Pet Care Articles

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Hand-Rearing Kittens: Vomiting and Gastritis

At approx 3 days old, kittens gain the ability to vomit on a full stomach. Vomiting is a general sign associated with many different gastrointestinal (stomach and gut) problems.

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Hand-Rearing Kittens: Malnutrition and Starvation

This can occur before birth due to placenta problems. It also occurs in weak kittens e.g. runts or where the litter is too large for the mother to feed them all adequately. The runt is the first to suffer if there is a more general problem with lack of maternal milk supply.

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Hand-Rearing Kittens: Diarrhea, Gastro-Enteritis and Enteritis

Severe Diarrhea or severe Gastro-Enteritis is a serious inflammation of the stomach and intestine which causes abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and often vomiting. It quickly causes dehydration and electrolyte loss due to excessive fluid loss. The kitten may cry in pain if it has the strength to do so. Seek immediate veterinary help. Antibiotics may be required to combat infection. If and when the condition stabilizes, the kitten may be too weak to suckle and may require tube-feeding.

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Hand-Rearing Kittens: Kitten Glop Feed Mixture

Kitten Glop is a suitable feed mixture for healthy kittens and is also good for lactating queens. Most recipes refer to American brand names which are not understood outside of the USA/Canada. I have converted these to generic terms and noted alternatives.

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Naming Pet Cats – A Cat Called Sheep

One of my cats is large, white and fluffy and is called Sheep. Well actually, she’s called Cindy but mostly she gets called Sheep. Not that this makes any difference to Cindy who doesn’t answer to either name unless food is involved. My friend Kate came to visit us one weekend and saw a large, fluffy white thing on the back lawn. "Ooh look – sheep!" said Kate. Kate was 39 years old at the time, but in her defence she’s the daughter of a sheep farmer and automatically identifies all fluffy white things seen against a backdrop of grass as sheep.

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Finding a Lost Cat

If you have ever lost your cat it can be an upsetting experience. Most cats don’t actually run away or stray from home. We all know cats like to explore new places, sometimes, though, this could end up with them getting trapped.

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Spaying & Scent Marking in Cats

Lets not forget that our cats aren’t human, they can’t write ‘This Is The Property of Simba’ or ‘Please do not touch’, like we do with our property. The cat has a more, well how can I put it, a more natural way of declaring his intent to own something, it’s a simple method, the cat backs up to a vertical surface, holds up its tail and sprays urine in several short bursts.

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How Old is Old? Signs of Feline Ageing

Just as people are living longer than they did in the past, cats are living longer too. The percentage of cats over 6 years old has almost doubled in the last 10 years and the aged cat population is growing.

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Caring for the Older Cat

Your own observations and prompt veterinary attention when required prolongs healthy life. Early detection of illness and early treatment are important for older animals whose resistance is often reduced. There are many excellent books on cat care available from bookstores and libraries. Many rescue shelters, veterinarians and feed suppliers also produce leaflets on cat care. This supplemental information is geared towards older cats.

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The Health of Older Cats

An adult cat adopted from a rescue shelter may already have been neutered (altered) or you must sign a contract to have it neutered. If you have adopted an unneutered stray, you should have it neutered. Neutered cats live longer. Neutering tackles feline overpopulation as well as antisocial habits. Neutered cats are at reduced risk from Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), mammary tumors (females), pyometria (womb infections) and injuries sustained through fighting. Even later neutering can prolong your cat’s life.

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Diseases of Older Cats

The ageing process increases susceptibility to certain disease. An older body is less good at repairing damage or repairs are incomplete or faulty. This results in degeneration. Some organs start to malfunction due to accumulated wear and tear or to cellular changes so diseases due to degeneration and dysfunction become more common as cats age. The age at which degeneration begins and the rate of degeneration is mostly genetically determined, but is influenced by the environment and slowed by early detection and medical treatment.

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Feline Old Age Through to Bereavement – Knowing When to Let Go

Unfortunately, there may come a time when the kindest and most caring thing you can do for him is provide a gentle exit from the increasing ravages of age. Ultimately it is not fair to prolong his life any longer. Degenerative changes are too far gone, a terminal illness has reached its distressing final stages or his behavior and habits are now unmanageable.

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Feline Old Age Through to Bereavement – Euthanasia and Getting Another Cat

Your vet will usually ask you to sign a consent form giving permission for your cat to be euthanized (put to sleep). This is a legality required to show that you consented and that the vet did not act against your wishes.

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White Cats and Deafness

There is an established link between the white coat color, blue eyes and deafness. The deafness is linked to the gene for blue-eye(s) and not to odd-eyed cats. Not all blue-eyed whites will be deaf since there are several different genes causing the same physical attributes (whiteness, blue-eyedness) so it all depends on the cat’s genotype (its genetic make-up) not its phenotype (its physical appearance).

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Guide to Cat Coat Colors and Patterns

Some breeds are based on their colors or patterns e.g. Siamese while others exclude certain colors. Some colors occur through careful selection, others appear out of the blue e.g. Lilac (Lavender) appeared in normally blue (gray) Korats due to mutation or recessive (hidden) genes. There are hundreds of possible color permutations; some are not allowed in pedigree cats but you may well see them in random-bred (moggy) cats. Some colors are rarely found in the moggy population as they only show up in selectively bred cats.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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