April 2018

Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Cat?

The growing popularity of essential oils for health, ambiance, and behavior modification has led to real feline-safety concerns. The problem is that cats have a unique set up for enzymatically metabolizing many compounds in their liver, so something safe to use around dogs and humans may still be toxic to your cat.

Help for Stressed Cats

A study at UC-Davis looked at using gabapentin for short-term stress relief in cats traveling to the veterinary clinic. Gabapentin has been used in cats for seizure and pain control, but human studies show some reduction of anxiety as well. An earlier study used gabapentin for feral cats involved in trap/neuter/release programs to reduce fear responses.

Stem Cells for Feline Asthma Woes

Stem-cell injections are common in veterinary medicine, but mostly for joint and lameness problems in dogs and horses. A pilot study in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery may change things for cats with asthma.

Urinary Problems: Herbs Are Not the Answer

A study in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery looked at using Chinese herbs to treat cats with urinary-tract problems. As we wrote in our September 2017 issue (go to catwatchnewsletter.com archives to read the article), lower urinary-tract problems are common in cats. The cause might be infection, crystal formations, or may be without known cause—the infamous “idiopathic cystitis.”

Cat-Food Roulette

Subscribers Only - Life can bring valid reasons for switching your cat’s food, including an illness that requires a specific diet or a discontinuation of the formula you usually feed. Or maybe you’ve heard good things about a new brand and want to try it out. Or there’s a great deal on a brand of cat food this month . . . the reasons are endless. So, is it OK to switch? Yes, just make the switch sensibly.

Considering a Raw Diet?

As cats are obligate carnivores, a raw meat-based diet sounds like the perfect option. Unfortunately, that “natural” diet also comes with some all-natural risks, including parasites and bacteria, such as Salmonella.

Systemic Fungal Infections

Subscribers Only - The first fungal infection that comes to mind when we think of cats is ringworm. As you likely know, it doesn’t involve a worm, but rather the fungus Microsporum canis. This is a skin infection that often has round, ring-like lesions. It is not life-threatening, although it does require exquisite hygiene and weeks of topical and/or oral medication to cure.

When Kitty Battles Dementia

Subscribers Only - With dramatic advancements in feline veterinary care, our beloved cats are living longer and healthier lives. A cat who lives to be 20 years old is the approximate equivalent of a 96-year-old person. Unfortunately, all cats eventually show signs of aging.

Teach Your Cat by Shaping Behavior

Subscribers Only - Cats are super easy to train by using “shaping.” Shaping is a training technique where you build up to the desired behavior by rewarding steps in the right direction. To teach shaking hands, for example, you might first put your hand under her paw so she touches it. Give her a special treat, like a tiny piece of chicken, for the touch. Repeat, offering your hand and moving it closer to her to see if and when she’ll touch it.

5 Reasons Your Cat’s Vision of the World is Unique

Compared to humans, feline eyesight offers advantages and disadvantages

Licking Off Patches of Hair

My cat likes to lick himself on both shoulder blades, shortening the hair to the skin in some places. The areas are 2 by 5 inches. He used to have several smaller spots that he’d licked until the hair was totally gone and the skin was getting raw from all of the licking. Now it’s just two bigger patches on the shoulders, but not down to the bare skin all of the time.

Happening Now: New Clinical Trial

The section of Oncology at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine needs cats for a clinical trial on injection-site sarcomas (also known as a fibrosarcoma), a tumor that can arise following injections. Although the cause is unknown, treatments are available, such as the anti-cancer drug carboplatin.