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. Continue reading “A Review Of Apple’s AirTag To Find My Cat!”
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. Continue reading “Treatment with Remdesivir for FIP in Cats”
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. Continue reading “The Cause Of Sneezing & Watery Eyes In Kittens”
If you have a Scottish Fold and this is the first time you are hearing of their problems, you are not to blame. Finding good information before you get a cat is not easy, as you have probably learned by now. Continue reading “What Cat Lovers Should Know About Scottish Folds”
Any disease that can jump from pets to people is famous, and toxoplasmosis is no exception. But that does not mean everyone understands how it works.
Like how many cats get it and how they pass it on. Or how to stay safe, especially if you are pregnant. And the disease itself in cats and dogs. We cover all these here. Continue reading “Toxoplasmosis In Cats, Dogs & Humans”
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! Continue reading “Is It OK To Give A Cat Only Dry Food?”
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.
- 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. Continue reading “Which Cat Scratcher Do Cats Use Most?”
Essential facts (details below):
Causes Of A Swollen Belly In Cats
There are five likely causes for an enlarged abdomen in a young cat:
Continue reading “Help! My Cat Has A Bloated Stomach”
- 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
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 plague. Cat 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: Continue reading “It’s True, Cats Get Parvo Too”
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:
Continue reading “What Is The Best Cat Litter?”
- the choices of cat litter
- the problems with each type
- and the evidence for which ones cats prefer
Isn’t it always the way. You’ve been recommending something for 25 years with complete confidence. Then along comes a piece of very inconvenient evidence.
This time it’s about cats preferring moving water. It turns out that despite a whole industry devoted to promoting cat fountains, until now no one has bothered to see if they actually work. Continue reading “Do Cats Need A Water Fountain?”
Feline infectious peritonitis or FIP is probably the number one fatal viral disease of young cats around the world. Up to now FIP has had no effective treatments and no vaccine.
Now there is real hope of a successful treatment. I’ll explain it below after dismissing a few false hopes. Continue reading “New Treatments For FIP In Cats”
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. Continue reading “Feline Immunodeficiency Virus & Your Cat”
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. Continue reading “Getting Cats To Eat Raw Chicken Necks”
For a variety of reasons, lip and mouth problems are common in both kittens and cats. Most are easy to fix, but beware: they are hard to tell apart and some are extremely serious. Here are the essential facts for cat owners. Continue reading “Lip Sores & Mouth Ulcers In Cats”
What do the diseases we protect your cat from actually look like?
Click here to see vaccination protocols for cats or continue reading to learn about these important illnesses. Continue reading “Explained: Cat Flu, Feline Enteritis & FIV”
I wonder how many people have regretted those fateful words: “I’m going to get a kitten to keep my cat company”.
You see, cats aren’t like us. As a highly social species, we tend to assume all the others are the same. But while cats can learn to be friends, it isn’t natural and it almost never happens in the wild. Continue reading “How To Introduce A Kitten To A Cat”
I’ve been a vet for a quarter century now. Over that time I’ve seen just about everything go wrong that can.
Pet disasters tend to go along recurring themes. If you know what they are, you have an excellent chance to avoid them. Some might be upsetting, but I hope you can see the benefit in thinking about them now. Continue reading “Causes Of Sudden Death In Australian Pets”
There are four key differences between most commercial cat foods and the diets that cats have adapted to eat in the wild: Continue reading “Making A Wild Food For Your Cat”
Sadly, the treatment of mental health problems in dogs is taken much more seriously than in cats. An anxious dog will often get help quickly due to destruction or noise issues. An anxious cat, by contrast, tends to suffer in silence. Even worse, when they do show signs they’re often blamed for it. Continue reading “Fear, Stress & Anxiety In Cats”
The biggest change to dog and cat ownership law ever will happen on July 1st. If you live in or have moved to SA, here’s how it will affect you and what you need to do. For everyone else, I think you’ll find this unique experiment very interesting. Continue reading “South Australia’s New Dog & Cat Laws”
‘At A Glance (Details Below)’
What Is Cat Flu?
- Cat flu isn’t influenza or a cold, it’s either a herpesvirus or calicivirus
- Symptoms include fever, not eating, and eye or respiratory infection
- Many infected cats become virus carriers or have lifelong problems
- Rarer conditions caused by cat flu include arthritis, gingivitis, eye damage, stillbirths & abortion
Now dive deeper. Continue reading “Help! My Kitten Has Cat Flu”
‘At A Glance’ (details below)
If A Pet Has A Heart Murmur
- Don’t panic! A heart murmur doesn’t mean much on its own.
- Learn the signs of heart failure so you know what to look for.
- Get your pet’s heart checked regularly
now dive deeper… Continue reading “Help! My Pet Has A Heart Murmur”
Update 1 year later: read to the end for the good news!
Out of the box came a beautiful and regal young male Ragdoll cat. He was quite a sight; in the prime of life and nearly perfect in health and temperament. But not to his owners, who said, “he’s a monster, we’re going to have to get rid of him.” Continue reading “How & Why To Feed Kittens In Meals”
Are you worried your new puppy or kitten might be deaf? Read on to find out if your pet might be affected.
For more information please also read our guide to deafness & hearing tests in dogs and cats. Continue reading “Congenital Deafness In Puppies And Kittens”
Picture this: it’s 4 o’clock on a Saturday, we’re about to close for the weekend, and a caring local resident brings in a dog they’ve just found wandering the street. We get out the scanner, all set to read the microchip and reunite a dog with his family.
Aargh! We can’t find the owners. Continue reading “The Problem With Microchips”
Many dogs do well on raw diets, but there are also several pitfalls to avoid. This article aims to guide dog owners into the safest choices within this sphere.
Vets have a tendency to be against raw diets, but I will do my best to be logical and unbiased. Therefore I’ll start with some benefits we see in these dogs. Continue reading “Are Raw Diets Good For Dogs & Cats?”
‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ What to do
When A Dog Or Cat Gets A Cut
- Don’t handle the wound if it looks clean, just keep your pet out of the dirt
- To remove dirt, rinse cuts in a solution of ½tsp salt to 1 cup water
- If there is serious bleeding, apply a tight bandage using clean cloth
- As long as you see a vet immediately, a tight dressing should do minimal harm and may be lifesaving
Now dive deeper… Continue reading “Help! Dogs With Cuts & Cats With Wounds”
‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ Emergency Care
How To Get Rid Of Fleas
- Use modern flea killers recommended by vets and pet stores
- Remove fleas from the house and especially pet sleeping areas
- Keep dogs and cats on good flea control to prevent new infestations
Now dive deeper… Continue reading “Help! My Pet Has Fleas”
‘At A Glance (Details Below)’ What To Do
Why Cats Urinate In The House
- The cause is usually anxiety, territorial stress, urinary tract disease or litter box problems
- It’s not bad behaviour; most cats will stop peeing inside if you treat the cause and don’t punish
- Clean up areas with cat urine using enzymatic cleaners to reduce odour and prevent recurrence
Now dive deeper. Continue reading “Help! My Cat Is Peeing Inside”
What you get told: “This product also treats worms”
What you should ask: “WHICH worms??” You might be surprised by the answer.
Warning: Contains Disgusting Worm Descriptions & Pictures! Continue reading “Intestinal Worms In Dogs And Cats”
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. Continue reading “Allergy To Dogs And Cats”
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
Continue reading “The New Laws For Dogs & Cats”
- 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.
Here are the top 17. There’s no such thing as a silly question! Continue reading “The Kitten Questions You Ask Us”
Is pet insurance worth it? Will I get value for money? I get asked this a lot but, with respect, I think this is the wrong question.
Once you read about insurance from a vet’s point of view I hope you’ll agree. Continue reading “Do I Really Need Pet Insurance?”
So your dog or cat has had an operation. Hopefully you found our guide to getting pets ready for surgery useful. Continue reading “How To Care For Dogs & Cats After Surgery”
It’s just as important to think ahead and be prepared for their recovery. Simple mistakes can undo a lot of the good work.
Does your dog need an operation? Want to know what to do when your cat has surgery? How do you prepare rabbits or rodents for an anaesthetic? Continue reading “What To Do Before Your Pet Has Surgery”
When the time comes, here’s our guide to how to get your dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, rat or mouse ready for surgery. There’s also a guide to what to do for dogs and cats after surgery.
After the popularity of last week’s Genetic Diseases of Dogs, it’s only fair the cats get their own page. Information on breed disorders came from the Sydney University LIDA Cats database (no longer publicly available). Continue reading “What Diseases Does My Cat’s Breed Get?”
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. Continue reading “Can A Pet Be For Christmas AND For Life?”
What do the diseases we protect your dog from actually look like?
Click here to see vaccination protocols for dogs or continue reading to learn about these important illnesses. Continue reading “Explained: Parvo, Distemper, Hepatitis & Kennel Cough”
I’ve spent the last month introducing my new kitten Grendel to our dogs. Let me tell you, it’s not easy.
Most of us love having dogs and cats in our lives. This means we often expect these two different species to get along. It doesn’t happen automatically and if it’s not handled well it can end very badly. Here are some key points to remember. Continue reading “How To Introduce A Cat To Dogs”
Sometimes cats don’t drink enough, and we worry. Sometimes they drink too much and we worry more! Cats’ drinking habits give us more worries than almost anything else.
Why Don’t Cats Drink Enough Water? Continue reading “Getting Cats To Drink Water”
Why is it so hard to know?:
Why Can’t We See Fleas?
Continue reading “How do I know if my cat has fleas”
- Cats are very good at removing flea evidence
- Fleas are fast runners
- Cats have thick coats, and
- Adult flea numbers are often very low
Why are so many ginger cats male? What are the odds a ginger cat can be female? Continue reading “Myth 30: Ginger cats are always male”
After my cranky rant in the recent blog Feeding Stray Cats here is the uplifting and inspirational story of a local college being a genuine role model in the care of their stray cats. Continue reading “Cat welfare disaster to happy felines”