Ask the Vet

1:15 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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January 22nd is National Answer Your Cat's Questions Day

(Copied from Corinne Mitchel)

This holiday is focused on humans getting to know their cats a little bit better and finding out just what their cat is trying to ask them.
Cats communicate with humans in a variety of ways - meowing, chirping, staring, head butting, rubbing, touching with a paw and other methods that are particular to an individual cat.
How can you participate?
Your part as a cat owner in celebrating National Answer Your Cat's Questions Day is two fold. First, you need to be extra aware of your cat and notice when your cat is trying to ask you something. Next, you need to stop what you're doing and try to figure out what your cat is asking, and do your best to answer the question.
Cats are intelligent and sensitive beings and they like to feel in control of their environment. This means that they may be questioning some of the things you do that affect them and why you react the way you do to some of the things they do.
Some questions about what you do
• What is that food you insist on feeding me, can't you see I don't like it.
• Why aren't treats a meal?
• Why do you insist on clipping my claws?
• Why do I have to go to the vet?
• What is that smelly stuff you put on the back of my neck?
Some questions about the way you react
• Why do you freak out when I yak up a fur ball?
• Why do you freak out when I jump up on the tables?
• Why do you freak out when I steal a piece of food from your plate when you're not looking?
• Why do you freak out when I climb behind the flat screen TV?
• Why do you freak out when I chase the other cat?
Suggestions from professionals
In honor of National Answer Your Cat's Questions Day, veterinarians from the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) have compiled a list of questions about health and behavioral issues your cat may have and the answers you can give them.
Q. I love it inside, but sometimes I want to go out and roam around. Is that OK?
A The great outdoors may look enticing, but it's best to stay inside. Indoor cats live longer and have fewer diseases and injuries than outdoor cats. A nice window with a good view can help cats experience outdoor attractions.
Q Should my fur be brushed? And do I really need to take baths?
A It's not critical to brush short-haired cats, but long-haired cats need frequent brushing to prevent them from developing matted fur. Cats typically don't need baths; they keep themselves pretty clean on their own.

Q Are hairballs a common malady? What can my human do to prevent them?
A Hairballs can be common, especially in long-haired cats. Lots of brushing and a diet with increased fiber can help curtail hairballs.
Q My house is so warm and cozy; do I really need an annual exam?
A Yes. One year in a cat's life is comparable to five to seven years in a human life, and many things could happen within that time frame. Cats should be examined yearly to look for problems and to ensure they are staying healthy.
Q My human always complains that I have bad breath. I think it smells great!
A Bad breath is an indication of gingivitis, which is a common problem in cats due to lack of brushing and flossing. If left untreated, it can develop into periodontal disease resulting in painful abscesses and tooth loss. Cats should have their teeth examined yearly and cleaned in the early stages of gingivitis to prevent further complications.
Q Can I take human medicines like aspirin, anti-diarrhea medication or other over-the-counter products designed for humans?
A Absolutely not. Cats should never be given medication intended for humans unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Cats are sensitive to these medications, which could cause severe illness or death if ingested.
Q What about heartworms, fleas and ticks? Can anything protect me from these pests?
A Medications are available to protect cats from all of these parasites, and veterinarians can recommend effective treatments.
What questions does your cat have for you today? We would love to hear them and the answers you gave your cat - go ahead and post a comment to share your experience.
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Richelle Smith, DVM
Safe Harbor Animal Hospital
4547 Cascade Rd. SE  49546
(616) 942-8147

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