How to Travel with a Cat

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The very first rule of traveling with your cat is to have an ID tag or other means of identification securely affixed to the kitty. Thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters simply because the owners never dreamed the pet would get loose or become lost while on a trip. There are few disasters in a person’s life that are worse than having to drive off without a pet because all means of locating and recovery have failed.  This kind of tragedy will haunt you for the rest of your life; don’t let it happen. Get an ID tag, or at the very least microchip your cat!

Before you leave make sure you consider the option of leaving your cat in a hometown boarding facility  Many are just for cats and do not board dogs. Others have the cats well away from any sight, sound or smell of a canine. In fact, go and visit your local boarding facility and see what goes on there. Continue reading

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10 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Kitten

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Getting a new kitten is one of the best things in the world. They’re cute, soft as down, and as cuddly as, well, kittens. Nearly irresistible, kittens melt even the toughest of hearts.

It’s good to get things started off on the right paw, and the food and care you choose can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your growing kitten. Here are 10 starter tips for you and your “mew” companion. Continue reading

VIN Library

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Southern Hills Animal Hospital provides you with a full library of research material through VIN, the Veterinary Information Network. VIN is the world’s first and largest online veterinary community, where new articles are added weekly to make sure that our readers have the most current veterinary information available. Click here to visit the library.

When to Seek Emergency Care for Your Cat

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You know your cat better than anyone else. The easiest answer as to whether you should seek emergency care for your cat is when you feel his or her medical condition is serious and cannot wait.

However, the following general situations should help you determine if you need to seek emergency care:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden onset abdominal swelling
  • Electric shock
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Exhibits symptoms of heat stroke
  • Seizures
  • Sudden onset of weakness or inability to walk
  • High or low temperature (more than 104 or less than 100 degrees)
  • Discomfort, straining or inability to urinate or defecate

Human Foods that Can Hurt Your Cat

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Many of the same foods that pose a health risk for dogs are also dangerous for cats. Why then is the topic of feeding human foods to cats so rarely discussed?

My guess is that owners simply assume that a cat’s discriminating palate will prevent any problems from developing. Sometimes this proves to be the case, but in other instances, cats have eaten enough of a “forbidden food” to become ill. Following are the top three types of human foods that I tell clients never to feed their cats.

  1. Onions, Garlic, Leeks, and Chives
  2. Grapes and Raisins
  3. Chocolate

Help Your Pet Cope with Thunderstorm Anxiety

With summer ahead, we can expect those afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Here are some tips on how to help your pet cope with thunderstorm anxiety

1. Watching our behavior during the storm: Constant petting or consoling is often interpreted by pets as a reward for the fearful response — or reinforcement that the fearful response is warranted. Conversely, punishment will only increase a panicked pet’s anxiety level. Our solution? Projecting a calm, cool vibe and giving your pet attention in the form of playing, grooming, or other activities they normally enjoy.

2. Using supportive therapies: Some products available include thunder shirts, Composure, and Adaptil.

3. Switching environments when thunder begins: Changing your pet’s location can be surprisingly effective, because it may help reduce the storm’s volume level or make your pet less aware of it.

4. Increasing your pet’s exercise beforehand: Walking or playing more before a scheduled storm is never a bad idea. This helps to tire your pet both mentally and physically. It can also boost natural serotonin levels, which then act as a natural calming aid.

5. Using counterconditioning during a thunderstorm: This involves your pet associating something negative, like the storm, with something positive. For instance, only using a certain toy or a special treat only during a thunderstorm.

6. Desensitization: This technique is most effective in the winter months when storms are not as common. To begin, simply play a CD or iPod mix of storm sounds at an extremely soft level. While your dog remains relaxed at this level, say a simple cue word like “chill” and provide a yummy treat every 15 seconds or so. Then, gradually extend the time your pet needs to remain relaxed before earning the treat.

We hope these suggestions were helpful for you and your pet during these summer storms!