Cat Health Problems, Summer Cat Safety Tips
Summertime is a time of unusual cat health problems. While it is the favorite season of many creatures, including cats and humans, it is also the time of year when mosquitoes, fleas and ticks abound. How do you handle these situations? Well, it’s not as difficult as one might think. Armed with just a bit of foreknowledge, you can “weather” the summer with ease.
First things first. Fleas are heartworm carriers. So are ticks and mosquitoes. Contrary to common belief, cats can get heartworms too. Simple fact is, if your cat is allowed out at all you should protect him with heartworm medication which is easily obtainable from your veterinarian. It’s not terribly expensive, and could potentially save you a world of grief and heartache, not to mention saving your cat from a rather nasty death. It’s worth it. Do it.
“But my cat is an indoor cat!” you say. OK, I say, your cat is at slightly less risk of cat health problems than an outdoor cat. However, please bear in mind that no home is mosquito proof, and guests may bring fleas or their eggs into your home, if they have pets, too. Bottom line is, it is really better to over-protect than to risk your beloved pet’s health for the sake of a few dollars.
Fleas are not only annoying, but they are more than that. They carry disease as I mentioned above, and they can be a definite cat health problem and a very real threat to animals, especially cats, should they become heavily infested. Fortunately there are many ways to prevent things from progressing that far.
Read My Page On Flea Control Here
Ticks suck. Really. And they are nasty and horrible creatures. Yes, I am a bit prejudiced against ticks. Because well, they suck! The presence of ticks is problem that you may have to deal with, no matter what precautions you use when you venture out into the woods. Ticks are not limited to the woods, oh no, they can be in your yard or other commonly used areas. And the ickiest part is that your cat could very well bring ticks in with him after playing outside, and after it’s fed on your cat, the tick may wind up falling off into your carpet, or worse, your bed! At that point, it is no longer just a cat health problem, it's a human one! Cats as well as people can get Lyme disease and ticks are a major carrier.
Learn About Ticks and How To Remove Them Here
Overheating, A Very Real Threat to Your Cat.
Cats don’t sweat. They come complete with fur coats (well, most of them anyway) and summer can be a dangerous time for them. Yes, it’s true, cats can get heat stroke. When this happens, the real cat health problem is that the poor cat’s internal organs start to shut down as the cat’s internal temperature begins to rise.
As you can imagine, this is a very serious, life threatening condition, and the terror of it is, it can happen in just a matter of minutes! The best prevention is being aware of the possibility, and making sure your cat is never put into a situation which puts him into danger of heat stroke, dehydration or other heat related summer cat health problems. I’ve included some information for you below.
* Leaving your cat in the parked car for just a minute? DON’T! Even with a crack left in the window and parked in the shade, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can soar to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes! If kitty can’t go inside with you at your destination, please don’t take him along! By the way, those new solar powered car window fans that are supposed to keep your car cool are not enough to rely on.
* If you let your cat go outside, Please be certain that there is fresh water available for him outside, along with a nice shady spot. Personally, I would recommend not letting your cats outside at all, because that puts him at a much higher risk of cat health problems and lots of safety risks, but if you do, it’s imperative that you provide for his summer needs. If at all possible, keep your cat inside during the hottest hours of the afternoon, usually between 12 and 4PM (depending on which area you live in).
* Heat or no heat, you should always provide your cat with a constant supply of fresh water. Try to make sure the top of the bowl is wider than your cat’s whisker-span. Cats really don’t like it when their whiskers touch the bowl (even the cute ones with little fish on them!). I find a large soup bowl works really well.
* Make sure you keep your kitty inside on really hot days, with the A/C turned on, or at the very least, a fan and a dish of fresh cool water. Adding some ice to the water bowl is a very nice thing to do for your cat, most especially if you cannot leave the air conditioning on for him.
Urinary Tract Issues, Often a Drinking Problem
Urinary tract Infections are one of the most common cat health problems, and are most often the result of the cat not getting enough hydration. Cats, while shameless about licking their own rear ends are notoriously finicky about food and water. Food we can cover at another time, but the water issue becomes far more critical in the summertime. Most cats do not get enough water each day.
If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, he could be in serious trouble. Frequent urination in small amounts, avoiding the litter box, or straining (taking a long time to leave a tiny amount of urine), could indicate a serious medical condition.Take your cat to the vet. Period.
Here are some things you can do to help your cat avoid dehydration and possible UT complications.
Electric Cat Waterers (fountains) are very popular right now. Cats love active water and will tend to drink more from containers that provide some motion to the water. Drinking proper amounts of water is one good way to help avoid urinary cat health problems, so the cat fountains currently available are just wonderful, and the filter feature helps ensure that the water stays clean and free of contaminants. The machine will still need to be cleaned frequently to avoid bacteria build up on surfaces that come into contact with water.
As mentioned previously, a constant source of water, fresh and clean, is imperative. It doesn’t have to be a fountain. Just be sure you keep the bowl clean enough that you would drink from it. Cats have much better ability to smell than we do, and water or containers that are stale or icky will generally get ignored. Which is odd, considering that outdoors they have no problem drinking from old pools, gutters and elsewhere, but cats will be cats, and indoors, we have to do what we can to keep them healthy.
If your cat has a history of Urinary Tract Infections or similar cat health problems, by all means keep him on a UT cat food, or supplement his regular food with cranberry. I use over the counter cranberry capsules. The brand I use is Nature Made. The capsules are 405 mg each, but provide the equivalent of 6075mg of whole cranberries each. I open and empty 4 of these capsules into each batch (Appx. 3 days worth) of dry food. This helps maintain the proper PH balance to help kitty avoid those nasty UTIs.
Tuna-cicles. Yup. Tuna canned in water is a good thing. Not for the tuna, but for the juice this time. Drain the water of a can of tuna and fill an ice tray with it. Feed the resulting tuna-cicles on a saucer and your cat will probably enjoy them very much, plus he’ll be getting more liquid into his diet.
Milk is a no-no. It's a little known cat health problem, and strange as it sounds, most cats are actually sensitive to milk if not outright lactose intolerant. Of course they don’t know that, and will still beg for a sip, but regular milk is not a good idea. However, there are suitable alternatives. “CatSip” is a brand of milk made just for cats, (and available in pet stores and some grocers) that will not give them the upset tummy that regular milk will. Also, for lactose intolerant humans, grocers are now carrying lactose-free milk right alongside the regular stuff. This too is ok for cats.
One Last Thing. . .
Summer is a great time to enjoy life, the outdoors and all our wonderful family, furry and otherwise. But just like having human children, the joy of having pets comes with the responsibility to protect them from harm.
Please make sure that all your family has a good summer, especially your kitty. If he’s anything like mine, he will be reclining in the shade waiting for you (the help) to bring him tidbits and a cool drink this summer. And why not? Hey, he’s a cat!
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