Plants Poisonous to Cats

Poisonous Plants

Provided by The Animal Planet

Some plants are more toxic than others, so we suggest that you be particularly aware of the dangers associated with these common houseplants.

  • Lillies (Lilium spp). Although the toxin involved has not been identified, one bite of a leaf or a taste of the pollen from a plant in the lily family can cause lethargy and vomiting within 12 hours of ingestion. If not treated, your cat may go into kidney failure.
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta). Once exclusively an outdoor plant, the sago palm has recently begun making an appearance on windowsills and coffee tables. The entire plant is poisonous to cats, but the seed pod, sometimes called the nut, contains the greatest amount of toxin. Just a few nibbles can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures. If left untreated, cats can experience liver failure.
  • Calcium Oxalate plants. These include dieffenbachia, philodendrons and Chinese evergreens to name just a few. Insoluble calcium oxalate, microscopic crystals that look like needles, is present throughout these plants. One bite and the needle-like crystals shoot into a cat’s gums and tongue. Symptoms include drooling and vomiting. To reduce irritation, give your cat goat milk or other calcium-containing substances, such as yogurt. If enough mouth swelling occurs, breathing could become difficult, but this is rare.
  • Dracaena. Over 40 species are included in this family of popular houseplants, including the red-edged Dracaena, the dragon plant, and the Dracaena Janet Craig. Cats that eat the long, skinny fronds that are typical in the Dracaena plant family will vomit, sometimes with blood, become depressed and lose their appetites. Kittens can get a little wobbly and appear to be drunk. Luckily, these plants are not usually lethal and symptoms should disappear in 12 to 24 hours.
  • If your cat decides a houseplant is put to much better use as food than as decoration, your first step should be to call your vet. She will want to know what plant ended up in your cat’s stomach. Use a smartphone or digital camera to take a close-up picture of the plant and email it to your veterinarian for identification. If you’re not sure which plant your cat has gotten into, get your pet to your vet as quickly as possible so that the vet can observe any symptoms for clues.

    If the plant is toxic, your vet may suggest inducing vomiting at home or giving your cat activated charcoal capsules. Activated charcoal, which can be purchased at a pharmacy, binds to toxins while still in the stomach, preventing absorption into the blood stream.

    It’s a good idea to have activated charcoal on hand for emergencies, but you should never attempt any home remedy without contacting your veterinarian first. Making a cat vomit or swallow pills can be tricky, and activated charcoal capsules are not as concentrated as the liquid version used by veterinarians. Getting to the vet should be your priority. If something as toxic as a lily is ingested, expect your cat to be placed on intravenous fluids for a couple of days to flush out the toxins.

    The ASPCA’s Web site has a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants. The center is also staffed with veterinarians available to answer questions if you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous substance. The 24-hour emergency poison hotline number is 1-888-426-4435. A fee is required but may be well worth it for your peace of mind or your cat’s life.

     

    Nail Trimming 101

    Nail Trimming 101

    Provided by ASPCA

    Make manicures enjoyable and easy for both you and your cat
    Does your kitty disappear when the clippers come out? Do you have to wrap her in a towel to give her a manicure? According to our behavior experts, calm, enjoyable nail-trimming sessions are not only possible—that’s how they should always be! Check out the following tips for getting kitty to relax while you trim, turning nail-clipping sessions into enjoyable together time.

    Setting the Mood
    Ideally you should introduce your cat to nail clipping when she’s a kitten. Choose a chair in a quiet room where you can comfortably sit your cat on your lap. Get her when she’s relaxed and even sleepy, like in her groggy, after-meal state. Take care that she isn’t able to spy any birds, wild animals or action outside nearby windows—and make sure no other pets are around.

    Make Friends with the Paw
    Gently take one of your cat’s paws between your fingers and massage for no longer than the count of three. If your cat pulls her paw away, don’t squeeze or pinch, just follow her gesture, keeping in gentle contact. When she’s still again, give her pad a little press so that the nail extends out, then release her paw and immediately give her a treat. Do this every other day on a different toe until you’ve gotten to know all ten.

    Get Acquainted with the Clipper
    Your cat should be at ease with the sound of the clippers before you attempt to trim her nails. Sit her on your lap, put a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat. (If she sniffs the clippers, set a treat on top of them for her to eat.) Next, while massaging one of your cat’s toes, gently press her toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding your cat’s paw gently. Now release her toe and quickly give her a treat.

    Never Cut to the Quick 
    The pink part of a cat’s nail, called the quick, is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Do NOT cut this sensitive area. Snip only the white part of the claw. It’s better to be cautious and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting this area. If you do accidentally cut the quick, any bleeding can be stopped with a styptic powder or stick. It’s a good idea to keep it nearby while you trim.

    Time to Clip
    With your cat in your lap facing away from you, take one of her toes in your hand, massage and press the pad until the nail extends. Check to see how much of a trim her nails need and notice where the quick begins. Now trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release your cat’s toe and quickly give her a treat. If your cat didn’t notice, clip another nail, but don’t trim more than two claws in one sitting until your cat is comfortable. Be sure to reward her with a special treat afterward. Please note, you may want to do just one paw at a time for the first couple of sessions.

    Clipping Schedule
    A nail-trimming every ten days to two weeks is a nice routine to settle into. If your cat refuses to let you clip her claws, ask your vet or a groomer for help.

    What Not to Do

  • If your cat resists, don’t raise your voice or punish her.
  • Never attempt a clipping when your cat is agitated or you’re upset. And don’t rush—you may cut into the quick.
  • Don’t try to trim all of your cat’s claws at one time.
  • Do NOT declaw. This surgery involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes and is highly discouraged by SNAP Cats. Instead, trim regularly, provide your cat with appropriate scratching posts and ask your veterinarian about soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws.
  • Hypoallergenic Cats: The Best Cats for People with Allergies

    Hypoallergenic Cats
    Best Cats for People with Allergies

    Provided by Pet MD

    Want to adopt a cat, but suffer from allergies? Some feline breeds are considered “hypoallergenic,” which means they produce fewer allergens than others. Cats do produce pet dander, a common allergen, but the culprit for the estimated 10 percent of the population who are allergic to cats may be a protein, Fel d 1, that is present in cat saliva.

    Technically, there is no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic domestic cat (or dog). If your allergy is not severe, these breeds should come pretty close. The following is a guideline which petMD recommends for people who want to adopt a feline, yet feel their options are limited due to allergies.

    DEVON REX
    Just independent enough to be an ideal cat for working families, the Devon Rex will shower its people with love and attention when they are around, and stay out of trouble when they are not. And, because it sheds very little, it does not shower the home in hair.

    CORNISH REX
    The Cornish Rex is a strikingly unusual cat; small to medium in size with an egg-shaped head, long legs, and large ears. Affectionate and attention-seeking, the Cornish Rex is a high energy cat that bonds well with its human family.

    JAVANESE
    The Javanese possesses a high degree of intelligence and seems to understand when spoken to. It will look a person straight in the eye and answer with a meow. In fact, the cat is well-recognized for its excellent communication skills. Javanese are also loyal to a fault and can be easily trained.

    SPHYNX CAT
    Though they appear to be hairless, many Sphynxes are actually covered with a fine gossamery down which can only barely be felt or seen. Because of its fineness, the skin of the Sphynx is often compared to warm suede. It is often heavily wrinkled around the shoulders, between the ears, and around the muzzle. A well-behaved, high energy cat, the Sphynx is a true extrovert who loves human attention and will show off to keep it.

    BALINESE
    The coat on the Balinese is of a silky texture and single coated, with only minimal shedding. In fact, the Balinese is noted for its lack of shedding amongst long coated cats. Speaking and interacting with humans is what it is most fond of. This breed is ranked as one of the most intelligent of cat breeds, and is also remarkable for its good humor, good nature, and high energy. Getting along well with both animals and people is one of the strongest qualities the Balinese possesses.

    ORIENTAL SHORTHAIR
    The Oriental Shorthair is long and slender, with large ears and piercing almond-shaped eyes. It is a member of the Siamese family. However, unlike the Siamese, the Oriental Shorthair comes in over 300 colors and patterns. It is also less “talkative” than the Siamese, but is still fond of chatting and is never too tired to strike up a “conversation.” This is a cat that needs to be the center of attraction. Lavish an Oriental with love and it will return it in full measure.

    RUSSIAN BLUE
    The Russian Blue was named for its coat, which is lavender at the base (root), darkening along the shaft up to the tips of the guard hairs, which are tipped in shimmering silver. One of the more curious and amusing features of the Russian Blue is its “smile.” It has a slightly upturned mouth, which is frequently compared to the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile. The Russian Blue can spend hours amusing itself and does not mind an awful lot if it is left at home alone for the day, but it will be very happy to see you when you do arrive. Elegant, and reserved, this cat is also very playful, and loves to chase after toys and sunbeams.

    BENGAL
    Though it is not a lap cat, the Bengal does enjoy human company and will often stay close to its family members. The Bengal particularly enjoys the company of children, since its energetic nature makes it very fond of playing games.

    COLORPOINT SHORTHAIR
    The Colorpoint Shorthair is a first-cousin of the Siamese, and like its cousin it is a born extrovert, making friends easily, chattering persistently, and showering its owner with love. The Colorpoint is also remarkably sensitive to moods. If someone is moved to tears while watching a tragic movie, this cat will try to bring them comfort.

    SIBERIAN
    The Siberian does not blend easily into the background. It is a large cat, with a lush double coat. This may seem counter intuitive at first, but remember that it is not the hair that makes a cat allergenic. The Siberian is notable for having a low level of the Fel d 1 protein in its saliva, so people with relatively mild allergies will often be able to tolerate living with this affectionate breed.

    PROBLEM SOLVED?
    Now that you know which cat breeds are least likely to set off your allergies, before you go out and search for one to bring home, you may want to check in with your own doctor first. Remember that hypoallergenic does not mean 100% dander or Fel d 1 free. Depending on the severity of your allergy, or if you have asthma, a companion animal may not be a good choice. Also, even for mild allergies, it is best to keep the bedrooms cat-free zones, vaccuum the furniture and floors often, and wash hands always after petting the cat.

    To learn more about pet allergies, visit the American Lung Association.

    FVRCP Vaccine

    FVRCP Vaccine

    What Does FVRCP Stand For?
    Cats are susceptible to many contagious diseases, most of which are caused by viruses. Fortunately, we have vaccines to prevent our feline friends from succumbing to several of the worst ones. A series of four FVRCP injections (three weeks apart) is given to kittens. The vaccine series is usually started at six to eight weeks of age. It is then given as an annual booster for the remainder of the cat’s life. There are three preventive agents in the FVRCP vaccine. The following is an explanation of each of those agents.

    FVR Stands For Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
    Rhinotracheitis is a severe upper respiratory infection caused by a feline type 1, herpes-virus. It is most severe in young kittens and older cats, and is one of the most serious upper respiratory diseases seen in the feline species. The virus is airborne and very contagious in susceptible animals.

    Cats with this infection are lethargic, and show signs of respiratory involvement with much sneezing and coughing. There is usually a discharge from the nostrils and the eyes, and a high temperature may be present. Some cats develop pneumonia and occasionally ulcerations in the eyes. Infested cats do not want to eat or drink because the nostrils are plugged and the throat is sore. Dehydration and weight loss are common.

    The disease is debilitating and chronic. Many cats require hospitalization, intravenous fluids and intensive care to help them get over the infection. Antibiotics are given to treat secondary bacterial infections. Some cats suffer permanent damage to the eyes and the respiratory system. Fortunately, the vaccine is an effective preventive agent.

    C Stands For Calicivirus Infection
    There are several strains of caliciviruses that affect the cat. They can cause a range of diseases, from a mild almost asymptomatic infection, to life-threatening pneumonia. Most cases show only evidence of problems in the mouth, nasal passages and the conjunctiva (mucus membranes) of the eyes.

    Early signs are loss of appetite, elevated temperature and lethargy. Later, sneezing, oral ulcers and discharge from the eyes are seen. The course of the disease in uncomplicated cases is short, and recovery may be expected in seven to ten days. Some of the more virulent strains can cause severe symptoms. They may cause rapid death in young kittens and older cats.

    The disease is transmitted by direct contact with an infected cat or object (bowl, cage, brush, blanket, etc.) that harbors the virus. The virus can survive eight to ten days in the environment. Carrier cats can pass the virus into the environment for up to one year.

    P Stands For Panleukopenia
    Panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper and infectious feline enteritis) is a highly contagious disease characterized by a short course and high mortality rate. The disease is caused by a parvovirus similar to the parvovirus seen in dogs. It is very resistant and may remain infectious in the environment for up to a year.

    The disease is most severe in young kittens, but can affect cats of all ages. The first symptom is loss of appetite, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. A blood count usually shows a lowered number of white blood cells, a fact which helps in diagnosing the infection.

    Infected cats usually must be hospitalized with intensive treatment such as intravenous fluids, antibiotic and supportive care. Mortality rate may reach 90% in young kittens under six months, and may approach 50% in older animals. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the disease.

    Declawing

    Declawing

    If you are considering declawing your cat, please read this. It will only take a moment, and it will give you valuable information to help you in your decision.

    First, you should know that declawing is pretty much an American thing, it’s something people do for their own convenience without realizing what actually happens to their beloved cat. In England declawing is termed “inhumane” and “unnecessary mutilation.” I agree. In many European countries it is illegal. I applaud their attitude.

    Before you make the decision to declaw your cat, there are some important facts you should know. Declawing is not like a manicure. It is serious surgery. Your cat’s claw is not a toenail. It is actually closely adhered to the bone. So closely adhered that to remove the claw, the last bone of your the cat’s claw has to be removed. Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”. When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing. Wheelchairs and bedpans are not an option for a cat.

    No cat lover would doubt that cats–whose senses are much keener than ours–suffer pain. They may, however, hide it better. Not only are they proud, they instinctively know that they are at risk when in a weakened position, and by nature will attempt to hide it. But make no mistake. This is not a surgery to be taken lightly.

    Your cat’s body is perfectly designed to give it the grace, agility and beauty that is unique to felines. Its claws are an important part of this design. Amputating the important part of their anatomy that contains the claws drastically alters the conformation of their feet. The cat is also deprived of its primary means of defense, leaving it prey to predators if it ever escapes to the outdoors.

    I have also had people tell me that their cat’s personality changed after being declawed. Although, the medical community does not recognize this as potential side effect.

    Okay, so now you realize that declawing is too drastic a solution, but you’re still concerned about keeping your household furnishings intact. Is there an acceptable solution? Happily, the answer is yes. A big, joyful, humane YES! Actually there are several. The following website “Cat Scratching Solutions” provides many solutions as well as and insight into the psychology of why cats scratch. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post (sisal posts are by far the best). You can trim the front claws. You can also employ aversion methods. One of the best solutions I’ve found is Soft Paws®.

    Soft Paws are lightweight vinyl nail caps that you glue on the cat’s front claws. They’re great for households with small children and are extremely useful for people who are away from home all day and can’t exercise the watchfulness necessary to train a cat to use a scratching post. Soft Paws® are easy to apply and last about four to six weeks. They come in clear or colors–which are really fun. Now that’s a kitty manicure! The colored caps look spiffy on Tabby or Tom and have the added advantage of being more visible when one finally comes off. Then you simply replace it. You can find Soft Paws® on the web by clicking here or call 1-800-989-2542.

    You need to remember, though, that the caps and nail trimming should only be used on indoor cats who will not be vulnerable to the dangers of the outdoors.

    For a list of countries in which declawing is either illegal, or considered extremely inhumane and only performed only under extreme circumstances, or for medical reasons, CLICK HERE.

    Not yet convinced? Click Here for “The Truth about Declawing – Technical Facts.”

    Cleft Soft Palate

    Cleft Soft Palate

    Soft palate disorders are usually congenital defects of the fleshy tissue at the back of the throat that separates the oral and nasal cavities. The most common disorders are a defect or “cleft” in the palate or an elongation of the palate. The soft palate can be traumatized and lacerated, such as following a penetrating stick injury.

    Kittens born with palate defects may have problems early on in their development, in the case of clefts. Untreated cleft soft palate can cause difficulty nursing, failure to thrive, pneumonia and death.

    What to Watch For

  • Kittens that dribble milk from their noses when feeding
  • Coughing and gagging
  • Thin and poorly nourished pups
  • Excitable young brachycephalic dogs with lots of airway noise emanating from the back of their throat, as though they are gagging
  • Diagnosis

  • The diagnosis of a cleft soft palate is usually made from the history; information about the cat’s age, sex and breed (signalment); and physical examination. A defect exists between the two sides of the palate leading to a split, which often involves the hard palate, the bony separation between mouth and nose.
  • Anesthesia or sedation may be necessary to visualize the tissues in a young squirming kitten.
  • The diagnosis of an elongated soft palate is made from the history, signalment and physical examination; thorough visualization of the soft palate almost always requires anesthesia.
  • Chest X-rays are useful in newborn kittens to assess for pneumonia, and to assess for concurrent diseases such as a narrowed trachea (tracheal hypoplasia) and heart abnormalities.
  • There are no blood abnormalities specific for soft palate disorders.
  • Treatment

  • Young kittens with a diagnosis of cleft soft palate should be tube fed until at least three months of age before undergoing corrective surgery to close the defect.
  • Traumatic injuries to the palate should be repaired shortly after the injury, ensuring that any perforating material is not left behind in the throat or neck to cause future problems.
  • Home Care

  • Whatever the nature of the surgery on your pet’s soft palate, your animal will have been closely monitored for respiratory difficulty in the immediate postoperative period. Your pet will probably stay at your veterinary hospital for a day or two after the procedure.
  • Once at home your cat should be kept quiet and rested, avoiding excitement and should be watched closely when eating or drinking. Small, easily digested food should be offered initially.
  • All sutures used at the time of surgery will be absorbable, so suture removal will not be necessary. Your veterinarian may suggest you return some two weeks after the procedure for a check-up.
  • Preventative Care

  • Since cleft soft palate is a congenital problem, it is usually detected by breeders, and the sire and dam should be avoided in a breeding program.
  •