Thursday April 1, 2010
SimplyCats April 2010 Mewsletter:
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Hello and welcome to our April 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 cat loving clients at St Clair Pet Care 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 St Clair Pet Care 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.
"The cat is nature's Beauty."
.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 Infectious Anaemia
Feline infectious anaemia (FIA) is the term used to describe the disease caused by a group of red blood cell bacteria called haemoplasmas. Haemoplasmas live on the surface of red blood cells. The resulting structural damage can cause anaemia if the red blood cells are destroyed. The cat's own immune system may also cause death of red blood cells as it tries to kill the parasite attached to them. Clinical signs usually reflect the underlying anaemia. Cats which have been infected with haemoplasmas may remain carriers of the parasite for life.
There are three different haemoplasma species recognised: Mycoplasma haemofelis, Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum and Mycoplasma turicensis. It is important to be aware of the differences between these species as they have different effects in cats. M haemofelis (sometimes called the large strain) often results in severe anaemia in cats while Candidatus M haemominutum (sometimes called the small strain) often causes no clinical signs at all. The importance of M turicensis is unknown currently.
Who is at risk?
M haemofelis seems to be relatively uncommon in cats in the UK (1.4 per cent of cats in a recent study) while infection with Candidatus M haemominutum is seen in around 17 per cent of cats. Older male non-pedigree cats are most likely to be infected, and fighting is believed to be one of the ways that the parasite may be transmitted between cats. Cats infected with fleas may also be at an increased risk because fleas may transmit infection between cats. M haemofelis can cause anaemia in normal healthy cats. Candidatus M haemominutum may be more of an opportunistic pathogen, causing disease in cats which are stressed or ill due to other diseases, since it has been found that cats infected with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) can develop anaemia due to Candidatus M haemominutum infection.
Signs and symptoms
FIA, particularly due to M haemofelis, causes anaemia which may be accompanied by fever in the early stages of infection. Clinical signs of anaemia include tiredness, depression, a reduced appetite, and pale gums. Weight loss can occur. Some cats also show respiratory signs. Such clinical signs can be seen with a variety of diseases that result in anaemia, and are not specific for FIA. Other clinical signs may include enlargement of the spleen and lymph nodes.
The best diagnostic test for haemoplasma is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is a very sensitive technique which enables detection of very small amounts of DNA belonging to particular organisms such as the feline haemoplasmas. PCR also enables differentiation between the three species of feline haemoplasma which exist, so that it can be determined whether a cat is infected with one, or other, or all feline haemoplasma species. PCR is performed using a small blood sample. Specially stained blood smears can also be examined to look for the organism on the surface of red blood cells. However, this is very unreliable as the parasite may not always be visible on blood smears from infected cats, because it appears in the blood in waves or cycles rather than being continuously present. In addition there are many artifacts that can be misdiagnosed as organisms on blood smears.
Blood smear showing red cells infected with haemoplasma (small dots on cells)
The anaemia induced by feline haemoplasmas is usually regenerative in type. This means that the cat is able to respond to the anaemia by producing new red blood cells which are visible in the circulation. However some infected cats are not anaemic because they are asymptomatic carrier cats, or because they are infected with Candidatus M haemominutum which does not always cause clinical disease. As FIA (particularly with Candidatus M haemominutum) can be an opportunistic infection, affected cats should be checked for the presence of underlying illnesses, including FeLV and FIV infection, which may have resulted in an exacerbation of FIA.
A blood transfusion may be required in severe cases
Antibiotics are used to treat FIA. Doxycycline has been most commonly used and is given for three to four weeks. This drug has been associated with problems resulting from irritation in the oesophagus if the tablet is not completely swallowed and it is therefore essential that 3-5 ml of water is syringed into the cat's mouth after giving the tablet or that the cat eats straight after. (See Administering a pill.) Enrofloxacin has also been used to treat FIA, however, it should not be used as it can cause retinal detachment and blindness. Corticosteroids may also be used, in conjunction with antibiotics, to suppress the immune-mediated destruction of red blood cells if this is felt to be important. PCR can be used to monitor efficacy of treatment. In cats with severe anaemia blood transfusions may be required. Supportive care to encourage the cat to eat, and rehydration therapy in
dehydrated cases, are also important.
It has been shown that although antibiotics can be effective at treating the anaemia, they do not always eliminate infection and cats can remain chronic carriers for a long time. Such carrier cats can appear healthy without clinical signs, but relapses are occasionally reported at times of stress.
Spread of infection
It is still not known how feline haemoplasmas are spread between cats. Very young kittens can be infected, implying that infection is vertically spread from the mother. As mentioned above, fighting and fleas have been implicated in transmission of infection between cats. Saliva and urine are not thought to be able to transmit the disease and non-infected and infected cats have been housed together for long periods with little evidence of transmission between cats. Ingestion (such as with cat bites) and injection of infected blood (such as with a blood transfusion from an infected donor) can both transmit infection.
Since the methods of transmission of feline haemoplasmas are not fully understood, it is hard to advise on prevention of infection. In view of the known risk factors which exist for infection it is wise to take measures to prevent flea infestation and reduce inter-cat aggression. Infected cats should not be used as blood donors.
SimplyCats Open Day on 8th May 2010
We are holding an Open Day on Saturday 8th May 2010 at 1pm to raise funds for Cats Protection.
If you don't know how to find us, please visit the website, click here for directions and a map.
Everyone is welcome - in fact the more the merrier. Bring your friends and family and join us on 8th May, starting at 1pm.
The practice will be open for you to look around and see what a cat only veterinary clinic really looks like behind the scenes.
We will be on hand for you to ask plenty of questions. There will be lots to see and do at the practice.
There will be plenty of tea and coffee, cakes and biscuits for you to enjoy.
Gift bags, guided tour of the practice, tombola, cake stall and more...
Pencil the 8th May in your diary and we look forward to seeing you then.
More details to follow so keep checking our website regularly!
We will be holding a raffle at the Open Day to raise funds for Cats Protection.
Prizes to include:
SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap
Gift Voucher from Meeru Spa & Beauty
Swarovski crystal shell
Bottles of wine
Plus many more still to be confirmed
Historical Cat Trivia
Miacis, the primitive ancestor of cats, was a small, tree-living creature of the late Eocene period, some 45 to 50 million years ago.
Phoenician cargo ships are thought to have brought the first domesticated cats to Europe in about 900 BC.
The first true cats came into existence about 12 million years ago and were the Proailurus.
The ancient Egyptians were the first to tame the cat (in about 3000 BC), and used them to control pests.
Ancient Egyptian family members shaved their eyebrows in mourning when the family cat died.
In Siam, the cat was so revered that one rode in a chariot at the head of a parade celebrating the new king.
The Pilgrims were the first to introduce cats to North America.
The first breeding pair of Siamese cats arrived in England in 1884.
The first formal cat show was held in England in 1871; in America, in 1895.
The Maine Coon cat is America's only natural breed of domestic feline. It is 4 to 5 times larger than the Singapura, the smallest breed of cat.
There are approximately 100 breeds of cat.
The life expectancy of cats has doubled since 1930 - from 8 to 16+ years.
Cats have been domesticated for half as long as dogs have been.
Cat Breeds: - The Sphynx
Our Veterinary Nurse, Claire has recently rehomed a Sphynx cat she has affectionately named 'Piglet'. Piglet is 18months old.
The Sphynx is a rare breed of cat known for its lack of a coat.
The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, but it is not truly hairless. The skin texture resembles that of Chamois leather. It may be covered with very short, fine hair, not unlike a peach. Because the sphynx cats have no pelt to keep them warm they cuddle up against other animals and people. The lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or broken, or may be totally absent. The skin is the color their fur would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found on Sphynx skin. Due to the lack of fur, Sphynxes require regular washing because there is no fur to soak up the natural oils in their skin.
While Sphynx cats lack a coat to shed or groom, they are not maintenance-free. Body oils, which would normally be absorbed by the hair, tend to build up on the skin. As a result, regular bathing is necessary. Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop sunburn and photo damage similar to that of humans. Although Sphynx cats are sometimes thought to be hypoallergenic due to their lack of coat, this is not always the case for cat specific allergies. Allergies to cats are triggered by a protein called Fel d1, not cat hair itself. Fel d1 is a tiny and sticky protein primarily found in cat saliva and sebaceous glands.
In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat when it is cold. Their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations.
Nobody can write about the Sphynx without commenting on the intelligence and loving nature of this breed. So many people who were originally repulsed by even the concept of the Sphynx were converted into at least admirers, if not owners, of the Sphynx by simply being handed one to cuddle.
Sphynx are inherently trusting and loving and will work their charm on all cat haters. They are very social cats.
It is impossible to write about the Sphynx without commenting on the intelligence and loving nature of this breed. So many people who were originally repulsed by even the concept of the Sphynx were converted into at least admirers by simply being handed one to cuddle. The most popular comment is “it’s just like holding a baby!” Sphynx are inherently trusting and loving and will work their charm on all but the most vehement of cat haters. They are very social cats, and do better with another animal companion
Sphynxes are known for their extravert behavior. They display a high level of energy, intelligence, curiosity, and affection for their owners.
Cat Separation Anxiety
Cat separation anxiety requires behaviour modification and desensitisation to soothe upset feelings and reverse problem behaviours.
Cats may go for years without issues, and then suddenly act out when your routine changes. Holidays can also trigger feline separation anxiety.
Like dogs with the same condition, cats may cry and become upset as you prepare to leave. More often, they don’t react to your departure. They wait and become stressed once left alone, and urinate and defecate on owner-scented objects - most typically the bed.
The familiar scent of their own bathroom deposits actually comforts them, and reduces feelings of stress. Of course, these unwelcome “gifts” increase owner stress levels. And while angry reaction is understandable, your upset feelings increase the cat’s anxiety even more.
Cats don’t misbehave to get back at you because you left.
Desensitize and Counter-Condition
Cats pay exquisite attention to the details of their lives. They’ll often recognize subtle clues that you’re preparing to leave long before you realize. A cat may figure out that you always freshen your lipstick just before you leave. Repeating these cues takes away their power.
Place a catnip mouse inside the suitcase, and turn it into a playground. That conditions them to identify the suitcase as a happy place, rather than associating it with your absence.
Use behavior modification techniques so the triggers lose their power. Pick up the car keys 50 times a day, and then set them down. Carry your bag around for an hour or more. When you repeat cues often enough, your cat stops caring about them and will remain calm when you do leave.
Pretend to leave by opening the door and going in and out 20 or more times in a row until the cat ignores you altogether. Then extend your “outside” time to one minute, three minutes, five minutes and so on before returning inside. This gradual increase in absence helps build the cat’s tolerance and desensitizes her to departures. It also teaches her that no matter how long you’re gone, you will always return.
Most problem behaviors take place within 20 minutes after you leave. The length of time you’re absent doesn’t seem to make much difference. Find ways to distract the cat during this critical twenty minutes.
Ask another family member to interact with the cat during this time. Using favourite toys and treats to keep the cat occupied whilst you are away.
About 1/3rd of cats react strongly, another 1/3rd react mildly, and the last 1/3rd don’t react at all to catnip. If your feline goes bonkers for this, leave a catnip treat to keep her happy when you leave. Using catnip every day can reduce its effects, though, so use this sparingly.
Food oriented cats can be distracted with a food-puzzle toy with a favorite treat. Make it irresistible and something totally different than her usual food.
Cats that have been outside and seen the real thing often don’t react, but homebody indoor-only cats enjoy watching videos of fluttering birds, squirrels and other critters. Alternately, find a nature television show and tune in for your cat’s viewing pleasure.
Playing familiar music that they associate with your presence can help ease the pain of you being gone. In addition, research has shown harp music works as a natural relaxant, and actually puts cats to sleep.
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
Kittens and young cats are more prone to swallowing things they shouldn’t (generally, items attached to strings as they are playing). Some items are small enough to pass through the stomach and intestines but some get stuck along the way either at the stomach or in the intestines where they cause a blockage. Obstructions cause vomiting, retching or gagging depending on their location. Sometimes cats will be off their food or other times they will eat and vomit part digested or whole food. Faeces may or may not continue to be passed depending on whether the obstruction is total or partial. Of particular concern are threads and strings (otherwise known as linear foreign bodies) as these can cause the intestines to become concertinaed in a process called enteroplication. The cord cuts into the intestine and causes major problems. If a large proportion of the
intestine is involved the prognosis is guarded and the cat is likely to die or need euthanised. In all cases of ingested foreign bodies, seek immediate veterinary help especially if your cat is showing sign of obstruction.
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 lost 50 grammes in three weeks - very slow going, but you can't complain when the scales go in the right direction. He even took to trying to eat the other cats in the household (only joking - this is a 'wash each other's head' session)!
Caroline took Dubby for a tryout on the exercise wheel at Maclaw Bengals - see the website for a demonstration of how it should be done by clicking here.
She wanted to see if he would have an attempt at exercising. His first opinion of the wheel is clearly shown by his lack of interest and distraction towards the other cats' food!
The links to Youtube below show what actually happened .......
Click here to see the first video, and here to see the second video.
Caroline will hopefully convince dubby to try the wheel again...in fairness to him he did more exercise that day than he has in the past few years!! He also slept very soundly that night.
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 asthma, 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
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