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Anorexia in cats: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Cats may suffer from a partial or total loss of appetite. Whether his anorexia appears gradually or suddenly, it is imperative to quickly take charge of his problem. This eating disorder is often the first symptom of a psychological disorder or an illness and can cause serious damage to the body.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder that manifests itself by a complete loss of appetite that causes the cat to refuse to eat. Felines are less able to withstand food deprivation than dogs: it is considered a life-threatening emergency when they have stopped eating for three days (five days for dogs). Note: Hyporexia is the term used for a decrease in appetite.

The psychological origin of anorexia in cats

Very often, this eating disorder is due to a psychological factor (this is called psychogenic anorexia). The cat is very attached to its landmarks and any change in its environment or habits can suppress its appetite. It is then a question of determining what could have disturbed his daily life. Here are a few tips:
  • A change of food or bowl. If you want to change his meals, do it gradually. On the other hand, his bowl should always be clean and placed in the same place, in a quiet place where he can eat as he pleases;
  • The loss or arrival of an animal or a person in the home. In this case, it is important to ensure that the event does not cause depression in the feline;
  • You have placed your cat in a boarding kennel or entrusted its care to a relative during the vacations. This stressful experience has left him with a bad memory and he lets you know by refusing to eat his food;
  • Generally speaking, any source of anxiety is likely to generate anorexia in the cat.

The pathological origin of anorexia in cats

If anorexia is accompanied by a change in attitude such as a drop in energy or fatigue, then your pet may be suffering from a more serious illness. Anorexia in cats is indeed the first warning signal of a pathology. Examples:
  • Dental pain. Tartar, gingivitis, canker sores, abscesses, cysts or any other painful oral infection may prevent the cat from eating;
  • A diminished or lost sense of smell may cause the animal to become confused and not be able to associate the food with its smell. This smell disorder can be the result of coryza or another respiratory problem;
  • Poisoning caused by the ingestion of outdated or dangerous food;
  • Some diseases (diabetes, pancreatitis, renal and hepatic insufficiency, etc...) affect the metabolism of the cat to the point of causing anorexia;
  • Gastric obstruction. By swallowing small objects (such as pieces of string or wool with which it likes to play), the cat can block part of its digestive system, taking away its desire to eat;
  • Old age, sometimes accompanied by osteoarthritis, frequently leads to a decrease in a cat's appetite.

Consequences of anorexia on the cat's health

Unlike other animal species, cats have difficulty adapting to food deprivation and the consequences can be dramatic. Anorexia is indeed very badly supported by its organism because it generates rapid deficiencies in nutrients essential to its physiological needs. If the disorder lasts too long, it can engage its vital prognosis by generating serious lesions like hepatic lipidosis. Don't expect a pudgy cat to go without meals for several days. When an overweight feline stops eating, it uses its fat to make the energy necessary for its activity, causing an overload of the liver with lipids. This is called hepatic lipidosis and is a serious pathology that can result in the death of the animal. Therefore, it is strongly advised not to let a cat sulk for more than 48 hours. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get his digestive system back on track. It is therefore imperative to consult a veterinarian quickly.

Treatment of anorexia in cats

The veterinarian will decide on the treatment to be put in place according to the diagnosis established. Depending on the origin of the anorexia, different types of treatments can be administered to your pet.
  • Initially - and if the cat's state of weakness requires it - the professional will insert a naso-esophageal tube to gradually refeed the animal. The probe allows to send directly into the esophagus the adapted quantity of food (without force-feeding);
  • A hospitalization can be envisaged as well as a maintenance under perfusion;
  • Medication may be prescribed if the anorexia is due to an illness;
  • A surgical intervention could be necessary in case of occlusion;
  • A dietary follow-up will help restore the feline's appetite and vitality. For example, an appetizing and energetic food as well as vitamins and trace elements will be able to compensate for its deficiencies. Medication can also stimulate the appetite;
  • If the anorexia is psychological in origin, it will be necessary to remedy the events that caused her loss of appetite;
  • When the lack of appetite is due to the cat's old age, a few tricks can make him want to go near his bowl. By adding some very appetizing ingredients to his usual food (tuna juice, fish oil), you will awaken his taste buds. Don't forget to warm up his food slightly before feeding him, as cold tends to kill the flavors.

Can you really train a cat?

Have you ever had the opportunity to see a circus act with cats? No or rarely, most certainly! And for good reason, the feline is by nature less sociable than its counterpart, the dog, which wants to please its master at all costs.

The training of a cat is much more complicated. Cunning, patience and psychology are the weapons you will need to succeed in teaching your cat good manners.

Reasons to train your cat

Even after extensive training, a cat will never be able to perform the same commands as a dog. Frisbee games are therefore not an option. However, all is not lost. If it's a matter of a few simple tricks, you can try to teach them to your pet, such as pawing, fetching an object, rolling over or standing on your hind legs.

However, cat training should not be limited to learning circus acts. The goal of training should be to create a more harmonious relationship between you and your cat. You can teach him to become less aggressive, to be clean, to face situations that make him anxious, not to do stupid things... In short, the idea is to strengthen your links and avoid that the cohabitation becomes a nightmare for both of you.

The techniques to use to educate kitty

There are several methods you can use to train your pet the right way. One of the most popular is the positive reinforcement technique. You should know that you won't get anything out of your cat under duress. It's best to use this method, which is designed to reward behaviors that you like and that you want your cat to repeat.

Rewards can take the form of pleasant words, petting or food. If you choose the last option, choose something very tasty that you don't usually give your cat to make sure you get what you want. Chunks of ham or frankfurter can do the trick. Perform the exercises consistently so that your cat gets used to obeying your commands. The advantage of positive reinforcement is that it doesn't cause stress or fear in your cat, as opposed to punishment, which can cause anxiety or even aggression.

You can combine the positive reinforcement technique with click training. This process consists of using a clicker that emits a sound when pressed. This tool will become a means of communication between you and the feline. When your feline executes a command, click on the box and give him a treat. This way, he will understand that he has performed the desired behavior. The click will become a symbol of positive experience. Ideally, you should choose a soft clicker so as not to frighten your pet with loud sounds. This is especially true if you have a sensitive cat or kitten.

Gestation and reproduction of the female cat: what you need to know

Accompanying the birth of your female cat at home and seeing the newborns being born is an unforgettable experience, but it requires a minimum of knowledge to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Here are a few things you should know about your pet's reproduction and gestation.

Reproduction in cats

A female cat can be bred as soon as she shows signs of heat. In principle, female cats reach their sexual maturity between 4 and 12 months of age, although the earliest breeds are the Siamese, Burmese and Abyssinian. They have their first heat from their 7th month. Their sexual cycle is made in four main stages: the pro-oestrus (period when the females attract the males without accepting the mating), the oestrus (the mating is tolerated), the metœstrus (all the phases which follow the mating) then the anœstrus (corresponding to the sexual rest period).

During heat periods, the female cat meows constantly to attract the attention of males. If they live in an apartment, they will try to escape. Their urine also leaves strong fumes to indicate to the male that they are ready to breed.

Unlike humans, feline fertilization is governed by a very specific process. Ovulation does not occur until 48 hours after mating. Thus, several matings with different males can give birth to a litter of kittens that will not have the same father. This is why it is important not to let the animal go out in heat, especially if it is a female cat, to avoid having several parents.

Gestation and delivery of the female

The gestation period for a female cat is between 64 and 69 days. It is possible to know if she is expecting a happy event by doing an ultrasound as early as the 3rd week. In order for the gestation to take place in the best conditions, it is important to provide an adapted diet rich in nutrients and especially in large quantities. For example, kibble for kittens is suitable because it provides maximum energy. Deworming the animal should also be one of your priorities to prevent worms from contaminating the kittens. Also, an anti-flea treatment is to be planned.

Before the birth of her kittens, that is, between 7 and 9 weeks of gestation, the female cat will want to find a shelter to give birth. Once she has chosen a place, she will not want to change. You will have to arrange this place so that she is quiet. Be careful, the animal may show aggressive behavior during this phase. She will be at peace only after giving birth.

At the time of the birth, the female cat must benefit from a particularly calm environment. She must not be moved or subjected to any form of stress.

The birth lasts about 6 hours. A litter counts between 3 and 5 kittens. The kittens hardly move during the 48 hours following the birth. But on the other hand, their first feedings are done one hour after the birth.

It is strongly advised to call a veterinarian and to examine the female cat after this happy event if you think there is any problem.

Urinary marking in cats: why, when, how?

The cat is a territorial animal. Its territory is made up of very distinct fields that the cat delimits thanks to various instinctive markings, including the famous urine marking. This is a natural behavior. But in many situations, the cat is capable of depositing urine everywhere, including in the house, to the great displeasure of his owners. Let's take a look at urine marking in cats and see if it's possible to prevent your little feline from marking furniture and carpets with his urine.

Urine marking in cats: a territory story

Cats start marking their territory as early as 6 months of age. To do this, they use different methods to deposit pheromones or their own odor everywhere. The different markings, olfactory and visual, are very important because they reassure the little feline who finds his own smell everywhere he is "at home".

Urinary marking, the subject that interests us here, has nothing to do with urination, which allows the animal to empty its bladder and moreover, it relieves itself in the litter box or in the garden and then covers its urine. We can also note that marking is of two types: one for the maintenance of areas already well defined by itself, the other to adopt a new territory that it has not yet marked.

The different fields of action of the cat are the following:
  • The social field: this is where the small felines meet, communicate with each other, play, but in no case fight because this territory belongs to all and is therefore not a zone of confrontation.
  • The fields of aggression: they are more or less numerous and/or vast according to the emotional state of the cat. If a fellow cat crosses the limits of this type of territory, the master of the place starts a fight.
  • The different fields of activity: each "compartment" is reserved for a very specific activity such as hunting, preening, watching, elimination (droppings).
  • The isolation fields: the cat marks out a zone for grooming and another one for sleeping, the latter being mainly delimited by scratching, i.e. by a visual marking.
The cat is an instinctively very well organized animal! Moreover, all these fields are connected to each other by paths, which are also delimited by urine marking.

Marking vertically only serves to deposit a few drops of urine in strategic places by adopting a very particular posture. He stands upright, raises his tail vertically, arches his back, and propels a short but powerful jet of urine on the chosen support. It can be a tree trunk, a wall, a flower pot, the front door or a car tire, but also a piece of furniture, an awning... For him it makes no difference, the important thing is that he can delimit what he considers to be HIS environment. We can consider that the urinary marking is in some way also a sexual marking when the cat is whole. This disappears as soon as the cat is sterilized. Let's hear it...

Urinary marking in a neutered cat: what causes it?

In a neutered cat, it is possible that the urinary marking still appears despite this operation. However, it is not at all bearable to see your cat using his urine to mark out his territory inside the house. However, there is no point in scolding him. It's better to try to understand the reason for it because this attitude always has a meaning. If, despite the sterilization, the cat insists on rubbing its flanks and muzzle on various supports inside the house and marks them vertically with a few jets of urine, there is a problem.

By marking the house of his masters in this way, he wants to reassure himself because he does not feel at home. This is a common behavior for cats as soon as a change occurs in their home, and for them, it is a real upheaval. Among the many reasons that can explain this urinary marking by a sterilized cat, we find for example:
  • The change of furniture,
  • A new distribution of furniture in a room,
  • Moving,
  • The birth of a child,
  • The arrival at home of a new congener or another pet.
Sometimes, it is enough that we change the cleaning product to wash the floors, and hop! It's as if the cat is a victim of a real deterritorialization: immediately the kitty starts to mark its territory, as if it were a brand new environment that it must mark out at all costs so that it feels at home again.

Proof of this is that a cat is a domestic animal that has a great need for stability, and the slightest change in his world causes him stress that can be considerable. Spraying pheromones is the best way to reassure your little friend and prevent him from depositing his urine anywhere.

Heart defects in cats: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Some heart diseases in cats are due to a heart defect that can be genetic, i.e. acquired, or congenital. Depending on the type of defect, the animal can live without any problem. But there are also serious heart anomalies that lead to serious complications with time. It is essential to recognize the symptoms that should alert so that the cat can be examined as soon as possible because if its heart does not ensure its functions anymore, euthanasia can be unavoidable.

The two categories of feline heart defects

A cat can present a genetic cardiac malformation also called acquired cardiac malformation, namely
  • Pulmonary stenosis,
  • Aortic stenosis,
  • The malformation of the mitral valve or the valve located between the atrium and the ventricle, either on the left or right side,
  • AIC or atrial septal defect, meaning that the septum by which the atria are separated from each other is not completely sealed.
The second category includes congenital heart defects in cats such as
  • Mitral insufficiency: occurs when the valve between the left ventricle and the atrium leaks. When the valve leakage is limited, the animal may have a heart murmur. If the leakage is severe, the cat may develop heart failure.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): The heart is weakened and enlarged because the heart muscle is not contracting sufficiently. This cardiac malformation is less frequent today because the food for cats is enriched in amino acids, and in particular in taurine which is essential for the small felines.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: this is a thickening of the left ventricular wall.
It is essential that every cat owner asks his veterinarian once a year to perform a health check-up in order to verify that the heart muscle of his little protégé does not show any sign of abnormality.

Heart defects: symptoms and risks of aggravation

Some heart abnormalities due to a malformation do not necessarily cause symptoms, or sometimes these remain so discreet that the owner of the animal cannot spot them. It should be noted, however, that a heart murmur is the most common manifestation of a cat with heart disease.

A heart murmur may not be noticeable at first, but it is likely to get worse. Usually, in the case of an acquired or congenital heart defect, the kitten will show moderate signs early on, but these will intensify over time. The owner can hear the murmur when the heartbeat speeds up, for example when the kitten is playing, but the murmur is again imperceptible as soon as the heart rate slows down.

Other symptoms occur when the cat has a serious abnormality in the heart muscle. These may include:
  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Weight loss,
  • bloating in the abdomen
  • Signs that a thrombus (blood clot) is present and is disrupting the blood flow. The cat is at risk of thrombosis if the clot blocks an artery. The main symptoms in case of a clot are:
  • Constantly cold hind legs,
  • Pain,
  • Difficulty moving the hind legs,
  • Paralysis,
  • An affected general state.
Of course, if you have the slightest doubt, do not hesitate to talk to the veterinarian. He will then be able to examine the cat, and continue his investigations if he suspects a cardiac problem. Some veterinarians specialize in animal cardiology.

Heart problems due to a malformation: what treatment for the cat?

Before putting a treatment protocol in place, the veterinary cardiologist must first make a diagnosis. To do so, he/she performs a cardiac examination with a stethoscope and then subjects the cat to an echocardiography. This is a completely painless ultrasound examination. Depending on the cat's symptoms, the specialist may also do a blood test, a heart x-ray or an electrocardiogram (ECG).

The specialist should also check the cat's breathing patterns to detect any heart failure that may be caused by a malformation. Signs of heart failure include general weakness, shortness of breath and rapid breathing when the animal is at rest. Note that the respiratory rate of a cat at rest is considered normal when the cardiac movements are around 25 per minute. Above 30, heart failure may be suspected.

Treatment is of course decided on a case-by-case basis. When the cat suffers a lot because it is very severely affected and no medication can improve its quality of life, it may be preferable to opt for euthanasia. This decision is up to the owner of the animal.

Heart defects in cats: prevention

The only way to prevent heart defects in these pets is to remove affected males and females from the breeding program. Catteries test their cats for heart defects so that if they test positive, the defects cannot be passed on to their offspring.

When you want to buy a kitten from a cat club or a cattery, it is essential to confirm that the kitten has been tested and that it does not have any heart problem. Finally, it is important to pay attention to the food you give your cat. A taurine deficiency exposes him to the risk of dilated cardiomyopathy. It is therefore essential to seek advice from your veterinarian, especially if you decide to prepare your cat's food yourself.

Cat grooming: how to groom your cat?

It is well known that cats are among the animals with an impeccable hygiene. Thus, grooming your cat is much less restrictive than washing your dog, because the cat does most of the work itself by licking its entire coat daily.

However, as owners, we can help our feline companions to have a softer and cleaner coat, and at the same time reinforce our loyalty to them by these moments spent together.

Getting your cat used to grooming

Cats that have been groomed from a young age are totally receptive to grooming and will readily accept a brush. They even appreciate this moment which is for them a moment of relaxation, even of massage, in company of their master.

Cats who, on the other hand, have never, or very little, experienced grooming, may be resistant, even fearful, to the sight of a brush. It is thus necessary to accustom them little by little because nothing can be done suddenly with our small companions. First, stroke them with your hand, talking to them in a reassuring voice, and gradually introduce a brush stroke in the direction of the hair between two strokes, so that they can gradually perceive this brushing as simple caresses.

Why groom your cat?

Cats are animals that take care of their own grooming. You don't have to do much work to help them take care of their hair, but this care is not without meaning.

Regularly grooming your cat with a brush not only helps to untangle knots, if any, but also stimulates blood circulation and improves muscle tone through the gentle pressure applied to the muscles by the brush.

Brushing your cat regularly also allows you to remove all the dead hairs that he may have ingested while washing himself and that may cause him stomach and/or intestinal problems if they are in too large a quantity, or even simply make him spit out hairballs regularly.

Finally, brushing stimulates the glands at the base of the hair, which contributes to a better seal and better protection of the hair.

How often should I groom my cat?

Not all cats need to be groomed at the same frequency. It depends on their hair type, but also on their lifestyle.

Grooming frequency according to the cat's hair type

Shorthair cats only need to be brushed once a week, simply to remove dead hair. It also allows you to check the condition of the skin (presence of scabs or wounds) and to check for external parasites, such as fleas or ticks.

Long-haired cats need more maintenance, with one brushing a day. Their long tufts of hair tend to get matted. Daily brushing and untangling prevents tangles from forming and solidifying.

Grooming frequency according to the cat's lifestyle

Cats living in apartments need to be brushed much less often than cats that can go outside regularly. Since they don't come into contact with parasites or any kind of particles from the outside, their hair generally stays cleaner.

Cats that go outside regularly, on the other hand, need to be brushed quite frequently, since they may come into contact with parasites, possibly get injured, etc. In addition to cleaning, more frequent brushing serves as a regular check of the condition of your cat's skin and hair.

Bathing your cat, good or bad idea?

It's well known that cats hate water. Even if some of them have been used to the contact of this liquid since their childhood and are therefore less reluctant to be plunged into a pond to be washed, this remains a very rare case.

However, giving a cat a bath should be a very occasional act because it is simply almost never necessary to wash your cat with water and shampoo. Indeed, washing your cat in this way dries out its skin and also diminishes the protective properties of its hair.

Bathing your cat should therefore only be done on rare occasions and only if it is necessary: when the cat is covered with a harmful substance such as glue or tree sap for example.

If it is only a matter of persistent bad odors, prefer the use of a dry shampoo. Available in specialized stores, it comes in the form of a spray to be applied to your cat. This type of shampoo allows you to wash your cat without having to use water. Again, however, it should only be used occasionally as these products are not healthy for your cat's skin.

How to bathe your cat?

If you find yourself in a situation where giving your cat a bath becomes necessary, you have to do it the right way.

To begin with, and especially if your cat is not used to it, it is strongly advised to do it with the help of a second person because the cat can have as reflex to struggle strongly. It is therefore impossible in this case to be able to wash him properly without hurting him.

Also get a cat shampoo in advance from a specialized store. It has the particularity of having a neutral pH, a very important characteristic not to irritate the skin of your small companion.

Start by filling a basin with warm water so that your cat doesn't mind the temperature. Avoid doing this in a shower as the noise can also make your cat panic.

Once filled, immerse your cat in the pond, then ask the person helping you to hold him firmly while you wet his entire body, avoiding the face, especially the eyes and ears, which are best cleaned with specific products.

Once the cat is completely wet, apply the shampoo by rubbing it all over and leave it on for one to three minutes. You can then rinse it off, making sure there is no shampoo left on the cat's body. This one could indeed leave a crust if it is not correctly rinsed.

Finally, the cat must be dried. Avoid using a hair dryer because the noise can make the cat panic. Simply wrap him in a towel and rub him gently.

Don't forget to give him a little treat to reward him once the process is over, as this is a real ordeal for him.

Trimming your cat's nails

While most cats don't need to have their nails trimmed because they do it themselves on the bark of a tree or on a cat tree, some cats don't maintain their nails properly and need you to take care of them.

First of all, you need a nail clipper, sold in specialized stores. Scissors and nail clippers are not recommended. You risk hurting your cat because their shape is not suitable for animal claws.

Again, get someone to help you by holding your cat, as she doesn't like having her nails clipped and may panic.

To cut its claws, you first have to get them out. To do this, nothing too complicated: apply a little pressure with your thumb in the middle of the paw pads while holding his paw.

Using your claw trimmer, you must now cut them, but especially not at the base of the claw on which you can notice a small red area. This area is actually a nerve and cutting it is very painful for your cat, in addition to causing him to lose a lot of blood.

To make sure you don't cut this area, hold your cat's paw very firmly so it doesn't move, and take the time to aim for about three millimeters past the nerve. You'll need to repeat the process for each of the claws.

When finished, don't forget to reward your cat with a small treat.

If you're not sure how to trim your cat's nails, ask a professional such as a groomer to do it without hurting your cat.

How to feed a kitten after weaning?

For the kitten's optimal health and proper growth, his diet after weaning should not be taken lightly. This period marks the detachment from the mother and the beginning of independence. It should be done gradually so as not to destabilize the animal.

An adapted diet at the time of weaning

At birth, the kitten feeds exclusively on maternal milk. To know if he is growing correctly, the first reflex to adopt is to weigh him. In principle, a kitten should have a weight of 100 g at birth. An increase of 5 to 10% is done daily. Within 15 days, its weight should normally double. To be sure that the animal is developing properly, it is advisable to weigh it with a kitchen scale or a baby scale if you have one. Monitoring will be more effective if you make a chart that will allow you to see how much weight the kitten is gaining. If you notice a drop in weight, this may mean that the mother's milk is no longer sufficient and must therefore be supplemented with formula.

Be careful, under no circumstances should you give him cow's milk. Digestive problems could manifest themselves in the form of severe diarrhea. The consumption of formula is done with a bottle. The amount depends on the kitten itself. You should not force it too much. If he refuses the bottle at first, moisten his lips with the tip of the wet teat.

A gradual weaning of the kitten

Weaning starts around the 4th week. The kitten then shows interest in his mother's bowl. Ideally, you should give the mother kibble for kittens because it's rich in nutrients and perfectly suited to nursing mothers. This tip is all the more interesting since if the baby takes a bite from his mother's bowl, he won't have any digestion problems. Gradually, the mother's milk will decrease.

The transition between liquid and solid food must be done gently. Special kibbles for kittens are suitable. They are rich in minerals, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins A and D, proteins and cover all the nutritional needs of the animal, whose growth will continue correctly. Moisten them with formula or water to make them softer.

Also, don't be alarmed if you see the kitten sucking on her mother's milk when she has run out. It's a normal and natural thing to do. However, be sure to keep the female cat away when the kittens are eating from their food bowl.

From the 7th week, the baby must be weaned. After his 4th month, he develops his permanent teeth and can now eat classic kibbles for his age, halfway between those dedicated to weaning and adult kibbles.

Growth stops after one year. You can diversify his diet by choosing, for example, mash from time to time. One last important point: avoid at all costs feeding your cats dog food, as this leads to significant deficiencies that are detrimental to his health.

Under what conditions should I use a rehydration solution for cats?

Dehydration is very common in cats and can lead to serious problems very quickly. It is therefore necessary to be extremely vigilant because this animal does not feel thirsty. As a result, they tend not to drink enough. The risks are even greater if the little feline is fed exclusively on kibble, if it is sick or if it suffers from heat stroke. Every owner should know how to spot the symptoms of dehydration in his cat in order to remedy it as quickly as possible. In some cases, a rehydration solution is sufficient, but it may also be urgent to consult a veterinarian.

Dehydration: symptoms in cats

Once a cat's body no longer contains enough water, it can no longer function normally. Dehydration leads to a disturbance of the blood circulation, a deregulation of the body temperature, a lack of lubrication of the articulations. Organs function at a slower pace, toxins are no longer eliminated or even waste products... The repercussions on the cat's health are not long in coming.

Generally, the signs of dehydration are not deceiving. The cat presents the following symptoms:
  • Gasping,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Lethargy,
  • State of depression,
  • Transit problems (diarrhea, constipation),
  • Vomiting,
  • His gums are dry or sticky,
  • His skin is less elastic,
  • The cat licks less than usual and may even stop grooming completely.
Severe dehydration can lead to the cat's death in a few hours. It therefore warrants an emergency consultation.

When to use a cat rehydration solution?

If the cat is severely dehydrated, the veterinarian will use intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy. This is essential to quickly rehydrate the small animal.

However, if the dehydration is moderate, the owner of the cat can himself give his little protégé the necessary care. To do so, he must :
  • Start by giving the cat a cat rehydration solution,
  • Encourage the cat to drink little at a time but regularly,
  • Opt for wet food instead of kibble, but this change in diet should not be abrupt, as it may cause digestive problems.
The rehydration solution used at home is therefore a possible solution in case of moderate dehydration that does not require an emergency IV.

What is a rehydration solution for cats?

This ready-to-use product specifically developed for cats can be purchased from the veterinarian or from a veterinary clinic or pharmacy. Please note that it is very important to respect the dosage indicated on the bottle or recommended by an animal health professional.

It is an oral solution recommended in case of acute diarrhea or vomiting that leads to dehydration very quickly. Its main components are sodium chloride, sodium citrate and potassium chloride.

Note that a rehydration solution can also be used for cats who are reluctant to drink, but this product should only be given to the animal after consulting the veterinarian.

Can I make my own rehydration solution for my cat?

It's helpful to know how to make this type of solution at home, which may be necessary when a cat appears moderately dehydrated or has had diarrhea for a few hours and you don't have a ready-to-use solution on hand.

In this case, it is sufficient to add ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ tablespoon of glucose to 500 ml of water and have the animal drink small amounts of this rehydrating drink.

As an indication, the body of an adult cat needs - per period of 24 hours - about 55 ml of liquid per kg of body mass to function, which corresponds for example to 220 ml for a cat of 4 kg or 330 ml for a cat of 6 kg. Note that a good part of this liquid is provided by the food. A cat that eats only dry food needs to drink more than a cat fed a wet food.

To prevent dehydration in cats, it is therefore essential to provide a water bowl or, better still, a water fountain that keeps the liquid clean. This device is perfect because it encourages the cat to drink regularly. In a water fountain, the water is protected and does not take on bad odors that can put the animal off. At the same time, of course, we try to keep our cat cool during the hot summer months and we make him drink regularly when he is woozy.

Inflammation of the anal glands of cats: symptoms, treatment and prevention

The anal sacs of the cat can be the site of various ailments. Diagnosis is essential to identify the exact health problem the cat is suffering from in order to treat it with the most appropriate treatment. His owner must therefore know how to spot the symptoms that inflammation of the anal glands causes. Let's take stock of the situation.

The cat's anal glands: purpose

These small sacs located on each side of the cat's anus secrete a brown liquid whose odor is, for humans at least, particularly nauseating. The anal glands empty regularly on different occasions, i.e:
  • When the cat expels its feces,
  • In case of stress, because this triggers an alert process that inevitably leads to the emptying of the anal glands. This is what is called in this type of case the alert marking. In this way, the cat releases pheromones whose odor is perceptible by its fellow cats. They are thus warned that a danger is imminent for example. In this type of situation, the anal sacs by emptying themselves launch a kind of coded message intended to safeguard the species.
Thus, the secretions of the anal sacs are pheromones that contribute to intraspecific communication. These pheromones provide vital information to other animals in a group, for example on the sex, age, social status, sexual maturity and receptivity of a conspecific.

It is therefore understandable how important these anal sacs are for a cat. It is therefore very important to consult a veterinarian as soon as you suspect a problem with this area.

Inflammation of the anal glands: symptoms in cats

Certain disorders affecting this anatomical area of the cat can be very serious. Each problem has its own specific symptoms and must be treated accordingly.

A cat's anal glands may be the site of a tumor. A mass near the anus can be seen. The cat is drinking more than usual and is having great difficulty expelling feces. To find out if a tumor of the anal glands is malignant or benign, a biopsy is necessary. In case of cancer, the cat is subjected to chemotherapy.

But the problems that can cause inflammation of the anal sacs are the following:
  • Engorgement or impaction: the glands are blocked so that secretions can no longer be evacuated. Among its many causes are flatworm infestation, thickening of secretions, obesity, sudden change in diet, chronic diarrhea or constipation that persists...
  • Sacculitis: this is an infection of the contents of the anal sacs leading to inflammation. Pus forms in the glands. Sacculitis usually follows impaction, but can also occur without apparent cause.
In both of these cases, the cat tends to adopt a sledding posture, rubbing its hindquarters on the ground as it moves to relieve its pain. Licking of the anal area is untimely. Other symptoms include decreased appetite, high fever and listlessness.

If left untreated, sacculitis can develop into an abscess that can be seen by the discharge of bloody fluid and rare violent scratching. The cat suffers, and may refuse to eat altogether.

Inflammation of the anal sacs in cats: treatment

After accurately diagnosing the problem the cat is suffering from, the veterinarian may have to pierce the abscess, but sometimes the abscess can empty spontaneously. In all cases, the veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic treatment as well as a painkiller because the animal may be in pain for a few more days.

When a cat has recurrent inflammation of the anal glands, the veterinarian may decide to remove them. This is called a sacculectomy. However, he will only opt for this surgical procedure in the most recurrent cases and as a last resort because there is a risk of fecal incontinence if one of the sphincters is affected during the operation.

Preventing anal gland inflammation in cats: solutions

Factors that contribute to certain anal sac problems can be minimized. It may be advisable to have the veterinarian purge the cat's anal glands when he or she feels it is necessary. This procedure should not be performed too frequently as it can lead to inflammation over time.

You must give your cat a perfectly balanced diet and make sure that he drinks enough to avoid constipation and chronic diarrhea but also so that he does not become obese. You must therefore encourage him to go out in the garden every day or, if he hates going outside, his master must take the time to play with his cat every day so that he can exercise. Finally, deworming should be considered on a regular basis to protect your cat from intestinal worms.

Cat phobia (Ailurophobia): how to stop being afraid of cats?

Ailurophobia is the term used to designate a person who has a panic fear of cats whatever the reason, this one being generally unknown. As is the case for all phobias, this is very disabling in everyday life, especially since one can come across a cat at any time during a walk, at a friend's house or simply in the garden. Difficult to live with, cat phobia may require treatment by a psychotherapist.

How does ailurophobia manifest itself?

Cat phobia affects both adults - men and women - and children. It can be so severe that an "ailurophobe" cannot stand contact with a cat, or even see one. He or she also cannot stand the sound of a cat's purr, or anything remotely cat-like, such as a cat toilet, a litter box, a kitty basket or cat food, or even cat hair on a rug or piece of clothing...

By extension, people who suffer from this type of phobia usually have difficulty looking at other felines whose size and various physical characteristics are quite similar to those of the cat.

The fear felt by a cat phobia sufferer is of great intensity, and can very quickly turn into panic. The victim is unable to control his or her reaction, especially if he or she is confronted with a cat by surprise. Symptoms typically experienced include:
  • Sudden sweating,
  • Trembling arms and legs,
  • Abdominal spasms,
  • Itching,
  • Skin allergy,
  • Dizziness,
  • Palpitations,
  • Asthma attack,
  • Hyperventilation,
  • A crying fit,
  • An anxiety attack...
Some people even think they are going to die. It is also quite frequent that this fear of the cat comes to disturb the quietude of an individual at any time of the day or night, and whatever the activity in progress. All it takes is a stray thought and the panic resurfaces.

All these manifestations are also observed in people who suffer from arachnophobia for example. It should be noted that the phobia of spiders is even more frequent than that of cats...

Identify the cause of ailurophobia to better fight it

As for any type of phobia, it is necessary to know the origin of this panic fear in order to try to cure it. The phobia of cats is not genetic and we do not really know the reason. Some leads remain to be studied. It could be due to the ancestral fear of cats dating back to the time of the gatherers-hunters-fishermen, when men were very exposed to the risk of being killed by these wild animals. This could explain that by visualizing a physical characteristic specific to felines, such as vibrissae, fur, head shape, etc., a kind of survival reaction is triggered.

These features are encoded signals that are well ingrained in people with ailurophobia, and they are usually unable to explain why they are afraid of cats, or how long they have been afraid of them, as their visceral fear seems to have always been present.

A psychotherapist will, however, try to understand on an individual level how this phobia came about. Is it a psychological trauma following a bite or scratches? Is the phobia linked to mythology, because let's not forget that the (black) cat has long been considered a bad luck animal? In order to find the initial cause, this professional must know the history of his patient. Only then will he be able to set up the most suitable therapy.

How to cure a cat phobia?

Before knowing how to cure ailurophobia, you have to ask yourself if it is really possible... and the answer is yes. It is certainly not easy, because the fear of cats is ancestral. The difficulty is even greater if the subject has always practiced systematic avoidance. Therapists are clear on this subject and unanimous: the more one keeps away from the object of his phobia, the more the fear intensifies. Specialists speak of a self-reinforcing mechanism. In fact, fear leads to avoidance, and avoidance increases the fear... It is a vicious circle.

The therapeutic treatment of ailurophobia involves the progressive confrontation with a cat in order to reduce and then eliminate the fear that it triggers in the subject. This is done through behavioral and cognitive therapy. Some therapists complement these therapies with hypnosis sessions, while others ask their patients to express themselves through drawing. This is called art therapy. Regardless of the method used, the goal is for the patient to be able to express emotions and/or traumas that have been repressed until now. This is a long-term process.

A phobia should not be ridiculed, nor should the sufferer be panicked by being confronted by surprise with the very object of their visceral fear. This is a difficult situation to live with, the victims suffer a lot and when their phobia is particularly developed, daily life can be very disrupted because they feel in a permanent state of general insecurity. It is therefore best to encourage a person with a cat phobia to consult a psychotherapist so that sessions can be scheduled. This will at least help him or her, because ailurophobia is difficult to cure like many other phobias.

Why does my cat's eyes water?

Watery eyes can be more or less important in cats. It is essential to know the cause in order to remedy it as soon as possible. Let's discover the possible causes and what solution to adopt so that the cat does not have any more the eyes which cry.

Watery eyes in cats: the different causes

When a cat has watery eyes, it has nothing to do with a bout of depression! The cause must be identified as soon as possible. It can be :
  • An obstruction of the lacrimal canal,
  • An infection,
  • An allergy,
  • A foreign body.
The attitude to adopt depends on the origin of the lacrimation. If the cat cries for more than 24 hours, it is strongly recommended to consult the veterinarian very quickly. It is also important to distinguish between a lightly watering eye and a heavy tear discharge or epiphora.

In case of epiphora, one can suspect an irritation or an obstruction of the lacrimal canal. In the latter case, the tears flow into the inner corner of the eyes and eventually mark grooves up to the muzzle. Apart from an anatomical problem, which can be found in brachycephalic cats among others, the cause can be :
  • A mucous plug that can more or less obstruct the canal, forming an obstacle to the normal flow of tears.
  • An excess of tear production that can be explained by:
    • conjunctivitis,
    • an irritation,
    • an ulcer on the cornea.
It is easy to understand that crying eyes in a cat should not be neglected because it can lead to the suspicion of a very serious problem.

What to do when a cat's eyes cry?

The color of a cat's tears can tell you a lot about the cause. A simple dust in the eye usually causes a clear tear. Simply cleaning the cat's eyes with a lint-free pad soaked in saline or a suitable lotion will clear them up.

But if the tears are reddish, the problem is probably more serious and even in some cases they can be clear despite a serious cause.

Unless you're 100% sure that the cat is just bothered by a dust or hair on the eye, it's best to leave the runny eyes alone and get him to the vet as soon as possible. The veterinarian will probably need to do some additional tests to identify the problem that is causing the watery eyes. This is absolutely essential so that treatment can be instituted if necessary.

The eyes are very sensitive and fragile organs. Under no circumstances should they be cleaned with just any product. In fact, each element of the eye structure can be at the center of a problem, from the eyelid to the retina, via the cornea or the lens. The health of your cat's eyes should not be joked about and should be the object of all attention.

We can't advise masters enough to take good care of their little feline, whatever its age, which includes regular cleaning of its eyes with a specific lotion recommended by the veterinarian. The lotion is part of the products that can be reimbursed by the mutual health insurance company for cats as long as the owner of the animal has opted for a formula that includes preventive acts.

Wildcat: who is he? Where does it live ? Can we meet him ?

Although physically very close to the domestic cat that we know well, the wildcat is a species in its own right, with its own characteristics. It is very difficult to cross and observe this species, because its place of residence and its discretion make that it passes easily unnoticed.

What is a wildcat?

The wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), is the result of the domestication of the African wildcat (Felix sylvestris lybica). The latter was introduced into Europe from Egypt by the Greeks and Romans in the first century BC. Over time, it colonized the European forests, (the term silvestris meaning forest), and became this wild cat, which we know so little. It is often confused with the domestic stray cat, which is only a domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) returned to a wild state. Note that the wildcat and the lynx are the only two species of wild cats in Europe.

Physical characteristics of the wildcat

The wildcat has a grey or light fawn coat, slightly mottled, and a thicker tail than the domestic cats, on which we can observe rings (from two to five rings). It also has a black stripe, starting from the shoulders and going to the base of the tail.

Wildcats are heavier and larger than domestic cats: they measure from 78cm to 1m in length for males, and from 73 to 89cm for females (including tail). They weigh from 2 to 8kg for males, and from 3 to 5,5kg for females. Wildcats have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

The behavior of the wildcat

Since the wildcat is very shy and avoids humans at all costs, very little is known about their behavior. Like domestic cats, although they are mainly nocturnal animals, they can still be active at any time of the day. Each individual has a territory of about 3km², which they mark by clawing at trees. They rarely leave their territory, and can run up to 19.7km/h.

Where can you find the wildcat?

The wildcat is a very difficult species to find. If for a time it covered almost all of Europe, the deforestation due to man and climate change have strongly impacted the living places of this species, which is now very scattered.

We can find them today in the Scottish forests, some Spanish forests, in Italy, in the forests from the south-east of Belgium to the west of Germany, as well as in the forests covering all the south-east of Europe, and finally, in some French forests where we can find them in the north of the Ardennes, the south-west of Limousin and the east of Savoie as well as in all the Pyrenean departments.

Can we cross the wildcat ?

The wildcat, although it is very tempting to go and observe it in its natural environment, is, as said above, a very discreet animal that avoids humans. There is therefore little chance that you will ever meet a wildcat. However, if you really want to try the adventure, you can go to one of the forests mentioned above, with something to spend the night: you will have to stay awake, do not make a campfire to warm up, take glasses or binoculars with night vision, try to find traces of scratches on tree trunks and settle down at nightfall in a discreet and hidden place, with of course a camouflage suit. From there, all you have to do is wait, making as little noise as possible, scanning around you...

The wildcat is an amazing feline that fascinates by its discretion, just like the lynx. The fact that we almost never see one makes it a legendary animal, and as humans, we can only hope that this species, despite its small number, its geographical dispersion and the ravages of man on the forest regions, can survive for a long time.

Why does my cat vomit?

When vomiting is occasional, it shouldn't be a cause for concern for owners. However, when it becomes chronic and is accompanied by blood or fever, the problem can be serious. The cat should be taken to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

When vomiting is "normal"

It turns out that vomiting in cats is not necessarily related to a disease. It can be a normal phenomenon caused by hairballs, for example. We know how impeccable this animal's hygiene is. However, by licking itself, it ingurgitates hairs that are trapped in the digestive system and cause regurgitation. To avoid them, a diet rich in fiber is recommended or based on specific kibbles. Otherwise, there are veterinary gels that promote the elimination of this hair via the feces.

When a kitten is weaned, vomiting also becomes recurrent when the dietary transition has not been carried out progressively during the changeover from liquid food (in this case maternal milk) to solid food (kibbles). It also happens that the feline cannot digest goat's or cow's milk and develops digestive problems. At this stage, lactose intolerance may appear, so it is imperative to stop milk consumption.

Furthermore, when the cat eats too quickly, in large quantities and especially without chewing, vomiting is inevitable. This eating behavior is caused by stress, oral concerns or bulimia. It will be necessary to provide him with wet food for a better digestion.

The worrying factors of vomiting

Beyond simple normal phenomena, vomiting can hide more serious disorders such as food poisoning caused by bacteria that develop in spoiled food, for example. Alternatively, it may be due to an intestinal obstruction: the cat is then subject to diarrhea, belly swelling, abdominal pain, constipation, loss of energy and of course, vomiting. This type of problem is the cause of a blockage. Your cat may have eaten something that clogged her intestines. Alternatively, your cat may have eaten poison, such as household products, pesticides or anticoagulants. In this case, vomiting is accompanied by blood. In this case, a visit to the veterinarian is urgently needed.

Other diseases related to cat vomiting

Vomiting is often a common symptom of several diseases. When combined with diarrhea and fever, it indicates an infection. However, it can also indicate other conditions such as diabetes, renal failure, inflammatory bowel disease, digestive ulcers, gastric tumors and neurological diseases.

In order to make a diagnosis, the veterinarian will take stock of the animal's history, whether it be concerning its treatments, its previous pathologies, its breed or its age. After a clinical examination of the abdomen or mucous membranes, the veterinarian may perform additional examinations such as an X-ray, an abdominal ultrasound, a blood test or a digestive endoscopy.

My cat has swallowed a foreign body: how to act effectively?

A risk of suffocation is quite possible in cats when they ingest a foreign body, but we can also fear a perforation of the intestine. This type of situation is quite common, especially in kittens. These young animals love to play with various objects and can therefore swallow one. Complications are then to be feared, and in some cases, unfortunately, the vital prognosis can be engaged. It is therefore necessary to react as soon as possible when a cat swallows a foreign body. But how? This is what we will see.

Ingestion of a foreign body: possible symptoms in cats

Certain signs may indicate that your cat has swallowed a foreign object. It can be for example:
  • Pain in the intestines from the pressure of the foreign object,
  • Intermittent or sporadic vomiting,
  • Intestinal obstruction,
  • A rapid deterioration of his general condition,
  • Inflammation of the intestine or stomach depending on the location of the object.
It is necessary to react very quickly in the presence of these symptoms. They can indeed suggest that the cat has swallowed an inappropriate object but they are also manifestations of certain pathologies that affect the pancreas, the stomach, the intestine or the liver for example. It is thus fundamental to be able to identify the origin of the symptoms so that a protocol of care can be decided by the veterinarian as soon as possible, the life of the cat being able to be put in danger.

Caution! You should never make a cat vomit after swallowing a foreign body. This can be very dangerous for the animal. In this type of situation, the cat's owner must not attempt anything. His only obligation is to take the cat to the nearest veterinarian for emergency care.

My cat has swallowed a foreign body: what does the veterinarian do?

The practitioner starts by examining the animal. A careful palpation of the abdominal area is performed and if he suspects that an inappropriate object has been swallowed, he will submit the cat to an ultrasound or a contrast radiography. This involves the animal drinking a radiopaque fluid prior to the imaging test to make the foreign object more visible. Several x-rays should be taken at one or two hour intervals in order to locate the object and study its progression.

However, visualization can be difficult when it is located in the intestine or stomach. That's why the cat's owner must be able to describe as precisely as possible the symptoms from which his little feline suffers, their intensity, at what time and under what circumstances they began to manifest themselves.

The treatment is applied on a case-by-case basis and takes into account the general condition of the animal. If he vomits a lot, he is probably dehydrated. It is therefore necessary to administer an intravenous rehydration solution and at the same time give him a painkiller.

The use of an endoscope may be necessary when the foreign body that is still in the cat's stomach needs to be removed. This is a flexible tube with a mini-camera that is inserted into the stomach after the animal is anesthetized. Manual massages can be enough to extract the ingested object from the intestine. In this way, it is simply expelled through the natural channels (anus).

However, if the foreign body is stuck in the intestine, the veterinarian will perform surgery and the animal will remain in the hospital for several days so that it can be perfectly rehydrated, the treatment for pain can take effect, digestion can return to normal and the animal can recover. As soon as he is discharged from the clinic, and until the removal of the sutures if they are not absorbable (i.e. for 12 to 14 days), the little feline is fitted with a collar. This prevents him from licking or scratching the wound caused by the surgical procedure. A small diet is also necessary and daily rations should be reduced at the beginning, then increased little by little.

It should be noted, however, that if the object remains in the intestine for too long, or if it has perforated the intestinal wall, there is a strong possibility that fecal matter has spilled into the abdomen. This is an extremely serious situation that results in the cat's death in about 9 out of 10 cases.

Adopting a cat or a kitten is a responsible act. Each master must be vigilant so that his little companion is protected against this type of misadventure which, let's remember, can cost him his life. Caution is required and must be even more important with a kitten in its discovery period because it tends to put everything in its mouth. That's why you should never leave him alone with bits of wool, cat toys and other small objects made of detachable parts, as you do with young children who put everything in their mouths.

Lipoma or fat ball in cats: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Lipoma is not very frequent in cats, and it is especially the older ones that can present this kind of benign tumor. Let's take a look at this ball of fat which, depending on its location, can be very annoying for the animal but does not represent any particular danger.

What is a lipoma?

The term lipoma refers to a mass of fatty tissue, i.e. a ball of fat. The fat cells that store fat in the body sometimes proliferate very locally to the point of forming this benign tumor. The lipoma is not life threatening but it can be uncomfortable because of its position. Indeed, it can be placed in any place, but it is when it is located in the thorax, in the abdomen or in the heart of the muscular fibers that it is the most annoying. These cases of figures are however relatively rare.

Lipoma in cats: the symptoms that should alert you

As a general rule, the cat which develops one or more lipomas presents the following symptoms:
  • An oval or round ball with a soft consistency,
  • A mass is perceptible to palpation, in the subcutaneous layer, which can be mistaken for a simple swelling, especially in short-haired cats,
Lameness if the fat ball is in a paw and presses on a nerve. When it compresses vessels and disrupts lymphatic circulation, the owner may notice a swollen area.

The animal does not feel any pain, at most it may be bothered by a sort of tugging depending on the location of the lipoma. It is necessary to consult the veterinarian when one suspects the presence of one or more lipomas in his cat.

My cat has a fat ball: is it a lipoma? Diagnosis and treatment

The cat is first of all auscultated, and by palpation the veterinarian can already spot some typical characteristics of lipoma. However, the diagnosis can only be confirmed by further examinations because the clinical examination alone is not sufficient to ensure that the cat has a simple fat ball. It is necessary to take a sample with a needle. This is called a biopsy. The sample of cells taken is then analyzed under a microscope. The diagnosis is then confirmed if the ball is made of fat. And when the cat presents multiple lipomas, the veterinarian speaks of lipomatosis.

There is no drug treatment that can remove a lipoma. The veterinarian may decide to perform surgery if the fatty mass is misplaced and causes discomfort to the cat. If this is not the case, the practitioner may decide that it is not necessary to operate at this time, but to wait for the lipoma to grow, which can take time because it is slow growing. Removal of a lipoma by surgery is not desirable either if the anesthesia involves any risk to the cat. Of course, cats at the end of their lives are not operated on for a lipoma either.

There is no solution to prevent lipomas from developing. But what is important is to consult as soon as one perceives a ball while stroking his cat because it can be a fatty mass, totally harmless, but unfortunately it can also be a malignant tumor without common measure with the lipoma. A diagnosis must therefore always be made as early as possible. If it reveals a malignant tumor, the cat can be treated quickly and the chances of saving it will be much greater.

How to mourn the death of your cat?

The death of a cat is a terrible ordeal for everyone in the foster family, and it is difficult to cope with. The grieving period consists of several stages. It is a complex and normal process that varies considerably from one owner to another and also according to the conditions in which the cat died. To count on the support of understanding people is essential. As for adopting a new animal, it is not an easy decision to make. Let's take stock.

Death of a cat: a difficult ordeal for the owner

The death of a cat is a painful event that the owner finds difficult to accept. This absence within the household creates a void because the animal is considered a member of the family. Its disappearance leads to different feelings that will follow one another over time, such as denial, anger, sadness, resignation. The mourning period ends for some masters with acceptance, but others are unable to cope with it and find themselves in depression. If the first ones succeed in rebuilding themselves, the second ones have a lot of difficulties to see the end of the tunnel.

The owner of the animal is more likely to prepare psychologically for the departure of his small animal when it is suffering from a long incurable disease. The death putting an end to the suffering of the cat is then considered as a deliverance. The pain of the owner is of course immense, but he can mourn with more serenity in these conditions, except if he had to take the heavy decision to euthanize his animal. This is likely to generate in some people a feeling of guilt and it is very complicated to assume. It adds to the sadness.

On the other hand, mourning is often a longer and more painful process for people who lose their little feline by accident or because of a sudden illness. They have not had the opportunity to prepare themselves for the loss.

Finally, in children, the emotional charge generated by the death of a cat is often even stronger and this can generate anguish and psychological disorders - especially in the youngest - because they tend to identify with their pet.

Death of your cat: surround yourself with loved ones to get through this difficult time

It is recommended not to isolate oneself after the death of one's pet, because it is to run the risk of closing in on oneself and not being able to mourn. On the contrary, it is possible to get support from family or friends. Many of them have undoubtedly already experienced this type of event, and their experience can be of great help. This is not always the case for people who have never had a pet or who have not established a strong bond with their pet. The loss of a pet is a source of deep sadness, so it is essential to be able to surround yourself with loved ones who are understanding and full of kindness.

It is also necessary to take into account that all the members of the family are affected by the death of a cat, and that each one must be able to mourn. It is therefore an ordeal to be shared so that parents and children can support each other and help each other through this ordeal. Crying together, but also listening to each other, remembering the many good moments lived with the cat, allow everyone to ease their pain and to know that they are not alone in being upset.

Should you adopt another animal to mourn your cat?

This is a delicate subject since each person has their own feelings. Some owners will want to take in another cat as soon as they have lost their little one, to fill the huge void that his death causes. Others, on the other hand, are convinced that by adopting a new pet they will feel that they are drawing a line under the past and replacing their cat. They are afraid of feeling guilty by being indifferent.

It is important to know that taking back a cat is perfectly legitimate. It is not advisable to give it up if the desire is strong and you are not trying to "replace" your recently deceased pet with another. This new adoption should not be decided to relieve one's sadness, but because one still has a lot of love to give to an animal. Of course, you have to be aware that each little cat is a special being, with its own personality and character, and that it cannot replace the one you lost.

There is no shame or guilt in wanting to share happy times with another cat. But this decision should not be made in a hurry. In any case, it is essential to talk about it with the other members of the family, and a new adoption can only be decided if everyone wants it. This means that everyone has come to terms with the death of their pet. Acceptance is also one of the steps in the grieving process. It occurs when the death of the cat is admitted and that one is ready to take again taste with the everyday life. It is at this point that the exit from the mourning period begins.

How to wean a kitten ? At what age? The method

A crucial stage in a kitten's life, weaning is the sign of maternal detachment and the beginning of its independence. This passage requires time and is carried out gradually so that the animal can build up a solid health capital.

When and at what age should weaning start?

The cat feeds on mother's milk or formula during the first four weeks of its life. Weaning can therefore start at this time (and never before!) It extends over a period of one month. During these first four weeks, the kitty will only sleep and eat. Then, his teeth will gradually appear. This is a sign that he can gradually move from an exclusively liquid diet to a solid diet. But this transition should be natural. Don't force anything. Just like children, kittens will observe their mother first. She'll be more alert and eager to explore her environment. It will be interested in its mother's food, the use of her litter box, the games she plays. That's why it's important to make sure that during these periods, the bowls and litter boxes are perfectly clean.

From the 5th week on, you'll notice that kittens will grow slower. Indeed, they will suckle less and less their mother and will prefer to put their nose in her bowl to taste some kibbles. Ideally, these should be soft to facilitate swallowing and digestion. So think about moistening them. This period is called vicariance.

In any case, the cat can no longer meet the energy needs of her kittens through her milk. The latter grow and need more nutrients to develop properly.

As for weaning, it is completed around twelve to thirteen weeks. The mother will naturally reject her kittens by herself.

Tips for feeding your kitten

Proteins, vitamins, minerals, it is important that the food consumed by the kittens is full of energy and that it stimulates spontaneous consumption. Because it is during this period that they discover taste. And if they don't like it from the start, they may develop a growth problem by refusing to eat.

The kibble given to the cat must also be adapted to the kittens. Therefore, it is advisable to choose directly kitty food that has enough nutrients to meet the energy needs of the nursing mother and, in addition, meet the nutritional requirements of the kittens.

Growth monitoring

To make sure your kitten is growing properly, it's a good idea to weigh her every week. If there is no increase in weight or if there is a slowdown, it may indicate a pathological disorder or a nutritional concern.

Children eat between 3 and 5 meals daily. At the same time, fresh water should be continuously available to get them used to drinking as soon as possible. Good hydration helps reduce the risk of urinary stones.

Finally, watch out for any digestive problems, especially diarrhea caused by poor assimilation of starch in the digestive system.

What are the differences in character between a male cat and a female cat?

Some people say that cats and female cats are different in terms of character, others say that the character of cats does not vary much between the two sexes, but that there are some changes after sterilization. What exactly is the situation? It is important to take stock before adopting a small feline, because the character of the animal can influence the choice of an owner. But what also counts is to distinguish between character and behavior. This is what we will see together.

Male cat and female cat: the characters are similar

Contrary to popular belief, there are no significant differences in character between a male and a female of the same breed. We can therefore ensure that there are a large number of traits common to all cats, whether males or females. Indeed, both are mostly :
  • Curious,
  • Independent,
  • Attached to their territory,
  • Customary.
Moreover, males and females are cuddly... in their hours.

Character of a male cat and a female cat: the life story in question

Some cat breeds are more affectionate than others, or more independent. But the personality of a cat or female cat is mostly formed over time. It is therefore largely the animal's past that impacts its character. The factors that come into play are numerous. It can for example be :
  • The conditions of weaning and the age at which the kitten was separated from its mother,
  • The behavior of the master towards his animal, knowing that a cat or a female cat will have a different character according to whether his breeder has been affectionate or on the contrary violent towards him.
In the same way, a small feline used to be around humans will show itself very different afterwards compared to a male or female cat living far from humans. The education that the animal has received and its socialization have a great influence on its character. Therefore, when choosing a cat, it is very important to learn about its life history. However, it should be noted that with patience and a lot of love, a master has the possibility to change - at least partially - some of the character traits of his little companion.

Character and behavior of a male cat or a female cat: what is the difference?

It is not necessary to confuse character and behavior. Moreover, behaviorists are unanimous: it is more at this level that we can see some differences between a cat and a female cat. And these differences appear essentially as long as these small felines are not sterilized.

What distinguishes them is the urine marking, and this has little to do with the character. The male deposits urine everywhere in the house, a problem that the owner of a female cat is not frequently exposed to! But the problem disappears after the cat is spayed. And as far as female cats are concerned, they are different from males during the period of heat, which does not happen anymore after their sterilization. This procedure shows an improvement in behavior and a reduction in aggression in small felines of both sexes, who generally become calmer, and then there are hardly any differences between a cat and a female cat.

Urinary incontinence in cats: how to solve the problem?

For some time now, you have noticed traces of urine in your cat's basket and/or on the floor of your home. Your cat may be suffering from urinary incontinence. What are the signs, causes and treatments? Let's decipher a condition that can hide another one.

What is urinary incontinence in cats?

Urinary incontinence is defined as the inability of the cat to control the muscles of the urethra, so that the sphincter does not close. This phenomenon prevents the feline from properly controlling its urinary emissions, generating involuntary leakage throughout the day. Intermittent or permanent, urinary incontinence in cats should be taken seriously as a sign of a physical or emotional disorder.

When is a cat incontinent?

While the manifestations of incontinence depend on its origin, they all have in common that leakage occurs without the cat getting into position to urinate. The amounts vary from a few drops to streaks of urine on the floor. Leakage occurs under a variety of circumstances, such as when the cat is sleeping, active (playing), getting up, lying down, or moving around. It is important to note that the incontinent cat often has normal urination, i.e., voluntary emission of urine, when moving into position.

What are the signs of urinary incontinence in cats?

Urinary incontinence in cats can be confirmed through various observations:
  • The cat's sleeping area is wet;
  • Evidence of urination is found in unusual places;
  • The urogenital area is frequently soiled;
  • His belly and paws are wet;
  • The animal has a strong odor of urine;
  • The animal has skin inflammation or disease;
  • Inflammation (swelling) of the penis or vulva.

What causes urinary incontinence in cats?

Urinary incontinence is a symptom of various conditions or situations including
  • Neurological disorders that no longer allow control of the bladder muscle. Nerve transmission can be altered by various reasons: herniated discs, trauma (spinal, pond, tail, pelvis, hip...);
  • The old age of the animal (more than 10 years) can weaken the tissues which allow to control the contraction and the relaxation of the sphincter, letting then regularly escape some drops of urine;
  • Congenital malformations of the urinary tract (these anatomical anomalies are usually detected early in the cat's life);
  • Kidney disease, kidney stones in the bladder;
  • Inflammation of the bladder; urinary tract infection;
  • Spaying or neutering sometimes results in incontinence due to hormone suppression (estrogen or testosterone);
  • Endocrine or liver pathologies;
  • Obesity can cause sphincter incompetence because excess weight increases intra-abdominal pressure;
  • Diabetes (the diabetic cat drinks a lot and fills the bladder more and more);
  • Diseases such as leukemia or a tumor in the bladder.

How should an incontinent cat be treated?

If your cat shows signs of urinary incontinence, it's important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will perform urine and blood tests and, if necessary, X-rays, ultrasounds and other tests to help determine the source of the urine leakage. From then on, the treatment to be applied will depend on the cause. For example:
  • Surgery in case of congenital malformation;
  • Hormone prescription following castration or sterilization;
  • Antibiotics and other medications in case of urinary tract infection;
  • A specific diet completed if necessary by medication for obese or diabetic cats;
  • Surgery and appropriate care for tumors;
  • Surgery and dietary changes for kidney stones.

Urinary incontinence: what to do at home

Urinary incontinence is difficult to live with on a daily basis, but there are simple ways to help your cat recover and improve his health. As a first step, don't hesitate to talk to your veterinarian who will be able to provide you with information and recommendations. In the meantime, here are some tips to help your feline suffering from chronic incontinence:
  • Don't punish him because urinating outside his litter box is an uncontrollable act for him;
  • Place several litter boxes in your home so that he can urinate as soon as he feels the need;
  • Make it easy for him to get in and out of the litter box with a low rim;
  • Make sure that your cat, especially if it is elderly, does not have to go up and down stairs to relieve itself;
  • Protect delicate areas (bed, sofa, carpet...) with waterproof materials or plastics;
  • Clean your pet's coat as soon as it gets wet.
An important part of treatment is to be... patient! If you are bothered by your cat's accidental urination, be aware that your cat is also bothered by it. Calmly mop up his leaks and help him live as smoothly as possible without the stress and excitement that can make the situation worse.

Baby cat: 10 things to think about before he comes home

It's decided, we adopt a baby cat! It's time to get ready at home, because welcoming a kitten is a process that requires preparation to ensure that it has everything it needs. No question of improvising. In addition to specific kitten food, here are the 10 things you need to take care of before a baby cat arrives in your family.

1 - The toilet house

There is a complete range of toilet houses and litter boxes, the first ones being closed and the second ones being open... It's up to each master to choose what he prefers. Whichever model you choose, you must make sure that it is easy to clean completely, which must be done as regularly as possible for reasons of hygiene. The kitten should feel comfortable and confident in it, so that it does not relieve itself in a corner of the house. This will certainly happen, but this type of accident does not justify punishing the little feline.

2 - The bottle

If you're welcoming a very small kitten who still needs to suckle because he's not weaned, the graduated bottle equipped with a silicone teat is the essential accessory to offer him. Be careful, it should only contain formula milk adapted to the animal, but especially not cow's milk! The bottle must be used at each feeding until the kitty is 3 weeks old (6 to 8 times per 24 hours). From this age on, he will only start to suckle. Then he will gradually discover solid, wet and dry food.

3 - The bowl

This is the complement of the bottle. We put in it moistened kibbles or pâtée, which must be adapted to the baby cat. It is placed far from the litter box and is made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel. Plastic should be avoided.

4 - The water fountain

It's perfect for keeping the water fresh and clean, but you can also choose a simple container that's only meant to hold water. It doesn't matter which option you choose, the main thing is that the little cat always has water available. Note that the water fountain or bowl should be placed a few meters away from the litter box and not right next to it.

5 - The sleeping box

Yes! The little kitty won't necessarily like the furry basket his new owner has invested a fortune in. Often, cats prefer a simple cardboard box, not too big, because this material is comfortable and kittens feel perfectly protected inside a box. The kitty will be able to claw happily without the owner having to worry about damage. Of course, nothing prevents you from buying a hammock, a kitten basket or even a wicker basket in which you can put a blanket and some toys... In the end, it's the little animal that will choose its sleeping box over time.

6 - A litter bag

Indispensable complement to the toilet house - unless you decide from the start to encourage your kitten to relieve herself outside - the soiled and amalgamated litter must be replaced by a clean one several times a day. Today, there are bags of very good quality litter that is highly absorbent, reduces bad odors and is completely biodegradable.

7 - Care products

It is fundamental to teach the baby cat to accept that his eyes, ears and teeth are cleaned and that his coat is brushed regularly. There is a wide choice of care products for baby cats, including shampoo. Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice on which products are best suited to your young kitty.

8 - Toys

From balls of wool to kibble dispensers, interactive toys, circuits of all kinds, fishing rods... We can say that our kittens are spoiled. You should not hesitate to buy different models of games and toys so that the little feline does not get bored. The game is essential for the development of the animal and its good balance. It also allows the master to share moments of complicity with his little companion.

9 - A cat tree

Not only does it allow the baby cat to do its claws there rather than on the couch, but it is also an ideal place to sleep. Cats love to rest up high, near a window for example, because they can keep an eye on everything that's going on outside.

10 - A transport basket

Perfect and indispensable for taking the kitten to the veterinarian or on vacation, the transport basket must be chosen to be completely removable in order to be cleaned from top to bottom as regularly as possible. Be careful if you travel by plane with your kitty, the transport cage must meet specific criteria.

With all this and a lot of love, the baby cat has every chance of living happily. His master only has to insure his kitten from 2 or 3 months old with a pet health insurance to be able to take care of the health of his little feline at a lower cost. All you have to do is use a pet insurance comparison service to receive several offers and then choose the formula that best meets your expectations.

Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (FHC): symptoms, treatment and prevention

Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a syndrome that should be taken seriously as it is secondary to a serious disease. Some cats have symptoms, while in other cases, FHC is asymptomatic. Let's find out what the warning signs are, what the diagnosis of FHC is based on and if there is a treatment. Finally, let's see if feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can be prevented.

What is FHC (feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)?

FHC is the name given to the disease in English, but it is also called HCM in French. It is the feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a syndrome whose causes have not yet been identified. FHC is a thickening of the heart muscle (called myocardial hypertrophy).

FHC is sometimes genetic in origin. It occurs in a cat with heart disease but not only in a cat with heart disease. The evolution of FHC varies from one cat to another, from a short time (a few months) to a very long time (a few years).

Cats of any age can be affected by feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, whether they are alley cats or purebred cats. But it is known that the most affected cats are for example the Sphynx, the Maine coon, the British (longhair and shurthair) and the Ragdoll.

In most cases, FHC occurs in small cats that already suffer from hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure or hypertension.

FHC (Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy): Symptoms

There are no specific symptoms for this syndrome, and worse: a very severely affected cat may be completely asymptomatic and even on cardiac auscultation no abnormality is detected. This is the reason why sometimes the sudden death of the animal is deplored. However, when manifestations are detectable, they can be:
  • Difficulty in breathing,
  • A heart murmur,
  • An arrhythmia,
  • Tachycardia,
  • Pulmonary oedema,
  • Unexplainable and rapid fatigue during effort,
  • Paralysis of the hind limbs due to a thrombus (clot).
At the slightest suspicious symptom, it is essential to consult a veterinarian urgently. In any case, it is important to make sure that your cat is regularly monitored since some small cats affected by FHC do not show any symptoms. If they are never seen by a veterinarian, then there is no chance of detecting a condition that could lead to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

FHC: diagnosis and treatment

The detection of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is difficult because the veterinarian may observe a normal heart rhythm on stethoscope auscultation. He must then look for an underlying disease.

Complementary examinations to the clinical examination are necessary, such as a chest X-ray and an ultrasound which allows to measure the thickness of the myocardial wall but also to look for possible clots. A biochemical workup may also be performed as well as blood pressure measurement.

FHC has no specific treatment. But because it is a secondary condition to a pathology, the veterinarian must treat the cause after identifying it. In addition, the veterinarian is careful to prevent any possible complications. Also, the care protocol is always personalized. It should be noted that a hospitalization allowing to place the cat under oxygen therapy is essential when the animal suffers from a brutal decompensation. This allows the cat's cardiac and respiratory function to be stabilized.

Thereafter, the cat must undergo twice a year monitoring examinations by means of echocardiography. This provides an assessment of the progression of feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after proper management.

Preventing feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: the solution

The best solution for prevention at the present time is to detect carrier cats as early as possible in order to sterilize them so that they cannot reproduce and therefore transmit the responsible gene. However, genetic tests performed for this purpose are not very reliable.

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