Keep your felines safe during Cat Health Month

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CatHealthFebruary is Cat Health Month. Use these resources from PVMA to keep America’s number 1 pet happy and healthy all year long.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Cat fact sheet
Think you’re ready to get a cat? Use this fact sheet to see if you’ve considered all the factors.

Feline Lifestyle Assessment
Having a complete picture of your cat or kitten’s life can help your veterinarian provide better treatment and recommendations for your cat.

Feline-ality Cat Personality Matching
Use this tool from the ASPCA to assess your preferences and expectations when thinking of adopting a new cat.

Bringing Home a New Kitten
A new kitten can be exciting. Start life with your new friend off on the right foot with proper veterinary care, nutrition, and socialization.

kitten jumping

The Importance of Preventive Care
Think your pet only needs to see the veterinarian when something’s wrong? Learn how regular visits can prevent illness instead.

Traveling and Moving With Your Cat
Traveling with cats is legendary – for all the wrong reasons. Learn how to make is less stressful and safe.

Cats and Lilies fact sheet
In addition to other plants, lilies are particularly poisonous to cats. Learn how to prevent accidental ingestion and what to do if it happens.

Spaying and Neutering
Did you know? Spaying and neutering prevents pet overpopulation while also keeping your cat healthy. ​

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A Day in the Life: Nikki Kline – My Newborn Trial!

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kitten

The attack kitten

A few months ago Kyle and I were “graced” with the presence of a two-week old kitten. We had been considering getting another cat (although we were thinking adult, who am I to mess with fate), so we decided keep him. Since that period we have gone through multiple different phases of “what was I thinking?!?!?!” He is not my first kitten that I’ve raised from a bottle baby, but I don’t remember it being nearly this hard!
The first two weeks, he still needed all the “hardcore” mommy stuff. Feeding every 3-4 hours didn’t use to be an issue when I was younger. However the 2nd night, as I was sitting in my basement at 3:00 AM bottle feeding him, I was trying really hard to figure out how human moms found this to be good bonding time and how I was going to stay awake for the twelve-hour day that was starting in five hours. He also refused to poop for what seemed like forever when it was time to make him potty. During the day, he was so adorable and snuggly it made up for all the not sleeping nights.
Around four weeks, I started to try to introduce kitten milk in a dish as well as a slurry of kitten milk with canned kitten food…he wanted no parts of it. I, initially, wasn’t too worried about it. Everyone develops at his/her own rate, and I wasn’t going to push him. So I kept offering and bottle feeding, except at 6 weeks, I still managed to have a kitten that wouldn’t lick anything! (and if I let him, he would suck down two bottles worth of food in one feeding). I started getting pushier about the eating on his own, and multiple times, I’m pretty sure he almost drowned in his own food bowl because he wouldn’t lick but would suckle it instead. He also is long haired (yes somehow the girl that said she could never have a long haired cat now has two!), and LOVED playing in the gruel I made him. So he became a pro at almost daily baths. Eventually, he skipped totally over the licking of the milk and went to just straight wet food, except instead of licking or biting it he suckled it and pushed it EVERYWHERE!
I’ve had a bowl of kitten dry food out for him since he started being offered real food, and obviously he had no interest in this because you couldn’t suckle it. My cats eat a mixture of dry and canned, and I decided he was going to follow that trend as well, even if he didn’t agree. So I started trying different varieties, and had the doctors check him to make sure he seemed to be formed correctly. All seemed normal, I tried every combination of food mixture I could come up with and nothing worked, including chicken AND turkey. Until one day, he was sitting on my lap while I was eating Cheez-its (one of my favorite snacks), I accidently dropped and he suddenly woofed it down without a problem!!! So I finally have him weaned over from dry food… with a Cheez- it crumbled in it to just dry food in the bowl.
His newest trait is attack! And he does it well, literally. I can be sitting on the couch and in five minutes he will go from attacking me, the carpet, a toy, the other pets and sometimes even his own body parts. This goes on for hours! Literally 99% of the time when we try to pet him or pick him up he is biting us, fairly aggressively and persistently. When walking our legs are randomly scaled, and the dog can’t even wag her tail without attack. Slink and Norbert are being stalked, pounced and mostly taking solace in the fact he can’t climb everything yet. When he is not in his attack mode, he is curled up usually on my shoulder snuggling and purring away and it makes it all worth it.
Although I don’t remember any of my other kittens putting me through nearly as many obstacles as he has done, in the end with patience and working on “manners,” I’m pretty sure he will turn out to be an adorable, sweet and fun cat (I’m just not convinced this will happen before he is twelve-years-old at this point, haha).

Nikki Kline, Veterinary Technician
French Creek Veterinary Hospital
www.frenchcreekvet.com

Have you thanked the animal shelter in your neighborhood lately?

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Lucky

This is Lucky, a dog adopted from a rural shelter after he was found wandering in the woods on his own.

This week is Animal shelter & rescue appreciation week. November is also Adopt a Senior Pet Month. I love when things come together so nicely. Like we talked about in the last post on Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, there are many reasons to consider adopting a shelter animal. In addition to needing a good home and someone to love them, I genuinely believe that rescue animals are more appreciative. Like the memory of being in a run with a concrete floor and 95 dogs all barking at once or being a cat stuffed in a cage with 10 others doesn’t leave them once they get to their new home. 3 of the 4 dogs I’ve had in my life have been rescues, and they are totally worth it.

Maybe you don’t have time or room for a pet right now. You can always donate to the shelter of your choice whom you think is doing a great job or volunteer your time to help with the animals or answer phones.

To anyone who has adopted a senior pet from either a shelter or a friend, I salute you. These animals often get overlooked when people are shopping for a new pet because who doesn’t love a puppy or a kitten. But senior pets have a lot of love to give too, and you might be surprised how well they will blend into your home. They are already potty trained, leash trained, know at least basic commands and have probably calmed down a lot from their puppy or kitten-hood. In addition, they probably don’t even know why their in a shelter to begin with. Maybe their owner passed away, hit hard times or had to move away. There are many possibilities.

Here are some great links if you want to investigate a little more.

Top 10 reasons to adopt an older dog

Pet statistics in the US

Questions to ask yourself before adopting

It’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

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Guinness

Guinness, a former shelter dog rescued by a PVMA employee.

We’ve all seen them … those commercials that show dogs in need of a home that have you reaching for the tissue box. More often than not these dogs appear dirty, hungry, and massively depressed. While it does tug at the heart strings, it might not be the best advertisement for actually motivating someone to go out and adopt a shelter or rescue dog. All joking aside, visiting your local rescue or shelter is a great way to save the life of a dog who is looking for a good home. You’ll gain a faithful companion and I guarantee you they will enrich your life as much as you will theirs. Dogs reduce stress, and there’s nothing better than coming home after a stressful day to someone who is simply thrilled that you returned.

Something else to consider, especially if you’re a first time dog owner, is the cost associated with owning a pet. There are a lot of costs associated including food and snacks, grooming costs or grooming products, vaccinations, regular veterinary care, and possible costs associated with illness and medication or treatments. Then there is bedding, toys … the list goes on. Click here to view the ASPCA’s in depth examination of pet care costs. It’s a great guide! Plus, if you do get a dog, the ASPCA has presents for you! Sign up for their free Pet Safety Pack which includes a window sticker for emergency services and an ASPCA magnet with important information on it.

Maybe you want a pet but don’t know how to judge which individual animal might best suit your personality and lifestyle. Fret no more! Check out the ASPCA’s Meet Your Match page. For both dogs and cats, it gives you tips on decoding personality traits so you can pick the right pet before getting home and finding out it’s not exactly a match made in heaven.

So if you’ve been toying with getting a dog, consider visiting your local shelter or rescue and see if they have a dog that might be right for you. Click here to search on available dogs in a shelter near you.

September is Happy Cat Month!

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Tabby kittenNo grumpy cats here!

September is happy cat month, and the CATalyst Council has some great tips for keeping your cat smiling all year long.

Go to the vet! It’s no secret that cats receive significantly less veterinary care than other pets, in part because it can be such an ordeal to get them there. Cat-friendly practices can share tips with you on making the trip less stressful for you and your cat. See if there is one near you here.

Preventive care. Even cats that stay inside can wind up with parasites that are carried in accidentally by other family members. Work with your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan.

Get them microchipped. If your cat would get lost, there’s no better way to make sure they get returned to you than to have them microchipped. It’s important to remember to register the microchip with the tracking company once it’s implanted, and be sure to keep your information up to date if you move or your phone number or email address change.

Play! A cat with toys is a happy cat, plus it can help keep them out of trouble. Try more than one type of toy to see which kinds are their favorites.

Get to work. Training your cat basic commands or even a few tricks can be fun and stimulating for your cat, plus your getting to spend some quality time together.

Don’t overfeed. Feline obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended), and having an overweight cat can cause health problems. Consider toys that release small bits of food as the cat plays with it, or moving their food dish so they have to use their hunting instincts to locate it.

Keep the cat carrier out. If your cat only sees the cat carrier when it’s time to go to the veterinarian, they might not look upon it fondly. Keep it out with the door open where the cat can access it at any time. Put a blanket and toys inside to encourage them to spend time in there at their leisure. Hopefully with repeated access, it won’t be so scary when it’s time to travel.

Get some fresh air. Whether you let them roam the yard while you supervise or you invest in a harness and leash for a walk, any cat will benefit from a little fresh air and exercise.

Get a scratching post. Scratch the post, not your furniture! Stretching and scratching are normal behaviors – definitely provide an appropriate place for them to do it.

Get some company. Consider going to a local shelter and adopting a buddy for your cat. Having a playmate can help keep them happy and occupied during the day, and can encouragev exercise if they like to romp around together.

There are lots of great resources available for cat owners. Here are a few that we like.

5 Ways to Have Fun With Your New Cat!

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June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month! If you are planning on bringing home a new furry feline friend, here are some tips courtesy of the CATalyst Council on 5 fun activities to do with a newly adopted cat.

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    June is Adopt-a-Shelter Cat Month!

    Set up your cat’s first veterinary visit. Ensuring your newly found friend lives a long and happy life starts when you establish a relationship with your local veterinarian. While your cat may have received some basic vaccinations prior to its adoption, it is important that you see your veterinarian as soon as possible. At your first visit, discuss preventive healthcare. After your initial visit, make sure your cat sees a veterinarian at least once a year for a routine wellness exam. By starting right after you adopt your cat, you’ll establish a close and helpful relationship with your cat’s health care expert.

  2. Teach your cat a trick. While most cat owners will tell you how smart their cats are, many don’t realize that their feline friends can learn tricks. With a little patience and some rewards—treats or a favorite toy will work—your cat can easily learn to sit, roll over, jump, give five — your imagination is the limit! The activity will also strengthen the bond between you and your cat and exercise your cat’s mind.
  3. Get your cat to love its carrier. If your cat sees its carrier as a great place to hang out, it will make going anywhere—the veterinarian, a friend’s house, the pet store—pleasant for both of you. Follow the tips in this video and your cat will love the carrier.
  4. Take your cat outside (appropriately). While most veterinarians and cat experts recommend that cats live indoors, it can be good for your cat to venture outside as long as it is restrained on a leash with a cat harness or in a cat stroller. The fresh air and sights will invigorate your cat. Training your cat to be comfortable on a leash can take a little patience, but your cat will love these outings once it is used to the sensation of the harness.
  5. Play with your cat. Part of the joy of having a new cat is figuring out what makes it tick. All cats have a prey drive and are natural hunters, but figuring out which type of prey toy it likes best is great fun for both you and your cat. Try different objects—fishing-type toys, fake mice, a ball in a stationary round track, food reward toys — there are an abundance of cat toys on the market and you can even find sites online that can show you how to make your own. But be on the lookout and immediately remove a toy if it is destroyed or broken. Also inspect toys prior to purchasing for choking hazards.

Each of these activities will help to cement the bond between you and your new feline friend. Cats are wonderful companions and, when given proper attention and health care, can live for more than 20 years. From day one, ensure you are doing your part to help your cat live the longest and healthiest life possible.

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The CATalyst Council is a national organization which includes a wide variety of animal health and welfare organizations as well as corporate members of the animal health industry that are working together to improve the health and welfare of America’s favorite pet. It was founded in response to troubling statistics released by the American Veterinary Medical Association that indicate an increase in our nation’s pet cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary care for those cats. More information about the CATalyst Council is available at http://www.catalystcouncil.org.

June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month

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iStock_000005893587SmallJune is designated Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month. I’m not sure when you last went to a local shelter, but I know the last time I visited my local shelter, the “cat room” was all but overflowing. Every color, age, shape or size you could think of – there was a cat to fit that bill. Or several. Why so many cats at the shelter?

Felines that have never been spayed or neutered are a big reason. Many cat owners don’t worry about an unexpected litter of kittens because they don’t routinely let their cats roam outdoors. Some of these same owners feel veterinary care isn’t a priority if their pet isn’t mixing with other cats or doesn’t appear sick.  But if your cat gets out unexpectedly, there are a whole host of issues to worry about.

Parasites like fleas, ticks, and many more are everywhere. Whatever your cat picks up on its outdoor adventure will be coming into your house when it returns. Likewise, if your cat isn’t vaccinated against rabies, heartworms, and other common ailments, it’s vulnerable when it’s outside on its own. Keep in mind that rabid animals aren’t always obvious. Most of think of foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior, but these are the final signs of rabies. Until the disease takes hold, a rabid animal can look and behave like a perfectly healthy one, potentially exposing everyone in the household to rabies.

But more importantly, feral cats are everywhere, and your cat’s outdoor adventure can lead to an unexpected litter of kittens later. Unfortunately, more often than not, those kittens end up at the shelter. Some people also tire of their cats and surrender them, perhaps an elderly owner passed away, someone had a baby and doesn’t have time or money for their pet anymore, the list goes on and on. For some reason animals at shelters always seem to have a stigma attached to them like they are second class citizens. Like they’re not quite good enough or they would have a home by now. I’ve adopted two dogs from the pound over the years and both were the best dogs I’ve ever had. Shelter cats were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and are looking for a good home. Before you head to the pet store or a breeder, stop in your local shelter and see what they have to offer. No matter what personality type, color, age or size you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it there.

Pet Finder can help you find a shelter near you.