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Caring for Your Senior Cat

Posted July 28th, 2017 by admin

Our young kittens, don’t stay little forever – though perhaps we might like it if they did. They seem to go from playful, mischief seeking, high energy family members to middle aged and seniors in the blink of an eye. But, as pets go, our feline friends are easy to care for – no matter their age. Simply provide them with healthy food, a clean litterbox, regular veterinary care, and make time to play with them, and your cat will be there to keep you company for years.

However, as your cat ages, you will have to make some adjustments to make it easier for the mature cat to enjoy the quality of life they have always had. Some of these adjustments for senior cat care include:

  • As our cats age, they sometimes have trouble stepping into and out of the litter box. You may need to get a box with lower sides, or perhaps provide steps to make it easier for them. Also, if your home has multiple levels, you may need to put a litter box on each floor. In addition, pay attention when you clean the litter box. If there is more urine than normal, the stools are softer, harder or a different color then it can be a sign of high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or an over active thyroid gland.
  • As cats age, arthritis is often a problem. In fact, studies have shown that 90% of cats over age 12 have developed arthritis. Watch for signals such as your cat having trouble grooming himself, peeing outside the box because stepping into the box is too difficult, or seems stiff after standing up. Help care for your aging cat, by gently helping with the grooming.
  • Plan more frequent vet appointments – ideally, every 6 months – so that you can keep in the know about any changes or potential problems. Getting an early diagnosis of a problem gives you more time for treatments and often, more options.
  • Cats are great at hiding illnesses. Pay attention to changes in behavior such as loss of appetite, sleeping in a different spot, sleeping more or frequent hiding as any of these can be indicators of sickness.
  • Continue to provide mental and physical stimulation by petting, playing and interacting with your cat. It’s fun for you both, plus it helps you be aware of any physical changes.
  • Watch their nails. It is not unusual for older cats to have more trouble with overgrown nails which then affect their paws, and cause a great deal of pain.

Caring for your senior cat does not have to be difficult. Just make some minor changes, talk to your vet and be sure you note any changes in behavior or appetite.  Our feline friends have been there for us when we need to be consoled, do your part to make their later years as happy as the young ones. For questions or pet sitting, please be sure to give the SleepEazZ team a call.

Summertime Cat Care

Posted May 21st, 2017 by admin

Summer time is rapidly approaching. In fact, while the calendar may not say the hottest season of the year has arrived, for those of us who live in the South, hotter temperatures have already made their appearance. And, while many people may look forward to warmer weather and fun in the sun, it is important to note that care must be taken for our furry friends to help them make it through those especially hot temperatures of the season.

As you think about those dog days of summer, don’t forget to take the following precautions for your feline friends, too! Here are few tips to keep your cat(s) purr-fectly happy this season.

Hot Weather Tips for Cooler Cats

• It should go without saying, but never leave your cat inside a vehicle at any time! Leaving the window open is NOT enough. Cats overheat especially quick and can develop heat stroke.
• Be sure to always leave ceiling fans or the ac running during the day!
• Fill up water bottles and freeze them. Once frozen, wrap the bottles in towels to provide a cool place for your cat to rest.
• Put ice cubes in their water bowl, and be sure they have a constant supply of water.
• If you have a cat that is frequently outside – especially during the day – consider bringing them indoors. However, don’t relegate them to a sunroom or one that doesn’t stay cool. Rather, consider a room with tile (or at least not carpet) as it will be cooler.
• If you take your cat on walks or runs, be sure to go earlier or later in the day when temps are lower.
• When your cat does go outside, be sure to a cat-safe sunscreen on its nose and ears. Your vet or a pet store employee can help you find one, if you are not sure what to choose.
• Keep in mind that senior cats, very young kittens and those in poor health need more TLC than younger ones. Be sure to schedule any vet appointments or other errands involving your cat for earlier or later in the day when the sun is not as hot.
• Cats like to sit on the ledges of window sills and screen porches. Be sure the screen is attached properly so they won’t fall out.
• For outside cats, consider having a simple water mister set up to help cool them down.
• Play a game of ice hockey with your cat. Throw an ice cube on the floor and bat it around with your cat. They will cool down, yet still get some exercise.
• Be sure your cat is wearing a flea and tick collar. These pests, and others, are worse during the summer so do your part to minimize the risks. Also, take time to check your cat for these pests and remove any that you see.

Summer weather can be enjoyed by everyone if just a little attention is given to planning and playing. Use these tips to ensure your cat is safe and healthy this summer. If you have questions about additional pet care, or perhaps need someone to help with taking care of your pet, give us a call today. We would love to help.

What Do You Need to Know about Pet Vaccinations?

Posted March 20th, 2017 by admin

We all know the importance of being sure our children or senior family members are immunized against disease, but did you know that vaccinations are just as important for your pets? Just as you would take your children to get shots against diseases such as mumps, polio or other life threatening illnesses, you need to be proactive to your approach as a pet parent.

In recent years, there has been much debate about the need for vaccinations – whether for humans or for pets. However, unlike in humans where we can talk about our concerns or have an idea of what we have been exposed to, with pets – especially those that are able to roam the neighborhood, we must be more proactive.

Consequently, it is vital as pet owners to talk to your veterinarian about what shots are absolutely required. It should also be noted that what shots are needed for one animal may not be needed for another – after all, dogs are not necessarily susceptible to the same issues as cats. Here are some of the various vaccinations that may be administered.

Common Core Vaccinations for Cats

  • Anleukopenia (feline distemper)
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus type 1 (rhinotracheitis)
  • Rabies

Non-core Feline Vaccinations

  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chlamydophila felis
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus

Common Core Vaccinations for Dogs

  • Canine parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Rabies

Non-Core Canine Vaccinations

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Leptospira bacteria

Having your pet vaccinated is a way you can be proactive in keeping your pet healthy and protecting them from any potential sickness they may be exposed to. If you are unsure about what type of shots are needed for your pet, then be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

Like with having our children immunized, it is essential to be aware of any side effect that can occur. Granted, reactions are usually minimal if any, but that does not mean that they do not occur. When you have your pet vaccinated, there is always a small chance they will react to it by being more lethargic or “clingy” than normal but that will usually go away in a day or so.

But to be sure that your pet does not have an adverse reaction, you may even want to schedule the shots when you will be able to stay around your pet for a few hours, or even consider scheduling the shots when you have the following day off. However, if you notice other side effects, such as those listed below, be sure to talk to your vet immediately.

  • Collapse
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Facial swelling and/or hives
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain, swelling, redness, scabbing or hair loss around the injection site
  • Seizures
  • Sluggishness
  • Vomiting

Every state has its own requirements for what shots different pets need as well as their frequency. For instance, some states require them to be administered annually, while others only ask that they be given every three years. The exception to this rule is the rabies shot – as this vaccination is required annually for any domesticated pets.

We know that your pets are an important part of your family, and that you want to take care of them. Make time to schedule vaccinations and protect them. If you have questions about immunizations for your pet, talk to your veterinarian.