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February is National Cat Health Month

What better way to celebrate our fuzzy companions than by keeping them healthy? Read on to learn a bit more about common diseases in cats and their symptoms.

This post is not intended as veterinary advice, but as a guide for cat parents. This post will help you to ask better questions to your veterinarian, and will also help you to get useful information from their answers.

 


Common Diseases in Cats and How to Identify Them.

We have ranked common cat illnesses and sorted them according to risk to your cat.

 

Cancer.

Cancer in cats can be hereditary and/or environmental.

Known Risk factors:

  • Age (old cats are more likely to develop cancer)
  • Sex (male cats are more likely to develop cancer)
  • Color (light colored cats are more likely to develop Squamous cell carcinoma)

Types of cancer in cats.

Squamous cell carcinoma.

Known Risk Factors.

  • Long-term sun exposure.

Lymphosarcoma.

This family of cancers comprises about 1/3 of all cat cancers, like Feline Leukemia Virus. (FeLV)

Common Symptoms of Cancer.

  • Lumps
  • Swelling
  • Persistent Sores
  • Abnormal Discharges
  • Bad Breath
  • Lethargy
  • Weight Loss
  • Sudden Lameness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomit
  • Scaly Skin
  • Red Skin
  • Difficult Breathing
  • Difficult Urination
  • Difficult Defecation
  • Changes in Behavior

Diabetes.

It is caused by inadequate insulin response or lack of insulin production.

Type 1.

Lack of insulin production.

Type 2.

Impaired insulin production.

Symptoms of Diabetes.

  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Misplaced urination
  • Unusually sweet smelling breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Unkempt coat
  • UTI

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

It seriously weakens a cat’s immune system and makes them susceptible to secondary infections. The most insidious aspect of this disease is that it can go unnoticed for about a year, when it could be too late to save your cats.

Early and periodic screenings can keep a FIV cat alive, as long as the other symptoms are manageable. Ask your veterinarian for details.

FIV Transmission.

  • FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds
  • FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten.
  • Outdoor intact males are more susceptible

Please note:  FIV cannot be transmitted from cat to human, only from cat to cat.

FIV Prevention.

  • Keep your cat indoors
  • Walk your cat outside on a leash.
  • Test all cats in a household or containment facility
  • Have your cats vaccinated against FIV

Common Symptoms of FIV.

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Disheveled coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Stomatitis
  • Dental disease
  • Skin redness or hair loss
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Discharge from nose
  • Frequent urination, straining to urinate or urinating outside of litter box
  • Behavior change

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Feline Leukemia Virus. (FeLV)

FeLV weakens an animal’s immune system and predisposes cats to a variety of infections, in a similar way to that of FIV. It can lead to lymphosarcoma.

Known Risk Factors.

  • Age (kittens are most susceptible)
  • Contact with contaminated bodily fluids
  • Mutual grooming
  • Contaminated utensils
  • Living outside

Young kittens and cats less than one year of age are most susceptible to the virus. Cats living with an infected cat, allowed outdoors where they may be bitten by an infected cat, and kittens born to a mother who is FeLV positive are most at risk for infection.

There is a vaccine against FeLV which has proven effective.

Common Symptoms of FeLV.

BEWARE: Infected cats can be asymptomatic. Ask your veterinarian for an FeLV test

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal gums
  • Unkempt coat
  • Abcesses
  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomit
  • Seizures
  • Changes in behavior
  • Abnormal eyes or vision
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Skin disease
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Lethargy

Earthworm.

Oddly, it primarily causes lung disease.

Known Risk Factors.

  • Mosquitoes

Common Symptoms of Heartworm.

  • Persistent cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden death

Rabies.

In the US, rabies is reportedly more common in cats more than in any other domestic species.

Rabies Transmission.

  • Bodily fluids, as in bites or in slobber over an open wound.
  • Unvaccinated hosts

Common Symptoms of Rabies.

Animals will not show signs immediately following exposure to a rabid animal. Symptoms can be varied and can take months to develop. Classic signs of rabies in cats include:
Changes in behavior. (including aggression, restlessness and lethargy)

  • Increased vocalization
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

Ringworm.

First and foremost, Ringworm is not a worm, but an fungus.

Ringworm Transmission.

Direct or indirect contact with the fungus.

Indirect contact includes any surface or material which has been contaminated with infected cells from another host.

Known Risk Factors.

  • Age (kittens and old cats are more likely)
  • Long hair
  • Previously immunocompromised cats
  • Crowded spaces
  • Heat
  • Humidity

Common Symptoms of Ringworm.

  • Skin lessions on the head, ears and forelimbs

It’s also possible for a cat to be asymptomatic

Upper Respiratory Infections.

The nose, throat and sinus are most at risk.

Known Causes.

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria

Known Risk Factors.

  • Stress
  • Poor hygiene

Common Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Infections.

  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Loss of or decreased appetite
  • Nasal and oral ulcers
  • Abnormal squinting or rubbing
  • Depression

Worms.

Roundworms are the most common internal parasites in cats .

Known Causes.

Nursing kittens can get worms from an infected mother’s milk, while adult cats can acquire them by ingesting the feces of an infected cat.

Known Symptoms of Worms.

  • Diarrhoea
  • Worms visible in stool or near anus
  • Bloody stool
  • Bloating or round, potbellied appearance to abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing

High-Rise Syndrome.

Happens when cats fall from buildings.

Known Risk Factors.

  • Unprotected Windows and other openings

 

SOURCES.

 

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Cat Food – You are What you Eat and that goes DOUBLE for cats

Back in the days of Yore, when my hooman mom was young, cat food seemed simple – cats ate kibble n scraps n no one cared. They figured, dogs eat kibble and hooman food so why can’t cats – they are the same just smaller – right? WRONG!

cat eats kibble food
Kibble cat food – junk food for cats

 

Cat Grub vs. Dog Grub

Cats and dogs are very different animals in spite of the fact that we both find ourselves the most common hooman furred companions. First, the dog is actually an omnivore and can eat and digest a very large range of food, including hooman food. This is partly their physiology and partly their domestication that has gone on thousands of years longer then with the cat. The cat, on the other hand, is an Obligate Carnivore. That means a cat MUST eat primarily meat to survive. Everything else is optional and potentially harmful.

Experts and vets do of course disagree on exactly what is the best food and what to avoid because after all they are hooman and they do have their own biases for various reasons. However, one thing is very clear – cats must eat meat and especially taurine – something that would naturally come from raw animal tissues – which is why all cooked commercial cat foods add a taurine supplement to make up for the lack after cooking. That is also why u can’t simply feed your cat and dog the same food. Without taurine and meat a cat would die.

 

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see all custom merch.

 

Message to Vegetarians

So, to all vegetarians, please do not ever try to make your cat a vegetarian too. If you can’t deal with the fact that cats MUST eat a meat based diet, then a pet cat is not for you. Plenty of other animals can follow your meal plan, just not cats.

What to feed your cat

So, ok, feed your cat meat. What kind of meat? What kind of commercial food? Is dry ok, or should u feed wet? How about raw? All very good questions, but some of the answers might be deemed controversial depending on who you ask. Our food recommendations can be found in our cat food section.

Wet or Kibble?

It starts with this: kibble or wet? While kibble is far more convenient and less messy it should be used in tandem with wet or raw food or not used at all. This is because, while it may make your cat happy and sleek in their younger years, chances r that kibble will come back to bite them in their digestive system down the line. Imagine if all u ate was dried meat jerky. I bet u would be spending many a day groaning in the bathroom. Well, a cat’s system is far smaller and more sensitive than a hoomans.

Studies have actually shown, a lifetime of dry food can have a very damaging and lasting effect on a cat (1). It can lead to inflammation, disease and even cancer. At the very least u will find yourself with an old cat who is addicted to kibble but can’t digest it any longer and is getting skinnier and skinnier while rejecting any other food. Avoid this by simply making wet or raw food a routine part of your cats diet, either alone or with dry as a side option.

 

Enter grain free and raw food.

Ok, so what about all this raw food and cutting out grains? Those ideas come from the fact that animals tend to do better the closer to their natural diet that they can get. In the wild a cat would never have kibble, nor most grains, fruits, veggies, nor even cooked food. There have even been studies indicating that the problem with commercial foods isn’t just grains or dry food, but the fact that the meat is cooked – and cooked very well (2). In the wild a cat would eat mostly rodents and insects and they would be raw. So their system is designed to break down mostly chunks of meat with a little bit of carbs from the stomach of the prey. Old school commercial cat diets mostly ignored this wisdom, but the cat food industry is now starting to come up with better alternatives to basic kibble.

Need a plan? Try this one

So, what should u do? Start out with a variety of foods, because variety is also far better for your cat than one food for years. If u can’t handle raw then just go for a mix of wet foods, or a mix of wet and kibble. But make sure to choose both from quality brands and ingredients. First rule of thumb – make sure the first ingredient is a whole meat and that the rest is mostly meat, vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods high in corn, carbs or other non-meat fillers.

?♻️?

Wanna go Raw?

Ok, so u want to go full wild and explore raw food? Its best to start with a pre-made raw diets that include everything in a handy package – like Primal brand foods. Otherwise it can get very messy and confusing very fast. Same rule of thumb about ingredients apply.

We carry all of the above options, of course, including my favorite Primal freeze-dried Venison (raw). Everything we offer are viable species appropriate foods for your cat that have all been tested and approved by our three resident cats. We hope your cat enjoys them too!

Bibliography

(1) https://feline-nutrition.org/health/species-inappropriate-the-dangers-of-dry-food , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2387258/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22003235

 

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Cats R Green — especially when it comes to cat toys

Eva give yoor favorite cat a mice toy as a pawsent n discover dat dey R meowr interested in da box? 
Maybe it had just enuff crinkle ob texture to get dem goin, but befur yoo kno it da toy has been replazd
wiff shredded paper or an empty box.

😾

What is goin’ on hier? R hoomans just too denz to mak toys we cats really lik ob is dere something else afoot? 

Cats R Green.

I submit that your cat is trying to tell you something about sustainability, waste and their individual preferences. You can buy them hundreds of toys and maybe they gel with a few, but crumpled paper and boxes almost always pleases – for free. So maybe  fancy toys mostly meant to entertain the humans are really for the dogs; but cats do like cat toys right? Absolutely!

😺

Waff us cats reely wanna is control of owr entertainment. To oose, reoose n recycle (chooin n scratchin fings) is the way of nature – thus it is da way ob cats.

Toys with multiple practical or exciting uses that mimic something they’d find in nature generally are preferred (that’s why toys with catnip are winners), but the more people pleasing or impractical the toy is, the less your cat will probably approve of it.

Every cat has a taste.

Each and every cat has its own tastes, just like humans. One cat might like things with feathers that mimic birds or flying things, while another might prefer things that mimic snakes. Its the human’s job to figure out the tastes of their cats, usually by trial and error.

😺

Tip fur hoomans: if yoor cat rejects a toy, twy it wiff anoder cat. Or add catnip, or attach pawsome crinkly fings.

 

 

Try to think like your cat.

Are they hiders who like tight safe spots?

  • Get them a nice hidey hole to replace the empty boxes.

Are they excited by things that move fast?

  • Get them toys that move or roll.

Do they like interactive play?

  • Get some human powered toys, like wands or a sock.

Or if its crinkly things that start their engine, then get toys that make that same noise and can be scrunched by wee paws n teeth.

Bottom line

Getting the best toys for your cats requires you to know what they like, and to always remember they are fierce (almost) wild creatures, not children in fuzzy bundles.

😾

Da hooman hoo rot dis is owt of his mind. We R children in fuzzy bodies.

Does it look like a mouse in a cartoon, or a real mouse? Cuz cats don’t watch cartoons.

😾

Yes, we do.

Building ideas below.

Sale!

DIY Green Cat Furniture Kit | 33.2 cubic feet (min) Reclaimed Boxes Plus Tools & Accessories

$38.99 $28.99

Tis only da beginnin’ hooman!

Reclaimed Boxes Kit. used moving, packing and shipping boxes

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Description

Our box rescue operation doesn’t cut down any trees.

We rescue truckloads of quality used boxes from large companies that might otherwise recycle them or simply throw them away. They are guaranteed to work just as well as a new box.

Our boxes are either once used or may even be new factory misprints, overruns or customer returns that are no longer needed. Thanks to relationships with the manufacturers, distributors and large companies who unpack millions of boxes a year, we are able to “rescue” those boxes and make them available to your cats at deep discounts!

CAT HOUSE IDEAS.

Take them as they come, or use as part of your master feline architectural plan.

 


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This Kit Contains.

  1. 1 box cutter
  2. 1 marker
  3. 2 inch x 55 yards of packing tape
  4. 3 lbs of crinkly paper (about fifty 36″ x 24″ sheets)
  5. 16 boxes, in three different sizes
    • 33.2 cubic feet (min)

Type A

  • 9 boxes
  • 13.5 cubic feet (min)

Type B

  • 5 boxes
  • 12.5 cubic feet (min)

Type C 

  • 2 boxes
  • 7.2 cubic feet (min)
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So Many Boxes, So Wittle Time