Notoriously independent, cats may hide or mask symptoms of injury or illness, but these clues can help detect a health problem with your kitty.
Clue #1: Weight change
Unexplained weight loss or weight gain can be an indicator that something isn't right with your cat.
Clue #2: Messy coat
Cats may stop taking care of their fur if they're unwell. Over-grooming can also be a cause for concern.
Clue #3: Eye and ear issues
Check ears for inflammation or discoloration, and peek at the eyes. Pupils should be the same size with no cloudy film.
Clue #4: Mouth trouble
Cat breath may not be sweet, but it shouldn't smell terrible. Discolored gums can also be a sign of sickness.
Clue #5: Behavioral problems
Changes in behavior, like sudden irritability or litter box problems, can mean an illness is bothering your furry friend.
Of course, if you have any suspicion your cat isn't feeling right, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Having a pet in the family is a personal choice, of course, but children can benefit from pets in many ways. In addition to being lots of fun, pets can also:
• Provide a source of emotional and physical comfort
• Help boost a child's confidence and self-esteem
• Support a connection to nature and a respect for living things
• Promote exercise with walks outside or interactive games
• Teach responsibility, especially to older kids who can help care for a pet
Browse the ASPCA® Kids and Pets Interaction Guide on the ASPCA's website for more information.
Are you adding a furry friend to the family? Maybe you've met your human love match and need to combine pet households. It can take time and patience, but even cats and dogs have been known to live happily ever after. Here a few tips to help:
Dog + Dog: Keep initial interactions short and supervised. Watch for signs of aggression and separate them if you sense trouble. Praise and reward them when they get along well.
Cat + Cat: Take a staged approach and keep them in separate rooms at first. Once they get used to hearing and smelling each other, let them spend time together under your supervision.
Cat + Dog: Make the introduction as stress-free as possible. For instance, consider keeping an energetic dog on a leash. Let the cat set the pace, and never force interaction.
Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist for advice on your specific situation. You can also find more suggestions from our friends at the ASPCA® on bringing together dogs and dogs, cats and cats or cats and dogs.
Did you know two-thirds of cats are susceptible to the effects of catnip? Whether they smell it or eat it, catnip can put your favorite feline under a spell.
The plant is not dangerous and even has been used in the past to treat humans for headaches and upset stomachs. Cattime.com even has tips for growing your own.
We do want to share a word of caution from our friends at the ASPCA®: Some cats become very excited when smelling or eating catnip, so be careful about petting or rubbing your cat until you know how she responds. When cats get overexcited, they can sometimes bite.
Read more from the ASPCA about cat toys.
Join our Vegging Out Twitter Party! We’re hosting a pet-friendly vegetable-themed party on Twitter on Thursday, August 15 from 2-3 p.m. EST. Use the hashtag #PetVeggies to join the conversation, and play our trivia contest for 3 chances to win.
Tips for joining a Twitter party:
• Sign up for a Twitter account
• Follow the party hosts. For the Vegging Out party, make sure you’re following ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and our co-host, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
• Twitter parties are easiest to follow if you’re using a dashboard like TweetChat, Tweetdeck, or Tweetgrid.
• Use the party hashtag (#PetVeggies) in every tweet to be a part of the conversation.
No purchase necessary. See official rules here.
Pudgy can be cute, but for felines, having a little more to love can bring the potential for certain health risks due to obesity.
There are a number of causes for feline obesity, and many times a simple shift in feeding routine or an increase in exercise can help solve the problem. If you have a chubby kitty, check out this quick overview from our friends at the ASPCA®. It reviews the causes of feline obesity and how you and your cat can work together to slim down.
Vet visits can be stressful for cats, especially if they're not used to leaving the comforts of home. These tips can help make the next visit easier for your kitty.
• Get your cat used to the carrier by leaving it open in your house.
• Take your cat for rides in the carrier to other places besides the vet.
• Bring along your cat's favorite treats, toys and blanket.
• Reward good behavior at the vet with praise, treats and petting.
• Stay calm during the exam to encourage the same from your cat.
If your cat (or dog) has an extreme dislike of veterinary visits, talk to your vet about techniques that might make future visits more relaxing.
June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month! Tell us why you love cats and enter for your chance to win a FroliCat Bolt for your favorite feline or Huck ‘Em Floats for your K9 friend from the ASPCA® Online Store. Enter here.
Prizing is courtesy of the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program. Sweepstakes ends June 26, 2013. No purchase necessary. See official rules
If you are thinking about adopting a second pet, our friends at Dogster have five things you may want to consider to make sure you’re prepared. For instance, just like with children, pets don’t necessarily reinforce each other’s good habits, and multiples can get into twice as much mischief without proper training.
If you decide to take the plunge and expand your family, our friends at the ASPCA® offer these great tips for introducing cats to cats, dogs to dogs, a new cat to your dog, and even a new dog to your cat.
Following up our post about dogs and snoring, we thought we’d discuss cats who saw logs in their sleep.
According to VetInfo, cats sometimes snore as they experience different levels of sleep just like humans. But some causes of snoring may signal another health problem and require veterinary care.
If you have questions about your feline’s snoring, it’s best to check with your veterinarian to make sure everything’s OK.
Some common causes of cat snoring, according to Pets4Home, include:
• Allergies to spores, pollen or other triggers of sensitivity
• Normal coughs, colds and snuffles
• An upper respiratory tract infection
• A foreign body lodged in the back of the throat, such as a blade of grass, a polyp or tumor growing within the nasal passages or throat
• Feline asthma, or a narrowing of the airways of the lungs that can cause snoring and other respiratory symptoms
• Feline obesity, leading to a partial obstruction of the airways when your cat is asleep