Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘cat advice column

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: What can I do to help my cat recover from surgery?

Recap of my previous two columns: A few days after I got adopted, I stopped feeling so good. The vet told my owners that I might have an allergy to dental plaque. Because plaque is full of bacteria, and because my immune system was overreacting to those bacteria, the vet prescribed yucky-tasting antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Unfortunately, the medication didn’t work, and the next step was surgery by a dental specialist.

On with the story: Waking up from surgery was not a pleasant experience. I was still in pain. Worse, I discovered that all my teeth except the two lower canines had been removed. The specialist told my owners that the rest of my teeth had been too damaged to save. Just as bad, my head was now trapped in a hard-plastic cone-shaped prison! The specialist advised my owners that I needed the cone to keep me from pawing at the stitches in my gums. I disagreed with him; if they would just remove the cone I knew that I’d be the perfect patient.

When my owners got me home, they brought me to a closed room and tucked me into my bed but didn’t remove the cone. I made clear how upset I felt by yowling at them. They left the room and closed the door, which made my spirits sink further. What if my owners didn’t like me without teeth? What if they didn’t want to take care of me anymore?

I tried to walk to the door, so I could scratch at it and get them to return. But my cone made it impossible to see or move far, and I kept stumbling over my paws. Finally, I gave up and whimpered. That’s when Allison came back. She picked me up and held me in her lap. I wanted to just lay there and fall asleep, but I hurt too much to sleep. The only thing that felt good was her staying with me, stroking me, and loving me.

Eventually I must have fallen asleep despite the pain, because when I opened my eyes again the sun had gone down. Andy was in the room now too. He put some food and water in front of me. I tried to reach the bowls, but the carpet kept catching on the cone, and so I yowled again. This time they listened to me. They removed the cone. Oh, the relief! Instantly I opened my mouth to eat. Oh, the pain! I pawed at my mouth. I couldn’t help myself.

My owners put the cone back. I felt ashamed to have let them down, and crawled off my pet mom’s lap. But there was nowhere to hide. Every time I took a step, I stumbled over my paws. I trembled. My pet mom reached for me, but I retreated. I wanted to be left alone. She lay next to me, but my pet dad left. I waited and waited for her to leave too. When I woke up the next time, the sun was up again, and my pet dad had a package in his hand. He had brought a softer recovery collar to make me feel more comfortable.

Some cats are masters at hiding pain; that night I was not. Here’s a checklist for helping cats recover from surgery.

DO

  • Confine them to a small area on the floor where they will be safe.
  • Limit their activity so that they can more quickly recuperate.
  • Provide them with undisturbed time for a few days so they can recover in peace.
  • Give them soft blankets to help them feel comfortable and reassured.
  • Ensure they have easy access to a litter box, food, and water.
  • Think about switching from traditional litter to shredded paper to avoid an infection.
  • Check for signs that something is wrong: smell around the stitches and look for discoloring that doesn’t disappear in twenty-four hours, behavior changes, and ongoing pain

DO NOT

  • Allow them outside until they have fully recovered.
  • Let them lick or otherwise touch the stitches.
  • Give too much water or water. Overdoing it may cause nausea.

My recovery took almost two weeks but, thanks to my dad buying me a better recovery collar, I could more easily walk about and eat during those two weeks. I’ll have a new adventure to share in my next advice column!

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

Advertisements
In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell cat from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: How does one get a cat to take medication?

Recap of part one: A few days after I got adopted, I stopped feeling so good. Every time I bit into a treat, my mouth filled with pain. What the vet discovered shocked my owners and me. I’ll just say that I was very fortunate to have been adopted by people who loved me enough to take such diligent care of me, even though I had only been with them a few days.

Now part two: The vet told my owners that I had something called stomatitis. The vet thought I might have an allergy to plaque. Without treatment, I’d continue to have plaque and eventually the plaque would lead to much worse stuff like failure of my kidneys. Because plaque is full of bacteria, and because my immune system was overreacting to those bacteria, the vet prescribed yucky tasting antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Everyone hoped this would reduce the inflammation in my mouth.

A week later, my owners took me to the vet again. The news wasn’t any better. The vet reported that my gums still looked bad. But she didn’t give up. She prescribed steroids, which my owners hid in my food. They thought I didn’t know, but we cats have a very strong sense of smell. I decided to stick to my resolution to let them do whatever it took to get my health back and ate the food with the pill.

Not all cats are as cooperative. If cats turn up their nose at pills (whether whole or crushed) in their food, try some of these suggestions:

  • Buy a package of yummy Pill Pockets and encase the pill in the pill pocket. Your cat will taste the pill pocket but not the pill.
  • Ask for your vet if the pill is available in paste form. The paste will cost more than a pill but can be rubbed on our ears to avoid the risk that we’ll go on a life-threatening hunger strike.
  • Pop the pill into our mouth. You’ll need to restrain us, which won’t be easy. Here are some tips Hold the top of our head by placing your thumb on one side of our upper jaw and our fingers on the other side. Tilt our head back gently until our nose points toward the ceiling, which should cause our jaw to open just enough for you to pop in the pill.
  • Place your hand under our chin with your thumb against one cheek and your fingers against the other cheek, and push in gently until we open their mouth.
  • For those cats who prefer to be held on their back, cradle them like a baby, but with their head and neck in an upright position. Then just use your hand to open their mouth and pop in the pill.
  • Use a pill-popper. It looks a like a syringe, but instead of a needle there are plastic “jaws” that hold a pill, which will “pop” into our mouths when you depress the plunger. One you have us restrained, take the pill popper with the pill already placed in it, and use it to open our mouth by pushing it into the side of our mouth. Next, push the pill popper to the back of our mouth, depress the plunger. There’s less chance of being bitten since it’s the pill popper that will go into your cat’s mouth, not your fingers.

I wish I could tell you that the medication worked and that the vet visits were over. Unfortunately, the next step was a trip to a specialist. More about that in my next column!

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell cat from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: When should one take their cat to the vet?

A few days after I got adopted, I stopped feeling so good. My owners had been spending a lot of time playing with me, which I thought was fun, and they had also been trying to get me to let them touch me. They were patting my head, rubbing my tummy, tapping my toes; and stroking my mouth. Each time I didn’t protest, they’d praise me: “Good girl!”

They’d also reward me with a yummy-smelling treat, which is when I stopped feeling so good, and this confused me. I felt as if I were being quiet and still. My owners kept smiling and sticking out treats for me take. But every time I bit into one of their treats, my mouth filled with pain.

At first, I tried to pretend that nothing was wrong. Hanging out with my owners made me happy. But then the pain got so bad, I didn’t know what to do. Was my owner mad at me and so she was punishing me? Or was something wrong with me and so I had to let her know? Except what if my new owners decided to return me to the shelter?

My owner offered me another treat. I stared at the treat. It smelled good. I glanced up at my owner. She looked happy. I sighed. Maybe this time would be different…. I bit into the treat. Ow! This time I couldn’t hold it in, and I had to yelp out loud.

Suddenly my owner was picking me up and checking me out. “What’s wrong?” she kept asking me. I jumped out of her arms and ran away to hide. I hadn’t meant to say anything out loud. But I also couldn’t keep pretending everything was okay. I was SO confused!

Yes, I’m letting you in on a secret…. Cats aren’t as cocky and stoic as we’d like you to think. We do care if you like us and we do feel pain even if we’re expert actors. Below are ten reasons you should call your vet:

  • Hiding or clinging to you more than normal
  • No longer playing or spending time with you
  • No longer climbing and jumping onto surfaces
  • Sitting hunched up in a corner
  • Purring, meowing, panting or growling excessively
  • Avoiding bright areas
  • Swatting, hissing, scratching, or biting for no reason
  • Neglecting to groom ourselves or overgrooming ourselves in one area
  • Doing our business outside the litter box
  • Turning up nose at our favorite foods

After I yowled out loud, my owner took me to the vet. What the vet discovered shocked my owners. It shocked me too!

But you’ll have to wait for my next column to find out what was wrong with me. For now, I’ll just say that I was very fortunate to have been adopted by people who loved me enough to take such diligent care of me, even though I had only been with them a few days.

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: How can one bond with a new cat?

Zoom! Zoom! That’s me racing from one part of the library to another. The library is the room where my pet parents restricted me during my first week with them. My owner was laughing as she chased me. When I ducked under a computer desk, she dropped to her knees and crawled after me. Next, I hid under a printer stand. Ha! She was too big to follow me. My owner tilted her head one way and then the other, calling my name and acting as if she didn’t know where I was. I peeked out at her, in case she really didn’t know where I was. Then I dashed past her again, ready for another game of chase.

Purr! Purr! On one of her visits to see me, my owner brought me a white furry mouse. She put it in front of me. Was it real? I gave it a sniff. Ah, it’s just a toy. I batted it with my paws. Then I rolled over on my back. The toy still in my paws, I pulled it to my face and then wrestled with it. The toy fell. I bounded to my feet and batted it again. My owner threw the mouse across the room and I raced after it. I flicked it away and then chased it down, over and over, until I grew tired. My owner embraced me in a hug, and I let her, briefly. Then I squirmed away. I needed space. Then I rubbed my nose to hers to thank her. What a wonderful world I have!

You might think that cats don’t bond with their owners, but we really do, and here are ways you can encourage your cat to bond with you:

  • Share your scent: Smells define a cat’s life! It shouldn’t surprise you that we want to know your unique scent.
  • Get down on our level: The lower you are, the more comfortable cats will feel with you. If you sit quietly and allow us to approach you when we choose, we’ll appreciate this action.
  • Spend time with us: One of my sisters likes to go for stroller rides with our owners. I don’t. My other sister likes to lay on their laps. I don’t. But I do like to wrestle my owners. We’re all different in the type of attention we want, but we also all want it.
  • Play with us: Each time my owners spend time with me in the library, they bring food or they come to play. The food lets me know they care for me; the toys let me know life with them will be fun.
  • Pet us: Even if I don’t like being hugged, I do like being stroked. Also, petting is the best way to get cats used to grooming, which is one of our most social behaviors.
  • Let us hear you: There are many ways to communicate with us. Say hello. Meow when we do. Sing to us. Just talk—about anything and everything. We like to hear your voice!
  • Watch us: Even though my sisters and I have our unique mannerisms, we also have a lot in common. Take time to watch us and soon everyone will think you’re a cat whisperer. 😉
  • Let us sleep with you: Cats enjoy love the warmth of our owners. We also love beds—whether our own, the dog’s, or yours!

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.

 

In December 2013, my husband and I adopted a one-year-old tortoiseshell from Hearts United for Animals. Cinder has taught us so much about cats that it seemed proper for her to have her own advice column.

QUESTION: How does one clip a cat’s nails?

Meow! Meow! After I got adopted, I felt so happy to have a new home. I also felt so grateful to my new owners. In that first week, I wanted to check out my new home and to thank my new family—both at the same time.

I tried to knead the scratchy carpet, the way I used to knead on my mom when I was just a kitten. But my claws got caught in the loops of carpet fibers. I tugged to free my nail. Then tried again to knead. But I got stuck again.

Never mind, I figured, I’ll just climb on my owners. Except this time my claws got hooked on the man’s jacket. He gently worked my claws free. I thought maybe I should just stop, so that I didn’t upset my new owners. But I couldn’t! I just felt so excited! But then my nails got hooked into the lady’s jeans.

When she put me down, I retreated to my bed. All I wanted to do was show my appreciation, but instead I felt as if I were making a mess of everything. I took a nap to figure out what to do.

When my owners woke me, they surprised me by making a fuss over my paws. I wanted to do whatever they wanted. But I also kind of felt embarrassed. Was there something wrong with me? Why were they checking out my paws?

Eventually, I found out that they were just helping me. once I got used to having my paws touched, they trimmed my nails. After that, I had a lot of fun scratching things over the next few weeks without getting stuck!

Here is how to clip a cat’s nails:

  • Most cats are nervous of having their paws touched the first time. To help us adjust to the experience, pet our paws while simultaneously petting us in our favorite spots. Sweeten the deal by rewarding us with treats for letting you handle our paws.
  • Once we’ll let you rest your hand on our paws without pulling away, this means we’re comfortable. Now you can start to hold and massage our paws.
  • Eventually, you should be able to gently apply pressure to our paws, which will push out individual claws. When you look at an extended claw, you’ll see a pinkish area close to the toe. This area is called the quick. Be careful not to trim our nails too close to the quick because it’s painful and we’ll bleed. You should clip off only the sharp point.
  • Use a pair of nail clippers specifically designed for cat claws.
  • A good time for nail trimming is after we’ve eaten, when we’re feeling sleepy and content.
  • Please remember to keep reassuring and rewarding us. We like to know we’ve done well!
nail, before

cat nail before being clipped

nail, after

cat nail after being clipped

Reprinted with permission from Lincoln Animal Ambassadors Pet Talk. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced without permission. Copyright 2017.


Allisons' Book Bag Logo

Fall 2017: Focus on Cats!

All things cats ahead! I will post roundups of cat training books, cat Trap-Neuter-Release books, cat coloring books, and cat cozies. For all other animal lovers, I will also post roundups of dog cozies and zoo books.

Categories

Archives

Best Friends Network Partner

Blog Paws

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 325 other followers