Monday, March 22, 2010

Kitty Spa Day: Avoid Taking Cats to the Vet

Kitty Spa Day: Avoid Taking Cats to the Vet
A crazy cat lady is another talent to add to my interesting assortment of activities and shenanigans. In addition to relishing in this role with my award winning beast Fee, my vocal sour puss Tela, and my naughty bombing around Bonhan (The Mitch made us get Bonham so he wouldn't just have step-cats), I have also had my share of costly run-ins with the vet and have learned the disheartening lessons of the sometimes shifty business of making money off of the aching hearts of pet owners. So, I thought it was high time I share some of my expertise in the area of cat health management...

Overall Wellness Tips:

1.) Whenever you bring a new kitty into a home or move a kitty from a home, take it immediately to the bathtub and wash it with a high gloss flea bath shampoo. This will do two things:
- Kill off any possible fleas before they can infest your home (no matter where meow meow comes from, this is WAY better than having to deal with an infestation - even if you are told there are no fleas).
- Immediately conditions your cat to want to be clean as it territorializes its new home.

2.) Share bathroom positive time with kitty. Many cats already like running water and allowing them to hang out in the bathroom with you should be considered a bonding experience. This serves a variety of very useful purposes in communicating with your cat:
- Cats respond to bathing and grooming - owner grooming encourages cat grooming. The bathroom is a great place to brush your cat, check kitty over for signs of health issues, and other "spa" activities (see below).
- Water drinking (like sips from the sink) encourages water drinking which is very important for cats, especially with so many prone to urinary tract infections.
- The steam from the shower is great for respiratory infections and cat herpes (when a cat has a cold).
- Water and bathroom noises are good for cats to feel less skittish and being used to the bathroom will help matters greatly for when kitty might need first aid and keep him from being so freaked out.
- And in my experience, the most important reason for consistent and positive bathroom bonding with kitty is when your cat does not feel well, they will go into the bathroom and act weird when you are not in the bathroom. It's their way of telling you they don't feel well and it is time to check them over or actually make a trip to the vet. People say they wish their cats could tell them when they don't feel well and if you engage in bathroom time, they will be able to tell you when.

3.) If you want your cat to be able to travel in a car, it must start as a kitten by bringing them on trips that do not involve going to the vet. It is easy for cats to learn and adapt when given the chance while they are young. Bring them to a friend's house or home for the holidays with a smaller litter pan and food bowls. Set up the items as soon as you enter the visiting house and kitty will love the exploration. Then he will equate traveling in the car with visiting a new home. This will also help your cat be more social with people and less skittish in new environments.


1.) Runny eyes, puss in eyes, aka pink eye - other wise known as conjunctivitis. Before you go to the vet, purchase some basic saline solution with boric acid as an ingredient. Drop one drop in each eye twice a day. Should clear it up!

2.) Sneezy kitty, cat has a cold - most likely this is cat herpes - highly contagious and it seems cats can get it from the human cold - weird. Do a few things:
- Run the shower without the fan on and let kitty have a sauna! If you have been hanging out with your cat in the bathroom like suggested above, this won't freak them out and it will really help clear them out - just think how much better you feel when you breath in lots of steam when you have a cold!
- Give kitty Lysine. Lysine is recommended to help reduce flair ups in human herpes and works for cats too (remember, we have lots of the same diseases at kitty)! Lysine comes in big white pills and cats can't handle the same dosage as humans so what I do is crush it up and make a mixture of one pill and water in a little container where I can extract the liquid with an eye dropper or liquid use syringe. Then I squirt a mouthful or two in my cat's mouth twice a day until well over the cold.
- I keep kitties eyes cleaned out with a warm, wet Q-tip. You should clean out your cat's eyes of sleepy seeds daily - it will help prevent eye problems and help your cat be used to you poking around its face for when he really needs it!
- Force feed water - using the eye dropper or liquid syringe, I give cats with colds lots of forced extra water when they have a cold. They need prompting just like we do!

Cat Spa Day:

A proactive way to take care of your pet and to limit vet visits overall is to not simply engage in at home emergency management, but be proactive and keep tabs on kitty. So, every couple of months (I should do it more), I have kitty spa day. It consists of:
- Using an over the counter ear mite solution and cleaner to clean out kitty ears. This doesn't work if your cat has mites - for that you need to go to the vet, but it does help ears from getting infected and more prone to mites. So, I make sure I carefully clean out any gook from the ears.
- Brush their teeth! Yes, they hate it, but it is so good in the long run. I have cat tooth brushes and toothpaste and scrub their little teeth (The Mitch has to help with this). My two older cats have gingivitis and I am trying to avoid the several thousand dollar charges to clean their teeth, so I have been cleaning them. If the gums bleed, I also carefully apply hydrogen peroxide to them to help fight infections. And, I will tell you, Fee's teeth are starting to clear up - it's working! Hydrogen peroxide is also great to use in any open cut or wound - but very very careful in the mouth as it's not meant to be swallowed. I dab with water after and rinse their mouth with the eye dropper/water syringe after brushing and before using the hydrogen peroxide.
- Clip the nails! They have gotten used to this and I am now comfortable with where to cut (BEFORE the pink - that is tissue!).
- Bath them! Ok, Fee is weird and likes the water and a bath, but for the most part, I use cat bath wipes and wipe them all over. Then I brush them which they LOVE! The they are soooooo happy and purr and rub all around and of course I finish with tarter control cat treats.
- The Vet - I am not a vet avoider - just a minimalist since half the time they don't even know what to do or just prescribe stuff to get you to spend money. But, it is important for cats to have their yearly check up and be up to date on all shots - this I definitely do!

I hope this helps some folks and cats who need it!

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