cat eating food
Pet parents ask us this question all the time: what is the best cat food to feed my fur baby?
And we get it. You do so much to care for your little one and diet is one of the biggest factors of all that affect your cat's health.
Every commercial cat food variety varies in ingredients and in the way it's made, so it's difficult to say which brands are the best to give your cat. Rather, the best way to know that you're giving your kitty the highest quality nourishment is to know what his little body needs and find a cat food with the highest-quality ingredients.
To help you find the best cat food for your precious ball of fur, we're diving into cat nutrition and breaking down the best ingredients based on your cat's special macro- and micronutrient needs.

Protein

cat eating fish at table
The absolute most important macronutrient for your cat is protein. Cats may have evolved to be cute, cuddly domestic friends, but their digestive systems are still very similar to that of their ancestors and their big cat cousins.
Your cat needs protein to maintain his muscle and hold a steady, healthy body weight. One of the cleanest and highest quality sources of protein is...

Chicken

chicken
Who doesn't love chicken? While you and your cat are bonding over your mutual adoration for chicken wings (leave the buffalo sauce off of Fluffy's serving), you can feel confident that when you give your cat a food that has chicken listed as one of the first few ingredients, you're doing well as a pet parent.

Fat

The second most important macronutrient for your cat is fat. Now, we're not suggesting you add a dollop of sour cream to your furry friend's food, but your cat does need fat in his diet.
Cats are natural carnivores, which means they get the majority of their nutrients from animal sources. Fat is your cat's preferred source of energy, which should always come from natural sources.
The best cat food keeps your cat's natural instincts and needs in mind by providing healthy, natural sources of fat that your cat would get if he were out in the wild catching his own dinner.

Flax

flax
Because cats need such a high-protein, moderate-fat diet, they also need a healthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s are commonly found in modern processed meats, such as chicken and beef. However, Omega-6s are a bit harder to come by.
Flax is a great source of heart-friendly Omega-6 fatty acids like those that your cat would get from eating fish in the wild. Flax keeps your cat's internal system well-balanced while also leaving his skin healthy and his coat shiny.

Carbs

Carbs are the lowest on the totem pole when it comes to what your cat needs in his diet. Some carbs are beneficial, of course, but a cat's diet should never be made primarily of carbs. The best cat food includes only natural sources of carbs and leaves out the grains, wheat, and corn.

Peas

peas
Not only are peas a healthy source of carbs for your feisty feline, but also they're packed with key micronutrients like potassium and vitamin C. Peas also have a healthy dose of fiber to help keep Kitty's blood sugar and energy levels stable.

Chickpeas

chickpeas
These fun little white legumes – also known as garbanzo beans – have a low glycemic index, which means they won't spike your cat's blood sugar, which can lead to health problems over time. Chickpeas are also a great way to support a healthy gut microbiome, which keeps your cat's digestive tract happy and working properly.

The Best Cat Food Includes Macros – and Micros

The macronutrients in your cat's diet – protein, fat, and carbs – are crucial to maintaining healthy muscle and providing stable energy for your little fur ball.
However, a commonly overlooked element of nutrition is the amount of micronutrients in your cat's food.
Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and essential amino acids that your cat needs to function. In fact, micronutrients are responsible for everything from proper digestion to healthy organs to proper nerve function.

Kelp

kelp
Yes, kelp! It's one of the healthiest food sources on the planet because it's packed with micronutrients. It's also a safe, natural source of iodine, which is important for healthy thyroid function in cats.

Cranberries

cranberries
These tart little berries are natural little gems of nutrition. They're full of antioxidants, which makes them ideal for battling urinary health problems in cats and supporting a healthy immune system.
Feline nutrition isn't as simple as it seems. Luckily, there are experts who have carefully formulated cat food for you so you don't have to do all the macro- and micronutrient calculations to make sure your cat is getting everything he needs.
In fact, the cat experts at PrettyLitter have just developed their own health-conscious cat food that gives your fur baby everything he needs and nothing he doesn't.
Have more questions about your cat's ideal diet? Let us know in the comments below!

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Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is one of those rare conditions that occurs in several different species, including humans, dogs, and cats. Unfortunately, because cats are so much better than other species at hiding their discomfort, PKD in cats often goes unnoticed until it's too late.
Find out what PKD is, how to recognize it, and what you can do to help your kitty before it's too late.

What Is PKD in Cats?

cat vet
Polycystic kidney disease – otherwise known as PKD – in cats occurs when small sacs develop in the kidney and fill with liquid. Overtime, these sacs – called cysts – multiply and eventually begin to disrupt the normal functioning of an otherwise healthy kidney.
If left untreated, PKD can lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.
Unfortunately, there is no external cause that pet parents can control for, such as environment, diet, or level of exercise. Rather, PKD in cats is caused by a genetic anomaly. Some cats are more likely to suffer from this genetic marker, particularly Persians, Himalayans, and British Shorthairs.
Because its cause is genetic, kittens are born with the condition and the cysts are present from birth. However, it usually takes several months for the condition to develop and be diagnosed.

Signs & Symptoms

sad cat
Because PKD in cats affects the function of the kidneys, it often looks like other forms of feline kidney disease. Symptoms of PKD in cats include:
  • Increased thirst and drinking far more water than usual
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
In the most advanced stages, "it’s possible for the sacs to become so large and numerous that you can actually see the kidney’s outline when an affected cat is lying on its back," says Richard Goldstein, DVM, associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
PKD in cats develops at widely different rates. While some cats may begin to show symptoms early in life, other cats may be senior citizens before they ever show signs.
That's why it's incredibly important to get your little one screened for PKD if you suspect she may be at risk.

Diagnosis, Treatment & Maintenance

cat at vet scan
PKD in cats is caused by a genetic abnormality, so getting your cat tested can help you determine if your cat is predisposed to this lethal health problem.
Screening
Thankfully, pet DNA test kits are becoming increasingly popular, which also makes the more affordable.
For example, Basepaws' CatKit offers DNA testing for cats that includes a PKD screening for $95 (and they often run sales! At the time of this writing, their CatKit is on sale for $75). Many companies also offer lifetime updates, which means anytime they develop new tests, they'll retest your kitty for free and update your online profile with the results.

Diagnosis

person holding cat
However, if you cat's DNA test results do come back as positive for PKD, the results won't be able to tell you the severity of your cat's condition or how it's progressing. For that, you'll need to see your veterinarian for an ultrasound exam.
Treatment & Maintenance
Sadly, there is no cure or specific treatment for PKD in cats. Rather, treatment plans are usually designed around monitoring the condition and managing the symptoms to make your kitty as comfortable and happy as possible.
If your cat does have PKD, there are several things you can do to monitor and manage your fur baby's condition:
  1. Talk with your vet and put together a care plan. This usually includes scheduled visits to keep tabs on how the cysts are developing and adjustments to other management techniques.
  2. Diet changes. Many veterinarians recommend a specific diet for cats with PKD and other kidney disorders.
  3. Fluid therapy. Potassium supplements or IV fluids may help your cat's kidneys do their jobs a bit better.
  4. Medication. While there is no specific treatment for PDK, your vet may prescribe certain medications to help treat the symptoms of the disorder.
  5. Use PrettyLitter. If your PrettyLitter changes color, it may be a sign that your cat's kidneys are not working as they're supposed to, which means it's time to visit the vet – stat!
  6. Surgical draining. In some cases, your vet may suggest surgically draining the cysts of fluid to help relieve the strain on the kidneys. However, this is a temporary solution as the cysts will eventually fill back up.
Have more questions about PKD in cats or other health conditions? Let us know in the comments below and we'll do our best to find you answers.

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Boys and girls, guys and gals, chicks and dudes – no matter what you call 'em, they each have their own needs that we as pet parents must take into consideration. For your female cat, in particular, there are several special traits she'll need you to be aware of as she goes through life.
Whether you're already the proud parent of a female cat or you're trying to decide on the sex of your next adorable adoptee, here's the scoop on a few qualities unique to the ladies.

A Female Cat in Heat

cat meowing
First things first: yes, if your female cat isn't spayed, she will have a fertility cycle. In feline terms, this is called "heat" and a female cat in heat is referred to as a "queen."
While many pet parents neuter their male cats simply for the fact that neutered males are less aggressive and more hygienic (i.e., they're less likely to spray urine to mark their territory), deciding whether or not to spay your female cat involves many other factors.
If you decide against spaying, your female cat may be more prone to certain health issues, she will go into heat every three weeks in breeding season, and she may one day have a litter of ridiculously cute kittens, should she meet a handsome tomcat.
Even if the idea of being a cat grandparent makes you giddy, coping with a female cat in heat may not. Unspayed female cats will go into heat in the spring and the fall, for most breeds. During this time - which lasts about 4 to 5 days and occurs about every three weeks - your female cat will be:
  • Extremely vocal
  • Obsessed with rubbing against things in order to get her scent on as many surfaces as possible
  • Far more likely to attempt an escape, especially if she senses a male cat is outside
  • More likely to lick her genital area frequently, which may increase the risk of infection
A female cat can go into heat as early as four months of age and it signals that she's ready and able to have kittens. However, a cat who gets pregnant before she's at least 10 months old is far more likely to have health problems as her body is still developing.
According to the ASPCA, "Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases."
Of course, if you plan to breed your pretty kitty, consult with your veterinarian to ensure you can take as many measures as possible to keep her safe and healthy without spaying her.

False Pregnancy

cat at vet
When a female cat becomes pregnant and is awaiting her litter of kittens, it's referred to as "queening." (We'll pause for a moment to let you go hashtag crazy with that one on social media.)
However, like humans, a female cat who has not been spayed could present with signs of pregnancy, but not actually have a litter on the way at all. In that case, she's not actually queening; rather, she's showing signs of false pregnancy.
Much like women, a female cat can show signs of pregnancy such as abdominal distention (a growing or bulging tummy), enlargement of the mammary glands (breast tissue), and even morning sickness (vomiting and loss of appetite).
The best way to tell for sure if your cat is queening is:
  • To feel gently on your cat's belly
  • Visiting the vet for an ultrasound after day 16 of her possible pregnancy
  • Getting an x-ray of your cat's tummy
If your cat isn't pregnant, but she's showing several signs of pregnancy, then she's having a false pregnancy. It's not clear what causes this phenomenon, but vets believe it's most likely due to a hormone imbalance.
If your female cat experiences a false pregnancy, consider taking her to the vet for a check up to make sure everything is OK.

Birthing Issues

cat with vet cone
Being in charge of giving life to new beings is a doozy of a responsibility (am I right, ladies?). Understandably, then, female cats who have not been spayed often deal with problems during the birthing process.
If your female cat has been unable to birth kittens or, tragically, has birthed still born kittens, she may be dealing with one or more of these issues:
  • Fetal Reabsorption – If a fetus is not viable, the mother cat's body will reabsorb the fetal tissue into her body. It is common for pieces to be found in the afterbirth when this happens. This is far more common if the mother cat has the FeLV virus.
  • Uterine Cysts – Cysts that are attached to the ovaries or uterus can cause hormonal imbalances and disrupt the development of healthy kittens.
  • Endometritis – A female cat with endometritis will develop a bacterial infection in her uterus that can kill any unborn kittens growing in her womb. In many cases, cats with endometritis are unable to breed again in the future; though in mild cases of infection, breeding may be possible with treatment.
As any woman can confirm, it's not easy being a female cat. Understanding the special health issues female cats are prone to, especially if they are not spayed, can go a long way toward helping you be the best cat parent you can be.
Do you have a female cat? Tell us all about her in the comments below! Every queen deserves to be celebrated.

Do you have a beautiful cat? Let us know in the comments!

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Roundworms are common parasites that many cat parents will have to deal with at some point. These nasty critters are especially dangerous for kittens and elderly cats, as well as cats with weakened immune systems.

Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take to help keep your kitty safe and healthy, and there are also treatments available that can keep an infestation under control or eradicate it completely.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about roundworms, and probably some things you wish you never learned.

What Are Roundworms?

Roundworms found in cats are officially known as Toxocara cati, as opposed to the rarer Toxascaris leonina, which can infect both cats and dogs. As the name implies, roundworms are, well, round worms that look like white strings when seen with the naked eye. They can be up to 6 inches long and often resemble spaghetti. They "swim" through the intestine and steal precious nutrients from your cat's digestive system.

While healthy adult cats can get by with an unwanted roundworm guest, large numbers of the parasites can cause serious, even life-threatening symptoms, especially in weak cats that are very young or very old or otherwise suffer from various health problems.

Symptoms of Roundworm Infection

orange cat at vet

Many cats infected with roundworms are asymptomatic, meaning you might never know about the ailment. One of the easiest symptoms to observe is seeing white, rice-like flecks in your cat's stool or stuck to the fur around the cat's behind.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal swelling, typically referred to as a "potbelly"
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach upset

In severe cases, cats can develop a cough and/or pneumonia, which is a sign the worms have migrated from the intestine and infested the lungs.

How Cats Get Roundworm

Roundworms are highly contagious and very common--never a good combination. The parasites are frequently present in kittens, as the infection can pass through the placenta and through the mother cat's milk. Many cats are thus infected as kittens, but they can also acquire roundworms by eating infected animals like rodents, worms, and birds. The infection can also be passed by a cat eating or even just sniffing infected stool, plants, and dirt, as roundworm eggs can lie dormant for months or years before hatching.

Roundworm Prevention

orange kitten taking pills

There is no foolproof way to totally prevent roundworm infection, but there are steps you can take to help protect your furry friend. The best prevention begins very early on. Because kittens are commonly infected at birth, they should be given deworming treatments regularly. Your veterinarian will establish the proper schedule with you, but usually this entails treatment about every two weeks from age three to nine weeks, and then at regular intervals afterward.

After that, try to keep your cat indoors as much as possible to limit potential exposure. Indoor-only cats are highly unlikely to encounter infected animals, soil, or waste. That said, be diligent about pest and insect control to keep your cat from eating something that might be infected.

If you suspect your cat has roundworms, take him or her to the vet for an examination. The vet will likely test a stool sample in addition to doing a physical exam. If it's determined that the cat is infected, your vet will then begin deworming treatment.

Roundworm Treatment

If your cat develops a roundworm infection, your vet will most likely prescribe a pill or liquid dewormer. Because adult roundworms, eggs, and larvae are not affected equally, it will take at least two (and possibly more) treatments to fully eliminate the infection. The first dose of medication will kill the adult roundworms, but not any larvae and/or eggs that are present. A second visit, usually a month or two later, is necessary to administer another dose to kill those eggs that have hatched. If symptoms persist, a third treatment may be required.

If you have a multi-cat home and suspect one is infected, you should have all your cats treated at the same time. The parasite can be passed quickly, so even if a second cat isn't showing symptoms yet, it might already be infected.

Finally, make sure to keep your cats' bedding and litter boxes clean to help reduce the possible spread of infection.

Have you ever had to battle a roundworm infection in your home? Share your stories and tips in the comments below!

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long haired cats

Being a cat owner is a lot like becoming a parent – you have to provide shelter, food, entertainment and even consider cat birth control. What measures are you taking to prepare for the day your cat becomes a parent? Just as with children, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure this happens at the right time.

Some cat owners love the idea of having litters of kittens, while others want just one cat. Either way, it’s important to use some type of birth control to either regulate when your cat has kittens or prevent it altogether.

Let’s take a look at why this is important and what methods you can use today.

Why Cat Birth Control is Essential

kitten

If you’re a cat owner and have yet to consider why cat birth control is important, then this section is for you. Let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons why you should start using some form of cat birth control:

  • Your cat can become impregnated at just 5 months old
  • Your cat can have two liters of cats per mating season
  • Neonatal kittens must feed every few hours (just like an infant)
  • Shelters have a problem with adopting adult cats due to an influx of kittens
  • Roughly 70% of cats in shelters are euthanized

Some of these facts are rather dismal but can be hindered with cat birth control. Let’s review how.

Quarantine as Cat Birth Control

No, quarantining isn’t just for viral diseases. You can also use it to keep your cat from getting pregnant. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to keep your cat locked up forever – however, timing is everything.

The idea is to watch when your cat is in her heat cycle (like ovulation). This can last around a week but can range anywhere between 3 and 14 days. Once her heat cycle is over, you can let her loose again.

Be wary that your cat may get rowdy during this time. She may scratch up carpets, yowl, and attempt to escape.

Cat Birth Control Injections

There’s a feline version of the Depo-Provera birth control shot females take, and like in humans, it prevents the ovulation cycle. Be aware that this type of birth control can put your cat at a higher risk for diabetes, uterine infection, and mammary tumors.

Some also gain weight due to lower activity rate and higher appetite.

Triggering Cat Ovulation

Another way to gain control over your cat’s ovulation is to trigger it. This sounds counterproductive, but it can actually work. By triggering ovulation, it can end the heat cycle by tricking their body into thinking it has conceived.

This method is used by cat breeders. They use a Teaser Tom, which is a male cat that’s had a vasectomy to mate with the female cat. No impregnation occurs because he is sterile. Yet, this tricks the female’s body into believing conception has occurred.

Ovuban Prescriptions

This is a hormonal supplement you can use to halt your cat’s heat cycle. It’s frequently used by breeders in the animal show business.

It’s a safe and effective form of cat birth control. However, long-term use can lead to a higher risk of liver disease, diabetes, uterine disease, and mammary gland cancer. Consider using it during mating season in the spring and fall to prevent impregnation.

Using Cat Birth Control

mom cat and kitten

Now that you know alternative options to spaying and neutering your cat, you can make a more informed decision for birth control. As a pet parent, you want the very best for your cat.

So, continue doing research to see which cat birth control methods are right for your family. Then let us know in the comments what’s worked and what didn't!

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You may have come across this article after researching more about cat hepatic lipidosis. Maybe your veterinarian mentioned your feline may have this and you are wanting to learn more. If your cat has recently been diagnosed with cat heaptic lipidosis, you may have questions about your pet’s diet and cat litter box habits. The following will help you better understand what cat hepatic lipidosis is, the symptoms, and the treatment involved.

What is Cat Hepatic Lipidosis?

Cat Hepatic Lipidosis, otherwise known as feline fatty liver disease, is a serious condition, which left untreated could be deadly. When a feline has cat hepatic lipidosis, often this is simply the underlying issue. There is almost always a primary issue at play, which can be inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, or other bodily system inflammation. Your vet can help you determine if there are any accompanying problems when cat hepatic lipidosis is present. Cats most commonly affected by fatty liver disease include overweight and middle-aged felines.

Symptoms of Cat Hepatic Lipidosis

sad cat with blue eyes

Early treatment of fatty liver disease in cats is crucial for recovery, therefore understanding the associated symptoms is going to play an important role in care. Noticeable symptoms include avoidance of food or little appetite for one to two weeks. You may also notice a gradual decline in your cat’s body weight. Other symptoms may include jaundice, vomiting, lethargy, or excessive drooling. Since cat hepatic lipidosis occurs when a cat is malnourished, noticing the first signs of food avoidance can help with early treatment.

It is important to watch out for subtle signs you may miss. Maybe your feline is avoiding the new food you have offered or possibly your pet is making fewer trips to the litter box. With avoidance to new pet food, this can quickly turn into cat hepatic lipidosis simply from the lack of nutrients. If you have offered a new pet food and you notice your pet is not interested in eating, consult a vet to ensure your cat’s health. If you notice your cat is making fewer trips to the litter box, than this could also be a sign of malnourishment that needs to be addressed. PrettyLitter is designed with your cat’s health in mind and works to keep moisture and odor away. Keeping a clean and tidy litter box for your feline is crucial to your pet’s health.

Treatment of Cat Hepatic Lipidosis

cat with vet

As previously mentioned, cat hepatic lipidosis requires early treatment for survival. It is recommended that your feline get proper care as early on as possible, as most cats who get treated within the first 96 hours stand a chance of going on to make a full recovery. Treatment usually requires lengthy hospitalization and can often be costly. After hospitalization, treatment at home is going to be just as important to your cat’s recovery. This will usually involve multiple doses of medication daily and possibly a feeding tube as well. Your vet can go over what the at home treatment will entail so that you can best meet the needs of your pet.

You should now have a better understanding of what cat hepatic lipidosis is, the symptoms, and the treatment involved. As previously mentioned, the fatty liver disease in cats is commonly treatable, if caught early and with proper veterinary care. If you have experience with cat hepatic lipidosis, we would love to hear about it! Comment below and share your experience to help others.

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While you, as a cat owner, may think it's adorable to have a chubby cat, but the truth is, if you aren't conscious of your cat's weight, you could be causing him irreparable health damage. The concept of a "fat cat" has been in our popular consciousness since the glory days of Garfield, but that doesn't mean that a cartoon is a reality. Let's take a look at some of the many ways that not being conscious of your cat's weight can be detrimental to his health.

Not Being Conscious of Your Cat's Weight Will Give Him A Shorter Life

Just as being overweight is not a health-wise decision for humans, being overweight is not healthy for cats, either. In fact, if you fail to be conscious of your cat's weight, you could be sentencing him to an early grave! A cat with too much meat on his bones will suffer undue pressure on his joints, tendons, and ligaments. In addition, overweight cats often suffer from heart disease, as the heart has to work harder to pump blood to all the parts of the ever-increasing body.

Not Being Conscious of Your Cat's Weight Can Give Him A Fatty Liver

vet holding fat catmentalfloss.com

Hepatic lipidosis, also known as "fatty liver disease," which often comes as a result of pancreatitis and diabetes. The prevalence of these diseases is directly correlated to the prevalence of obesity, both in cats and, interestingly, in humans.

When there's too much fat in the liver, the liver will malfunction. This will cause the cat to not eat for a few days, resulting in even more fat being deposited in the liver, and causing an increase in liver dysfunction.

Over time, the liver's function will continue to deteriorate until the cat, ultimately, dies as a result.

Not Being Conscious of Your Cat's Weight Can Give Him Diabetes

As was previously mentioned, overweight humans and cats both suffer from diabetes as a result of their obesity. Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas doesn't secrete insulin properly, thus making it difficult to break down complex carbohydrates and sugars. This results in the carbohydrates and sugars being stored in the cat's body as fat, and the fat will continue to increase as he eats more carbohydrate-rich food.

Be Conscious of Your Cat's Weight -- Tips and Tricks!

cat on treadmill

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Fortunately for cat lovers all over the world, being conscious of your cat's weight is a relatively easy process, and one that will benefit both you and him in the long run.

  • DO get your cat a high-protein food. Ideally, the food should be made up of 35% to 45% protein by weight. Avoid foods that have a high corn and other grain content.
  • DON'T give your cat any treats. Treats are high in starches and "empty nutrients," and much like human "junk food," cat treats are sneaky weight killers.
  • DON'T put your cat on a "crash diet." Starving the cat, or significantly cutting down his food without the discrete observation of his veterinarian. This will only lead to more problems in the long-term...including the cat putting on even more weight than he had before.
  • DO get your cat off the couch and on the floor for some play time and exercise. Start out light -- only about 10 minutes a day -- and gradually increase the time and intensity of the workout.
What are some of your tips and tricks to be conscious of your cat's weight? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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When you first bring home your bundle of fur, you spoil them with toys and treats – but what are you doing to prevent them from developing cat skin disorders?
On average, cats live around 7 years in the wild (or unsupervised outdoors) and double that when kept as a house pet. Needless to say, knowing what can potentially ail your cat is important for ensuring their longevity.
To help you, we put together a quick list of the six issues that plague house kittens. Continue reading to learn more so you can keep your furry friend safe and healthy.

1. Environmental Allergens

It happens to the best of us – sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes are a real nuisance during allergy season. However, it’s not just a problem that affects humans. It can affect your cat as well.
In fact, environmental allergens are quite common in cats. They tend to get allergic reactions when exposed to allergens, such as dust, grass, mold, pollen, and other animals.
You can tell your cat is affected if they’re rubbing their face, over-grooming, and scratching at their armpits and ears. This can also lead to patches in their fur. Be sure to take your cat to the vet for an exam and allergy testing.

2. Ear Mites

vet checking cats ear
Now, this one sounds a bit sinister but is quite common in cats. These skin-crawling parasites are typically found in kittens. In most cases, it’s transmitted to them from the mother. However, this doesn’t rule out ear mites infesting older cats because it does occur.
When your cat is infected with ear mites, they’ll show symptoms like irritated ear canals. Yet, some will have extreme itchiness, causing them to scratch excessively at their ears. You may also notice your cat shaking her head ‘til a blood vessel bursts.
It’s not uncommon for cats infected with ear mites to develop a form of hematoma in their pinna as well. When this happens, their ears fill with black crust-like discharge.
If you see any of these symptoms, take your cat to the vet right away. Also, if you have other cats, it’s good to have them checked since ear mites are highly contagious.

3. Fleas

Here’s a more common cat skin disorder pet owners are used to dealing with. Fleas are a plague that every pet and owner abhors. They’re hard to get rid of once they infest your cat and they can invade your home and other pets.
This is why prevention is so important. Besides having an itchy bite, fleas are also known to transmit other parasites like tapeworms. You can use oral, topical, or environmental products to exterminate the fleas.
Make sure to treat carpets, furniture, and bedding as well.

4. Masses

cat with vet
Finding a mass growing on your cat can be frightening, especially with the growing fear of cat cancer. If you find one on your cat, it’s important to have testing done to determine its cause.
In many cases, it’s due to abscesses. These are small lesions or bumps that contain a large amount of pus, which can be painful. Cats with this problem typically hide and resist you touching them. They may also exhibit other types of abnormal behavior.
It’s best to regularly check your cat’s skin for signs of lumps.

5. Hair Loss

It’s normal for cats to shed lots and lots of fur (as any pet owner can tell you), however, if you see an excess amount falling off suddenly, then it’s time to worry.
The main culprits are allergies and ectoparasites like fleas. It can also be due to infections, ringworms, and stress. If you have an older cat, hair loss can be caused by adrenal disease or tumors on the pancreas.
No matter the age, take your balding cat to the vet as soon as you see signs. It can be a symptom of a more serious condition.

6. Ear and Face Sores

If you’re noticing small red lesions on your cat that aren’t healing, it’s a good idea to have your vet check them out. Sores found on the top lip of your cat could be a rodent ulcer. This is a form of ulcerative skin disease that’s tied to allergies.
Infectious diseases can also be the underlying cause of these sores. Whatever the reason behind them, medical attention is likely needed.

Dealing with Cat Skin Disorders

cat with medicine
At the end of the day, your top priority as a cat owner is to keep your cat happy. There’s no better way to ensure this than to keep your cat’s health in tip-top condition.
Hopefully, this list is eye-opening and will help you do just that. Remember, if you see anything odd, make an appointment with your vet.
Already have experience with preventing or treating one or more of these conditions? Please share your tips in the comments!

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Keeping Kitty Clean: Common Cat Diseases

Cat at Vet

Pets are family, and common cat diseases can be a major drag for the smallest member of your family. Many cat diseases can be discomforting and even dangerous to your beloved pet, but it's not the end of the world. After all, keeping your cat healthy is the goal of every cat owner. We know that the stress of a sick pet isn’t going to benefit you in any way, so let’s keep kitty clean!

Vomiting

Unpleasant to watch? You bet. Worse to experience? Agreed! Vomiting is one of those common cat diseases that can cause some concern for owners. Occasional vomiting is perfectly normal and happens when your cat eats something inappropriate. Hairballs, string, and toys are perennial problems.

If your cat is vomiting only once in a while, there’s no need to worry. Cats can vomit from eating too fast, vigorous exercise soon after eating, or from eating some ‘off’ food. Frequent vomiting, though, might mean some care is in order. Persistent vomiting—daily or more—can be a sign of food allergies, feline diabetes, or a stuck hairball. If the vomiting continues, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional veterinarian.

Toilet Troubles

Upset Cat

Trouble in the toilet is a common cat disease, and one that can cause significant discomfort to your cat. Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a contender if your feline friend has trouble urinating. Painful cries coming from the litter box? That’s a sign that your cat may be suffering from FLUTD, but the big red flags include blood in the urine or a complete halt to urination—if this happens, you’re looking at a possible urethral obstruction. Getting to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic right away is the best approach at that point.

The causes of this common cat disease vary. A urinary tract infection, urinary stones, or the more dangerous urinary obstruction are all causes of FLUTD.

Treatment depends on the cause of the disease. Keeping an eye on your cat’s urinary health is a good idea, and following basic health principles never hurt. Make sure your cat has fresh water, a clean litter box, and a diet appropriate for the breed. Urinary problems are common, but are usually cleared up without too much trouble.

Diarrhea: Play It Safe

Diarrhea is definitely a drag, both for you and your cat. Like vomiting, occasional diarrhea can happen from consumption of bad food or a change in diet. Other common causes include extreme stress, allergic reactions, or drinking milk. Cats do not handle cow milk well and accidental milk ingestion is a common cause for diarrhea.

Identifying diarrhea means keeping an eye on your cat and its stools. The most obvious sign of diarrhea—loose and frequent feculence—is often accompanied by fever or dehydration. Similar with vomiting, persistent or frequent diarrhea (more than three toilet trips a day) means a trip to the vet is in order.

The red flags for cat diarrhea are what you might imagine: bloody stools, black fecal matter, or dehydration. If any of those symptoms show up, it’s time to get to the vet, and quickly. The more serious causes of diarrhea (intestinal parasites, hyperthyroidism, infections, organ disease) need the attention of a vet to treat properly.

Don’t Worry and Keep Calm

Sick Cat

Having a sick pet is terrifying. It’s a trying time for both you and your cat, and it’s worse when the symptoms can mean different things. Thankfully, common cat diseases are just that—common—and there’s a host of ways to keep your kitty clean.

Freshwater, clean litter boxes, and an appropriate diet will go a long way towards cat health. If more serious or persistent symptoms show, it’s a good idea to see a vet right away. Keeping a watchful eye on your cat’s litter box is a good idea for pet owners looking to keep their feline friends hale and hearty.

Do you have experience with keeping your cat healthy? Let us know in the comments!

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Cat
Most have heard about the rabies virus, which can affect almost any animal through a bite from an infected animal. Rabies may affect species differently. Rabies typically affects wild animals, but your outdoor cats can get it too. Luckily, it no longer poses a great risk to humans. Around the turn of the 20th century, about 100 people per year would die of the virus, but as recently as the 1990s, reports show just one or two people per year with symptoms of the virus. Cats, however, may be a different story.

How Does the Rabies Virus Affect Cats

Rabies is a tricky virus. In some cats, symptoms can take as long as a year to appear. Once the symptoms do appear, the disease is almost always fatal. As it affects the central nervous system primarily, the most noticeable symptom may be a significant change in your cat's demeanor. Your sweet kitty may turn into a growling and frightened cat, or even an aggressive meanie. They may also suffer paralysis, seizures, appear to be disoriented. Unfortunately, a post-mortem exam is the only way to confirm a rabies diagnosis.

Cat Rabies is Easily Preventable

Cat getting check up
Luckily for us, our human scientists have made it so easy to prevent a case of rabies, even in the wiliest and scrappiest outdoor cats. Many US states and localities require pets to have the rabies vaccine. It is an easy decision to get the vaccine for your cat. It will keep them alive if they get a bite from an infected animal, so it is worth it. The rabies vaccine also helps to protect your cat if it bites someone. In some areas, local ordinances demand that cats who bite and do not have the rabies vaccine get put down. So, getting your cat vaccinated protects your cat in a myriad of ways.
Experts also recommend keeping cats indoors to minimize the risk of exposure, even if they are vaccinated.

What To Do if Your Cat Gets Bitten

Even if your cat has the rabies vaccine and is in accordance with local laws, there is still a protocol to follow if your cat gets bit by a wild animal. You will want to put on gloves to handle your cat. In rare cases, rabies can be transmitted through saliva, so this is an extra precaution because you never know when you have a perfectly placed paper cut! Take your cat to the vet to get checked out, and make sure the vet gives your fur baby a rabies booster shot just in case.

Can Humans Get Cat Rabies?

Person at Doctor
Yes, the rabies virus does not discriminate and it is transferable between species. If an animal, domestic or wild (but particularly the latter!), bites you, go to the doctor immediately. They will give you a series of human rabies vaccinations over the course of two weeks. This easy to follow protocol stops the virus from becoming active.
Rabies is a good reason to never approach wild animals, especially ones that are not quite acting right. If you see one that seems ill, call your local animal control and let the experts take care of the issue, keeping you and your cat safe and sound.
Do you have a cat rabies story to share with a happy ending? Tell everyone in the comments below!

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