consider the effect on other pets and people in the household. Are you giving a kitten to a teenager who will be going off to college in a few months and possibly be unable to house the cat in the dorm with them? Is anyone in the household allergic to cats? Do you own a large, hostile dog or a boa constrictor that might find a tiny kitten to be a great snack?

Kittens are hard to come by at Christmas time because cats tend to breed during the summer months, so also consider that, if a feline friend is welcome as a gift, maybe an older cat would be a good choice. It may be best to plan to visit the shelter or rescue* together to pick out the new cat, to make sure that the person receiving the cat is getting a cat that they feel a connection with.

If forethought is put into the decision to make a gift of a cat, then the gift can be up to 20 years or more of valuable companionship, but it is not a gift to be given lightly.

*While many people choose purebred cats, remember that only about 20-30% of shelter cats ever get adopted. Consider adopting a rescued pet. Petfinder.com can even help you locate purebred cats that need adoption at local shelters and rescues, if only a purebred will do.

Dr Steven Bailey

Dr. Steven J. Bailey founded Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in 1992. He obtained his Bachelor of Science and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University in June of 1986. After graduation, Dr. Bailey practiced emergency medicine for 8 years prior to establishing Exclusively Cats. Dr. Bailey is one of two veterinarians in the state of Michigan and the only veterinarian in Southeastern Michigan that has been board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners as a Feline Specialist (ABVP). His special interests include complicated medical/surgical cases as well as critical care, advanced dentistry, and behavioral medicine. Dr. Bailey is an active member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), he is a current council member of the Southeastern Michigan Veterinary Medical Association (SEMVMA). He is also an Associate Editor of the Feline Internal Medicine Board on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), invited member of VMG #18 (The only feline exclusive Veterinary Management Group) and MOM’s group (Macomb/Oakland Management Group). In his free time, Dr. Bailey is an avid kayaker (some may even call him “obsessed”) and an instructor in both canoe and kayaking sports. He also enjoys running and spending time with his family. Dr. Bailey and his wife Liz have 2 adult children, Christopher and Kayla, 3 cats, Tic Tic, Sapphire and Lacey, and one dog, Charlotte.

Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital

6650 Highland Road

Waterford, MI 48327

Phone: 248-666-5287

Fax ‎206-333-1135

ecvh@exclusivelycats.com

Website: http://www.exclusivelycats.com

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Top Ten Holiday Gifts for your Cat!

Dec 19, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

According to a 2011 PetFinder.com poll, 58% of people with cats give them presents for the Holidays and 37% of cat owners also hang a stocking!

Are we crazy, or just crazy about our cats? Or is this another way we can share and celebrate with those we love. Here are my favorite Top Ten Holiday Gifts for cats:

10. Toys: Catnip toys are the obvious, and look for those made in the US with fresh, organically grown cat nip! Not all cats respond to cat nip- it appears genetics play a role in that- and it’s worth trying different kinds and fresh vs. dried to see if your cat gets crazy or mellow. See more on toy safety in Dr. Colleran’s recent post.
9. Food: As veterinarians, we’ve all heard the question “What’s the best food for my cat?” Felinedocs.com have had several posts on feline nutrition; bottom line- it depends. On your cat’s age, lifestyle, health status and preferences- each one is an individual and your veterinarian can offer the best proven options! And remember, cats are carnivores and must have some protein that’s of an animal source. Grain-free diets have yet to be scientifically proven to be optimal for your cat’s health and it seems intuitive so we hope those studies are forthcoming!
8. Treats: It’s important to positively reward good behavior (“good Callie, for jumping on your cat tree next to the kitchen counter…”) and repetition of immediate reward will help shape good manners. As with food, be sure the company that manufactures them has quality control measures to help ensure their safely. And be mindful of added calories in treats; make sure you know what your cat’s daily allotment is- somewhere in the range of 200-250 kcal per day for healthy adult cats- and find out just how many there are in those 15-20 Whisker-Lickens…
7. Toys: Interactive toys that allow a cat to express its normal prey behavior are terrific and also provide exercise. Fishing pole type toys, lasers that shine a dot on the floor and walls, and even battery-operated toys that move- some in response to a cat’s movement! Be sure to let your cat “catch” its prey periodically so it’s “rewarded” for its activity.
6. New dinner plate: Yes, as cute as those bowls with little fish painted inside, a flat dish or plate is preferred so their whiskers can remain straight while eating.
5. Water fountain: cats like the movement of water and, like us, can benefit by drinking more. Several companies offer water fountains specifically for cats. I keep looking for one that’s shaped like a toilet…
4. Cat tower or perches: Cats like to go to high places so providing them with vertical height outlets will give them their own “space.” Cat trees or towers come in a variety of designs so check on-line to see what your cat might like. Those which include sisal for scratching and hidey-areas can be very popular!
3. A cat-friendly carrier: Just search the internet on “how to get your cat in a carrier” and you will get 3,330,000 hits in 0.3 second. What’s important is to think like a cat. If it has two openings- front and top are best, if you provide soft bedding (that old fleece of yours is purr-fect- warm, soft and has the scent of “you”), if you keep it out, up and open and warm and let your cat use it as a hiding place (cats like to be off the floor, warm and have an “escape route” available), your cat will come to see its carrier as it’s friend and not run and hide when you bring it in from the garage to go for a car ride. For more information on choosing a carrier and training your cat to it, watch this video – “Cats and Carriers- Friends, not Foes.”
YouTube Preview Image
2. Toys: Did I already mention toys?? Studies have shown that environment enrichment is critical for your cat’s health and well-being. So new toys, and rotating those they have, provide your cat with continual psychological stimulation. For more information on environment enrichment, visit the Indoor Pet Initiative from the Ohio State University.
1. The gift of good health! To ensure your cat lives a long, happy and enriched life, be sure your cat visits its veterinarian at least once a year- even if it seems perfectly fine! Cats give us so many gifts and we can give them the best quality of life “humanly” possible.

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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Food Recalls

Oct 20, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

In 2007, a large food recall took place as a result of melamine contamination. Both dogs and cats were affected. This raised a safety concern about pet food that has not been helped by ten reports of national food recalls from March 2009 to March 2010. In the month of March 2010, there were more than 45 recalls of human food products with Salmonella as a common inciting cause.  Now, there are many people who wish to home cook for their cats.

Other safety issues I hear are artificial preservatives, colors, and flavoring. Many fear that food additives play a role in cancer incidence, allergies or autoimmune disorders. The FDA governs the use of these additives and evaluates them for safety. “Who trusts the government?” is the response I hear to my assurances.

The desire to home cook for your cat is deserving of a measured response, one that reflects the complexity of cooking for a carnivore and the difficulty of uncovering adequate information about many products.

Food preferences in the cat are both instinctive and acquired. Taste receptors in cats are specialized for eating meat. Kittens acquire taste preferences from exposure to flavors transmitted in the uterus and in milk. They also learn appropriate food choices from their mother. These include food texture and odor as well as taste.

The balance of vitamins and minerals must be balanced correctly. In a study of home-prepared diets calcium-phosphorus ratios, Vitamin A and E levels along with potassium, copper and zinc were inadequate. Everyone has good intentions but not always a good outcome.

As long as you work with a veterinary nutritionist, there is minimal risk. You must follow all the ingredient and additive instructions to the letter. Many veterinary nutritionists are available for phone consultation and are able to analyze individual diets for nutritional adequacy. That does not guarantee that the flavor, texture or odor will be acceptable to your cat, however. Serious illness can result when a cat refuses to eat. Make sure your beloved companion likes the food well enough to take in adequate calories for the longterm which may require multiple foods to avoid monotony.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

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

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

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

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

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

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

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

Oct 16, 2012 by     14 Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

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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Loss of a Cat

Sep 3, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

When Louis brought Nadia for her dental cleaning and evaluation, he was pleased to know her bloodwork and blood pressure were good and that we could help with her bad breath. As he left, he spoke softly to her, stroked her head, smiled and wished her luck. We never imagined that we would find a mass under her tongue that would end her life.

After her diagnosis, we talked to Louis about his choices. He decided he could be her nurse for awhile but wouldn’t do any more surgery. We started hospice care at home. Nadia had been with him longer than many of his friends and family. His wife said that Nadia was Joined “at the hip” to Louis and would spend every waking minute with him if she could. They were soulmates she told us.

After a time, the tumor became larger and she lost interest in eating. Louis knew the time had come but wished with all his heart that he did not have to make this choice. He hoped and hoped that she would die on her own, without suffering. Then he knew she would not.

They came to the hospital together one last time. Louis is a very tall man with giant hands that stroked her fur as we gave her the last injection. As her breath left her body, he sobbed for awhile. We hugged and sat and talked about her. He told me stories and showed me pictures. Finally, he felt strong enough to leave though we both knew how much it hurt to leave without her.

The loss of a pet can be as devastating as the loss of a child or spouse.  Yet often there is no one who understands how devastating it can be. Having to make the choice to end a life can often leave people feeling guilty or angry. Unlike people, there is usually no ritual to help us through the process.  There are funerals, memorials, and other rituals that would be acknowledged by most everyone for the loss of a person. Often society doesn’t acknowledge the legitimate emotional needs after the loss of a cat. It can feel very lonely and isolating when people say things like “it was just a cat.”

Finding a way to memorialize your beloved cat is one way to deal with feelings that can be so powerful that they feel like physical pain.  My beloved cat is buried underneath a rose bush I can see from my kitchen window. Every time it blooms it is as if she has visited. There are “grief hotlines” in several of the veterinary schools staffed by students who are trained to help and to listen. Grief counselors can be your advocate.

Sit with someone who knows you well and will understand how lonely you are feeling. The depth of your loss is real. You deserve to have the solace that comes of talking it through. The loss of a beloved family member, no matter the number of legs, can feel catastrophic.  Take the best care of yourself and your heart. Do whatever you need to heal. Don’t be reluctant or afraid to ask for help. Don’t mourn alone.

Dr Elizabeth Colleran

Diplomate ABVP Specialty in Feline Practice

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

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

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

Phone: 530-892-2287‎

Website: http://chicocats.com/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

Cat Hospital of Portland
8065 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

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

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

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Is My Cat Driving Me Crazy?

Jul 7, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion

 

Dear Dr. Brown;

My boyfriend sent me this article today… can you please address when you have a moment?

Many thanks,

Robin : )

 

Thank you for the question Robin. There have been many sensationalize eye-catching headlines about this (This seems to be the next zombie apocalypse). It is always important to separate the science from the hysteria. No one wants to contract a parasite.

The current literature states that Toxoplasma, defined by NIH and the Mayo Clinic, is of concern only for pregnant women and immune suppressed people. For most everyone else, the infection is latent and does not cause any problems.

There have been 3 recent articles that have fanned fears about toxoplasmosis. We have to remember that the work on this will be continuing and these studies need to be reviewed and duplicated.

  1. The first study is a rat study from Stanford and postulated that Toxoplasmosis can affect the behavior of rats.
    Read the article →
  2. The second study is from the University of Maryland.  It is a retrospective study of 45,000 Danish women and suicide rates.
    Read the article →
  3. The third article is from Atlantic Monthly and it features a Czech biologist who feels that Toxoplasmosis may alter human behavior.  All of these are provocative and make for great headlines.  Time will tell and more study will show if there is a correlation.
    Read the article →

The best way to prevent any problems is to avoid infection:

  • Most people get Toxoplasmosis from improperly cooked meat. The CDC recommends cooking meat properly. I am providing a link to the CDC to help define properly cooked meat.
  • Freezing meet to sub-zero temperatures for several days decreases the chances for infection.
  • Always be sure to peel and wash fruits and vegetable before eating.
  • Be sure to washing cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat, or unwashed fruits or vegetables.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

What about my cat?

If you feed commercially prepared or cooked foods it decreases your cat’s chances of becoming exposed to Toxoplasmosis.  Keeping your cat indoors also decreases his/her chance of acquiring the parasite.

Cats are the definitive host for Toxoplasmosis or to borrow from Dr Robert Yolken from Johns Hopkins University.  The world for the parasite is divided into two parts – Cats and Non-Cats.

Toxoplasma wants to be in cats because it leads its entire lifecycle in cats, but not in non-cats.  Again from Dr Yolken – “Now toxoplasma gets into another animal, it’s still alive, but it’s not very happy. What I’m fond of saying is that it’s kind of like a young person living in New Jersey. The person is alive but perhaps would rather be somewhere else… so in New York City or Philadelphia or Washington. Somewhere…”

My apologies to any readers in the Garden State.

Cats only shed the Toxoplasmosis eggs one week in their entire lives.  The eggs need 48 hours to “hatch”.  Frequent cleaning of the litter box with gloves can help decrease the chance of getting infected.  Washing your hands is very important.

Hopefully some common sense and good hygiene habits will help protect you from many pathogens.  It seems to come down to all the good habits you were taught, as child will help protect you.

Separating the facts from fiction or pseudoscience is very important to eliminate needless fear.

You can read the full NPR interview here.

Dr Marcus Brown

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

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

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

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

Website: http://novacatclinic.com/
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Oh No! FLEAS!!!

Jun 20, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

Though I really love warm weather, I feel a bit of foreboding associated with consistently warm weather because inevitably, a caring cat owner wanting to provide parasite prevention will apply a flea control product meant for dogs on their cat, not realizing how dangerous this can be. Because cats and dogs metabolize medications differently, an ingredient that a dog tolerates with no issue could prove disastrous–potentially even fatal– for a cat. Not only should you never use a flea product formulated for a dog on your cat, but you should be sure to prevent contact between treated dogs and their feline friends until the medication has absorbed.

Another mistake seen all too often is the “more is better” approach that some people take when using flea products. More is NOT better when it comes to chemicals or medications! Always follow the package instructions, and contact a veterinarian if the product does not seem to be working. There is evidence that some flea products have less efficacy than others, so it might be that you need to try a different product, but you should first seek the advice of a professional to make sure it’s safe to apply.

My advice? Discuss parasite control with your veterinarian since he or she knows your cat and can make individual recommendations based on risk. And, veterinarian prescribed products have the benefit of being supported by the companies that manufacture them, so should your cat have a reaction to the product prescribed, the manufacturer will likely cover any veterinary costs associated with any necessary treatment.  Whatever product you choose to use to provide parasite control, make sure you keep the product insert and directions handy should your cat have a reaction and take that insert with you to the veterinary hospital if your cat needs care.  Fortunately, reactions to today’s well-researched flea and parasite control products are rare.

Dr Diane Eigner

Diane Eigner graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1980. Dr. Eigner established her exclusively feline practice, The Cat Doctor, in Philadelphia in 1983, and began offering house call services at the Jersey Shore in 1991. She is a past president of the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School Alumni Society, a Past President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and is a member of the advisory board of Harcum Junior College’s Veterinary Technical School. Diane has been the consulting veterinarian for the Morris Animal Refuge since 1983. Doctor Eigner’s column “Ask The Cat Doctor” appeared in the Cat Fancier’s Almanac from 1996-2000. Diane joined the Catalyst Council’s board as the American Association of Feline Practitioner’s representative in 2009. She is now serving as the immediate past-chair of the Catalyst Council.

An avid Sailor, Diane loves nothing better than to be at the Jersey shore where she keeps her sailboat, Purrfect, and where she has a second home. Since meeting her husband, Fred Turoff, Temple University’s Men’s gymnastics team head coach, her family life has been dominated by men’s gymnastics. Her son Evan is a level ten gymnast that competes nationally and will join her husband’s division I men’s gymnastics team in the fall.. Diane also shares her life with three very entertaining cats. Though she shouldn’t have a favorite, her Sphynx cat, Velvet, which she rescued at the shelter where she consults, is the cat love of her life. Her integrated home also includes a Welsh Corgi named Twinks, two Cornish Rex cats, Naui and Padi and a Russian Tortoise.

The Cat Doctor
535 North 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Phone: (215) 561-7668
Fax: (215) 561-3616
Email: meow@thecatdr.com

Website: http://www.thecatdr.com
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Cats and Cigarettes – A Lethal Combination

Jun 16, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

If you are a smoker, then you have probably been told by many people to stop smoking. Get ready to add two more to the list: your veterinarian and your cat!

Cats that live in smoking households are unwilling victims of second hand smoke. Second hand smoke has long been suspected of causing respiratory disease and lung cancer (and other cancers) in cats. Few studies are available, however, a 2002 study by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine showed that cats living in smoking households were twice a likely to develop feline lymphoma (a type of cancer).

In addition, in smoking households, smoke particles land and cover exposed surfaces, including the cats. These particles (and more picked up through contact) are swallowed by cats during grooming, causing an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a deadly oral cancer. Basically, you are covering your cat in cancer-causing particles.

Lastly, cats that swallow tobacco products can be poisoned by nicotine. Menthol is especially appealing to some cats, making them very dangerous. One cigarette can contain enough nicotine to be toxic to a 5 lb. cat.

Kicking the habit? Congratulations – you may be saving your life and your cat’s life, but please be careful. All nicotine products are poisonous to cats, so be sure they are out of reach. The toxic level of nicotine for cats is 5 mg (milligrams) of nicotine per pound of body weight.

Nicotine levels in various products include:

  • Nicotine patches – 8 to 114 mg of nicotine.
  • Nicotine gum – 2 to 4 mg per piece.
  • Nicotine inhalers – about 4 mg per puff.
  • Nasal sprays – 80 to 100 mg per bottle (0.5 mg per spray).
  • Cigars – approximately 15 to 40 mg each.
  • Chewing tobacco – 6 to 8 mg of nicotine per gram.
  • Snuff – 12 to 17 mg of nicotine per gram.
  • A cigarette butt can contain 4 – 8 mg since smoking concentrates some of the nicotine in the butt.

So, if you truly love your cat, stop smoking. It is hard, but so important for you and your cat. Need help? Here are some of the many available resources:

Until you quit, please avoid smoking indoors and make sure to keep all Tobacco and nicotine containing products out of your cat’s reach.

Just Quit – Your cat will thank you!


Photo by Tony Stone & Adeline Rapon

Dr Diana Lafer

Dr. Diana Lafer founded Cats Limited in 1995. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Wesleyan University and her veterinary degree from Cornell University. Dr. Lafer has a cat (Sparky), and a dog (Lucy). She enjoys spending time with her daughters, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, participating in triathlons, and volunteering for the Lakeville Pony Club.

Cats Limited Hospital
1260 New Britain Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06110

Phone: (860) 561-9885
Email: cats@catslimited.com

Website: http://www.catslimited.com/
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What? Adopt a(nother) Cat?

Jun 3, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

It’s June already, the grill’s out and ready to go! OK, so you current cat avoids the barbie- and that’s a good thing because it’s dangerous! So while it’s fun to think that your cat might become the household cook (and if any pet could it would be the cat since  dogs would just steal the food off the counter and eat it right then and there, wrapper and all), it’s much better to think about getting a(nother) cat for fun, affection and entertainment.

June is Adopt a Cat Month, celebrated by the American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, ASPCA, CATalyst Council and petfinder.com. Here are the Top 5 Joys of Owning a Cat and now that you’re convinced, check out the Top Ten Checklist for Adopting a Cat.  Cats are social animals, so a feline friend can be a great addition to your family- just do a little research in advance.  The best way to celebrate AND help your community is to visit your local shelter, look on their website, or check out petfinder.com or adoptapet.com to see what cat is in your area and which purrsonality is right for your household.

According to Jan McHugh-Smith, President of the Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, adopting an older cat is especially rewarding.  “Adult cats are just big kittens with developed personalities.  They come in all shape, sizes and colors; you can adopt a cool cat, a lap cat, a fat cat.  Just adopt.”

Your veterinarian can provide you information on how to proceed AND how to introduce a new cat (and check out the felinedocs blog post), and the veterinary team may even have some leads on some cats that need a loving home!

So start planning that summertime dinner party to celebrate Adopt a Cat Month! More chicken, please….

Dr Jane Brunt

Dr. Jane Brunt, founder of Cat Hospital at Towson (CHAT), is the pioneer of feline exclusive practice in Maryland. She received her DVM from Kansas State University (go, Cats!), and since 1984 has advocated the necessity of an outstanding facility and staff dedicated to practicing the highest quality of cats only care and medicine at CHAT.

She is a Past-President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association. In 1997, Dr. Brunt was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Vets” and featured on the cover of Baltimore Magazine, and in 1998 she served as Chair of the Host Committee for the AVMA Annual Convention in Baltimore (attended by a record 8,000 veterinary professionals and supporters), receiving several awards and accolades. A national advisor on feline medicine, she is also an active supporter of local, state, and national feline organizations, especially of the new generation of veterinary professionals.

Building on her clinical cat commitments and organizational passions, she serves as the Executive Director of CATalyst Council, a not-for-profit coalition of organizations and individuals committed to changing the way society cares for cats, “Promoting the Power of Purr…” across veterinary, sheltering, and public/civic communities. She owns a wayward standard poodle named Luka and three hilarious, keyboard-keen cats- Paddy, Freddie and CAT Stanley!

Cat Hospital at Towson
6701 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21212

Phone: (410) 377-7900
Email: cathospital@catdoc.com

Website: http://www.catdoc.com/
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