Blog Archives

Product Review – Omega Paw Mouse Pom Pom

The Omega Paw Mouse Pom Pom toy promises hours of fun for your cat with a pom pom ball on a spring and a carpet layer on the base that the cat can pounce on.  It claims that it will become your cat’s “favorite playmate”.

I bought this for Isis and set it down for her to play with.  It sat there for two days without being touched, just looked at and passed by for other toys.  I then put some catnip on it because that normally gets her interested in playing.  Even with that, she wouldn’t go near it.

Finally, about two weeks after I brought it into the house, she started to play with it.  It did not take long for her to kick the majority of the fuzz off the ball on the spring.  As for pouncing on the base carpet, that never happened.  She did try to chew and swallow the carpet though.  After her eating a bit of it and then throwing it back up, I took the toy away and threw it in the garbage.  Luckily the price was such that I didn’t mind wasting that money.

Final verdict: Do not buy this toy.  I think it was more of a health hazard for her than anything else.  She didn’t play with the toy unless I was playing with it and wiggling the spring.  Even then, she didn’t play with it for long, and it ended up losing most of the fuzz (this was after playing with it for maybe a half hour total).

I was very disappointed in this toy and I wrote to the company to tell them what happened and how Isis ate some of the carpeting and threw it back up.  I have yet to hear from them, and I will not get my hopes up that they will respond back.

If after all this you would still like to purchase this toy, it is on sale on wag.com.

Steer clear of this toy!

Advertisements

Caring For Senior Cats

I received this great article from Isis vet and wanted to share it with you.  If you have a senior citizen cat, this is a great article to keep for future reference:

Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy.

As cats age, they are at greater risk for chronic diseases and health complications. However, cats are also masters at hiding illness. Semi-annual veterinary appointments are the best way to monitor a cat’s well being. For a senior cat, six months can be the equivalent of two years – a number of health changes can happen during this period.

During a wellness exam, a veterinarian will check a cat’s weight and body condition, skin and coat quality, eyes, ears, thyroid, heart, lungs, joints, mouth and abdomen. A veterinarian may also conduct diagnostic blood work and parasite screenings. While physical changes are easily noticed (e.g., weight loss or change in coat quality), internal changes are more difficult to detect. Diagnostic tests provide an important snapshot of a cat’s internal health and can detect problems such as hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.

Feline hyperthyroidism and kidney problems are the most common health conditions affecting older cats. Hyperthyroidism affects many organs in the body, including the heart. Hyperthyroidism can lead to secondary heart disease as well as hypertension (high blood pressure). Kidney disease can also cause hypertension. Your veterinarian can check for this during your cat’s exam. Blood  tests during a semi-annual wellness screening are the best way to detect hyperthyroidism and kidney problems. With early diagnosis, medical treatments can be very successful in managing these disease.  These are examples  of why proactive veterinary care is so important for senior cats.

Wellness exams are also an opportunity to evaluate a cat’s dietary needs. As cats age, their nutritional needs change.  For example, cats with kidney problems should have a diet low in protein and phosphorus. Less active cats may need to be fed less in order to prevent weight gain and obesity. Other cats may become disinterested in food, resulting in weight loss. Cats that lose their sense of taste and smell may also lose interest in eating. Unfortunately, gradual weight loss can also go unnoticed, especially for longhaired cats. This is why nutrition evaluations and regular weigh-ins are so important.

Just like humans, cats will have different wellness needs as they age. Some cats may need a special diet while other cats may need medication to manage a chronic disease. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations based on your cat’s wellness needs.

Does My Cat Need Senior Care?

Could your cat benefit from senior care? Like people, cats all age at different rates. Generally speaking, senior cats are between the ages of 11 to 14 years, which is the equivalent of 60 to 72 years for humans. Look out for the following age-related changes in your cat’s behavior:

•    Drinking more water than normal
•    More urine in the litter box than normal
•    Weight loss, may occur in spite of a ravenous appetite
•    Nails that don’t shed, and grow into their pads
•    Change in appetite or unwillingness to eat
•    Changes in litter box habits
•    Changes in behavior and mood

These are signs that your cat needs additional veterinary care.

Sources:

American Association of Feline Practitioners. Friends for Life, Caring for your Older Cat.

Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Hyperthyroidism in Cats.

Understanding Renal Failure in Cats

Instead of a product review this week (I am waiting on my tester, Isis, to test out the product I wanted to review this week), I am sharing this article Isis’ vet sent to me.  It deals with renal failure and is a good read:

What Every Cat Owner Needs to Know

Acute renal failure and chronic renal failure are two health problems that commonly affect cats. Acute renal failure can affect cats at any age; emergency care is essential to treating this condition and saving a cat’s life. Chronic renal failure typically occurs in senior cats. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, 49% of all cats over the age of 15 are affected by chronic renal disease. With the diagnosis of kidney problems and renal failure in cats increasingly common, it is essential that cat owners learn the symptoms of this disease and how best to manage the disease.

Kidneys play a critical role in day-to-day functions. The kidneys remove metabolic waste from the blood stream, and produce vital hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production.  The kidneys follow a complex system for managing and regulating waste; when this system breaks down, severe complications may occur to a cat’s other organs that can ultimately lead to death.

Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure is caused by a blockage in the blood flow to the kidneys or the urine away from the kidneys, or due to damage to the kidney tissue itself.  The most common cause for acute renal failure is the ingestion of toxic substances such as antifreeze, anti inflammatory drugs, or lilies.  When acute renal failure is detected and treated early, a full recovery is possible.  Although many times the cat will have only a partial recovery from the acute crisis, and eventually go into chronic renal failure,

Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic renal failure is an incurable condition primarily affecting older cats. It is often the end-stage for other health problems, such as advanced dental disease or a kidney inflammation/obstruction. Thanks to veterinary care advancements, however, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, it is often possible to give the cat a good quality of life for many years.

Treatment for renal failure depends on the condition’s cause and severity. In the case of acute renal failure, if a kidney is blocked by an obstruction, it may be possible to surgically remove the blockage and correct the problem. For chronic renal failure, treatment focuses on diet, fluids, and medications to control secondary problems, such as high blood pressure and anemia that may occur.

There are many brands of diets made for kidney problems in the cat; all have a reduced amount of protein and phosphorus, and may have added potassium.  Talk to your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet.

The main treatment for both kinds of kidney failure is fluids.  Hospitalization with intensive fluid therapy is required for acute kidney failure, and often also used for the more severe stage of chronic.  Once the cat is stabilized, many veterinarians will have you give fluids subcutaneously at home.  They will teach you how to give the special fluid under the skin.  Cats are surprisingly tolerant of this.

Other medications may include appetite stimulants, stomach acid reducers such as Pepcid, phosphate binders, potassium supplements, and injectable erythropoietin, which is used to stimulate red blood cell production in the anemic cat.  It is very common for cats with kidney problems to have high blood pressure, and therefore need hypertension medication.
While kidney problems are very common in they cat, the disease can often be managed well for many years.

Could My Cat Have Kidney Failure?

Renal failure can occur in cats of any age, although senior cats are at increased risk for chronic renal failure. For both acute and chronic renal failure, early diagnosis can make a significant difference for a cat’s long-term health prognosis.

As a cat owner, look out for the following symptoms of kidney problems in your cats:
•    Increased water consumption and urination, or greatly reduced water consumption
•    Increased amount of urine in the litter box
•    Marked weight loss/loss of appetite
•    Vomiting

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from chronic or acute renal failure, contact your veterinarian. Your cat’s life may depend upon it.

Sources:

American Association of Feline Practitioners, “Feline Chronic Renal Disease.”

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Diagnosis: Kidney Disease.”

Product Review – PetSafe Slimcat Treatholder Ball

If you want to keep your cat slim, yet give them something to do in order to get their treats, PetSafe Slimcat may be right for you.

The ball is made of durable plastic, with holes to add the treats into the ball.  Then roll the ball on the floor and watch your cat chase after it to get the treats out.  Your cat might grab it and roll it around on the floor, or they may get on their back and kick the treats out.  Either way this will provide your cat some mental stimulation and provide you hours of fun and laughter, watching the antics your cat will get into.

Chasing after this toy will help overweight cats to slim down.  For cats that are a healthy weight, having their treats in this ball will help keep them entertained and stimulated.  You can choose what types of treats to put in the ball.  I cooked up some chicken jerky, cutting the chicken into tiny, round pieces and then putting them in the ball when cooked. (Chicken jerky can be made by greasing a cookie sheet with olive oil, cutting up chicken into small bite size pieces, putting it in the oven at 200F, check after an hour, leave in oven until cooked, cool and then serve.  You can use this recipe for cats OR dogs).

Final verdict: I would recommend this toy, especially for those with overweight cats.  I recommend letting the cat sniff the ball and get interested in it, with treats already inside it, and then throwing it and letting them chase it around.  If your cat is into chasing objects, this should provide them some great play time.  Isis loves to chase things around, and she has loved this toy.  It is one of her favorites.  The chicken jerky is just an added touch that makes her even more excited for playtime.  I also sit there and throw it for her, interact with her, which helps to create a bond between pet and pet parent.  It is for sale for a very reasonable price on wag.com.  I hope your cat enjoys it as much as mine does!

Product Review – Catit Senses Massage Center

The Catit Senses Massage Center is an interactive toy for cats that includes a brush type mounted on the side so that cats can rub their faces along it, or their body.  If your cat is stressed, wants a gum massage, or a ripple massage, this might be a great toy.  If your cat is into that sort of thing.

Many cats are picky, Isis being one of them.  She looked at the toy and hissed at it for a while, and walked widely around the toy, sizing it up, not really sure what to think.

I sprayed some feliway spray, as well as put some catnip on it and rubbed my fingers along the bristles to see if Isis would come and enjoy the wonderful, relaxing, stress free massage.  No such luck.

For weeks it sat there, not being touched by anything but my hands, begging and pleading for Isis to just try to relax and enjoy her new massage center.

So far, Isis has used the toy twice.  Once was when she was feeling particularly in a sweet mood, she rubbed her face along the bristles and I think she surprised herself at how it was kind of a bit too rough for her.  She ate the catnip off the massage center.  The second time she used the gum massage for about 30 seconds.

Final verdict: If your cat likes massage type toys, or likes to rub up against things often, this is probably great for them.  For Isis, it was not.  I donated the toy to our local shelter.  Hopefully the cats there can use it and enjoy it.  I am sure Isis was happy to see the strange alien object go.  I would not recommend it unless you know for sure your cat would like a massage type toy.  It is for sale on wag.com.

Recipe Friday – Soft and Chewy Treats for Cats

Time for a new recipe for cat treats.  These are chewy and soft and gluten free (as long as the wet cat food you use is gluten free and if you use baby food, that must say gluten free in order for this to be a gluten free recipe) for your precious kitties!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 4-oz jar chicken and brown rice baby food (or something meaty which may include canned wet cat food)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cooked white (or brown) rice
  • other things you might add other treats like : 1 tablespoon of catnip or a tablespoon of extra wet cat food.

 

Directions:

1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, baby food (or wet cat food), parsley, olive oil,  and water.  Add brown rice flour and cooked rice.  Stir to incorporate.  The mixture will be thick but spreadable.

3. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet creating a rectangle that is about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven.  Let rest until cool enough to handle, then slice soft dough into bite-sized pieces.  Return pieces to the oven to bake for another 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Allow to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  Feed in moderation.

Product Review – Go! Cat Go! Wing It!

This is one crazy toy that is sure to please your kitty and offer hours of fun, interactive playtime with your kitty.

The toy Go! Cat Go! Wing It! is a ball with a stuffed toy bird inside that looks like it is kind of flapping around when you throw it.  That attracts your cat’s attention and the rolling will get your cat to play, bat at and possibly get on their back and kick at it.  Your cat may even try to bite it.  There may be some hissing as well (at least Isis did that a few times when she first saw the ball, but don’t despair, she got right into playing with it after her hissy fit, and I am sure your cat will too!)

The toy seems quite durable, made of plastic and has withstood biting and chewing and batting and being hidden under the couch and bed several times.  It even withstood almost being sucked up the vacuum.

Final verdict: I recommend this toy if your cat likes to chase and bat at things.  If your cat likes to play or if you have a small kitten that has endless energy, this may be a great toy to help expel some of that energy.  For even more added fun and to get Isis to play with the toy and not hiss at it, I marinated it in a bag of organic catnip for 24 hours and really rubbed the catnip into the stuffed bird.  This seemed to enhance the intensity of the playing, and jumping, and biting and all round fun she had with this toy.  The price is right as well.  Find it on wag.com and order it for your cat today!

Product Review – Catit Senses Treat Maze

Want to give your cat a challenge to try to get their treats and keep them busy for hours at a time?  Well the Catit Senses Treat Maze may be just the toy for your cat.

Place the treats on different levels of the maze and your cat must reach into holes or on the top to push the treats to the feeder area.  Simple enough, but if the treats are high value for your cat (meaning if they just cannot get enough of the treat), your cat may spend tons of time trying to get the treats out and have fun playing at the same time.

Isis tried this toy and at first, she stopped playing with it and left it alone for a few days.  Then, she ended up spending a better part of a day (off and on) trying to get her treats to eat.  It was really interesting to watch her to see how she was able to get the treats (she was able to pick up some treats with her paws sort of) and move them around and how smart she is!

Final verdict: Your cat may enjoy this, try to interact with them and show them how to work the toy first.  They may try for a bit, and leave it alone for a few days.  If the treats are something they love, that should lure them back to play with the toy. The toy is sturdy and made of good materials and I did not have a problem worrying that it might break, fall over or fall apart.  I would recommend this toy with that as a caution.  It is on sale right now on wag.com.  Try it, your kitty might thank you for it!

Cats and Skin Conditions

Here is an article Isis’ vet shared with me:

 

Cats can suffer from a variety of different skin disorders, including feline acne, allergic dermatitis, mites and ringworm. If your cat is frequently itching, scratching, licking his skin beyond normal grooming, or suffering unexplained hair loss, a skin condition may be the cause.

The first step to treating a skin condition is diagnosis of the specific problem. Many skin conditions share similar symptoms, such as dry or flaky skin. Depending on your cat’s symptoms, a veterinarian may begin by ruling out the most common skin problems.

Fleas

Even if your cat is an indoor pet, another pet in the household may have exposed your cat to fleas. Fleas can trigger allergic dermatitis and cause a host of skin problems. Flea allergy dermatitis is characterized by small bumps covering the inner thighs, base of the tail, and back of the rear legs. A single flea bite can trigger a reaction that lasts for days! Good flea control is essential to preventing allergic dermatitis.

Feline Acne

Feline acne on the chin is one of the most common feline skin conditions. That’s right; even cats can suffer from a bad case of pimples! Everything from poor grooming to an allergic reaction may be the underlying cause. For most cats, feline acne will simply clear up by itself. However, if your cat’s acne persists, a medicated shampoo or a prescription ointment will help. If the acne is associated with an allergic reaction, than removing this allergen from the cat’s environment is essential to preventing future skin outbreaks. A veterinary dermatologist can work with pet owners to identify possible allergens or if a disorder is responsible for the acne.

Dermatitis

Red skin, bumps or inflamed skin are signs of contact dermatitis as well as many skin diseases. Like some cases of feline acne, an environmental trigger may cause contact dermatitis. Possible triggers could include inhalants, food, or flea allergies. The most common allergens tend to be fleas, food, pollen, molds and house dust mites.

Mites

Not all skin problems are confined to a cat’s fur. Mites can also affect the ear. Symptoms of ear mites include constant itching, scratching at the ear, and shaking the ear. Cats with ear mites may also have excess brown wax in the ear canal. Without proper treatment, the constant scratching and itching may lead to a secondary skin infection. With prompt treatment, mite-killing ear drops can clear up the primary problem before secondary infections occur.

A veterinary dermatologist is trained to diagnose and treat different skin disorders. Prompt treatment will help prevent secondary infections or complications and keep your feline healthy.

Source:
American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD)

Cats and Eating Plants

Every once in a while, many cats like to munch on or play with plant leaves.  Most of the time this is nothing bad, but if there is a plant that is poisonous to cats (think Poinsettias) it can be an issue.  Just to make sure that your cat doesn’t eat something bad, it is probably best to make sure your cat stays away from any plants.

The best way to do this is to make the plant unappealing, spraying it with bitter apple or vinegar will usually deter a cat from going after and eating the plant.  Limit their time that they are around a plant, perhaps putting it in another room if you do not want to use the bitter apple spray.

You may also try to play with them and do something interactive to get their mind off the plant and onto playing, it keeps them active and healthy and not to mention it will tire them out, causing them to have a nap, and keeping them away from the plant.

If you cannot get your cat to leave the plants alone, growing some cat safe cat grass is an alternative, they can munch on it anytime and you don’t have to worry about them getting ill or poisoned.

Remember, DO NOT punish, hit, punch, slap your cat for going after something.  Always try to redirect or prevent it by using the spray.  Cats are naturally curious, so doing something like this is not out of the ordinary.

For more information on why cats chew plants and how to stop them from doing so, this article is quite helpful.