cat health

 

 

Like humans, cats don’t sneeze continuously without a reason. Most of the time it isn’t anything to worry about but if it persists, there might be an underlying health condition. Contact your veterinarian if symptoms are prolonged or worsening. For now, we are here to give you some online vet help.

There are five major reasons why your cat might be sneezing.

Online Vet Help Reason #1 – Infection

Upper respiratory infections can be behind your cat’s sneezing. Known also as ‘feline colds’, they are caused by viruses and are transmitted from other infected cats. They are especially common among young cats that are in animal shelters which haven’t been fully vaccinated yet. Viral respiratory infections cannot be treated directly with antibiotics, unless it’s from a secondary bacterial infection.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists two common viral infections that can induce cat sneezing: Feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus.  90% of adult cats have been exposed to these viruses at some point in their life and can often carry the virus with them for life. You may see symptoms resolved and reappear during stressful parts of your cat’s life (adoption, moving, new pets or visiting company) Bacterial infections include Bordetella, Mycoplasma and Chlamydophila – all of which can also cause an eye infection (conjunctivitis). Fatal diseases like feline leukemia are also known to be linked to cat sneezing because it lowers their ability to fight off other diseases.  Rarely, fungal infections can even be a reason for upper respiratory signs.  Severe dental disease can also be the cause of the bacterial infections in the sinus cavity.

Online Vet Help Reason #2 – Allergies

Contrary to popular thought, cats don’t always sneeze when exposed to allergens. Allergies in cats are more likely to cause skin reactions or itchy watery eyes. Although less likely, respiratory troubles will not be entirely ruled out.

According to Cat Channel, cat sneezing can be caused by environmental allergens like pollen that are carried in the air and inhaled. You can identify whether or not seasonal or environmental factors are responsible for your cat’s sneezing by changing your routine or even correlating signs with pollen counts.  If feasible, pay close attention different locations where your cat frequents and watch how h/she reacts. You may notice a difference in their sneezing patterns.

Online Vet Help Reason #3 – Irritants

Just like humans, cats sneeze if they inhale something that irritates their lungs, throat or nose. Contaminants in the air like cigarette smoke, perfume, pest sprays, cat litter, cleaning agents, candles, dust, pollen or mold can cause cat sneezing. It’s usually easy to identify when this occurs because it happens almost immediately. Many of these irritants can also be the starting cause of frustrating diseases like feline asthma so working to identify the irritant early in the process may keep you cat from having to deal with that!

Online Vet Help Reason #4 – Foreign Bodies

Cats much like dogs live with their nose to the ground.  This behavior put them at risk for sniffing something into their nose!  Grass awn (foxtails) and small goat heads are objects that can get stuck in the nasal passage of your kitty and cause profound sneezing fits!  Often, kitties will be able to clear it on their own but sometimes it requires a veterinarian going in and finding it!

Online Vet Help Reason #5 – Masses

Sneezing fits that seem to be progressively worse or especially accompanied by nasal discharge on one side should be taken very seriously.  Much like dogs & cats can develop tumors in the nose/sinus – both malignant and benign.  Sometimes, this can look just like a cold and often will need advanced imaging of the nose (CT or MRI) to be able to tell the difference.

 

 

If you’re vegan, you probably want to put your cat on a similar diet. Don’t. A vegan cat diet doesn’t exist as cats need taurine from meat to survive.

Anybody switching to a vegan diet wants the support of their family and pets to help them transition. Although a plant-based diet might be good for you, the same cannot be said for cats. Cats are carnivores that need proteins from meat to survive. The idea of supplementing a vegan cat diet through milk or supplements is not a good option either.

Vegan Cat Diet Lacks Taurine

Veterinarians do not advise putting cats on a vegetarian diet because of their specific nutritional needs. One protein in particular that they need is an amino acid called Taurine, which is only found in meat. The best source of Taurine is found in dark meats like poultry, chicken and lamb.

Taurine may help prevent heart disease in cats and is thus an important part of their diet. According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation, it may take months or years before clinical signs of taurine deficiency are obvious. By the time a cat is showing symptoms, in many cases, significant damage may have already been done.

The Milk Myth

Contrary to cartoons which show people leaving a bowl of milk out for their pet, most cats and dogs are lactose intolerant. Although milk does have some protein, it does not have all the nutrients and vitamins that they need.

Not all lactose intolerant pets show the same signs. They range from no symptoms at all, mild GI distress, and flatulence, to severe symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Protein supplements for Vegan Cat Diets

Pet owners who insist their cat stay on a vegan diet can look to compounded taurine supplements to fill their pet’s nutritional needs. But not all vets advise doing that. Remember, cats are strict carnivores and they will crave meat. Also, it is much cheaper to give them meat rather than supplements that come from meat.

 

Cats’ physiology change as they grow older. Like us, they experience changes like grey hair, loss of sight and hearing as they grow older. The growth and evolution of their needs makes them require more hands-on care and a special diet for senior cats.

As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of your cat’s changing needs and adapt their diet accordingly.

Diet for senior cats: Do not overfeed them

Obesity is a common issue faced by older cats. Although they are natural predators, domesticated cats have become used to living inside and getting their food from a bowl. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with lower energy and activity often leads to weight gain in cats.

Owners should be aware of these changes and not overfeed your cat. Simply keep a consistent amount of their portions based on your veterinarians advice. Obesity in cats can lead to chronic problems in the heart, lungs, skin and joints. Slowly adjust their calorie intake by switching to food with lower energy density.

Diet for senior cats: Supplements

If your cat is eating a balanced meal, they may not need supplements. Although pushed in diets for senior dogs, vets do not encourage the same for cats.

Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD: “Some supplements that have been shown to be just fine in dogs or humans can be detrimental in a cat because their metabolisms are very different.”

Diet for senior cats: Talk to your veterinarian

Senior cats are more susceptible to catching a disease. If your pet has already been diagnosed with an illness, your vet will recommend a diet that doesn’t exacerbate it. Cats with diabetes will be put on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Those with kidney disease are recommended a phosphorous-restricted diet. While cats with dental disease are switched to softer, canned food.

Schedule an appointment with your vet to discuss the best food options for your cat and create a diet plan best tailored to their needs.

 

Traveling with cats in a car can be very difficult, especially if they are not used to being in a moving vehicle. Cats can become frightened and stressed very easily while outside the familiarity of their home. It may be challenging to travel with a cat, but it’s not impossible.

If you can’t get a friend or neighbor to check in on your cat at home, then you need to prepare them for the journey. Using a few of these tips and tricks, you can help keep your cat comfortable and calm.

Traveling with cats in a car – Use a travel crate

A travel crate is both good for you and your cat. You’ll be able to drive without any distractions and won’t have to worry about getting distracted by an agitated pet. Secure the carrier with a seatbelt assuring that your cat stays calm and in one place.

If your cat isn’t used to a carrier, then do little exercises at home where you encourage them to get inside one with sweet talk and treats. Practice this as much as you can so that by the time you’re ready to go, stepping into the crate will be second-nature for your cat.

For trips longer than 6 hours, take a break and let your cat out for a short while to stretch their legs, drink water and use the litter box.

Traveling with cats in a car – Mini car rides

Before embarking on a road trip, you can try acclimatizing your cat in a moving vehicle with a few short rides around the block. Figure out what makes them comfortable and least stressed. For example, if the carrier moves too much, place some extra padding at the bottom of it so your cat doesn’t experience all the jerky movements. At the end of the drive give them a treat as a reward for good behavior.

Traveling with cats in a car – Get anti-motion sickness medication

If your cat has vomited in a past ride and or seems depressed in a moving car, they may be experiencing motion sickness. You can ask your vet for motion sickness medication to give your to your cat before hitting the road. To be on the safe side, take a towel and some cleaning wipes with you just in case your cat throws up on the way.

 

A chat with a vet reveals the dangers of gum disease in cats and how to prevent them from spreading.

Growing up we’ve all been taught how important it is to brush our teeth daily. Well, the same goes for cats. The obvious difference being they can’t brush them themselves, that falls on the responsibility of pet owners. Cats with bad hygiene are susceptible to gum disease which is one of the most common and serious illnesses in cats.

Periodontal disease inflames tissue that surrounds and supports the structure of teeth in cats. It is caused by the build-up of plague along the gum line transformed into calculus by the combination of saliva and minerals.

Chat with a vet – Symptoms of gum disease in cats

Periodontal disease in cats usually begins with one tooth. You are able to catch and stop it from spreading if you treat it early on. The disease goes through 4 stages of development if left untreated.

  1. The infection is limited to one or more of the cat’s teeth. It may look like gingivitis without separation of the gum and teeth.
  2. When 25% of the gum loses attachment, the disease has entered stage 2.
  3. Stage 3 involves loss of attachment above 25% and below 30%. Beyond this point, treatment is often difficult and symptoms irreversible.
  4. When there is over 50% attachment loss, the cat has advanced periodontitis. The further the disease advances, the more exposed the roots of the teeth will be.

Chat with a vet – Prevention of gum disease in cats

Periodontal disease is irreversible. That’s why it’s always better to work on prevention by keeping your cat’s teeth clean from a young age. Make teeth brushing a regular activity with toothpaste and a toothbrush specially formulated for cats. Make regular appointments with the vet for dental cleanings and inspections.

Chat with a vet – Treatment of gum disease in cats

If you’ve spotted signs of inflammation, bleeding or loose teeth, you should see your vet immediately. The earlier you catch gum disease, the better your chances of treating it completely. The vet will examine your cats mouth and take an x-ray to identify the extent of loss. They’ll be able to see how much tooth density is left and sharpness of the root socket margin. After they’ve determined the stage of the disease, they’ll talk to you about the best course of treatment.