From the June, 2013 Issue
Advances in veterinary medicine are keeping our cats alive longer, giving us precious extra years to spend with them. Sadly, extended life-spans also bring geriatric disorders such as feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD), similar to human Alzheimers in its symptoms. Like Alzheimers, FCD has no cure. And far fewer studies have been done on the feline version of the disease than have been done on the canine variety, so there are no approved medical treatments. But antioxidant supplements, along with mental and physical exercise, often improve the quality of life for both owners and cats.
Students honing their emergency skills at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine owe gratitude to a special feline named Fluffy, who doesnt meow and never needs a litter box. Fluffy is a robotic cat equipped with a mechanical pulse and heart, artificial lungs and electronic hardware and software capable of simulating cardiac arrest, lung diseases, shock and other medical conditions. She and a canine version named Jerry are believed to be the first of their kind used in veterinary schools. Think of Fluffy as a high-tech pet version of the popular battery-operated board game Operation, which tests players hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
When behavior problems seem insurmountable, many owners surrender their pets to shelters. The Nevada Humane Society in Reno lowered admissions by 8 eight percent with one simple change: It created the Animal Help Desk, a free phone service. We see it as part of our mission to encourage and enable people to do right by their animals by helping them keep their pets in their homes whenever possible, Executive Director Bonney Brown says in the e-newsletter No-Kill Nation from Maddies Fund.
Treats provide welcome rewards for good behavior, but their overly generous use can contribute to obesity. One reason is that owners dont count treats as calories. But the bigger problem is a multiple-person household in which every time someone walks by, they give the cat a treat, says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Cats love to chase lasers points of light, twirling, leaping, pouncing. They engage in the behavior with gleeful abandon for one simple reason: The jumpy, erratic movement of the light beam can stimulate predatory-like play behavior, says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D., a lecturer in animal behavior at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
The old-fashioned term the cats whiskers means the height of perfection. It was popular in the 20s, along with the cats meow. Debate ensued regarding the origin of the phrases, but people who used them certainly understood the unique capabilities of your cats most sensitive hairs.
First of all, I want to thank and congratulate you for the obvious care that you have provided and concern you have for your baby. Given his age, you have clearly done something (many things!) right, and todays question is an extension of the dedication that you have shown.