We have included informative websites and videos in this section which can help you better care for your cat.
In addition, here are some insights that Dr. Yacowitz has accumulated over the years.
1. Cats are not small dogs. Years ago after studying horses, pigs, cows, dogs and chickens we had a few hours on cats. Since I was a little kid I have loved cats and I felt this was not fair. Fortunately since those early days veterinary medicine has discovered that cats are wonderful and have their own needs and uniqueness.
2. Take care of your cat’s teeth. If you can’t brush them, there are some good alternatives. Ask your veterinarian which dental care program will be best for your cat. Good teeth equal a happy cat.
3. Have more litter boxes than you have cats. Three cats, four boxes etc. Change them often; no one likes an unflushed toilet.
4. Feed your cat wet food. Try to keep their diet 75 -100% canned. Contrary to popular belief, dry food does little for their teeth. Cats on all dry food diets have the highest incidence of urinary tract disease.
5. Cats love monotony. They like the same food, the same flavor, the same bowl, the same routine. Dogs think a car ride is really cool and fun; cats hate it, they are homebodies. They do like games that mimic hunting like the laser pointer and find the treat. They get bored and need interaction, but not change.
6. Cats are sensitive to stress. A new apartment, new home, or a big party can trigger illness, especially urinary tract disease. They don’t handle stress, i.e. change in routine, easily.
7. Old cats need extra care. Chances are that old cat could use a vitamin boost, something for arthritis, extra skin care and maybe a diet modification. Old age is inevitable but not some of the pain, discomfort and depression that can go with it. A heated fleece bed is a cozy joy.
8. Two cats are better than one. Cats will sometimes form friendships but more often they just enjoy the occasional chase around the house or a warm cuddle on the bed. It does not seem like much to us but for a cat it is a deep and meaningful relationship.
9. Cats hate loud noises.
10. Cats rule and dogs drool.
Everything from how to clean up cat urine to introducing a new pet can be found on the Indoor Pet Initiative site from Ohio State University.
The CATalyst Council has videos on how to get your cat into a carrier, nutrition, etc. on their site.
Cats and Urinary Tract Disease
If you are a cat owner, it is important that you are aware of a potentially life- threatening condition.
Cats are prone to urinary tract disease, especially at times of stress. Symptoms include:
- straining to urinate
- increased frequency of urination
- crying and licking at genitals
- vomiting and loss of appetite
In most cases this is a non-bacterial cystitis, similar to intestinal cystitis in women. In some cases, however, tiny stones may form in the bladder. Female cats are usually able to pass these stones, but males are unable to pass them due to their anatomy. The urine flow becomes blocked, causing the bladder to continue to fill with urine, which then backs up to the kidneys. This causes the cat severe pain, uremia, and will cause death if left untreated.
It is critical for any male cat showing these signs to see a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. This is an EMERGENCY.
Female cats showing these signs should also be seen by a veterinarian, but generally this is not a life threatening situation for them.
Overweight indoor male cats on all dry food diets have the highest incidence of this condition.