Your Pet’s Health

Boarding Facilities

A primary concern of many pet parents is ensuring their kitty receives excellent care when they are out of town.

A good pet guardian helps relieve vacation stress by guaranteeing your cat is safe and happy while you are away.

Take the time to find out what kind of guardian is best for your cat. Should you choose a boarding facility, the choice can be difficult – particularly because there are more than 9,000 in the U.S. and Canada!

Cats and Poisonous Plants

When your garden starts to turn green, beware of toxic holiday plants like lilies.

The veterinary school at Purdue University rates the toxicity of the Easter lily as high, however, the toxicity is only reported in cats. Cat owners should be particularly conscious of the leaves but the flower and stem may also be dangerous.

Look for signs such as vomiting, legality, and lack of appetite, and contact your veterinarian immediately if they occur. It’s not just the Easter lily.

Decorative lilies can also be a problem during the winter holidays. Also, the leaves of rhododendrons and poinsettias can irritate gums, and mistletoe and Christmas rose may cause intestinal upset.

Chow Down

Cats are carnivorous by nature, which means they need plenty of fat and protein in their diets. Their nutrients should come primarily from animal-source ingredients such as meat, poultry or fish, rather than plant sources.

Without animal-source ingredients in their diet, cats will become deficient in certain nutrients.

Overall, cats have unique nutritional needs that require they eat diets specifically formulated for cats. The type of food, dry or canned, is up to you. Talk to your veterinarian about the pros and cons of each.

Health at Home

Proper exercise, a stimulating environment and good nutrition are important to good health and a long life.

Without them, your cat may get sluggish and gain weight that could lead to diabetes. Regular playtime provides bonding time and calorie burning. Pet stores have an endless variety of kitty toys to try.

You may also want to look into videos that will entertain your cat while you are away from home.

Health at the Veterinarian

Cats are prone to infections — the good news is that most are treatable. One common ailment is obstruction or inflammation of the urinary tract.

Cats who have trouble urinating or appear to have pain need veterinary attention because an obstruction is fatal if it’s not removed.

Special diets may help cats prone to urinary infection. Another common health problem is upper respiratory infection, which is easily transmitted between cats.

Cats with this type of infection usually sneeze and have runny noses.

These infections can be viral or bacterial so antibiotics may be necessary.

Maintaining Pearly Whites

Many pet owners aren’t aware of how important dental care is to their pet’s overall health.

Tartar buildup can lead to gum infection, which in turn can lead to more serious infections and diseases of the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Bad breath is a good indicator of an oral problem that needs attention.

Routine cleaning at home and more rigorous cleanings by the veterinarian are critical to stopping periodontal disease before it causes your pet serious health problems and pain.

Take the opportunity during routine cleanings to look for any suspicious sores or bumps in your kitty’s mouth, as many cancers and infectious diseases begin in the mouth.

Dr. Thomas J. Rosol, a cancer expert, is leading a study that focuses on treatment for feline oral cancer, specifically oral squamous cell carcinoma. Affected cats experience difficulty eating, excess salivation, and weight loss.

The disease eventually causes death. Dr. Rosol says that while no treatment exists for cats with oral squamous cell carcinoma, with Foundation funding, he hopes to learn more about the disease and make life more comfortable for affected cats.

Maintaining Your Cat’s Health

Maintaining your cat’s health is as important to us as it is to you.

That is why Morris Animal Foundation is currently funding several feline health studies that are helping provide the best health care for your cat.

Safety First

You may not think about needing first aid for your cat, but accidents happen and it’s good to be prepared.

Cat-proofing your home is a good idea. This includes making sure strings, electrical cords and chemicals are out of reach or locked away.

It’s also a good idea to know basic first aid for animals and to have a first aid kit and emergency numbers on hand. In an emergency, it’s best to call your veterinarian or emergency hospital immediately.

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