Hey, is anypawdy out there? It’s me, RaenaBelle, live from the chaotic Three Belles Ranch. (The skies rumble and groan and cause the floors and windows to vibrate.) Hey sissy, wait up. Whare are you goin’, It’s just a little winter storm. Mommy says anytime the weather has such drastic extremes from highs to lows or lows to highs, a storm is sure to follow. Guess you were right, those purretty spring days are gone.
Yeah Raena, me doesn’t like the storms outside, but storm mommy’s on the loose inside. Me’s not sure which is worse. MOL
Ain’t that the truth sissy. I’s like break times bestest, when mommy sits down and gives us extra luvvins. Ya’ know, we read that February is Nat’l. Responsible Pet Owner month. That got us to thinkin’ ‘bout what that really means. Ya’ know, we all know respawnsible pet owners purrmote spay/neuter, and the over all health of their kitties and woofies. It means to feed us appropriate foods and keep us safe. But what ‘bout our emotional health; ‘specially durin’ stressful times like storms or packin’ up to move?
It doesn’t even have to be somethin’ that big Raena. You know us kitties aren’t always big fans of change. Just rearrangin’ the furniture is enuff to really stress us out. Mommy says that’s one of the reasons she rearranges what she can offen. She says desensitizin’ us is one way to help keep our stress levels down when somethin’ big happens.
Really sissy? That’s why she does that? I’s just thought she was bored. MOL
That’s purrobably true too Raena. Mommy does say that after a while of lookin’ at the same old same old, the walls start closin’ in. Me’s never seen the walls move, but ifin mommy says so, they must.
I’s didn’t know our walls moved sissy. I’s saw somethin’ like that on the teevee the other day; it was scary. I’s glad mommy moves things ‘round so we don’t get squooshed. (Raena cleans her toe beans) Flat cats would take on a whole new meanin’. MOL
Funny Raena, you’re a real comedi-cat.
Fanky fanks sissy. Do ya’ think I’s could get a gig as a stand up comedi-cat? (Dezi rolls her eyes) Anyways…We’ve written several Service Cat postys on movin’ and remodelin’ with kitties and settin’ up a Decompression Room to keep stress levels down. But, we don’t really have the room fur that, and we really need to be with mommy. Ya’ know, just in case she needs us.
And just cuz we don’t wanna be away from her Raena. We’re far less stressed when we can be with mommy than when we’re sepurrated from her. ‘Course a good roll on a pawsum nip toy never hurts either.
That’s true too sissy. So, mommy takin’ sit down breaks to give us that extra luvvins is also how we all relieve the stress. Which of course, helps our emotional health. We’re cuddle cats, lap cats, snuggle buddies, whatever ya’ call kitties who be all up in the humans business all the time. But, even ifin your kitty is totally the opposite, he/she still needs ya’ to take care of his/her emotional health.
Maybe even more so Raena, after all the opposite of us would be a kitty who lives with a lot of stress and fear in their lives already.
You’re right sissy, I’s didn’t even think ‘bout that. Fur those kitties, speakin’ calmly and tellin’ ‘em what’s goin’ on and reassurin’ ’em that they’re still your nummer one is the bestest way to help them; besides a Decompression Room.
Even with it Raena. Mommy believes that on some level we totally unnerstand, and that tellin’ us what’s goin’ on each step of the way helps keep us calm.
I’s luvs you mommy.
‘Course we unnerstand her sissy. Hmmmmpht We are cats after all. Looks like mommy’s thru with her break, so let’s go see ifin we can help. Sooner or later she’s gonna have to open the door to the furbidden room (closet). I’s gotta hone mine’s sneaky skills to get in there and explore.
Till the next time……………………………………………………………..Be Blest!!!
MeOW We’re late, we’re late fur a very impurrtant date!!! Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. And welcome to all our new followers. We say you’re only a visitor once. After that, you’re family. We open this post each week to give you Trainin’ Tips and answer all your questions. So, ifin there’s anythin’ you’ve been wonderin’ ‘bout, just ask. Your questions can be ‘bout health, behavior, Trainin’, or anythin’ else you wanna ask. Nopawdy knows everythin’. And ifin we don’t have an answer, we’ll find one fur ya’. You can ask via the comments below or by sendin’ us a private email via our Contact Page. Purr requests, we’re no longer statin’ who asked the question. But, there is no dumb question, everypawdy needs help sometime. You can ketch up on all the posts in this series by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu bar. So, let’s get the business outta the way and get this pawrty started.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
So, we’re going to tackle a couple of questions today because they kind of go hand in hand. Here’s the questions: What age should kitty be spayed or neutered?, And: My kitty hates going out in the car/My kitty gets really stressed when he/she has to go to the VET, what can I do to make it easier on him/her?
Regardless of kitty’s age or background, they can be Trained. A really skittish kitty may always be a little fearful, but even they can learn to be calmer and less stressed. And, in the end, that’s all we can ask of them. We gave you Training Tips and Tricks on Harness and Leash Training here. There are numerous reasons to Train kitty to be comfortable with going out/riding in the car. We’ll be covering more of this in a future post. Anyways, we live in something called Tornado Alley; meaning a tornado could appear and wipe out everything in it’s path. Many of you live in areas that could flood or have the ground beneath you quake and open up. Regardless of weather, there are many natural disasters that could occur making it necessary for kitty to have to leave the home and ride in a car. So, Harness and Leash Training are always a good idea. You should always secure kitty inside their carrier with any provided tethers, or by clasping the leash to a zipper, handle or carrier grate. This step will ensure that kitty doesn’t escape even if they manage to get their carrier open. The last thing you need is a scared kitty running loose in an unfamiliar place possibly surrounded by unfamiliar people/other anipals.
We highly recommend keeping kitty familiar with going out throughout their lives. We also recommend taking kitty to places other than the VET. Think about it, if the only place you ever went when you went for a ride in the car was to some place you didn’t like, how eager would you be to continue to go? So often kitties only go out when they need to visit the VET. Even the calmest of kitties will eventually get a little stressed out by these outings. Our prayer would be that no kitty ever got sick or needed regular doctor’s visits, but the reality is that as kitty ages VET visits become more frequent. And, since we can’t all live in areas that have VETs that make house calls, a kitty that’s comfortable going out makes those visits much less stressful for all involved.
Me thinks me’ll take a little nap in here.
Remember, kitty also feeds off your emotions. More than a few times we’ve heard, “My cat seems to know I need to take them to the VET.” The answer is, of course we know. We’ve already felt your stress about having to corral us into our carrier and make the drive while listening to us sing the song of our people. Take control of your own emotions and start sending “positive vibes” instead of nervousness or stress. No matter how small your home may be, we recommend leaving kitty’s carrier/stroller out at all times. The more comfortable kitty is with their carrier/stroller, the less stressed they’ll be when you close them up in it. You should make closing kitty in their carrier a game you play off and on throughout their lives. Once kitty is in their carrier, calmly close it up for just a few minutes at a time. Once kitty is comfortable with this, start taking kitty out to the car and drive around the block and back home again. You can eventually make these trips longer and longer. And remember, all trips in the car shouldn’t end up at the VETs. We often go through the drive thru at the bank, just to say hey to the tellers in the windows. We’ve also gone with mommy to buy gas. We stay in the car while she pumps the gas and then we either go inside with her to pay or go thru the drive thru window. Again, we’ll cover more of this in a later post.
Ifin I’s stay here long enuff, maybe I’s can go fur a stroll later.
Now to the question of when kitty should be altered. In recent years all surgical procedures have advanced and become safer. Lots of VETs perform what is called a Gonodectomy (removal of the ovaries or testes) on very young kittens, beginning around 6 weeks of age. Most require the kitten to weigh at least 2 pounds. This procedure is more common in rescue and shelter kittens in an attempt to make sure adopted kitties actually get the surgery and can’t reproduce. While we totally understand the need for this, mommy is personally against this procedure on such a young and small animal. That being said, we also don’t believe kitty/doggy should be allowed to mature and “go thru a heat cycle” before being altered. We certainly don’t believe kitty should have to experience the birthing process. It is not necessary and increases the risk of mammary cancer, cervical cancer and other medical issues. We tend to favor the spay/neuter surgery occur when kitty/doggy is about 5 to 6 months of age. By this time the male testes have fully dropped, the female ovaries have fully formed and there’s less chance of “missing/leaving” behind an ovary or testicle. Altho’ rare, this has and does happen.
Raena’s spay day at 5 1/2 months old.
We were also asked if we believed that a female kitty in heat was in some form of pain and should be given pain meds. Our answer to this is absolutely not. But, that being our opinion, we researched said topic and could find nothing to substantiate that kitty is in actual pain. The yowling and contorting of her body is not due to pain, but her desire to mate. She doesn’t need pain meds, she needs to be altered as does the spraying male tom that’s yowling, fighting and stinking up the house/yard/neighborhood. It is our opinion that we often over medicate these days whether it be human or animal. That being said, kitty should be altered before she has to go into heat. Again, it’s much healthier to spay kitty before a heat cycle. However, don’t let that stop you from adopting a mature kitty who hasn’t been spayed. It’s never too late. And it’s never too late to start Training your kitty. Remember, Training is all about Repetition and Rewards. To revisit Training kitty to go out, you should take kitty out at least once a week throughout their life. This will help insure that VET visits go smoothly and kitty isn’t bouncing off the walls when you take them in the car.
Dezi in stroller in the car.
Don’t furget, you can ketch up or refresh your memory on any of the posts in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page in our menu bar. And keep the questions coming, we luv writing these posts and hope you find them helpful. Meet us back here each Furiday fur topics to help make your relationship with the anipals in your life better. We’re also joinin’ Comedy Plus fur Feline Friday.
Well here we are with da final part of our mini series on Sterile Cystitis. In our furst post we talked ‘bout da pawssible causes. Our second post innerduced you to meez new food. We discussed da pawssibility dat Sterile Cystitis was partly caused by food, both dry and those containing too many carbohydrates which kitties systems can’t break down. Seems Veterinary medicine doesn’t actually know what causes Sterile Cystitis. But thru comparin’ da lives of those cats purrsentin’ with it they’ve made sum assumptions. Another of those is dat it be caused by stress.
Well anypawdy who knows kitties knows dat we can get purrlenty stressed purretty quick over nothin’. And as most cat peeps know a kitty offen shows their stress thru their urine habits.Anyways, stress can be caused by numerous things like funder boomers. Or maybe a change in our house hold. You know, did you move dat chair from da livin’ room? Or did you bring home a new kitty or doggy? A new baby, a move, a new man or woman in your life, new work schedule or just plain ole boredom can cause your cat stress among other things.
So mommy changed meez food and gave me a supplement dat we found at Wysong to help lower meez urine pH, and then we had to work on meez stress levels. Meow mommy dat’s a lot of stuff to do.
Well baby there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. And yes, we did start with getting you off the Blue Buffalo kibbles, but knowing you were in pain, hurt me too and I wanted to get your urine pH down as quickly as possible. When I started my research we ended up at the Wysong website but not because of their food. That was a bonus. Wysong makes 2 supplements for urine pH. Both are called Biotic pH. There’s one for acidifying the urine and 1 for alkalizing the urine. Since Dezi’s urine pH was around 8-9 we needed to get it back down to the normal range. Having a urine pH that high meant she was at risk for developing stones and blockages. Ideally I would like to have Dezi do fine without any additional supplements, but as with medicines and supplements, sometimes you give something to get over a problem and then reassess. Thankfully the supplement is a powder that was sprinkled over her food and readily accepted. She ate it like a kid eats candy. But how do we know if it’s working?
To determine if Dezi’s urine pH was returning to normal we needed to test it. That meant either going back to the vet and paying for another urinalysis or testing it myself. Thankfully many advancements have been made in urine testing for cats because Dezi is the cat that would refuse to pee if I were standing there holding a test strip under her while she used the litter box. I researched testers extensively as well as ways to collect the urine and finally settled on a litter additive. Simple Solution makes a product that specifically tests urine pH when mixed with any litter you currently use. Since Sterile Cystitis can be an ongoing issue, and we’ll need to keep an eye on Dezi’s urine pH, I bought a couple of bags to start.
I poured some Simple Solution crystals in the area where Dezi urinates and waited (they are now mixed in throughout the litter which will happen with the cats’ digging and does not affect the accuracy of the crystals or their ability to work). I didn’t have to wait long because the additive seemed to intrigue her. When she left the box, I was holding my breath. Dezi had been on the new food and supplement for a couple of days. I know you’re all thinking it was too soon and I was expecting a miracle. Maybe I was. I believe in miracles and so many people had been praying for her, so I checked the litter. Alright, it wasn’t perfect. It was a nice shade of lilac, not the color I wanted. But it had only been a couple of days, and at least it wasn’t deep purple which is where it would have been the day she was diagnosed. Another meal down, more fluids and the next time Dezi used the litter box the crystals didn’t change color at all. We were there. Her urine pH was finally normal again. My little girl was no longer in pain. Insert in your mind, a photo of mommy smiling from ear to ear with tears of joy streaming down my face.
The next step was and is to work on Dezi’s stress levels. To do that we’ve been taking some days off the computer to hang out together and play and go for strolls. Dezi loves to play and she really likes to go out and see people and things. Kitties that lay around and sleep all the time can be stressed. Altho’ cats do sleep more than most species, they need enrichment during their waking hours. Their ancestors had to hunt for their food, so a little playtime before a meal can be beneficial. And altho’ I don’t believe any cat should be outside unattended, there’s a benefit to fresh air and sunshine. So invest in a good harness and leash and take the time to train your cats to use it. I have always preferred those harnesses made more like clothing as opposed to the strappy ones. A cat feels more secure when wrapped and even tho’ they may not like the harness at first, they will grow accustom to it and even someday enjoy it. We also use a stroller for going out. I’ll tell you they are a great investment. A way to take kitty out while keeping them completely protected.
The last thing we added is a calming aid. Some of you know we’ve tried the Thundershirt, Feliway and Bach’s Flower Essences, as well as a few other brands of treats and drops to no avail. Dezi hates storms, the lawn crew, fireworks, and most other loud and obnoxious noises. I searched and read and even made calls looking for something that might work. I will say that we don’t know if any of the calming treats on the market actually work because Dezi won’t eat them. When it comes to treats, she only wants freeze dried meat and unfortunately nobody makes a calming freeze dried chicken breast treat.
Anyways, we found a spot on from a company across the pond on amazon called Beaphar. They make calming collars, pills, and a spot on that is supposed to work for a week, among other products. The only ingredient in this spot on is Valerian. It comes in a box of 3 tubes much like a flea treatment. Instead of applying between the shoulders, this is applied between the ears and becomes effective within an hour of application. We’ve had a few storms since we started using it, and Dezi did much better. She did finally hide, but not at the first sign or crack of thunder. And she came out when I called her. I didn’t expect a spot on to work miracles; and part of being calm during these stressful events is acclimation. If Dezi has something that can help keep her calm long enough she can become accustomed to them and eventually not hide at all.
So all in all I’m happy with the results. I don’t like the price, but is there anything we won’t do for our babies? Right now a box of 3 Beaphar Calming spot on is selling for $7.50 – $10.00. The first ones we bought were $14.00. So the price varies and is a bit high, but the product works. If you’re having trouble and the other calming products don’t work for you either, then you might want to give this a try. I would like to note that we purchased all of these products ourselves.
Fanks fur ‘splainin’ everything mommy. Me luvs da new food. And mommy wanted me to tell ya’ dat me dusn’t take da Biotic pH – anymore, but will again ifin me needs it. And da little green crystals in meez pawdee box awe kinda cool. As fur da spot on, meez not sure me likes havin’ an oily head fur a day, but hey, those storms don’t seem quite as bad anymore. And meez really luvvin’ da extra time weez spendin’ togevver. Me luvs you mommy, and fanks fur duin’ so much to make me well.
As we do every weekend, weez joinin’ Rascal and Rocco fur da Pet Parade. And stay tuned Monday cuz weez gunna be havin’ a give away.