The Power of Giving

Never underestimate the power of giving.  It shines like a beacon throughout

      humanity.  It cuts through the oceans that divide us and brightens

              the lives of all it touches.  One of life’s greatest laws is that

                  you cannot hold a torch to light anothers path…

                                without brightening your own.

Important Information on Feeding Your Feline

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A Quick Guide to Cat Vaccines

Vaccines have saved many cats’ lives.  It is important to vaccinate against serious or deadly viruses.
Vaccination recommendations are based on these factors:
  - the age of the cat

  - what the cat is exposed to(whether she lives solely indoors or goes outside)

  - local laws(in the case of rabies)

Core vaccines are those that are recommended for all cats

Feline panleukopenia:  This deadly disease affects the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. The virus is shed in the feces and it is long lived in the environment.  Sadly, even with hospitalIzation and intensive care; many infected cats die from this disease.

Feline herpesvirus:  This virus causes conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers and nasal congestion.  It Is not generally life threatening but once a cat is infected with herpes; he remains infected for life.  Stress or illness can cause a flare-up of upper respiratory signs.

Feline calicivirus:  The most common symptoms of this virus are nasal congestion and tongue ulcers which can make it difficult for a cat to eat.  While they are sick; many cats need supportive care such as fluids injected under the skin and supplemental feeding via a syringe or feeding tube.

Rabies:  This is uniformly fatal to cats but rabies can also be infectious to humans and other mammals. Rabies vaccination is required by law in most areas of the United States.

Non-core vaccines

Vaccination against the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is highly recommended for cats who go outside.  The virus can cause cancer, autoimmune disease, bone marrow suppression and neurologic disease.  Transmission occurs via direct contact - such as grooming, shared litter boxes and shared food bowls - with a FeLV positive cat.

General Vaccination Schedule – First Year

Protection against panleukopenia, herpes and calici are included in one vaccine called FVRCP. 

FVRCP vaccinations are given at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks.  Rabies vaccination is given at 16 weeks. 

FeLV vaccinations(if indicated) are given at 8 weeks and 12 weeks.  This is a general vaccination schedule

For a cat’s first year.  Your veterinarian will cr
eate a plan that is best for your cat.

Most people feed their cats once or twice a day. Convenience to the owner is the driving force. The

best schedule should be several small meals each day.  If there are multiple cats in the household;

each cat should have the opportunity to eat alone.

Cats are solitary predators in the wild; they prefer to hunt on their own.  They engage in several mini

(8-12) - meals during the day and spend a great deal of time actively hunting. 

Cats prefer to eat by themselves – they are not social diners.  Most pet cats are fed just the opposite.  They are given relatively large amounts of food once or twice a day.  Multi-cat households tend to feed in bowls right next to each other.  Significant problems can develop from these all-too-common feeding methods.

Having to obtain their food in a way that does not feel instinctual can make a cat feel anxious.  The added stress can actually contribute to the cat becoming sick.  Common health issues that can develop are cystitis, a bladder inflammation or “issues” at the litterbox including inappropriate elimination.

Obesity is another problem when cats are feed large amounts once or twice a day.  Obesity can lead the way to other serious health issues such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The goal of a feline feeding program should be to mimic the cat’s natural feeding behavior.  Cats should be given several small meals each day.  A minimum of three times daily is recommended.  The schedule for three times a day would be to feed shortly after you rise in the morning, feed shortly after you get home from work and last thing before you retire.

If there are multiple cats in the home; feed them in separate locations.  There are signs of discomfort that your cat may display when they are forced to eat side by side – approaching the food with caution, ear flattening or eating while hunched or crouched.

NEVER FAST A CAT.  Fasting is an unhealthy practice that is unnatural to cats.  It could provoke a case of hepatic lipidosis, one of the most common feline liver diseases.  Hepatic lipidosis can rapidly lead to serious complications and even death especially in cats that are overweight.

Dry food contain more carbohydrates than wet food.  Cats typically drink little water during the day.  In fact they have a reduced thirst drive compared to other pets.  Cats rely on their food as a major source of their daily water intake.  Wet food is about 75% water and dry food is only about 10%.  The moisture in wet food promotes kidney, bladder and urinary tract health.

Dry food contain more carbohydrates than wet food.  Cats are poor at metabolizing carbohydrates.  Excess carbohydrates get converted into body fat and from a sugar/insulin imbalance; this sets the stage for obesity and increases the risk for diabetes.  Dental health is a big reason why cats are fed dry food.  Some studies have shown a small dental benefit when hard food in included in cats’ diets.  Cats are not big chewers so the impact on cats’ teeth and gums may be limited.  Special formulated dental diets do seem to benefit cats’ dental health perhaps because larger sized kibble forces more chewing.

In summary – a balance between the essential moisture provided by wet food and the convenience of dry food is the key. 

Two tips - some cats do NOT like their wet and dry food to be intermingled.

Never feed the cat close to their litter box.  You would not enjoy eating in the bathroom, and neither do they!