Happy Tails Pet Hospital Cat Blog

Tuesday here, Cat Blogger for the Happy Tails Pet Clinic.  You might remember seeing me at the clinic.  I’m so excited that Dr. Dan has asked me to write a blog so I can talk to all the wonderful people I see at the clinic each day!  I hope to blog about cats and cat related topics, so please check back often to see what’s happening in the cat world.

I see cat owners come to the clinic on a regular basis, and I’ve noticed that some cats are happy to be there, and some are not.  What could be the problem?  Maybe your cat doesn’t like the cat carrier!  Does your cat run and hide when they see the carrier come out of hiding?  Well, I have some tips for you so that your cat will learn to tolerate, and maybe—eventually– love the carrier.

  • Best Type of Carrier.  The best type of carrier is the inexpensive hard-sided carrier that opens from the top and from the front.  An easily opened top allows a cat which is fearful, anxious or in pain to stay in the bottom half of the carrier for exams.  Dr. Dan will do a cat exam inside a well-designed carrier!  Please avoid a carrier that requires a cat to be pulled from the carrier or dumped out for an exam.  It should be easy for you to carry and should be seat belted into the car to keep your cat safe.
  • Help your cat become comfortable with the carrier.  You can help your cat become comfortable with his or her carrier by placing it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time, placing familiar soft bedding inside and by placing treats, catnip or toys inside the carrier.  It may take days or weeks for your cat to trust the carrier.  Reward your cat’s desired behaviors.
  • Make sure it is comfy on the bottom so your cat will love to sleep in the carrier.
  • Leave the carrier out in a place your cat can use the carrier on a regular basis.

When it is time to bring your cat to visit us:

  • Make sure the door works well and closes tightly.  If necessary, oil the hinges.
  • Pick up your cat, facing away from the carrier, and, while talking to him or her, back the cat into the carrier or open the top of the carrier and gently lower him or her into the carrier.  Before you let go, keep one hand inside the carrier at her face level to stop him or her from dashing out and close and latch the door.
  • Slip a little treat between the bars once the door is closed.
  • Covering the carrier.  Some cats like to see out, while others are less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent your cat from seeing something unfamiliar.
  • Please do not open the door to the carrier until you are in the room with Dr. Dan.
  • Emergencies.  If your cat needs to see us before he or she is familiar with the carrier, put the carrier in a small room with few hiding places.  Bring the cat into the room and close the door, moving slowly and calmly.  Do not chase the cat to get it into the carrier; encourage the cat with treats or toys to walk into the carrier.  If your cat will not walk into the carrier, open the top of the carrier, pick up your cat and gently lower him or her into the carrier.
  • Back home.  When you come home, if your cat appears calm and peaceful, let the returning cat out of the carrier.  If you have multiple cats, wait until all cats appear calm and peaceful before letting the cat out of the carrier.  Be sure to put the carrier back in its normal position where your cat can resume sleeping and using the carrier on a regular basis!

Hopefully, my blog will help cats that are fearful of the carrier trust it so that they can visit me—er, Dr. Dan—on a more regular basis!  Hope this helps their humans, too, get over the fear or anxiety of putting their cat in the carrier!

Well, time for a little treat and a nap.  I will write soon—

Tuesday, Cat Blogger

Holiday Safety Tips

Tuesday the Cat here! Now that summer has come and gone, it’s time to curl up and enjoy these colder months with friends and family. The holidays are the perfect time for delicious food, gift giving, and of course – lots of snuggling! But before we get to all the fun stuff, it’s important to go over a few tips to have a safe holiday season.

Food Safety: Small portions of lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef make an ideal treat for cats. Make sure the meat is cooked to the proper temperature, and be sure to check for bones. It’s best to remove the excess skin and fat, and avoid meats that have spices, seasonings, and oils. Steamed or baked vegetables such as carrots, green beans, or asparagus also make a great snack for your pet.

Foods that were prepared with rich ingredients like mayonnaise can lead to an upset stomach. Other ingredients like garlic and chives cause digestion problems, especially if a large quantity is consumed. Onions cause damage to the red blood cells, and are extremely poisonous to cats. Onion poisoning can have serious effects such as sluggishness, weight loss, and anemia.

Remember – it’s important to let everyone in your family know which foods are safe and which ones can cause a tummy ache. With a little caution, you can eliminate the risk of illness and still give your pet delicious treats!

Holiday Decorations & Linear Foreign Bodies: Common holiday decorations can be a source of danger for cats. Plants like lilies and daffodils are highly toxic to cats; symptoms include digestive upset, heart arrhythmia, kidney failure, convulsions, or even death. Holly and mistletoe are also toxic plants that can cause vomiting and diarrhea, although serious side effects typically occur only if large quantities are ingested. Despite their reputation, American poinsettias are not deadly to pets and only cause mild stomach irritability.

If your family has a fir, pine, or spruce Christmas tree, be sure to cover the water. Pesticides and fertilizer that keep the water fresh can make your cat very ill. Even if you have an artificial tree, pets may still chew or eat the needles, so it’s important to watch for any changes in their behavior such as a difference in activity, appetite, and water consumption as well as vomiting or diarrhea.

The holiday season also means lots of gifts wrapped with shiny ribbon and sparkly decorations hanging on the tree. Not surprisingly, these flashy adornments are extremely appealing for curious cats who think they’ve found the perfect new toy! String, ribbon, and other thin objects (also known as linear foreign bodies) can pose a serious threat to cats and kittens if swallowed accidentally. Linear foreign bodies can become wrapped around the intestines which could cause severe health problems, or even death. Like young children, kittens should never have toys with detachable parts or toys that are small enough to swallow. And remember – never let your kitten or cat play with string or ribbon, especially unsupervised.

So take it from me – if you follow my advice, you and your cat will enjoy a relaxing holiday season filled with yummy treats and most importantly, lots of snuggling.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, Cat Blogger