Elizabethtown Area Animal Hospital...    “Comprehensive care in a country setting”

Here’s the Scoop! Hi, all you cats out there!

"The Scoop" by Laney

"The Scoop" by Laney

Dr. Richard DeLaney VMD

1096 W Bainbridge St. Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Phone: 717-367-7156   Fax: 717-367-9795

It’s important, as the cat of the house, to make sure your owners know all the ins and outs of cat care. Make sure they know that all kittens need to go for examinations, vaccinations, deworming, and neutering (spaying for females and castration for males). Once they are up-to-date with everything, and if they stay healthy, an adult cat will only need to visit the veterinarian once a year.

Don’t forget, just because we stay in the house all the time, does not mean we shouldn’t be vaccinated yearly. It is important that we make regular yearly visits to help keep us healthy and happy cats. Rabies shots are very important and, of course, if you are an outdoor cat, you are also at more risk of contracting fatal feline viruses, and should see your veterinarian more often. It’s always better if you can stay an indoor cat. But yearly visits are still important, whether indoor or outdoor living.

Make sure your owner checks your skin and fur regularly for signs of parasites and hair loss. Just because they pet you doesn’t mean they are actually checking. So get in their face, rub against them often. Let them know you need attention. Now I know some of you are the quiet type and want to stay on the window sill and just hope they notice, but that’s not always the case. Start scratching and pulling out hair and in general look uncomfortable, so they notice. Fleas and ticks are a real nuisance, especially if you are an outside cat and, if left untreated, could cause diseases. The veterinarian can recommend many preventative products and safe and effective treatments for us and our homes.

Have you noticed when grooming yourself or your friends, that sometimes you get an awful hairball that you have to vomit, because it just won’t go down? Well here is some advice: If you can get your owner to brush you routinely, it will reduce the frequency of hairballs. This is really important if you have longhair, shed a lot, if you’re a senior feline, or perhaps you have put on a few pounds and are finding it harder to groom yourself. There are hairball remedies out there to help your digestive system move things along, and reduce the number of hairballs you have to deal with.

As we all know, it’s a real pain to keep our nails looking their best, and male or female, we all like our nails to be maintained. I know it’s fun to make groves in the leg of the old china closet, or test out the brand new couch, but for some reason I find that most owners do not like this. Plus, it’s never any fun when you accidentally catch your owners skin with an overgrown nail. So make sure your owner trims your nails or has someone else do it for you. Owners sometimes don’t understand that this is a normal activity for a cat to mark their territory. Your owner should know that by purchasing a scratching post with a rough surface such as burlap or wound rope , they can give you an alternative, and train you away from the furniture. However, if you refuse to learn there is always the option of declawing. This should only be done if you are a indoor cat and only to your front feet. This way, if you should ever get outside, you would still be able to climb a tree to flee from danger or partially defend yourself if you needed to.

Unless your owner brushes your teeth, it is probably better to eat dry kibble more so then canned or semi soft foods, to keep the tarter from building up on your teeth. If you can tolerate your owner brushing your teeth, there are some good toothpastes out there available in chicken and even tuna flavors! But regardless, it is always good to eat a well-maintenance diet necessary for your needs (kitten, adult, senior, etc.), which does not mean a lot of variety of food types. Eating a lot of variations can lead to becoming a finicky eater, an upset stomach, or even diarrhea from hasty changes in your diet. Overall, dry kibble will keep your teeth and gums in better condition. Along with good kibble, make sure you have plenty of fresh water daily.

Now here’s your scoop on litter box etiquette: Make sure your owner knows to scoop your litter daily, and to keep using the same brand of litter you like on a regular basis. If you have a good owner that maintains your litter box, use it and be neat!

But if your owner likes to change brands or type of litter all the time or does not scoop your box regularly, feel free to make mistakes around the house. This will almost certainly get their attention.

Your owner should be watchful if your fellow housemates (be it cats or dogs) are not permitting you to enter the room where your litter box is located, or maybe your box is kept in a room that the door is frequently closed. Perhaps your fellow housemate does not want to share their litter box with you. Hopefully, your owner knows to supply a separate box for each cat in the home, regardless if you share or not. This will make an accident less likely to happen. Plus, this would give you plenty of room without becoming territorial to the litter box.

Perhaps your litter box is in a room with a noisy house appliance, or located too closely to your food and water dish, or you just need privacy when using the litter box. Maybe you’re sensitive to the perfume or the amount of dust in the litter. Maybe you don’t like a covered litter box, or perhaps you’d prefer one that’s covered. You may be the type of cat that needs two litter pans, one for urination and one for defecation.

I’m just saying... some cats can be pretty picky about these things. (*Medical reasons can also be an issue, please see “litter your box with information” below.)

It’s also important to play with your owner and give them plenty of attention. Look at it this way, playing games with your owner will help you, indoor cats, from becoming overweight. Let’s face it, it’s always nice to bond with your owner.

Now I’m going to litter your box with information...
 A lot of owners know there is an over population of cats in the world, and that a simple procedure, such as neutering (spaying for females, castration for males), will help keep this population under control. However, many of them still fail to have their pet altered. Female cats can give birth to multiple litters in one season. In four years, one cat and her offspring can produce over 20,000 cats! Not to mention, intact female cats are more susceptible to mammary tumors, uterine cancers and infections, and ovarian cancers. Intact males are more prone to prostate cancer. A neutered male fights less and is less likely to feel the urge to roam.

To sum it up, a neutered cat, be it male or female, will likely live a longer healthier life, especially if they live indoors.

*If your cat starts to urinate outside the litter box it may not always be a behavioral problem, but there could actually be a underlying medical condition. It is always best to rule out any medical disorder by having your cat examined by a veterinarian first. Your veterinarian will be able to run tests and check blood-work and X-rays if needed, to rule out urinary tract infections, disease, or bladder stones that could be causing the inappropriate behavior.

Always clean any soiled areas in your home with a non-ammonia cleaner, preferably one that contains enzymes that degrade urine and will help prevent stains. If let untreated the scent of urine may cause your pet to return to the same area and soil it again. Products with enzymes may be found at your veterinary hospital, or at your local pet store. If your cat continues to use the carpets instead of the litter box, you may want to purchase plastic carpet protectors or another material your cat does not like to place over the area. You may need to put a litter box in the room that your cat is soiling. It is always best to talk to your veterinarian, as he or she can direct you to what is best for your cat’s specific needs.