Exercise class for cats? How to get your cat moving and grooving!

“Cats like to nap.” Wouldn’t you sleep if there was nothing else to do?  Cats were designed for hunting.  They possess athletic and tracking skills galore.  Those skills are going to waste. It’s sad.

Why not try an experiment? For one month, hire a neighbor or a cat sitter to actively play with your cat for at least half an hour several times a week. If you don’t want to hire someone, then actively play with your cat when you are home.

Don’t know where to start? You can learn from Jackson Galaxy, star of “My Cat from Hell” and author of a book about cat behavior. He offers practical, down-to-earth suggestions based on years of visits to the homes of cats. (Ignore his belief in spirit essences sold by the bottle. We’ve all got our quirks. That’s his quirk).

To buy his book:

Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Cl ean

Toys he suggests using:

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Mojo Maker Air Wand with 1 Toy

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Mojo Maker Air Prey Toy

Petmate Jackson Galaxy Go Fish Cat Toy

To watch his show:

He Hates My Boyfriend

“Can cat hair get into my lungs?”

How would cat fur bypass the body’s protective mechanisms?

Cilia

Mucus

Various tubes of decreasing size

“The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.”

Particulate Matter/Air &Radiation US EPA

Is fur 10 micrometers or less? No. If fur is pulverized into dust, then perhaps it could enter the lungs. Groomers inhale particles, but are the particles small enough and in high enough volume to cause lung problems later in life? That I don’t know. Since high-velocity dryers are currently a standard grooming salon tool, I would guess that more particles are being blown around nowadays. In earlier years, a “stand dryer” or a human-style blow dryer was used to dry pets.

What I do know is that you will not see a furry lung if you autopsy a groomer.

“Since the late 1970’s, we only monitored particulate matter pollution that was 10 microns in diameter or less, called PM 10. A micron (or micrometer) is a millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of how small PM 10 is, the dot above the letter “i” in a typical newspaper measures about 400 microns!”  From Hamilton County Environmental Services website. Good site!

Note: Micron = micrometer = millionth part of a meter.  A meter is 39.37 inches. PM = Particulate Matter.

“PM is the term used for solid or liquid particles emitted to the air. Some particles are large enough to be seen, and others are so small they can only be detected with an electron microscope.”

Relevant article from NAILS Magazine: “If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Inhale It.” Take home message: “Particles that are small enough to remain airborne and possibly be inhaled are not visible to the naked eye. In other words, says Will Forest, associate toxicologist for the Hazard Evaluation System Information Service of the California Department of Health Services, “If you can see it, you can’t inhale it.”

Micrometer

3-Year Feline Rabies Vaccine coming out

I had an enlightening talk with a favorite client and an experienced veterinarian. I didn’t know that cat owners can be fined $1,000.  If their unvaccinated cat bites someone, sending that person to the hospital room, and the owner ignores the rabies quarantine, the owner can be fined.

If you’re bitten by a cat, those pointy teeth can inject nasty stuff into hard-to-reach places where infection quickly blossoms and travels up the arm. Next step, stomach-upsetting antibiotics and worst case scenario, hospitalization with an IV drip.

With adjuvanted vaccines, veterinarians noticed that some cats developed sarcomas at the rabies injection site. Also, a bunch of cats reacted to the vaccine by showing signs of being sick (lethargic). Over time, the vaccine’s been weakened and altered. The 1-year non-adjuvanted vaccine has been around for many years. Seems to be safer.  As my client explained — she is a doctor —  a 1-year vaccine is very weak, and that’s part of what makes it safer. Most other types of vaccines work for many, many years, not just one year.

Merial is coming out with a 3-year non-adjuvanted vaccine. An adjuvant is like vaccine caffeine (very simplified description and not correct, but good enough for this example). Some cats had a bad reaction to the juice. Now, there’s no caffeine in the vaccine. More info on vaccine from Cornell.

The 3-year non-adjuvanted is new enough that one vet said he wasn’t eager to try it until some time had passed.

When I get my cat, Emma, re-vaccinated, she’ll be receiving a 1-year non-adjuvanted vaccine. I’d prefer to skip the vaccine, but rabies kills.

If you do get your cat vaccinated with the older-style adjuvanted vaccine, keep an eye out for lethargy. They might feel sick for 24 -48 hours.  That’s why it’s kinder to get them vaccinated at least a few days before traveling or other big changes. Traveling while weak isn’t fun for anyone.

Cat destroying sofa? Science to the rescue!

New pheromone can modify scratching behavior of cats

News flash from the Winn Health Foundation’s blog.

Who is Winn?

“In 1968, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) created what would soon become Winn Feline Foundation, establishing a source of funding for medical studies to improve cat health and welfare.”

Story summary, dumbed down to my level of comprehension:

Cats have a natural perfume on their paw pads. When they scratch, the scent rubs off. Like the perfumes worn by humans, the paw’s scent conveys a message. Human perfumes say, “Hey there Big Boy, wanna date?” Cat messages are, one would assume, both more subtle and less subtle.

If they bottle this cat perfume, aka pheromone, you will be able to spray it on places where you would like your cat to scratch, such as scratching posts.

Very cool!

Lush new fur coats now in season for your cat.

Longer days and less sunlight mean it’s time to change fur coats. Your cat does not need to have a winter fur coat delivered from the fur vault. Their coat change is “do-it-yourself.”

Telltale signs that the feline coat change is underway . . .

Tufts of dull-looking fur poking out here and there.

More strands of fur decorating your sofa.

Increased puffiness of coat.

Increased licking and grooming, followed by increased fur balls on the carpet.

If your cat is shedding more, a grooming session will keep that fur under control. In nature, your cat would frolic and scamper through bushes and grass. Excess fur would be snagged on branches. Since cats now live indoors, we have to help them get rid of extra fur.

To buy tools for deshedding:

Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

Evolution W6110 Grooming Undercoat Rake with Rotating Teeth, Double Row

Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb (65730)

Lion Cut + Old, skinny cat = Blood + Stitches

Bad human!
Yep. You don’t want to be the one who did this.

There’s a heap of denial among cat-loving humans who have skinny, old cats.

Is a cute-looking haircut and less fur on the sofa worth blood and stitches? If you say HECK YEAH! then go to it. Fire up that clipper.

I’m of the opinion that the answer is HECK NO.  I won’t do a lion cut if the cat is likely to be nicked during the shaving process.

I do make an exception for old cats who are so matted that they are uncomfortable. Their comfort is important, so it’s worth the risk.

Long-haired old cats stay dirtier and can’t deal with their own fur. Their tongue is worn out, I guess, not to mention the arthritis. They’re like that uncle who drinks too much and can’t remember to comb his hair . . . . you know, the uncle with the shirts covered with stains? You won’t do his laundry because who knows what he’s gotten into?

Cat skin is as thick as your eyelid. Think about that. You want me to come over and shave your eyelid?

The technical, boring discussion is below. You can skip it, unless you’re deeply interested in shaving cat’s privates.

1. Cat clippers work best on a flat plane. They zip along a flat surface and get every last hair off quickly and safely.

2. Cat clippers on an angle aim the blade at tender skin.  The blade isn’t parallel to the skin.  It’s going INTO the skin.  DANGER ZONES: clipping the fur in the underarms or between the rear legs. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” thin skin combined with peaks and valleys. DANGER.

3. The thinner the cat, the more peaks and valleys, and the harder it is to shave safely. Shaving a fat cat is like shaving a balloon. It’s much easier to  shave a fat cat than a skinny cat.

4. The older the cat, the thinner and looser the skin.

Comb your cat every day, gently work on the mats with a comb, or maybe a round-tip scissor. If you’re a butterfingers be patient.  Spend some money on my services if you can’t do it yourself.

Awwww. Kisses.
Awwww. Kisses.