Tag Archives: pets

Overweight Cats & Why Owners Should Stop Being Offended

Owners of overweight cats need to hear this, and hear it without any type of sugar coating or euphemisms.  When I tell you your cat is overweight, it’s because your cat is overweight.  I’m not calling you fat, I am not picking on you, and I am not saying you are a bad person.

I can’t stress this enough – it’s not about you.  When I make a recommendation for your cat to lose weight, it is only because of the high number of risks associated with overweight cats, much the same as for a human.  It’s also because your cat is far too heavy.

People hear these risks so often that I think they’ve become desensitized to it, and therefore complacent when it comes to actually changing it.  Even if it may not be something that you take into account for your own daily life, at least do your cat the courtesy of helping them. They depend solely on you for it. A cat doesn’t understand the risks and complications of obesity so it is up to you as their sole caregiver to help them lead a happier, healthier life.

From: http://charlotte-harris.net

How can you tell if your cat is overweight?  Look at his head.  If it looks tiny in proportion to his body, your cat is too fat.  If your cat is over seven kilograms (ish), chances are they are overweight.  If your cat can’t lick it’s own ass, it’s too fat.   If any of these things apply, you need to take a good look at the way you’re feeding.  What may seem like a miniscule amount of food to us can actually be a normal meal for your feline.

It seems that people think that treats and a buffet of food is the key to keeping a kitty healthy and happy.  Oh look how cute he is, meowing because he wants more food.  Oh look, I’m feeling sad so I am going to get some love from my cat by feeding it some more treats.  This is not OK.  If you do these things even though it is making your cat rotund, then you should re-think being a cat owner.

You are not making their lives better by giving them all of the food and treats they want – you are contributing to a poor quality of life.  You are shortening that life, and making what they have left of it more and more uncomfortable with each pound they gain.  Outward signs that your cat may be uncomfortable or feeling effects of obesity are:

  • Panting (this is NOT normal for a cat and indicates distress)
  • Unwillingness to climb or jump
  • Inability to groom properly causing scalding around hind end
  • Itchy, scaly skin
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Inappropriate urination

By inappropriate urination, I mean urinating or defecating outside of the litterbox.  Maybe he just can’t fit, or maybe he’s trying to tell you something.  A common misconception I hear of on a constant basis is that urinating outside the litter box happens because the cat is unhappy with you, the owner.  This is silly and you need to stop thinking this way.  While it may seem like they have the capacity for vindication sometimes, this is false.  Inappropriate urination is understood to be a behaviour indicative of stress or urinary tract disease.  Don’t believe me? Here’s a University who has also said it:

http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_resources/brochure_housesoiling.cfm

Something in your cat’s world, be it a new person, thing, or even renovations, can trigger these behaviours and getting to the bottom of which one it is can help.  It is heartbreaking to see cats being brought in for euthanasia for something like this because the majority of cases can be helped with a little guidance from the vet and effort from the owner.  If you have a situation like this, please ask your veterinarian for information first.

http://www.petobesityprevention.org

People need to realize that what you may think is a good weight for cats is actually much too high.  It seems like it has become a social norm to have a chunky cat at home.  If your cat doesn’t have a defined waist or it takes more than a light touch to feel ribs – your cat is too fat.  Here’s a little comparison to help this sink in – 1 pound gained on a cat is like 15 pounds on an average adult woman.  Click here for the full chart.

Injecting your cat after every meal probably doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, does it?  Approximately 0.5% of cats will develop the disease due to obesity. This puts the numbers IN THE MILLIONS.  I don’t think it’s fair to these animals to feed them the way people do.  Let’s face it, there’s probably a solution and the onus needs to be put back on the owner to seek it out and make change.  Your cat is not mad at you, not getting back at you because you left, your cat is stressed.  It is your job to help.

Here’s more information on feline diabetes: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/brochure_diabetes.cfm

See the bottom of this post for websites with statistics.

From: http://blog.petflow.com

http://www.canadianveterinarians.net/

http://www.petobesityprevention.org/

 

Feel free to shoot me an email with questions.

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Loss

Recently, in the busyness that is my life, I have come across an experience completely new to me.  It was one that I had hoped would never come to pass and that I had been dreading for months.

On Monday, September the 8th, I euthanized my family dog.  My first puppy.  My playmate as a kid and comforting presence as a teenager.  She used to make sure I was up in time for work in the morning, although I don’t think her motives were entirely pure.  I still believe that she only did it to get me out of my warm, cozy bed so that she could climb in and bask in the comfiness.

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She was born sometime in November, 1997.  For a dog of her size, she was well into her geriatric years.  There were many things that influenced our decision to finally lay her to rest, but one big one was her inability to do the things she loved.  Chasing balls, chasing really anything that moved including one rabbit in particular who she never did catch…  This would leave her stiff and sore and probably regretting her brief lapse into puppy-hood.

I still vividly remember the day she came home with my dad, an early Christmas present.  His timed reveal was thrown off because just as he was lecturing us on having to be good for the next twenty years, she popped out of his jacket and surveyed her new surroundings.  Her name was Smooch, after running up to my dad and kissing him thoroughly when he went to pick her out as a puppy.

As she got older and sorer, she no longer beat me up the stairs as she always did.  I would often slow down and let her get by me as she hurried slower and slower with each passing year, just because I knew it made her day.  She always had to be in view or with her family, and scouting the upstairs first was at the top of her priority list.

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I will miss the way she would do laps around the ground floor, so rambunctious in her excitement that someone had come home.  Even though she would still do this from time to time as she aged, the laps got slower and the corners eventually too tight for her to make in time without making a little bobble here and there.

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The decision is so final that I had a hard time coming to terms with making it.  Even though I knew, in both my professional mind and my emotional one, that I was making the right decision, I still felt like second-guessing myself.  When my family finally came to me and inquired about the process, I knew that there was no more avoiding it.  As my first dog, I had a hard time letting go.

Now, I have grieved and I have even felt a glimmer of relief that her life will no longer be uncomfortable or painful.  She will no longer wander as if she were lost, or groan as she got up from a nap.  I will no longer lose sleep thinking about whether or not she is in pain, or lonely, or confused.  I know that she lived a happy life full of memories, loving people, snacks she wasn’t supposed to have and tennis balls.  One full of bonfires where she would herd the guests and their vehicles into their parking spaces, and mooch food from the gullible ones.  She was so good at that, and rightfully earned her nickname, “Mooch”.

While in college for veterinary technology, I came across a poem that I knew immediately would one day be the one I used to console myself following Smooch’s inevitable passing.  Let me first say that I am not one for poetry, nor have I ever been, but this was a piece that was undeniably suitable and has brought me some small consolation following this loss.  It still brings a little tear to my eye to read it.

Smooch was a good dog, the best really, and I will miss her as long as I have the capacity to feel loss.  Sometimes the most appropriate decisions are the hardest, but she did her job being an admirable, wonderful pet and I believe I owed it to her to do the right thing.

You will forever be loved and deeply missed.

Goodbye, my friend.

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Common Pet Myths: Busted

There are so many ways people care for their pets and so many old wives’ tales that really need to be put to rest.

First and foremost is something I hear almost on a daily basis and it drives me bonkers. When I ask if their pet is on flea or parasite protection, I’m often met with, “Oh I don’t need that. My pet only goes out in the backyard with me”. Is that right? So your presence alone scares all those little critters away? You’ll have to patent that magical force-field that keeps parasites off your property, you sly devil you. Just put it in a pet food commercial, people will believe anything in those.

Fleas in particular are crafty little jerks and can hitch a ride on anything that comes in contact with the outside environment. Then that person/thing heads on inside and voila! A flea infestation has begun. Stop being so naive.

I understand that not everyone has the same knowledge and education when it comes to parasites but let’s exercise a bit of common sense here.

Another belief that threatens to make me snap on a regular basis is the one where people think over-the-counter flea products are just as good as the ones you can purchase at the clinic. This truly bothers me because I have seen what these products can do to pets, cats in particular. Cats come in having seizures, twitching, and completely incoherent. Dogs more often present with chemical burns. All because they’ve been poisoned by these products and if you had actually seen one of these cases you would wonder how any pet store could sell them in good conscience. See the bottom of the page for statistics.

This isn’t the place the cut corners. These products are dangerous as well as utterly ineffective. The difference between these and veterinary products is that the pet store versions are simply pesticides. The ones carried by your vet clinic have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness and are a no-brainer for anyone with the sense of a billy goat.

I’ll limit myself to one more. It has become apparent to me that people have come to trust commercials for nutrition information rather than people who actually have your pet’s health in mind, instead of trying to sell you second-rate food. They have this annoying habit of bragging that their pet is on a corn-free food with no chicken by-products.

The simple fact of the matter is: there is NOTHING wrong with either of these things. Chicken by-products are merely things like hearts, livers, etc which actually have a lot of nutritional value. The same goes for corn.

I invite you to do your own test at home. Pay attention to the amount of stool your pet produces while on a food from the grocery story versus a food purchased from your clinic. They will be smaller while on the one from the vet. Why? Because your pet’s body is actually using what’s in it, instead of defecating all of the useless bits in the crappy food.

Yes, there are animals who develop sensitivities. Here’s a fact – they can develop sensitivities or allergies to anything they’re exposed to for long periods of time. Stop allowing yourself to be brainwashed by a commercial just because they have a cute kitty telling you he loves it. Leave it to a professional.

If you have a myth that you’d like me to touch on, feel free to leave it in the comments section or shoot me an email. I will do my best to give you an educated, articulate response.

http://humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/flea_tick_OTC_pet_products.html

http://www.hartzvictims.org

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DdG9mcsP21M