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Training Tips for Cats

This Training Tips for Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Training Tips for Cats

Housebreaking/soiling the house: Kittens and cats have a natural affinity to using a litter box, but it is important the help your kitten get off to a good start.  The first step to ensure successful house training is to make sure you have the right equipment.  If the kitten was using litter prior to coming in your home, make sure you use the same type of litter.  The litter box should be made of a washable material such as plastic.  The sides must be low enough for the kitten to enter, but high enough to contain the litter. Some commercial litter boxes come with hoods that help control odor as well as keep in litter. The box must be placed in a relatively quiet are of the house in a minimal traffic area.  Be sure the box is easily accessible and not too difficult for your kitten to find.  To ensure that your kitten uses its litter box every time, keep it within eyesight at all times.  If it stops playing and begins sniffing around, gently carry it to the litter box.  Praise any sniffing or scratching and give it lots of praise or a small food treat for eliminating.  Whenever you are unable to watch your kitten, restrict it to a cat-proofed room with its litter box.  Continue this for at least the first two weeks, until your kitten is using its box regularly. Also, make sure you keep the litter box clean and that the kitten is never frightened when in or around the box.  The box should be scooped daily and washed out weekly.  Many cats do not like to use an excessively dirty litter box and may look for a cleaner spot to use. When an accident does occur, do not scold your kitten as this technique does not work with cats and will only make them afraid of you. Instead, try to determine why your kitten did not use the litter box and work on a solution. Causes for house-soiling: Brand of litter was changed. Litter has scented additives or the odor of cleansers/deodorants. Litter box is not cleaned frequently enough. Kitten was frightened in or near the box. Kitten has medical problems. If soiling persists, make sure that the soiled area has been thoroughly cleaned and treated with a commercial odor neutralizer. Additionally, you should take your kitten to the veterinarian as a medical problem may exist. Furniture Scratching Cats scratch on furniture as part of a normal grooming instinct. As they scratch on objects, the outer sheath of their claws are shed off, exposing the newer claw beneath.  There are several different ways of handling this problem. Cat claws can be tipped.  Small plastic caps are glued to the cats claws, preventing...

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Increased Appetite with Cats

This Increased Appetite with Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Increased Appetite with Cats

Polyphagia is the term used for an increased consumption of food. Animals with polyphagia are generally described as having a ravenous appetite. It is important to differentiate polyphagia caused by a diseased state from that caused by psychological reasons. Psychological polyphagia is often the result of learned behaviors and overfeeding, causing weight gain and obesity. In polyphagia associated with disease states, either weight gain or weight loss might be seen. Causes Psychological or behavioral. Polyphagia can even be associated with aging, as some cats tend to become ravenous with age. Poor gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients may cause some animals to be polyphagic while losing weight. Examples of this include inflammatory bowel disorders, certain intestinal cancers, and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s syndrome) is a very common cause of polyphagia in the cat. It is generally also associated with an increase in thirst and urinations. Diabetes mellitus may cause polyphagia due to poor utilization of the body’s blood sugar. Insulin producing tumors (insulinomas, liver tumors) may cause a lowering of the blood sugar and a corresponding increase in appetite. Some drugs may induce an increased appetite (prednisone and phenobarbital). What to Watch For Long-term polyphagia can have a profound affect on your pet. Look for these signs: Increased appetite associated with weight gain or loss. Weight gain occurs with psychological or behavioral polyphagia. Weight loss may occur with poor gastrointestinal absorption or insulin producing tumors. Weight loss or gain may be associated with diabetes and hyperadrenocorticism. A change in behavior. Your pet may become fixated on food. A change in body conformation. You may notice fat deposits redistributed around the body, a potbelly and muscle atrophy. Vomiting. Some animals will eat so rapidly that they vomit the food back up immediately after eating. Diagnosis Your veterinarian will take a good medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. The medical history can be crucial in identifying whether or not polyphagia is behavioral or pathological. Marked weight gain or loss should be noted in the history and physical examination. Your veterinarian may also recommend: Complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate for anemia, inflammation, or infection and to evaluate the platelet count. Abnormalities on the CBC would suggest pathological rather than behavioral polyphagia. Serum biochemistry tests to evaluate the overall health of your cat and to evaluate the function of vital organs such as the liver and kidneys. These tests are useful for eliminating endocrine disorders such as hyperadrenocorticism and diabetes mellitus. Low blood sugar may be detected in cats with insulin-producing tumors of the pancreas. Urinalysis to evaluate kidney function and check for infection or excessive protein loss in the urine. The urinalysis also is a good screening test for the presence of diabetes mellitus as sugar is found in the...

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Difficult or Painful Urination in Cats

This Difficult or Painful Urination in Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Difficult or Painful Urination in Cats

 Dysuria is defined as difficult or painful urination. It is characterized by straining to urinate, frequent attempts at urination, and evidence of discomfort when urinating. Discomfort may be demonstrated by crying out during urination, excessive licking at the urogenital region or turning and looking at the area. What To Watch For   Straining to urinate   Frequent attempts at urination   Blood in the urine (hematuria)   Excessive licking at the urogenital area   Passage of only small amounts of urine   Vocalization when attempting to urinate   Inappropriately urinating (in the house)   Unproductive urination (no urine passed) Causes Causes of dysuria include a number of different conditions including:   Urinary tract infection   A stone in the urethra   Bladder stones   Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra)   Masses (tumors) in the bladder or urethra   Stricture (narrowed area within the urogenital tract)   A neurologic problem resulting in increased urethral tone (dyssynergia) or decreased bladder tone (atony) Treatment Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. It may require:   Antibiotics to treat infections   Surgery to treat stones or a stricture   An anti-inflammatory dose of steroids to treat inflammation Home Care Administer as directed any medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Observe your cat’s urination patterns. Make sure urine is being passed in adequate amounts. Observe your cat’s general activity level, appetite and attitude. Make sure your cat has plenty of water and has frequent opportunities to urinate. Follow dietary recommendations of your veterinarian. Causes Dysuria may be the result of a number of different causes. These include:   Calculi. Bladder or urethral   Infection. Bacterial cystitis (infection of the bladder), urethritis, vaginitis, prostatitis (bacterial) or prostatic abscess   Bladder cancer. Transitional cell carcinoma, rhabdomyoma or sarcoma   Urethral cancer. Transitional cell carcinoma, transmissible venereal tumor   Prostate cancer. Adenocarcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma   Vaginal or penile cancer. Transmissible venereal tumor, fibromas, sarcomas   Trauma. Ruptured bladder or urethra, urethral stricture   Inflammation. Feline lower urinary tract disorders (FLUTD) or granulomatous urethritis   Neurologic. Detrusor-urethral dyssynergia Veterinary Care In-depth Diagnosis In-depth Diagnostic tests needed to determine the cause of dysuria include: Urinalysis to identify crystals, abnormal cells or evidence of inflammation Urine culture and sensitivity to identify the presence of infection Plain abdominal radiographs to assess for the presence of cystic (bladder) calculi (stones) Contrast cystourethrogram. A radiographic dye study to evaluate for the presence of calculi in either the bladder or urethra. This study will also establish the presence of filling defects that may be masses, areas of inflammation or strictures. Abdominal ultrasound to assess the kidneys, ureters, bladder and proximal urethra. A rectal exam will also be advantageous to assess the size and thickness of the pelvic urethra...

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Trouble Breathing in Cats

This Trouble Breathing in Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Trouble Breathing in Cats

Respiratory distress, often called dyspnea, is labored, difficult breathing or shortness of breath that can occur at any time during the breathing process, during inspiration (breathing in) or expiration (breathing out). When your cat has trouble breathing, he may not be able to get enough oxygen to his tissues. Additionally, if he has heart failure, he may not be able to pump sufficient blood to his muscles and other tissues. Dyspnea is often associated with accumulation of fluid (edema) in the lungs or the chest cavity (pleural effusion). This fluid can lead to shortness of breath and coughing. Causes Heart disease or heart failure Lung disease Tumors or cancer in the lung or which press on the airway Infections such as pneumonia) Obstructions that occlude the airway Trauma Bleeding into the lungs or chest Abnormal fluid accumulation in/or around the lungs from various causes including heart and lung disease Intact (non-spayed) female cats are predisposed to breast cancer (metastatic mammary carcinoma). Younger animals are more likely to develop lung infections. What to Watch For   Coughing   Shortness of breath   Difficulty breathing   Weight loss   Fatigue Diagnosis Diagnostic tests are needed to determine why your pet is having trouble breathing. Tests that may be performed include:   A complete medical history and physical examination with emphasis on stethoscope examination (auscultation) of the heart and lungs   A chest radiograph (X-ray)   Measurement of blood pressure   An electrocardiogram (EKG)   Ultrasound examination of the heart (echocardiogram)   Laboratory (blood) tests Treatment The treatment for dyspnea depends upon the underlying cause. Often, treatment is initiated to help stabilize your pet and allow him to breath easier while tests are being performed to determine the underlying cause. This treatment may include:   Hospitalization with administration of oxygen   Minimizing stress   Thoracentesis, which is drainage of fluid that has accumulated around the lungs (pleural effusion) with a needle   Diuretics. A “water-pill” such as the drug furosemide (Lasix®) or spironolactone may be administered or prescribed   Combination drug therapy. If heart failure is suspected, treatment with oxygen, a diuretic such as Lasix, and nitroglycerine ointment is often initiated   The drug digoxin (Lanoxin, Cardoxin) may be prescribed in some situations Home Care Dyspnea is usually an emergency. See your veterinarian immediately. When you first note that your pet is having trouble breathing, note his general activity, exercise capacity and interest in the family activities. Keep a record of your pet’s appetite, ability to breathe comfortably (or not), and note the presence of any symptoms such as coughing or severe tiring. Optimal treatment for dyspnea requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical and may include the following: Never withhold water, even if your pet...

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Licking of Genital Area in Cats

This Licking of Genital Area in Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Licking of Genital Area in Cats

A normal healthy cat keeps him/herself relatively clean. Cats are fastidious and spend a significant amount of time grooming and keeping clean. In addition to cleaning their legs and body, cats will also lick their genital areas in an attempt to remove dirt, discharge or debris. Excessive licking in this area may indicate a medical problem and can be a cause for concern. Causes in Males In males, abnormal preputial discharge can result in excessive licking. Preputial discharge is any substance emanating (flowing) from the prepuce (the fold of skin that covers the penis). Preputial discharge may consist of blood, urine or pus. The normal cat should have no discharge; however a small amount of whitish-yellow “smegma” can accumulate around the preputial opening, and is not considered clinically significant. Causes of excessive discharge include: Disorders affecting the prepuce, including neoplasia (cancer), trauma, foreign body or balanoposthitis (inflammation of the penis/prepuce) Disorders of the urethra, including neoplasia, trauma, or calculi (stones) Disorders of the urinary bladder including infection, calculi, inflammation or neoplasia Disorders of the prostate, including prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate), neoplasia, hyperplasia (enlargement), cyst or abscess Coagulopathies (bleeding disorders) including thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet count) and ingestion of rat poison Urinary incontinence (inability to hold urine) secondary to an ectopic (abnormally placed) ureter or improperly functioning sphincter (tissue that acts like a door, controlling the release of urine) Causes in Females In females, abnormal vaginal discharge can result in excessive licking. Vaginal discharge is any substance emanating (flowing) from the vulvar labia (the external female genitals). Vaginal discharge may be a normal in the postpartum (afterbirth) period, sometimes lasting 6 to 8 weeks. Causes of excessive abnormal discharge include: Urogenital tract infections (urinary tract infection, pyometra/infected uterus) Neoplasia (cancer) of the urogenital tract Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) or inflammation anywhere in the urogenital tract Coagulation (clotting) disorders (associated with rat poison, low platelets) Trauma or foreign body of the urogenital tract Urinary incontinence (inability to hold urine) secondary to an ectopic (abnormally placed) ureter or problem with the sphincter (the tissue that acts like a door, controlling the release of urine) Retained placenta (the organ that unites the fetus with the lining of the uterus) or fetal death The presence of genital discharge most often suggests an underlying problem, ranging from a mild, relatively benign disorder, to a severe, even life threatening disease. What To Watch For Excessive licking Spotting Discharge Swelling of genital area Diagnosis It is important to perform a thorough physical examination, including a thorough genital examination. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend the following diagnostic tests: A complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile and urinalysis are recommended. Although often within normal limits, there may be evidence of infection or inflammation A bacterial...

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Bad Breath in Cats

This Bad Breath in Cats Article is Listed in Cat Training Cat Breed Information

Bad Breath in Cats

Halitosis, or bad breath, is an unpleasant odor coming from your cat’s mouth. Usually halitosis had oral causes, although sometimes it can be caused by other disease processes. There are several products on the market to help you deal with bad kitty breath including cat toothbrush and paste, cat treats that can help minimize tartar or freshen cat breath as welll as kitty breath drops. It is first important to understand and treat any underlying diseases that may be causing the foul odor. These include: Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) Abscessed tooth or teeth Bone or hair stuck in mouth Oral ulceration Foreign bodies in the mouth (such as plant material or grass awns) Oral neoplasia (tumors of the mouth) Lung diseases, such as lung cancer Severe kidney disease Periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the tooth) What to Watch For Oral discharge Oral pain Bloody oral discharge Drooling Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) Difficulty eating Depression Diagnosis Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the bad breath and help guide subsequent treatment recommendations. Some tests may include: A complete medical history and physical examination A complete oral exam, which may require a brief anesthetic Full-mouth radiographs (X-rays) with a dental machine Periodontal probing (a blunt probe that is used to check the gum/tooth interface) to identify gum and periodontal diseases Treatment Optimal therapy of any serious or persistent medical condition depends on establishing the correct diagnosis. There are numerous potential causes of halitosis and before any treatment can be recommended, it is important to identify the underlying cause. Initial therapy should be aimed at the underlying cause. This treatment may include: Removal of foreign object if present Treatment of any oral tumors as needed Periodontal therapy and root planing (cleaning/scraping the teeth under the gums) Home Care Home care recommendations will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. Some steps that you can take to help eliminate your cat’s bad breath include: Brushing your cat’s teeth daily. Tooth brushes/finger brushes and special toothpastes are available from your veterinarian. Spraying 0.12 percent chlorhexidine (prescribed by your veterinarian) into your cat’s mouth once a day for seven to fourteen days. Following dietary considerations recommended by your veterinarian. Special diets that may be beneficial include Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D®. Evaluation by your veterinarian if the bad breath...

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