When it comes to leaping, landing and twisting in mid-air, cats earn accolades for agility, flexibility and acrobatic prowess. Its not unusual to witness your cat leap effortlessly to the top of the refrigerator and, when ready, to land softly and easily on the kitchen floor. But despite their grace and flexible physique, cats do not always land safely on their feet and can be at risk for painful sprains, broken legs, and other fractured bones.
With the arrival of warm weather, your cats curiosity and need to tap his inner hunter could land him on the losing end in a confrontation with bees, wasps, skunks and other critters making their way onto your property or inside your home.
These are among key 25 signs of pain in cats identified in research at the University of Lincoln in the U.K. Dr. Isabella Merola and Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine, surveyed international academics and practitioners with specialties in internal medicine, anesthesiology, oncology, dentistry, behavior, dermatology, ophthalmology and neurology. They say in PLOS One that the resulting list could lead to faster diagnoses and ultimately reduce suffering.
Your cats playing with shoelaces or nibbling on an old sweater may look YouTube-worthy, but the results can be decidedly different. If he ingests an odd object, it can lead to life-threatening internal blockages. In veterinary medicine, eating non-food items is known as pica.
One common reason for veterinary visits among cats is otitis externa, or inflammation of the external ear canal. Most people believe that that the term otitis externa means an ear infection, but that isnt true. Something has to breech the normal defense mechanism of the ear to trigger the infection, says veterinary dermatologist William H. Miller, Jr., VMD, Medical Director of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Once the surface of the ear canal is damaged, bacteria or yeast inside and around the canal can cause an infection. The underlying causes can include tumors, allergies, ticks or fleas, and excessive grooming and ear wax. But by far the most frequent cause in cats, especially kittens, is ear mites.
A touch of green around the house during a long, cold winter provides a reminder of spring and creates a festive mood for the holidays. Although plants like lilies are lovely, the effects on a cat who ingests them are decidedly not. In the case of lilies of the Lilium species, cats can suffer potentially fatal kidney failure.
If your cat has become unresponsive to everyday sounds, squeaky toys or his name, if he doesnt know youre in the room unless you touch him, or if a loud noise fails to awaken him, a veterinary visit should be scheduled to determine if hes losing his hearing. Hearing is a vital sense for cats and greatly contributes to their self-preservation and comfort with us. Deafness in cats can be caused by a wide variety of conditions.
Cat bites don’t get as much media coverage — or as much scientific attention — as dog bites because they tend to occur inside the home. Moreover, people mistakenly assume that, because cats are small, they can’t do much damage. In fact, puncture wounds made by sharp feline teeth are not only painful, they can lead to serious infections. It’s important to learn how to avoid them. Although cats sometimes appear to attack out of the blue, they always have their reasons, says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, Ph.D., emeritus professor at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. “Fear, predatory aggression, and pain top the list.
Chances are that your cat will face a surgical procedure at least once during his lifetime if he hasn’t already. Happily, the nature of veterinary surgery is changing, which may mean that your cat’s next encounter could differ considerably.
Steffi Loomis awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of painful meows from Dave, her normally mellow 16-year-old female cat with a male name. When Loomis turned on the light, she discovered bloody diarrhea and vomiting and her orange tabby getting weaker and sicker by the minute. Loomis, who lives in New Canaan, Conn., contacted the veterinarian, who advised her to take Dave immediately to Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in nearby Stamford, Conn. CUVS, the largest university-affiliated veterinary referral service in the country, has been referred to as the Mayo Clinic of veterinary medicine. Loomis rushed Dave there, and a team of specialists quickly worked to save her life.
Cats, even those who live strictly indoors, are never completely safe from venomous insects. All it takes is a wayward bee or wasp to slip through an open door or window and catch your cat’s attention. His innate prey drive can kick into gear as he leaps and tries to swat and eat the flying insect. In reaction, the bee delivers a painful sting. “Most bee or wasp stings occur on a cat’s front paw or face,” says Elisa Mazzaferro, DVM, Ph.D., who specializes in emergency and critical care at the Cornell University Veterinary Specialists Center in Stamford, Conn.
The sad truth about cats’ access to veterinary care in the U.S.: They don’t have much. Surveys show that nearly twice as many dogs visit the veterinarian as cats, even though the cats outnumber dogs — 86 million versus 78 million. Thirty-nine percent of owners say they would take their cat to the veterinarian only in the event of illness; and 60 percent report that their cat hates going to the veterinary clinic. The visits may stress both owners and cats, says the American Association of Feline Practitioners. To offer a more calming, encouraging environment, it has launched an initiative to improve cats’ treatment, handling and overall health.