Category Archives: Cats

Hi! My name is Sid Vicious and I’m here to shine some light on Black Cat Appreciation Day. I live at home with my mom, dad and baby brother (all human). I also have one crazy looking dog sister. My name comes from a popular English punk band called the Sex Pistols. My dad says he knew I was a punk from the start! Thanks Dad! I’m just your average five year old black cat. I sleep most of my day away and I love cat nip. My mom brought me home from the Ardmore Animal Hospital when I was about five months old. I showed up on a fellow employees front porch and wouldn’t leave. She had a great setup! I know what you’re going to ask. Is my mom a witch? No. And, my dad isn’t a warlock. My baby brother is questionable, but hey!

There’s a lot of hype about us black cats being bad luck, but we’re not! We’re actually considered good luck in several countries. We’re also a sailors best friend. Those guys like to keep us on their vessels with hopes we’ll get them home safely. And, eat the mice. Yum! Two birds, one stone. Birds are tasty too… I better stop before I get hungry! Over in Japan they believe we bring good luck to single women. If I lived with a single lady, it is believed that I’d bring her many suitors. Perhaps even make them fall head over heels in love! Those are really high expectations for a guy like me. I know one thing is for sure. I’d never mess up a little black dress before a date!

All the rumors about us being a witches companion started some time back in the Middle Ages, where they thought us to be associated with sorcery and evil omens. Harsh, if you ask me. My mom calls me rude at times, but never evil. The Pilgrims thought we were part demon and anyone found showing us a little love, was punished or even killed! Now, that’s not to say I wouldn’t hang out with a witch who had a belly rub and a meal to offer, but the whole spell casting gig isn’t really my thing. It was also thought that we were the witch in disguise. Like a vampire who can fly away into the night in the form of a bat? Come on Pilgrims. Because of these rumors and outrageous superstitions, people would kill us, thinking they were solving the “witch situation”. Those myths earned us longer stays at shelters across America. My mom tells me most people are coming around to the idea of owning one of me, because we obviously aren’t evil creatures from the underworld, but thanks to all those stories we seem to be less likely to get adopted. We all need love!

There are a lot of us out there in the world! About twenty two breeds of felines can come in a black coat. We also have mostly golden colored eyes thanks to the melanin pigment in us. My mom loves my golden eyes! The Bombay breed is exclusively black. Other breeds that can come with my beautiful panther-like coat are the Norwegian Forest Cat, Japanese Bobtails and Scottish Folds. And, of course, the ever so awesome Domestic Shorthair! The genetic mutation that gives us our silky black coat is also in the same family of genes that helps you humans be more resistant to serious diseases like HIV. For this, we may live longer, healthier lives. That’s our only magical power, I swear!

So let’s recap!

  1. I’m good luck – Not bad luck.
  2. My mom is not a witch and neither am I.
  3. Lots of breeds come in black.
  4. I’ll never ruin your little black dress.
  5. I may be healthier than the average tabby.
  6. We need homes just like the rest.
  7. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but only because I look dashing dressed up.
  8. You should celebrate us every day, but especially today!

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day, all!

Meow,
Sid Vicious Myers

By Dr. James Bianco

shutterstock_207906148Felines are considered senior citizens as they approach the age of nine or ten. It is at this time that we begin to see the changes in them that are directly related to the aging process. It is important to note that a cat ages approximately 5 years for every 1 year of human life. For example: a 19 year old feline is considered to be between 92-95 years of age.

The changes that you might begin to see as your cat ages are weight loss, increased drinking, a loss of muscle definition along with a decrease in appetite. These may be related to the normal aging process, but are much more likely a result of an underlying change in organ function or serious disease.

Bi-annual examinations are essential in identifying unfavorable trends in health such as blood sugar (glucose) levels, which can be an indication of the onset diabetes. We also find older cats with weight loss suffering from decreased kidney function or an over-active thyroid condition called hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, these problems are all too common but can be successfully treated if caught early.

The veterinarian’s examination can be important in identifying abnormal growths on the skin along with abnormalities in normal abdominal organ structure. Many times an early diagnosis and surgical intervention can mean the difference between life or death.

Blood tests are also essential as our cats age. We use them to identify the early onset of kidney dysfunction which many times can be treated with a diet change and fluid administration. With proper treatment, most cats diagnosed with renal disease go on to live normal lives. We have patients that have lived beyond 20 years of age with kidney disease but were identified and treated accordingly.

shutterstock_125555864Hyperthyroidism which is usually seen in cats that are losing weight slowly over time can be treated with medication, surgery, or iodine isotope therapy which is curative. Diabetes in cats is sometimes a transient disease that can be corrected with diet alone. We can also treat this disease successfully with insulin.

Cats are tough customers that do not show early signs of disease like dogs or humans. They are survivors that, through evolution, have adapted themselves not to show weakness in a hostile environment. Exposing weakness or disease in the wild can be dangerous as other predators take advantage. We have treated numerous cats in advanced states of disease that appeared to be normal to owners. Identification of problems was diagnosed because of physical examinations and diagnostic procedures such as blood testing and x-rays.

In conclusion, cats can live a long life. Life span is directly related to their genetic make-up, nutrition, and proper medical care. Yearly examinations are the most important thing that you can do to ensure that your beloved feline may live a long a healthy life.

Book your cat’s next visit with our online scheduler by clicking here!

Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy.

Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight.

To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food.

It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point.

Pet Caloric Needs – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs/

Ideal Weight Ranges – https://www.petobesityprevention.org/ideal-weight-ranges/

September is National Food Safety Month. Just like people can’t eat everything they come across, cats can’t either. In fact, many human foods are toxic for cats. See the alphabetic list below for the foods you should avoid giving your cat.

Alcohol: Alcohol has the same effect on a cat’s brain and liver as it does to humans but it takes far less to see the effects. As little as a teaspoon can cause a coma in a cat and it can easily cause severe liver or brain damage. The higher the proof of alcohol, the worse the symptoms will be.

Chocolate: Although most cats won’t eat chocolate on their own, you should not attempt to try to feed it to your cat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical found in all chocolate including white chocolate, which is toxic to cats. Eating chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death. Dark and semisweet chocolate are the most dangerous. 

Coffee/Caffeine: Along with chocolate, coffee contains caffeine. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and can be toxic to the heart and nervous system.

Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your cat table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause intestinal problems, vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Cats can choke on bones or the bones can splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations. You should also never give them anything that is as hard as or harder than their teeth because it can cause dental fractures.

Fish: This includes raw, canned, and cooked fish. You can get away with small amounts of fish but if fed in high amounts your cat can develop a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency that leads to loss of appetite, seizures, and maybe death. The exception to this is if the fish is made into cat food. Most good cat food brands are supplemented with thiamine are just fine.

Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount can make a cat sick and cause them to repeatedly vomit and be hyperactive.

Macadamia nuts: Like grapes and raisins, it is not known what makes macadamia nuts toxic. Ingestion of macadamia nuts can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.

Milk/Dairy Products: Surprisingly most cats are lactose-intolerant, so it’s best to be safe and avoid any dairy products.

Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body and cause shock or result in death.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives: Onion, in any form, can cause a cat to become anemic because it breaks down red blood cells. Even the onion powder that is in some baby foods is bad for cats. Onion, along with garlic and chives, can also cause gastrointestinal upset.

Raw eggs and meat: Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella or other parasites. Raw meat may contain Salmonella and E. coli which can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause vomiting, fatigue, loss of coordination, and eventually liver failure. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes.

Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, soft rubber objects, stringy objects (thread, yarn, tinsel), coins, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to cats than food. Aspirin, Tylenol, and Motrin are all highly toxic and a single tablet could be lethal.

 

If you suspect your cat ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

Do you have a dog? Most foods that are toxic for cats are also toxic for dogs. Check back here later for a dog-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!

I went for a walk with my pet. Now what?

The warm summer months means spending more time outside and unfortunately, ticks. Many ticks are co-infected, meaning that they carry more than one disease, including Lyme disease. Did you know that only about 5% of dogs exposed will develop symptoms that are attributed to Lyme disease? But with all this said, you’re still going to go for walks with your dog and your outdoor cat will still want to be outdoors. You can prevent Lyme disease by making sure you thoroughly check your pet’s body after they’ve been outside and removing ticks before they attach themselves. Even if your dog or cat wears a tick and/or flea preventative collar or is given a spot-on medication, it is a good idea to do a quick body check.

Keeping your pet’s fur short is an easy first step. Breeds with shorter hair are easier to check than those with long hair. Shorter coats make the ticks easier to see by keeping them close to the surface while longer hair allows a tick to hide deep in the fur and avoid being discovered for long periods of time.

Brush or run your hands over your pet’s whole body, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps or something the size of a pea. You may also use a brush or flea comb, stopping if you hit a bump or a snag to investigate. Most attachments occur in front of the shoulder blades, which includes the head, neck, and front legs. Make sure to also feel under the collar, under their armpits, between their toes, behind the ears, and around the tail. Ticks are attracted to dark, hidden areas and when attached can range in size from the size of a pinhead to a grape.

If you find an unattached tick, place it in alcohol and dispose of it. Flushing a tick down the toilet will not kill it. If the tick is embedded, you must remove it carefully so you extract the whole tick. If you are uncomfortable removing the tick yourself then call your vet. While wearing gloves to protect yourself, use fine-tipped tweezers to grip the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, slowly and steadily, without squeezing the body. After removing the tick, place it in alcohol and clean the bitten area with soap and warm water. Keep an eye on the bitten area to see if an infection arises or if your pet starts to act abnormally. It is very typical for a small nodule to occur at the site of the attachment and persist for up to three weeks. Signs of Lyme disease typically occur one to three weeks following a bite and may include limping, poor appetite, and fever. A very small percentage of dogs may also develop a fatal form that affects their kidneys. If the skin remains irritated or infected or you suspect something might be wrong, call us at 610-372-2121.

Pets, Cars & Heat

Brutus, Duke, Coco, Lola and Jake…sure, they’re fairly common pet names, but they’re also the names of just a few of the pets that died last year because they were left in cars on warm (and not necessarily hot) days while their owners were shopping, visiting friends or family, or running errands. What’s so tragic is that these beloved pets were simply the victims of bad judgment.Want numbers? An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96° F rose steadily as time increased. (And cracking the windows doesn’t help).

To learn more, go to: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Hot-Cars-and-Loose-Pets.aspx