Lake Cable Animal Hospital - Animal Care Services – Cat
CLEANING YOUR CAT’S EARS
- To clean your cat’s ears, you need cotton balls, ear cleaner, large bath towel and ear medication if indicated. You can restrain your cat by wrapping a large bath towel around him.
- Hold on to the earflay and insert the tip of the ear cleaner bottle down into the ear canal and gently sqeeze the cleaner into the ear.
- Quickly fold the earflap over and gently massage the ear canal. You will want to milk the ear canal up and out. This will help encourage the waxy debris and cleaner out of the ear since a cat’s ear canal is “L” shaped.
- You can place a towel over your cat’s head to catch the excess fluid because when you let go of his ears he will shake his head.
- You will then wipe the excess fluid and debris out of the ear canal with cotton balls. It is safe to clean the cracks or crevasses that you can see with a Q-tip.
- Place your medication into the ear after several hours after cleaning if needed.
- If the cat is difficult to treat, you can hold the tips of both ears together over his head. This gives you a few extra seconds of time while the cat is unsure which ear you are going to treat first.
It is a good idea to reward your cat with a treat so that next time it may be easier to clean your pet’s ears since you ended the session on a positive note.
CATS AND LITTER BOX HABITS
Unlike dogs that need to be housebroken, most kitties naturally litter train themselves. We have several suggestions to help make this process easier:
- Clean your litter boxes EVERY day; cats are extremely clean animals and will not use a dirty box.
- Try different types of UNSCENTED clumpable litter, plain clay litter and different thickness of litter in each box.
- The rule of thumb for the number of litter boxes per household is 1 more litter box than number of cats in the household (i.e. 2 cats = 3 litter boxes).
- Senior cats may need a litter box on each floor if you have multiple floors (2nd story house + basement) even if you only have 1 cat.
When your cat stops using the litter box (stooling or urinating), please call the office immediately for advice. This may be because of a medical problem and/or a behavioral problem.
If we determine that she has a medical problem, we can then discuss diagnostic testing and treatment options with you.
If all the diagnostic tests are negative, we may be dealing with a behavior problem. Even if the one of the tests show something is wrong, we may still have an established behavior pattern causing her to return to the same spot out of habit.
If we ask you for a urine sample to test, there is an easy method to collect it.
- Dump and clean your litter box out with hot, soapy water, then dry it with a paper towel.
- Take a ziplock baggie and put about 1 cup of litter in it and zip it shut.
- Place the packet of litter into the empty litter box.
- Confine her and the special litterbox in a small room (i.e. bathroom or back bedroom) so that she must use this litter box.
- Once she has used the litter box you should be able to pour the urine into a clean container (old butter tub) and bring the urine sample into the office.
When she uses this special litter box, the litter in the ziplock baggie looks sounds and feels like she is using her regular litter. Please bear in mind that this may take awhile to collect the sample since some cats can hold their urine up to 24 hours before going. If you are still unable to get a urine sample in this manner, the other option is to call for an appointment and drop her off with a full bladder and let us get the sample for you.
Re-training your cat can involve several steps.
- A thorough cleaning of the soiled areas with AN ODOR NEUTERALIZER specialty designed for cat accidents.
- Prevent her from being able to get to the soiled spots by banning her from the room, placing her food dishes over the spot (she will not eliminate where she eats) or place aluminum foil or an opened bar of Irish Spring soap over the spot for several weeks until she forgets about the accident.
- Sometimes you may need to confine her to a small room (bathroom) or a large dog crate with her bed; food and litter box where she will stay when you are able to watch her. You re-train her to use the litter box much the same way you housebreak a puppy.
- You may need to experiment with changing litter types or scents and depth of the litter.
- If you change type or depth of litter in one of your litter boxes leave the other box the same. This way you can see which one she prefers.
- You may need to add additional litter boxes to your house.
- Litter boxes need to be kept clean EVERY day.
PILLING YOUR CAT
When giving pills to your cat, the easiest method is to crush up the medication and hide it in a small amount of canned food or tuna juice (as long as she does not have any dietary restrictions). To increase the chances that she will eat the medicated food, take away her regular food a few hours before it is time to medicate. Once she has eaten the food with the medication, give her the regular food.
If you are unable to hide the medication in the food, you will have to pill your cat by placing the medication in her mouth.
- If you have to restrain her, you can wrap your cat in a big bath towel for more control and grasp the top of the head with one hand, by placing your fingers around the cheekbones.
- Next raise her nose up towards the ceiling which will cause her mouth to open slightly.
- With your right hand, hold the pill between your thumb and index finger and use your ring finger and pinkie to gently push down on the lower jaw.
- Place the pill into the back of her mouth and close the mouth. Gently stroke her throat, rub her nose, or blow on her nose to stimulate her to swallow the medication.
- If you have a liquid to give, you can grasp the cat’s nose the same way and put the eyedropper or syringe full of liquid behind the canine teeth and slowly dribble the liquid into the cat’s mouth until she swallows.
- Reverse the instructions above if you are left-handed.
Always remember to praise and reward your cat after giving the medication so that it will be less stressful the next time.
During your cat’s annual or semi- annual examination, we will discuss with you our recommendations for your cat based on our exam, their history and lifestyle. We may recommend blood work, stool checks and deworming, dietary changes, grooming, flea and heartworm prevention, and vaccinations. Listed below are the vaccines available and a brief description.
RCP (Distemper) is a modified live vaccine that protects your cat against the Rhinotrachitis, Calici and Panleukopenia viruses. A modified live virus vaccine uses an altered virus that replicates in the body and causes a better and longer lasting immune response. Because of this, a few cats may show mild and temporary symptoms of the disease (sneezing, coughing, or watery eyes). This vaccine is also non-adjuvanted which decreases the risk of injection induced sarcomas is our cats. This vaccine provides immunity for our indoor and our outdoor cats for 3 years.
Rabies is a nonadjuvanted, recombinant vaccine. It provides immunity for our cats for 1 year and because it is nonadjuvanted, it decreases the risk of injection induced sarcomas.
Feline Leukemia (FELV) vaccine is recommended for our cats that go outside or sneak outside. This leukemia vaccine is a recombinant vaccine that utilizes canary pox to stimulate the immune system to protect. It is also nonadjuvanted and decreases the risk of injection induced sarcomas.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is recommended for our cats that go outside or sneak outside. Before starting the vaccine, we need to perform a FELV/ FIV test because after a FIV vaccine is given we can get a false positive result.
Feline Idiopathic/Interstitial Cystitis
Cats are highly susceptible to urinary problems. One such problem is called Idiopathic Cystitis or Interstitial Cystitis. The term “Idiopathic Cystitis” means an unknown cause for an inflammation of the bladder. A diagnosis of Idiopathic Cystitis (IC) is only made after all other causes (such as infection, tumors, kidney disease, & bladder stones) have been ruled out. This persistent condition of the urinary tract affects mainly young and middle-aged cats although humans have also been known to receive this diagnosis as well. The symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis can include any or all of the following:
- Blood in the urine
- Painful or frequent urination
- Straining to urinate or crying in the litter box
- Urinating outside the litter box –especially on flat, cool surfaces such as tile or linoleum
- Male cats may become blocked (unable to urinate.)
Once a cat is diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, there are a few things owners can do to help their cats:
- Maintain a constant diet of the same food, since switching a cat’s diet frequently can be stressful for the cat. A prescription formula urinary tract diet is ideal.
- Scoop the litter box daily to keep it clean and tidy. Maintain a sufficient number of litterboxes for the number of cats that you have in your house.
- Playful exercise can also reduce stress.
- Keep food, water, and litter box in a quiet, well-ventilated room where no appliances or other pets can startle the cat.
- Encourage your cat to drink more water, change water daily, and allow free access to water.
- Feed primarily canned food if your cat can tolerate it, otherwise moisten the dry food with water
- Do not punish the cat for accidents. This will increase the stress level and may make the situation worse.
- For more information on environmental enrichment and behavioral modification for cats go to www.nssvet.org/ICI or www.indoorpet.osu.edu/indoorcat
- Use a stress-reducing environmental pheromone such as Feliaway or Comfort Zone.
It is important to note that a cat with Idiopathic Cystitis can have periods where all symptoms will disappear and the cat will appear to have made a full recovery. However, the problem can flare up again within even a short amount of time. Owners should not be fooled by this period of relief and assume the problem has gone away. Any changes in the treatment program may cause an eventual recurrence of symptoms.
INTRODUCING A NEW CAT INTO THE HOUSEHOLD
THE FIRST TWO WEEKS:
- Quarantine the new cat to one room with her own food, water and litter box for a full 2 weeks. This is the incubation period for most contagious viruses.
- Try not to introduce any diet changes during this adjustment period. If at all possible, feed the new cat the same diet she was eating at her previous home. If and when you change the cat’s diet, it should be done gradually over a 7-10 day period. Start by adding a few kernels of the new food in with her old food. Each day replace a few more pieces of the old food with a few more pieces of the new food.
- You can use a pheromone spray such as Comfort Zone or Feliaway to reduce stress for all cats in the household.
- Have the new cat examined by a veterianrian for her general health, intestinal worms, Feline Leukemia, Feline Aids, fleas and any health problems.
DAY 15 AND BEYOND:
- Once a day confine the existing cats to one room in the house, then let the new cat out to walk around the house for a few minutes. This allows the cats to adjust to each other’s scents before they meet face to face. Continue this for a few days or until none of the cats hiss or growl after encountering the new smells. If this step takes longer than 1-2 weeks, please call Lake Cable Animal Hospital.
- The first face to face meeting will be very brief. Put the new cat in a cage or a carrier to protect her from being scratched or bit. Put the carrier out and allow all the cats to see each other briefly. There will likely be some hissing and growling. Continue this a few times a day until they accept it calmly.
- During this time you should also hold the new cat a few times a day to allow the existing cats to get used to her scent on the family members as well in the house. The older cats may growl or hiss at their people during this phase.
- The next step will be to allow all the cats to be free in the same room together while supervised. It is best to make this a more positive experience by including food. Feed them at opposite ends of a large room. You can also use catnip to make this a happy visit. The visit is over if and when they growl at each other.
- The new cat will need to be confined to her room any time the cats are left alone or unsupervised until all the cats are consistently getting along well.