Pet Care Articles

Welcome to our Award Winning Pet Care Library. Featuring more than 500 pages of essential need-to-knows, in-depth investigations and species/breed databases. Select a topic from the menu or browse this week’s featured articles.

Hand-Rearing Kittens: Cleft Palate

Cleft palate means that the hard and/or soft palate failed to fuse during uterine development. Essentially there is a hole in the roof of the mouth connecting the mouth and nose.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Colic

A general term for abdominal pain. Classic colic in infants is usually caused by an accumulation of gas in the stomach which causes the abdomen to swell.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Constipation

This is fairly common in hand reared kittens. A mother cat stimulates a kitten’s anal region frequently. A human surrogate may only stimulate it two or three times a day. Kittens should be stimulated to pass a bowel motion after every 3 feeds otherwise faeces accumulates in the rectum and colon.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Eye Problems

Kittens’ eyes usually open within 1-2 weeks. Gummy eyes are most often due to infection. Failure to treat the infection can lead to blindness. If the closed eyelids become swollen or matted with pus seek veterinary treatment.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Fading Kitten Syndrome

FKS is a general term used for kittens which fade away for no apparent reason within a few days of birth or sometimes at several weeks old despite earlier good progress. Various viruses and bacteria have been implicated. A mismatch between the mother’s blood type and the kitten’s blood type leads to maternal antibodies (in colostrum) breaking down the kitten’s blood and leading to rapid fading.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Fleas and Ticks

Flea infestation of kittens is especially serious because they have a low volume of blood and a heavy flea burden causes anemia which can lead to debility or even death.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Hypothermia

This is a frequent cause of neonatal death. Kittens have no control of their body temperature at first. Their small size means they quickly lose heat. Their inability to store glucose for long means they run out of metabolic fuel which would generate internal heat (hypoglycaemia). Hypothermic kittens feel cold and limp. Their blood pressure drops, their circulation slows and their paws, abdomen, tongue and gums become pale (then bluish) due to reduced oxygen supply. The vital organs and digestive system cannot function at low temperatures or with reduced circulation. The kitten will become comatose if not treated promptly.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Caused by inadequate or infrequent feeding; also when abandoned kittens are found and have not been able to nurse for some time (e.g. mother killed or driven away). Kittens up to two weeks old can store very little glucose in their bodies. Small kittens are also at risk. Kittens with a septic infection need glucose in order to fight the infection; they will need feeding every 2 hours day and night. In general, feeding every 2 hours prevents hypoglycaemia.

Read More
Hand-Rearing Kittens: Hypoxia (Oxygen Starvation)

Oxygen starvation can result from a prolonged or difficult birth. It is often the result of placental failure or umbilical cord obstruction during the birth or respiratory obstruction. Affected kittens are usually less active than their litter mates. The suck reflex may be weak or missing altogether. They are often too weak to survive unaided so it is essential to identify affected kittens quickly after birth and to start treatment promptly. In some cases there will be brain damage; mildly damaged kittens may go on to lead relatively normal lives. Severely affected kittens should be euthanized.

Read More
Cats and Babies Can Coexist

Cat shelters often take in cats cast out when the owner is expecting a first baby. Many couples have a cat for many years before starting a family, but reject the cat once a baby is due. You usually prepare for the birth of a baby once the pregnancy is confirmed; you should extend this preparation to your cat.

Read More
Cat Communication and Language

There are at least nineteen different types of "miaow" which differ in pitch, rhythm, volume, tone, pronunciation and the situations in which they are used. The familiar purr is used for contentment and also for self-reassurance.

Read More
Is Cat Coat Color Linked to Temperament?

At the cat shelter where I work we refer to "naughty torties" and "laid back blacks". One of our vets also used the "naughty tortie" epithet and told us it is "well known that tortie cats are temperamental". However, the addition of white has a "calming effect" and tortie-and-whites are "not quite as temperamental as brindled torties. The naughty tortie tag is not applied to dilute torties (blue-creams), possibly because they are less common in the moggy population. Ginger cats are said to be spirited and fiery (and sometimes mean-spirited or sly) – very apt considering their fiery color and there is the epithet "ginger tom" to describe the supposedly typical alley cat. Blotched tabbies are "real homebodies" while their striped cousins are "more independent".

Read More
Little Known Feline Personality Disorders

This tongue-in-cheek article discusses the more light-hearted aspects of our cats’ behavior.

Read More
Cat Spaying and Neutering – the Facts

Imagine my horror, when I was researching into ‘Spaying’. The estimated number of cats and dogs that are brought into shelters throughout the United States is between 8 and 10 million.

Read More
Cat Ultra-Typing – A Breed Too Far?

When Ann Baker’s Ragdoll cats appeared on TV, animal welfare groups were concerned that people would be encouraged to toss cats around like cushions. Her Ragdolls are bred for extreme placidity, a trait not found in the wild where a lack of defensive behavior would be disadvantageous.

Read More
The Pros and Cons of Inbreeding in Cats

Inbreeding is the mating together of closely related cats, for example mother/son, father/daughter, sibling/sibling matings and half-sibling/half-sibling. It is the pairing of animals which are more closely related than the average population. For breeders, it is a useful way of fixing traits in a breed – the pedigrees of some exhibition cats show that many of their forebears are closely related.

Read More
Cats that Kill Kittens

Why do cats, either male or female, sometimes kill kittens – either their own kittens or those belonging to another cat? At present there are several recognized reasons for this, all supported by field observation and by other known feline behaviors.

Read More
Cat Cloning and Other Reproductive Technologies

This article looks at several areas of what is known as ‘reproduction technology’ and how it could affect cat breeders and cat owners. These pros and cons will also apply to other pets. Reproduction technology includes cloning, artificial insemination, egg donation, embryo transfer and IVF. I have basic knowledge and understanding, but do not claim to be an expert in these fields. I have written this so that an owner or breeder with little or no prior knowledge can understand it. I have included general interest comments about some of the wider issues of cloning in species other than cats.

Read More
Twisted Limbs in Kittens

Numerous emails asking me for further information on twisted limb kittens have concerned stray or rescued cats and their kittens. It is easy to assume that the condition is linked to poor nutrition, poor welfare, disease or some genetic factor which has been bred out of purebreds.

Read More
Cat Food Uncovered

The label and the advertising shows us images of plump chicken, juicy steak and fresh caught fish. What is inside the can are the parts of the animal we do not want to eat (and parts we don’t even want to think about). One pet food company advertised its food as better than its competitors’ products because it used poultry meat as their main ingredient while the competitors used feathers.

Read More