What Causes Hairballs In Cats? (Food Suggestions)

Maine Coon Cat can sometimes have hairball blockages

Cats are remarkably skilled at keeping themselves clean and barely require bathing. While this innate behavior in cats helps their overall hygiene, it may pose a health problem for our feline friends. This leads to the what causes hairballs in cats?

Cats love self-grooming from time to time. However, when grooming, they can swallow loose hair resulting in a cat hairball. Hairballs are usually harmless to cats.

But if you are wondering what causes hairballs in cats, the symptoms, and how to help cats with hairballs, you would find this piece pretty enlightening.

What exactly is a cat hairball?

What Causes Hairballs In Cats

A cat’s hairball is a build-up of dead hair and digestive juices in the cat’s stomach. It is pretty standard for cats to swallow hair during grooming.

Every cat grooms itself by licking its fur. Their tongues contain tiny barbs that snag the strands as they shred. Due to the design of their barbs on the tongue that faces backward, cats have little choice but to swallow the hair they groom.

Typically, the hair swallowed usually passes through their body and gets eliminated. However, there are times when the hair is unable to make it past the intestinal tract.

Hairballs are pretty harmless but could become fatal if the hair becomes hardened and cause a blockage in their intestinal tract.

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Symptoms of hairballs in cats

You may notice the following symptoms when your cat is trying to bring up a hairball;

  • Retching
  • Gagging
  • Vomiting with food or fluid
  • Dry cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Weakness or lethargy

What Causes Hairballs In Cats?

A hairball is caused by loose hair that has been ingested but not passed through the intestinal tract.

Cats spend a lot of time licking and grooming their fur. The loose or dead fur that sticks to your cat’s tongue is swallowed, and the hair is digested and eliminated through the feces.

However, hair can build up in the stomach, forming hairballs. Your cat may vomit its hairballs with food or fluid.

Several factors such as extreme grooming, long coats, and shedding contribute to cats swallowing loose fur. The loose fur then turns into a hairball which may cause intestinal blockage in cats.

Excessive grooming and anxiety or allergens in cats

Cats develop hairballs when they groom. However, excessive grooming can signify anxiety in response to a sudden change in the cat’s environment.

Similarly, excessive grooming can also be a result of allergens or food sensitivities. So, if your cat is grooming too much, take your cat to a vet for a complete examination.

Hairball diagnosis in cats

You can detect if your cat has hairballs if you find vomit with hair, food, and fluid in it.

Similarly, loss of appetite, and lethargy associated with frequent vomiting with hair loss, could be an indication of intestinal blockage. To rule out any other condition, your veterinarian would conduct a physical exam to confirm the hairball.

Your vet would likely ask about your cat’s medical history and how frequently they cough up blood.

Several other blood tests and radiographs also are ordered by your veterinarian to check for an intestinal blockage in your cat. Although hairballs in cats are pretty harmless, an intestinal blockage could be fatal if left untreated.

Hairball treatment for cats

There are several available hairballs in cats. However, your veterinarian would recommend a treatment plan according to the severity of the condition.

Hairball preventative measures

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To keep hairballs at bay, your veterinarian may use a hairball preventative that serves as a lubricant. The product is designed to help your cat pass the hairball through the intestinal tract. An example of a hairball preventative is Laxotone.

·         Brush your cat’s fur frequently

Because of the excessive grooming, your cat licks and swallows the loose hair. Therefore, brushing your cat’s hair several times per week will reduce the amount of hair she consumes. In addition, brushing the fur removes loose or dead hair before your cat can swallow it.

·         Dietary Alteration

Changing your cat’s diet may help in passing and eliminating swallowed hair. Your veterinarian may recommend a fiber-rich diet. Fiber helps keep the digestive tract functioning, which felines need to pass swallowed hair through their body effectively.

·         Surgical Extraction

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Based on the severity of the hairball, your vet may recommend surgery to remove the hairball from the intestinal tract. Surgery is only considered if the situation is complex and life-threatening.

·         Discourage over grooming

Excessive grooming causes cats to swallow more hair, leading to more hairballs. If your cat spends too much grooming, try to break it up with a game or a cuddle. You may also want to give your cat a new toy to engage her in other grooming.

 

At what point do cat hairballs become dangerous?

Hairballs are generally harmless in cats. However, you should take your cat to the vet immediately if she displays the following signs;

  • Extended gagging, retching without producing a hairball.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive nibbling on grass
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Swollen or sensitive stomach

Ensure you provide urgent medical attention to your cat once you notice any of these disturbing signs.

Do some cats produce more hairballs than others?

Persian cats are prone to hairballs

Cat hairballs are a natural part of their grooming routine and are usually not a cause for concern. Younger cats and kittens have fewer hairballs because they are less picky about grooming.

On the other hand, older cats may have become more selective and produce more hairballs. Although fluffy cats are excellent companions, they are more prone to frequent hairballs.

Some cat breeds, such as Persians and Maine coons, naturally produce more hairballs. The reason is that their hair accumulates into clumps rapidly.

How frequently do cats get Hairballs?

Hairballs should occur in cats occasionally, usually less than once a month. Most swallowed hair usually passes through the digestive system and comes with feces.

What Causes Hairballs In Cats? Final Thoughts

Cats love to stay clean by grooming. However, while grooming, they swallow loose hair, which becomes hairballs. While hairballs are harmless, they may pose a danger for your cat if it causes intestinal blockage.

Regular vet visits and constant brushing of your cat’s fur would help prevent any fatal consequences of grooming.

What Causes Urinary Blockage In Cats?

UTI problem in cats

Urinary blockage in cats can be a severe emergency, especially if the symptoms have gone unnoticed. The condition might see you paying unscheduled visits to the vet with your cat. So, what causes urinary blockage in cats?

Here is what the experts say.

Why urinary blockages may occur in cats

what causes urinary blockage in cats

Inflammatory plugs cause urinary blockages or obstructions to urine flow through the urethra.

The urethra is a tube that leads from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. A recent study showed that about 1.5% of cats had been diagnosed with urethra obstruction at veterinary teaching hospitals in the last 19 years.

Similarly, a study of cats with urinary blockages revealed that 60% had urethral inflammatory plugs, 20% had stones, and 5% had urethral structures or cancer.

Both male and female cats can develop urethra blockages. However, male cats are more prone to the condition due to their narrow urethra.

·         Inflammatory urethral plugs

Idiopathic cystitis, urinary tract infections, or a reaction to urinary crystals or stones are common causes of urethral inflammatory plugs.

Although the plug can be found anywhere along the length of the urethra, it is commonly seen at the tip of the penis in the distal urethra.

Crystalline material has been seen on the prepuce of male cats in some cases.

·         Urinary crystals

Urinary crystals are formed when minerals in urine solidify. Struvite is the most common type of urinary crystal.

Urinary stones are composed of various minerals and range in different sizes. For example, urinary stone sizes could vary from a size of a grain of sand to the size of a pea.

·         Bladder stones

Urinary stones in cats are typically made of struvite or calcium oxalate. When the PH of the urine becomes too alkaline or too acidic, these stones can form.

One of the common risk factors for urinary blockages in cats is the presence of bladder stones.

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Symptoms of urinary blockages in cats

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Regardless of gender, urethra blockages or obstruction symptoms are the same. The signs of a fully or partially blocked urethra in cats include:

  • Difficulty in urinating in or around the litter box. This might be mistaken for constipation and straining to defecate.
  • Crying or howling in and around the litter box.
  • Producing tiny drops of urine or non at all.
  • Lethargy and hiding
  • Weakness and mental dullness
  • Licking at the genitals or around the base of the tail.
  • Vomiting
  • Avoiding being touched around the abdomen.

The symptoms of urinary blockage may vary depending on the severity of the condition. For example, cats with a partial blockage may appear uncomfortable or in pain, forcing them to spend excess time in the litter box.

The signs become more severe as the condition worsens to a complete urinary blockage, and the cat cannot pass urine.

The cat may experience life-threatening complications at this stage, including kidney failure. The cat may die within 24 to 48 hours if symptoms are untreated.

Common health complications of urinary blockages in cats

my cat has a urinary blockage

Some of the common health complications of urinary blockages include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Urethral lacerations or tears
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Urine in the abdomen
  • Bladder rupture

Diagnosis of urinary blockage in cats

Blood work is performed on cats who show signs of urinary tract obstruction. The procedure is designed to check kidney function and see if there is any evidence of infection or any other systemic illnesses.

A urine sample may be evaluated for crystals and sent in for culture. Cats with recurring infections would require x-rays of the abdomen to determine whether stones or other materials are present in the kidney or bladder.

Finally, your veterinarian may inject contrast materials into the bladder during X-rays to determine if there are any anatomic causes for straining and bloody urine.

How is a urinary blockage in cats treated?

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The treatment of urinary blockages in cats aims to clear the obstruction and prevent it from recurring.

Similarly, the veterinarian would focus on assisting your cat while the obstruction is removed and also handle any underlying causes.

The treatment procedure may see your veterinarian passing a urinary catheter to bypass the blockage or flushing the urethra with sterile saline.

An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is an associated urinary tract infection. Following the removal of the urinary blockage, your cat will most likely spend several days in the hospital for monitoring.

Your vet may also use intravenous fluids to flush out the uremic toxins. Before discharge, your vet would ensure that the cat can urinate independently.

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After removing the obstruction, your vet will investigate and treat the underlying cause. Your vet may recommend medications and dietary changes to prevent urinary tract infections and dissolve urinary crystals.

Surgery may also be necessary to remove stones or repair a urethral blockage. In addition, cats with recurrent urinary blockages could be made to undergo a surgical procedure known as perineal ureterostomy.

This procedure entails making an incision in the area between the anus and scrotum (perineum) and creating a new opening for the urethra.

Tips for preventing urinary blockages in cats

 

Now you know what causes urinary blockage in cats, you must learn to prevent the reoccurrence of the condition.

There are several precautions you must take to ensure your cat is safe. A urinary diet would be pretty helpful if your cat has struvite stones.

This diet would help to reduce crystalluria and also dissolve the stone. Another way to reduce the risk of further urinary blockage in cats is to increase their water consumption.What causes UTI blockage in cats

High-risk male cats should be fed at least 50% of their daily calorie intake. The aim is to increase water consumption and produce slightly dilute urine that help reduces the risk of urethral obstruction.

Final Thoughts on what causes urinary blockage in cats

What causes urinary blockage in cats may include urinary crystals, stones, or inflammatory plugs.

The condition can be lethal if the symptoms are not detected early. The best way to prevent this condition is to feed your cat a high-quality diet that includes half the daily amount in canned food forms.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

is chocolate safe for cats to eat

Its widely known that chocolates are toxic to dogs. But what about cats? Can cats eat chocolate?

Sharing a chocolate bar with your cat is a bad idea as it is harmful to cats. Chocolates pose a severe health risk to cats and may become life-threatening if consumed excessively.

Why is chocolate bad for cats?

will chocolate make cats sick

In answering the question ‘can cats eat chocolate?‘, we first need to understand why chocolate is harmful.

Cats and chocolates don’t mix. The reason is that chocolate contains two primary ingredients that could risk the lives of cats.

These two ingredients include theobromine and caffeine. Unfortunately, theobromine can be pretty deadly to cats.

Interestingly, theobromine is harmless to humans but toxic to cats, dogs, and rabbits.

Unlike humans, cats struggle to metabolize (break down) theobromine, which leads to a build-up of the substance and cause fatal consequences.

It is believed that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains and the more toxic to cats it would be. Caffeine can also be very harmful to cats.

Cats do not need to consume much chocolate to experience problems. So, it would help keep your chocolate bars far from your cat’s reach.

How much chocolate is toxic to cats?

Theobromine has a toxic dose of 200mg/kg in cats, but different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of theobromine.

Dark and baking semi-sweet chocolate is more dangerous to cats than milk chocolates. Because white chocolates do not contain cocoa solids, it does not pose a risk of theobromine and caffeine toxicity.

Unlike other chocolate types, white chocolate contains deficient levels of the chemicals required to cause toxicity in cats.

Baking powder is primarily used for making confections. However, it only takes 0.2 oz baking powder to harm your cat. For semi-sweet or dark chocolate, it takes 0.5 oz for a cat to consume a toxic amount of them.

Milk chocolate has less amount of theobromine and caffeine than most chocolate types. As a result, a cat only needs to consume slightly more than 1.1 oz to reach toxic levels.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats

The degree of a cat’s symptoms after eating chocolate is frequently determined by the amount of chocolate consumed and the type of chocolate ingested.

Among the different chocolate types, milk chocolate has the lowest potential for toxicity. On the other hand, Baker chocolate is known to have the highest potential for toxicity due to its high concentration of active ingredients caffeine and theobromine.

can cats eat chocolateThe following are symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats;

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heightened temperature
  • Seizures
  • Increased reflex response
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma

While some of these symptoms can easily be noticed by the pet owner, others can only be detected by a veterinarian.

Chocolate poisoning diagnosis in cats

If you suspect your cat may have consumed chocolate or showing signs of chocolate poisoning, take her to the vet as quickly as possible.

Your veterinarian may perform a thorough physical examination and other relevant lab tests. These tests may include a chemical blood profile, a urinalysis, an electrolyte panel, and an ECG to check if your cat’s heart is functioning optimally.

Your vet may induce vomiting if your cat is diagnosed with chocolate poisoning. The aim is to prevent the harmful ingredients in chocolate from causing further harm.

Intravenous fluids can also be administered to keep the cat hydrated and weaken the toxic elements in the chocolate.

How is chocolate poisoning treated in cats?

The kind of treatment your cat will receive for chocolate poisoning is dependent on some factors, including;

  • How much chocolate has your cat ingested?
  • The type and severity of your cat’s symptoms.

Stabilizing your cat to address clinical signs is the first step in treating chocolate poisoning. Next, cats experiencing tremors or seizures are given medications to stabilize them.

Your vet may want to clean the cat’s stomach once the cat is stable. However, your cat may vomit on her own, or your vet may decide to induce vomit.

Another treatment option available for chocolate poisoning is the use of activated charcoal. This device acts like a magnet to attract toxic substances, carrying them through the gastrointestinal tract and out of the body.

Your vet may also admit your cat to the animal clinic for effective monitoring and other supportive therapies.

However, this would depend on the severity of your cat’s symptoms. You would be asked to observe and closely monitor your cat once they are home. You should call the vet immediately if you notice a deterioration in your cat’s health.

While most cases of chocolate poisoning in cats do not cause long-term problems with the proper treatment, you must immediately act fast by seeking medical help.

How to prevent chocolate poisoning in cats

The following are tips you could use to prevent chocolate in cats:

  • First, do not feed chocolates to your cats. Also, ensure children in the house and visitors know not to.
  • Keep all chocolate and chocolate-containing products out of reach from your cats by storing them in high or locked cupboards.
  • Ensure you keep your cat away from parcels and gift items as you never can tell if someone might send you a chocolate treat.
  • Avoid the use of gardening mulches containing cocoa shells.

Are there alternatives to chocolates for cats?

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Can cats eat chocolate? No. But what about alternatives to chocolates? Rather than feeding your cat chocolates, you can find specially formulated feline-safe treats to give your cat.

Your cat would love cat treats due to their excellent taste, appealing smell, and numerous health benefits.

Alternatively, seek out non-toxic snacks that your cat may like.

Other toxic food for cats you must avoid

Apart from chocolates, there are other human foods you mustn’t feed your cats. They include;

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    Raw eggs

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Bread dough containing yeast
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Onions and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

 

Final Thoughts

Can cats eat chocolate? No.

Cats are pretty picky in their feeding habit. However, they still have cravings for foods that may be harmful to their health. So feeding your cat chocolate can have adverse effects on their health.

Always consider the safety of your cats by consulting your veterinarian before adding any new food to their diet.

What Causes Diabetes In Cats?

Diabetes Miletus in cats

The cells in a cat are similar to those in humans, and they require sugar in the form of energy. The glucose in the blood needs insulin to get access to cells. So, what causes diabetes in cats?

Diabetes Miletus in cats is a relatively widespread endocrine condition that is more common in aging cats. Diabetes is estimated to affect between 0.2 and 1% of cats during their lifetime.

The good news is that the condition is treatable and preventable. Let’s take a detailed look into what causes diabetes in cats.

How did my cat develop diabetes?

What Causes Diabetes In Cats

Diabetes is when the cat’s body cannot adequately produce or respond to insulin. The implication is that your cat would be unable to process glucose (blood sugar) effectively.

Insulin binds to cells and signifies the appropriate time to absorb glucose. As a result, cells receive vital fuel and reduce glucose levels in the blood by absorbing glucose.

Blood glucose levels are typically high in Type 1 diabetes due to decreased insulin production.

Similarly, glucose levels are also high in Type 2 diabetes because cells in the body do not respond adequately to insulin.

Cells in type 1 and 2 diabetes are unable to access the nutrients they require because insulin cannot transport sugar from the bloodstream into them.

However, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes that affects cats. Other common causes of diabetes in cats are:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic inflammation of the pancreas
  • Destruction of pancreatic beta cells.

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Diabetes risk factors in cats

Risk factors associated with diabetes:

  • Age: Cats become more prone to diabetes as they increase in age
  • Gender: Male cats are more likely to develop diabetes than their female counterparts.
  • Obesity: Obese cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes than normal-weight cats.
  • Breed: Burmese cats seems to have a higher risk of developing diabetes than any other breed.
  • Physical activity: Lack of physical activity may also put your cat at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Medications: Using glucocorticoids to treat other illnesses is a crucial risk factor for diabetes in cats.

Symptoms of diabetes in cats

symptoms of diabetes in cats

Diabetes in cats can be classified into two types. It includes the rare diabetes insipidus (DI) and the more prevalent diabetes Mellitus (DM).

Although they have similar symptoms, their primary causes are vastly different. The following are the clinical signs of diabetes in cats:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Weight loss regardless of a good appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Neurological symptoms include walking with the hooks of the hind legs on the floor

In Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the cells cannot absorb glucose from the blood and become energy starved.

The body shifts to other sources to get the energy required, breaking down fats and protein to feed glucose-starved cells. The result is weight loss despite an increase in appetite.

Similarly, excessive thirst and urination are also critical signs of diabetes in cats. In addition, high sugar levels can subdue the kidney’s ability to filter glucose, causing sugar to spill out from the blood and into the urine.

This high glucose concentration can attract excessive amounts of water into the urine. The result is increased urine volume, increased urinary water loss, dehydration, and an increase in thirst.

Diagnosing diabetes in cats

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Your veterinarian will conduct several diagnostic tests to diagnose diabetes in cats. These tests are designed to measure your cat’s glucose level.

Other tests that help rule out other diseases and identify any other potentially related conditions can also be done. Some of these tests include:

  • Blood glucose test
  • Complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture
  • Abdominal radiographs
  • Biochemistry profile

Generally, diagnosis of diabetes is performed if your cat has:

  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Sugar in urine (glycosuria)
  • Weight loss despite good appetite
  • Increased urination and thirst (polyuria)
  • Polydipsia

High glucose levels in your cat’s blood could indicate diabetes. However, stress can temporarily raise your cat’s glucose level.

So you may have to repeat testing as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis. A fructosamine test may be required o help differentiate between stress-caused glucose levels and diabetes in cats.

Your veterinarian may recommend other tests to help rule out other diseases contributing to your cat’s clinical signs. These tests may include a thyroid test to rule out hyperthyroidism, a urinary tract infection test, and a pancreatitis test.

Treatment of diabetes in cats

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Treatment of diabetes in cats entails several measures. The main goal of diabetes treatment in cats is to;

  • Restore normal blood glucose levels
  • Halting or controlling weight loss
  • Halting or reducing signs of increased thirst and urination
  • Averting life-threatening low blood sugar levels due to treatment.

The main steps used in achieving these goals are insulin and dietary therapy.

Insulin Therapy

Injectable insulin has proven to be pretty effective in treating diabetes in cats. Insulin injections are usually given under the skin roughly every 12 hours.

Cat owners can learn how to administer insulin to their cats at home. However, feline lovers must ensure they use the appropriate syringe for their cat’s insulin, as each insulin type has its specific syringe.

Dietary Therapy

Studies have shown that food low in carbohydrates can help to improve blood sugar regulation in diabetic cats. Your veterinarian may recommend prescription food that comes in wet and dry forms and is beneficial for your cat.

Overweight cats with diabetes are monitored closely by a veterinarian for slow controlled weight loss to achieve better control over blood glucose concentrations.

Monitoring

Regular monitoring is a crucial part of treatment for cats with diabetes. In addition, periodic monitoring helps determine the suitable insulin dose for individual cats.

It also helps to avert complications that may arise, including hyperglycemia.

Remission

A cat can enter a state of diabetic remission with a comprehensive treatment plan. Remission occurs when the cat can maintain normal blood sugar levels without insulin injections.

Cats who have attained diabetic remission should continue to be fed a low carbohydrate diet and closely monitored.

Final Thoughts

Having a poor diet and obesity are common causes for diabetes in cats.

Although there is no cure for diabetic cats, the condition can be adequately managed with the correct regimen.

Insulin and dietary therapy coupled with close monitoring can help sufficiently control blood glucose levels in diabetic cats.

 

 

 

Is Wet Food Bad For Cats Teeth?

is wet cat food bad for cats teeth

Although cats do not show signs of oral discomfort, paying proper attention to your cat’s dental health is vital. So, is wet food bad for cats teeth? This article addresses the dental health of cats and the meals your cat can eat.

Cats may put up some abnormal misbehaviors such as dropping food and head shyness. These acts could indicate that your cat is experiencing a dental problem.

Several factors may influence the risk of cats developing dental health issues. So you must pay utmost attention to your cat’s oral health for overall well-being.

So before we answer the question, is wet food bad for a cat’s teeth? First, let’s take a brief look at their dental structure.

Understanding the cat’s dental structure

Food Bad for Cats Teeth

The cat’s teeth are mainly designed for holding and killing small prey animals. Therefore, they are not very efficient in chewing and grinding food.

The cat’s upper and lower jaw has three pairs of incisors and elongated and laterally compressed canine teeth.

The cat uses it for grooming and tearing the prey, while the canines are designed for grasping and killing. Cats have three pairs of upper and two pairs of lower premolars.

It also has one pair of upper premolars and another pair of lower premolars. The back molars are typically flat and are used for cutting food into small pieces before swallowing.

Cats rarely use their molars for masticating food as they are known for consuming bites of food with little or no chewing.

Diet and oral health in cats

One main dental issue cat experiences are periodontal disease or gum disease. Cat’s periodontal diseases begin with saliva, food, and bacteria accumulating on the surface of the teeth and forming a sticky substance known as plaque.

This causes gum irritation that can lead to an inflammatory condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis is a condition associated with the reddening of the gums directly bordering the teeth.

As the condition advances, the cat will have moderate to severe redness in their gums, irregular gum surfaces and plaque, and calculus under their gums.

Other symptoms of gingivitis are bad breath, difficulty eating, and extensive loss of teeth due to the destruction of the structures that support them.

Wet food Vs. Dry food

Wet food is canned food, usually pre-measured. They contain real meat and vegetables with high amounts of water.

The high moisture content of wet food helps keep your cat from getting thirsty, which is suitable for dealing with kidney and urinary tract problems.

On the other hand, dry food refers to processed food that comes in large packages and is mainly purchased from supermarkets. Dry cat food has a higher amount of carbohydrates than wet food.

·         Is wet food bad for cats teeth?

One general misconception held by many cat lovers is that wet food is bad for cats’ teeth.

Although most experts recommend dry food for good dental health in cats, no evidence suggests that wet food is bad for your cat’s oral health.

The high moisture content in wet food, such as raw meat, may help the surface of the teeth during gnawing and chewing. This action helps in preventing the accumulation of plaque and tartar.

So, feeding your cat raw meaty bones is equivalent to standard dental brushing and cleaning.

·         Is dry food better than wet food for a cat’s teeth?

Some experts believe dry food is better for a cat’s teeth than wet food. Their submission goes that dry food leaves minimal residue in the mouth for oral bacteria to feed on, leading to a slow rate of plaque accumulation.

This thought also suggests that chewing dry food helps clean debris from the cat’s teeth, reducing dental health issues.

In reality, most cats do not necessarily chew dry food; they swallow it whole. Cats would need to contract their teeth to affect tartar accumulation.

A Factor predisposing cats to dental health problems

Is Wet Food Bad For Cats Teeth

Aside from diet, tooth alignment can predispose cats to oral health issues.

Tooth alignment

The position or alignment of your cat’s teeth may predispose them to dental problems.

Cats with abnormally positioned teeth are more likely to suffer plaque and tartar build-up.

The reason is that misaligned teeth are not cleaned by the natural abrasion that occurs when food is eaten and chewed.

The following are reasons for misalignment in the cat’s teeth;

  • Breed: Cat breeds such as Chinchillas, British and Exotic breeds are known for having poorly aligned teeth.
  • Genetic abnormalities and trauma: A cat’s jaws may have an abnormal shape due to congenital abnormality or possibly due to trauma.
  • Deciduous tooth retention: Some cats may have deciduous teeth (milk teeth) that remain retained after the permanent teeth erupt.
  • Infectious disease: This is due to several infectious diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection, or feline calicivirus (FCV). FIV and FeLV can predispose cats to periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Wet food vs. Dry Food: Which is best for my cat’s dental health?

The main difference between wet and dry food is the moisture content. Cats need a good amount of moisture for their overall well-being.

Similarly, wet food such as raw meat may help with dental problems. Therefore, ensure you choose high-quality wet food for feeding your cat at all times.

Tips for managing your cat’s dental health

Best Cat Chew Toys- Catnip organic silver vine chew sticksYour cat, as a carnivore, requires clean, strong, and sharp teeth. As a result, the following tips are vital for your cat’s oral health;

  • Ensure you take your cats for periodic dental checks. Your vet would conduct a detailed oral exam and x -rays to identify possible issues under the gum line. A complete cleaning under your cat’s gum line may be carried out to prevent periodontal disease. Your vet may also perform a scaling exercise to remove plaque and tartar accumulation on the crown.
  • Brush your cat’s teeth regularly. Ensure you use the toothpaste and a toothbrush designed for cats.
  • Provide your cat with a chew toy designed to help with pet dental hygiene.

 Final Thoughts- Is wet food bad for cats teeth?

No evidence suggests that wet food is bad for cats’ teeth. While wet food may have shortcomings, it helps improve your feline friend’s overall health and well-being.

 

Fish Allergy In Cats (causes and symptoms)

cats allergic to fish

Like humans, the immune system of cats defends itself against anything it perceives as a threat. Food ingredients such as fish, beef, eggs, and milk are well-known allergens to felines. However, fish allergy in cats is quite prevalent compared to some food ingredients.

According to a study of 56 cats with identifiable fish allergies, fish was accountable for 13 (23%) of the cases. The study further revealed that fish comes third in potential allergic reactions trailing only beef and dairy products.

What Is Fish Allergy in cats?

fish allergy in cats

A fish allergy occurs when a cat’s immune system overreacts to the protein in the fish. Pet owners commonly use fish as a healthy protein source for their cats.

However, in some cases, fish can cause contaminants like mercury to accumulate in your cat’s system. In addition, fish allergy could cause uncomfortable skin conditions for some cats.

You would require an elimination diet to determine the specific allergen affecting your cat. Although the elimination diet method is time-consuming, knowing which particular protein your cat could be reacting to is needed.

How do you distinguish between food allergy and food intolerance?

A food allergy is a cat’s immune system response to defend itself against something it views as a threat.

An allergic reaction does not occur the first time an individual cat gets exposed to the food substance but begins to show after continuous consumption.

On the other hand, food intolerance does not involve the immune system, and it mainly causes gastrointestinal responses, including;

  • Changes in the color of the cat’s stool.
  • Unusual sound from the cat’s digestive system.

Symptoms of fish allergy in cats

Fish Causing Allergy in Cats

The following are symptoms of fish allergy in cats;

  • Hair loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Scratching, biting, or licking her skin.
  • Inflammation around the paws
  • Blisters/skin ulcerations
  • Swelling in the face/ limbs
  • Crusty papules

Symptoms of food allergies are typically on the head and neck of cats. Some cats can experience respiratory symptoms such as coughing and breathing problems.

Food intolerance frequently comes with and sometimes precedes a full-blown allergy to the food. It also comes with gastrointestinal discomfort and bubbling sound from the digestive system.

Causes of fish allergy in cats

Fish allergy in cats is caused by a severe defensive response to a protein that your cat perceives as an invasive material.

Most of the cat’s immune system cells are found in their digestive system. During digestion, protein food substances are broken down into amino acids.

These amino acids are then absorbed by specialized white blood cells and immune cells known as enterocytes before being transported into the bloodstream.

If proteins are not adequately broken down, the enterocytes would perceive the food fragments as intruders rather than nutrients and attack. Unfortunately, the reaction of these cells becomes more aggressive over time, and the symptoms worsen.

Diagnosis of fish allergy in cats

Allergy symptoms in cats may appear similar to that of other disorders such as bacteria or mite infection.

Your veterinarian may likely collect skin scrapings to be examined under a microscope in a process known as cutaneous cytology.

If the skin cells fail to indicate any other microorganisms, your cat could be experiencing an allergy. Although serum and intradermal testing are available for cats with allergies, they are not very efficient in detecting food-related allergies.

The standard for cat food allergies is the elimination diet or food trial. Beginning an elimination diet entails changing your cat’s daily diet to a limited ingredient or, in some cases, a diet of unseasoned human food.

By so doing, well-known allergens are gradually eliminated from the diet. Novel ingredients are usually required when selecting the proper diet for your cat.

Any protein or carbohydrate that has just been introduced to the cat’s diet is considered a novel ingredient. Therefore, if you suspect a fish allergy, look for additional commercial diet ingredients.

Once the allergy symptoms have been eliminated, slowly reintroduce new ingredients into the diet to determine which one is causing the reaction.

It is commonly advised that cat owners stick to a mono protein or duo protein diet containing safe proteins.

Treatment of fish allergy in cats

The elimination diet may take several weeks to reveal the particular allergen affecting your cat.

During this period, your cat may continue to experience allergy symptoms. Your vet may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce swelling and antihistamines to relieve itching.

Both medications may mask the allergy symptoms, making it more challenging to determine which ingredient in your cat’s diet is causing the reaction.

As a result, many veterinarians prefer to use the elimination diet before introducing these medications into the treatment plan.

Minor skin infections are also common in cats suffering allergy symptoms. In this case, antibiotics are prescribed to treat and also prevent complications.

You would have to eliminate the allergen from your cat’s diet immediately after it is identified.

Other supplements such as probiotics and non-fish-based Omega 3 oils are recommended for all types of allergies as they help support the immune system.

The aim is to help your cat’s body handle any accidental allergen exposure and prevent the development of new allergies.

Can cats eat canned tuna?

If you are thinking of sharing your favorite canned tuna with your feline friend, you need to consider it. Although cats love the smell and flavor of tuna fish, it can harm their health. So, while a single tuna bite may not hurt your cat, excluding it from their diet is best.

Tunas are nutritionally unbalanced as they contain a high amount of unsaturated fat and are not supplemented with Vitamin E or other antioxidants.

Similarly, canned tuna also causes fish allergy in cats leading to allergic reactions such as itching, hair loss, swollen skin, etc.

Tuna also contains high amounts of mercury, a toxic metal. So regular tuna consumption can lead to mercury poisoning, which could be pretty lethal to your cat’s health.

Fish-free Cat Foods

Does your cat have a fish allergy? This shouldn’t stop your feline friend from having a healthy and tasty meal. Here are some fish-free cat foods.

1.      Instinct limited cat food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet for cats

This is a grain-free cat food carefully made for sensitive cats. This meal includes protein and vegetables and is free from grain, dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives.

It is crafted for cats with food allergies and contains simple and easy-to-digest ingredients such as cage-free turkey and digestible protein.

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2.      ZIWI Peak canned cat food

Ziwi Peak cat food lamb

This high-protein recipe provides for allergy relief, improved digestion, and weight maintenance. It doesn’t contain added carbohydrates and is perfect for food-sensitive cats. It is also free from grain, potato, and rice.

This nutrient-rich meal features 92% free-range lamb, organs, and bone. In addition, it is moisture-rich and contains omega fatty acids for reduced shedding.

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Final Thoughts

Fish allergy in cats is not curable. However, symptoms are likely to disappear when the allergen is eliminated.

Note that exposure to the allergen could prompt a relapse, so you must be careful of the treats and flavoring you offer your cat.

 

 

Kitten Vomiting and Diarrhea (Causes and Treatment)

why is my kitten sick

We all love healthy and active cats. However, coming home to see your furry friend looking quiet and lethargic may signify a vomiting and diarrhea problem. So how do you solve your kitten vomiting and diarrhea problem?

While your kitten may throw up even when not sick, constant vomiting accompanied by diarrhea should give a cause for concern.

Possible Causes of Your Kitten Vomiting and Diarrhea

kitten vomiting and diarrhea

Your kitten’s vomiting and diarrhea may be caused by the following:

·         Hairballs

Kittens can have hairballs stuck in their stomachs during grooming. Your kitten might get to throw up hairballs every week or two to prevent blockages in their intestines. (Hairball lubricant)

·         Foreign objects

Foreign objects in their digestive tract may also cause vomiting or diarrhea in cats. For example, materials such as rubber bands or pieces of string may pose a problem in your kitten’s gut.

·         Food poisoning

Several household items such as cleaning products, decorating chemicals, and pest control agents are poisonous to cats.

·         Food allergies

This is an adverse reaction caused by the immune system. Common food associated with allergies in cats includes beef, fish, chicken, and dairy.

·         Intestinal parasites

Examples of intestinal parasites that cause cat problems are roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms.

·         Feline parvovirus

This virus is often common in kittens and is often fatal.

·         Inflammatory bowel disease

This condition makes the cat’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract severely irritated and inflamed.

 

Signs of Kitten Vomiting and Diarrhea

The following are signs that indicate your kitten may be suffering from vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Lethargic and weight loss
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Excessive swallowing
  • Lip licking
  • Vomit; look out for the volume, frequency, and color.
  • Diarrhea; Watch out for the color, frequency, and signs of blood.
  • Pale or cold gums
  • Lack of appetite

 

How To Treat Your Kitten’s Vomiting and Diarrhea

There are several methods you can adopt in treating kitten vomiting and diarrhea. You must know the right measures to ensure your kitten’s speedy recovery.

1.      Choosing to feed or not to feed your cat

There seems to be a divide on whether to feed a cat battling vomiting and diarrhea. But unfortunately, starving your cat may cause a life-threatening liver condition.

However, it is advised that you avoid feeding your cat for 24 hours if your cat experiences vomiting, diarrhea, or both.

Provide your cat with only clean drinking water for the period to allow the gut to rest. Feeding your kitten with vomiting and diarrhea issues could stimulate muscular contractions in the stomach, causing your kitten to vomit.

Note that if your kitten continues to vomit after 24 hours, you should see a vet as soon as possible.

2.      Feed your kitten unseasoned food

Once your kitten’s vomiting and diarrhea minimize, you can begin to feed her small portions of bland food such as bland chicken, turkey, etc.

3.      Space out your kitten’s meal

Spacing your kitten’s meal would allow her to digest it and assist her stomach in readjusting to food after her illness.

4.      Reintroduce regular food to your kitten’s diet

Once your kitten has passed normal stool for 24 hours, begin a two to a three-day gradual transition to regular food.

During the transition period, bacteria in your cat’s gut adjust to normal food. Here is what a typical transition might look like:

  • Day 1. Give ¾ bland diet and ¼ regular food to your kitten
  • Day 2. Feed ½ bland diet and ½ regular food
  • Day 3. Feed ¼ bland diet and ¾ regular food
  • Day 4. Transit fully back onto regular food

5.      Ensure your kitten is hydrated

In ensuring your kitten is well hydrated when experiencing a vomiting and diarrhea problem, the following measures would come in handy:

 

  • Look out for signs of dehydration by checking out your kitten’s skin

You can check if your cat’s skin is dehydrated by lifting the scruff off her shoulder with your finger or thumb. If the skin falls back into position immediately, your cat is dehydrated.

 

  • Provide your kitten with fresh and clean drinking water

Cats can be quite demanding in their choice of drinking water when ill. Some prefer the taste of mineral water to tap water because it contains less chlorine. Ensure you provide different kinds of water for your cat to encourage it to get adequate fluids and stay hydrated. Virbac Rebound Recuperation Formula for Cats is a liquid formulated to help cats recuperate from illness.

 

  • Give your cat an electrolyte replacement solution

Electrolyte replacement solutions are designed for humans. However, they can also be taken by cats. Examples are Pedialyte and Dioralyte. Electrolyte solutions are mixed with water and are designed to replace lost electrolytes.

Note that some cats might not like the salty taste of these solutions. If your cat falls in this category, switch to just water.

 

  • Hydrating your kitten with a syringe

Hydrating your Sick Kitten with a Syringe

One way to treat your kitten’s vomiting and diarrhea is by ensuring your cat is well hydrated. Consider using a sterilized syringe if your kitten has difficulty drinking. You can do this by placing the nozzle of the syringe behind your cat’s teeth and pressing the plunger down slowly to give her time to drink.

Try giving your kitten 5 to 10ml of water every half an hour.

 

  • Seek medical attention if your kitten vomits every time she drinks water

You must restore the balance at which your kitten losses and gains fluids. If your kitten vomits every time she drinks fluid or cannot keep fluids down, seek immediate veterinary care. A vet will decide whether your cat needs intravenous fluids based on her health.

6.      Give your cat medications

You can consider several medications in treating your kitten’s vomiting and diarrhea issues. They include:

  • Probiotic supplement: Helps your cat to recover from diarrhea.
  • Famotidine: It helps to soothe gastric ulcers and manage stomach inflammation.
  • Kaolin and Pectin: They are designed to serve as protective barriers in the gut walls of cats.
  • Digestive supplement: Formulated to aid digestion.

 

How to prevent vomiting and diarrhea?

  • Avoid giving your cat salty, spicy, or fatty foods.
  • Gradually introduce new food to your kitten and check for intestinal disturbances.
  • Keep probiotics and electrolyte supplements in your home in the case of an emergency.
  • Ensure you deworm your cat frequently.
  • Vaccinate your kittens against feline parvovirus.

Final Thoughts

Vomiting and diarrhea can be quite distressing for your kittens.

Book an appointment with your vet if you seek the best way to handle your kitten’s vomiting and diarrhea.

You may also be interested in reading our articles “What do 4 Week Old Kittens Eat?” and Can Cats Drink Cow’s Milk?”

Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis in Cats

Feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) is one of most perplexing of the cat illnesses to manage and treat. The problem partly lies in the fact that the symptoms of this disease can be so unclear and broad, that pinpointing an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. The typical victims of interstitial cystitis are young male cats, although it can afflict female cats as well. Cats who are afflicted with this illness, in most cases, outgrow it eventually.Cat Spraying No More

Symptoms of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Diagnosis of interstitial cystitis is normally made on a basis of the symptoms that the cat is exhibiting. In most instances, there is no sign of infection. However, your veterinarian will suspect feline interstitial cystitis if you cat displays some of these symptoms:

  • Straining when trying to urinate
  • Frequently urinating (with sleep disturbed by the necessity to urinate)
  • Blood usually presents in the urine
  • Symptoms appear when the cat is subjected to stress

Causes of Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Feline Interstitial Cystitis

Research is still in progress to fully understand exact causes of interstitial cystitis in cats. Theories of the cause of this illness have not been absolutely agreed upon, but several lines of thought have been suggested. The nervous system seems to play a major role.

  • Nerves that serve the cat’s bladder may have become inflamed. Some veterinarians believe that stress alone is accountable for this bladder inflammation. Others say that an irritated bladder lining initiates the cycle.
  • A protective coating of mucus inside the bladder protects it from becoming irritated and inflamed by the waste products filtered out by the kidneys. Harm can be done to the bladder wall if the mucus is somehow damaged.
  • Stress is just as detrimental to cats as it is to humans. Flare-ups of interstitial cystitis are often associated to a stressful situation. This particularly concerns cats that remain indoors exclusively or in households where several cats live.

Treatment

Despite the seriousness of interstitial cystitis, it is one of the more complicated of urinary tract illnesses to treat successfully. Antibiotics are generally ineffective in providing relief; however, bacterial infection should be ruled out to begin with.

In most cases veterinarians treat interstitial cystitis in cats with anti-inflammatory medications such as prednisone. These help reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatories are generally given in combination with pain relievers.

Another method, considering stress appears to be a major component, is to give the cat anti-anxiety and antidepressants medications. Veterinarians may prescribe drugs that will help restore and strengthen the mucus coating, thus helping to heal the bladder, making it less susceptible to damage.

You can help avoid a recurrence of interstitial cystitis by feeding your cat canned food (rather than dry food) and ensuring that he/she drinks plenty of water. Making the home stress free for your cat, giving your cat plenty of affection and providing cat toys all help to keep your cat free from feline interstitial cystitis.

Not Using Litter Box

Interstitial cystitis may be a reason why some cat refuse to use the litter box, electing to urinate around the home instead. This leads to angst and frustration for the pet owner and for the cat. This can become a vicious cycle, the more stressed the cat feels the bigger the problem with not using the litter box.

Effectively treating FIC, will likely see your cat using its litter box.

There are a multitude of reasons why cats suddenly stop using their litter boxes, FIC being one of them. To understand more about why cats urinate outside their litter box and what you can do to rectify the problem CLICK here.

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