Scruffing (grasping a cat by the loose skin behind the neck) and other harsh restraint techniques and equipment like crush cages and snares may be used 'as standard’ by some staff at some shelters and vets to reduce the likelihood of injury to the operator during the handling of domestic cats. The Cat Vet does not believe the use of such techniques is necessary and may compromise cats welfare unnecessarily.
I truly empathise with the plight of cats visiting vets - that's what drove me to set up my mobile vet clinic! I consistently get blood samples and procedures done at home on anxious feline patients armed with nothing more than a towel, an owner and my patience and cat friendliness. With so many safe anti-anxiety medications options available too, scruffing just doesn't have a place in modern animal handling whether it's in a veterinary practice, shelter or at home.
In my experience, gentle handling is far more likely to result in:
When we think of risks to our cat we often tend to think of all the physical or poisonous things but actually by far the most common threat to your cat's health at Christmas is STRESS! It's easy with all the hustle and bustle of the festive period preparations to forget about the impact that unexpected changes within a home can have on cats.
There are a lot of things we humans do at this time of year to make it a special time for our families. We also need to think about what would make it a safer & less stressful time for our furry family too. Many of our Christmas decorations, household changes (eg moving furniture & accomodating guests) can actually create “extra” stress for your cat. Have a look at my Christmas Hazards advice for more information on how to keep your cat safe and stress free this festive period.
Did you know that 1 in 3 cats will develop CKD (chronic kidney disease) in their lifetime? What about the fact that 90% of cats over the age of 12 have painful "wear & tear" arthritis?
With early diagnosis & treatment, it's far from the doom and gloom that you may imagine with such a disease. These days, cats with CKD can live long and happy senior years with the right diet, improving fluid intake and other supportive medical care.
Cats (and especially older cats) don't seem to like having single diseases. The older they get, the more likely a cat is to have in excess of 3 or 4 illnesses all going on at the same time, just to keep you and us cat vets on our toes!
Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease, aka DJD to its friends) is extremely common in cats. They are usually very inquisitive, agile animals and can jump down from great heights so their joints do an awful lot of shock absorption. If they are overweight in their youth and adult life, then their joints go through even more wear and tear.
Cats are masters of disguise, so rather than complain about being in pain, they simply change their behaviour to minimise or avoid the pain! It can become tricky when cats diagnosed with kidney disease also have signs of arthritis because the first line medication that can provide pain relief, improved mobility & quality of life, can also put the kidneys under extra pressure.
Put simply this combination of nutritional support can significantly improve quality of life for cats, so it's a no-brainer. Oh and worried your cat won't like it? It has has an appetite improving feature called (E.A.T). By measuring food preferences in cats with CKD, Hill’s have apparently identified the specific aromas and flavours that stimulate food intake and have applied it to their kidney foods. They also offer a money back guarantee.
All in all, it's definitely worth a try, but always talk to your vet first to make sure it is the right choice for your cat's unique needs.
Bonfire Night and firework season is upon us!
In the run up to bonfire night tonight and firework season don't ignore your four legged friends. Loud bangs and flashes created by fireworks can be exciting for humans but very frightening for cats. There are more than double the reports of lost pets during this period than any other time of the year.