Thursday May 23, 2013
SimplyCats August Mewsletter:
Hello and welcome to our August 2009 Mewsletter!.
By producing this Mewsletter we can reach and help so many more people to understand and care for their cats. This will go out to our clients at SimplyCats and also to our clients who have signed up on our Cat Behavior Web Site. We apologise for the American spelling but 80% of the clients on this site are from overseas.
We hope to mail all SimplyCats subscribers monthly. Remember this mailing is totally free and you can un-subscribe at any time, using the link on the top of the page or at the end of this Mewsletter..
Please feel free to browse our website where you will be able to view our special offers. www.simplycats.net
The idea is to select a number of articles each month that we think our subscribers will be interested in and have a direct link to how your cat thinks and his / her wellbeing. We sincerely believe the most important aspect of living in harmony with your cat is understanding how he or she thinks. You have to get inside your cats mind. This was the real passion behind creating our Cat Behaviour Guide and SimplyCats.
“Cat’s motto: No matter what you’ve done wrong,
always try to make it look like the dog did it.”
Being cat vets, feline behavior and cat medicine is an area of continuous interest to both of us and has a massive influence on the well being of cats and the humans owned by cats ;-). This is even more important when your beloved cat is ill or sick.
Knowing about cat behavior has been the centre point of the design of our cat only veterinary practice for example CAT ONLY, NO DOGS, all kept quiet and calm with places to hide in most of the hospitalisation cages. Also very careful use and selection of disinfectants etc. so as not to disturb the cats incredible sense of smell. Remember all these facts when you are trying to make your home cat friendly, though, do remember cats can get on fine with dogs once carefully introduced.
What is Pica?
Pica is the term used for the craving of unusual articles.
The ingestion of non-food items is occasionally seen in cats. Pure breed Orientals e.g. Siamese and Burmese
are most commonly affected especially those that are kept solely indoors.
Some cats only lick odd materials, others chew and rip but don’t actually eat the material and others go the whole way and eat everything. Fabric-eating seems to start around puberty, most often with wool, but can progress to other fabrics and materials including cotton, nylon, wood, plastic, rubber and plants.
Most of the time, the material will go through the cat without too many problems, but occasionally cats require surgery to remove these foreign materials.
Any cat known to eat foreign material that becomes lethargic, off his food and starts vomiting or drooling saliva excessively should be taken to a vet as soon as possible as he may need surgical removal of the offending item.
IMPACT ON OWNER – damage to clothes, fabrics and electrical wiring - may need to take cat to the vet if obstruction occurs.
CAT’S PERSPECTIVE – natural hunting behavior to tear and pluck before eating.
Possible theories for eating inedible items include:
Indoor cats denied the opportunity to hunt, stalk, pounce, and tear off feathers and skin and eat them. Since ordinary cat food gives no chance of tearing and ripping, the cat looks for this somewhere else.
Genetic predisposition especially in Oriental breeds.
Redirected suckling behavior in cats that were weaned too early.
Boredom and lack of stimulation.
Triggered by stressful event.
Overdependence on the owner, eating fabric when separated from them.
Obsessive compulsive disorder.
Insufficient fibre in diet. “I think this is edible.....”
The odour of lanolin in wool is similar to the odour of the fur around the nipples of the kitten’s mother so provides comfort and security.
Medical disorders like hyperthyroidism, anaemia or mouth/tooth pain.
Experts used to suggest feeding high fibre food, gristly meat and frequent meals in the hope that this would make the cats feel that their stomachs were full and they would have lots of opportunity to chew.
Now they suggest supplying something for cats to tear and shred like they would in their natural environment.
One solution is to feed dead whole turkey chicks, day old chicks or dead whole rats sold frozen by pet shops for reptiles. (NB day old chicks carry salmonella in their intestines The risk of feeding them is probably no more than the risk that your cat might pick up a salmonella bug from hunting mice or birds, but you should wash your hands after handling them and not allow your cat to lick you).
These should make up the majority of your cat’s diet but you could feed a small amount of dried food e.g. in a foraging toy to encourage your cat to work for his food. A cat vitamin supplement can be fed in addition to this as it will do no harm and may be beneficial. Cats which have been wool
eating for only a few months may recover completely on this diet. Cats which have been wool-eating for years may still occasionally wool-eat. Try the diet for at least one month before you decide it hasn’t worked – sometimes it takes a bit of time for the cat to realise it doesn’t need to continue eating wool.
Even if you have an indoor cat, encourage his hunting behavior using predatory games like fishing rod toys. Hide food for your cat to find and stalk and ensure he has access to a variety of toys. As wool eating may be hereditary, avoid breeding from such cats. Sometimes denying the cat access to the fabric for as little as a few weeks is enough to break the cycle.
Letting your cat outside to hunt can reduce or halt the problem. Applying offensive but non toxic products to the materials that are being chewed can be useful eg bitter lemon, Tabasco sauce, perfume.
Avoid substances like menthol and eucalyptus as this can upset the cat’s sensitive mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth and nose.
Punishment eg water pistol rarely works in this case as the underlying problem is not addressed and you can not punish your cat every time he tries to eat inedible materials so no continuity is achieved.
Previous Event: The Blue Cross Tea Party
The Blue Cross is a registered UK animal welfare charity.
Many thanks go to all who attended and helped to organise the event. So far, we have raised a total of £360.48 and the donations are still rolling in - click here to see photos of the day.
Weightwatchers - Dubby's Diet - continued....
Caroline, one of the receptionists at SimplyCats has three cats. Two are an ideal weight but one called Sandy weighed in on the 6th May 2009 an (un)impressive 8.85kg (19.4 pounds).
"Two months down the line, keeping on the low fat veterinary diet (and reducing yet again the portion sizes) supplied by the vet finally seems to be doing the trick. After an initial disappointment of a little weight gain after the first loss, the scales have finally started to go in the right direction. He has also learned to wait in line for his share instead of pushing Maisey and Katie off the food!"
Dubby reluctantly, as you can see from the picture above, was weighed again on the 15/07/09 - he had lost weight and was 8.86kg - (that's 19.49 pounds).
He will be weighed on a fortnightly basis so, with some more good luck, in the next edition of this Mewsletter there will be more positive news to tell - watch this space!
Competition on Sun FM
Sun FM - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
We are running a competition alongside Sun FM to find 'the good, the bad and the ugly'.
Click here to view the competition and find entry details
Sun FM are turning their focus to your cats - the good, the bad or the ugly, in association with Simply Cats - 'A dedicated cats only practice'.
We want all you cat lovers out there to email a picture of your tabbies, kittens and pedigrees to email@example.com
The most voted for cat will be be the winner of free vaccine & flea and worm treatments for 1 year.
Entries close at 23:59 on 31st July 2009 when voting will begin. Voting will close at 23:59 on 2nd August 2009. The winner will be announced on 3rd August 2009.
Entrants must agree to take part in promotional photographs.
Please also see Sun FM general competition terms and conditions.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) is a common and important cause of illness and death in pet cats. Cats that become permanently infected with this virus are at risk of developing many severe illnesses such as anaemia and cancer.
Between 80 and 90% of infected cats die within three and a half years of being diagnosed as having feline leukaemia virus.
The most common effect of infection is immunosuppression.
The virus infects cells of the immune system (the white blood cells) killing or damaging them. This leaves the cat vulnerable to a wide variety of other diseases and infections (secondary infections). Feline leukaemia virus is a member of the same virus family as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Who is at risk?
Feline leukaemia virus is a fragile virus which is not able to survive for long in the environment so spread of infection between cats relies on close contact. For this reason infection is most common in situations where there is a high population density of cats.
Young cats, particularly those less than six months old, are especially vulnerable to becoming persistently infected.
How is it spread?
The major source of virus is in saliva from a persistently infected cat. Virus is spread by activities where saliva is exchanged between cats, such as mutual grooming or sharing of food bowls. Alternatively,FeLV infection of other cats may be caused by biting or contact with urine and faeces containing the virus. It is also possible for virus to be passed from a queen to her kittens either in the womb or after the kitten is born, via infected milk.
Signs and symptoms
There is a progressive deterioration in their condition over time.
Clinical signs are extremely diverse but include fever, lethargy, poor appetite and weight loss. Respiratory, skin and intestinal signs are also common. Cats may suffer from several illnesses at the same time. Anaemia occurs in about a quarter of infected cats.
Cancer develops in around 15% of cats infected with feline leukaemia virus . The most common is lymphoma, a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) resulting in solid tumours or leukaemia (tumour cells in the blood stream).
Treatment of Feline leukaemia virus infection
There is currently no treatment that is able to eliminate a FeLV infection. Treatment must therefore be aimed at maintaining quality of life and managing the effects of infection such as immunosuppression, anaemia and cancer. Prompt and effective supportive care and management of secondary infections is essential in the ill feline leukaemia virus - positive cat. Because of the failing immune system, much longer courses of antibiotics are needed. The response to therapy is usually much slower and less likely to be successful.
Cats with feline leukaemia virus infection should not eat raw meat because of the increased risk of Toxoplasma gondii infection. This parasite is usually only a problem in immunosuppressed cats where it can cause inflammation of the internal structures of the eyes, neurological signs such as fits and ataxia (drunken gait).
Vaccination, particularly for cat flu and infectious enteritis, is recommended for any cats staying in a high risk situation such as a veterinary hospital or cattery. Flea treatment is recommended to minimise the risk of Mycoplasma haemofelis (a blood parasite which can cause anaemia) transmission. Routine worm treatment is also recommended.
Several vaccines are available for feline leukaemia virus . The aim of these is to prevent cats exposed to the virus from becoming persistently infected. All of the vaccines aim to do this by stimulating a successful immune response to Feline leukaemia virus . Unfortunately, no vaccine is likely to be 100% effective at protecting against infection. Vaccination is recommended in situations where cats have a high risk of exposure to the virus. This includes free-roaming cats and those in contact with potentially infected individuals.
The lack of a totally effective vaccine means that it is also inadvisable knowingly to mix an feline leukaemia virus -infected cat with a vaccinated uninfected cat.
As the virus is highly infectious and readily transmitted by prolonged close contact, other cats in the household are at risk of becoming infected via mutual grooming and sharing of food bowls. Uninfected cats should be kept away from the persistently infected cat where possible. It is also recommended that feline leukaemia virus -positive cats are kept indoors to minimise spread to other cats in the area.
Testing cats in the rescue situation
Ideally all cats entering a rescue centre should be tested for feline leukaemia virus infection, however this may not be feasible due to the cost implications involved. It is advisable to enquire whether a cat has been tested prior to agreeing to rehome it. A cat that has tested positive to feline leukaemia virus should only be rehomed when all of the risks have been explained to the new owner.
Prognosis for infected cats
The prognosis for a sick feline leukaemia virus positive cat is poor; the associated disease problems are usually serious. For cats that have been identified to be feline leukaemia virus positive but are healthy at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis is guarded. Most of these cats subsequently develop a fatal feline leukaemia virus -associated problem, however the time course for this to occur can be variable (months to years). It is vital that these cats are isolated to prevent further transmission of feline leukaemia virus infection to other cats.
Paul and Sarah MRCVS
It is very difficult to know how much to put into a newsletter but for the next edition we will explore Hyperthyroidism, show you the first chapter of our new book on Cat First Aid and discuss more aspects of feline behaviour.
Be creative, live long, be happy and follow your own path.
...And the emperor said "Let the party begin!"
Paul and Sarah M's RCVS
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