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Food & Nutrition > Feeding a CRF cat
Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Tue Feb 19, '13 5:25pm PST 
I totally agree with you about feeding CRF kitties whatever you can get them to eat when they aren't willing to eat well. CRF causes cats to develop painful mouth ulcers. CRF also causes a cat to have a buildup of excess stomach acid which in turn causes nausea and vomiting.

It can become so difficult to get a CRF cat to eat anything that it turns into a case of letting the cat eat whatever kind of cat food it wants, just to get SOME kind of nutrition into the cat. Veterinary medications to help heal mouth ulcers and to help neutralize excess stomach acid and counteract nausea often will help a CRF cat regain some of its appetite.

I also have given Nutrical, a concentrated nutritional gel, to my CRF cats when they wouldn't eat. Nutrical and other similar products are available from your veterinarian and are made to help sustain an animal who isn't eating enough to maintain itself.

It's very important to also make sure a CRF cat stays adequately hydrated and if your CRF cat isn't drinking enough water to stay well hydrated, it will be necessary to regularly give your cat sub-cutaneous fluids to maintain hydration and help keep toxins from building up in the cat's system. It is very easy to give your cat sub-cutaneous fluids. Your veterinarian can show you how to check a cat's hydration and how to give a cat sub-cutaneous fluids and advise you on how much sub-cu fluid to give your cat and when.

I've had cats all my life, and I firmly believe that CRF is the commonest cause of death of elderly cats. CRF certainly was what finally took the vast majority of my elderly cats across the Rainbow Bridge at the end of their lives.

This page at the wonderful Feline CRF site discusses Common Problems Related to CRF, including those that cause or that are related to appetite loss and anorexia.

Best of luck with you and your kitty as you fight the long hard war together against CRF.

» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Feb 19 5:25 pm

Senior Cats > how can people just throw a cat away b/c they are old
Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Wed Feb 13, '13 10:05pm PST 
It makes me SO mad when I see old cats dumped in shelters. I don't see how someone can just dump a pet companion that they've had 8 years or longer. I've adopted a number of older cats from shelters over the years. I'm one who will go to a shelter looking for the least adoptable cat, the oldest ones, the ones that have been in the shelter longest, and adopt those that might otherwise not get a home. I've adopted a number of cats 8 years old & older over the years, including a few whose ages were stated as 8 to 10 but whose ages were found upon vet exam to actually be a few years older than their claimed ages.

I think some people have a "WalMart" philosophy when it comes to pets. They purchase or adopt a pet, take it home, turn it loose in the house, and expect it to instantly behave perfectly and be exactly what they want it to be just as you buy something from WalMart, take it out of the package and expect it to immediately function as you want it to, with little or no effort from the human. Then when the living animal being fails to function like the person expects it to, instead of putting any effort into making things work, the person just returns it to the shelter/breeder/person they got it from just as a person returns a product to WalMart if it doesn't work perfectly straight out of the box.

» There has since been 17 posts. Last posting by , Feb 18 7:23 pm

Cats and a Clean Home > Meow About the Litter Genie Cat Litter Disposal System

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Wed Feb 13, '13 9:47pm PST 
So how does sonmeone get included in testing these products? Personally I've always wished they would use my house to test the vacuum cleaners that claim to be able to handle pet hair! I've bought a couple of vacuums claimed to be pet hair vacuums and both managed to get clogged with cat hair & had to be taken apart & unclogged. One was a Shark pet hair vacuum, I don't recall offhand what brand the other one was.

I'd like to see how practical and economical these litter systems would be in a seriously multiple cat household. No litter system would work very well with a couple of cats I had who preferred to urinate in a box of newspapers. These two were "phantom pissers"...kitties who sneakily urinate in places around the house they're not supposed to. Both stopped their "phantom pissing" after I figured out that if given a plastic dishpan (which makes an excellent cheap litter pan & also is a good size for crates & cages) lined with newspaper, these two cats would urinate in the pan of papers and defecate in the litter pans. Since then I've had a few others who would be clean in the house if given a pan of newspaper as well as a litter pan. I've also had a few cats who refused to use clumping litter and one with an appreciation for plumbing, he would urinate right down the bathtub drain, rarely ever missing the drain!

» There has since been 12 posts. Last posting by , Nov 15 4:59 am

Grooming > Long fur, mats, suddenly having problems, HELP!

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Fri Feb 8, '13 11:46pm PST 
One of my cats I have is an adopted Shaded Silver Persian. Persians typically have a cottony undercoat that mats and tangles very easily. In addition because of their head type, Persians cannot effectively groom themselves. To top it off, my Persian absolutely hates to be groomed. I've ended up having to keep his coat scissored short on his underside, the back of his legs, and the area around and under his tail all the time to prevent him from getting feces in his coat and to keep him from developing mats on his belly, between his legs, in his underarms etc. I also keep his coat trimmed short under his chin and behind his ears, other areas where he tends to easily get mats. In the spring I generally have to scissor his coat short all over because he starts developing mats even on his back and sides when he sheds his winter coat.

For my Persian and to a lesser extent for my other longhaired cats, I also use a mat splitter such as the Four Paws Mat & Tangle Splitter. This style of mat splitter allows you to safely split the mat without danger of cutting the cat's skin. I also like the short toothed undercoat rake and the long toothed undercoat rake for grooming cats and dogs. With cats you have to be careful though and not overdo using the rake at any one time because if you keep grooming with the rake even after hair has stopped coming away easily, it's possible to make too much hair come out and end up with a bald spot which won't hurt the cat but doesn't look good and takes time for the hair to grow back in and cover it again. Rubbing a little cornstarch into the coat in areas where the coat is oily will help absorb the excess oil in the coat.

Depending on length, thickness, coarseness or softness of coat, degree of undercoat, the cat's ability to groom itself & other factors, longhaired cats usually do tend to get mats behind the ears, under the tail, in the back of the pants hair, under the chin, on the chest, in the underarm area, on the belly, and between the hind legs. Another place where many longhaired cats usually have long fur that can easily pick up feces, litter, and other dirt that can become stuck in the coat and even cause soreness and lameness is on the bottoms of the feet around and between the paw pads. Trimming the hair short around the paws and between the pads so the hair length is even with the pads instead of sticking out longer than the pads, will take care of this problem.

The grooming tools I use most frequently on all my cats is the short tooth undercoat rake, the flea comb, and of course, the claw clipper.

» There has since been 5 posts. Last posting by , Apr 3 8:29 pm

Food & Nutrition > My cat always seems hungry.

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Fri Feb 1, '13 6:54am PST 
Kittens and adolescent cats, like children and adolescent humans, tend to be hungry all the time and burn off the energy from the food as fast as they eat it. Part of this is because they are growing and developing, part of it is because young animals digestive systems are less efficient than those of adult animals. As long as your cat isn't seriously overweight, I would recommend you free choice feed your cat a good quality dry food. Make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water always available too.

There's an illustrated chart at the below link that you can use to assess your cat's weight and condition.
http://www.iams.com/pet-health/cat-article/how-to-visual ly-assess-cat-and-dog-body-condition

» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by , Feb 12 9:24 pm

Saying Goodbye: Memorials & Support > Ghost of your Kitty?
Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Mon Jan 28, '13 9:12pm PST 
Don't worry, I frequently see ghosts of my former kitties and I believe my cats see them too. I'm convinced cats can see spirits and it's not that weird to believe that when you consider the fact that cats and dogs can smell and hear all sorts of things that are beyond human range of smelling and hearing and birds can see colors beyond the human range of sight.

Your kitty's ghost visiting you just shows she was happy during her earthly time with you and revisits that happy place in her life.

» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Apr 16 4:02 pm

Food & Nutrition > I have food allergies, need new food

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 9:50pm PST 
Have you considered trying lamb & rice cat foods? Lamb & rice is considered hypoallergenic & also easy on the digestive system. Lamb & rice formulas are usually easy to find in petstores.

Also here are some links with recommendations of foods for cats with food allergies.

http://cats.about.com/od/specialfoodneeds/tp/allergyfo od.htm
http://c atfoodcafe.com/cat-tips/hypoallergenic-cat-food/
http://www.vetinfo .com/hypoallergenic-cat-food.html
http://www.royalcanin.co.uk/vet/c linical_diets/feline_clinical_diets/hypoallergenic.aspx
http://www. nextag.com/cat-food-hypoallergenic/products-html

» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by , Dec 5 4:28 am

Behavior & Training > I am sad, but don't think I have a choice

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 9:15pm PST 
Two cats I have who peed outside the litterbox, happily pee in a box lined with newspaper that I placed next to the litterboxess. Another problem with a cat pottying outside the box problem was solved when I placed litterboxes at opposite ends of the house so that the cat in question could go use the box at the opposite end of the house if the cat she is afraid of happened to be by the main place the litterboxes are kept. Baby kittens like very young children, sometimes wait til the last minute to take time out to go relieve themselves & they can easily get confused as to where the litterpan is or underestimate the time it takes to reach the pan. At least two pans, one at each end of the house, one upstairs etc, is a good idea with a young kitten in a big house.

With multiple cats, you should have multiple litterpans and scoop them every day or two & change them as soon as they start smelling "pissy". Most cats don't want to use a dirty stinky box. Multiple pans do a lot to minimize the likelihood of cats beginning housesoiling due to litterpans quickly filling up with waste.

Another thing cats don't like is a litterpan that's way too small. I've seen some covered pans for sale that were so short in height a cat couldn't comfortably stand up in them & so small in width that a cat couldn't easily turn around in them. I was suprised anybody would manufacture a litterpan too small for a cat to stand in. A kitten could use it sure, but a kitten grows up very quickly. No cat is going to use a litterpan he can't stand up and move around in. So far, I've never had a cat yet that was willing to use a covered pan with a door in it, I've always had to remove the door before any cat was willing to use it.

With litterpans for multiple cats, bigger is better. Some cats will refuse to use a covered litterpan, most cats prefer a litter pan that's not covered, some cats will housesoil rather than use a covered litterpan, which is why I have both covered and uncovered litterpans. Litterpans should be placed in areas of the house that are out of the way & quiet. A lot of cats will perch on the side of a litterpan when using it, some cats will stand while urinating in the pan and end up getting some urine outside the box. One solution for this is to put the litterpan in a cardboard box that has high sides and back, but the side facing the front of the pan is cut off so the cat can easily get in and out of the litterpan. Such a box can be lined with contact paper on the sides with a sheet of plastic or newspaper or both on the bottom. This will effectively catch any urine that goes above the height of the litterpan itself. Some cats may need a litterpan with low sides. Hallie for instance, had to have a litterpan with low sides for quite a while after I first got her, because she couldn't get into the typical height litterpan.

There are many things that can be effectively used as litterpans, heavy rubber livestock feeding dishes, underbed storage boxes, plastic dishpans, big plastic tubs sold for people to use to catch the oil under their cars when changing their own oil, etc. The little plastic boxes hospitals give people to keep their personal items in are a good size to use for a litterpan in a cat's traveling crate. Metal containers do not make good litterpans due to the effects of urine on them & the difficulty scraping the wet litter out of them when changing them. BTW cheap plastic paint scrapers,they're always yellow wherever Ive seen them sold, are great for scraping the wet litter out of the bottom of a litterpan when changing it, also good for scraping sloppy stools off the sides of a litterpan.

Some cats may object to a particular brand or type of cat litter. I had a mass refusal to use the pans when I tried scoopable litter, the cats hated it. However I have friends with multiple cats whose cats prefer the scoopable litter. Another time I tried the chlorophyll litter that was briefly on the market, the cats made their disgust known to me in a hurry. Perhaps cat objections is why chlorophyll litter didn't stay on the market very long! I haven't tried any of the fancy litterpan systems such as Litter Maid, to me such systems wouldn't be very practical in a multiple cat situation. In a pinch where I absolutely had to change a litterpan & had no litter on hand, I used cedar shaving temporarily until I could get to the store & the cats did willingly use the cedar shavings.

One cat I had long ago would pee right down the bathtub drain & when I started leaving the toilet lid up, he trained himself to use the toilet. The drawback was he enjoyed flushing it too, even if it didn't need flushed, he was fascinated watching the water swirl down.

Some of the feral cats I've had, had to be started out using potting soil because they didn't know what litter was. These cats were gradually converted to litter by mixing more litter into the soil and gradually reducing the soil amount until the cats were totally converted to litter. Overall, my cats & I have been most satisfied with regular Tidy Cat clay litter, not very dusty and has a pleasant scent and it's economical for a multiple cat household. I've used everything from dishpans to huge square plastic tubs made to catch oil under cars, for litterpans. I sprinkle a bit of rose potpourri oil into the filter on top of the covered litterpans & keep decorative containers of rose potpourri near the other litterpans for a nice scent. Strangely though, it's become very difficult to find rose potpourri oil now though, so soon I'll probably be forced to choose a different scent. Stay away from most generic cat litters, they tend to be very dusty, put a heavy film of dust all over everything in the room & irritate cats eyes & nasal membranes.

The way I deal with cats who have persistent problems with going outside of the litter box & who didn't respond to these other methods is to crate them in size 500 or size 700 extra large airline dog crates. These sizes are for extra-large dogs and are roomy enough for a cat to have her bed, her litter pan, food, water, etc. The cat cannot spray outside of the crate in any spot except the front door & although I've never had a cat spray out the crate door, I keep a throw rug in front of the crate just in case. The solid plastic walls of the bottom half of the crate are easy to clean with either a mixture of water with a little bleach added to it or alternatively a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Solid dirt can be easily swept up with a whisk broom and small dustpan..

When setting the crate up for a cat, I first line the floor of the crate with newspapers to help soak up any liquids. I place a folded towel in the back of the crate for the cat's bed and place the litterpan near the front of the crate so the cat can hide in the back if she wants to while I clean and change the litter, refill the food dish, etc. You want the bed in the back of the crate & you want everything else situated between the bed in the back and the door so you don't have to reach past the cat to get to the litter, food, water etc. This way it's much harder for the cat to try to escape out the door as you reach in and if you're dealing with a frightened cat, you can do your care routine without having to get too close to those teeth and claws. I also usually give the cat a couple of toys too.

I usually give the cat a non-tippable water dish and put it by the door and hang a quart rabbit water dispenser (Lixit bottle) on the door. That way the cat has the dish for water while she learns to drink from the bottle. Most cats get the hang of drinking from a quart rabbit bottle within a few days. The food dish can be placed in any convenient spot, as long as it's not in the back of the crate.

I've had some cats who after being clean in the crate for a couple of weeks, would be clean in the house again after that. I've had some cats who would be clean when kept in a small room such as the bathroom but not be clean if given run of the house.

I've used these crates many many times for sick cats, cats who were recovering from surgery, cats who I needed to monitor for some reason, cats who needed to be confined or isolated for some reason, frightened rescued cats, cats with potty problems-either sprayers or a cat that refuses to use the litterpan reliably, & I've socialized a number of feral cats using the extra large plastic dog airline crates, ferals CAN be socialized btw but it can take up to a year for the cat to go from feral to acceptably social.

All the cats I've ever kept in these extra large dog crates quickly learned to like the crate because they feel safe in them. To the cat the crate is a nice safe den. With a really frightened cat, I cover the cage with a blanket so that it's all dark except for the door. That way the cat can hide in the back and feel safe. I gauge my actions by the cat's behavior. If a cat is fairly calm and social, I don't put the blanket over the crate. Even very social cats like these crates. I have one cat now who is crated because while she loves humans, she's terrified of other cats and also refuses to urinate in a litter pan although she defecates in the litterpan. She is happy and secure in the crate. When I open the door, she rarely ever tries to get out and if she does, she quickly turns around and goes back into the crate. She knows that in the crate, she's safe from the other cats, although they wouldn't hurt her. She already had this fear of other cats when I adopted her as a 10 year old. I have her in the top crate of two stacked crates, which puts her up at human hand and eye level where she can easily interact with humans and where the other cats can't come right up to the door of her crate and upset her.

An even larger roomier alternative is a tall wire cat cage that has a pan in the bottom and two sleeping platforms that you can place at two different heights. I keep the sleeping platforms covered with towels pinned in place so the platforms stay covered, because the surface of the platforms of the cage I have is of a somewhat rough texture, enough that it was rubbing hair off the back of one cat's hind legs. The towels neatly solved that problem. I line the floor of this cage with newspaper, then put in a litter pan, a food dish, and in the corner, a non-tippable water dish. I have a quart rabbit bottle water dispenser hanging on the cage above the water dish. One of the cats that's in that cage now has learned to drink from the dispenser, the other one hasn't figured it out yet. This cage is roomy enough to comfortable house two elderly spayed female cats, one 9 years old and the other is 13, both who often pee outside the litterpan. A wire cage works fine for cats who do not spray, but for cats who spray the 500 or 700 extra large dog crate is definitely the best solution all the way around for humans and for the cats.

Crating is the best solution for all concerned. The cat gets to live out its life in comfort, the human has the cat in a situation where any messes are confined and easy to clean up. Crating also is ideal for situations where you need to monitor the cat's health, particularly in the case of cats with urinary problems where you need to be sure the cat is drinking & urinating adequately.

I've had several cats who developed a problem with peeing outside the litterpan, who were crated & after two weeks consistently using litter without accidents, were released to have freedom of the whole house again and these cats continued being clean about going to the litterpan. Why they started house soiling or why confinement was effective retraining them to use their litterpans, I don't know. There wasn't any illness, no new cats or strange cat smells from anybody elses cat, nothing I could see to even begin to be a possible trigger for those cats episodes of dirty behavior.

Crating a cat in an extra large dog crate also is also ideal for situations where you need to monitor the cat's health, particularly in the case of cats with urinary problems where you need to be sure the cat is drinking & urinating adequately or with a cat who has diarrhea & needs to be confined until it clears up, for a cat recovering from surgery, an injured cat, a cat who is vomiting, or a cat with another health situation where you need to know if the cat is eating drinking, urinating, defecating normally.

Crating is the best solution for all concerned. The cat gets to live in comfort, the human has the cat in a situation where any messes are confined and easy to clean up, and so often a cat I've had to crate for not using the litterpan, would consistently use the litterpan over a long period of time while crated. Others were dirty in the crate for awhile & then started being consistently clean. These cats I give another chance in the house, first confining them to only one room and if they stay clean in one room, then going to letting them have house privileges back. Most of these cats stayed clean, a couple went back to housesoiling when certain other cats were added to the household. I say "certain other cats" because with these cats who relapsed back into dirty habits, other cats came into the household with the former housesoilers staying clean & it was after that another cat came in & two housesoilers relapsed. Of those two housesoilers who were clean and then relapsed, one later became clean again, the second one still hasn't yet been consistently clean in the crate again yet.

» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Jun 21 1:40 am

Behavior & Training > Signs of a cat being abused in the past?

Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 7:21pm PST 
With the history you give on the prior owners of these cats, its a safe bet to say she was abused. They obviously didn't have any conscience or sense of responsibility for their pets, the way they dumped them like garbage. If Lulu doesn't show general fear of humans, its very likely her wariness of being petted is due to being hit or kicked. A cat who has been hit with an object such as a broom, will usually show fear when someone in their new environment picks up the same kind of object near the cat. Hopefully there's an especially miserable place in the worst parts of hell for people who abuse cats!

Just take it slow & easy with Lulu. Move slow and easy, talk in a soothing calming voice when you approach her. Don't push her if she seems really afraid. Figure out her fear triggers. Some formerly abused cats for instance, will come up to be petted if their human is lying down on the bed, but show fear when their human is walking toward them or past them. It takes a lot of time and patience sometimes for a cat that's been abused to learn that human hands and feet and objects aren't going to hurt her.

Note too, there is also a difference between walking toward the car and past the cat with your body language etc clearly showing the cat you're not coming after the cat. Purposefully walking toward a cat with intent to catch or pick up the cat looks altogether different to a cat than walking past him or toward him for some other reason.

When I purposefully come walking toward them, my own cats often get suspicious , not because of abuse but because they suspect I'm armed with their Advantage flea drops or the claw clipper or other necessity they don't particularly enjoy!

» There has since been 4 posts. Last posting by , Aug 5 1:34 pm

Senior Cats > Weight Loss
Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Thu Jun 16, '11 7:05pm PST 
I've seen many older cats lose weight, sometimes almost like they go overnight from looking healthy to looking skinny and old, all were cats who after developing that skinny old cat look, I call it, lived approximately another year with supportive treatment for age related kidney failure.

Hyperthyroidism is another common ailment seen in senior cats which causes weight loss.

I've also seen senior cats refuse to eat and lose weight because of bad teeth, sometimes including infection, and a painful mouth. AFter removal of the bad teeth and treatment for the infection, these cats ate normally again.

A thorough vet checkup & lab tests is in order. The sooner such problems are diagnosed and appropriate treatments started, the better the animal's chances for longer quality life time.

» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Mar 12 6:08 pm

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