A Review Of Apple’s AirTag To Find My Cat!

cat airtag location

Like most kitties these days, my cat is supposed to be indoors. I say supposed, because despite my best efforts, he does not always agree.

Fast asleep he may appear, but as soon as a door or window opens, up comes his periscope head. If you aren’t quick enough, or the lock doesn’t click, he’s gone. Next thing, the whole family is out with torches (not the flaming kind but it feels that way) until he’s found and returned.

We do this because outdoor cats run a high risk of road trauma, fight abscesses and FIV infection. But sometimes he’s impossible to find. So I’ve always been interested in smart tech to help me, and recently I invested in an AirTag.

However, it may not be the best option.

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Treatment with Remdesivir for FIP in Cats

FIP antiviral treatment

The nightmare is almost over. Until very recently, a diagnosis of Feline Infectious Peritonitis was a death sentence. Either a slow, lingering decline or a decision to euthanase and spare the suffering. This happened to around 1% of cats, most of them kittens.

Then it was discovered that certain antiviral drugs could not only improve the symptoms, they could actually bring about a cure. But there was still a hitch.

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The Cause Of Sneezing & Watery Eyes In Kittens

kitten eye infection

There is a very good reason why so many kittens come with sneezes, runny eyes or coughs. This is true whether a young kitten with continuous symptoms, or an older cat where the problem seems to get better and then come back.

Once you know it, a lot of other common cat illnesses start to make sense.

To understand the special nature of cat diseases, you need to look at how they began. So stick with me! What I’m about to discuss could be the most important health issue of cats.

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Is It OK To Give A Cat Only Dry Food?

cat eating

Listen to this rubbish.

If your cat only eats dry food, she is likely to be getting less nutrition than a cat eating wet food. Many low-quality dry foods contain a lot of fillers.

Throwaway lines like these are typical of the overly simplistic advice you find online about feline nutrition. The truth takes a deeper look. To know whether wet, dry or both are best for your cat, we need to talk about:

  • nutritional adequacy & completeness
  • fillers in wet & dry cat food
  • the risk of obesity
  • diseases associated with wet & dry foods
  • other alternative cat diets

Let’s dive in!

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Which Cat Scratcher Do Cats Use Most?

cat on scratcher

We all know that cats like to sharpen their claws, but it amazes me how little we actually know about it. Yet scratching in cats is extremely important.

It is:

  • a genuine need of cats
  • a significant source of concern for cat owners
  • a leading cause of surrender to shelters
  • the excuse used for surgical declawing of cats

What you see here is typical of veterinary science. Pick a rare disease like arterial thromboembolism and you’ll find lots of good science. Pick a common, everyday, practical problem and it just doesn’t get the same attention.

Finally, I have something to tell you. For the first time, two recent studies have looked at scratcher preferences in kittens and adult cats. They offered cats choices and measured which ones they chose to use more often.

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Help! My Cat Has A Bloated Stomach

cat swollen stomach

Essential facts (details below):

Causes Of A Swollen Belly In Cats

There are five likely causes for an enlarged abdomen in a young cat:

  • Intestinal worms, especially in untreated kittens up to three months of age
  • Pregnancy, in undesexed, free-roaming female cats
  • Abdominal fat deposition, which is usually easy to identify
  • Excessively large meals (swelling should come and go)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis or FIP
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It’s True, Cats Get Parvo Too

Kitten face closeup

News Flash: Since writing this, there have been increasing reports of feline parvovirus outbreaks in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.

A few years ago I started getting questions about a new cat viral outbreak called cat plagueCat plague? I may have been seeing cats for 25 years, but this was news to me too.

A quick google and it all became clear: this is a new name for an old disease. It goes by all these names:

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What Is The Best Cat Litter?

cat litter choices

I have no idea how most cat owners end up choosing a cat litter. If my experiences are anything to go by, it’s trial and error. I doubt they try more than a few before settling on a favourite.

This is a vet review of the common and popular types of cat litter in stores. I’ll help you understand:

  • the choices of cat litter
  • the problems with each type
  • and the evidence for which ones cats prefer
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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus & Your Cat

cat FIV infection

When I was young, like all kids, I wanted to know why everything happened. Having vets as parents, I can distinctly remember asking why male cats needed to be desexed.

“It’s because otherwise they fight so much that they get run down and die early.”

With the benefit of hindsight, this is pure folk wisdom. People could see that fighting was associated with sickness, but not yet why. Then, in 1986, hot on the heels of the discovery of the human AIDS virus, researchers in the USA put two and two together and found a feline AIDS virus in cats like these. We call it FIV.

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Getting Cats To Eat Raw Chicken Necks

cat raw chicken

Let me tell you a story that shows what we’re up against.

I met a very perplexed feral cat researcher recently. In his study area the cats generally hunt and eat one common mammal. However, suddenly the population of that species crashed.

There were lots of other tasty critters still hopping around, some of which look nearly the same. Despite this, the cats began to starve.

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Help! Dogs With Cuts & Cats With Wounds

‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ What to do

When A Dog Or Cat Gets A Cut

  1. Don’t handle the wound if it looks clean, just keep your pet out of the dirt
  2. To remove dirt, rinse cuts in a solution of ½tsp salt to 1 cup water
  3. If there is serious bleeding, apply a tight bandage using clean cloth
  4. As long as you see a vet immediately, a tight dressing should do minimal harm and may be lifesaving

Now dive deeper…

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Help! My Cat Is Peeing Inside

Cat urinating in house

‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ What To Do

Why Cats Urinate In The House

  1. The cause is usually anxiety, territorial stress, urinary tract disease or litter box problems
  2. It’s not bad behaviour; most cats will stop peeing inside if you treat the cause and don’t punish
  3. Clean up areas with cat urine using enzymatic cleaners to reduce odour and prevent recurrence

Now dive deeper.

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Allergy To Dogs And Cats

Devon Rex bed

I love Devon Rex cats (that’s mine above) but they aren’t good for allergies. To cats, that is. (for allergies of cats & dogs, follow this link)

My previous Devon Rex was dumped at a shelter after 18 months being locked in a room. She’d been bought on the misguided belief that she wouldn’t cause cat allergy. It took me years to get her settled after that rough start, and it could have been worse.

I’ve seen plenty of animal lovers who are allergic to their pets. It’s heartbreaking to watch. The good news is there are things you can do to help.

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The New Laws For Dogs & Cats

UPDATE 2018

In July, 2018 the new laws for dogs and cats came into force. You can read the details by following the link.

Although it will not be universally popular, the move towards universal desexing and microchipping of dogs and cats should produce a clear net benefit to pets and the community.

Regarding the concerns I raised below back in 2016, most have been addressed satisfactorily:

  • Vets can only give temporary exemptions
  • Guard dogs and remote communities are not specifically exempted
  • Breeding standards are already law and now breeders must also be registered, making the removal of rogue operators easier

However:

  • I’m yet to be convinced of the benefit of cat owners being asked to register their cats. Most owned cats have no harmful effect on communities or councils. There are existing laws on the removal of unidentified stray cats that function perfectly well.
  • Compulsory microchipping and desexing are an excellent idea for all cats, but the existing databases you already pay for are still necessary, and in my opinion, all that is needed.
  • You can still buy puppies at Adelaide pet shops from interstate puppy farms.
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Can A Pet Be For Christmas AND For Life?

snowman christmas cat

So, you asked your kids or partner what they want for Christmas and they said: “a puppy”.  That’s awkward.

You want them to be happy but you know you shouldn’t give pets for Christmas. Maybe you even want a pet yourself. What do you do?

The answer to this moral choice is: “it’s complicated”. I’m not going to say it’s always a bad idea (later I’ll discuss how you can give pets ethically). First, though, there are some important issues with the giving of pets.

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How Vets Use Vaccines To Protect Your Pet

vet giving vaccine
  1. Two weeks ago I told you about the diseases of dogs and diseases of cats that we use vaccines to prevent.
  2. Last week I covered vaccine reactions, vaccinating safely and alternatives to vaccination like titre testing.
  3. In this third week I’ll tell you about the changes to vaccination schedules for your pet.
  4. In the final post I’ll you which vaccinations pets need every year
    vaccine puppy
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