Thursday March 4, 2010
SimplyCats March 2010 Mewsletter:
If you have problems viewing the images on this Mewsletter, please click on the above link 'View it in your browser'
Hello and welcome to our March 2010 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.
"Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience."
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.
Feline Kidney Disease
Kidney failure is one of the most common health problems suffered by cats, particularly as they grow older.
But there have been a number of exciting scientific developments in recent years and there are now ways of slowing the progression of the disease. Perhaps more importantly, new treatments can significantly improve the quality of life for a loved pet suffering from kidney failure.
What healthy kidneys do
The kidneys are essentially a filtration system for the body, not unlike those used to keep a swimming pool clean. But where a pool filter removes leaves and algae from water, the kidneys remove toxic waste products (such as urea and creatinine) which accumulate in the blood of mammals as their food is converted into energy.
However, the kidneys are not just simple filters. They're highly complex organs which also regulate blood composition and pressure.
Most notably, they control the amount of electrolytes in the blood (potassium, magnesium and calcium, which regulate heart contractions; sodium, which regulates the amount of water in the blood; phosphorous, a constituent of bones and teeth).
The kidneys also produce a substance called erythropoietin (which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells).
Finally, they produce an enzyme called renin, which maintains and controls blood pressure.
Kidney failure is commonly caused by one of a number of diseases, categorised by experts according to whether they are acquired or congenital.
Acquired kidney diseases are the cause of most cases of kidney failure in cats, and tend to manifest in middle to old age.
Some of the more common diseases are listed below.
Chronic tubulo-interstitial nephritis is the most commonly identified problem in cats suffering from CRF. It is often the end-stage of many causes of kidney disease, where damaged nephrons (the functional unit of kidney tissue) are replaced with fibrous tissue. Typically affected kidneys will be small and scarred.
Glomerulonephritis is a disease in which the glomeruli (which help filter urine from the blood), are damaged by inflammation.
Pyelonephritis is the name for a bacterial infection of the kidneys.
Amyloidosis is a disorder by which insoluble protein fibres are deposited in various organs of the body. When it occurs in the kidneys, their function is impaired and chronic renal failure can result. Amyloidosis can be seen as an inherited condition in Abyssinian cats.
Hydronephrosis is an excessive accumulation of urine in the kidney caused by an obstruction or blockage in the ureter - the tube linking the kidney to the bladder.
Renal lymphoma is a cancer of white blood cells affecting the kidney. Typically both kidneys will be very enlarged if this condition is present.
Congenital kidney diseases are those that the cat has had from birth. They may or may not have been inherited from the cat's parents.
Some of the more common congenital kidney diseases are listed below:
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a condition in which cysts form in the kidneys, decreasing kidney function. It is most common in Persian and Exotic shorthair cats. Affected cats are born with lots of small cysts in their kidneys. As the cysts increase in size they compromise the surrounding normal kidney tissue, eventually causing kidney failure. Although this is a condition which is present from birth in affected cats, it may not be evident until later in life, depending on the number of cysts present and speed at which they are enlarging.
Renal Aplasia is when a kitten is born missing one or both kidneys.
Renal Hypoplasia is when the kidneys have a reduced number of functioning nephrons.
Renal Dysplasia is when the kidneys develop abnormally.
Amyloidosis is also listed under acquired kidney diseases, but it can be inherited in Abyssinian cats. It is a disorder by which insoluble protein fibres are deposited in various organs of the body. When it occurs in the kidneys, their function is impaired and chronic renal failure can result.
Diagnosis and Screening of Kidney Failure in Cats
Up to 75% of a cat's kidney function can be lost before it shows any outward signs of ill health. Inside the body, though, it's a different story. Earlier stages of kidney failure produce a change in the composition of your pet's blood and urine, which can be picked up with simple screening tests by your veterinary surgeon. That's important, because it's vital to catch the problem quickly if your cat is to stand the best chance of a longer, healthier life.
A basic annual physical examination of your cat by a vet is simple, quick, non-invasive and can be carried out at low cost. What's more, it'll give your vet the best chance of diagnosing many other conditions early - not just kidney failure. Cats of any age will benefit from an annual healthcheck, but they become increasingly important in middle to old age, and are recommended for all cats over seven years of age.
A physical examination to check for early signs of kidney failure should ideally include:
A weight check, as weight loss can be an early indicator of many diseases - including kidney failure.
A general physical examination, which provides information on whether or not the cat is dehydrated, anaemic, whether the kidneys feel abnormal (e.g. enlarged due to polycystic kidney disease), or whether there are problems caused by other diseases.
Blood pressure measurement, as high blood pressure is a common consequence of kidney failure in cats.An examination of the eyes to check for any damage caused by high blood pressure.
A urine test. Cats normally produce concentrated urine (they evolved as desert-living creatures); dilute urine can be an early sign of kidney disease. Urine can be collected from your cat at home using non-absorbant litter provided by your vet. Alternatively urine can be collected via a procedure called cystocentesis (where urine is sampled using a needle inserted into the bladder).
It is also worth pointing out that even if urine and blood pressure checks reveal nothing untoward, they are still a useful exercise. They help to establish normal readings for your cat, against which your vet can compare the results of future tests.
Fleas date back 40 million years.
Fleas can pull 160,000 times their own weight, which is like you pulling 2,679 double-decker buses.
A flea can jump 30,000 times without stopping.
Female cat fleas can drink 15 times their weight in blood.
Fleas don't have ears and are virtually blind.
Fleas can transmit diseases to humans. Fleas jumping from rats to humans transmitted the cause of the Black Plague in 1664, killing 70,000 people in London.
The average flea is 2-3 mm long and weighs half a grain (equivalent to 32 milligrams or 0.03 grams). The world's biggest is the beaver flea, which reaches about 11mm.
Fleas reverse direction with every jump.
Flea larvae don't like the light so they move away from it, deep into carpets, cracks in flooring or any nook or cranny.
In a Kiev museum, there's a flea that wears horseshoes made of real gold.
When a flea jumps, it accelerates 50 times faster than a space shuttle.
Fleas can lay up to 1,500 eggs in a lifetime.
Flea brides and grooms (dressed, but dead) were popular collector’s items in the 1920s.
Flea pupae can live for up to 1 year in homes.
Fleas can jump over 150 times their own size (approximately 30cm high) - which is like you jumping over St Paul's Cathedral.
A flea’s life cycle can be as short as 14 days or up to 12 months.
95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in beds, rugs, carpets and sofas - not on your pet.
Just one flea can become 1,000 on your pet and in your home in only 21 days.
Top ten cat favoured sleeping places
1 Owner's bed (45 per cent)
2 Armchair (26 per cent)
3 Outside in the summer sun (11 per cent)
4 Near the radiator or in a hammock
5 Cat igloo/bed/basket
6 Airing cupboard
7 Owner's lap
8 Conservatory/greenhouse/ sun lounge
9 Anywhere in the sun indoors
10 Near the aga/boiler
Behaviour changes in the Elderly Cat
Changes in habits and behaviour can be observed when the owner interacts with the elderly cat. The play response is still there for some but this mostly has to be instigated by the owner. The general deterioration of joints and mental agility make fast turns and rapid movements less possible. Only 10 per cent of owners surveyed said their cats still played regularly, almost half said they played occasionally and 15 per cent said they had stopped completely. The remainder had never played with their cats. A cat should be encouraged to play in its elderly years, to provide exercise and stimulation. The games may not be quite so boisterous but will certainly be beneficial for both cat and owner.
Grooming habits are affected by ageing, since stiffness makes it difficult for a cat to be supple enough to do the job thoroughly. The frequency may not alter until very old age but it is almost certain that areas will be missed. Over three quarters of cats still groomed regularly, 22 per cent occasionally and 2 per cent had stopped completely. This latter group also reported chronic illnesses and toilet accidents and this is in line with the idea that the very sick and elderly will not groom. Most elderly cats benefit greatly from combing and brushing from their owners with care taken about the prominence of the bones and the discomfort a harsh comb would cause.
Litter trays are provided for the elderly cat by over half of owners — the rest still chose to go outside. Twenty nine per cent of cats had toilet accidents since they had become elderly. A number of owners related these accidents to illness, eg, cystitis, a bout of diarrhoea or even the development of incontinence in the very elderly. Many older cats start to have 'accidents' indoors and this is often found to be a result of an increasing reluctance to urinate and defecate outdoors, either due to the presence of aggressive cats in the territory or an increased sensitivity to inclement weather conditions. The provision of an indoor litter tray invariably solves the problem.
Many owners spoke of a number of character changes and unusual behaviour which they have, possibly quite correctly, interpreted as senility. A blank expression, getting lost in familiar surroundings, constant yowling, lack of grooming, continuous pacing, inappropriate toileting, all with no obvious physical cause. There appears to be uncanny similarities between the symptoms shown in the elderly cat and a human dementia patient.
Chronic illness is a factor in old age that can affect behaviour, for example kidney problems will make the cat drink more, deafness will make the cat unresponsive and more vocal. Thirty eight per cent of cats surveyed were suffering from chronic or terminal illness, the most common (according to the comments from the owners surveyed themselves rather than from a veterinary source) in descending order were:
Chronic renal failure
We now have an online shop
You can now purchase food and toys from our online shop - just click on the link below !
An excerpt from our Cat First Aid book
Cats tend to avoid water so drowning is a rare emergency but can happen.
If a cat falls into deep water:
Rescue the cat.
If the cat is conscious, keep it warm and wrap in a towel.
If the cat is unconscious, hold it upside down and gently swing from side to side to drain the lungs of water.
Position the cat on his side with his head lower than chest, clear debris from the mouth and pull the tongue forward.
Begin CPR is there is no heartbeat.
If he is not breathing, give artificial respiration.
SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION.
We are now on Facebook and Twitter
Click here to view our Facebook
page and click here to view our Twitter page.
Please feel free to contribute photos and comments to either page.
Weightwatchers - dubby's diet - continued !
Caroline, one of the receptionists at SimplyCats has three cats. Two are an ideal weight but one called Sandy - nicknamed Dubby - (that's the word chubby in disguise) weighed in on the 6th May 2009 an (un)impressive 8.85kg (19.4 pounds).
Dubby is very slowly losing weight but it is still quite an uphill struggle for everyone concerned! Caroline is looking to source a form of exercise for him. One idea is a 'cat wheel' (a bit like a hamster wheel but of larger proportions). She has managed to source a wheel locally: www.maclawbengals.co.uk/pages/catwheel.shtml
Caroline hopes Dubby will attempt to walk or maybe even run in a 'try-out' attempt on a wheel and she will try to video the proceedings - watch this space for an undoubtedly funny video
or pictures in next month's Mewsletter....
A SimplyCats 'Cats and Coffee' evening at Caffe Nero in Durham
On Tuesday 16th February 2010 between 6.30pm and 8.00pm we held an informal cats and coffee evening. Many of our clients attended and the evening was a great success. We hope to hold a similar evening in the local area to discuss the condition of Hyperthyroidism within March - please see our website for details www.simplycats.net
Lost and found cats useful link:
For further information on any behavioural problems please see our e-book 'Purrfect Cat Behavior'. This book is normally sold however we are providing it free to SimplyCats clients and Mewsletter recipients.
Just click the link and the book will open in your browser and you can then save it to your computer if you would like.
Please keep this book to yourself.
Paul and Sarah MRCVS
It is very difficult to know how much to put into a newsletter but for the next edition we will discuss the topic of feline infectious anaemia, show you more from 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
If you like this Mewsletter and would like to Forward it to a friend just use the link below:
Forward this email to a friend