Tagged with " homepost"

Your Cat’s Holiday Wish List

Nov 7, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Behavior

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.

More PostsWebsite

Why do Cats Purr?

Oct 31, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Behavior

Lions can’t purr. If you can roar, you can’t purr. But if you are another wild cat, like a civet, mountain lion, or bobcat, purring is your unique gift. The laryngeal muscles oscillate at 25 – 150 Hz causing a sudden separation of vocal cords during both inhalation and exhalation. Our companion cats do seem to purr more often when they are contented with their situation but that isn’t the only time they purr. The purr is so low pitched that we almost feel it as much as we hear it.

Cats also purr when they are frightened or stressed. Often, cats will purr in the context of the veterinary visit which is always a bit stressful. Theories abound, but like the smile in humans, perhaps it is an appeasing gesture in that context. It might be similar to the reasons people smile, contentment surely, but also when we are nervous or want something.

If you have found your cat’s purring to be a bit annoying in the morning when he wants you to get up but not when you are petting him, it is because the two are different! Cats learned to add a higher pitch purr to the lower 25 Hz pitch that is more of a cry-meow. This insistent purr is intended to elicit a faster reaction from humans. Researchers theorize that cats may have learned to tap into a mammalian response for nurturing offspring by embedding a cry within a call that is normally associated with contentment. The baby who wants to be fed cries, hence cats learn to add the high pitch to their purr.

Cats also purr when they are giving birth, nursing, or wounded. Researchers have shown that purring may have an evolutionary healing advantage. Many experts theorize that the range of 25 Hz might be a sort of built-in physical therapy. This frequency is used in humans to accelerate wound healing and improve bone density. Purring may be a form of pain management and self-healing. Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy, too. It may contribute to the lower occurrence of osteoporosis or bone dysplasias in cats than dogs.

Purring may also have contributed to the fact that there are more companion cats than dogs these days. We regularly pet our cats for their sake but also for the sense of peace and relaxation that comes from listening to a cat purr. It calms us down, lowers our blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart attack.

Continue to Why do Cats Purr? (Part 2 of 2)

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/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

What to Look for When Adopting a Kitten

Oct 24, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

The excitement surrounding the decision to bring a kitten into your household is only surpassed by the act itself. When choosing your kitten, some knowledge of kitten development or socialization will help you pick the best kitten for your family.

Socialization in kittens begins at 2-9 weeks of age. During this period gentle handling by people helps kittens build self- confidence, while learning to interact with other animals and people. This experience will carry over into other social situations throughout the cat’s life. If kittens have not been properly socialized, they are at increased risk to develop negative traits: They are more likely to be fearful of human contact and to be less able to adjust to unfamiliar situations. For example, a cat who is as gentle as a lamb at home, may become a ferocious tiger at the veterinary clinic.

When choosing a kitten, it is easy to be swayed by a beautiful coat, color or markings . It is also tempting to choose a kitten by sex. Yet, the most important trait is temperament. Here are a few guidelines to maximize a successful introduction and to prepare your newest member for a lifelong place in your family. Whether you adopt a kitten from a private family or shelter, or purchase a kitten from a pet store or breeder, it would be ideal if you could observe the kitten interact with its siblings. Kittens learn much from playing with each other.

The little mewing of “Ouch, you’re hurting me” as one kitten is chomping on another kitten’s ear, begins the feedback to learn what is too painful for play. Watch the kittens carefully: Which kittens are actively engaged in play with each other? When you meet them, who comes up to explore? If you pick up a kitten does it nuzzle into your arms, crawl up your shirt, or otherwise give indications that it is comfortable being held? These behaviors (exploration, play and a willingness to be held) indicate that the kitten has been well socialized.

Now the rest is up to you. Construct an environment in which your kitten will flourish. Teach your kitten the proper way to play. Do not use your hands as a toy. Having an eight or ten week old kitten chew on your fingers may seem harmless; the same behavior in an adult cat will be painful. Always hold something in your hand when playing, even if it is a pen, to reinforce that your body is not a plaything. Cat play is often aggressive. It is often initiated by one kitten leaping up and biting another and running away in hopes of being pursued. This is how your kitten expects you to behave when it begins a game of “ankle attack” as you walk down the hallway. Do not respond: have a toy to redirect his attention. Schedule regular play time. Keep in mind that cats are nocturnal. Many of our feline friends get what I call the “ten o’clock crazies” – just when you are ready for sleep, 15 minutes of energetic play in the late evening will help defuse potential kitten trouble and let you get a good night’s sleep.

Take your kitten for rides in the car in its carrier. This will expand his confidence by making the carrier and the car familiar parts of his routine instead of the vehicle whose only purpose is to transport him from the safety and security of home to anxiety and unfamiliarity of the veterinarian’s office. Carriers should be brought out on a regular basis to be explored with no imminent trip scheduled. Place treats in the back of the carrier, leave the door open and walk away. What a pleasant surprise as the kitten explores the “new space” and discovers it contains treasures. When the time comes for a veterinary visit, the carrier and the car will be tranquil extensions of home which will allow the kitten to arrive in a secure state of mind. These kitten visits are good times to make sure your new family member is growing well both physically and emotionally. They also offer you the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional guidance

Nevertheless, kittens or cats who have not had good early socialization, can be guided along the path to a healthy happy relationship with the humans in their lives. Those strategies will be discussed in my next blog post.

Dr Kathleen Keefe Ternes

Dr. Kathleen Keefe Ternes grew up in western Massachusetts. She received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1974; a BS degree in 1978 and a DVM in 1979 from Michigan State University. Dr. Keefe Ternes returned home to New England in April 1980. In 1984, she achieved one of her professional goals by opening The Feline Hospital in Salem, MA. . Dr. Keefe Ternes, a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), initially certified as a companion animal specialist in 1990. She became certified as a feline specialist in 2000 and recertified in 2010. Dr. Keefe Ternes is a member of AAFP, the AVMA, the MVMA, and her local organization, the Veterinary Association of the North Shore (VANS). Her involvement in organized medicine includes having been a past president of VANS and current member of the board of directors. She is also a case reviewer for the ABVP and recently joined the Feline Welfare Committee of the AAFP.

Dr. Keefe Ternes lives in Salem with her husband and two college age daughters. Her two senior cats Toby and Petunia keep her on her toes medically.

The Feline Hospital
81 Webb St
Salem, MA 01970

Phone: 978-744-8020
Email: thefelinehospital@gmail.com

thefelinehospital.com | Profile Page | Directions

More PostsWebsite

Ways to Medicate Your Cat

Oct 17, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

I enjoyed reading Dr Ray’s post on medicating cats. It is always good when a veterinarian has first hand experience with medicating a cat – a task that is often a lesson in humility. My least favorite situation is the “I cannot catch you because you are hiding under the bed or behind the refrigerator.”

I often cringe when I hear “my husband grabs her and wraps her in a towel and after 3 attempts I finally get the pill in her.” I definitely would not want to be the source of that cat’s unhappiness; I would try and get my cat to agree with the medicating – especially critical for chronic medications. Easier said then done, right?

Dr Ray mentioned putting the medication in food but due to their keen sense of taste, and smell, that can prevent them from eating. We definitely don’t want that! Imagine someone putting something bitter in your food – would you eat it?

Pill pockets can be very helpful – until the day your cat says that was great for 8 months, but no thanks, I’m good, how about some of that yummy tuna instead.

The other hardship to consider is cutting tiny pills in quarters. With some of the extremely small medications this can be disastrous. With one pill, instead of 4 doses you get 2.

So when your cat says “no thank you” or you cannot cut the pills small enough, consider having a pharmacist compound the medication. Pretty simple, huh? Compounded medications are made to order only for your cat; it has become controversial since the issues at the New England Pharmacy. Congress is working on legislation to protect both humans and animals.

Medications can be made into such forms as: treats, liquids, or capsules. A very select few can even be made into transdermal gels. Your cat gets to decide what form he/she prefers.

So don’t despair, be sure and tell your veterinarian that you need help getting medications in to your cat. Trust me on this, we are here to help!

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/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

How Many Social Groups Live in Your House?

Sep 18, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Last week, I helped with an interview for Cat Fancy Magazine about litterbox matters. It is always good to remind everyone of the principals of a clean bathroom for our housecats. A bigger question arises from that though and that is, “do you know how many social groups live in your house?” This question is central to solving many issues that create stress in a household in which more than one unrelated cat lives.

In my home, there are two house cats. The first one to move in with us is Bodaishin. He was a six year old intact male when we rescued him two years ago. As many people do, my husband and I live very busy lives and are often out of the house for long periods of time. I concluded that Bo was not getting as much of a lively life as I thought he should have. I contacted the breeder from whom I acquired Bo about another cat. (The story of his life and why he needed to come to us is another story)

There was an 18 month old intact male who wasn’t a very good example of his breed so, like Bo, he was living by himself in a small enclosure. Perfect, a youngster who needed a new life. Oddly, his breeder dropped him off at my practice and departed before we could meet and talk about “Andy”.

He was a freaked out, unsocialized kid who thought we were going to kill him. It took weeks before he calmed down. During that time, we had, not a two cat household, but a “one plus one” household. Neither we nor Bo could get near him and Bo seemed none too pleased at the home invasion by this interloper.

We had a room for Andy which contained a cat tree, a big 28 quart clothing storage box for a litterbox, food and water bowls and toys. Every day, we sat quietly in the room waiting for him to approach. Bo was not allowed into the room. After a time, he learned that he was safe and began to allow petting and slowly but surely we began to integrate him into the rest of the house. Bo was very interested in him as time went on.

Six months later, both cat trees are in the living room. The two litterboxes remain, as well as the separate food and water spots. We assumed that we would continue to be a “one plus one” household. Much to our surprise, and quite slowly Bo and Andy began to play together, shooting through the house and wrestling. Even more slowly and surprisingly, they began to groom one another, sleep in the same bad curled up like yin and yang, and rub each other entwining tails in passing. It may have helped that Bodaishin is Andy’s grandfather, a fact I found out much later.

So now we are a “two cat” household with one big social group that includes my husband and me. The key to knowing which is which are the three behaviors:

  • Sleeping entwined,
  • Grooming each other often, and
  • Rubbing each other willingly in passing.

It isn’t important to the cats whether we humans engage in these behaviors, but it might not be a bad idea!

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/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Tips for Living with Cats

Sep 12, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

Some tips on living with cats. We all have favorites we’ve learned, so please post your favorite tips in the “comments” section!

  1. Use baking soda to clean litter boxes – “green” cleaner and no residual odor.
  2. Use the empty cardboard tube from a paper towel roll to make a “food puzzle” for feeding dry food. Cover the ends of the tube and cut a small hole, so the cat has to work to get the food out.
  3. A great way to get young cats started on home dental care is letting them lick the cat toothpaste (designed to be swallowed, unlike human paste). Then, get a child’s toothbrush, put paste on and let the cat chew the paste, so your kitty gets used to the feel of the toothbrush in their mouth.
  4. If kitty is getting too heavy because everyone in the household is feeding “just a handful” of dry food or treats, measure the amount for the day into a covered container and let the family know they need to portion out.
  5. “Stair-steps” may help your older cat reach its favorite chair or bed, if they can no longer jump. (Also see your veterinarian, to make sure there are no medical problems or medications needed).
  6. Heated pet beds are great for older or arthritic cats.
  7. I used to rinse food dishes but after my cat developed chin acne, drying the dishes well (I use glass) has prevented any further acne problems.
  8. For medicating cats, ask your veterinarian for a 3 cc syringe, cut off the tip (so no narrow tip), put pill in meat baby food and use the syringe to administer.
  9. Another tip on medicating cats: mix a jar of strained meat baby food with a jar of water, or mix a can of tuna with can of water and blend. Freeze in ice cube trays, and take out one “cube” as needed.

And, a couple of tips from Maryland Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Marsha Reich:

  1. Pain can cause or contribute to behavior problems. Omega-3 “fish oil” products may help; talk to your veterinarian about stronger pain meds if needed.
  2. For cats that bolt their food: try mini-muffin tins, to slow the cat down when eating.

As always, please consult your veterinarian any time your cat “isn’t right” or if these simple steps aren’t enough to help your cat.

Dr Dale Rubenstein

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

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

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

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

Website: http://www.acatclinic.us/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Why Cats Pee on Your Stuff – A Veterinarian’s Perspective

Sep 5, 2013 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Behavior, Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

In a recent blog contribution, Dr. Ray recommended trying to evaluate a cat’s litter box from a cat’s perspective.  Boy, was his article timely!  I just had one of the more frustrating conversations I have had with a client about their cats that were not reliably using their boxes and feel really badly for this owner’s cats, because the owner was not willing to listen to what I had to say about making the litter boxes desirable for the cats, not him.  I get that we want cats to easily integrate into our homes and that one of their more desirable characteristics is that they are supposed to be clean and low maintenance, but the reality is that though cats have been domesticated, they remain guided mostly by their instincts.

For more than two decades now, people have recognized that for most cats it is not safe for them to roam freely outdoors.  Cats have become cherished family members rather than utilitarian mousers that were almost considered by some to be disposable.  I absolutely celebrate this fact, but am disturbed that a lot of cat owners don’t take the time to learn about cat care and how to create the optimum environment for one or more cats when they bring home a cat.  Most people wouldn’t think about getting a reptile or another exotic pet without making sure they insured the pet would have the right habitat, but lots of people with take home a kitten and assume providing food and water and a litter box is all they will need.

The reality is that though most cats are low maintenance, the environment from their perspective (read not ours) is super important for the cat to thrive and to be healthy.  It is paramount that all cat owners understand the concept of resource availability as a cat sees it.  Resources for a cat refers to their ability to procure food, water, a comfortable place to rest and access to their litter pan without feeling threatened. Keep in mind that what a cat is threatened by can be very different than what a person is threatened by.  Just like people’s personalities and anxiety levels vary, cats are not all wired the same.  And just because a cat is a cat and another cat is a cat, it doesn’t mean they will like each other any more than two strangers will like one another.  Think about it – would you meet a stranger on the street and within minutes ask that person to come home to live with you?  That is sort of what most of us do when we acquire cats and decide to get them a cat buddy.  We bring the buddy cat home and tell the original cat to enjoy their new friend.  What if they don’t have any “chemistry” together?

So, let’s continue to celebrate cats and protect them from the various threats they can encounter outdoors, but let’s all try real hard to remember to periodically evaluate the home we offer our cat or cats from a cat’s perspective.  Those of us who want to share our home with a cat, need to remember that is what we are doing. We are sharing, so it can’t be all on our terms!

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
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Purr Power!

Aug 29, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Behavior, Tips & Advice

What’s not to love about a purring cat on your lap?  We know it’s a great feeling, and now it seems that there might be some extra and unexpected benefits to our physical health—would you believe a cat purr can strengthen our bones and reduce our risk of heart disease?

Just another reason people should live with cats!

No one is really sure why cats purr.  We know they purr when they’re happy and content, and when they’re trying to be calm, and sometimes when they’re really, really sick.  Little kittens have incredibly loud purrs.  Some cats have subtle purrs, and some cats come with “insta-purr,” where one touch turns on the motor.  Other cats, such as a British cat named Smokey, come with a volume that competes with the noise of a subway train.

I’ve seen many sick cats in my practice who are purring, even though they were clearly not well.  We’ve often thought that this kind of purring was a cat’s way of helping themselves feel less fearful and more relaxed.  But what if that purr was actually helping to relieve very real physical signs of disease or distress?

Most cats come with a purr that vibrates between 20-140 Hertz, which is a sound wave range that might have a therapeutic effect on people and other animals, not unlike that of a therapeutic laser.  This vibration range has been shown to relieve swelling and its associated pain, and also to promote healing in bones and soft tissues.

Truth or science fiction?  When I was a vet student studying bone diseases, our professors would tell us that cat broken bones would almost always heal, regardless of any medical or surgical intervention.  In fact, they would even joke that a treatment for a dog with a broken bone would be to put it in the vicinity of a cat, because cats were so good at healing.  Why was there such a distinct difference in how these species responded to an injury?  Could the cat’s purr be a piece of the puzzle?

The use of therapeutic or cold laser devices in medicine has been somewhat controversial, with proponents touting the use of lasers as a treatment for everything from back pain to gum inflammation.  What these lasers do is emit a low-level wave frequency in a therapeutic range that lowers the components that make up an inflammatory response.  Advocates say laser use can dramatically lessen the symptoms associated with conditions such as a sprained ankle or chronic arthritis.  Frequently, these laser therapies are layered with vibration therapies to complement the effects of the light waves.  The vibration modality is postulated to increase nerve activity and stimulate muscle and bone strength and resilience.

Cat purrs obviously do not emit light.  But there is speculation that the vibration associated with the purr creates its own similar “force field” effect.  Chiropractors have been using vibration therapy for years to help break down scar tissue, relieve pain, increase blood flow and enhance mobility.  Vibration therapy has been used to decrease swelling in injured tissues and drain lymphatic fluids.  Researchers have more recently identified full body vibration therapy as a means to increase bone strength and aid mobility in people born with cerebral palsy, a progressively debilitating neuromuscular disorder.

Vibration therapy in the 90 Hz range is also used to help astronauts combat the bone loss effects of being in a zero gravity environment and has been used successfully in the space program for years.

What else can that feline purr accomplish?  Well, we know how soothing being around a purring cat can be, but there also seem to be even more tangible health benefits for us humans.  Cats lower our blood pressure and relieve stress—all pets do this but cats are the undisputed champs.  Cats have even been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases—if people do not own cats, they are an astonishingly 40% more likely to have heart disease or strokes, based on a paper presented at a 2008 meeting of the American Stroke Association.

What could be next for our amazing felines?  Perhaps the day is not far off when we see doctors writing prescriptions for cat ownership, and astronauts will set off for outer space with Kitty in the co-pilot seat.

Dogs can only drool with envy!

Dr Cathy Lund

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

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

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

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
Facebook:
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Spay and Neuter

Aug 25, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Personal Opinion, Tips & Advice

It was sunny summer weekday morning and I had only two blocks to go to get to the cat hospital where I work when I saw a familiar black and white figure on the double yellow line up ahead. As I approached, I could see it clearly – a tuxedo cat, its colors smudged like newsprint with tar and debris from the road leaving permanent stains, highlighted in red by the cat’s internal organs which had eviscerated with the impact.

Nothing to be done to save the cat, I parked my car at work, went in to get some towels and walked back to where the lifeless cat lay. Back at the hospital, we looked for a collar and tag- none- scanned him for a microchip-negative- and could see he was a young male, unneutered and possibly unowned. A tragic end to his short life.

How could this have had a better ending? One where this handsome, sleek feline could have enjoyed a life like so many of the patients for which we care every day? He had been wandering or perhaps bolted across a busy four-lane road, very likely in pursuit of a female. Female cats, known as queens, can go through estrus or “heat” cycles every few weeks through the warmer months if they do not mate.

Their pheromones, or scent hormones, while odorless to us will bring male cats like our unlucky friend from other areas. And those tom cats will urine mark the territory they are attempting to claim, scratch to provide visual warnings to other male cats trying to vie for the female in question, and even fight to claim the right to breed her.

Spaying and neutering all cats not intended for registered purebred breeding will keep them from fighting, roaming, urine marking a territory they are attempting to claim, and most importantly, it will keep them from contributing to the already burgeoning cat population. Spaying and neutering is critical for the health of the cats, as females spayed before they go through a heat cycle have less than ½ of 1% (0.5%) chance of developing breast cancer. With every subsequent heat cycle, the risk of developing breast cancer increases.

Each year, the third Saturday of August is International Homeless Animals Day. Why not contribute and celebrate this year by helping cats in need of spaying and neutering in your community? Help out with a TNR (trap, neuter, return) program in your own community, sponsor a spay or neuter surgery for a cat in need at your local veterinarian, or volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization that is committed to sterilization of both dogs and cats prior to adoption.

Sadly, our tuxedoed cat was all dressed up with somewhere to go, and it wasn’t home. So please spay and neuter, and celebrate a lifetime of health and happiness with your cat, and with cats in your community.

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/
Facebook: Profile Page
Directions: Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Cast a Spell on Me – Old Wives’ Tales: Fact or Fiction? (Part 2 of 2)

Jul 24, 2013 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Personal Opinion

If you missed it: Cast a Spell on Me – Is the Cat a God or the Devil? (Part 1 of 2)

What exactly is an Old Wives’ Tale?  And why do cats feature so prominently in them?  These tales are fables and legends passed on through the generations in an effort to explain the inexplicable or predict fate.  So many involve cats because, well, cats are the ultimate in inexplicable behavior and their general unwillingness to do humans’ bidding has resulted in the profoundly divided feelings so many people have for cats.

Old Wives’ Tales were rampant during the 1600s and on, and most were not in the cat’s favor, although the classic American warning to beware a black cat crossing your path was interpreted very differently over in Europe.  There it was seen as a sign of good luck and potential financial windfall.  Worry about black cats in the United States began during the Puritan times and derived from their association with witches and Satanism, and to this day, black cats frequently are the last to be adopted from shelters and rescue organizations.  There is still a pervasive belief that cats, especially black cats, are a source of danger and corruption.

Here are a few classics from the Old Wives’ Tales hall of fame, some of which might actually hold a kernel of truth:

Cats can place curses on pregnant women

This originated from the idea that cats are connected to the devil, and that they have demonic powers that allow them to be very dangerous and evil—particularly to pregnant women and young children—but able to avoid harm themselves.  The actual curse on pregnant women involved harm to the unborn baby.  This could be through stillbirth, mental impairment or generalized birth defects resulting in life-long problems or even death.  Obviously, a curse is a bit far-fetched.  What is less of a stretch, though, is what happens to pregnant women infected with a cat parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which has been implicated in causing a wide range of infant birth defects.

Cats can kill young children with a single scratch

Well, we know bacteria can kill anyone during the right circumstances.  And in rural areas with poor nutrition and rudimentary medications, infected wounds from bacteria associated with cat bites and scratches can probably occasionally result in bad medical outcomes.  We also know cat scratch disease, Bartonella hensalae, can cause significant medical problems, and it would not be unheard of for a young child with a compromised immune system to become sick or even die from that bacterial organism.

Cats suck the breath from babies

Tragedy is always difficult to bear, and it is human nature to try to find an explanation.  Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is both tragic and unpredictable, and the Old Wives’ Tale of cats sucking the breath from infants probably derives from this event.  The danger to babies would come from an angry cat who was jealous of the newborn infant and upset about the loss of attention.  These cats would seek the opportunity to smother infants in their cribs.  Does this sound crazy?  Well, as recently as 2000, an infant death was originally attributed to the cat lying in the crib with the dead baby.  That cause of death was later documented as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but the myth about cats sucking the breath from babies is still—to this day—pervasive.  During the 1800s, women routinely testified at coroner’s inquests about their cats “sucking the wind” from infants and killing them by shoving their nose in the baby’s mouth while the baby was sleeping.  In 1929, a Nebraska doctor said that he’d seen “the family pet in the very act of sucking a child’s breath, lying on the baby’s breast, a paw on either side of the babe’s mouth, the cat’s lips pressing those of the child and the infant’s face pale as that of a corpse, its lips with the blueness of death.”  Pretty dramatic stuff!  But cats as we know are attracted to warmth, and may cuddle with a child, who might lack the ability to turn its head away or push the cat off, and the rest…

So, our relationship with the number one pet in America is complicated.  We have a much more matter of fact relationship with our dogs.  There is nowhere near the number of dog superstitions or phobias, and the dog was neither worshipped as a god nor was it demonized as an emissary of Satan.  Instead we find heroic dogs like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.  Not so with the cat.  And because the relationship between cats and their humans has been so confusing, so unpredictable, it is easy to blame the mysterious and sinister cat for unexplained problems and maladies.  Everyone likes to find a reason for tragedy and misfortune, and for much of the last several centuries, the cat was a believable culprit.

Dr Cathy Lund

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

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

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

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
Facebook:
Directions:Google | MapQuest | Yahoo!

More PostsWebsite

Categories

ALL TAGS