Many of us have those 4-legged feline friends that love to hunt and no amount of domestication has changed their inherent desire to patrol their domain in the hunt for prey. We have all seen the look of pure joy on our cat’s faces when they watch birds and small rodents from the window. And because cats are naturally curious, they love to explore. That is why some people allow their cats to spend considerable time outdoors. The downside it that the outdoors has many dangers that can linger and it is our job as responsible owners to keep them safe.
While most experts would recommend that the best thing to do would be keeping them indoors, you can allow them to get some fresh air in a relative safe environment away from predators that would prey on your cat and making sure that they are protected when they go outside.
Some owners may try to leash train their cat. This is one of the easiest means of monitoring where your cat goes because you get to go along for the walk. Cat’s generally dislike harnesses, so they will need to be made accustom to using them first. This may entail having the harness on inside and provide positive reinforcement with treats. Supervised outdoor time is a great way to bond with your cat and give her the mental stimulation that her wild instincts crave.
Whether you allow her to roam free or keep her as close as possible, it is important for the cat to either have a microchip or some other form of identification on your pet. If you use a collar, a safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your pet to break free if it gets caught.
To allow cats to have the ability to go outside, some owners make a catio that keep predators out and their pet in. This can serve as an outdoor playground within the vicinity of your home. You can feel safe knowing where it is and that she is not running out into the street or being picked up by predator birds or other mammls.
If your cat goes outdoors, it is at risk to the diseases and parasites that the outdoor feral cats have. So it is important to have your pet’s vaccines updated and kept on flea and tick control.
Your back yard can be dangerous to your pet if you have planted some toxic plants for landscaping. Plants like lillies may look nice in your back yard, but they can be toxic to your pet. It is important to make sure that anything potentially toxic and dangerous be picked up and secured. I would also recommend not having mouse poisons available because not only would the poison be toxic, eating a dead mouse that has succumbed to the poison may be also lethal to the cat.
It is important to have a regular dinner time. That way when the cat’s return for it evening meal, they will be able to be locked up for the evening. This will protect her from the nightly predators and allow her to go on daily patrol the next morning.
The Peterbald cat is a loyal and affectionate feline, known for being “dog-like”. They are very friendly, playful, energetic, and smart. The Peterbald is a descendent of the Don Sphynx cat, still bearing some of its qualities like its varying amount of fur, dexterous front paws, big ears, and wrinkly skin. The other feline in a Peterbald cat is the Oriental Shorthair cat. The Peterbald still carries its long and lithe body shape and oblong head shape from them. However, unique to a Peterbald is their long front toes with webbing. It allows them to hold and manipulate toys, unlike many other cats.
The Peterbald’s fur varies from a velvety, fuzzy fur to a completely hairless cat. There is even a type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows, making their skin feel sticky to the touch. Also interesting is that Peterbald’s fur changes throughout their life. This means that if a Peterbald has one of these coats at birth, it can change significantly during their first two years of life, and the hair can be altered, gained, or lost.
The care of Peterbald cats varies based on their coat. If they have a thin fur coat or no hair at all, they require weekly bathing and wipe downs to keep their skin free of harmful oils. Since Peterbald cats can have very thin coats, they need to be kept as inside cats. Moreover, many Peterbald cats can sunburn, have sensitivity to extreme temperatures, and can be easily injured when playing with other cats or children. But given proper care, these cats are relatively low maintenance and have very few associated breed-health issues.
If you are looking to adopt a Peterbald, know that these cats are still somewhat rare, so acquiring one is not an easy feat. Be sure to check with animal shelters, rescue groups, and reputable breeders to see if a Peterbald is needing a forever home. Since they are often not readily available, it can be difficult to find a Peterbald kitten. Important to note is that hairless cats are often sold for higher prices.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868!
Dogs are considered “man’s best friend.” But what do you get when you don’t have room or time for a dog? How about a cat that thinks it’s a dog? The breed of cat that I am spotlighting this month has been described as that. It is called the Pixie-Bob.
The Pixie-Bob breed is thought to be the result of the natural mating between a bobcat and a domestic shorthair, but they may also have sprung from a natural genetic mutation that gave them their wild look and bobbed tail. It is one of those mysteries that no one will ever know for sure. This breed was first developed in the Pacific Northwest in the mid 1980’s by a woman that acquired a male kitten with distinctive characteristics like a spotted coat, a short tail and more than usual numbers of toes. A year later, she acquired another male cat with a short tail and with the help of a neighbor’s female cat, produced a litter of kittens. One, a female, had a muted spotted pattern and the woman kept her—naming her Pixie. The breeder wanted more cats like Pixie, and soon the breed was born. They were recognized as an actual breed by the American Cat Fanciers Association in 2005.
Pixie-Bobs are described as “big, lively and outgoing.” The breeds’ devotion to its family belies its somewhat wild look. They tend to be a large cat where the male and female can weigh up to 12 and 25 pounds respectively. They are brawny and muscular which is why some breeders believe that the Coastal Red Bobcat had to be the founding father. Their ears tend to be tufted and resemble that of a bobcat by having lynx tips on the ears. Pixie-Bobs have a thick wooly coat like a bobcat and can be either long or short haired. They normally have a striped coat pattern and come in a variety of colors, but most are tawny, light gray, or reddish. Their eye color can be from golden brown to gooseberry green. A Pixie-Bob’s tail is a minimum of 2 inches by can be as long as to their hock. Their facial hair grows downward giving them the appearance of a man’s muttonchop sideburns. One other unique feature that some Pixie-Bobs have are that some are polydactyl. This means that they have more than the usual number of digits on its paws. Polydactyl cats are considered lucky, so if you own a Pixie-Bob, luck may be on your side.
Pixie-Bobs are inquisitive and like to interact with families, so they are true companions and members of the family because of their relaxed attitude. They communicate with their families with a pleasant voice and standard meows and purrs. They are active and enjoy being friends. They enjoy interaction with families and have been described by some as “the cat that thinks it is a dog.” Pixie-Bobs love going on car rides and walks just like dogs. They also get along well with dogs and other pets. Because they tend to be a medium to long haired breed, they do require a weekly brushing to prevent mattes from forming and regular nail trims.
If you have a Pixie-Bob cat or even a good ol’ domestic shorthair, the Olsen Veterinary Clinic tries to meet the expectations for all of your pet’s needs. If you have any questions or issues please do not hesitate to call us at (618)-656-5868.
Is your cat scratching up your furniture? Many people who own cats can vouch that their cats have four appendages that most know how to use to efficiently destroy the furniture in the humans home or the human’s other belongings. Every now and then, I am faced with doing a declaw on some our furry feline patients. Not only can they be pricey, but it can be one of the more tedious and frustrating surgeries with some possible complications arising.
Cats mark their territory by scratching, much like dogs urinate to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands on their paws, so when they scratch, they leave it on that area. This also marks visually by leaving the shredded material behind as evidence and displaying dominance to other submissive cats. Scratching also allows the cat a way to exercise and stretch along with removing their old sheaths.
So what are some alternatives that owners can try to avoid having the declaw surgery which is actually an amputation of the bone at the distal joint? Well, a person may supply their pet with a scratching post or pads to develop healthy scratching habits. By applying catnip or treats, you can attract them to their designated scratching areas.
A no cost procedure would be to trim their nails every one to two weeks. This will cut down on the need to scratch as much. This is easiest to do if you start when they are kittens.
There are double-sided tapes that can be put on furniture that is unpleasant for cats. The use of pheramones like Feliway sprayed on the tape can also reduce the cat’s desire to scratch.
Lastly, there are nail covers like Soft Paws to place over the nails. They are only temporary, so they will need to be changed regularly as the nails grow.
To avoid the destructive behavior of cats, cat owners must be willing to invest time and money. If not, there is always the surgical route one can go. If you need advice or help with this or any other issues, please don’t hesitate to call us here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic. The phone number is (618)-656-5868.
Ooh, that smell! That is the reaction when someone gets wind of where a cat might have sprayed or inappropriately urinated. These episodes are really very common in cats and can infuriate the cat owners enough to lead to rehoming of their cats. Before you go down that path, let’s educate ourselves about why cats spray so that we can deal with the problem – or even better, prevent possible cat urinary problems.
First we need to determine if it is behavioral or medical. Medical issues can cause inappropriate urination or marking and it is best to have them examined by a veterinarian to diagnose the problem. This would include Urinary Tract Infections, bladder stones and crystals, or possibly “idiopathic cystitis”. A medical diagnosis can be made by examining your cat, checking the cats’ bloodwork and doing a urinalysis on it. If there is something medical going on, antibiotics and maybe a diet change will be indicated.
Based on my experience, behavioral issues tend to be more difficult to treat. First we need to determine what factors are causing your cat to behave this way. Causes can include:
- Undesirable Litter Box: Cats are particular about their toilets. The litter box may be simply too dirty, or it may be clean, but it may be too small. In multi-cat households, there may not be enough of them. The rule is to take the number of cats you have and add one litter box. The location of the litter box may be an issue. Finally, it might be the scent of the litter. Experts recommend that unscented, scoopable litter be used.
- Stress in the Home Environment: Scent is the primary way that cats communicate. They have scent glands on their cheeks, paws and flanks so when they rub objects, they are putting their scent on that object. This is sending the message that they’ve been there and are staking their claim to tell the other cats to back off. In multi-cat households, this rubbing helps to establish territories and create bonds between the pets. The cats may feel that it is too dangerous to access the litter box. They may also act out if there is a new human in the home. Cats are very sensitive to the smallest changes in the environment.
- Old Urine Smells: If your cat has urinated on an area and you clean it up, the smell might remain. A cat’s sense of smell is much better than yours. If old urine odors remain in your home, there is a very good chance that your cat is returning to the area because of the smell. She will continue to urinate in the area that smells like urine. Because of this, it is essential to thoroughly clean any areas where the cat has urinated using a special cleaner.
In general, the key to stopping inappropriate urination in cats or avoiding it all together is as simple as being a responsible and attentive cat owner. Keep your cat healthy by visiting your veterinarian with routine health checkups. When issues arise, have the issue diagnosed and treated effectively and immediately. Make sure that the litter box is as attractive to your cat as possible, and clean up urine accidents thoroughly. Minimize stress in your cat’s environment. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us call us here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic at (618)-656-5868. Do all this, and your cat will thank you.