Common Cat Health Problems

kittenIf you have just become the proud owner of a cat, you will be surprised to discover that health problems in cats are quite common and can be expected, no matter which breed of cat you choose. However, although some health conditions are hereditary, many others can be easily prevented. Here are details of some of the more frequent cat health problems which you are like to encounter.

Tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms are a common and recurring problem whatever breed of cat you have. If your cat appears not to be gaining any weight, is constantly scratching or has small white dots in his stools, worms are likely to be the cause.  Worms need taking care of with medication from your vet as they can turn out to be life-threatening if left untreated.

Hairballs are the most widespread health problem for cats. Cats clean themselves up on a daily basis, and swallow the hair shed from their coats when doing so. This loose hair collects together and forms a ball which can become caught up and stuck in the cats digestive system instead of passing through the body in the normal way. Your cat will cough and splutter and eventually dislodge the hairball without incurring any other health problems. In exceptional cases, the hairball will travel down to the intestine area, abd cause a blockage. This then becomes a serious problem and can be fatal if treatment is not received. You will be aware that this has happened when your cat has a dull coat, becomes constipated or simply changes his eating habits and when displaying any of these signs he should be taken to the vets right away. A good way to prevent the situation of hairballs arising is to brush your cat a couple of times each week, removing the loose hair. There are particular brands of cat food on the market which control hairballs too.

Urinary Tract Infection
This is a regular infection within cats, predominantly in male cats that have not been neutered, although females do occasionally suffer from urinary tracts problems as well. When this infection is present your cat will stop using his litter box and his urine will smell unusually strong. A visit to the vets is necessary if you suspect your cat has an infection of this kind. Medicine will be prescribed by your local Mt Pleasant Animal Hospital, SC veterinarian and you will receive advice to help combat this condition in the future.

Feline Leukemia
Cat Leukemia has, in the past been the biggest cause of death. Although your cat will not meet with an immediate demise, he is not likely to have a long life-span. Nowadays, vaccines are available to treat this disease and it is best for your cat to be given the shot prior to being exposed. If your cat is unfortunate enough to have Leukemia you should make sure to keep him away from other cats as this disease is highly contagious.

In order to protect you cat make sure you take him to the vet for his regular checks. Although some cat health problems are inevitable, many of them are avoidable. Keeping your cat indoors will protect him from the majority of them but if yours is definitely an outdoor cat keeping him up-to-date with his vaccinations will ensure a long, happy and healthy life.

Both dogs and cats are prone to suffer from ringworm a common skin disease. Despite its name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It’s actually caused by a kind of fungus known as a dermophyte. These fungi feed on dead tissue on the surface of the skin, and are related to the fungi that cause athlete’s foot in humans. In ninety-five percent of all feline cases of ringworm, the fungus responsible for the disease is one called M Canis.

Most cats get this disease from objects that have come into contact with another infected animal. These could include bedding, nail or hair clippers, or the animal itself. If there are animals around your house, or in your home that have ringworm, your cat could be the next one to come down with this disease. Kittens or cats less than a year old are the most vulnerable to ringworm, and can easily contract it if allowed outside. Outdoors, there are many different vectors through which your cat could acquire ring worm. It takes a long time for a kitten’s immune system to become reliable enough to fend off this common disease.

Ringworm causes inflammation and itching. In cats, this means that the most common symptoms are rough patches in the coat, or broken hairs. Hair loss around the pays and head also signify ringworm. This disease can also be seen as a scaly patch of skin, surrounded by broken or damaged fur. This area will probably be quite sensitive, and thus should not be touched. If your cat presents any of these symptoms, immediately take them to the vet. Mt Pleasant, SC Pet Keepers dog boarding kennels really have to watch out for this. Ringworm isn’t dangerous, but it can be irritating, and can spread to humans.

If your pet is diagnosed with ringworm, he’ll probably prescribe either tablets or topical ointment. Which medicines your cat will take will depend on the seriousness of the ringworm infection. Should your cat need to take a pill, try giving them at meals. Ointment, on the other hand, can simply be applied directly to infected areas. Be sure to continue to administer medication even if symptoms subside early. Otherwise your cat could have symptoms return later. It usually takes around six weeks to clear up a case of ringworm.

Cats that have ringworm can communicate it to other pets and to humans. This means that you should wear gloves when handling your cat until the infection is cleared up, and keep other people, especially children, at a distance. Even though this is a relatively harmless disease, it can spread easily, and the itching from it is annoying. Clearing up a case of ringworm takes a long time. Therefore, it’s best to avoid it entirely.

Choosing a Cat Breed

catdogIf you have decided to get a cat for the family pet, then there are several considerations that should go into selecting which one to own. You want to make sure that when choosing a cat breed to get the best breed for you and your family. Whether you go with a mixed breed that you can get quite easily, or the pure bred that you need to buy at a specific breeder, there are questions you need to ask yourself.

First before getting any cat make sure you are prepared to deal with the litter box. This will have to be cleaned and the litter changed on a regular basis. It is a task that is not always enjoyable for people. So understand this about the task before deciding on a cat.

Now do you want a cat that is easy to groom or do you have the time to groom the more high maintenance breeds. Short-hair breeds are much lower maintenance grooming wise than the longer-hair varieties are. Also shedding on the furniture will be a bit less with the short-haired cats.

Another consideration when choosing a cat breed is whether you want a kitten to raise and litter train, or whether you would rather start off with an adult cat. You can get many adult cats through shelters. People have to get rid of cats for various reasons and you could give one of these cats a good home.

Kittens can be bought a variety of ways some good and some not so good. Pet shops are not always recommended these days, because some can buy their animals through breeders who are less than reputable. This means you could be buying a very unhealthy cat if you aren’t careful. If you are searching a cat that is a pure bred then look for a breeder with a good background. Make sure this breeder can tell you the heritage of the kitten you are interested in. This will tell you what personality and health you can expect from the kitten.

If you know someone whose cats just had kittens than you need to know the health history of their cat. Kittens are oh so cute that it is easy to say you will take one, and forget about the problems you may have if the cat has poor health who had the kittens. Also do they know who the father is, is another question to ask.

Animal shelters and some shuler veterinary clinics also have kittens along with adult cats. It will be harder to know the background of these kittens and cats, but you could be saving their lives by adopting them. Many of these are left every year at shelters so you may find quite a few to choose from.

You also may want to consider personality while choosing a cat breed. Do you want a breed known for being outgoing, or is a more docile cat more your style. Even if you get a mixed , and know their mix you can look into the various breeds, to know what the personality is going to be like. The Cat Fancier’s Association offers descriptions on breed on their website. Through this you can choose which breed suits your needs the best.

Cats Can Bond With Their Owners

catsLots of people think that cats are independent, and don’t form bonds. You might even hear that cats only associate with people as a strategy to help them survive. However, many cat owners know better. Their cats are capable of forming emotional bonds with them that rival those of other pets. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know cats. One of the reasons it might seem like cats are independent and antisocial is that they’ll usually only bond with one or two people. You’ll know if a cat wants to form a bond with you if he or she hops up into your lap looking for affection, or snuggles at night while you’re asleep.

Many cats purr to show their affection. Lots of people have tried to figure out what cats look for when they’re picking their person. However, no one really knows. A cat might choose someone based on the way they behave, how they treat the cat, or their tone of voice. Someone else acting in much the same way just won’t measure up with some cars. Some people say that cats are psychic, and choose the person they bond with based on that person’s compatible psychic aura. According to these people if a cat senses a bad vibration from someone, the likely outcome is that the cat will ignore them totally. However, this only seems to hold true for a small percentage of cats.

There are lots of theories going around to explain the feline tendency to bond with humans. However, no one really knows exactly what’s going on. It’s well known that cats crave attention, but it’s hard to figure out exactly why. However, most cat owners can tell you that their cats love to feel needed, be pampered, and be showered with your affection. If they feel neglected, they might demand attention! People who are new to owning cats might find it hard to bond with them at first. This is because cats behave differently from other animals, even when they’re being very affectionate. However, the longer the amount of time spent around your cat, the better you and the cat will get to know one another.

Over the years, you’ll realize that you and your cat have developed a strong, unbreakable bond. No matter who you are, or what kind of cat you have, he or she probably loves to receive attention from you. Giving your cat that kind of attention can help to create a loving bond between you and your pet. Some might say that cats only care about themselves, but most of those people have never bonded with one.

Cat owners are well aware that bad cat breath is absolutely terrible. Like human bad breath, it is caused by bacteria found in the mouth breaking down protein which in turn releases sulphur compounds into the open. The sulphur which has a bad enough odor of its own gives the breath its disgusting smell.

toothbrIn the case of cats the bacteria normally related to bad breath is caused by a build up of yellow colored tartar around the teeth from various foods and minerals. This build up of tartar needs to be removed in order to cure your cat of bad breath. There are several cat foods on the market which are designed to remove this tartar, many of which contain enzymes which simply dissolve it. Giving your cat edible treats will also help to prevent the build up. If the tartar on your cat s teeth is really bad, you can have his teeth cleaned professionally. But rest assured, once the tartar is removed, the bad breath will vanish. However, it may not be necessary to have the cleaning done professionally as you might be able to do this at home yourself.

Toothpastes, some of which contain the above mentioned enzymes to dissolve the tartar come in different flavors for your cat and mechanical toothbrushes with the correct motion necessary to remove the build up are also available. If you start cleaning your cat s teeth at an early age, it will become the norm for the cat, the build up of tartar will be stopped before it starts and the cat will not have bad breath at all. Some of the bacteria which causes tartar to form can be found in your cat s diet. When you feed your cat you should check that his food does not have a high content of bacteria. If you feed him with only healthy food, this will keep his breath much fresher. Make sure the treats you give your cat are the kind designed to help with the tartar problem.

When your cat has finished his food, either clean his teeth or rinse out his mouth. This will clear the bacteria from his mouth before it gets a chance to build up in a tartar form on his teeth. If you notice your cat has bad breath but there is no tartar build up on his teeth, it could be caused by a more serious problem such as liver or kidney disease. This is the time when you should take your dog along to see the vet. The vet will be able to tell you what is causing the bad breath and how best to go about getting rid of it.


Heart Disease in Cats

Heart disease in cats occurs in more commonly than most think. It is sometimes hard to diagnose the earliest stages because there are not always symptoms that are obvious. Heart disease in cats can strike any breed or age of cat, the risk is the same for all cats. Let’s look closer at the most common forms of heart disease for cats.

For cats, there exist three primary kinds of heart disease. The cat could get restrictive, feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHCM), or dilative heart disease. The restrictive kind is the rarest of the three and happens as the wall of the heart are replaced repeatedly with scar tissue. With the FHCM, the walls get firmer and thicker. The heart’s muscular walls weaken and get thinner in the dilative kind of heart disease.

Heart disease in cats can turn serious and even fatal quickly because symptoms do not appear that early in the disease. As the symptoms do show they are often hard to see. The most usual symptoms are vomiting, a hard time breathing, little or no appetite, or opening the mouth to breathe. When the disease progresses the symptoms could be fainting, paralysis, and dying suddenly.

kittensIt takes an exam by a vet to usually find a problem with the cat’s heart. The vet could hear a heart murmur, which could be a sign that the cat is having a heart problem. A battery of test can be done that could include echocardiograms, chest x-rays, and electrocardiograms. The vets usually find that the electrocardiograms give them the most useful results.

If the heart problem is caught in time, treatment can be successful. In the event the heart of the cat is not yet failing their condition could be brought under control. Diuretics are sometimes prescribed to get rid of excess fluid and make it easier for the heart to work. In the event that the cat is suffering from the feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the vet will prescribe calcium channel blockers for making the walls of the heart less stiff.

Vasodilators are used to get the cat’s blood pressure lower. These can also lessen the heart’s workload, which is vital with any heart problem. The cat could need aspirin and betablockers as well when fighting this condition.

Heart disease can also be split into two classifications as far as congenital meaning that the cat is born with the problem, and acquired which means the cat develops later on in its life.

When the heart won’t work right, there can be a few things that might be the cause. The heart’s valves, the duties of which are to regulate the blood flow in the heart’s chambers could leak or not be able to open all the way. The muscle walls can have holes, which can even affect the major vessels and the chambers. These walls can also change or get damaged for a variety of reasons. All of this can make more or less blood be circulated through the heart and into the body, and if the problem gets bad enough the symptoms will start showing up, as in the problems breathing or even the cat fainting.

So if you suspect that you cat is having problems consult a vet immediately, because time is valuable in treating the problem of heart disease in cats.