Caring for Outdoor Cats in Winter

How to care for feral cats during the winter

cat healthThe Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are tens of millions of feral cats in United States. Ferals originate from domestic cats that were lost or abandoned and learned to survive outdoors. Most of them are difficult to tame and can’t be successfully adopted into a home.

Outdoor cats often live in colonies, and while they may be resourceful, they need help to survive the winter. Here’s what you can do to help feral cats in your community.

Provide shelter

Cats have thick coats, but they still need warm, dry places to protect them from harsh weather. Building your own shelter is relatively simple, and there are a variety of plans for inexpensive cat shelters available online.
When constructing a shelter, size is important. It should be large enough to house several felines, but small enough to trap cats’ body heat to warm the in the inside. If the shelter is too large, it will be difficult for cats to keep the space warm.

Read full article from Mother Nature Network

3 Common Feline Diseases and How to Prevent Them

Keeping your cat healthy starts with knowing the diseases that felines are most susceptible to, and what you can do to prevent these illnesses. Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, released an article about the most common feline diseases and their causes. Three of the most common illnesses include dental disease, feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD), and hyperthyroidism.

Preventing Dental Disease in Felines

As a pet owner, it’s important that you brush your cat’s teeth every day just like you brush your own teeth. This will prevent inflammation of the gums, which can ultimately lead to infections that can spread to other parts of the body. Plus, it will prevent your cat’s teeth from becoming loose and falling out.

Feeding an appropriate diet can help, but brushing your cat’s teeth with a feline-appropriate enzymatic toothpaste is necessary too. Provide treats that are designed to clean the teeth and gums, and be sure to bring your cat to the vet annually for a full exam of the mouth. Your vet will also be able to provide cleanings whenever necessary. Read More

Pet Therapist: Stressed cats more prone to disease

A study published this week in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science reveals that a cat’s behaviour and emotional state can impact its immune function and susceptibility to disease.

Most of us know when we are feeling anxious or tense, we are more likely to get sick. Not only are we more prone to catching coughs and colds, but recovery times are longer the more stressed we are.

The pervasiveness of upper respiratory diseases in cats in shelters, reminds us our feline companions are just as vulnerable as we are. Upper respiratory are common diseases in rescue shelters, and the reason many cats and kittens are euthanized before they get to new homes.

At the bare minimum, shelter cats are provided with food, water and a roof, and their cages are cleaned daily. So, why do cats get sick?

Despite good intentions of facility staff, the novelty and unpredictability inherent in a shelter environment takes an emotional toll that is too much for some cats.

Being taken from a familiar home and then being thrust into a cramped cage, surrounded by alien smells, noises, people and other animals, can spook even the most thick-skinned of cats. The stress, coupled with the pathogens in multi-cat areas, is a recipe for sick cats. Read More
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How to Feed Cats with Diabetes

Diet plays a key role in the successful management of the diabetic cat. Because cats are obligate carnivores (1-3), diabetic cats are relatively carbohydrate intolerant and respond best to a low carbohydrate diet. This differs from dogs, which are omnivores and are quite tolerant of a moderate to high carbohydrate meal, even when diabetic (4,5).

Evolutionary events shaped the cat’s core metabolism such that their systems are uniquely set up to metabolize a diet which is high in moisture, high in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. Because this is the diet they have relied upon for tens of thousands of years, they do not have the ability to process carbohydrates very efficiently and show relative carbohydrate intolerance (1-3). This becomes extremely important when selecting a diet for cats with diabetes.

Postprandial Glycemia in Man, Dogs, and Cats
As a result of these differences, plasma glucose clearance rates are longer in cats compared to dogs or humans after feeding a moderate to high carbohydrate meal — in other words, even normal cats have much more prolonged postprandial period of hyperglycemia than might be expected. In healthy humans and dogs, postprandial hyperglycemia normally persists for 2 to 6 hours. Read More