Educational Articles

Cats + Care & Wellness

  • Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. The most common dental problems seen in cats are gingivitis, periodontal, and tooth resorption. Periodontal disease is a term used to describe infection and associated inflammation of the periodontium and begins with gingivitis. Some cats develop severe oral inflammation called stomatitis. It is believed that cats who develop stomatitis have an extreme reaction to their own oral bacteria and plaque. The best way to prevent tartar build-up is through daily tooth brushing using a pet toothpaste.

  • According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 70% of cats have signs of dental disease by the time they reach 3 years of age. Dental pain in cats may take on a wide variety of appearances, but in many cases a cat may not show any outward signs of pain. Sometimes cats may exhibit signs such as decreased interest in eating dry food or hard treats, chewing more slowly than usual, dropping food while chewing, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, new or worsening resistance to having the face or mouth touched. The only effective treatment for dental pain is to address the cat’s underlying dental disease. The best way to prevent dental pain is to ensure that your cat receives regular dental care through a home dental care plan and regular veterinary dental care.

  • Even though e-cigarettes may be safer for humans than using traditional tobacco products, they are certainly not safe for pets. The nicotine associated with e-cigarettes, even without the tobacco, poses a serious health threat for dogs and cats.

  • Many liquid potpourri products and essential oils, including oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang, are poisonous to cats. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be toxic.

  • Open and honest communication with your veterinarian and veterinary healthcare team throughout a cat's life lays the foundation for effective communication when that cat's life begins to draw to a close. Discussion with your veterinarian will clarify any specific medical implications of your cat's disease that can serve as benchmarks to suggest that euthanasia should be considered. Most often, euthanasia is provided at the veterinary practice or in your home. The veterinary healthcare team will be an important partner as you negotiate the difficult days and decisions leading up to your cat's death.

  • Losing weight is often a difficult process and animals, like people, often take weeks or months to shed those unwanted pounds. Feeding a prescription weight reduction diet is certainly a good start in a weight loss program for your cat, but it is important to remember that food intake is only one part of the problem.

  • Obesity occurs when a cat is consuming more calories than it expends. Therefore, managing obesity in cats often requires both dietary changes and increases in exercise/activity. There are a number of methods for increasing activity in cats, including play, the use of cat trees and climbing structures, outdoor leash-walks, and intentional active feeding practices. Each of these can be beneficial in promoting weight loss.

  • Many pet owners decline to take their cats for regular veterinary care because they perceive that their cats resent and fear the visits. Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) are rooted in responses to stressful events, and result in both physiologic and behavioral changes. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done on behalf of cats who experience FAS around their visits to the veterinarian. Once you arrive at your veterinary clinic, the practice team will help to create a Fear Free experience for her and for you.

  • Cat food has been made so palatable that it can easily create gluttonous behavior. Meal feeding and portion control are important to prevent obesity. Owners should not give in to begging behavior. Cats that are still hungry after their meal can be supplemented with snacks such as green vegetables recommended by your veterinarian. Cats that eat too quickly can be fed creatively to slow down eating.

  • The goal of feeding growing kittens is to lay the foundation for a healthy adulthood. Portion feeding is recommended to maintain a good body condition. Proper nutrition is critical to the health and development of kittens, regardless of breed, and it directly influences their immune system and body composition. An optimal growth rate in kittens is ideal; it is a slow and steady growth rate that allows the kitten to achieve an ideal adult body condition while avoiding excessive weight and obesity. Growing kittens need higher amounts of all nutrients in comparison to adult cats, but excess energy calories and calcium can create serious problems. Preventing obesity must begin during the weaning stage and continue through to adulthood and old age. Together with your veterinarian and veterinary healthcare team, you can help your kitten grow into as healthy of an adult cat as possible.